Aeroplan Hates Their Customers, No Longer Lets You Book Most World Awards Online

UPDATE: Online booking of awards that do not involve the US or Canada have been restored.

Aeroplan used to be one of the best frequent flyer programs in the world, maybe even the best, but over the past six years we’ve seen multiple rounds of award chart inflation, the introduction of fuel surcharges on partner awards, blocking of multiple Star Alliance airlines, and now an inability to book awards online that do not either originate or terminate in the U.S. or Canada.

This is a problem on myriad levels, including:

  • While Aeroplan’s customers are primarily based in North America, many travel the world.

  • Indeed, when making a booking the best way to search space is segment-by-segment even if you have to call to book.

  • Calling to book incurs a fee, so this is a tax on members.

  • Eliminating award search makes finding space more difficult. It’s much more efficient to find award space and feed it to the agent than ask agents to find space for you.

  • And Aeroplan’s website has been generally accurate, and not a perfect match for what’s shown at or on the LifeMiles or ANA websites.

  • Aeroplan telephone hold times are interminable.

  • This was a change imposed with no notice and no communication.

Copyright: ronniechua / 123RF Stock Photo

One Mile at a Time thinks “this is a short term IT glitch” although he recognizes “this could be a way for them to save costs on redemptions.”

Live and Let’s Fly thinks Aeroplan is doing this to prevent fraud. Aeroplan lets you book and fly at the very last minute and instantly issues tickets. So hacking an account and using it for travel in Africa or Asia would likely mean successful travel and never getting caught.

We’ve seen IT glitches from Aeroplan in the past, this seems more like a hastily put together strategy to limit fraudulent redemptions. It seems like a better strategy would be to limit last minute redemptions online which originate outside North America.

I’d be glad that Aeroplan is likely to die a sorry death in 2020 if I didn’t have half of million of their miles, and a desire to use them for something other than LCD toasters.

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. I mainly use this program to book awards on United to avoid the close-in fees. So it’s been very useful so far. I will certainly cut down on earning those miles now and the try to use them all up before 2020.

  2. It’s clear that Aeroplan is practicing a form of discrimination, I would expect this from a US airline but not one based in Canada.

  3. Just like CX, making it difficult for members to obtain reward means that their miles will go expire. It’s a “genius” marketing strategy.

  4. I was able to find a flight from SIN to SGN in 2018 using the Aeroplan app. Clicked all the way through the payment page. It appears the app still works. At what point are you receiving the message to contact customer service?

  5. I totally agree. Aeroplan is digging its way to the bottom of the heap and I expect this to get worse as they die a slow painful death. They still have not restored the ability to book SWISS flights. The agents claim it is a glitch that has been fixed. It isn’t and it hasn’t. I am close to redeeming an award to Denmark on SAS and the longer I wait the more concerned I get that this award will go away.

  6. Real problems booking Buz award in Oct/Nov YOW to GIG. No Bus seats available from YOW to YYZ which is unbelievable, and no Buz Seats from GRU to GIG. I can get J on YYZ to GRU, but not the rest.

  7. “View from the Wing Hates its Readers, Continues to Write Garbage Click Bait Titles” Why, Gary, why have you ruined your blog?

  8. Yeah, a photo of YYC!
    But it was from a few years ago as it has the old gate numbers.

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