Aeroplan: have a dream? Too bad.

Aeroplan miles are generally considered, in my little circle, akin to gold. We may snicker at the lowly collectors of Club Z, Airmiles and Esso Extra points, but Aeroplan miles — that’s the real stuff.

I don’t believe my friend Don the Dentist has paid for an airline ticket in 10 years: he just puts the 45 gallon drums of dental amalgam on his Aerogold Visa, and, blamo, gets enough points to fly himself and his burgeoning family to Katmandu and back. Or at least to LA.

So after years of being a casual collector of Aeroplan miles here — 500 here, 500 there — I decided to jump in with both feet, bite the $150 bullet of the yearly card fee, and get Aerogolded. Of course my purchasing is limited, mostly to the occasional fountain pen ink cartridge and the odd floppy disk, so my accumulation isn’t anywhere near that of those that buy MRI’s and Jeep CJ’s on their card. But I’m clocking in about 2000 a month these days, and my lifetime, as-yet-to-be-redeemed Aeroplan mileage total is about to hit 100,000.

So you think I would excited to be entering a “world filled with an ever-expanding array of opportunities” (says Aeroplan).

But I am not.

Aeroplan reality, at least for my travel planning habits, is far less alluring than Aeroplan dreams.

Let’s say, for example, that Oliver and I want to go to New York City next week (a modest dream, but a dream nonetheless). We want to leave on Friday, and come back on Monday.

Well, first off, there are no Aeroplan seats available for a Friday-Monday trip. The best they can offer is a Tuesday departure and Friday return. Fair enough.

The Tuesday departure is reasonable: leave Charlottetown at 4:35 in the afternoon, arrive La Guardia, via Montreal, at ten minutes to nine that night.

But the Friday return leaves New York City at 7:50 a.m., flies to Ottawa for a 9:11 a.m. arrival. Then there’s a three hour wait in Ottawa for a noon flight to Halifax. Then one is forced to overnight in Halifax, returning to Charlottetown at 8:20 a.m. the next morning. That makes it a 24 hour trip from airport to airport.

The stuff that dreams are made of?

But perhaps my plans are too soon: maybe it’s unreasonable to dream so quickly? So I check for a Friday-Monday trip in January.

For a mid-January weekend in New York, Aeroplan’s availability would have us leaving Charlottetown at 7:40 p.m., arriving in Halifax shortly after 8:00 p.m. Then — sheesh! — overnighting in Halifax and leaving Halifax for Montreal the next day at 4:00 p.m.. Final arrival in New York City is ten minutes to seven. Making it another 24 hours journey.

And that’s not all: other routings, for other dates, have us landing at JFK and leaving from Westchester County Airport, which is 27 miles from New York City.

Obviously my dreams and Air Canada’s dreams a different.

Makes me realize why Aeroplan’s competitors are so intent on advertising their “fly any time on any flight” policies.

