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  • Jason

Aeroplan's Latest Promotion: "Big Summer Miles Offers"

ou have to give Air Canada credit - they are pushing out the Aeroplan promotions in order to get backsides into their seats. Their latest effort is the “Big Summer Miles Offers” which can provide you with "bonus miles" if making a revenue booking or "miles back" if making an award redemption.

For a revenue booking, Air Canada will award you 100% bonus miles if booking a flight on Economy Standard, Economy Flex, comfort, and Economy Latitude Fares. The bonus offer is increased to 150% bonus miles if you book Premium Economy lowest, Premium Economy flexible, Premium Rouge, Business Class lowers and Business class flexible. Note that the bonus miles are not Altitude Qualifying Miles and do not count towards Air Canada Altitude status.

If you book an award redemption, you will receive 30% of your miles back on Economy flight bookings, 35% of your miles back on a Premium Economy booking, and 40% of your miles back on a Business Class booking.

There are some important terms and conditions to take note of:

  • · You must register for this promotion prior to booking. You can do that on the Aeroplan website here;

  • · You must book your ticket by August 4, 2020 and travel between July 21, 2020 and September 30, 2020;

  • · Eligible flights are those operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge and flights operated under the Air Canada Express brand.

  • · The flight must be for a new booking created during the offer period. Any booking made prior to the offer period that is changed to include dates within the offer period are not eligible for the promotion.

So, what are our thoughts on the promotion? First, it has a fairly limited travel window at a time when, frankly, most of us are not flying. However, if you have travel plans, this promotion provides some incentive to book an Air Canada flight to get those bonus miles or miles back.

Second, specifically with respect to award redemptions, this offer is less generous than the recent promotion Air Canada launched which provided 50% miles back, though that promotion only applied to flights in North America. So, while the miles back promotion is lower, the scope of this promotion is broader in that it will now be applicable to all domestic and international flights. However, when it comes to Aeroplan points, one typically tries to avoid flying Air Canada metal due to the high fuel surcharges (see our article here for the Star Alliance partners that charge no or low fuel surcharges). Unfortunately, this promotion does not apply to award redemptions on Star Alliance partners.

Certainly the miles you can receive back on an award redemption is attractive. For example, if you took advantage of this promotion to fly business class to Europe for 55,000 miles one-way, you would receive 22,000 miles back, making the net cost 33,000 miles – a great value. However, the fact an international redemption comes with a hefty fuel surcharge takes some of the shine off of this promotion. An international business class redemption could still be worth it even with the fuel surcharge when compared to purchasing a a business class ticket when you factor in the miles back. As well, the added benefit of flying Air Canada is the potential for a non-stop direct flight from a Canadian city, which may not be the case with some other carriers. Theoretically, one could also look at booking your return flights as a one way award redemption from those jurisdictions that do not permit fuel surcharges such that you could get miles back with this promotion and also not have to pay fuel surcharges on your return leg home. The reality is, however, that international travel is currently so restricted that for practical purposes it would be difficult to implement that strategy during the window of this promotion period. For example, Australia does not permit fuel surcharges, but taking a flight to Australia isn’t even an option at the moment with that country’s borders closed.

Another limiting factor is the fact that upon returning to Canada, you will currently have to quarantine for 2 weeks. That alone doesn’t make international travel feasible for most people at the moment and I’m doubtful that requirement will be lifted by September 30, 2020.

I won’t be taking advantage of this promotion as the travel window is too short. I don’t see myself travelling by air prior to September 30, 2020, because I simply cannot work in a two week quarantine period upon my return to Canada. That being said, I have to give props to Air Canada/Aeroplan for continuing to put in a solid effort to leverage their loyalty program to get people into seats by offering bonus points and miles back. Let’s hope they keep the promotions coming!

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