Strange: Aeroplan’s Website Is Blocking Non-US/Canada Awards

Update: This has now been resolved, and things are back to how they were before.

Well this is… interesting. It appears as if Aeroplan’s website is no longer allowing members to book awards that don’t originate or terminate in Canada or the United States. If you search an award for travel between any other regions (which was previously bookable online), the following error message appears:

Please call Aeroplan Internet Redemption to book this reward at 1-888-270-7025. To get an agent, simply follow the instructions.

FlyerTalk members report being told that this is a new policy, and that awards not originating or terminating in Canada or the US aren’t bookable online anymore.

The way I see it, there are two possible explanations here. The first explanation is that this is a short term IT glitch. I suspect this is the case, though Aeroplan is doing a horrible job communicating that. If this is a temporary IT glitch, the error message should make that clear, rather than just indicating that these types of awards aren’t bookable online. I also believe this is a glitch since the error message specifically urges members to call the internet redemption hotline, rather than the general reservations number (where they’d get the telephone booking fee).

The other possible explanation is that this is a deliberate move on the part of Aeroplan. Aeroplan is Air Canada’s spun off frequent flyer program, and just a couple of weeks ago we learned that Air Canada will be taking back their frequent flyer program in 2020, and will be discontinuing their relationship with Aeroplan. This is obviously devastating news for Aimia (Aeroplan’s parent company), and I suppose that this could be a way for them to save costs on redemptions, since they know many people won’t bother if they can’t book online.

In this case I’ll just assume that this is a very poorly communicated glitch, and not a pathetic cost cutting technique. If it is a short term glitch, hopefully they find the time to resolve this before 2020. 😉 I’ve reached out to some contacts to find out more, and will report back if I get any updates.

(Tip of the hat to Don’t Call the Airline — except in this case you can)

Comments

  1. Hey Lucky, any chance you would be able to publish the Etihad trip report? We’re all waiting to see them!

  2. You did not mention that Aeroplan blocks all awards on CA,AV,CM,LX on all dates and routes, and also UA beyond 330 days out. I am not optimistic that will come back before June 2020.

  3. This now means that you can’t search leg by leg to build an itinerary. It will be much more difficult to find availability of individual legs if you have to make it the middle leg of a north America outbound and North America inbound. I say that this is completely deliberate.

  4. Lucky, thanks for staying on top of this! It’s ridiculous to the point that Aeroplan is now getting to be just as bad as Lifemiles!

    Is it that difficult to communicate with your members and post something on your website?

    I guess that’s too much to ask.

  5. I got the same issue last week, but when trying to book a paid (not Aeroplan) flight. Could be an IT issue.

  6. This will force people with a lot of miles to quickly cancel their Aeroplan credit cards and get a new airline points plan to at least stop the accrual of any more Aeroplan miles. Thereafter redeem what they already have as fast as possible. Either that or be content with a lot of toasters in 2020.

    Lucky: This will be a good opportunity to advise your readers (especially Canadians) where they might usefully take their cards and flights business.

  7. No problem here.
    Just tried several flights in Asia Business Class on SQ and able to book them all.
    Probably a Computer glitch but not on the BA Scale!

  8. As a follow up to my previous comment if you look at the AEROPLAN WEBSITE it says
    MAY 19TH we are working to resolve the technical issues on some booking rewards.

  9. BRU ZRh and CMB SIN were bookable. Not sure what all the hysteria is about.
    BTW before anyone dumps on Aeroplan remember that at the end of the day it is AC that tell Aeroplan what to do. NOT the other way around.
    Also if AC’s Pres folllows up on his “8% is too many seats per flight for Aeroplan” they are going to make this even tougher.
    All those with visions of hearts and Unicorns at the new AC FFP: you are going to wind up with tiny lumps of coal.
    BTW not sure what echino is on about: one of the most populare options for YYZ SIN iz CA over YUL

  10. I care about the blocking of SWISS flights. They told me that it was a glitch and had been fixed. It isn’t and it hasn’t been. Also, they fail to respond to emails. I am sorry that Air Canada is effectively destroying their company, but I just want to book my flight on SWISS.

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