Comments

Charlie's picture
Hmmm…not sure how the aeroplan to air miles conversion goes, but looking at your “dream” flight next week through the airmiles flight calculator it would fall in the discount period meaning that a return ticket would be 1150 airmiles from Charlottetown to NY. Closer to 1750 during peak season. The downfall of the airmiles site is that it does not allow you to search up specific flight plans, you just see how many points it would be for a certain date and then call the reservations number to see if it’s actually possible to fly. Of course Airmiles would rather I buy $20 Sobeys grocery coupons for 125 miles a piece instead of expensive flights!
Leah's picture
Oh my. It’s a $150 yearly fee now? I have to cancel my card. In my heyday of full-time wage earning the Aerogold card was worth it. Now I spend little on the card and think if I just put aside that $150 a year I’d have a short-haul flight relatively quick. But I probably wouldn’t put the money aside. It reminds me of computer hardware rebates somehow. You buy full-price send in the documentation for the rebate and months and months (and months) later you get a cheque. More like work or an investment than a windfall.
Clark's picture
It is only a dream. Having a gracious family member who runs his business on an Aeroplan visa continuously offer me business class seats home from Taiwan seems like a dream come true. Despite planning a year ahead I have only once in 5 years been able to book a seat that didn’t have me staying over night in every major city from Taipei to Halifax.
Dico's picture
I also collect the Aeroplan points on a CIBC card. As I write this comment, I am in Australia… thanks to Aeroplan points. I flew down here “executive class”, cost me a whole 100,000 points. I decided to come to Oz in December 2002 or perhaps early January 2003. It was a spur of the moment thing and I called up the Aeroplan rewards people. I told them I wanted to go Executive Class as I’d been here before in the back of the plane and now know what hell is like and I didn’t want to go through that again. I had a couple dates in mind that I wanted to go and told the lady on the phone. After exhausting my dates and her telling me “sorry, there are no aeroplan seats left” I told her, “ok, anytime from september 10th to november 15th for a departure and I want to return in about a month.”… after 15 minutes she came back with ONE flight. I took it. It seems the problem is that they only have so many seats allocated to Aeroplan people… and even less up front of the plane. And since this is a longer route with 3 connections (chtown → hali → toronto → lax → melbourne), they had to have an executive seat available in each route. Anyhow, to make a long story short… they do work, perhaps better if you’re flying solo or perhaps if you book 9 months in advance. But they are certianly not as easy to use as they’ll have you believe. I am back in Canada next week. Photos for those interested are at www.travelblog.ca…. just go to “galleries” and they’re under “Aus - xxxxxxx”.
yasir ali's picture
i love aeroplane,i want to make an my self so please send me a book for make it,please.
yasir ali's picture
i love aeroplane,i want to make an my self so please send me a book for make it,please.
Stuart's picture
Without a doubt, Aeroplan is the most ridiculous “reward” program I have ever encountered. Lack of seat supply, terrible staff attitudes, lousy web-site operation and navigation, and so on. If the word “reward” means “jam it straight up your backside”, then they indeed have got it right.
Michael's picture
If you fly with aeroplan they will not credit your account for buying a ticket for you and your friend, only for yourself unless you have the aeroplan creditcard. I also have americal Airlines rewards, and I can put my relatives and spouse under my account and get airmiles of their flights. Aeroplan also does not give 100% of the miles travelled unless you buy with the aeroplan credit card or have a special account. Imagine flying from Halifax to Toronto which is about 1000miles and only getting credited for 500. These people need to stop being so greedy and learn about real rewards.
Bob's picture
OK, so I think I’ve figured it out. Even though I REALLY REALLY don’t want to have anything to do with Aeroplan, and just spent the last 15 minutes on hold from the Netherlands (don’t you love a handset with a built in timer?) waiting to talk to somebody overseas to “help” me, our travel plans, and the fact that KLM no longer is associated with Continental’s Onepass system (where you’re miles NEVER, EVER expire btw….I highly recommend signing up….) means that we need something….anything in the way of a “plan”. Aeroplan is the only one from which we can now get any benefit if we fly Austrian Air. (don’t get started about sticking with KLM and using “flying blue”, since I just think it has something to do with getting blue in the face, but I digress…) Trouble is…..this whole expiring point thing. ?? Apparently, I was already a member? Yet, there’s no place on their website where you can ask a question without that nine digit plan number. Hence the phone call. So….even though I’m a member, I have no points, and my account is “inactive”. Well, if it’s “inactive”, then why the h*ll did they still have my info? That all by itself is a little troubling. Was last used in 1998. I think that was before I heard about Westjet…..and never ever flew Air Canada again. Why would I? I’m just saying… So here’s the thing. Even though I HATE Esso. (morally bankrupt) and have walked out of Home Hardware empty handed just way too many times, I will diligently spend my five bucks a year at one or the other, keep my miles “active”, and they can suck on anything they’d like…. Thanks for letting me vent. Much appreciated. Bob.
Anonymous's picture
MONTREAL — The Quebec Superior Court has granted authorization to launch a class-action lawsuit challenging Groupe Aeroplan Inc.’s practice since October 2006 of cancelling points accumulated in its loyalty program. The motion, obtained by Montreal lawyer Owen Falquero of Merchant Law Group LLP, was filed on behalf of about seven plaintiffs across Canada. But the number of petitioners, if and when a class-action suit is launched, could balloon to thousands of people. The motion was filed formally on behalf of Noella Neale of Port Coquitlam, B.C., a single mother whose 150,000 points were annulled by Aeroplan because she hadn’t made a contribution or a redemption in her account for one year, a period during which she had fallen ill. Those points fell victim to Aeroplan’s rules, instituted in October of 2006, under which the company erases points in an account dormant for 12 months. In a telephone interview, Neale said she was going to pay for her daughter’s trip to New Zealand — her graduation gift — until she tried to pay from her account and saw that it had been emptied. Aeroplan spokeswoman JoAnne Hayes declined to comment on the issue because it is now before the courts. In a statement, Aeroplan noted that “no class action has yet been filed. This motion is the first procedural step before any such action can be instituted.” The company noted that “petitioners (are) seek(ing) court permission to sue Aeroplan on behalf of program members in Canada to obtain reinstatement of expired miles, reimbursement of any amounts already expended by Aeroplan members to reinstate their expired miles, $50 in compensatory damages and an undetermined amount in exemplary damages on behalf of each class member, all in relation to changes made to the Aeroplan program concerning accumulation and expiry of Aeroplan Miles as announced Oct. 16th, 2006.” But Aeroplan stressed that it “is of the view that there are good grounds for opposing the motion for authorization and will vigorously defend any class action, should one be authorized by the court.” Neale said: “I felt like they stole from me.” “If the bank took my money like that, it would be theft. I earned those points. They belong to me, and (Aeroplan) has no right to take them away from me.” — Canwest News Service
Anonymous9283742's picture
Here’s the secret to getting the most from your Aeroplan points. Don’t use them for flights! The value just isn’t there. You’re best bet is to redeem them for gift cards, if you do the math. We just cash them in for Esso gas cards…that’s as good as money in your pocket.
Anonymous André's picture
I didn’t receive any mail or e-mail and they cancel all my points (200 000) because I had no activities to my account on one year. Beware, no activities for one year and 10 years of points accumulation gone.
HUTCH's picture
AERO PLAN SUCKSHAVE BEEN A MEMBER FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS AND HAVE MADE A NUMBER OF TRIPS-BUSINESS CLASS, ALL FOR BETWEEN 100 THOUSAND AND 140 THOUSAND POINTSNOW ALL THERE BUSINESS CLASS POINTS SEATS TO AUSTRALIA OR NEW ZEALAND ARE CALLED BUSINESS CLASS RETURN BUT WHEN YOU CHECK THEM THEY ARE ALL BUSINESS ONE WAY AND ECONOMY THE OTHERTHE ONLY BUSINESS CLASS BOTH WAYS ARE 585 THOUSAND POINTSBIT OF PHONY ADVERTISING?????
jay's picture
Aeroplan does suck and I once I use up my miles I am going to change to Avion. I’ve heard great things about it from friends who say that it is much more flexible. Aeroplan erased my points when I was 18 when I am supposed to get an extra year before my miles expire. The lady said I was inactive after they took the points away. In response I said, well obviously since I have really no reason to keep my account active if you stole all my points when you shouldn’t have. While I realize that this is a ‘rewards’ program, I think the members do deserve more care and attention since many of us spend money at their participating partners in order to accumulate points. In turn, Aeroplan is making money by advertising these companies to us and we deserve the rewards for helping them. I haven’t had trouble using the points before though when I made a trip to Asia, but the experience I must say is not the most pleasant. I had to make 3 stop before arriving at my final destination with 4 hour wait times at each airport. I did save money though since the ticket would have cost me $1800, but I paid $150 in airport tax + taxes. But come on, THREE stop and 12 waiting hours later… sorry 6 stop and 24 hours later because it was round trip. This is the reason I would switch to Avion because you can go somewhere either directly for less points or make ONE stop and not three.
J.O From T.O's picture
Well, it’s now official….Aeroplan sucks. I’m going to cancel my CIBC Aeroplan card, and get one of the other points cards. Over the past year and a half, I’ve probably put about $50K worth of purchases thru my CIBC Aeroplan card. Combined with some earlier flights I made overseas, my balance is slightly over 180K. I decided to put Aeroplan to the test, and see if the family and I could get a flight to Vegas in March (it’s now late December). I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised to find that the dates I originally wanted (departing on the 17th, and returning on the 21st) weren’t available. So, I grudgingly tried the dates that it did have (sames days, but in the prior week). I did come up with one hit, and would cost my 100K points…which is great, considering there are 4 of us. So, things were looking good….then I took a closer look, and noticed that the trip indicated 19 hours between Toronto and Las Vegas. When I looked at the itinerary, I realized it was forcing a flight via Calgary, with a night layover and departure the following day. My 4 day trip to Vegas would now be reduced by 1 day. I did have other options, for example, I noticed that there were some direct flight options, but these would cost me a minimum of 260K airmiles…with most options over 340K miles…..talk about a rip-off. While some of you might have been able to get what you wanted, it’s clear to me…after my personal experience and reading many of the other comments, that the Aeroplan rewards program is not interested in keeping it’s customers happy. I’m going to exchange the points for some merchandise, and then save myself $150 year by cancelling the aeroplan card once and for all!
graltopan's picture

