It’s bold, it’s radical, and it does not hold back. Welcome to the transformed Aeroplan, coming November 8th, 2020. The new Aeroplan program leans heavy on increased value proposition, flexibility, and appeal to members of all travel styles. The program has hit that sweet spot between aspirational and relevant, and should appeal equally to frequent travellers, and those that travel with family, once or twice a year. To be honest, the program seems to have been designed by a team that understands the psyche of FlyerTalk chatter, and has the pulse of family travel. All that, and with a keen eye on driving long term profits. Colour me impressed!

The curtain-raiser today is part of the Pre-Launch for the new Aeroplan program, with the relaunch scheduled for Nov 8, 2020, and a full rollout for Q1, 2021. Starting Nov 8th, 2020, all current Aeroplan members will transition into the new program, along with the refreshed website and app.

Table of Contents:

Logo and Member Card
Program Highlights
Flight Rewards
Other Aeroplan Redemptions
Family Sharing Account
Earning Points and Qualifying miles
Status – Qualifications and Benefits
Credit Card Portfolio
New Aeroplan Reaction Stream

 

New Aeroplan: Logo and Member Card

The new program has revamped the logo but maintained the familiar and popular name – Aeroplan.

 

The new Aeroplan card design does away with orange and introduces a sleek and contemporary look;

New Aeroplan Member Card

New Aeroplan Member Card

New Aeroplan: Program Highlights (Boom, Boom, Pow!)

  • Aeroplan miles are now called Aeroplan Points, and existing account balances transfer into the new program on 1:1 basis. All existing Aeroplan credit cards will continue to earn Aeroplan points
  • No YQ/YR on flight rewards: Single biggest improvement in the new program. Air Canada has finally remedied the primary pain point for all members – No cash surcharges on any Air Canada or Partner flight rewards
  • Dynamic pricing, Zone and Distance based reward charts: Points needed for Air Canada reward flights will be based on actual market price, whereas Partner rewards will continue to be static against an award chart. A predictable range on points (min. and max. redemption values) will be available for all Air Canada reward flights. Redemption rates will be based on new Zones and Distance of travel
  • No restrictions, no Blackout period: Every flight and every seat on Air Canada flights available for cash, will be made available for points purchase
  • Points + Cash bookings: Members will now have the ultimate flexibility, to pay for a redemption using a combination of points + cash
  • Family Sharing : Up to 8 family members will be able to join a family account, which can be used to redeem rewards on a proportional basis, based on the individual balance of the members
  • Micro-Redemptions: Members will be able to redeem Aeroplan points for upgrading cabins, in-flight Wifi, in-flight food and beverages, etc
  • Updated Credit Card Portfolio: Now with 14 cards in the portfolio, Aeroplan hits hard (in a good way) with exclusive Premium Card Benefits for all cardholders

 

New Aeroplan: Flight Rewards

The most radical change, in my opinion, is the new interface of flight redemptions which will look a lot like buying cash fare on Air Canada website. Members will be able to search for flight rewards just like they would search for cash fares on aircanada.com or the Air Canada app, and toggle between ‘Cash or Points’ results.

New Aeroplan 2020

As for the pricing of those flight rewards, the new program has redefined the world in 4 zones and introduced 10 distance based charts, to price reward tickets;

The 4 zones are – North America, Atlantic, Pacific and South America

New Aeroplan 2020

New Aeroplan Travel Zones

 

Few key changes to keep in mind, before we explore the pricing against the new distance based Aeroplan charts;

  • Air Canada reward flights are now dynamic (within a range), based on market prices, whereas partner rewards are static.
  • No YQ or cash surcharges are applicable to reward bookings
  • Booking fee of $39/ticket applies on partner flight rewards
  • One stop-over on one-way booking is now possible, for additional 5k points. No stop-overs allowed in North America
  • Any AC seat available for cash can be redeemed with points. All rewards are e-Upgradable
  • Members can use a combination of Points+Cash for flight redemptions. Minimum 40% points required.
  • Elite members, and members with Aeroplan Credits Cards will qualify for Preferred Pricing (lower flight reward rates)
  • Custom Itineraries, segment-by-segment bookings via call center agent is possible, $30 booking fee remains.
  • Maximum Permissible Mileage (MPM) does not exist, since the bookings are now distance based
  • Cancel flight rewards at no charge, within 24hrs of booking. Or, cancel/change a booking up to 2 hours before flight (fee applies)

