Saturday, May 18, 2024

8 things changing in Air Canada’s Aeroplan

Air Canada announced the long-anticipated changes to the new Aeroplan launching Nov. 8, 2020, and from tech changes to zone changes, new ways to redeem through family sharing options, there are many changes to be aware of. 

Here are eight changes we’re excited about in Air Canada’s revamped Aeroplan. 

1. A unified program featuring a new look and tech stack

With a fresh logo featuring Air Canada’s signature rondelle, clean font featuring a creative letter ‘E’ comprised of the mask inspired by the facial markings of birds indigenous to Canada in the airline’s new livery, the revamped Aeroplan is built on an all-new tech stack, centred entirely around a digital experience, enabling personalization, flexibility, choice, but most important practicality.

Old vs. new logo
Air Canada new livery featuring mask inspired by the facial markings of birds indigenous to Canada

Whether it’s for the business traveller who logs thousands of miles in flight or leisure traveller looking to delight their family with upgrades to their favourite vacation destination, the airline hopes Aeroplan will be the Swiss Army knife that can capture loyalty, simplify redemptions, and do it all in an intuitive manner. The airline wants Aeroplan to help sell the certainty for the aspiration of travel—a synergy it thinks Air Canada is prepared for with major upgrades to fleet, mobile app, and backend systems with the launch of Amadeus Altéa in 2019.

2. New zones, no cash surcharges, and earn on every flight

New regions: North America, Pacific, Atlantic, South America. (Air Canada)

Aeroplan is being simplified into four regions or zones—North America, Atlantic, Pacific, and South America—with the ability to combine up to 10 different region combinations. Air Canada is removing cash surcharges on reward redemptions on Air Canada, significantly reducing the fee added on top of the points redemptions when booking a flight with Aeroplan. Passengers have improved access to partner airlines with better integration with the Star Alliance network and other partners added recently including Azul and Etihad. For redemptions on partner airlines, Aeroplan will now charge a flat $39 fee—a pretty fair trade off for improved access to partner airlines. The airline is also making a change where points will be earned on every paid flight, including Basic Economy fares, with a new revenue-based model launching “later in 2021.” 

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3. Custom itineraries and stopovers

This is a feature that will roll out online into 2021, but create custom itineraries and integrate stopovers on Aeroplan bookings. You can combine Air Canada, Star Alliance members, and partner airlines on the same booking, meaning Canadians living outside of hub cities are no longer penalized. Plus, integrate stopovers on one-way redemptions (except within North America) for 5,000-point add-on. At launch, you’ll have to call the Aeroplan Contact Centre for assistance, but the airline intends to launch a self-service feature online down the road. 

4. Points + Cash options

Don’t have enough points to redeem for a reward? Aeroplan is taking a page out of SPG’s book and launching the Points + Cash feature—the ability to redeem rewards for a combination of points with cash. Options of combinations will be made available to users to make the choice that enables better flexibility—ideal for when you might want to bank points for a future, more valuable redemption. 

5. Using points for more

Travellers will now be able to use points to redeem for more than just a flight. This is particularly great if you want to access upgrades, Wi-Fi vouchers on-board, pay for preferred seats, access to the Maple Leaf Lounge, baggage fees, on-board purchases, and other everyday redemptions. 

6. Status pass – elevated experience with Elite status

A new feature for 2021 for Elite members 50K and above will give members access to a number of status passes which can be shared with friends or family members who aren’t flying with you. The 50K status pass will be attached to a member’s reservation and enable them access to your status benefits for the day, including priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounge access, three checked bags, priority airport services, and priority boarding. 

7. Family sharing

Air Canada is launching Aeroplan Family Sharing, which is an easy way for family members (or trusted friends!) to combine separate pools of Aeroplan points into one family pool. The individual totals are still tallied, but points are shared by family members for future redemptions. Miles are redeemed proportionately by each family member for that reward (so you can’t redeem for just one person from their pool), but access can be restricted for an individual to not be able to redeem. You can only be in one family at a time, and you are bound to the group for three months upon joining. Once you exit, you must remain individual for six months before associating to another family. 

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8. Earning and spending off the ground + everyday status qualification

A revamped Aeroplan eStore will launch featuring more retailers people love, including UberEats, Sephora, Indigo and Apple, plus expect to see more and better offers to incentivize using the Aeroplan eStore before purchasing an item. Plus, for everyday spenders, 100,000 Aeroplan points will qualify for 25K Aeroplan status.

More on the new Aeroplan from Master Travellr:

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Winston Sih
Winston Sih
Winston is currently a freelance technology and travel broadcast journalist, consultant, and is the creator and founder of Master Travellr—Canada’s destination for travel news, guides, and budget recommendations.



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