Aeroplan Award Chart Devaluation As Of December 15, 2015

Back in the day, Aeroplan was possibly the single most generous frequent flyer program when it came to award redemptions. They had the most generous routing rules, best award prices, and didn’t impose fuel surcharges on partner award tickets. Aeroplan is transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, so the points are quite easy to come by.

Unfortunately the generosity of the Aeroplan program changed in 2011, when Aeroplan massively devalued their award chart, whereby the cost of some of the best redemptions increased by nearly 100%. Months later, Aeroplan began adding fuel surcharges to awards on a majority of their partner airlines without notice.

Lufthansa-First-1
Aeroplan changes meant the end of cheap Lufthansa first class awards!

Between those two changes, the Aeroplan program lost a lot of appeal. That being said, under the current chart there are still some amazing values. For example, flying from North America to “Europe 1” costs just 90,000 miles roundtrip in business class, and you’re allowed two stopovers (one in each direction). If you can fly one of the carriers which doesn’t impose fuel surcharges (like Brussels, Swiss, Turkish, United, etc.), that’s arguably the best value out there for transatlantic travel.

Swiss-Business-Class-A330-03
Redeem Aeroplan miles for Swiss business class without paying fuel surcharges

Unfortunately it looks like Aeroplan will be further devaluing their award chart.

Aeroplan announced today that they’ll be adjusting their award chart for bookings made as of December 15, 2015. Some award prices are going up, some are going down, and a positive change is being made to one-way awards.

This PDF has comparisons of the new and old chart for all regions, though here are the change in Aeroplan award costs for travel originating or terminating in North America:

Aeroplan-New-Award-Chart

So what are the changes we’re seeing for travel to/from North America?

  • The cost of shorthaul awards within North America is increasing:
    • Business class is increasing from 25,000 miles to 30,000 miles roundtrip
  • The cost of awards between North America and Europe 1 is increasing:
    • Business class is increasing from 90,000 miles to 110,000 miles roundtrip
    • First class is increasing from 125,000 miles to 140,000 miles roundtrip
  • The cost of awards between North America and Europe 2 is increasing:
    • Business class is increasing from 105,000 miles to 115,000 miles roundtrip
    • First class is increasing from 145,000 miles to 160,000 miles roundtrip
  • The cost of awards between North America and Southern South America is increasing:
    • Business class is increasing from 95,000 miles to 110,000 miles roundtrip
    • First class is increasing from 135,000 miles to 140,000 miles roundtrip
  • The cost of awards between North America and Australia is increasing:
    • Economy class is increasing from 80,000 miles to 90,000 miles roundtrip

As before, one-way awards can be booked for half the cost of a roundtrip ticket. That being said, under the new chart, one-way Aeroplan awards will be valid for travel between any regions. Previously one-way awards could only be booked for travel originating or terminating in North America. Stopovers continue to not be allowed on one-way awards.

It is worth noting that the cost of redemptions in many other regions is decreasing, though none for travel to/from North America. These redemption cost decreases seem to largely be a function of Star Alliance adding new members. For example, the cost of awards to/from India is down significantly, which is likely because Air India is now a Star Alliance member, which adds a lot more direct options.

Aeroplan-Chart-India

Bottom line

Ultimately the Aeroplan award chart changes aren’t unreasonable. I wouldn’t by any stretch of the imagination call this an award chart massacre, but rather just some “corrective” pricing.

The biggest blow here is the cost of first & business class awards between North America and Europe  going up in price. Aeroplan still has very appealing pricing between the regions, especially when you factor in that they allow two stopovers. But it’s not the same outrageously good deal it was before.

Aeroplan-Award-90K

Keep in mind these changes only kick in for bookings made as of December 15, 2015, even if it’s for travel on subsequent dates. So you still have a few months to book awards at the old prices.

What do you make of the Aeroplan award chart changes? Will they impact whether or not you choose to book awards through Aeroplan?

(Tip of the hat to Ari)

Comments

  1. It’s also worth mentioning that with this change, One way awards will now be available for all routes, and will no longer require a start/end in North America.

  2. So with US to Europe 1 going up to 110k, would it still be the best way to get to Europe from the US? Or another program?

  3. What happens when reticketing an existing award? I have a Lufthansa First Class award in January on a terribly indirect routing, and I’m planning to reroute it when availability (hopefully) opens up a few days out. Will it re-price?