Let’s look at a few examples for flight rewards in and from North America to other zones;

  • Within North America:

New Aeroplan Reward Chart

I have taken some of my regular routes and compared the pricing in the current program with the new program’s distance based charts;

    • YYZ – JFK (366 miles): 6,000 – 10,000 points (prices at 7,500 currently, a potential savings of 20% at the lower end)
    • YUL – YVR (2295 miles): 12,500 – 17,500 points (prices at 12,500 currently)
    • YUL – YYT (1008 miles): 10,000 – 15,000 points (prices at 7,500 currently, that’s an increase of at least 25%)
    • YVR – YYT (3121 miles): 17,500 – 25,000 points (prices at 12,500 currently, that’s an increase of atleast 40%)
    • YYZ – KIN (1781 miles): 25,000 – 60,000 points in Business Class (prices at 40,000 currently, a potential savings of at least 37%)
    • YYZ – HNL (4649 miles): 35,000 – 70,000 points in Business Class (prices at 45,000 currently, a potential savings of at least 22%)

As with any distance based chart, it can work out in your favor for some routes, while others you will pay a bit more. Most of the popular routes from hubs should price similar to what they are in the current program. However, certain long distances, like a cross country trip from Vancouver to St.John’s, NL jumps at a 40% higher rate. Caribbean region on the other hand, is now included in North America Zone, and there are lots of great gains in those segments, especially in Business Class flight redemptions.

In the current program, everything east of Quebec (Canadian Maritimes and Atlantic Canada) is considered short haul, and priced at 7,500 miles from Montreal (YUL). If you have plans to visit that part of the country, or leverage the current stop-over/open-jaw rules on round-trips, book it before Nov 8, 2020!

And obviously, on occasions when AC market fares are high, but partner airlines show reward availability, you will be better off paying the booking fee of $39, and flying a partner airline with a static redemption rate.

  • Between North America and Atlantic Zones:

New Aeroplan Reward Chart

    • YYZ – FRA (3953 miles): 60,000 – 160,000 points in Business Class, on AC (prices at 55,000 currently, an increase of ~10% at the fixed rate), OR 60,000 flat for Business Class on Lufthansa (no more YQ!!)
    • YVR – LHR (4723 miles): 70,000 – 180,000 points in Business Class, on AC (prices at 60,000 currently, an increase of ~16% at the fixed rate) OR 70,000 flat for Business Class on Lufthansa (no more YQ!!)
    • YYZ – IST (5091 miles): 70,000 points in Business Class, on TK (prices at 57,500 currently, an increase of ~22%)
    • YYZ – BOM (7775 miles): 85,000 – 200,000 points in Business Class, on AC (prices at 75,000 currently, an increase of ~14% at the fixed rate), OR 85,000 flat for Business Class on Lufthansa (no more YQ!!), Swiss, Turkish and others

Well, looks like most of my usual routes, in Business class, will see an increase of 10%-22% in required points. A slight devaluation but does offer more options, like LH, which I would have not considered due to high YQ, otherwise.

  • Between North America and Pacific Zones:

New Aeroplan Reward Chart

    • YYZ – HND (6443 miles): 75,000 – 170,000 points in Business Class, on AC (prices at 75,000 currently, unchanged at the fixed rate),
    • YYZ – HKG (7810 miles) or
      EWR– SIN (9534 miles): 85,000 – 200,000 points in Business Class, on AC (prices at 77,500 currently, an increase of at least ~10%)
  • Between North America and South America:

New Aeroplan Reward Chart

    • YYZ – LIM (3826 miles): 50,000 – 175,000 points in Business Class, on AC (prices at 37,500 currently, an increase of at least 33%),
    • YYZ – GRU (5075 miles): 60,000 – 200,000 points in Business Class, on AC (prices at 55,000 currently, an increase of at least 9%)

That 33% increase is sharp, for what is categorized as “Northern South America” in the current program. The pricing for “Southern South America” (current program) sees only a nominal increase. Partner reward booking maybe the way to go in cases where AC flights priced any higher than 50k or 60k, due to market rates.

