Why Aeroplan Is My Favorite Frequent Flyer Program For Redeeming Points

Why Aeroplan Is My Favorite Frequent Flyer Program For Redeeming Points

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There’s not a single, perfect frequent flyer program. Savvy consumers should generally collect transferable points currencies for their credit card spending, and then you have the flexibility to transfer your points to a variety of programs, based on your exact travel needs.

Nonetheless I think once in a while it’s fun to think about what the most useful and valuable individual frequent flyer programs are. For example, Alaska Mileage Plan used to be my single favorite frequent flyer program, but I can’t make sense of the program’s direction anymore.

That caused me to think about what my favorite frequent flyer program actually is in terms of the value and process of redeeming points, and to me there’s one obvious answer.

9 reasons to love Air Canada Aeroplan points

We sometimes criticize frequent flyer programs for negative changes, but often don’t give enough credit to the programs that are trying hard and doing good things. In the interest of positive reinforcement, in this post I wanted to share nine reasons I consider Air Canada Aeroplan to currently be the single most valuable airline frequent flyer program when it comes to points redemptions.

There are many factors at play here — transparency, redemption value, partners, the ease of earning and redeeming points, and much more. The Aeroplan program was refreshed in late 2020, and over a year later, I still consider these changes to be positive. The best thing is that Aeroplan is useful even if you don’t plan on stepping foot on an Air Canada plane.

With that out of the way, below are some of the things I like most about Aeroplan.

Aeroplan points are easy to earn

Aeroplan points are easy to come by. Air Canada Aeroplan is 1:1 transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Transfers from all of these partners are generally instant, which matters because often there might be award availability but then you find that a transfer takes multiple days, which can quickly ruin your plans.

On top of that, there’s the new Aeroplan® Credit Card (review) in the United States, which offers a great bonus and some unique perks. Lastly, Aeroplan often sells points at a reasonable cost.

Aeroplan points are easy to come by

Consistent, published award costs

Transparency at frequent flyer programs is becoming increasingly rare, and that’s an area where Aeroplan excels. The program publishes award charts for all “saver” redemptions, and the costs are the same regardless of which airline you redeem on (which I think we can all appreciate after Alaska Mileage Plan’s recent new partner award charts, where Malaysia Airlines business class costs 2.5x as much as much as Cathay Pacific first class).

Aeroplan has unified award charts for all partners

More airline partners than any other program

Aeroplan has more airline partners than any other frequent flyer program in the world. Not only is Air Canada in the Star Alliance, but Aeroplan has actively been adding as many airline partners as possible, including on some other airlines that otherwise have few partners.

For example, Aeroplan has all kinds of non-Star Alliance partners, including Air MauritiusAir SerbiaAzul, Etihad, Gulf Air, Oman Air, Vistara, and more. Best of all, the list of partners continues to grow.

Redeem Aeroplan points for travel in Oman Air first class

Stopovers for 5,000 points one-way

There aren’t many frequent flyer programs that allow stopovers on one-way awards, and this is another area where Aeroplan innovated. Aeroplan allows stopovers on one-way awards for just 5,000 points, which is an incredible deal in so many situations, especially when you consider the ability to mix and match partners:

  • Flying from the United States to Mauritius? You could fly to Paris on Air Canada, have a stopover for 5,000 points, and then continue to Mauritius
  • Flying from Europe to the Maldives? You could fly Gulf Air via Bahrain and have a stopover there for 5,000 points, and then continue to the Maldives
  • Flying from the United States to Singapore? You could fly to Japan on United, have a stopover for 5,000 points, and then continue to Singapore
The ability to plan stopovers on awards is awesome

Award redemption costs are fair & reasonable

There are some programs that have sweet spot award redemptions that seem too good to be true, and where you’re sure the redemption is ripe for devaluation. That’s not really the case with Aeroplan. I’d say Aeroplan has very fair award pricing across the board, and that’s rational.

Aeroplan won’t always have the lowest award costs, but it will be the most consistent, and also have the most partners. That’s worth a lot.

I recently redeemed Aeroplan points for Lufthansa first class

No carrier imposed surcharges

One of the most frustrating practices in the frequent flyer program world is the concept of carrier imposed surcharges being added on awards, whereby there’s a huge cash co-pay with redemptions. Fortunately Aeroplan doesn’t pass on these surcharges for all partner airlines.

The only catch is that Aeroplan has a 39 CAD partner booking fee, but that’s hardly a huge cost for those of us booking first & business class awards.

No blocked availability

Aeroplan seems to have access to all saver award seats that are made available by partner programs. This might sound minor, but it really isn’t. For example, take Alaska Mileage Plan, where the program doesn’t have access to all award seats on Cathay Pacific, Qantas, and more. That can be extremely frustrating when there’s only one first class award seat and you can’t redeem miles on it.