you guys don't get it. you got suckered in. Aeroplan is owned and operated by and for a select group of people. it does not have a sustainable business model. the value of the miles is arbitrarily set by the company. it's like the FED in the US...

Mike's picture

I have canceled my Aeroplan card too. I have had nothing but trouble with booking tickets, travel and customer service. Aeroplan in my mind is the worst.
www.groupezeroplan.blogspot.com

Frank's picture

Just received extremely unprofessional service from Aeroplan. Absolutely agree that Aeroplan is a failure. I will be flying Porter from now on.

Jeff's picture

I've been reading all these comments and all have happened to me. You can't book any fights anymore for their listed points amount. All fights now have an inflated amount because the original seats are all taken. This is true when you try to book 6 - 12 months in advance. I am calling CIBC and cancelling my visa card and asking for my $120.00 fee to be refunded. There are no rewards with aeroplan.

Shirley's picture

Lost my 43,000 miles --- enough for a ticket to Hawaii --- NOT a nice way to treat a senior citizen. And this is a loyalty reward program??? Absolutely despicable treatment. How can they unilaterally take away something I've earned?

MK's picture

I have been an aeroplan member for 11 yrs. have collected in excess of 500,000 points over that time. Cant even book a ticket to anywhere. everything is a connection and a ridiculous connection at that. Or you can pay 699,000 points to go direct. so I thought maybe I can try next month, 6 months from now, next year. In fact I checked everyday for the next year and there isn't a single day where you have flight available.What a scam, I thought we had rights in this country, but apparently getting hosed, lied to, treated like we are sub human is okay by the authorities. Anybody out there looking for a loyalty plan Aeroplan is NOT THE ONE. AEROPLAN SUCKS!!

