Air Canada has introduced significant changes for flight awards in Aeroplan. Fear not, award redemption rate remains the same. Although there are both positive and negative changes; they are making good changes to the refund and cancellation of award tickets, however the negative changes are not something that we can easily accept.
What’s Good About The New Changes
1.Free cancellations and refunds within 24 hours of booking
All members (irregardless of status) are entitled to free refund and cancellation if the award ticket is cancelled within 24 hours of booking. However should you book your award ticket from a service agent, the CAD $30 service fee will not be refunded.
2.Free ticket cancellation and changes for Super Elite 100k members.
Instead of the existing reduced change and refund fees, Super Elite 100k members can change or cancel their award ticket for free. No fee will be charged for a refund of any award ticket. This is also applicable to all bookings made prior to this changes.
3.Lower refund fee on Aeroplan.com for all other members.
Should you request a refund for an award ticket on the website, your refund fee will be reduced to CAD $125 per ticket for members (exception: CAD $30 per ticket for Aeroplan Diamond members). This is also applicable to all bookings made prior to this changes. Any requests made over the phone are still subject to a refund fee of CAD $150.
4.Refund and cancel up to two hours before departure
Moving forward, you can request for cancellation and refund up to two hours before departure. Miles will also be credited back to the account upon payment of refund fee. This is also applicable to all bookings made prior to this changes.
In the past, award tickets could not be refunded within 21 days of departure – you would have to use the miles from the unused ticket to get another ticket for the original traveller, otherwise the miles would be forfeited.
What’s Bad About The New Changes
1.New Stopover and Open Jaw Restriction for Round Trip Tickets
From 1st September 2019, instead of i) two stopovers or ii) one stopover plus one open jaw on travel between two continents, members can now only have a maximum of one open jaw or one stopover for a round trip ticket.
Additionally, for travel within the same continent (except for North America), only one open jaw is permitted – no stopover is allowed.
2.Around-the-world Flight Rewards to be Discontinued
From 1st September 2019, “Around-the-world Flight Rewards” will be discontinued. You can still book “Around-the-world Flight Rewards” at the following rates:
200,000 miles for Economy Class
250,000 miles in Premium Economy Class
300,000 miles in Business Class
400,000 miles in First Class
A maximum of five stopovers and one open jaw are allowed. Ticket must include one transatlantic and one transpacific crossing.
Overall, the positive changes outweigh the negative changes. As life comes with greater uncertainty and more constraints, where we may be forced to make last minute changes, we certainly can benefit from the relaxed rules on refund and cancellation of award tickets. While the positive changes give us more flexibility in planning our travels, I also expect that the negative changes bring a minor detriment effect. Sharing the same thoughts as OMAAT, how often do we actually use more than 1 stopover? Also we can better craft our own round-the-world trip by redeeming one-way tickets on other frequent flyer programs, that offer lower redemption rates. Of course, you can disagree with me and drop your thoughts in the comment section below.