The good news is that members will simply be able to plug their origin and destination in the Points Predictor Tool and get an exact calculation of points required for their flight redemption. Multi-segment, multi airline bookings, with stop-overs, will be calculated on a weighted average, as per the itinerary.

Example: New Route Pricing

If not for COVID, I was planning to head back to Vietnam, to see my family –  lets use that as an example. My preferred routing over the years has been through HKG or NRT, as a stop-over. With AC, lets look at the route from Montreal to Narita, and onwards to Saigon on ANA. I am going from North America zone to the Pacific Zone, and covering a total distance of 9171 miles in business class cabin, which has a redemption range of 85000-200,000.

GC Map: YUL-NRT-SGN

The price point for 9171 miles, is 85,000 miles with partner airlines and between 85,000 – 200,000 for AC flights. The standard price for YUL-NRT-SGN would then be 85,000 points, for YUL-NRT-SGN. However, if the standard pricing does not work out on AC segments due to market fares, the weighted price calculation would work like this (assuming max. peak pricing on AC, at 200,000);

YUL-NRT (AC): (6449/9171)*200,000 (max. rate for AC flight for 9171 miles) = 140,639
NRT-SGN (NH): (2722/9171)*85,000 (partner reward for 9171 miles) = 25,228
YUL-NRT-SGN: 165,867 Aeroplan Points

Adding a stop-over  (NRT) to my itinerary:

Adding a stop over to this one-way itinerary will peg me back another 5,000 points. YUL-NRT (stop)-SGN: 165,867 + 5,000 = 170,867 Aeroplan Points

Note that this is the maximum points that will be required for this itinerary. The actual price will depend on the market fare for AC segments, since partner price is static at 85,000 for this distance. Essentially, I can say that the true redemption range for this itinerary will be 85,000 – 170,867. I could do better though, since AC market fare is what is driving up the cost of my redemption, what if I flew less on AC and more on ANA?

Option 2: YUL-YVR-HND(stop)-SGN, total distance of 9688 miles

YUL-YVR (AC): (2295/9688)*200,000 (max. rate for AC flight for 9171 miles) = 47,478
YVR-HND (NH): (4708/9688)*85,000 (partner reward for 9171 miles) = 41,307
HND-SGN (NH): (2685/9688)*85,000 (partner reward for 9171 miles) = 23,558
YUL-YVR-HND(stop)-SGN: 117,343 Aeroplan points

117,343 points is so much better than 170,867. But what if I simply position myself from YUL to ORD, on United, and fly ANA all the way?

Option 3: YUL-ORD-NRT(stop)-SGN (9744 miles)= 85,000 Aeroplan Points

Conclusion: For flying premium products during peak season, I find the weighted price calculation to be fair, and better than zero availability when I need it. Although expensive, it provides several options year-round (no blackout periods), with predictable pricing that’s transparent and upfront.

Other Aeroplan Redemptions

The new Aeroplan program has a renewed focus on redemptions outside of flight rewards, including micro-redemptions, which will allow engagement from members of all profiles.

 

New Aeroplan inflight Wifi

While the redemption rates are unknown, here are some redemption options;

  • Bidding for upgrade was always available using cash, now members can also use Aeroplan points to bid for cabin upgrades
  • Redeem for hotels, cars and even Air Canada vacation packages
  • Use Aeroplan points to purchase food and beverage onboard, inflight Wi-Fi access (December 2020)

 

New Aeroplan: Family Sharing

Aeroplan has finally delivered what I think will bring immense joy to all members – the ability to pool, share, and redeem Aeroplan Points out of a family account. The ability to accumulate and redeem rewards sooner.

New Aeroplan Family Sharing

Here is how it works;

  • Members will be able to add up to 8 family members in an account.
  • Added and confirmed members must stay in the family account for a minimum of 3 months.
  • Members who choose to exit the family account, cannot rejoin the same pool for 6 months
  • Members can be part of one family account at a time, and points earned by all members are added into the shared account
  • For reward redemptions, points will be deducted proportionally, based on individual balances in the ‘overall pot’.
  • If there is an Elite member in the family pool, everyone benefits from preferred pricing
  • Members in a family account, will not be able to operate an individual account at the same time. All transactions (earning and redeeming) will be attributed to the family account.

