Dear Aeroplan: Your Hold Times Are RIDICULOUS

Filed Under: Air Canada

Update: I didn’t think it was possible, but as part of Air Canada’s reservation system migration, contacting Aeroplan has become even more difficult. See this post for details about all the problems Aeroplan is having, including passengers not even being able to be added to the hold queue.

Aeroplan is Air Canada’s spun off loyalty program. Back in the day it was probably my single favorite program to transfer points to (they partner with Amex Membership Rewards and SPG), though after many devaluations, it’s more of a niche program that I only use for a few types of redemptions.

The problem is that Aeroplan is a completely separate company from Air Canada, which is just a horrible situation for an airline’s points program to be in. With a spun off program like this, Aeroplan has little incentive to provide a decent experience for members, since they have a pretty captive audience.

For example, Aeroplan’s hold times are consistently horrible. Horrible. Half the time that I call them I get a message saying that they can’t take my call due to “higher than expected call volume.” This isn’t just the past few weeks, but consistently.

I called Aeroplan last night, and I was told the hold time would be 93 minutes. After 140 minutes of waiting on hold my call was disconnected.


I called them up at 7AM ET sharp this morning, right when they opened… and I’ve now been on hold for over an hour now.

While the hold times are completely unacceptable (since this is more the norm than the exception), the part that really blows my mind is that they don’t have a callback feature. I typically only get the option of leaving a callback number when hold times are actually short, while when they’re long there’s no such option.

The recording on the phone while waiting talks about how I can go to Aeroplan’s website to learn 12 myths of Aeroplan. Is one of those myths that I’ll actually ever get through to one of their phone representatives?

C’mon Aeroplan, this sucks.

Anyone else have as horrible of an experience with Aeroplan’s hold times as I do?

  1. Completely agree and it is so pathetic. Sometimes they offer automated call backs and sometimes not. Detest any company that suggests customers visit their website when on hold. The ONLY postive is once you talk to someone they are very competent.

  2. Try Basically, a robot waits on hold for you and calls you as soon as it is connected to a live agent.

  3. This is one of the main reasons I’ve stopped booking through Aeroplan. This combined with the redemption rates. Would rather just use ANA these days for my Amex points, much cheaper for most of the travel I’m doing, even with the fees.

  4. I’m surprised that Air Canada doesn’t up their technological fix to this problem. I mean, Canadians are so known for their ingenuity and creativity…

  5. Was on a mini RTW redemption ticket with Aeroplan and missed my connection on TK from IST. Got on the next flight to my detination but was not sure if my flights on TG were still valid and all other subsequent flights were still intact. Called Aeroplan from overseas and was on hold for over an hour on an international call which I had to then disconnect. Wait times are indeed atrocious!! However when booking the reward travel from Toronto had a wonderful and patient agent.

  6. They are in competition with Air Miles in Canada… who also seem to hold contempt for their customers.

  7. Lucky, I had a similar experience in mid Nov but they clearly had a call back feature and I was told a wait time of 52 mins and received a call back exactly after that time. This happened twice. Am surprised they don’t have the feature now?

  8. Agreed. They now have premium access if you are a top-tier distinction member (through co-branded credit card) or Super-Elite. Without that, you are stuck either using their horrible website or waiting on the phone.

  9. There is a priority line number if you search well the internet or do some social engineering 😉

  10. Funny enough, I had to call in twice a couple days ago to move a flight into the future and cancel it to have the points returned. Did it about half an hour after their opening time and got through within about 20 and 45 minutes. Total process took about 1.5 to 2 hours.

    Previous wait times were much more atrocious but then again I don’t call them much for this exact reason.

  11. Per FT, select French when making the call shortens the wait time especially during peak times. Once connected just politely ask if the agent speaks English, as most if not all of them do!

  12. Try Cathay, it’s just as worse!
    I had to call at 3pm ET, so 4am in HK to get connected.
    And if you choose english, chances are you will get connected to outsourced customer service who don’t know what they are doing.

  13. Aeroplan call centres are chronically understaffed, I have a friend who worked there for 2 years and this was before Aimia (parent group of Aeroplan) laid off many workers. They will do anything to ensure your miles don’t get used. Not as bad as Air Miles in Canada. And you’re right Aeroplan is not a “loyalty” program, it’s a points program.

  14. They have a counterpart on this side of the earth , once I was on hold for more then 3 hours by Asiamiles aka Marco Polo club green tier booking hotline and that was 3 in the morning. Because day time you could not even get the line connected.

  15. Aeroplan has the worst wait time among all companies who provide any kind of services over the phone.
    Totally garbage company, Air Canada really needs to end its relationship with Aeroplan.

