Rate Aeroplan

Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by Darcie, Sep 13, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Darcie
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    Darcie Silver Member

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    InsideFlyer magazine is reviewing Aeroplan in our November issue and would like your input.

    If you would like to participate, please post your response in the thread with the pros and cons of membership in Aeroplan and grade the program from A to F (A being the highest grade). You can include a plus or minus with the rating.

    You can also respond directly to the editors at InsideFlyer at dmankell@insideflyer.com if you would prefer.

    Thank you.
     
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  2. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    I remember being so proud when Aeroplan picked up best FF program in NAmerica at the first FF Awards in Houston at the SMD2. At the time there was some justification for this achievement, but no longer. AE -- as we write it -- has gone from first to worst in the view of most of us up here in the Great White North. Because the program itself is not run by Air Canada, it has drifted into being a very general consumer points (and supposed loyalty) program where most members earn the bulk of their miles from credit cards charges and purchases of groceries, gas and sundries. Earning by flying AC or other STAR carriers seems to be an afterthought for AE. And the number and amount of charges on award tickets is among the worst of any FF program with no relief for top tier elites. Booking with an agent is $30, changes and cancelations/redeposits at $90. (Aeroplan is definitely not as flexible about changes as are the major US programs.) The imposition of various fees, taxes and fuel surcharges can be astronomical, up to $700 on a single ticket between NAmerica and Europe if one flies AC or LH! (On NAmerican awards, this is generally $150 where the same flights using Mileage Plus will cost less than $50, sometimes even just $5!) And finally, last year the award chart increased significantly -- over 30% in some cases -- particularly for premium class awards outside NAmerica. Even with the increased mileage required, AE has added significant surcharges to awards on AC, LH, LX, TG, OZ, OS and NH.

    More positive, two years ago, AC took back management of the elite tier element and that has improved somewhat, particularly with the more flexible eUpgrade credits versus the less flexible upgrade certificates. (There are still issues with the eUpgrades: 1. they do not have 12-month validity but rather are tied to the benefit year, thus expiring at the end of each February even if earned late in the preceding year; and 2. there was a significant reduction in the number of credits given vs what had been given in SSWU certificates.) AC finally gave in and raised the STARGold tier (Elite) from 35K EQMs to 50K EQMs, and added a 75K elite tier between it and SuperElite at 100K. It is expected the names of the tiers, and possible the elite program, will be different next year as many of us have done an online survey offering some of the possibilities. Next year, the 35K tier will not be STARGold, though will offer lounge access when traveling within Canada, must as LH does with M&M's Frequent Traveller STARSilver.

    I'll let others add their 2¢ worth. But it is worth knowing that those of us who have been with AE since its inception and held Elite and/or SuperElite status for most of those years have become so disillusioned with the program that we've moved a lot of our travel to UA or AA and achieved 1K or ExecPlat with those programs (while maintaing at STARGold with AE). While I still consider AC's inflight product superior to that of these US carriers, it's FF program has become the airline's achilles heel.
     
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  3. boyzfly

    boyzfly Active Member

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    Aeroplan went from the best program in Star to the worst in a few short years.
     
  4. rabu

    rabu Silver Member

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    Scamcharges - stealthly introduced without notification - yes we know Air Canada asked for them, and likely keeps the money - but Aeroplan has been greatly devalued by this

    $101.90 change fees on awards, even for the slightest thing, and $33.90 phone booking fees, even for top elites, CMON!

    Aeroplan is no longer a frequent flyer program, but simply a points/rewards one like Air Miles.
     
  5. ACMM
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    ACMM Gold Member

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    The MP team have been good enough to ask our input - in turn if we can give them some of what they want -- one thing was the grading from "A" (best) to "F" (worst) I think they would appreciate it folks ... of course feel free to email directly as they indicated in the original post. While the charges are a pain point I have to believe that there must be some positives ... if not, then that is what they want to hear. My 2cents to the thread. Will provide my input over the next few days.
     
