This is a continuation of my evaluation on Aeroplan’s changes which I discussed here. I’ve split this analysis into four parts. This is the final post in the series of four:
Part I – Distinction
Part II – Award Chart
Part III – Co-branded Credit Cards
Part IV – Various other bits and pieces, including market-fares flight awards (This Part)
There are two other changes that may be of importance to Aeroplan members. I’ve grouped them both here because I don’t find them particularly important.
Aeroplan is removing it’s 7 year expiration policy, where previously miles had a “shelf life” of 7 years and would expire if they weren’t redeemed within the 7 year period starting from when they were collected. Here is the text direct from their website about the 7-year change:
As another improvement to the program, we’re pleased to announce the cancellation of our Seven-year mileage redemption policy. Under this policy, miles unredeemed seven years following their accumulation date would have been removed from your account. Now, your miles will not expire as long as you stay active in the program. You can keep accumulating miles knowing that they will be there when you need them.
I like how they use improvement instead of enhancement. 😉 But essentially, the miles that have been collected before 2006/2007 that have not been used will now not expire. I still don’t like it, because what you have already done is devalue the program. Sure, it’s a positive change relative to your previous policy, but removing this “rule” doesn’t mean there are it’s an improvement, in my opinion, especially since there has been discussion online about how to use up all the miles because Aeroplan previously was going to take away the miles starting next year.
The other change that might be significant is the “improvement” to ClassicPlus Flight award, which is Aeroplan’s redemptions for any Air Canada flight with the mileage required related to the paid fare. It seems now that the award levels will be lower by up to twenty percent:
Distinction members will enjoy an up to an additional 30% discount on these awards. The problem is, though, these awards are really pricy, even more so than using a 2% travel rewards card, since Aeroplan is valuing 1 mile at essentially one cent. That’s why accumulating Membership Rewards points is even better, because while you have the flexibility of transferring to Avios and Aeroplan, you can also redeem for travel credit. While I’d probably never do that, at a 1% percent rebate it is similar to the Market-Fare award except that you are also accumulating EQM and RDM.
So this change will affect even fewer people than the expiry rule. It’s limited to people (and I have no idea who) who actually redeem for ClassicPlus rewards currently. But anyone in the right mind wouldn’t be redeeming ClassicPlus flights anyway, because I think most people accumulate Aeroplan due to their fixed award mileage levels, not their fixed value awards. Otherwise they’d be collecting 2% travel rebate points.
So I think sure, with these changes, there are definitely going to be members who are going to benefit. The removal of the 7 year rule will definitely affect a fair amount of members. The introduction to market-fare awards, maybe not so much. But what I think is that while the changes here are positive, the expenditure and potential costs that Aeroplan is incurring from removing the expiry rule from the miles that now do not expire and the overhaul to the ClassicPlus Fares in my opinion could have been better spent.