Aeroplan doesn’t do any sort of blocking in that regard, and also invests in the technology to make sure that members can see all availability. Sometimes we see phantom availability through other programs, so I always cross reference Air Canada’s site, since I find it to be the most accurate.

Aeroplan doesn’t block any partner award availability

A great online shopping experience

There’s something to be said for the ease with which you can actually book your travel, and Aeroplan offers a great online shopping experience:

  • Awards on virtually all Aeroplan partners can be booked online, with accurate availability displayed
  • Aeroplan lets you select seats for virtually all partner airlines online, which is oh-so-nice and also rare
  • Aeroplan clearly displays confirmation codes of partner airlines
  • Aeroplan awards can be canceled online and miles are redeposited instantly

This might all sound minor, but it really adds up. Seriously, can anyone think of a single other frequent flyer program that lets you select seats on virtually every partner airline? I can’t imagine that was a small time investment, but Aeroplan made it a priority.

In fairness, there’s still room for improvement here. Stopovers can’t yet be booked online, and neither can complicated itineraries. Fortunately this is a feature that should be rolled out in 2022, making the online experience even better. If this new feature is half as good as it’s described, it’s going to be in a completely different league than what any other program offers.

Select seats online for Aeroplan partner awards

A program run by avgeeks committed to improving

I’m fairly certain that there are more avgeeks and mileage geeks working at Aeroplan than any other frequent flyer program. These are largely people who have done mileage runs, and who love maximizing their own miles. They take that passion into designing the program, and that’s worth something.

Let me give a concrete example — I once had a conversation with the head of another frequent flyer program about how the carrier lacked airline partners to redeem miles on, and I asked if they had considered trying to pursue more reciprocal frequent flyer partnerships. The answer? “That’s not a priority.” Meanwhile at Aeroplan, it sure seems to me like they’re knocking on just about every airline “door” to see what partners they can add.

There’s a way for a program to be profitable while still offering lots of value. At times that can be a tough balance to strike, and not many programs get it right. I think that’s something Aeroplan does, and deserves credit for.

Is there a more well-rounded frequent flyer program?

I’d like to turn this over to OMAAT readers. Aeroplan isn’t perfect, but I think the program is trying, and I think the program is delivering a lot of value for members. Is there a specific airline program that’s as well-rounded and valuable when it comes to redeeming points on a wide variety of airlines? If so, I certainly can’t think of it.

I’ll take it a step further — if I could only ever collect a single airline points currency again, I’d choose Aeroplan points. Of course I wouldn’t want to be in that situation (flexibility is the beauty of transferable points currencies), but I think it drives home my point about the balanced value that the program offers.

I’m curious how OMAAT readers feel about it — if you could only accrue one airline points currency for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Bottom line

Air Canada’s Aeroplan program delivers a ton of value when redeeming points, and is an often overlooked currency for redemptions on partner airlines. I think some positive reinforcement and credit is due here, as Aeroplan has done an amazing job adding airline partners, offering great value, differentiating itself through a generous stopover policy, and providing a good online shopping experience.

Best of all, the program will only keep getting better, as Aeroplan is promising to roll out a better booking tool this year, with the ability to book stopovers directly online.

What’s your take on the value of Aeroplan award redemptions? And I’m curious, does anyone think there’s a single more well-rounded frequent flyer program for redeeming points? If so, which one?

Conversations (72)
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  1. John Clark Guest

    I am an experienced aeroplan traveler for 20 years, It has become a worthless plan. Most flights on points are routed through Air Canada and you are screwed with the ridiculous amount of points required. Some LA to Frankfurt flights round trip in Business are over 1 Million points!!!
    It was so much better before Air Caanada took it over....Stay away from Aeroplan

  2. JP Guest

    Hi There, it is difficult to disconnect the loyalty program from the product or the service. There are not so many studies that show customer choosing a loyalty program first. The majority select the product and or the service and if they consider using it a lot they register to the loyalty program. Your bevahiour shows that you are not loyal to Air Canada, may be Aeroplan positioning is not to be the loyalty program...

    Hi There, it is difficult to disconnect the loyalty program from the product or the service. There are not so many studies that show customer choosing a loyalty program first. The majority select the product and or the service and if they consider using it a lot they register to the loyalty program. Your bevahiour shows that you are not loyal to Air Canada, may be Aeroplan positioning is not to be the loyalty program of the Airlines so it makes sense to develop airlines partnership portofolio. The challenge is to deliver a value for the airlines, the customer and now the loaylty program itself.