New Aeroplan: Earning points and qualifying miles

New Aeroplan Everyday Earning

 

Keeping with recent trend, Aeroplan continues to focus on making earing points easy. With the soft launch on Nov 8th, the new program will allow members to earn points on every fare class bought on Air Canada website or app. That’s right, for the first time, Basic Economy Fares will also earn Aeroplan points – 25% of flown miles.

Starting sometime in 2021, Basic fares will not qualify towards earning Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM), but will continue to earn Aeroplan points. Aeroplan will also introduce a new structure, earning based on the fare paid for the ticket, instead of earning points based on the distance travelled;

  • Basic fares earn 2x points
  • Standard, Flex/Comfort, Latitude, Premium Economy and Business fares earn 3x points (and EQM)

The Earning rates supercharge for members with Aeroplan Elite Status, who qualify for accelerated earning on Air Canada flights;

  • 25k/35k: Additional 1x = 3x earn on Basic fares and 4x earn on Standard fares or higher
  • 50k: Additional 2x = 4x earn on Basic fares and 5x earn on Standard fares or higher
  • 75k: Additional 3x = 5x earn on Basic fares and 6x earn on Standard fares or higher
  • Super Elite: Additional 4x = 6x earn on Basic fares and 7x earn on Standard fares or higher

Example: For a 2085 mile trip between YYZ-YVR flight ($200 in base price and surcharges), booked in Standard Economy, I would earn the following as a 25K Elite member;

Current Earning structure: 50% of 2085 miles + 25% Elite bonus = 1302 points

New Earning structure: $200*(3x+1x)= 800 points/EQM

A 38% devaluation in the above example. For members that fly long haul Air Canada flights extensively, earning based on price of ticket and not the distance, is most definitely a devaluation. Which simply means that earning status miles is about to get tougher, in 2021.

Outside of earning on flights, the new Aeroplan program will roll out new partners to make earning points easier and faster – think Credit Cards, hotels, car rentals, airport parking, merchandise, etc.

New Aeroplan: Status Qualification and Benefits

Air Canada Altitude has now become Aeroplan Elite Status. The new program places a greater emphasis on members with Aeroplan Elite Status, be it earning rates or preferred flight redemptions. The new program continues to offer 5 Elite Levels25k, 35k, 50k, 75k and Super Elite, and the qualifying criteria (EQM/EQS + EQD) have remained the same. Almost. Minor change in that Super Elite EQS qualification increases from 95 to 100 segments. Elite Status qualification for non-Canadians continues to be 50% lower than that of Canadians.

New Aeroplan Status

What happens to my current Aeroplan Diamond/Black/Silver Status?

As announced in 2019, Air Canada will be winding down the old Aeroplan status of Diamond, Black and Silver. Air Canada has also confirmed that beginning in September 2020, members who have qualified for 2021 Diamond, Black, or Silver status, will receive Aeroplan 25k Status. They will also receive  a grant of Aeroplan points in their account in early 2021 – 5,000 points for Diamond members, 2,500 points for Black members, and 250 points for Silver members.

Let’s look at some new features being added for Elite members, in the new program;

  • Priority Rewards

Starting November 8th, 2020, members with Aeroplan 35k and above will be able to select Priority Rewards voucher to get 50% discount on flight rewards. These priority rewards are earned each time an elite member reaches Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) thresholds of 4000, 7000, 10,000, 15,000, and for every 5,000 SQD earned thereafter, up to a maximum of 50,000 SQD. Elite members can potentially earn up to 11 Priority Rewards vouchers each year! Each voucher will be valid on specific cabins and destination, based on member status at the time of meeting threshold requirements. Each of the following vouchers can be applied against one flight reward per passenger;

    • 25k: 50% discount on Canada/US in Economy
    • 35k: 50% discount on Canada/US in Economy
    • 50k: 50% discount in North America, up to Premium Economy
    • 75k: 50% discount Worldwide, up to Premium Economy
    • Super Elite: 50% discount Worldwide, up to Signature/Business Class

Stating November 8, 2020, Aeroplan 35k members and above will be automatically receive the vouchers on program launch. Priority Rewards are set to become the single most lucrative benefit for all frequent flyers. If a 50% discount voucher towards flight reward is not an incentive, I don’t know what is!