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  6. southender
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    southender Silver Member

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    not quite conforming to task, but here you go:
    Cost- A (free!)
    Ease of attaining Elite status- A this year (35K gold); C for 2013 (50k gold)
    Upgrade instruments- A (love the e certs)
    Rewards for biz (AC issue not AE but they make it look like a program for FF)- F minus (look at Skybonus at Delta for the cleanest approach)
    Mileage accumulation- C for ambivalent- I use AE for the status related perks not unfree flights
    Communication- D minus for emails, stupidly worded circular surveys; B for direct email to customer service/exec office
     
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  7. global_happy_traveller
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    global_happy_traveller Silver Member

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    Ask again next year
     
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  8. tcook052
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    tcook052 Silver Member

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    Is there a vote for promo of the year? If there is I'd vote for one entitled AEROPLAN REDEMPTION GIVE BACK
    which awarded members with an unannounced 10K bonus one recent day only to see it taken away within days and explained as an error. Some error. :D
     
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  9. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Added fuel surcharges to redemptions on most partners towards the end of 2011, gutted their award chart in summer 2011, they took a once-amazing program and ruined it :(

    No one-way awards on partner airlines, either.

    It's still better than Delta, though. B-
     
  10. 1. As a SE I never have problems getting the flights I want for my spouse(I never travel on AE points but use points on other cards to get status mile flights with AC/*A).....A+
    2. I get double AE miles every time I fly within *A as a part of my tier package.....A+
    3. The ecert program is great and it allows four guests who can be renewed every year. The fact that once named they are there for the whole year is somewhat cumbersome but I understand the motive.....A-
    3. Expiration of ecerts on a fixed date every year is an uneven problem with that model. There should be some incentive to keep late year ecert awards for more than a few months instead of having to burn them with MR's or give them away by Feb.28.......C
    4. The tier program has finally been updated to be more fluid by having more levels......A+
    5. Surcharges on award tickets are out of control but still have some value for J cabin seats on long haul flights.....C
    6. There is no recognition of the Million mile program within AE although the program is only just over a year old so I would assume AC is still working on additional perks for that part of their platform. I believe there should be award "discounts" for MM members.........10% for 1 mm, 20% 2MM etc.............B+


    I believe that AC needs to ratchet back the whole award/tier program from AE. Some, if not most of the negative issues, stem from AE being a separate publicly traded corporation.

    Overall the program has gone from an A+ to a B over the last few years in my opinion and AC's marketing group is weak.

    The magazine can contact me for further comments through MP should they so desire
     
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  11. ACMM
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    ACMM Gold Member

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    Start off by saying I am not in the Canadi>n camp as I have never considered moving to another program. So many complained about AE and jumped ship to United saying how much better and improved it was and a year or so later those same folks are now moaning about United/Continental and moving to AA. The grass is not always greener on the other side folks.

    My comments below - thanks to previous posts for giving me some ideas to discuss.
    1. I constantly try to make SE so really am not too worried or even interested in the new planned tier levels. I think it may cause even more confusion and angst. Given I am a 1MM flier and hence have Elite (50K per year) for life I see no real interest in the new program and plan to keep my SE status until retirement.
      Rating on new plans B+
    2. As an SE for over a decade I have never had issues getting the reward travel I want. I agree with other posts that the fees and taxes on the AE reward tickets are out-of-line with other industry players and I think it would be helpful to revisit - in the end I am happy that I can get business class seating for us on our trips without a huge outlay of cash (separate rating below). I have also found that using the AE website is for the most part user friendly and I can get what I need. My itineraries on reward travel and not complex. However if I do need to call into the AE line to book a trip I do not mind doing that nor do I mind paying the fee to do that if I can get what I want. I find the phone staff pleasant and willing to help. Rating A-
    3. AE reward flight taxes and surcharges - out of control and make no sense. Rating C+
    4. To me the eUpgrade program has been a very good success. With the old paper certificate program and flying on Tango+ fares (sorry Canadi>n I do not fly business class as you like to imply) I would not be able to upgrade as often as I would like and this is painful on the overseas flights. With the new eUpgrade program I have been able to request upgrades for all flights I want and aside from J-class cabins checking in full, I have been successful on all but 2 of my requests in 2012. Knowing the credit requirements also allows me to plan for having eUpgrades in my account for upcoming Q1 2013 travel. If anything I think some of the eUpgrade requirements are too hefty and would like to see them reduced. Also as mentioned above the expiry process is not user friendly and I too would like to have them expire 12-months from granting. As a result of these few items overall rating B+
    5. I cannot complain about the accumulation of AE miles. Given my business and travel patterns I do have a hard time spending all the points I accumulate, and (blasphemy to some) enjoy using my AE miles for items other than flying, As above, as an SE and the 100% bonus non-status miles as part of the SE top tier package I have plenty of miles for when and where I want to use them. I find the promotions interesting and the wide range of places and methods to accumulate miles useful - rating A+.
    6. I agree with above that the 1MM program so far has been a disappointment. I will say I am pleased when FAs recognize the level and thank me for my business I would have liked to see more from AC on this program. We have put alot into flying with AC and I think something more back would be a very nice gesture of our commitment to fly AC. Rating B
    7. I find it frustrating when trying to book on *A carriers and not knowing if I will get any AE miles or not. I think this integration between carriers needs to be cleaned up and made easier for fliers to understand first time out. Rating C
    8. I like the ability to spend my miles on other that flights. The selection on the AE site is quite extensive for me and I can normally spend miles on something should I feel the need or desire to. Rating A
    9. I would like the top tier SE level to be more prestigious than it is now. I am not sure if this is AC or AE to be honest - maybe a bit of both. Show me the love AC/AE :) Rating A
    Many here and elsewhere have been top tier for many years and have seen the program deteriorate in many aspects. I think it has improved in some also such as the eUpgrade program. Overall my Rating would be an B+ - need to give them some room to improve :)
    If anyone needs more from me I can be reached by conversation on milepoint :)
     