Frances's picture

Quit your whining and put your points to good use. On November 4th 2010, Aeroplan will match every Mile donated online to Medecins Sans Frontieres by Aeroplane members.

www.msf.ca/donate

sd's picture
I completely agree with all the comments. Aeroplan is not a valuable flight reward program. i now use the points for merchandise, which is not a bad deal. The rewards are not taxed and shipping is free. No point in booking flights, even months in advance. You can get cash cards for some of the box stores, or even ski lift tickets.
Aeroplan is the Ass's picture
For years fly with air canada and first time redeemed my points of Aeroplan for three Esso gift cards in Oct 2010 with the points of my account’s and my wife’s, None received! for 3 months called Aeroplan many times, their service is so terrible, and ppl working there was amazingly arrogant. They said they sent them by regular mail, no way to track. would anyone send hundreds of dollors in an envelop by regular mail? and What a coincidence since neither of us received one card? With all the experience these 3 months talking to them and they made all the excuses not to repay me, could not believe them. Why this sort of business still exist? and to those employees working for this business to take advantage of regular customers because of the almost minimum wages this ass company is paying you, your guys are so pathetic!
Bubba's picture
Aeroplan miles are much better to use for long-haul. I have done a first class trip from Toronto to Australia in high-season for 100,000 + $135 in taxes, and I have a business class trip from Toronto → London → Germany → Denmark and back in High season for 80,000 + $400 in taxes. Not a bad conversion in my mind. The 100,000 offset a $12000 ticket, and the 80,000 are offsetting $8,500 in tickets. Thanks Aeroplan!
Carl Reese's picture

Aeroplan rewards? Not even on the best day! "Rewards" are actually a money grab, not only from the vendors (sorry, suckers) that pay Aeroplan to give YOU miles, but wait until you see what Aeroplan charges you for SERVICE FEES. I just booked the same identical 60,000 mile reward using United Mileage Plus for Cslgary to Copenhagen and return. I paid $447 LESS in fees that had I booked with Aeroplan!!! Same exact flights, same exact days, same class of service. And to top it off, both transatlantic flights are on Air Canada! When I asked for an explanation, some supervisor bimbo from Aeroplan in Montreal (named Mindy) could only make excuses and give no answers.

Nel's picture

Just had the most frustrating experience with trying to book a reward flight. After many hours of searches I finally found a flight that I wanted and when I entered my payment information I got a system error and lost all my flight details. I tried re-submitting the information as suggested by the website and got the same error. Gave it an hour and tried again and the flight was no longer available. When I called the number for assistance as, once again suggested by the website, I give all my details the Emanuel who basically tells me he's just the support guy and can only tell me a possible reason why I got the error message. First of all Who cares why?? I just wanted to book my flight and be on my way. He was unhelpful and arrogant and finally put me through to their contact center where the woman was just as unhelpful and condescending. Basically I was told I could not get the flight I wanted and in future I should call them directly and pay the fees foe using them and at least I will get the flights I want. Is this how Aeroplan does business? Get people so upset and frustrated by wasting their time and passing the buck around? When I asked who I could speak to about my experience, I was told I could try an email them and maybe I might get a response. Maybe? Is this what they call customer service? They can't even guarantee they are going to address your issues.
I have had better experiences with other loyalty programs (US ones) where also the fees aren't so high. It's crazy when your fees cost more than the flight. I am done with Aeroplan... Just too many frustrating experiences with them.

john's picture

accumulated Aeroplan points for 15yrs, now I find a flight a business calss that is normally direct from Vancouver to London UK now goes via the US and Germany taking 24hrs instead of 9 an 1/2 the flight is reg class!. The fees alone that you have to pay with Aeroplan are more than a direct flight by a tour company, what a joke!

Tom Gets Screwed's picture

I have been just screwed over by Aeroplan with their auto erasing of points.
I have been with AeroPlan for 26 years and have had inactivity for a while now.
I called AeroPlan to transfer some points to the plan and they informed me the points have been erased.
After some heated discussion I was told it would be 3 days before I got an answer back from one of the Managers.

I am glad to see that there has been a class action suit applied for by
lawyer Owen Falquero of Merchant Law Group in Oct 2006.

All I can say is screw AeroPlan as they have been screwing over people for years!

