What happens when you need to change or cancel an Aeroplan award? In most cases, Aeroplan change fees apply. While most agents are competent in calculating these, there are occasions where errors have been made.
Now, when you’re earning Aeroplan miles, I recommend American Express cards given the upcoming Aeroplan/Air Canada contract termination. That’s because they have the option to transfer to Aeroplan, but other partners as well depending on how things go. For more details, see my post on whether I’ll still be collecting Aeroplan miles and my thoughts on the impending breakup.
Four charge cards are available, all with increased bonuses. AMEX has also just improved their application eligibility requirements, making it easier for many people to obtain a card.
- American Express Business Platinum Card: Get up to 75,000 Membership Rewards Points!
- American Express Business Gold Card: Get up to 40,000 Membership Rewards Points!
- American Express Platinum Card: Get up to 60,000 Membership Reward Points!
- American Express Gold Rewards Card: Get up to 30,000 Membership Rewards Points!
There are two different situations for reward changes or refunds, ranging from $30 to $200. Aeroplan change fees apply to all reservations, from domestic one-way awards to Round-The-World First Class tickets. All change fees are in Canadian Dollars, exclude tax, and are non-refundable.
Aeroplan Change Fees (including Cancellations)
Changes can be done up to 2 hours before departure. This has to be done through the Aeroplan call center, and will cost $100 per direction for most members. For Aeroplan diamond members, this will only be $75. With multi-city rewards, each direction would be from your origin to the point of turnaround.
You can also cancel your current ticket. This can be easily completed online, and is the best option if you don’t have an alternative itinerary yet. You aren’t charged any fees until you rebook your new flights. Technically, that would mean that you won’t have to pay anything, but it means forfeiting your miles. If travel hasn’t started yet, you are free to apply the mileage value of the ticket towards an entirely different itinerary. If you redeem 25,000 miles to Ottawa for Canada Day, but need to cancel, the value of your redemption can be applied towards, for example, a trip to Munich for New Years.
If the ticket has already been partially used, you are limited to what you can rebook. Last year, I had a Europe multi-city itinerary in business class with stops in Vienna, Mallorca, and Paris. I ended up meeting a couple friends in Paris, and ended up flying with them on Lufthansa First Class. So with that multi-city ticket that I had cancelled from Paris, I could either fly from Paris to North America or Europe Zone 1 to Vancouver.
Aeroplan tickets are valid for an year from issue, so all travel must be completed then, whether you’re changing or cancelling.
Aeroplan Refund Fees
Unfortunately, Aeroplan has an archaic policy when refunding miles to your account. Refunds are permitted up to 22 days before departure, and can be completed both online and via the phone.
The fees for a refund is $150 per ticket for general members. This means you save more money cancelling your trip and booking a completely separate reservation, instead of changing both ends of your trip, which costs $200. Refund fees are a lot lower for Diamond members. For tickets that can be cancelled online, only a $30 fee applies. With phone cancellations, its $100.
Aeroplan Change Fees – Other Tips
This chart summarizes all the different change and cancellation fees with Aeroplan. Nobody likes paying change and cancellation fees, but Aeroplan change fees are reasonably on par with most other North American programs.
Aeroplan status is very valuable when it comes to saving money on change fees, so if you are diamond, that’s fantastic. This is completely separate from Air Canada, where top-tier status is Super Elite.
There are two situations where change fees are waived. First of all, they are waived when there is a schedule change on your itinerary. Aeroplan may send you an email that looks like this.
This usually occurs with Air Canada flight changes. If you have any legs on partner carriers, such as Lufthansa or United, these emails are much more rare. Change fees are waived when your flight moves at least 60+ minutes and/or causes a misconnect. However, there’s no hard and fast rule on this, so it really depends on the agent you get.
The other instance where you wouldn’t be paying anything is if issues happened with your ticket, like segments falling off. This occurs with Star Alliance partners like Air China and Swiss. Again, nobody will notify you, so do monitor your tickets. You certainly don’t want to be shocked when you show up at the airport but have no flight.
Aeroplan is very good when it comes to these situations. You’ll be able to book any flights with award availability that are reasonably within the routing rules. As well, Aeroplan will likely be able to open Air Canada flights even if there isn’t I or X class space.
Finally, don’t forget that you have to pay taxes on top of the change fee. They vary depending on where you live, so keep that in mind.
To view this information on Aeroplan, see their FAQ on Change Fees.