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  12. milestoburn
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    milestoburn Gold Member

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    just my 2 cents but with the devaluation about a year or so ago, prevalence of cheaper discounted Z fares on *A and other OW carriers depending on time of travel and increase in fees for award tickets, i would give the program a C+. as many know, miles are not free unless you accumulate 100% on your company's dime...

    last year i converted and continue to convert any AP miles I have earned into another program at roughly 1:1 in terms of miles where I tend to get better redemptions....although even then, recently that program has been devalued also...

    things are not as they used to be in many programs so even my preferred program would probably get a B+ given my travel and was an A+ on Nov. 1, 2011.... ;=)
     
  13. milestoburn
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    milestoburn Gold Member

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    yes, that is why, even though they killed my CX ex-NA J flights to the far east (well, made them more expensive)....BAEC is still my preferred program....although it's got it's own issues...i will not lie about that.
     
  14. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    And while one-way awards in MP and AAdvantage are 50% of the return award mileage, AC's are 60%-70% of the return mileage.
     
  15. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    You never know until you try. I have not deserted AC/AE which I will use for my domestic and some international flying. I have been SE for many years and will continue with top tier elite status. (Though the faux-MM program failed to recognize mileage flown in the first five years of the program, or any mileage earned in the absorbed CP program. No other MM program has arbitrarily excluded the airlines it has taken over, nor ignored early years of earning miles as AC did.)

    Why take much of my business to the two US airlines (and participate in their FF programs)? Primarily for the benefits if one flies to or within the US of the two major FF programs down there. And that now MP and AAdvantage are significantly better than AE, and UA and AA offer better inflight and other benefits: no-redemption upgrades to F (space permitting) for top tiers within NAmerica for one. On AA comp drinks and BoB choice if you're stuck in coach. On UA, E+ seating if stuck in coach. On the redemption side of their FF programs, awards are much more flexible and have no booking or change fees for top tier elites, plus one-way awards on partner carriers at just 50% of the return award mileage. Not to mention no fuel surcharges. So the same award to Europe using AE miles that could cost $600+ would only cost $100 or so using AA or MP miles.

    AC also increased the minimum fare required for overseas upgradeable flights (creating Tango fares at what used to be Tango+ fare levels). But agree, in those programs, only 1Ks and ExecPlats get upgrade credits for System Wide upgrading...unlike AC/AE's new more flexible system.

    I do agree that what is best for one person may not be so for another. We all have different travel patterns and uses for our mileage...and expectations of what benefits can be enjoyed inflight as we earn those miles. (UA had some serious operational issues with the merger and its service levels declined considerably in the eyes of many of us, thus we have indeed taken a good look at AA...and most of us are finding AA has even more benefits for us than UA had provided. Thus our reason for making that move.)

    Sorry to digress, but also think many of these little issues contextualize AE when evaluating it.
     
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