NP's picture
Aeroplan sucks big time. They still have not issued me my card and it’s been almost 6 months since I enrolled. I called a few weeks ago to request a “replacement” card, but I doubt it’s coming. Secondly, they miss out on crediting your account so often. And when it does happen, their online credit system is just bullshit - it never finds your record in your system. Who the #$%@ knows to keep their boarding pass just in case these dumbasses mess up with their crediting system again. Idiots.
Stuart's picture
Cancelled my VISA Aerogold 8 weeks ago. To pay that yearly fee and get in return an absolutely useless rewards program just bugged my ass. But no more. I need to unload my 200,000 points, looking for a flight to nowhere, biz class, just to get rid of ‘em. Aeroplan aka Air Canada, sucks.
Rod's picture
CIBC Aerogold. What a joke! Try using the phone to book a flight. Still trying to get through. Impossible. If you go to the web sight there all you see are a bunch of fancy words which translate into zero service. I’m out of here.
Duncan Matheson's picture
My story involves Aeroplan’s Indulgence Rewards program. Got an Email offering seats at a Power Within Seminar for 32000 points. The Email mentioned 3 cities and the one I was interested in was Montreal. But before I booked it, I figured I better make sure I can get the flight on points, knowing from experience that that’s no easy chore. It wasn’t, but I eventually booked it. Now this is the same day I got the Email promotion, so right away after booking the flight, I tried to book the ticket to the event, only to find out they had none available for the Montreal location. It was sold out BEFORE they sent out their Email offering it. So I then tried to cancel the flight, given that it was their false advertising that prompted me to book it in the first place, and I don’t feel I should pay the cancellation penalty. I had gotten back to them within a half-hour of booking. With no satisfaction from the person on the phone, I asked to talk to her supervisor, but apparently, supervisors are above taking phone calls. I was told the supervisor would call me back. That was four days ago. Anybody know the name and coordinates of whoever runs Aeroplan? I do not plan to let them get away with this without a fight. Thanks for any help.
Derek Edwards's picture
I decided to do a search for Aeroplan Sucks, and there certianly are a lot of others like myself. I have 80,000 points which I have been saving for a year and a half now. Called the number and there were no flights from Newfoundland to Toronto for this upcomming August 1st to the 5th. What good is Aeroplan if you can’t get a flight. I will certianly be cancelling my Aeroplan Credit card in the next few weeks. I was on hold for about 15 minutes, however the guy on the phone was good when i told him that “Aeroplan is the shits”. Ha ha ha, im going to stick to my GM Visa, now that a good rewards program.
Carlos Marques's picture
Here’s a better one. I’m trying to book a flight to Europe for the whole family (me + spouse + infant + 2.5 year old son). I was just told that my 2 year old son will pay full miles, like me!!! I protested because most airlines sell tickets at half-price. Ah! they had a tip for me- this gets funny- go to AirCanada’s web site, search for a flight, buy full-fare ticket for kid (which will half-price, so about $1,200 / 2 = $500 + taxes more-or-less!!), and then call Aeroplan really quickly to book my 2 adult seats with my points (of course, I have to have the Aeroplan dates and flight times handy before booking my AirCanada seat!!) This is crazy! I tried 6 months ago (at around xmas time) and I was not able to get anything- and this is flying almost outside the peak times when most kids have to be back in school. Why am I still paying them $120+ a year? I have no idea… Like many, I may book something anywhere to stick it to them and then quit the card (which is probably what they want anyway…). Is there a better plan out there? Is Air Miles any better?
TMar's picture
I’m currently at work, on hold with Aeroplan. To pass the time I thought I would google “Aeroplan sucks” and I ended up here. Aeroplan certainly does suck. What’s with the website, it doesn’t work at all. And why don’t they hire more people to answer the phone, i’ve been on hold for like half an hour. I guarantee that when these bastards answer they won’t have any flights that I can even almost use. I understand that it’s a bonus program not a right but I still hate them, and I’m going to cancel my CIBC credit card.
jaksun's picture
Nice that they now have this ‘choice’ of rewards, means that today 4 months in advance I have a choice of Toronto to Vancouver of only one highly inconvenient flight for 50K versus up to 298K for what most people would consider a normal flight itinerary. Also my 2 free tixs have $190 in extra charges added. Just burning the miles off then cancelling. Once they started doing mile inflation we knew this would happen, it is like Weimar Germany, we will be carting around millions of miles to get a 1 hour flight in a few years… My advice is to dump the Aerogold etc and bank the fees and just wait for a seat sale.
Bob's picture
Dear Rupert Duchesne (Aeroplan President), You and all your buddies are what I call, excuse my name calling, but hey if “it walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck … it usually is a duck” … so I will refer to you as …. those “SCAM ARTISTS” called EXECUTIVES of AEROPLAN who can just screw people and have no obligation to answer for it! I am just sick of COPORATIONS doing this to people …. have you no conscience. Guess not, you probably rob your grandmother while she’s sleeping, you son’s of …. you know who you are. After just wasting 30 minutes of my life with an agent named Bosco in Vancouver, his official statement … “We’ve gone to the executives and the marketing team of Aeroplan and brought the consumer’s issues to the table …. and they continue to stand by their statement that they have no obligation to notify you … because after trying to do a “Notification” system, they felt the cost was too great and not enough people were renewing their aeroplan account’s ……. YOU KNOW WHAT I SAY TO THAT …. BULLHIT …. they had my phone number in the account and could have called at anytime, or even had a computer do it … what would have that cost??? 25 cents … wow. This “Bosco”, basically their gofer, says to me that a brochure would have been mailed to me in 1996 which said they had the right to cancel your aeroplan miles if your account was not used within 36 month period. Yah, buddy, I have that brochure in my pocket, I carry it with me everyday … how about the part that wasn’t written in the brochure … WE VALUE OUR MEMBER’S … WE APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS … yeah, you won’t find that written anywhere! Thanks for nothing Rupert, ya ol’ rupie, you and your buddy are COWARD EXECUTIVES …. who live a big fancy life, and FLY FOR FREE …. should be lined up and … have paint dumped on your stinkin’ head! I HATE AEROPLAN NOW! I HATE CORPORATIONS …. I HATE ALL OF THEM! jerks. Yours Truly, Not-an-aeroplan member (I wonder why?)
Steven O.'s picture
I have never had issues with Aeroplan before. Just gotta book in advance and read the rules. It’s not that hard people. It’s a bonus program to booking flights not a right. Stop acting like they owe you something.
Corndrum's picture

At one time I would have agreed with your comments. I have flown using Aeroplan since 1997. However, in the last couple of years it doesn't seem to matter when one tries to book - there either aren't any available flights or available flights involve overnights in airports, travelling to London and then back to Europe and back to get to Manchester, UK, etc. And no it's not a right and I fully understand the advantages inherent in booking early. Booking early just doesn't work anymore.

