Air Canada is now allowing for bookings made from 3/1/20-6/30/20 to be converted into a voucher that has no expiration date.
Alternatively, you can convert your ticket into Aeroplan miles at an effective cost of 1.3 cents per mile. That’s a lot pricier than a similar offer from Turkish Airlines and than the offers to buy Aeroplan miles earlier this month. But on the plus side as the charge posts as travel this way, you can earn 2 points per dollar on Sapphire Preferred, 3 points per dollar on Sapphire Reserve, or 5 points per dollar on AMEX Platinum.
Those options are even available on flights that are not cancelled, as long as you cancel your reservation at least 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure.
Those are nice options to have, though Air Canada is bringing Aeroplan back in house later this year and there may be changes to the program. I wouldn’t want to invest in their miles at that rate given the uncertainty involved. And if the airline is forced into bankruptcy, those non-expiring vouchers may be forfeited.
Meanwhile, Air Canada is doubling down on their refusal to provide cash refunds for flights that they cancelled.
Here is how they responded to multiple DansDeals readers who filed a DoT complaint:
“Similarly to other major airlines, Air Canada is offering all of our customers whose travel was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis, including those with non-refundable tickets, the option to keep the remaining value of the ticket for future travel.
Our policy of offering the remaining value of the ticket for future travel is not only consistent with how major airlines are managing this unique situation, but it is also in line with our publicly published tariff rules. Our policy states that in the case of uncontrollable cancellations, the airline’s responsibility is to provide alternate travel options (as opposed to refunds), at the end of the event that caused the cancellation.
This is also consistent with the Canadian Transportation Agency, which recently confirmed in a statement regarding COVID-19, the appropriateness of offering the remaining value of the ticket for future travel due to this unprecedented situation. This statement can be found here.
We realize you may disagree and view this approach as inconsistent with the US DOT’s Enforcement Notice. However, we believe that our position is consistent with US law having examined this question in depth.”
This is nonsense of course.
- Most major airlines are offering refunds at this point for cancelled flights, so which airlines are they referring to?
- The US DoT has been abundantly clear COVID-19 is not a valid excuse for airlines to refuse cash refunds for flights cancelled by the airlines. They stated this April and they gave another harsh warning to airlines in May.
- I don’t know of any other airline having the gall to claim that they are in compliance with US law. Airlines are trying to delay the inevitable so that they can hold onto your cash, but even El Al realized the folly of that approach.
Air Canada is sticking it in the DoT’s eye and daring them to issue an enforcement action against them. While Air Canada can hide behind the cowardly ruling of the CTA for flights that don’t touch the US, that’s not the case for flights that touch the US and I hope they are put in their place.
In the meantime, if you are trying to get an Air Canada refund for a flight that begins, ends, or transits the US, and have already filed a DoT complaint and gotten this response, I’d advise you to:
- File a new DoT complaint with the response from Air Canada to let the DoT know that Air Canada refuses to comply with their order.
- File a chargeback with your credit card, and be sure to include the DoT refund orders to the airlines.
- Take Air Canada to small claims court based on violating DoT policy.
Have you had to deal with a cancelled Air Canada flight? Will you accept a voucher or miles, or will you fight for a cash refund?