Aeroplan Guts their Award Chart for High-End Premium Cabin Trips

Aeroplan has just released a new award chart which will go into effect July 15 and it hurts.

On the whole, the changes to pricing of Air Canada awards aren’t terrible, nothing goes down but awards like coach to Hawaii goes from 40,000 to 45,000 (business is harsher, 60,000 up to 80,000). Business to nearer Europe goes from 85,000 to 90,000. Business to the Middle East and to Australia go from 115,000 to 135,000. Plenty more increases but on the whole all of that scale.

Aeroplan claims that “[t]he adjustments represent an average increase of less than 5 per cent in the number of miles per reward for all ClassicFlight (Air Canada) and Star Alliance flight rewards.”

Rewards Canada echos that changes in Star Alliance flight prices are mostly “to bring these rewards in line with the rewards for Air Canada only flights.”

Now, in fairness, some of the crazy high prices that already existed in Aeroplan’s Star Alliance award chart go down, not becoming cheap but just becoming less exorbitantly expensive:

  • Coach from the US and Canada to Asia south of Singapore (eg Bali) goes down from 95,000 miles to 90,000
  • Coach from the US and Canada to the Middle East and North Africa goes down from 105,000 miles to 80,000
  • Business from the US and Canada to the Middle East and North Africa goes down from 150,000 miles to 135,000
  • US and Canada to India awards go down — coach from 130,000 to 100,000; business from 185,000 to 150,000; first from 240,000 to 210,000
  • US and Canada to ‘East, West, and South Africa’ awards go down — coach from 130,000 to 100,000; business from 185,000 to 150,000; first from 240,000 to 210,000

That’s not just a highlight of the reductions in prices, though, that’s all of ’em. And nearly every other award goes up, though a handful remain the same like most awards to and from Northern South America except those to and from the US or Canada.

Award pricing from the US and Canada:

  • Business class to nearer Europe goes from 80,000 to 90,000 (still a relatively good price)
  • First class to nearer Europe goes from 100,000 to 125,000 (25% increase, but still a better price than United/Continental).
  • Further off destinations in Europe like Greece go up to 105,000 in business (5%, to United prices) and 145,000 in first (a 20% increase and 10,000 more than United).
  • Business class to most of Asia goes from 100,000 to 125,000 — a reasonable price, but the end of the great bargains Aeroplan had been offering. First class goes from 120,000 to a whopping 175,000. That’s a 46% increase, it’s more than most competitor programs, and ends the very motivation that I’ve had for collecting and for redeeming Aeroplan points.
  • Australia awards, which used to be a value, go from 75,000 to 80,000 in coach; 100,000 to 135,000 in business (35% increase), and 140,000 to 185,000 in first (32% increase).

Aeroplan still has generous routing rules (two stopovers or a stopover and an open jaw, whereas United and Continental allow only the latter on roundtrip awards and American doesn’t offer stopovers at all except on distance-based oneworld awards). But they don’t yet allow one-way awards on Star Alliance partners.

As a result of these changes, I’m not longer recommending Aeroplan as a value play in miles. There are still some good rewards options, 90,000 in business class from the West Coast of the US to Italy is still a bargain, and they’re a good program to use with Membership Rewards points which transfer instantly to Aeroplan. They promise additional improvements in their online booking engine which should help, though I do find it annoying that as a general matter they don’t hold award reservations — instant ticketing only. But at least I haven’t heard anything about plans to add fuel surcharges onto their partners awards, they only asses those when actually redeeming for Air Canada flights.

July 15 will be a sad day for what was once one of the really great value programs for flying premium can international awards.

Still, it’s been such a value that I’ve been saying for awhile that I expected some of the great awards like US to most of Asia in first class for 120,000 miles and US to much of Europe for 80,000 in business and 100,000 in first (less than United charges for business) to go away. ANd so it does, and so it shall.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Bummer…I’ve been building up points in aeroplan with hotel transfers over the past year, guess I’ll have to plan their cashing out in the next couple of months.

    Given the devaluations, what star alliance program do you think offers the best value? I’m thinking I’ll just try that much harder to keep 1k, as at least that means no change/cancel fees and is less of a relatively bad value (within alliance) than it is now.

  2. this is a bummer!!!!!! and considering it’s almost the same as continental let’s say for a first class seat to europe, i’m going to skip aeroplan…especially considering you can hold most reservations with continental for at least a few days in most cases…whereas air canada makes you ticket instantly

  3. Doesn’t Aeroplan still allow stopovers and open jaws? Wouldn’t that still make them better than CO?

  4. While any devaluation isn’t good, for those of us stuck out of DL’s hub in DTW (or ATL or MSP), those award numbers from Aeroplan look downright cheap compared to DL’s absurd pricing and product offering! (Yeah, I know. Mileage inflation…easy to earn, more miles required to burn..)

  5. @tassojunior Aeroplan allows 2 stopovers or a stopover and an open jaw. Continental allows a stopover and an open jaw. Though Aeroplan’s routing rules are generous, Continental’s are more so. When there aren’t sufficient miles in account for an award, Continental will hold it for 3 days (most partners). Aeroplan will not.

  6. Thank you very much for posting this info. I have yet to redeem any membership rewards points through Aeroplan, but these changes are making me consider a redemption to Asia in F for 120K. Do flights booked before July 15, qualify for the old award chart even if travel starts on August 15?

  7. I applied but they “pended” my decision. Does anyone know who I can call to ask why I was pended?

    Thank you

  8. Hi Gary,

    Considering this award chart, should I still start to use the FIA AMEX card, which earns 2 Aeroplan pts/$?

    I just got this card, and recently completed spend for the AX Gold Bus for 50K MR points, and the BA card for 100K, so I need a new primary AX card: SPG, AX Gold, or FIA. (The BA card will be my primary VISA card.)

    What do you think…should I forget about Aeroplan points?

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