Etihad & Aeroplan Potentially Launching Partnership — Bigger Implications?

Filed Under: Air Canada, Etihad

Update: An Air Canada spokesperson has issued the following statement:

Clearly our content team is excited about new earning opportunities for Aeroplan! While Air Canada is in discussions with Etihad Airways, we will not be launching a frequent flyer partnership tomorrow. We look forward to sharing more details with you as they become available.


I suspect this announcement was actually intended for tomorrow, but leaked early. It potentially has some very interesting implications.

New Aeroplan & Etihad partnership

As of May 1, 2019, Aeroplan and Etihad will be launching a partnership. For those of you not familiar, Aeroplan is Air Canada’s points program. It used to be spun off, though Air Canada recently purchased it.

With this new partnership:

  • Aeroplan members will be able to earn miles for travel with Etihad Airways
  • Aeroplan miles earned for travel on Etihad will exclusively be redeemable miles, and won’t count towards status in the Air Canada Altitude program
  • Star Alliance benefits won’t apply for travel on Etihad Airways

The Aeroplan website links to a page to figure out the mileage earning rates, though that link doesn’t work yet. Like I said, I think this was only supposed to be announced tomorrow, so that’s not up yet.

There’s also not yet a timeline for which there will be reciprocal mileage redemptions, though I would assume that’s on the way eventually as well.

What does this partnership mean for Etihad?

As I wrote about a couple of months ago, there is a lot of talk about Etihad possibly forging a partnership with United at the expense of their partnership with American. This is something I reliably heard was being seriously considered from several reliable sources, though unlike some others, I was never under the impression it would happen overnight.

There are also rumors of Etihad possibly even joining Star Alliance, though I don’t think that’s a sure bet.

Anyway, this is an interesting development — Aeroplan (the program of Air Canada, which is a Star Alliance member) is launching a partnership with Etihad, and one has to wonder if this is part of some bigger changes we’ll see soon.

Bottom line

For now we’ll have to mark this as “developing,” given that this was likely only meant to be announced tomorrow. Let’s see if Etihad and Air Canada (and not just Aeroplan) have an announcement tomorrow.

It could be that tomorrow the mileage earning rates are just confirmed, and nothing else. Or it could be that tomorrow we see a bigger announcement that involves Etihad. Could we see other Star Alliance programs also launch a partnership with Etihad tomorrow? Now that would be telling.

But for now I wouldn’t read too much into this just yet.

What do you make of this new partnership between Aeroplan & Etihad?

(Tip of the hat to Amar)

Comments
  1. Wouldn’t read too much into it. They codeshare a lot for their YYZ flight. Same thing happened for VA and CX with Aeroplan.

  2. Etihad is already partners with ANA. How could one not suspect it joining Star Alliance when they are tightening partnerships with United and Air Canada?

    Qatar is OneWorld, so it would make sense for a different ME3 to be member of a different alliance.

  3. I have considerable miles with United and British Airways. Multiple times I have tried to use those miles toward first class on their partner airlines from NY to Europe and Asia.
    They continually say the seats are unavailable even though they are available if you purchase. They seem to only allow Business class or economy.
    I need to find a travel consultant for agent who can continually check as the travel agents I have used for years including amex will no longer make or check reservations using airline Mileage !
    Very disappointing since the mileage was acquired by them making reservations for us.

  4. Is the 747 or 777 a better first class?
    I do not like the first class seats which are angled and when you recline your head is inches away from the seat/person behind you. This is the airline adding more first class seats and what makes Air France and Lufthansa so nice plus other features, is they keep first class limited so it is special and not like business class.

  5. @Bob I have always been able to find award space in J to/from YYZ and award space in F from AUH to NRT. Also was able to upgrade from Y to J using Etihad Guest Miles.

  6. I would really like to see Etihad in the Star Alliance but I would see Turkish and Lufthansa raising objections and stopping it. Lufthansa have a history of this where they courted Qatar up to a point where Qatar were joining and Lufthansa blocked it.

  7. This is not really news. You were able to accumulate Aeroplan points even before today, however you had to submit it manually to Aeroplan via email with a picture of your boarding pass.

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