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):
- Once you join a family pool you have to stay in it for at least three months
- 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:
- Miles earned now, and then no more activity
- Accounts with no other miles joined into family accounts when the new program launches in 3 months
- 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?