  3. Carr T Guest

    I've booked IAD-AUH-DEL on EY with Aeroplan miles. Looks like these are Married segments in mixed class -- First IAD-AUH and then Economy AUH-DEL if I search this trip as a whole. If I search segments separately, it gets worse: Economy IAD-AUH and Business AUH-DEL for the exact same EY flights. To be clear, 84% in First is great, but would like the segment2 in Business if possible. Is this normal and the best I...

    I've booked IAD-AUH-DEL on EY with Aeroplan miles. Looks like these are Married segments in mixed class -- First IAD-AUH and then Economy AUH-DEL if I search this trip as a whole. If I search segments separately, it gets worse: Economy IAD-AUH and Business AUH-DEL for the exact same EY flights. To be clear, 84% in First is great, but would like the segment2 in Business if possible. Is this normal and the best I can hope for? Any chance availability will improve when I get closer to departure date?

  4. Brian-EWA New Member

    I've always used Lifemiles for Sky Alliance carrier awards, but will have to check out Aeroplan next time I'm shopping!

    1. John Clark Guest

      save yourself the time...there is nothing on Aeroplan...its worthless....

  5. Marco Guest

    I've seen this happen with Aeroplan a lot. Prior to rolling out the option to buy points with bonuses, there will be availability. The moment the promotion kicks in, which is why one would buy the points to take advantage of the availability, the points to redeem in Business have now gone from 85,000 to 120,000 to higher amounts. What is left now for you to get at 85,000 are all mixed cabin options or...

    I've seen this happen with Aeroplan a lot. Prior to rolling out the option to buy points with bonuses, there will be availability. The moment the promotion kicks in, which is why one would buy the points to take advantage of the availability, the points to redeem in Business have now gone from 85,000 to 120,000 to higher amounts. What is left now for you to get at 85,000 are all mixed cabin options or pay with extra bonus points. Example BR YYZ-TPE-SIN is there at 85K, gone post promotion and replaced with mixed cabins on SQ, NH, AC for the same 85000 with the longest flights now in Premium Economy or Economy. The chart Ben shows is pretty useless under these conditions.

    Luckily a SIN-ZRH-YYZ still showed up both ways on SR and AC..But then a round the world is a lot more fun :). Fingers crossed I can do a YYZ-TPE-SIN-ZRH-YYZ soon and have stopovers in TPE and ZRH

  6. Adambgarrett New Member

    I haven't done many redemptions with Aeroplan in the past, but you make a pretty compelling argument & it makes me want to look at the Aeroplan option more often.

    1. AJ Member

      I agree. I haven't done much with Aeroplan either but I think this question hits hard "...if you could only ever collect a single airline points currency, what would it be?" And that's really something to think about!

  7. Omar Guest

    If you know what you are doing, Avianca lifemiles is cheaper 99% of the time. Customer service is horrendous on every airline as far as I'm concerned.

    1. TProphet Member

      The downside is that around 80% of the time, Avianca doesn't have availability while other programs do. I have hundreds of thousands of LifeMiles that I can't spend.

    2. Noah Silverman Guest

      ANA has awesome customer service though.

  8. Gerrard Guest

    They took all my points from me and my children without even giving notice. No more aeroplan points

  9. john Guest

    I tried to use this program to book a flight to Lisbon from EWR. I was trying to go on the UA flight in biz but no availability for any day for months. There was availability in coach. When I went directly to UA there were plenty of Biz award seats available. Does UA not allow Air Canada access to Biz class on awards?

  10. Mark Bouchard Guest

    Long time Aeroplan member here. With their charges and fees, Aeroplan is terrible! I use to book through NY to get to Europe, saving the add ons, but this is no longer offered on their website. Accumulating miles is easy......using them at a decent price is impossible!

    1. AJ Member

      so what miles/points do you collect now?

  11. Tim Guest

    I have been an Aeroplan member since the 1990s. I have recently found their award availability for international flights is only at higher rates than the saver levels, while partner rates are at saver levels.

    1. Karen Guest

      Recently traveled with Air Canada using some aeroplane points. They canceled my return flight home and I was disconnected from the queue because of the high volume of calls. Then I was charged for my baggage. Lots of hassle to use this card. May not keep it next year if annual fees apply.

  12. Andrew Galbraith Guest

    Aeroplan has got to be the only program where you are incentivized to NOT fly with the home airline in every capacity, in every sense, for every reason imaginable.

    Cost. Hard Product. Soft Product. Agents. Desk staff. Lounges. You name it.

    Every single aspect of Air Canada is absolute and utter trash. If you weren't told otherwise, you would imagine they are some regional airline. I guess they bamboozled the nation into thinking they're up...

