UPDATE: The problem is fixed…for now.
Aeroplan is blocking all online award redemptions of itineraries that do not touch the USA or Canada.
Earlier this month I wrote The Worst Aeroplan Redemption I’ve Ever Made, a last-minute Frankfurt to Vienna ticket I made because paid tickets were so expensive. One thing I never mentioned is that I was unable to complete the booking online.
The space showed up online, but the first time I attempted to book it I received the following error message:
My American Express card showed no charge attempt.
I tried again and received the following note:
Honestly, I was relieved to see that because it gave me another few hours to try to find a better solution (than burning 12.5K miles + $90 for a $300 flight). But there was not better solution and I called back to ticket the reservation.
I asked the agent why I could not complete the booking online and he stated that any booking that does not touch the USA or Canada cannot be completed online because “there is too much fraud going on”.
In some ways, I can understand that. After all, you can book right up until departure via the Aeroplan website and the reservation tickets immediately. If someone compromised your account, s/he could book + fly within minutes: that is a security risk.
Then again, Aeroplan users may be concentrated in the USA and Canada but those members, like me, travel outside North America.
My Theory: Aeroplan Will Use the “Fraud” Defense
I’ve reached out to Aeroplan for an official reason, but believe it will be due to “fraud”. Lucky hopes this is a poorly-communicated glitch, but I am more pessimistic. I believe that Aeroplan will spin this policy change as a “defense of our members”. I also believe, even though the new error message prompts you to call the internet redemption hotline, that Aeroplan will try to get away with a C$30 telephone booking fee for these reservations.
I’ll provide updates as appropriate.