When Air Canada relaunched the Aeroplan frequent flyer program – an American Express transfer partner, and soon to have a Chase co-brand credit card, so highly relevant to Americans – they made changes to how awards are priced.
- They committed to an award chart. They understand how certainty and trust is to members.
- They got rid of fuel surcharges, but increased prices of many awards. A Lufthansa award to most of Europe for instance goes up from 57,500 miles to 70,000 miles each way but drops the hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges.
Right now though partner award pricing isn’t sticking to the chart, as first reported by Running With Miles. You may see these awards that are supposed to cost 70,000 mile pricing at 57,000 or 80,000 miles. That’s lower or higher, and worries some about changes without notice to the program.
Like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which became “the most successful publishing sensation to emerge from Ursa Minor, due in no small part” to this mantra “emblazoned in friendly lettering on the cover” DON’T PANIC.
Mark Nasr, who runs the Aeroplan program, tells me this is “[a]bsolutely a bug from one systems provider” and that it is “not a harbinger or anything like that.”
The capability to do either fixed or dynamic award pricing was built into the program at relaunch. Air Canada awards are already dynamically priced, so they often price less expensively than the chart. However partner award pricing is fixed.
Mark tells me they only just discovered this “and the team are working urgently with this vendor to correct the error.”
I’d note though that there are some awards pricing less expensively than the chart would suggest. So, with all due respect to Mark, there are short-term opportunities here as well.