Aeroplan recently introduced a second category of air rewards — Aeroplan Avenue Rewards — which offer members a greater selection of reward seats in Hospitality Service on all Air Canada routes across the network.
The Aeroplan Avenue awards are only available on Air Canada, Air Canada Jazz, and Zip, and cost 7,000 to 20,000 miles more than the traditional Aeroplan Classic Rewards.
Members who book award seats will automatically be booked at the less-expensive Classic level, unless all available seats have been taken. In that case, the member will have the option to book an Avenue award.
Even the Avenue awards are capacity controlled, however.
Nevertheless, Aeroplan has eliminated blackout periods, and increased its overall award capacity to 15 percent. In 2003, Aeroplan members had access to over 4 million seats on the Air Canada network. That number is expected to rise to about 6 million reward seats, not to mention the thousands of seats available through the international Star Alliance network of airlines.
The moves are partially motivated by increased competition from the credit card rewards market in Canada. Royal Bank and TD offer their own programs, and even CIBC, the issuer of the Aerogold Visa card, offers its own “Aventura” card.