    Aeroplan has got to be the only program where you are incentivized to NOT fly with the home airline in every capacity, in every sense, for every reason imaginable.

    Cost. Hard Product. Soft Product. Agents. Desk staff. Lounges. You name it.

    Every single aspect of Air Canada is absolute and utter trash. If you weren't told otherwise, you would imagine they are some regional airline. I guess they bamboozled the nation into thinking they're up there with the big boys.

    If it weren't for their partner airlines, Aeroplan would be absolute trash.

    In short, Air Canada is absolute garbage. Aeroplan is its only saving grace....if you can even find space, and aren't absolutely taken to the cleaners with cancellations and changes. Oh, let's not forget, REFUNDS!

    Want a refund? Good luck. Better get a lawyer on retainer, and be ready to come out in the red for principle alone as you battle those day-light thieves in court.

  13. Nick Guest

    Couldn’t agree more with this article! I have just booked a few flights to and from JRO and ZNZ using aeroplan. I did status match for 75k, so maybe I’m getting above average agents, but have made plenty of calls, and only one bad agent. The rest, A+ The only thing I have come across several that weren’t aware they are booking Oman Air now. I’m excited to try the Apex seating thanks to aeroplan!

  14. John Anderson Guest

    Each of Aeroplan's benefits for booking grant travel on accomplice carriers don't add up to anything on the off chance that the accomplice aircraft doesn't deliver saver grants on the schedules you are taking a gander at.
    A valid example: I'm attempting to book business class to Lima in the fall. UA has grant accessibility however yet not in saver class so nothing seems when I look for seats through Aeroplan.
    Admonition Emptor

    Each of Aeroplan's benefits for booking grant travel on accomplice carriers don't add up to anything on the off chance that the accomplice aircraft doesn't deliver saver grants on the schedules you are taking a gander at.
    A valid example: I'm attempting to book business class to Lima in the fall. UA has grant accessibility however yet not in saver class so nothing seems when I look for seats through Aeroplan.
    Admonition Emptor
    Is there a method for looking solely for business class grants on Aeroplan? Or on the other hand a schedule include like United or AA?

  15. John Anderson Guest

    Aeroplan isn't quite so great as it used to be
    Throughout the previous two years I could fly from YUL to PVR FOR 60000 PTS business class
    Presently with Air Canada responsible for Aeroplan a similar flight is currently 120000 PTS
    What was once an excellent travel reward card has turned into a customary and not super great award card

  16. polarbear Member

    Ben, unrelated specifically to Aeroplan - but you mentioned phantom availability and points transfer from Amex, Citi, etc.
    Would you consider a guide on transferring points? I know there were some articles on that, but specifically on making sure the award you are considering is actually available - and will still be available after points transfer is complete. Also, is it ever possible to send points back to Amex/Citi should something go wrong?
    Thanks!

  17. Rami Guest

    But who would fly Air Canada, if given a decent choice like (Qantas/EK/BA/Air France or Qatar Airways)? Have you seen their aircrafts. These are low cost carriers with staff that hates customers and hate to work. Now with covid they got worse, they treat you with disdain. The best airlines in the world are not North American for sure. An air Canada plane has the same services like a low cost carrier in the Middle...

    But who would fly Air Canada, if given a decent choice like (Qantas/EK/BA/Air France or Qatar Airways)? Have you seen their aircrafts. These are low cost carriers with staff that hates customers and hate to work. Now with covid they got worse, they treat you with disdain. The best airlines in the world are not North American for sure. An air Canada plane has the same services like a low cost carrier in the Middle East. Emirates Airlines is the best in the world, every Airline should intern there before they start a business. The only thing that keeps Air Canada going is because it's the only option sometimes. For example I can't take Emirates from Toronto to Mexico.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Rami -- Nobody is necessarily saying you should fly Air Canada. The beauty of a good frequent flyer program is all the airline partners you can redeem points on. You can book everything from Air Mauritius business class, to Oman Air first class, to Gulf Air business class, to Lufthansa first class.

    2. moe Guest

      @rami Air Canada does have one the best domestic lounges and international lounges on the market (best in North America by far) and maple leaf lounges if you don't qualify for access... the new retrofitted PM is great and signature suite is very comfortable.... Air Canada rouge is the leisure option which is main the Air Canada airline that serves Mexico, Ac has started with some new 787 / max8 service nowadays..... also comparing North...

