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Air Canada is Making Changes to the Aeroplan Program

Aug. 14, 2020
5 mins
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Air Canada’s relationship with Aeroplan has been evolving recently. First, they announced ending their partnership with Aeroplan and building their own program. After that, the news broke that Air Canada purchased Aeroplan with plans to revamp it completely. Now we finally have a chance to look at the new changes Air Canada is making to the Aeroplan Program, and we’re excited. From changes to fuel surcharges to better Aeroplan cards, Aeroplan is rolling out a host of updates that we think will change the program for the better.

When to expect the new Aeroplan program

Aeroplan has spent the last several months completely overhauling their miles program and building a digital customer loyalty portal that can compete with any other points or miles system currently on the market. That said, these types of overhauls take time to roll out, and you shouldn’t expect massive changes overnight.

The new Aeroplan program won’t go live until Nov. 8, 2020, and it won’t happen all at once. Instead, the change will go out in stages, with the full hard launch expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2021.

What will change with the new Aeroplan program?

When Air Canada purchased Aeroplan, they did so with the intent to improve the Aeroplan program and bring it in line with the top travel rewards programs in the world. Here are some of the changes you can expect after Nov. 8.

Aeroplan has always offered miles redemption on flights across the globe, but under the coming changes, you’ll be able to use your miles to book any seat on an Air Canada flight with no blackout dates and no restrictions.

Aeroplan will also waive all additional surcharges, including fuel surcharges, meaning you’ll only have to pay cash for taxes and third-party fees. If you have enough Aeroplan points to cover those charges, you can use them.

You’ll be able to plan your trip with confidence using the new Aeroplan Points Predictor Tool, which gives you an estimated range on the points required for your upcoming trips. The tool is based on actual market prices and will accurately help you forecast how many points you’ll need for your dream vacation.

Finally, while Air Canada now owns Aeroplan, you can still earn or redeem points on over 35 global airlines, making Aeroplan a highly flexible loyalty program.

Will the changes affect Aeroplan program members?

Existing membership numbers will stay the same, and you don’t have to do anything with your account to migrate to the new platform, Aeroplan will do that part for you automatically.

Your Aeroplan Miles will be converted into Aeroplan points, and the conversion will happen on a one-to-one basis. All Aeroplan credit cards will continue to earn Aeroplan points.

There are some changes in the works, though, for Aeroplan members. Starting in November, you’ll have access to these new perks:

  • Aeroplan members can earn points with other members of their household, letting you redeem your points for travel sooner.
  • Every Air Canada flight will allow you to earn points, including Economy Basic fares.
  • You can use your points to upgrade your Air Canada flight to Premium Economy or Business class.

Members can redeem Aeroplan points to purchase a wider variety of add-ons and perks, including:

  • In-flight Wi-Fi
  • Passes to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge
  • Car rentals
  • Hotel stays
  • Vacation packages
  • Housewares
  • Electronics
  • Gift cards

Improvements to the membership levels

The Aeroplan program will continue to offer membership tiers ranging from entry-level (Debut) to five Elite Status levels, including Aeroplan 25K, 35K, 50K, 75K and Super Elite. Reach Elite Status when you earn 100,000 Aeroplan points through eligible everyday purchases—spending on your Aeroplan credit card, with Air Canada and airline, travel and retail partners—annually (starting Jan. 2021).

The following benefits will be available to Elite Status members:

  • They are introducing Priority Rewards, which allow Aeroplan Members to earn through Priority Reward vouchers. These vouchers allow members to take advantage of 50% off flights, excluding taxes and third-party fees.
  • Status Pass lets Aeroplan members share their benefits, like priority boarding and lounge access, with non-member family members – even if you aren’t travelling together.
  • You’ll now be able to count all of your Aeroplan points earned – even those from retailers and credit card spending – toward your Elite status.

Aeroplan rolls out new benefits for travel rewards credit cards

If you like earning points on your daily spending, Aeroplan’s revamped credit cards help you do just that. You can access Aeroplan credit cards through TD, CIBC, and American Express, offering a variety of perks and benefits beyond just points earned. If you already have an Aeroplan credit card, you’ll access these benefits automatically. You don’t have to opt-in to anything.

Aeroplan’s entry-level credit cards provide preferred pricing on flight rewards and bonus points earned when spending in specific purchase categories or when members spend through the Air Canada app. Aeroplan’s mid-level credit cards (which often come with an annual fee) would give members plus eight travelling companions one free checked bag on Air Canada flights, even if you paid for your trip in cash. Finally, Aeroplan’s top tier credit cards carry all of the above benefits along with access to Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge, priority check-in, and priority boarding.

If you have a secondary cardholder, they’ll always qualify for these benefits – a real rarity in the travel rewards arena. If you’re a frequent flyer, these perks will easily take your flying experience with Air Canada from just fine to absolutely fantastic.

Not all the changes we’ve discussed will be available for everyone on Nov. 8, 2020, and that’s because Aeroplan knows this revamp is a big deal – and they want to get it right. These changes have been in the works for a long time, and we think the new features and benefits have modernized the Aeroplan system and brought it in line with the other travel rewards programs available in Canada. We’re looking forward to these new changes rolling out, and Aeroplan members should be too.

Jordann Brown

Jordann Brown is a millennial money expert at myalternatelife.com. She has been featured by major media outlets in Canada including The Globe and Mail, Financial Post, The Toronto Star, CBC, CTV, and Global TV.

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