Despite what most people say about Aeroplan, in my opinion, it’s still a fairly decent program that is worthwhile to invest in. It has advantages and disadvantages, and it’s certainly not a program for everyone. The purpose of this post is to take an unbiased view, or to the best of my ability, to look at what people are saying about Aeroplan, and clear up between the facts and myths.
One can avoid fuel surcharge by avoiding Air Canada and choosing to fly with Star Alliance partner
Verdict: Myth. It’s actually not just Air Canada. There are a total of 27 airlines that make up the entire Star Alliance. Air Canada is certainly not the only airline that does imposes fuel surcharge on Aeroplan reward tickets. For a full list of airlines to avoid, please click here.
Aeroplan hides award availability for partner airlines
Verdict: Myth. Aeroplan does not hide award availability at all. It is the operating carrier that restricts Star Alliance partners from redeeming award tickets, this is to protect the award inventory for their own members. For example, Singapore Airlines only releases longhaul premium cabin (Business, First, Suites) to Krisflyers members. For routes such as SIN-JFK, SIN-LAX, SIN-LHR, business and first class seats can only be redeemed through Krisflyer points. Only economy is open to Star Alliance Partners. For other airlines, such as Lufthansa, first class seats are only released 14 days out (with exception of special circumstances). Therefore you will never see Lufthansa first class availability for dates that are further than 14 days out.
Calling the Aeroplan call center will give you access to ‘hidden award inventory’
Verdict: Myth. If anything, using online tools such as ANA Tool, Expertflyer, KVS tool will get you more results than what the call center agents can see. My favourite tool is the ANA search page, it is free and shows all the award inventory for Star Alliance flights. There is an excellent article on how to use the ANA search tool to find flights, please refer here. For shorthaul and domestic flights, there isn’t much point to use the tools, as the Aeroplan search engine will give you everything most of the times.
Best value use of Aeroplan are international business class tickets and round-the-world trips
Verdict: Fact. When buying with cash, international business class tickets are usually 4-5 times the cost compared to economy. But when redeeming with points, it’s only 1.5-2 times the economy cost. In addition, you are allowed to add 2 stopovers at no cost. This essentially gives you 3 destinations for the price of one, and this is something you cannot do with revenue tickets.