What Happened To Aeroplan’s Call Center?! (In A Good Way)

There has been a lot of excitement lately with Air Canada and Aeroplan. Aeroplan is Air Canada’s spun off frequent flyer program, and the two companies are parting ways as of 2020.

This creates a lot of uncertainty, both for Aeroplan members, and also for Air Canada loyalists. Air Canada has expressed interest in acquiring Aeroplan, but the two companies haven’t yet been able to come to an agreement.

Personally I continue to use Aeroplan’s loyalty program by transferring points from Amex Membership Rewards. Their Star Alliance redemption rates are excellent, and for tickets on some carriers, they’re by far the most practical and best value option.

For example, Aeroplan is still my go-to program for booking Lufthansa first class awards.

Anyway, I just have to make an observation about something that I think is quite remarkable.

Prior to about a year ago, I found Aeroplan’s call centers to be among the worst in the industry. It was so bad that I even wrote a post specifically about how bad it was. It’s not necessarily that the agents were subpar (they were a mixed bag), but rather the hold times were atrocious, and they often didn’t have a proper call back feature. Like the hold times were, so, so, so bad, consistently more than an hour.

But my gosh, in the past six months or so the Aeroplan call center has impressed me more than any other. I don’t have status with Air Canada or Aeroplan, so I’m calling their general number. I haven’t waited on hold once. Not a single time, no matter what time I’m calling. They just pick up right away. And I’ve called dozens and dozens of times.

There’s not a single other travel provider where that’s the case, including those airlines and hotels that I have top tier status with.

Beyond that, I’ve found the phone reps to be consistently friendly and knowledgable. I haven’t had one bad call.

In many ways this is counterintuitive. You’d think with the agreement with Air Canada ending, they’d have less of an incentive to provide good service. Furthermore, you’d think their call center would be busier than ever before, with people wanting to redeem their Aeroplan miles before the new program launches, due to the uncertainty about the future of Aeroplan miles.

But I guess they’re taking the opposite approach, and thinking that because they need to make it on their own, it’s time they provide exceptional customer service beyond what their contract requires.

I, for one, am happy to see it. While I question their viability as an independent program, getting customer service basics like this right goes a long way. Well done, Aeroplan!

Has anyone had similarly good experiences with Aeroplan’s call center lately?

Comments

  1. Yes, I’ve noticed this almost immediately after their termination with Air Canada last year. What I find really surprising about this in studying their financial reports is that it doesn’t seem to have a material negative impact on their financial performance, i.e. there’s no reason why other airlines can’t improve this area.

  2. This is good news as I’ll need to call them to change my award redemption tickets. I know I’ll be charged $100 CAD for changing them, but will I be refunded the taxes from the original ticket?

  3. I had to call AeroPlan a few months ago and the rep was the nicest, friendliest and most helpful I have ever spoken with.

  4. They are on the market, so they are trying to make a good impression. Later they will change back.

  5. Things really changed last summer, just a few months after Air Canada announced their intention not to renew their exclusive agreement with Aeroplan. Aeroplan hold times were terrible for YEARS then all of a sudden responsiveness of the call centers improved dramatically.

  6. Yes, I’ve noticed a really positive improvement with not only the hold times but with very good agents.

  7. So with such compelling evidence, what is the theory behind the change. Were all the agents actively being unresponsive and seemingly unknowledgable to cause Aeroplan and Air canada to fall out, or was it a case of agent complacency, or did Aeroplan sack the non performers and hire great new agents to replace them as soon as AC wasn’t on the hook?

  8. 1. I have diamond status so changes are 30 bucks. Also, there is a dedicated call number so no wait.
    Glad to hear they pickup for everyone else now.
    BTW, I think it’s circling the drain. They have added only Flair and Porter. Without a carrier for biz or first, I’m out.

  9. Lucky,
    I’m curious about your affinity for Aeroplan when booking Lufthansa 1st class despite the fuel surcharges. I often initially consider United or Lifemiles because of the lack of fuel surcharges. Why do you still prefer Aeroplan? Will Aeroplan agents let you spoon-feed desired flight segments? Also, does it matter whether you are flying US-Europe vs US-Asia or Middle East? Thanks.

  10. @ James — Good point. I should have clarified I book Lufthansa first class through LifeMiles when it’s possible, which is usually when I’m booking a nonstop flight on Lufthansa. In this case I was booking a routing with two segments (including one on United) which wouldn’t have been bookable through LifeMiles. At that point I’d rather pay 70K Aeroplan than 110K United, because the difference in fees will be about $300 (the fuel surcharges are close to $400, though United has a $75 close-in ticketing fee, and I’m always booking this within a couple of weeks of departure).

  11. Now if only they had call center support 24 hours of the day.

    Nothing like needing to reach an agent urgently to modify an award ticket for one reason or another, and realize they don’t open for hours.

  12. Does any body think Aeroplan hire a lot of new agents? With different accidents? I used to call last week and the agent suddenly speak Japanese

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