True Aeroplan doesn't owe me anything and also true I don't owe Aeroplan anything. It is a service and when it doesn't work for me I do what I do with any other service - find another provider. Maybe Aeroplan doesn't care but they should. They have a business deal with CIBC and other businesses which give points and there are dollars involved. When CIBC Aerogold clients cancel their credit cards the value of Aeroplan to CIBC diminishes. And the same for other sponsors. So it's not personal but Aeroplan should have some good business reasons to provide service to members. As with many businesses when the customer isn't happy the business may no longer exist.

Pistol's picture

Aeroplan had all my business for a while ... until I discovered RBC's Avion VISA. I can fly anywhere, anytime (no blackout dates),on any airline (not just AC and where they fly), and there is never a limit on seats ... no long-range planning ever required.

An Aeroplan rep called me one day to discuss the service (routine customer maintenance I guess). I told him that they couldn't touch the RBC equivalent and he tried debating it by saying that flights were cheaper (fewer points). I told him that I agreed with him, hypothetically, but suggested we go online together at that very moment and see what the costs would be for me to visit my daughter on the other side of the country in one month's time. I acquire both points at the same purchasing rate so it's a fair comparison. RBC was 35K points ... he told me Aeroplan would be 25K or 30K, which it would have been had I booked 8 months earlier, but the only seats available were at 192K each (yes ... 192K !!!) and that wasn't even an upgrade to business class. He said I picked a bad example so I let him pick a couple ... he just backed himself into a corner before finally admitting that his job is frustrating because he knows that RBC blows them out of the water in almost every single aspect.

Of course,I still acquire Aeroplan points through actual AC flights not to mention using the card for frequency points at ESSO, etc. So every few years I still get an Aeroplan flight ... but 90+% of my free flights are now through RBC Avion VISA.

