UPDATE: Online booking of awards that do not involve the US or Canada have been restored.
Aeroplan used to be one of the best frequent flyer programs in the world, maybe even the best, but over the past six years we’ve seen multiple rounds of award chart inflation, the introduction of fuel surcharges on partner awards, blocking of multiple Star Alliance airlines, and now an inability to book awards online that do not either originate or terminate in the U.S. or Canada.
This is a problem on myriad levels, including:
- While Aeroplan’s customers are primarily based in North America, many travel the world.
- Indeed, when making a booking the best way to search space is segment-by-segment even if you have to call to book.
- Calling to book incurs a fee, so this is a tax on members.
- Eliminating award search makes finding space more difficult. It’s much more efficient to find award space and feed it to the agent than ask agents to find space for you.
- And Aeroplan’s website has been generally accurate, and not a perfect match for what’s shown at United.com or on the LifeMiles or ANA websites.
- Aeroplan telephone hold times are interminable.
- This was a change imposed with no notice and no communication.
Copyright: ronniechua / 123RF Stock Photo
One Mile at a Time thinks “this is a short term IT glitch” although he recognizes “this could be a way for them to save costs on redemptions.”
Live and Let’s Fly thinks Aeroplan is doing this to prevent fraud. Aeroplan lets you book and fly at the very last minute and instantly issues tickets. So hacking an account and using it for travel in Africa or Asia would likely mean successful travel and never getting caught.
We’ve seen IT glitches from Aeroplan in the past, this seems more like a hastily put together strategy to limit fraudulent redemptions. It seems like a better strategy would be to limit last minute redemptions online which originate outside North America.