      @rami Air Canada does have one the best domestic lounges and international lounges on the market (best in North America by far) and maple leaf lounges if you don't qualify for access... the new retrofitted PM is great and signature suite is very comfortable.... Air Canada rouge is the leisure option which is main the Air Canada airline that serves Mexico, Ac has started with some new 787 / max8 service nowadays..... also comparing North American Airlines / European Airlines to airlines like emirates and Singapore isn't fair as those airlines are built to lose money as they can bring wealth to their country.... like imagine Dubai without emirates.... that thought shows the success of that tactic but in North America thats not really an option

  18. Daniel M Guest

    I can’t believe Lucky wrote a post praising Aeroplan like this. Every time I try to call Aeroplan (which is required for me to change a Star Alliance booking), I can’t even enter the queue, even if I were willing to hold forever. This has been going on for years and is even worse the last few months. Every call to Aeroplan begins with a recording from the head of Aeroplan apologizing for the inability...

    I can’t believe Lucky wrote a post praising Aeroplan like this. Every time I try to call Aeroplan (which is required for me to change a Star Alliance booking), I can’t even enter the queue, even if I were willing to hold forever. This has been going on for years and is even worse the last few months. Every call to Aeroplan begins with a recording from the head of Aeroplan apologizing for the inability to reach the call center. And Aeroplan doesn’t have alternative customer service numbers for other countries, nor is the call center even open late night/early morning US/Canada EST. You basically have to throw away the ticket, since even Air Canada can’t help you. It is shockingly irresponsible for you to write this post without such a caveat. You of all people should know the importance of getting in touch with a frequent flyer program when there are last minute changes/issues.

    1. [email protected] Guest

      This was my thought too. I've had to call them a few times in the past 6 months and generally had to wait for about 2 hours to speak to someone. One time when there was a schedule change I called AC reservations and after 2h was told I had to call the Aeroplan number, and then I waited another 2h on hold! (This was recently, not when they were two separate companies).

      And...

      This was my thought too. I've had to call them a few times in the past 6 months and generally had to wait for about 2 hours to speak to someone. One time when there was a schedule change I called AC reservations and after 2h was told I had to call the Aeroplan number, and then I waited another 2h on hold! (This was recently, not when they were two separate companies).

      And then when I got through it was frustrating. I was booked in premium economy and the sched change eliminated that cabin. They would only rebook me in economy, not business, even though the premium economy seat is essentially the same as the domestic business class seat. So I cancelled, but then was stuck with points I had transferred from Amex MR, which they weren't willing to send back to AmEx.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Daniel M -- I can't say I've had issues with Aeroplan hold times recently, but it's entirely possible I've been lucky, as I haven't needed phone support that often.

      I think I'm more forgiving there because so many airlines have been a mess operationally, so (unfortunately) I don't think there's any airline that hasn't had hold times of several hours at least once in a while.

      Totally agree about the call center hours, and...

      @ Daniel M -- I can't say I've had issues with Aeroplan hold times recently, but it's entirely possible I've been lucky, as I haven't needed phone support that often.

      I think I'm more forgiving there because so many airlines have been a mess operationally, so (unfortunately) I don't think there's any airline that hasn't had hold times of several hours at least once in a while.

      Totally agree about the call center hours, and that it would be nice if they were 24/7. Seems strange for a global airline to have non-global hours.

      Like I said, not claiming Aeroplan is perfect, as it absolutely isn't. But I also can't think of a more well-rounded program.

    3. surfski808 New Member

      I concur with Ben in that the ridiculous amount of time it takes reach an agent when calling Air Canada is par for the course as it is with most major carriers due to the pandemic. I had the misfortune of having to deal with Lufthansa's call center which not only required waiting on hold for hours at a time but then repeatedly being hung up on by the agents when you finally get ahold...

      I concur with Ben in that the ridiculous amount of time it takes reach an agent when calling Air Canada is par for the course as it is with most major carriers due to the pandemic. I had the misfortune of having to deal with Lufthansa's call center which not only required waiting on hold for hours at a time but then repeatedly being hung up on by the agents when you finally get ahold of them. You should read the comments left on their Lufthansa's or British Airways Facebook page if you think you had it bad.

    4. Ryan Guest

      This was literally my first thought. Impossible to reach Aeroplan by phone if anything goes wrong. I consistently have 2+ hour hold times if I get through.

  19. Serge Guest

    Aeroplan is not as good as it used to be
    For the last two years I could fly from YUL to PVR FOR 60000 PTS business class
    Now with Air Canada in charge of Aeroplan the same flight is now 120000 PTS
    What was once a very good travel reward card has become an ordinary and not so good reward card

  20. Adam Guest

    Yes but... those cancellation fees. They make Aeroplan a nonstarter for me, compared to United.

    Aeroplan also has family pooling, which I would value really highly. But again, not with the cancellation fees. Sigh.