Brad's picture
After collecting miles for almost a decade, I have a few suggestions:
Stephen's picture
Yes, Aeroplan sucks. I just booked my last flights with them (10 months in advance) to burn up all my points. I’m flying from Vancouver to London, Ontario in July 2008. I need 5 seats for my wife and me and our 3 small kids. We are all together on the flight to Toronto. But from Vancouver to London we have to travel 3 on one flight, 2 on the next. Originaly it was 2, then 2, then 1 (my 7-year-old son by himself) to London. I complained like hell to the girl on the phone to get my son with me or my wife, but she said she couldn’t do it since there was only 2 seats available. I then talked to the manager for 30 minutes without any luck. Waving the white flag, I was transfered back to the booking department and talked to employee #3. This lady was much more helpful and offered to make a request to the department that could “open up a seat” at the basic 25,000 point level so that my son didn’t have to travel by himself. A week later she called me back with the good news that they opened up a seat for my son so that he can travel with my wife. It still frustrating that we can’t travel together all the way given that I am booking 10 months in advance. Hence I’m looking into the Avion Visa card. Anyone have any experience with them?
Johnny's picture
Their online booking system always not working? I called them and waited next to the phone. After 2 movies and a hockey game…… Still no representative answer the phone. Please stop earning points at this program. You can never redeem it.
Greg's picture
Yes, Aeroplan sucks! I live in Cape Breton, NS, and work in the US. I fly every Monday and Friday…49 weeks a year at a cost of around $65,000. I’m still only Elite, not Super Elite and I only have 200k miles. When I called, they told me it’s because I chose the cheaper flights without ‘status’ miles. On their website, when booking a flight, who in their right mind would pick..”if you choose latitude you’ll receive 1 airmile for $2 spent as opposed to the now “1 airmile for $4 spent” at an extra cost of $1,100. NOBODYTHAT’S WHO!!!! On a flight I noticed that the new CEO, Marty Brewer, gave out his email address to make any concerns. I emailed him and asked why someone who flies as much as I do and pays, on average, over $#65k/year only has 200k miles and only Elite status. I also mentioned that my wife and I, this spring, tried using my airmiles to fly (one way) from Sydney, NS to Jacksonville, FL, was told that I needed 300k airmiles for the trip because it was under 2 weeks notice. I also told Marty that when i called about my miles, the CSR pointed out that I received only 250 airmiles on one of my flights due to me picking a cheaper flight ($900) but I showed him that I received 600 airmiles for purchasing a $49 flower arrangement from FTD. WHERE’S THE LOGIC? Marty’s “assistant” replied “our flights are over 80% filled and that they don’t see many complaints”. They also told me that they have “great incentives” like saving $3 by not checking any bags. But didn’t mention that if I change my mind that it costs $50/bag/direction to check them after selecting this wonderious $3 saving. They also mentioned that I could save an additonal $5 if I forgo my airmailes all together. Wow, if I choose to not collect any airmiles I save $5 but If I choose to fly another level up, I only get 2/1 airmiles instead of 4/1 and it will cost me 300k airmiles for a one-way trip under 2 weeks in advance. The scales are definately tiped in aeroplan’s favor and it’s far time to get rid of Air Canada and bring in Jet Blue, Southwest, Air tran and others that are making profit and still treat their customers like humans.
Alex's picture
Yes, Aeroplan certainly does suck the big one. I just found out they cancelled my 38,000 points without notifying me of their change in policy. Apparently they now wipe your balance clean after just 12 months of inactivity. I was told the change was covered in the media. So just because I don’t spend my time with my nose buried in the local paper, I missed this little tidbit of information! I phoned to get the balance reinstated and was told they would be happy to do it if I paid then $430. You must be kidding me!! I should pay these clowns to recoup my property! For those who are saying these points are a privilege… BS. They were earned as part of the price paid for tickets, many thousands of dollars worth of tickets. I’m sure there are others who have been rear-ended by the corporate clods. We should band together and file a class-action suit.
Kasch's picture
Will someone PLEASE tell me where to send a complaint letter to aeroplan. I had issues with reward travel I did and I need to complain. I looked everywhere and can’t find an address for complaints to aeroplan. Any suggestions? I realise from reading here that Aeroplan probably won’t address my complaints anyway :(
vml's picture
Aeroplan sucks………….weird policies! and very RUDE customer service Always keep one on Hold for 18-30 mins I would prefer ay other arline any day!
Rausenberg's picture
All of my husbands rewards magically disappeared because of inactivity over the past year. Given what we pay per year, the unscrupulous manner of taking your points away - I am going to find something else. Anything is better than paying for points only to have them taken away. Good riddance. Class action sounds good to me.
William Lindseth's picture
I had 43,000 air miles, which I collected over several years. The next thing I knew was there were deleted even though I was still using one of their partners Ing Insurance and had been using them for the last 4 years. Aeroplan customer service was very poor. You ask for head office fax numbers, which did not work or take faxes. You explain your situation but they do not care to listen. We have claimed the remainder Aeroplan air miles for petrol. I am no longer using any of their partner companies, they list them all. In June I am no longer using Ing Insurance as I feel they are all part of the betrayal of our trust and our loyalty. Aeroplan have become penny pinching and mean. They do not deserve to be trusted any more.
Ian Brett's picture
I must add my name to your list. I just discovered that all the 49,000 we had accumulated were stolen by AeroPlan just 2 weeks ago. To get these back I must now pay $500. How can this be legal?
charles g's picture
aeroplan is a complete joke, they devalued all the good flights, ie pay quadruple points, and eveything else are milk runs which may or may not get you to your destination. try booking the 25,000 florida trips, you will have a nightmare senario. i am never collecting aeroplan points again…and will even boycott businesses that offer them!!!!!! charles
Todd's picture
I wonder if there is a class action law suit in this. Aeroplan does not provide enough seats per flight for anyone except the most flexible and early booker to get a flight. They are misleading the public when they say that you can redeem flights for their points. I have tried numerous times and never have had success. When a company advertises a product that they do not have in sufficient quantities to fulfill demand they are misleading the public. Aeroplan will not tell how many seats per flight are available. They do not have customer service email or phone numbers. They obstruct the public from getting in touch with their customer service department purposely. In 2008 how can a company justify not having email for customer service enquiries. I am going to start calling the law firms that have successfully won class action suits in Canada to see if they feel such a suit has merit. I have close to a million points I will never be able to book fights with. I am going to start to keep of log and documents of each attempt I make and the result from now on.
