Aeroplan quietly updated their website to reflect decreased accrual rates of Aeroplan miles for travel on United. The chart for accruing Aeroplan miles for travel on United now looks as follows:
Then below the chart they added the following footnotes:
Mileage Accumulation Changes
1 Effective for travel April 1, 2014, earn 150% in booking classes J, C, D, Z or P. For travel until March 31, 2014, earn 125%.
2 Effective for travel April 1, 2014, earn 125% in booking classes Y or B. For travel until March 31, 2014, earn 100%.
3 Effective for travel April 1, 2014, earn 50% in booking classes S, T, L, K, G or N. For travel until March 31, 2014, earn 100%.
These changes kick in for travel as of April 1, 2014. Economy tickets are being hit the hardest, as the earnings rates for discounted economy are going from 100% to 50%.
It’s extremely common outside the US for airlines to offer less than 100% miles for discounted economy travel, though fortunately that hasn’t caught on in the US yet. And for that matter Aeroplan was a fairly good program to credit United flights to, since they have reasonable elite qualification tiers.
So this totally sucks, and frankly nothing in the industry really surprises me anymore. Interestingly Aeroplan members flying Air Canada only earn 25% miles for travel on Tango fares (discounted economy) within Canada, and just 50% miles for travel on Tango fares between the US and Canada.
My guess is that United instigated the change as they wanted to reduce their mileage liability to Aeroplan. Ultimately if United were willing to pay Aeroplan for the miles, Aeroplan would have no incentive to reduce earnings rate. Regardless of whether my theory is correct or not, I suspect in typical United fashion this would be spun as a “joint decision,” just as they claimed when they pulled Singapore Airlines award space from united.com (we later found out that this was exclusively United’s decision and there was nothing “joint” about it).