    1. Alex Z Guest

      What cancellation fees? Not on points when booking a partner flight. I recently canceled a United flight and got points and fees back immediately

    2. Jeff Guest

      Agreed, with all the speculative booking one has to do with Covid. Also, my gripe when I look at west coast to Europe almost impossible to find all business class redemptions. Ocassionally, but only Air Canada through YUL and Toronto. And never non stops, can’t even find SFO to LIS anymore.

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Adam -- Aeroplan has been waiving change and cancelation fees throughout the pandemic. Right now they're supposed to be waived through the end of the month, though hopefully the waived fees are extended once again.

    4. Adam Guest

      Thanks Lucky, I forgot about that. Regardless, I don't want to start accumulating points with Aeroplan unless they make a permanent policy change.

    5. JvdB Guest

      Ben

      I am trying to cancel a reservation right now and I am about to be charged $300 in cancellation fees (two business class tickets).

      Ouch

  21. Azamaraal Diamond

    Ben - your article baffles me completely. As a lowly 25K because I basically only fly on points I 'never' see anything but Air Canada on my searches. Do they have a different search engine available for 'outside Canada' which gives you access to *A flight options that are not available to Canadians? I try to book YVR-IST for example and cannot find a direct flight (TK) which should be there. Always route through YYZ...

    Ben - your article baffles me completely. As a lowly 25K because I basically only fly on points I 'never' see anything but Air Canada on my searches. Do they have a different search engine available for 'outside Canada' which gives you access to *A flight options that are not available to Canadians? I try to book YVR-IST for example and cannot find a direct flight (TK) which should be there. Always route through YYZ or Montreal. Trying to fly to EZE the only options are AC or AC + Avianca.

    You have to watch them - I had a fully free refundable fully free changeable ticket that they slapped a change fee onto (without telling me in writing - it just appeared on CC) and claim that after Jan 1 the fare is no longer refundable.

    So how do you see/book partners on the web? Please let us know the tricks of the trade.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Azamaraal -- Both Air Canada and Star Alliance award space shows through the same booking tool, so you're not missing anything. South America in general is a weak spot for Star Alliance, and Turkish can be sporadic with award availability.

      If you're trying to find nonstop award availability on Turkish, I recommend first using United's calendar feature to find dates with nonstop Turkish award seats, and then go to Air Canada's website.

  22. Tom Guest

    “Aeroplan lets you select seats for virtually all partner airlines online, which is oh-so-nice and also rare” — I’m having this issue right now. Booked an award ticket on Aeroplan (operated by TK) and can’t select seats. TK says that AC needs to allow me to do this while AC is saying it’s TK’s responsibility. Not sure at this point how to proceed

    1. Canadian Platinum Guest

      Exactly what I am experiencing. Can't even see the seat map for partner airlines.

    2. Azamaraal Diamond

      Do you have the TK record locator? Could be able to select on line.

      Had a problem with selecting on QR but flight also had UL segment. Used UL record locator to select seats on both UL, and QR. They now show on QR locator.

    3. Brodie Guest

      I recently had this issue using Turkish website. Via the app it is possible, though I had to add ticket numbers as well. PIA

    4. Tom Guest

      Thanks! I downloaded the app and it did work. It only requested my PNR which was convenient. Much appreciated

  23. Mark Buckshon Guest

    Recently I booked a couple of points tickets from Dubai to Ottawa with a stopover in Paris and saw some of the increased flexibility of the program -- notably, the combination of business class seats on Oman Air (to CDG) coupled with something that was never possible on the 'old' Aeroplan -- the combination of an economy (lattitude) award ticket with use of E-upgrade points for an instant upgrade to business class. (And the upgrade...

    Recently I booked a couple of points tickets from Dubai to Ottawa with a stopover in Paris and saw some of the increased flexibility of the program -- notably, the combination of business class seats on Oman Air (to CDG) coupled with something that was never possible on the 'old' Aeroplan -- the combination of an economy (lattitude) award ticket with use of E-upgrade points for an instant upgrade to business class. (And the upgrade status was not earned by flying, but through Amex Platinum.) Yes, the points cost wasn't insignificant (close to 100,000 for each ticket), but the routing and availability made it a worthwhile deal.

  24. Norita Guest

    I believe if you have status with Aeroplan, you get better pricing. The higher the status, better the points discount. Anyone familiar with this?

    1. GregsDC Guest

      Yes, I can personally attest to this being the case.

  25. Xlax Guest

    Do you recommend using Aeroplan for searching for Star Alliance Awards?

  26. Marv Guest

    They love their damn mixed itinerary "business" awards. Super annoying and no way to filter out mixed awards when searching. Lotsa luck finding straight business class awards anywhere. Drek.

