You won’t expect to see a lot of new features launching with airlines or hotel companies right now. Technology investment – indeed, any investment of any kind, will largely be on the back burner. But projects that are well underway may be completed. And projects that are almost done?
Air Canada just launched two new Aeroplan features.
- Mileage sales. Aeroplan only used to offer purchase of miles in conjunction with redeeming for an award, not they’ll sell miles (using Points.com) on a standalone basis and offer gifting as well. Regular price is 3 Canadian cents per mile.
- Bidding for upgrades. This is a PlusGrade implementation where you bid for available business class seats. Worth always checking customer experiences online to see what prices are frequently accepted – once people start traveling again and have experiences.
American Express, by the way, generally lets you use points at a penny apiece towards PlusGrade upgrades.
Copyright: ronniechua / 123RF Stock Photo
There’s not a lot of use bidding for upgrades today for most folks, though remaining Air Canada flights if you’re traveling may have seats available. In the future this will be a more useful feature.
Selling miles makes a ton of sense and it’s really strange that it wasn’t something Aeroplan had done. It doesn’t make any sense buying at regular price.
What Air Canada – and every other airline – should be doing now is offering miles for sale at a deep discount.
- It is cash now, obligation to redeem later (in most cases, after the crisis ends). That’s at worst an interest-free loan
- They control the cost of redemption, but anything over a penny is gravy even leaving cash flow issues aside.
- There’s less risk now than usual. Often the concern is people buying for immediate high cost redemption. That’s not going to be how miles purchased now are used.
It’ll take low prices to generate consumer interest, and many members may be concerned about their airline’s future. For most large carriers I’m confident in the mileage programs even in the event of an airline bankruptcy.
Having the feature is necessary to discount it, so that’s great for Air Canada. But where are American, United, Delta, and others right now? They need to be making the mileage printing press go brrr.