  4. The one-way from anywhere to anywhere is an excellent change. I often need one-way coach awards inside Asia or between Europe / Middle East and Asia, where splurging on premium cabin doesn’t make sense due to short flights and odd schedules.

    United wants a whopping 55k miles + fees for a coach award from Asia to Europe, and Singapore charges too high of a surcharge.

  5. @Melissa: EXACTLY. This devaluation is an absolute bloodbath. Asia 1 to Asia 1 biz class went from 30,000 to 80,000 miles. Economy also went up from 20,000 to 40,000. This was the only way I used Aeroplan miles. Total bloodbath.

  6. Another step towards irrelevance considering surcharges and high redemption. With the 30% dive in CDN$, Aeroplan thinks they can make up the shortfall this way.

    -Business class within Asia goes from 30k to 80k ??

  7. You left out the stealth devaluation called Rouge. On many routes, AC has switched over to its hellish LCC equivalent. Aeroplan still charges full price for this subpar product, of course.

  8. Ben, care to take a guess as to why each time I search for business awards, specifically North America to Europe (MIA-FRA or MIA-VCE to be specific), I keep getting the business class price, but the segment over water always comes up on economy, even a year out. I’ve tried from other U.S. airports with same result. Very frustrating.

  9. I just checked airline website- It appears that online, you can only book a round trip to Europe with 1 stopover.
    Is it necessary to call and incur fee to get that second stopover?? Is it definite you get a 2nd stopover??
    Thanks

  10. Damn Asia1 to Asia1 got hit hard.. there goes the neighborhood.

    I better start planning my remaining awards fast.

  11. I don’t get why you call this corrective? I see about a 20% drop average for my typical redemptions I call this a 20% drop in value for Aeroplan miles.

    I move Aeroplan miles value from about 1.6 cpn to 1.3 ish.

  12. Thanks Lucky for this blog an info! I’m new to the game and its been a great help.

    5 days out and I could use some quick advice. I’ve booked our honeymoon with Aeroplan. We’ll be travelling for 3 weeks in Europe with a Eurorail pass (Oct 5 – ~28th). Currently have United YYZ – ORD (first), ORD – AMS (econ) on the 5th to get us there, and an EgyptAir FCO – CAI (econ), CAI – YYZ (first) on the 28th to get us home. 180K Miles plus $374 I thought was a good deal! I’m learning it can get much better 🙂

    My fiancee is not a good flyer, and having reclining seats would make a huge difference.

    5 days out before we leave I think my options are as follows:

    1. Wait and see a bit more if any ORD-AMS business class open up and upgrade for free. I checked United’s seating chart and there look to be 7 business seats still available. What’s the likelihood we’d be able to upgrade with 5 days to go? What if we waited and asked at the gate to get upgraded? I did just see an episode of Friends where this happened!

    2. Cancel the ticket, book a multi-city but starting with a short-haul from YYZ to a major hub (like ORD), then that major hub to AMS and back to YYZ. Once at the hub, change the itinerary, paying the $90 change per ticket, and avoiding fuel surcharges, but be able to get business class (or first?) on another airline like Lufthansa. It’s risky, and it’s last minute, but is there a way to make it work?

    I have another 60k points in the bank to be used as well.

    What would you do?

    Thanks, any help is appreciated!

  13. @ Ben – just bumping this question: “What happens when reticketing an existing award? I have a Lufthansa First Class award in January on a terribly indirect routing, and I’m planning to reroute it when availability (hopefully) opens up a few days out. Will it re-price?”

  14. Intra Asia 1 biz got hit really hard with an 167% increase in miles. That’s the biggest I’ve seen in any program. Pretty much the end of the program to someone who value the sweet spot of Intra Asia 1 biz.

  15. @Josh anytime the ticket is a reissue/change, they will not follow the new redemption. The system is only smart enough to decipher when the ticket was issued. That being said, anyone can book a bunch of ticket and use it at a later time…I recently left the company due to a massive layoff…

  16. Asia 1 to Asia 1 is terrible (from 30K to 80K!!! for Biz Class, a 167% increase, seriously, I’m not even allowed to raise the rent in my apartment buildings by more than a few %). Who does that?? Do they really want to alienate all their customers and loyal followers?
    I’ve written a letter to Aeroplan calling out their bullshit and of course received a generic reply stating they would “look into it”. 6 months later nothing.

    This was the final straw for me, Aeroplan, no more…
    I encourage more people to fly on any other airline than Air Canada and signup to any other rewards program.
    Hope they get the message…

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