The old “if it is sounds too good to be true…” adage has me worried after a barrage of customer-friendly initiatives at Aeroplan. Is Aeroplan really embarking upon a different path or setting us up for a huge disappointment?
Aeroplan Continues To Impress
Yesterday I wrote about Air Canada’s new chef-inspired meals in economy class, but that wasn’t the only news. Aeroplan announced a generous new points expiration policy. Miles now expire after 18 months of inactivity rather than 12 and you still have a six-month grace period once the miles expire to fly Air Canada and get them back. There’s no “but” with a hidden downside. The news is only positive.
It seems like a week does not go by without another positive announcement from Aeroplan.
Over the last few months, we have seen:
- Azul added as a parter
- Etihad added as a partner
- An incredibly generous promotion on purchased miles
- The chance to gift status to others and earn status by spending, not flying
- Free streaming video at home
- The introduction of mileage upgrades via bidding
- 10x Aeroplan miles with Uber Eats (promo expired, now 2 points per dollar)
- The ability to convert canceled Air Canada tickets into Aeroplan miles
- Generous cancellation waivers
This is all so very impressive because there have not been cutbacks to balance out these positive changes.
But there’s still an elephant in the room…potentially at least…in that a new program will soon launch and we have no idea what is going to look like. No leaks. No hints. No nothing.
During a time of austerity, I’d love to believe that Aeroplan will nevertheless try to offer a solid program that offers a value proposition beyond what American, Delta, and United offer their loyalty program members.
In fact, I’d love to speculate about the end of fuel surcharges, generous routing rules, and sharper pricing than its neighbors to the south.
And while maybe it is just to avoid the disappointment of great expectations falling short, I believe Aeroplan is in the business to make money and they are not going to make a program unnecessarily generous when their competitors are becoming stingier.
Why should, for example, Aeroplan offer 70K one-way redemptions in Lufthansa First Class between North America and Europe without fuel surcharges when United charges 121K miles for the same thing?
My Aeroplan Predictions
But I’m not totally pessimistic. I know a couple people working in the program and they are smart airline nerds who used to mileage run. That’s a hopeful sign. I just cannot reasonably expect to have a program that is so much more generous than its peers.
If Aeroplan were to become a program like Avianca LifeMiles without the blocking of space and technical headaches, we’d be in a very good position. My prediction, at least now, though, is that we will continue to see more bits of good news before being introduced to a new program with an award chart (and I do believe the award chart will stick around) 25-30% more expensive than it is today.
We were supposed to have the new Aeroplan program this summer, but COVID-19 has pushed back plans a bit. Whenever that new program is announced, I hope to be proven wrong, but let’s be real. Aeroplan is not a charity. We’ve had a lot of great news lately from Aeroplan. Let’s not forget this is still the airline that is illegally holding refunds for thousands of passengers (different departments I know). I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop when it comes to Aeroplan…
What do you expect the new Aeroplan program to look like?