Just a friendly warning: if you are considering an Aeroplan redemption, you may want to wait a few more days.
Last week, Air Canada and Aeroplan transitioned to Amadeus, a back-end reservation system. The change did not go smoothly and for most Aeroplan numbers, it is currently impossible to book awards. Put simply, the link between Aeroplan and Air Canada is broken. Even when a separate company, Aeroplan relied upon Air Canada to ticket its reservations. Yet Aeroplan maintains its own booking system and the two systems are now having trouble communicating.
I’ve been helping friends and clients all week try to book Aeroplan awards…to no avail. We literally have not booked a single reward because every single account is out of sync with the new system. If your account is not linked to the new system, your flight redemption will fail…without fail.
I’ve run into two consistent errors this week. For some account holders, searches fail from the start. You input two city pairs and are met with this message:
For others, everything seems to be working, but when you finally click “purchase” you are met with the following error:
The pernicious thing about this error is that you won’t know it until the final step. You’ll still be able to search for flights, choose them, input passenger information, choose flight insurance, and enter credit card details. Only when you click “purchase” will you encounter the error above.
Others have reported a reference number generating if the partner airline is also on Amadeus, but I have not seen this.
Aeroplan Phone Centers Clogged And No Help Anyway
I have been unable to reach an agent at Aeroplan by phoning the call center this week, despite trying over 100 times. Each time, I am told that the call center is “experiencing unusually high call volume and cannot take your call at this time”. After repeating the message in French, it automatically disconnects.
Even if I was able to reach agents, they too would be constrained by the same limitations as above.
My Aeroplan Advice: Wait
Word to the wise: don’t bother to call Aeroplan until next week. If you have a burning Star Alliance redemption that cannot wait, don’t transfer any points into Aeroplan right now. If you already have points in your account, it obviously doesn’t hurt to try to book. But if not, consider holding off or as a last resort, booking the award via Singapore Airlines or ANA, two other Star Alliance transfer partners from American Express. Note that both ANA and Singapore Airlines add fuel surcharges to partner awards and ANA awards can only be booked on a round-trip basis.
This problem was largely avoidable and likely points to cut corners at Air Canada. Nevertheless, here we are and complaining about it won’t fix the problem. Just be patient with Aeroplan bookings this week and try to avoid them. Hopefully everything will be resolved next week.