Mark's picture
Tried to book flights from Edmonton to Antigua 3 months in advance. No go. Checked for 1 year from now, no seats available. It seems only frequent flights from major center to major center is available ( and of course booking months in advance). Looked on the web and read about Quantas Airlines, any seat, any flight, any time. Maybe Aeroplan should take notice?
Esther's picture
I did a google search “Aeroplan sucks” and here we are. They dropped 38000 of my air miles and didn’t even email me or let me know my expiration was approaching. There are so many people with the same story. I had to dig around to find out about their policy. And if they sent me an email it was hidden in some promo spam. I certainly received no official notice. So I called them, waited for 20 minutes on the phone, told him I was canceling my membership. The guy didn’t do any customer service, eg. why? what happened? He just canceled and signed off. I think if more people canceled their membership, it might have to make Air Canada rethink their program. But at this point I think they have the monopoly mentality, and don’t care an iota about customers. If Canada’s national carrier can charge you for a blanket, ‘nuff said. I am a member with Asia Miles and American Advantage. Never had this 12 month expiration stuff thrown at me. It’s just garbage…much like the airline. I will never fly AC again, even if I have to walk.
pissedoffagain's picture
AEROPLAN SUCKS!!!! Yes. I’ve been a member since way back - when it actually worked. Now, aeroplan does nothing but screw people over. Sure I’ve had some free flights - but after racking up hundreds of thousands of points, well, that’s the point. It is difficult to get a ticket. Better book a decade in advance if you really want to get what you’re looking for. They charge you a fee. A “FREE REWARD” from Vancouver to Tokyo still costs about 500 dollars. And, you get to travel on one of the world’s crappiest airlines - air canada. I’m embarrassed when any of my non-Canadian friends have the misfortune of having traveled on our “National Carrier”. What a pathetic excuse for an airline. It is basically a monopoly and the idiots who are in management still have no bloody idea on how to make a profit! Where did these yahoos get their MBA’s? Out of a cracker jack box? Anyways, my beef (or lack thereof) with aeroplan is not the terrible service or the lack of available seats, or the hidden fees but in several instances I have not been able to get my points back from flights taken on air canada partners in the star alliance “family”. It is virtually impossible to do. The idiots they have working for aeroplan have no idea how to process boarding passes and tickets issued in foreign countries. They call me and tell me that they cannot verify the fact that I was on a particular flight. Well jackass, do you see my name on the pass? Do you see my name on the aeroplan account? Well, that would mean that I was on the plane. How difficult is that? Good Luck to any of you who are thinking about getting points redeemed from flights taken in Asia. Apparently Asia doesn’t exist for those bastards in the office. Get off your bloody facebook page and do your goddamn jobs! AEROPLAN and AIR CANADA SUCK ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
pissdoff's picture
AEROPLAN SUCKS!!! What a useless tit of a company. They’ve wasted so much of my time and money and their website has been utter CRAP for years. I HATE AEROPLAN!!
Robert's picture
Aeroplan certainly does suck. They deleted my 13000+ miles because there was no activity on my account for over 12 months. The reason there was no activity is that they unilaterally, with no notification, increased the number of miles need for a R/T to MTL from 10K to 15K. So they screwed me over by not letting me take the flight I already had enough miles for…then screwed me over again by deleting all of my miles. After 39 minutes on hold, the customer rep droid helpfully told me that I could have kept my account active by buying gas in Canada…even after I told him I lived in the U.S. Friggin’ useless program, friggin’ useless customer reps. They SUCK. -R
Brian's picture
All of my experiences with Aeroplan have been terrible: 1) Lost 27,000 points - Aeroplan deleted my 27,000 miles without notice. 2) Lost 60,000 points - My wife and I tried to book a weekend in Boston for our 10th anniversary. We found a flight and a hotel online and phoned Aeroplan to book it (we had problems with their website). We asked the rep to book the flight and the hotel. She said she could book the flight but not the hotel - we had to do that ourselves. We called the hotel (and several others) and they all told us they had no Aeroplan rooms available. We then called Aeroplan 15 minutes later to ask them to cancel our flight because we couldn’t get a room in one of their ‘Aeroplan hotels’. They refused to cancel and said we should have book the hotel first. My advice: don’t even bother with Aeroplan. If you have a CIBC Aeroplan Gold, cancel it and save the annual fee - you’ll be way further ahead.
Tom Pistor's picture
Aeroplan: complete joke - they never have any “reward” seats available. Avoid this plan at all costs. Use United’s plan. At least you have a hope of getting a reward. Aeroplan sucks. Every year they send their stupid “Prestige” upgrade certificates - which may as well have been toilet paper. I hate these idiots. Poor Canada….sucks to have no options - oh wait….can always use Buffalo and Detroit to go where you want.
anguester's picture
agreed…Aeroplan sucks…here is why… #1 they charge flights fees plus taxes when you use your points to fly…. other airlines only charge the fees when you use your points and cover the taxes. #2 if you book a flight using the points and then try to change it you gotta pay $90 or more. To cancel the ticket to get your points back you have to pay the ticket price + cancellation fee. #3 points expire $4 you dont have alotta choices with the days and the times when booking with them. #5 the points take forever to add up for a normal person with normal spending. most aeroplan credit cards have yearly fees of $100 or more if you wanna collect real points. #6 the points you get for flying are not much…for example from calgary to vancouver round trip I collected 250 points. I mean that is a joke…I used to collect continental points and with 4 trips between Calgary and Houston collected enough points to go to cancun. each round trip to Houston gave me 3500 continental points and with air canada I flied once and got like 1200 points for the same trip which was actually more expensive the ticket itself. #7 I can go on here but AEROPLAN sucks bad….it is just a business…no wonder their profit was like 50 million or something…they are bastards and dont care about you flying for free…they care how they can screw you more….\
Fred's picture
Who would have thought it? Aroplan is actually an auction. But since there is no bidding process, it’s not a real auction - they get to set the prices and they get to create a supply shortage. Here’s how it works: Aeroplan buys a block of tickets from Air Canada, which they then offer to their “members”. As the date of the flight draws closer, the price of the flight gets higher and higher until the member has to cough up up to three times the original points required for the flight. And who knows how many seats Aeroplan has for any given flight? Do they really have a shortage? And can they buy more from Air Canada? If you check with Air Canada, plenty of seats usually exist. There is no doubt Aeroplan benefits from a supply shortage. What we don’t know is if the shortage is real or artificial - created by Aeroplan. Aeroplan is, in my mind, an abject failure. Alternatives should be explored.

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