Another Air Canada Aeroplan Devaluation

I never really trusted Aeroplan. They were sold off by Air Canada to become its own company and that was part of the reason why it worried me.  Most airlines control their own mileage programs.
In 2010 I wrote that I don’t accumulate Aeroplan miles because they scare me. And that was even though at that time you could fly in first class to Europe for 100K, Asia for 120K, or Australia for 140K and have 2 free stopovers along the way.

A year afterwards in 2011 they devalued their miles by significantly raising the miles required for long-haul awards. Those 100/120/140 rates became 125/175/185.

In 2012 they added fuel surcharges to book travel on Adria, Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, and THAI. (There is currently no fuel surcharge if you redeem their miles for travel on the following carriers: Aegean, Air China, Air New Zealand, Avianca/TACA, Brussels, Copa, Croatia, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, EVA, SAS, Singapore, South African, Swiss, TAM, Turkish, United, and USAirways. That can change though without notice.)

Effective 01/01/14 there are more changes for the worse:

-Travel from the US to Israel and the Middle East will go up from 135K business/190K first to 165K business/230K first. Coach remains 80K. Compare that to Star Alliance partner United requiring 120K in business and 150K in first. Plus United never charges fuel surcharges.

-Travel from the US to Australia will go up from 135K business/185K first to 160K business/220K first. Coach remains 80K. Compare that to Star Alliance partner United requiring 135K in business and 160K in first.

-Rates to Asia will go up significantly as well with rates on some routes a full 95,000 more miles than United would charge and that’s before Aeroplan fuel surcharges on select carriers!

Aeroplan does throw a couple bones.

-You will be able to book one-way travel for half the rate of round-trip travel starting 01/01/14.  United already does that.

-Aeroplan miles will no longer have a 7 year expiration policy effective 01/01/14.. They still require activity every 12 months (compared to  the industry standard 18 months) but at least they won’t expire regardless of activity anymore.

I’ll concede that there are a few nice things about Aeroplan:
1. They have one of the best lap child policies out there. You pay a flat fee of just $50 in coach, $100 in business, and $125 in first for a lap child. Compare that to 10% of the paid fare with other airlines.
2. They allow for 2 free stopovers
3. There are no expedite/close-in fees.
4. Cancellation of an award is just $90 but you need to do it more than 21 days before departure or else you’ll have to pay a $90 date change fee to make it after 21 days and then pay an additional $90 to cancel it.

Want out of Aeroplan? It’s not too late!

If you open a Points.com account you will be able to transfer points from Air Canada Aeroplan into USAirways at a 100:84 ratio. This is much better than other typically terrible points.com exchange rates.
You need to transfer a minimum of 15,000 points.
15K Air Canada would net 12,601 USAirways miles. 100K Air Canada miles would net 84,011 USAirways miles.

You can learn more about the value of doing such a transfer and about United versus USAirways miles in this post.

Note that currently USAirways is part of the Star Alliance but in the not-so-distant future they will become part of American and the OneWorld alliance. Overall that’s probably a positive thing for USAirways miles and it may even be worth transferring American Express Membership Rewards points via this method before it’s too late.

Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Facebook

22 Responses to “Another Air Canada Aeroplan Devaluation”

  1. Kiva Says:
    1

    So Amex to Aeroplan to US Air via points.com?

    ReplyReply
  2. Manny Says:
    2

    “Note that currently USAirways is part of the Star Alliance but in the not-so-distant future they will become part of American”

    Does this mean that the 100:84 ratio will change?

    ReplyReply
  3. jerry Says:
    3

    how do you avoid those hefty trading fees on points.com ?

    ReplyReply
  4. Dan Says:
    4

    @Kiva:
    Yes.

    @Manny:
    Most definitely.

    @jerry:
    There are no fees for direct mileage transfers like this one.

    There are only fees to make a mileage trade with another points.com member.

    ReplyReply
  5. lou Says:
    5

    thanks for the information, Dan.
    Does it make sense to transfer Aeroplan points into USAIR or United points if i live in Toronto and want to use my points to various cities that USAir and United dont fly to from Toronto…I have approx 300,000 Aeroplan points. Thanks

    ReplyReply
  6. Ari Says:
    6

    Can you help explain how to book a USAir ticket with aeroplan miles?

    ReplyReply
  7. Dan Says:
    7

    @lou:
    Where do you want to use your miles to fly to?

    @Ari:
    Sure, check saver award availability on Aeroplan.com or United.com and then call USAirways to book.

    ReplyReply
  8. Dav Says:
    8

    Is there any way to transfer from MR or UR to AA?

    ReplyReply
  9. Dan Says:
    9

    @Dav:
    Not instantly but MR>Aeroplan>USAir and wait a few months or so until you are able to transfer points 1:1 between US and AA.

    ReplyReply
  10. lou Says:
    10

    Many places and Air Can flies to all of them direct from YYZ. (Europe, Israel, Miami, Vegas, NY, LA, Vancouver etc) Using USAir – i’d generally need to stopover in Philly or something like that whereas AC would go direct…..Please advise your thoughts re above question. Thanks, Dan.

    ReplyReply
  11. Dav Says:
    11

    Thnaks Dan, i have 53K AA but i have over 200K in MR and thinking where to transfer it to.

    ReplyReply
  12. Lev Says:
    12

    Thanks for this post.

    ReplyReply
  13. Steve Says:
    13

    dan, i have the amex rewards gold card….i never use it…mostly my starwood or sapphire…they just charged me the $175 annual fee…i recall you mentioning once that cancelling a card hurts your credit score…is it worth paying the $175? is there another option? i already asked them to remove the fee and they said no
    thanks in advance

    ReplyReply
  14. Dav Says:
    14

    @Steve: Steve as far as i know only the personal card hurt your credit not the business cards.

    ReplyReply
  15. Dan Says:
    15

    @lou:
    USAir can book you on Air Canada.
    Plus they don’t charge fuel surcharges while Air Canada charges hefty fuel surcharges.

    However as I said USAir miles will become AA miles eventually. First there will be a period when they can be transferred back and forth but they all eventually become AA miles and then you will no longer be able to book Air Canada flights with them.

    United miles will still work for Air Canada flights without fuel surcharges.

    @Steve:
    Cancelling a charge card shouldn’t hurt your score much at all.

    ReplyReply
  16. Steve Says:
    16

    @Dan:
    thanks…is there any “credit” utilization that i would be losing off my credit report if theres no spending limit?

    ReplyReply
  17. ryan Says:
    17

    Dan – Any thoughts on the new ‘Distinction’ elite-like program introduced as part of these changes?

    Also, this new ‘marked rate’ program can be interesting for some.

    ReplyReply
  18. lou Says:
    18

    thank you, Dan.
    should i transfer to United as a result? any idea what the transfer ratio is?
    would you do same or just stick with Air Canada?
    Many thanks.

    ReplyReply
  19. Steve Says:
    19

    Aeroplan will only allow a maximum of 100k points transferred a year

    ReplyReply
  20. SoCal Dude Says:
    20

    @Steve:
    Where did you read that Aeroplan allows 100K points transfer a year? I’m reading on their site they allow max of 999,999 points per transfer @ 2 cents each. Thx.

    ReplyReply
  21. Dan Fan Says:
    21

    Hello Dan,

    Can you please explain me how to do the transfer from Aeroplan to US airways?

    Also does it work instantly?

    please reply
    Thanks very much

    ReplyReply
  22. Dan Says:
    22

    @Dan Fan:
    It’s dead.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Switch to our mobile site