  16. After reading all the comments above I consider myself exceptionally lucky. I called at about 10:45p day before yesterday and was connected in about 10 minutes.

    It took an hour and a half to book my itinerary after that but the hold time was lucky. Also, I’m distinction black this year.

    When I was a distinction diamond, I would often go right from the higher than normal call volume message to speaking to an agent; that was fun.

  17. Same problem…. ridiculous hold times and not recently… this was back in July. Waiting an hour and a half only to be disconnected. Makes you feel so small and not valued as a person. Aeroplan needs to hire more staff members

  18. Remember, Canadian industrial policy discourages actual competition. It’s not just aeroplan. You should try calling a Canadian bank or cable company. Pressing two for french is the only way to survive.

    But, yes, two things irritate me more than anything: companies that routinely talk about “unexpectedly” large call volumes and companies that tell me a world of wonder awaits me if I only hang up and go to their website (hint: if I could do it on the website, I wouldn’t be waiting an hour on hold).

  19. Second the comment about CX. Most of the time I get the automatic “can’t take your call, bye.”

    Re: Aeroplan, I encountered this issue when I was on an Aeroplan-issued ticket going into IST the day after the coup. Couldn’t reach Aeroplan after hours on hold. Gave up and booked a new ticket and got refund later. I also find their agents grumpy (but not particularly incompetent once they stop talking over you).

  20. … To finish my story, I was lucky in that 1) I had spare miles, 2) there was spare availability for me to get rerouted to. If either one failed, I would have been f*cked. This underscores the importance of having miles across different programs.

  21. I’ve had situations where I call and they won’t even let me wait on hold. This was when I needed to make a last minute change to an early morning flight that would have departed before the call center opened again. It would be one thing if their website were functional enough so that you could do most things online, but even for very basic things, you have no choice but to call them.

  22. Are you either Silver or Diamond status? Within 30 min they would answer my call or return my call within an hour. I only have silver status.

  23. I couldn’t agree more–the wait times are horrendous–like your dealing with the Kremlin or something…

  24. I expect the next 5 days or so will be extra busy for Aeroplan as everyone scrambles to rearrange/cancel bookings before the new change & cancellation fees come into effect on Dec.6th.

  25. I’m a regular Air Canada customer, and if you thought Aeroplan’s wait times are ridiculous, you should try calling Air Canada for assistance. I’ve given up the last 3 or 4 times I’ve called them. Delta and American pick up within about 2 or 3 minutes. I guess Air Canada’s response is what happens when there isn’t enough competition.

  26. @Edward Scheibler – Good analogy. The national carrier of a socialist country. And our prime minister looks like a camp counselor. Three legged race, anyone?

  27. Hey everyone – phone calls international are cheap! Never call Aeroplan in Toronto – call Mexico or some other location.

    I was in South Africa and wanted to make a new reservation. Called Toronto and was told 1 hour wait time. Called Germany at $.04 a minute on my pay by the minute phone and instantly was connected to Sean who spoke perfect English and finished a complex international points reservation YLW-CPT via several stops in less than 20 minutes start to finish. No wait time and perfect performance. Even once I get connected to the Toronto centre it takes over an hour to make the same reservation.

    So from the US – call Mexico as I understand they answer immediately.

    good luck

  28. Glad it’s not just me. I tried to call several times today. After going through all the trouble of entering my Aeroplan number and PIN it tells me that they can’t talk to me now and I should try later and hangs up. Thank goodness my issue was not urgent.

    In the end I just called AC and only had to hold for about 5 minutes to get my answer. (Partner airline record locators…I don’t understand why all airlines don’t include this info in the itinerary)

    Aeroplan used to be great. But I have not had a reason to contact them in several years since the magical 120K SE Asia F class awards went away. Their business class to Europe mileage requirements are not bad though. Their search engine is weird however. I wanted to fly to Vienna and return from Berlin so I entered the dates in the multicity option. For some reason some flights that show up in a one way search didn’t show up in the multicity search. So I just did 2 one ways. Wish I had realized the difference in YQ. That OS flight to VIE is costing me a lot, but at least it’s a non-stop. But the return on SN and SK is really cheap.

    For some reaon OS, SK and SN won’t let me select seats. Is it just too far out (Sept)? I know some airlines only let you choose seats 6 months out. But NH and TG let me choose now for flights a year away.

  29. I’ve been on hold for an hour now and CANNOT believe it. And you have no choice but to call aeroplan to change a ticket when booked through them. How can there be no callback feature?! Combined with the fact that the points are now a ripoff, I am going to cancel my aeroplan Visa as soon as my trip is over. I’m done with them.