    1. Lars Guest

      Yes there is. You can filter out mixed award seats as a toggle on the screen that shows your options.

    2. Azamaraal Diamond

      Agree. And the mix is YLW-YVR Business and YVR-SYD Economy marketed as Business mixed ;-(

      AS is even Worse SEA-LAX-SYD marketed as Business/First and the only flight is SEA-LAX in "first" with LAX-SYD in economy.

    3. Geo Guest

      Alaska has a bunch of these “ mixed” itineraries……. Bos-sea in first…sea syd economy

  27. Kamal Guest

    I haven’t tried booking anything in the last two years since COVID, but prior to that I was finding that booking flight using aero plan from Toronto to Dubai was costing me $1,000 a ticket in fees / taxes, whereas booking cash was costing me $1,800 on the same airline or less on other airlines.

    I’ll check again, at that time I didn’t think Etihad was a partner, and I could never find availability on Turkish.

  28. anon Guest

    has their phone line gotten better? in late 2019, it was near impossible to speak to someone on the phone

  29. farnorthtrader Guest

    One more advantage I just discovered:
    Because all seats on Air Canada are now award seats (albeit at some insanely high prices), when you get a schedule change, you can be moved into some very advantageous routings. We had booked 9 (!) of us in business class on a two stop booking on AC/LH/EW that would have taken us 24 hours to fly from western Canada to Rome. Cost us about 1.2 million aeroplan...

    One more advantage I just discovered:
    Because all seats on Air Canada are now award seats (albeit at some insanely high prices), when you get a schedule change, you can be moved into some very advantageous routings. We had booked 9 (!) of us in business class on a two stop booking on AC/LH/EW that would have taken us 24 hours to fly from western Canada to Rome. Cost us about 1.2 million aeroplan points (western Canada to Rome, Casablanca to Western Canada). Would have been about $34,000 to purchase cash. LH/EW made schedule change creating a misconnect in FRA, so I called them to get a later FRA-FCO flight (which was available). The agent proactively offered a one stop routing taking only 15 hours without repricing. The routing they put us on would have cost 3.2 million aeroplan points or $106,000. Needless to say, I was all over that!

  30. Jeff Guest

    Cancellation fees make me hesitant to use Aeroplan. I have cancelled so many award tickets the last two years that that is now the most important benefit to me. I get free cancellations from AS, AS, ANA (for a modest 3k points), Southwest, Turkish (modest $25 fee). However, the cost to cancel AC award ticket is $150. I book award flights far in advance and this is the reason I avoid Air Canada now.

    1. GoAmtrak Gold

      Yep, Aeroplan waived the cancel fee since its relaunch until last month, but it's in full force now. Horribly shortsighted for an otherwise attractive program.

  31. Another Lump Guest

    I'd pick ANA over Aeroplan as most versatile. Sure there are carrier surcharges and no one ways, but their chart is almost always the lowest price in miles regardless of route, often on par with other's one way price, and the RTW is an amazing value. However, Aeroplan definitely has a place at the table, namely one ways with a stopover.

    1. surfski808 New Member

      The problem with ANA is that miles expire 36 months from the moment they are earned, regardless of activity. If ANA did away with expiring miles, then I would agree that their program is the hard to beat in terms of redemption value, versatility, and availability.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Another Lump -- Funny you mention ANA Mileage Club, because I think it shows that we're all looking for different things. Mileage Club has some fantastic niche redemptions and excellent award costs, but for me that's where the good things about the program end.

      Miles expire, you can only redeem miles for family members, one-way awards aren't allowed, there are fuel surcharges, there are limited non-Star Alliance airline partners, etc. Yes, Mileage Club is...

      @ Another Lump -- Funny you mention ANA Mileage Club, because I think it shows that we're all looking for different things. Mileage Club has some fantastic niche redemptions and excellent award costs, but for me that's where the good things about the program end.

      Miles expire, you can only redeem miles for family members, one-way awards aren't allowed, there are fuel surcharges, there are limited non-Star Alliance airline partners, etc. Yes, Mileage Club is great for redemptions on ANA and United, but Japan is closed and United can be rough with saver award availability.

    3. Adambgarrett New Member

      I agree Ben. I like ANA for certain niches, like ANA from the West Coast to certain North African countries that code as Europe for 88k round trip (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) if alternative (i.e. Virgin Atlantic miles on partners or Etihad miles on Royal Air Maroc) availability &/or surcharges are too much (after factoring in transfer promos, i.e. 30% to Virgin & 50% from the recent Capital One to Etihad), but I'm glad I'm not...