  • Status Pass

This is another impressive perk being added for members with Aeroplan 50k or higher members. Starting March 2021, elite members will be able to share a ‘Status Pass’ with friends and family, to share premium travel services for the entire journey. The premium travel services available to those travelling on a status pass include;

    • Priority Check-in
    • 3 Complimentary check bags, with priority handling
    • Priority Security clearance
    • Maple Leaf Lounge Access
    • Priority airport standby
    • Priority Boarding

Cherry on top, Status Pass can be extended to up to 9 people on the same reservation.

New Aeroplan: Credit Card Portfolio

With TD, CIBC, and Amex Canada as their partners, it’s no surprise that Aeroplan is swinging for the fences. Aeroplan will now have a deck of 14 Aeroplan Credit Cards under their brand. In addition to a power-packed portfolio, the new program is taking credit card integration to a whole new level, with exclusive card benefits catering to members at all levels and lifestyles. Banks are scheduled to start notifying existing customers of new card features, the week of August 24th. Whereas new acquisition offers are expected to roll out with the soft launch on Nov 8, 2020. The card features coming at us are both impressive and aspirational;

  • For starters, all members can earn 25k status with everyday spend on Aeroplan Credit Cards. Earn 100k points through eligible transaction in a calendar year to qualify for 25k status.
  • Through everyday spend on eligible credit cards, members can also earn Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM) and Elite Qualifying Segments (EQS), to boost higher status qualification
  • Members with eligible credit cards can also look forward to rolling over additional SQM above threshold requirements. Rollover policy also extends to eUpgrade credits!

New Aeroplan Credit Cards

Without further ado, here is the list of all Consumer and Business Aeroplan cards that are now part of the new Aeroplan program;

  1. TD®Aeroplan®Visa Platinum* Card
  2. TD®Aeroplan®Visa Infinite* Card
  3. TD®Aeroplan®Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
  4. TD®Aeroplan®Visa* Business Card
  5. CIBC®Aeroplan®Visa* Card
  6. CIBC®Aeroplan®Visa Infinite* Card
  7. CIBC®Aeroplan®Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
  8. CIBC®Aeroplan®Visa* Business Card
  9. CIBC®Aeroplan®Visa* Business Plus Card
  10. American Express®* Aeroplan® Card
  11. American Express®* Aeroplan® Reserve Card
  12. American Express®* Aeroplan® Business Reserve Card
  13. American Express®* Aeroplan® Corporate Card
  14. American Express®* Aeroplan® Corporate Reserve Card

 

The exclusive benefits assigned to these cards have been split in three tiers, for consumer cards – Silver, Grey, and Black Benefits;

New Aeroplan Credit Card Benefits

 

Premium Cards with Black Tier Benefits:

  • TD®Aeroplan®Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
    New Aeroplan TD Visa Infinite Privilege Card
    • New Earn Rate (per $): 1.25x, 2x on AC/AC Vacations spend, 1.5x on Gas, Groceries, Travel and Dining
  • CIBC®Aeroplan®Visa Infinite Privilege* Card
    New Aeroplan CIBC Visa Infinite Privilege Card
    • New Earn Rate (per $): 1.25x, 2x on AC/AC Vacations spend, 1.5x on Gas, Groceries, Travel and Dining
  • American Express®* Aeroplan® Reserve Card
    New Aeroplan Amex Reserve Card
    • New Earn Rate (per $): **Coming August 26, 2020**

 

The exclusive Black Tier card benefits for these TD/CIBC/AMEX Premium Cards include;

