Aeroplan, the spun-off loyalty program of Air Canada, is slowly whittling down the number of Star Alliance carriers you can redeem miles on. I believe it is fair to ask whether there is something nefarious going on.
At present, the following Star Alliance carriers are not bookable using your Aeroplan miles:
- Air China
- Air India
There are two things in common about each of these carriers. First, all are generous in making award space available. Second, none of these carriers incur fuel surcharges.
While these five carriers make up 18% of the Star Alliance, I’d estimate they make up about 25% or so of the award space we generally see. In terms of Central and South America, COPA and Avianca make up almost 100% of premium cabin award space reliably available.
Here’s the thing–Aeroplan is the only program that blocks this space. It cites “technical reasons” for the “temporary” block, but in terms of carriers like Air China and COPA, the link has been broken for many months. Aeroplan therefore seems in no rush to fix these issues.
Phone agents cite issues like customers denied boarding on SWISS and Air India to justify its decision (and we’ve seen that at Award Expert), but why is Aeroplan not more aggressively finding a solution rather than just masking the problem? Aeroplan’s behavior represents a fundamental disservice to members and a huge reduction in the value of the program.
Aeroplan should openly address the issues and provide a specific timeline for a solution.
For another Boarding Area view, see DCTA.
Is this a problem that has popped up in the last 20 or so days? Less than 4 weeks ago, I booked LX J returning to the states from Africa. Found award space for both segments online and called to complete the booking.
Yes, a very recent problem.
I’d be interested in an additional post with more on the denied boardings… Seems like that would be useful to anyone who has booked a ticket on these carriers via Aeroplan (including myself), and a quick search only brought up this post and the DCTA post you linked to.
Here’s something that happened to a client of mine that has been happening on Aeroplan ticket as well–
Matthew, if you are ok appearing on camera CBC would like to talk to you. Please email them firstname.lastname@example.org
Since Aeroplan doesn’t even have a 24 hour call center, and have hold times of over an hour every day, maybe its a good thing they are preemptively blocking anything problematic.
Some days, I can’t even get Aeroplan’s website to ticket Air Canada’s market fare awards. I call Aeroplan and the agent says oh, we are closing in 5 minutes, I can’t help you. This is after an hour long wait.
Mathew, Any news on this one please? I was just about planning to book a ticket from Europe to Boston and i can see only Lufthansa with a hefty fuel surcharge. I was hoping to book Swiss Air but cant see any Swiss Air flights.
No news, unfortunately. However, I have reached out to my contacts.
I noticed this problem with SWISS and am not happen about it. It smacks of fraud. I finally collected enough miles to fly on SWISS from JFK and now I can’t book. I have been cheated.
Sorry to hear that. Hopefully the problem will be fixed soon.
Any news about this problem? I’m trying to book an itinerary that includes a flight to Europe and a leg or two on ET. I’m trying to avoid the insane YQ so looking to get to Europe on LX.
BTW, data point – one of the itineraries I got in one of the searches had AI’s fifth freedom flight to LHR.