  30. That is interesting, Vania. I called them a few days ago to get a PNR for my Turkish award I had booked online (why you can’t just find that info online, I don’t know – so annoying), but anyway Aeroplan did off a callback option which I used. They quoted 63 minutes and it ended up taking 72 minutes. They also send an e-mail with brief apology for the wait time.

    I also find Air Canada’s wait times excessive (I know they are separate companies). Sometimes they just say it’s too busy even to put you on hold at all. I think the most I’ve ever waited for a US airline was 20 minutes, and usually it’s less than 5 or no wait. It’s ridiculous.

  31. Worst of all! Called 3 times waited for an agent and got disconnected after 50+ minutes each time. It is never less than 50 minutes for me.

  32. ridiculous wait times … made a small mistake that would take 5 minutes to fix and have now been waiting 30 minutes.

  33. totally agreed!!!

    Air Canada is a monopoly in Canada! They need more competitions so they can improve their pricing and services!!!

  34. seems this problem goes back to 2016 (and then some) and still hasn’t been fixed. Recently had a miserable booking experience with Aeroplan and currently on a 56 minute hold and counting…

  35. Its September 2019 and nothing has changed. My miles were expiring as some of the trips I took do not show up online, tried adding the trips online but the system returns an error. Tried calling to talk to someone and its been 2 hours of hold. In 10 days my accumulated miles will expire as there is no activity on the account. It seems like Aeroplan is making sure there is no activity in the account by not updating the miles automatically, manually via web, or via telephone. Tell tale signs of a scam!

  36. Stuart’s update … 88 minutes on hold … finally answered by a CSR who definitely sounded stressed. Willing to help (refund of flight fees for a cancelled (within 24 hours) reward redemption). Said he could process the refund for me but can’t send any email confirmation as I would have to wait a couple of hours on the phone (?!). Asked if I was willing to “trust him”, I said “sure”, he said “hold on a moment”, then … (!)

    I’ll try again later this week in an early a.m. slot, it’s really not funny at all, however I couldn’t help but laugh. This is how they run their organization? Shameful.

  37. CRAZY… Trying to book Air Canada flight with points. Get to the end and receive and error with a message to call the help line. So the message is we are experiencing higher the average call volumes call back later…. good bye! I have been trying for 3 hours. NO phone queue just cut off…..

  38. 1 hour six minutes and counting! Every time I call I’m placed on hold with the message: “This is so-and-so, director of the call center. We are experiencing higher than normal call volumes etc. etc. etc. ” What can you expect from a single-purpose points company about to be folded back into Air Canada sometime in 2020.

  39. After waiting almost 2 hours to book a vacation because the website directly asks me to call…i used the call back option. That was yesterday 4 pm..still haven’t received a call back..Ridiculous!

  40. Yes, I called repeatedly leading up to opening time of 7:00 am to make sure I was one of the first to get through. Been waiting a half hour now. I only wanted to know what payment methods they offer for the fees and taxes on top of my points, last I checked it was Visa only which in itself seems like an abuse – what if I don’t care to do business with Visa? I’m forced to do so in order to use my points? Was that stated anywhere when I bought my ticket to earn the points?

    This company is begging for government to step in and regulate their practices. They shouldn’t be allowed to do that to people. It’s not reasonable.

  41. And it’s Visa credit card only, right? No Visa Debit. And I was told they don’t accept prepaid Visa cards because they can’t be credited back a refund, which is completely untrue.

  42. This mail note is as of December 3, 2019. They apparently updated their reservation system recently. I have not been able to get through since I reserved on November 26, 2019. I have called in excess of a dozen times over the past days. They have a recording from their contact center manager that apologizes then tells you that one cannot wait on hold!!. I am a diamond member so this non-hold is for all members. They recommend that you use the website. I did and reserved but the reservation is now in limbo. It is still not ticketed. The points have been deleted. The absolute worst experience ever.
    I have been flying extensively for over 30 years and this is by far the worst service ever.

  43. The recording from the Worldwide contact center director states ” Aircanada has recently adopted a new reservation system and call volumes are higher than normal. Our agents are assisting other customers at present and I apologize that we cannot place you on hold”. This has been going on for over a week!

  44. I have not been disconnected every time I call for the last week! Personal recording from the director and then it hangs up. This is so frustrating. I needed to cancel a flight as the online system was not working and it was not possible.

  45. I go on business trips a lot and I thought maybe it’s a good idea to earn points. Unfortunately, I can’t book any flights when I enter my aeroplan number. I called them twice both times I was on hold for more than two hours and both times I got disconnected after two hours.
    Reading the reviews looks like this has been happening since 2016 and Aircanada simply does not care considering they have no other competitors in Canada.
    At this point I will have to take my business somewhere else. I will call AMEX to book my business flights with a different airline.