      I agree Ben. I like ANA for certain niches, like ANA from the West Coast to certain North African countries that code as Europe for 88k round trip (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) if alternative (i.e. Virgin Atlantic miles on partners or Etihad miles on Royal Air Maroc) availability &/or surcharges are too much (after factoring in transfer promos, i.e. 30% to Virgin & 50% from the recent Capital One to Etihad), but I'm glad I'm not limited to ANA. Within the same country, the ANA award pricing tends to be pretty bad. With Aeroplan, I can get from VA to NYC or Toronto for as low as 12k points round trip in economy. With ANA, it would be 30k for the same economy flights. 30k points is what I could pay with Aeroplan in mixed cabin business class for the same flights. Because I don't just book flights for family, ANA is automatically ruled out any time that happens. With Aeroplan, they have relatively recently been running some bonus transfer promos of 20%, and do some better than typical points sales including that really nice initial one in 2020 at 1 cent per mile. With ANA, I only have partner, Amex to get them, while with Aeroplan, I have a lot more options.

  32. Cedric Guest

    The user experience and navigation is much better than before. But the value just isn't there in most cases. Most C fares within Canada have doubled in points. Sure there is availability, but at crazy redemption levels.

    1. GoAmtrak Gold

      Domestic Canada consumers in general have it tough. Aeroplan has a lot more value on transborder where there's real competition; award rates in my most common markets have decreased since Aeroplan 2.0, both for Y and J.

  33. MRL Guest

    The one improvement I would like is that searching for first availability on partners (as opposed to business and first) is a bit of a pain (would love to know if you are aware of any good Star Alliance search tool for first).

    The point about Alaska re: blocking Qantas and Cathay seats is unfortunately something I've encountered recently, and Alaska seems unwilling to acknowledge/explain it, which is even more frustrating to me.

    1. platy Guest

      @ MRL

      Qantas appears to retain significant award inventory solely for its own members - I can often access those though my QF account, but no other partner airlines (AS, BA, AA, etc).

      In other words, the problem may not necessarily reside with Alaska Airlines.

    2. Dan Guest

      BA seems to get more than AS and AA, in my recent experience

    3. MRL Guest

      Yeah the space I'm looking at is definitely available according to BA and ExpertFlyer but not AS (or AA online, although there's a flyertalk discussion on AA not seeing all space it has unless you call)

  34. Dan Guest

    Thanks for this. I remember, thanks to you, when Aeroplan had the "mini round the world" award which my wife and I took advantage of (yes I'm a long time reader). Haven't flown at all since pandemic started but getting back in the game. One point, I assume Aeroplan's access to LH F awards is only 15 days out like other partners (if that's still the way it is)?

    Thanks!

  35. GBOAC Diamond

    All of Aeroplan's advantages for booking award travel on partner airlines don't amount to anything if the partner airline doesn't release saver awards on the itineraries you are looking at.
    Case in point: I'm trying to book business class to Lima in the fall. UA does have award availability but but not in saver class so nothing appears when I search for seats through Aeroplan.
    Caveat Emptor

  36. Cy Guest

    Is there a way to search exclusively for business class awards on Aeroplan? Or a calendar feature similar to United or AA?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Cy -- Sadly not a calendar feature, that sure would be nice, though (here's to hoping it's eventually added). As far as searching exclusively business class itineraries goes, when you do a search just click on the "more options" heading, and then click on "exclude: mixed cabins."

  37. Izz Guest

    Excellent post and agree all the way on the consistency of Aeroplan program! One thing I wish they would do away with is the $39 CAD redemption fee. It is minor but I do wish it was out.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Rami -- Nobody is necessarily saying you should fly Air Canada. The beauty of a good frequent flyer program is all the airline partners you can redeem points on. You can book everything from Air Mauritius business class, to Oman Air first class, to Gulf Air business class, to Lufthansa first class.

2
Daniel M Guest

I can’t believe Lucky wrote a post praising Aeroplan like this. Every time I try to call Aeroplan (which is required for me to change a Star Alliance booking), I can’t even enter the queue, even if I were willing to hold forever. This has been going on for years and is even worse the last few months. Every call to Aeroplan begins with a recording from the head of Aeroplan apologizing for the inability to reach the call center. And Aeroplan doesn’t have alternative customer service numbers for other countries, nor is the call center even open late night/early morning US/Canada EST. You basically have to throw away the ticket, since even Air Canada can’t help you. It is shockingly irresponsible for you to write this post without such a caveat. You of all people should know the importance of getting in touch with a frequent flyer program when there are last minute changes/issues.

2
platy Guest

@ MRL Qantas appears to retain significant award inventory solely for its own members - I can often access those though my QF account, but no other partner airlines (AS, BA, AA, etc). In other words, the problem may not necessarily reside with Alaska Airlines.

2
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