The Simple Reason Not To Try To Scam Aeroplan’s New Family Pooling Option

Air Canada Aeroplan is introducing family pooling as part of their new frequent flyer program launch in November.

Aeroplan will allow up to 8 people to share their miles at no cost. When you redeem miles for an award those are taken proportionately from each account (based on each person’s balance).

Unlike British Airways, which has a similar program, Air Canada won’t limit redemptions to members in the pool. Even though you’re in a family pool, you can still spend your miles for people outside the pool.

There are two anti-fraud measures they’ve put in place (that they’ve told us about):

  1. Once you join a family pool you have to stay in it for at least three months
  2. When you leave you cannot join another one for six months

So you can’t go from pool to pool. Joining one is a commitment. But that’s not all the anti-fraud that’s going to be going on in the background.

There’s been a lot of discussion online about Aeroplan’s 2500 point new member bonus. Any activity in a new account earns the miles for that activity plus 2500 miles as a one-time bonus. 8 new accounts can be pooled together for 20,000 bonus miles.

I hear a number of members out there tempted to play games with this, opening new accounts, earning just once in each for the bonus. Here’s the rub: it’s the most obvious scam in the history of earth. All they have to look for is:

  1. Miles earned now, and then no more activity
  2. Accounts with no other miles joined into family accounts when the new program launches in 3 months
  3. Redeemed right away

Sock puppet accounts are going to stick out like a sore thumb.

The promotion is generous enough – go find friends and family, get them signed up for Aeroplan, and get them to earn some miles, any miles will do. And the family pooling feature is generous enough, it’s effectively free points transfers which is something that other airlines charge a penny per mile for.

The reason not to abuse the feature is because it’s too easy to get caught, but maybe a secondary reason is there’s no reason to make a program regret offering a generous feature to members?

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. Wow, Gary, just wow! You put out post telling people how to to do this and then a post to not do this? Thought leader? Regrets?

    Just for your info, I had no plans to do anything with Aeroplan.

  2. @JohnB – not at all, I described how promotion works and I described how easy it is to catch cheating at the promo, I don’t see any inconsistency there

  3. While there’s some value to be had for fraudsters and long term members, it’s tough to get too excited about 20,000 Aeroplan miles which is definitely not worth committing fraud for.

  4. x10000 JohnB

    You tout this offer other day effectively hinting people rally up accounts and then post this the day after. Cant play bat for both teams buddy boy thought leader

  5. Gary: you broadcast how one can rack up aeroplan points using this loophole. Now you’re saying don’t do it. What gives? Don’t see “any inconsistency”? C’mon man.

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