  46. Omg….. 2 calls today both disconnected after over an hour wait. On my 3rd call now… 1:20 and still holding.

  47. Air Canada should be ashamed of themselves. Absolutely appalling is their inability to field customer calls within a reasonable time-frame.

  48. called twice on Dec. 18th on hold for 2 hours each time and finally hung up. On hold again today Dec. 19th and 2 hrs in and still on hold. Booked flight online and to add an infant to the booking you are told has to be done by calling the Aeroplan so thats what I’m trying to do with no luck.

  49. The wait times are atrocious. It took over an hour to speak to a CSR yesterday evening . They have to have a better user friendly website .I cancelled my booking online , the points were not reinstated immediately as the website says . I had to call to get my points back as I has to make a new booking . To add insult to injury , I was charged twice for the cancellation fees .
    This excuse of changing reservation system , is pathetic. This change took place over 6 weeks ago and is getting stale.

  50. Currently on hold with Aeroplan, 100 minutes and counting. Got an email from AC that One of my flight segments on an award ticket got cancelled. After reading the comments I’m worried that 2 hours will pass and my call could conceivably be dropped. Sad to see this type of customer service from a company now affiliated with the Air Canada brand.

  51. Decided to kill time while on hold with Aéroplan so googled “on hold with…” and it auto filled the aeroplan! . It’s been 72 minutes so far. What a bunch of crap!

  52. I’ve been waiting for a hour and 45 minutes (105 mins) and I wanted to book a new reward ticket. The online system keeps saying the segments I chose have changed and to renew my search. Completely useless!

    Once my points are all used up I’m closing my account. Even though I’m diamond status.

  53. I’ve been on hold for 2 hours and five minutes and no one has come on!!! I’ve not been able to book on line –I get a message Point redemption Failure!!!
    I’ve tried several times !!! Has anyone figured out the system or is this a deliberate effort on behalf of Aeorplan to get you to transfer points to them and then not be able to use them???

    This is outrageous and should be reported!!!! We’ve been flying on points for years and have never had such an experience. Can anyone tell me; Were you finally able to get thru and resolve your issue to book a flight??
    Were your points lost??

  54. Last night I tried for 3 hours and only got a message about overloaded system and try the web site. No opportunity to hold. This am dialed in at opening time and got to select option for change flight (air canada cancelled mine and said I have to get aeroplan to make change). Online does not work. I am still on phone listening to terrible music now it has been 90 minutes. If I get through this today before my battery fails, or my nerves fail, I will never use aeroplan again and am seriously looking at any way to fly other than Air Canada. Absolutely horrific experience.

  55. Somebody should be fired for allowing this situation to not only occur, but to persist for this absolutely ridiculous inordinate amount of time. Just what are these people doing?

  56. 2 1/2 hours and a message comes on saying they are having system problems, please try again later, then cuts me off. We seriously need some regulatory oversight on this.

  57. 2 1/2 hour wait time and message saying they are unable to process due to their system problems … and hung up. So frustrated!!

  58. Jan 19: same message as Beens…exactly 2 hrs 14 mins and they say they cannot answer; please call back / click.
    tried the Air Canada # and their message was that unless my flight was within 24 hrs they cannot help me. Please call back withing 24 hours of actual flight.
    I was trying to reach them because my Aeroplan flight from SXM change from |Feb 12 to Feb 15 but we needed to come back on Feb 12. I called them about this between XMAS and new years and after 3 attempts got someone (1 hour 20 min wait) who re-routed us United back through Chicago. Because we have to overnight at O’Hare she said she was requesting AC to book hotel. I have tried 3x to get the status of that request.
    Oh and when I called into United to book seats I was on hold for 4 mins. That agent said that the AirCan F*&& up was causing United agents to wait 1 hr + to contact their counterparts at Air Can reservation.
    How is the clown in charge of call centers at Aircan still employed. He should be emasculated (‘cus it was not a female screw up!) and then fired.

  59. I am trying to use up my points and stop using AC and Aeroplan. This is not an acceptable corporate behaviour. After wasting 3 hrs of my time holding, I still could not get through. I sent a message to their FB account and got a response as below:

    Hi , we regret we can’t reduce the wait times. If it were possible to handle your request via Facebook, we’d be happy to do so; however, for account inquires and bookings for security reasons it is necessary to speak with an agent. Please stay on the line to keep your priority and get the assistance you need as quickly as possible. Thank you.

    I will now file with

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