    • Higher earn rate for Air Canada purchases
    • Preferred Pricing
    • First Checked Bag
    • Shared Benefits with Secondary Cardholders
    • Maple Leaf Lounge Access (+ 6 Priority Pass lounge passes for TD/CIBC VI Privilege cards)
    • Priority Airport Services
    • Priority Airport Standby
    • Priority Airport Upgrades
    • Annual Worldwide Companion Pass ($25K eligible annual spend, max. one pass)
    • Elite Qualification boost: 1000 SQM and 1SQS, per $5k eligible annual spend
    • Rollover Status Qualifying Miles (SQM)
    • Rollover eUpgrade credits
    • No Expiry of Aeroplan points

 

Core Cards with Grey Tier Benefits:

  • TD®Aeroplan®Visa Infinite* Card
    • New Earn Rate (per $): 1x, 1.5x on AC/AC Vacations spend, 1.5x on Gas, Groceries, Travel and Dining
  • CIBC®Aeroplan®Visa Infinite* Card
    • New Earn Rate (per $): 1x, 1.5x on AC/AC Vacations spend, 1.5x on Gas, Groceries, Travel and Dining

 

The exclusive Grey Tier card benefits for these Core Cards include;

    • Higher earn rate for Air Canada purchases
    • Preferred Pricing
    • First Checked Bag
    • Shared Benefits with Secondary Cardholders
    • Elite Qualification boost: 1000 SQM and 1SQS, per $10k eligible annual spend
    • No Expiry of Aeroplan points

Entry Level Cards with Silver Tier Benefits:

  • TD®Aeroplan®Visa Platinum* Card
    • New Earn Rate : 1x per $1.5 spend, 1x on AC/AC vacation spend, 1x on Gas, Groceries, Travel and Dining
  • CIBC®Aeroplan®Visa* Card
    • New Earn Rate : 1x per $1.5 spend, 1x on AC/AC vacation spend, 1x on Gas, Groceries, Travel and Dining
  • American Express®* Aeroplan® Card
    • New Earn Rate: **Coming August 26, 2020**

 

The exclusive Silver Tier card benefits for Entry Level Cards include;

    • Higher earn rate for Air Canada purchases
    • Preferred Pricing
    • No Expiry of Aeroplan points

Likewise, benefits for Business cards in the portfolio have been split in two tiers – Core and Premium;

 

Business Cards with Premium Tier Benefits:

  • American Express®* Aeroplan® Business Reserve Card
  • American Express®* Aeroplan® Corporate Card
  • American Express®* Aeroplan® Corporate Reserve Card

The exclusive Premium Tier card benefits for these Business Cards include;

TBD 🙂

 

Business Cards with Core Tier Benefits:

  • TD®Aeroplan®Visa* Business Card
    • New Earn Rate (per $): 1x, 2x on AC/AC vacation spend, 1.5x on Travel and Dining, 1.5x on Select Business Categories
  • CIBC®Aeroplan®Visa* Business Card
    • New Earn Rate (per $): 1x, 2x on AC/AC vacation spend, 1.5x on Travel and Dining, 1.5x on Select Business Categories
  • CIBC®Aeroplan®Visa* Business Plus Card
    • New Earn Rate (per $): 1x, 2x on AC/AC vacation spend, 1.5x on Travel and Dining, 1.5x on Select Business Categories

 

The exclusive Core Tier card benefits include;

    • Higher earn rate for Air Canada purchases
    • Preferred Pricing
    • First Checked Bag
    • Elite Qualification boost: 1000 SQM and 1 SQS, per $5k eligible annual spend
    • 4 Lounge passes for every $10k spend
    • No Expiry of Aeroplan points

 

New Aeroplan Reaction Stream:

Kudos if you made it this far 🙂 – this is a LOT of new information on Aeroplan. Join me, along with Gary (View from the Wing), Ricky (Prince of Travel), and Jayce (PointsNerd), as we share our reactions on the New Aeroplan program, a Live Facebook stream @Points Miles and Bling (Aug 11, 3pm ET). For a more interactive experience, you can also join us by using the Zoom details below;

Topic: PMB Reaction Stream – with Gary, Ricky, and Jayce
Time: Aug 11, 2020 03:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89979700396?pwd=WlhZRmRnNERjZ3AxN0JRcmxhS1BTUT09

Meeting ID: 899 7970 0396
Passcode: 342496