Aeroplan, the spun-off loyalty program of Air Canada, is slowly whittling down the number of Star Alliance carriers you can redeem miles on. I believe it is fair to ask whether there is something nefarious going on.
At present, the following Star Alliance carriers are not bookable using your Aeroplan miles:
- Air China
- Air India
There are two things in common about each of these carriers. First, all are generous in making award space available. Second, none of these carriers incur fuel surcharges.
While these five carriers make up 18% of the Star Alliance, I’d estimate they make up about 25% or so of the award space we generally see. In terms of Central and South America, COPA and Avianca make up almost 100% of premium cabin award space reliably available.
Here’s the thing–Aeroplan is the only program that blocks this space. It cites “technical reasons” for the “temporary” block, but in terms of carriers like Air China and COPA, the link has been broken for many months. Aeroplan therefore seems in no rush to fix these issues.
Phone agents cite issues like customers denied boarding on SWISS and Air India to justify its decision (and we’ve seen that at Award Expert), but why is Aeroplan not more aggressively finding a solution rather than just masking the problem? Aeroplan’s behavior represents a fundamental disservice to members and a huge reduction in the value of the program.
Aeroplan should openly address the issues and provide a specific timeline for a solution.
For another Boarding Area view, see DCTA.