Travel

Aeroplan - How does it stay in business?

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  • Oct 18th, 2016 1:00 pm
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Oct 13, 2007
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Edmonton

Aeroplan - How does it stay in business?

Checking their Facebook page, there are a pile of complaints. I have been trying to book a one way flight from YEG to YYZ and my selection continually shows as available but when clicking to book, it shows as unavailable due to real time booking so how come the site doesn't drop this flight? Yesterday, tried calling. They have a call-back feature and when I got my call-back, I was next in line and had a 45 minute wait. This morning, due to high call volume, they cannot take the call and recording says to try calling back later. It's amazing that this company gets any support but I suppose people blindly collect Aeroplan points and just hope for the best when redeeming. At least if the website operated properly, it wouldn't be half bad.
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Jun 22, 2007
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LOL, Aeroplan can be a headache to most who don't know how to use it to their advantage. I agree with the major complaint on the fb page, being long hold times. Flights that show as available and not being able to book them. For me If I want to book a trip from/into my local city, some of the flights show as business class and this is on a Dash - 8. Business class doesn't exist on a dash - 8 and yet it shows as available but because it doesn't show economy it is not bookable. lol I have my first business class trip to and from Bangkok next year and the itinerary is simple so I'm hoping no problems. Patience and knowing some tricks helps with Aeroplan. Also booking early.
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Feb 15, 2006
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Toronto
davethegr8 wrote: Aeroplan can be a headache to most who don't know how to use it to their advantage.
Most people are not dumb. People know how aeropeso works, or how it's supposed to work. But aeropeso has many scams (including scamcharges which used to be called fuel surcharges but after price of fuel drops, they changed the name to carrier surcharge) or charge same miles for the inferior rough rogue planes or bait and switch.
davethegr8 wrote: I agree with the major complaint on the fb page, being long hold times. Flights that show as available and not being able to book them. For me If I want to book a trip from/into my local city, some of the flights show as business class and this is on a Dash - 8. Business class doesn't exist on a dash - 8 and yet it shows as available but because it doesn't show economy it is not bookable. lol I have my first business class trip to and from Bangkok next year and the itinerary is simple so I'm hoping no problems. Patience and knowing some tricks helps with Aeroplan. Also booking early.
Try to book early doesn't necessarily work. It used to be they release seats 356 days out. They don't any more.

They only need to release seats for 8 % of the seats per "route". And that could be awful connections or red-eye flights, but that fulfills the "condition"

With regards to the scamcharges, it's best to book non-AC flights, so you don't get scammed. We were looking to book 2 tickets to S. America. With the AC flights, the scamcharges comes out to $1100, and that's on the 777 HD (high density, sardin seats). We ended up booking a short AC flight with connection with UA, to reduce the tax/fee to less than $300.

It's laughable that the best use of aeropeso points often is to book non-AC flights.
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May 10, 2005
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Not sure what the actual complaints are or what a customer is actually wanting or expecting but it is real easy to complain.
I have been an Aeroplan member for many years and have taken many trips using my points. I just came back from San Fransisco on reward flights. I have been to Europe many times, Australia and all over North America using points and whenever there was an issue online, I picked up the phone and always got my flights. International Business Class, business, premium economy or economy, not had any problems. You may have to be somewhat flexible on dates but it has always worked out for me.

http://www.howtosavemoney.ca/Rewards/Airline/Aeroplan
Deal Guru
Dec 31, 2005
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While not a perfect plan, but then again, not many are, I have been able to redeem a whack of flights over the years: Australia for 2, France for 2+1 child, Toronto-Beijing- Singapore for 2+1+lap, Toronto-Chengdu- Shanghai for 2+2, Maui for 2+2, Calgary for 2+2+Lap, Montreal 2xBusiness (wanted specific date and had bonus with Amex), NYC 2x Business (done twice)...I am sure there have been more as well.

Now, if this were because of collecting with a CC then I wouldnt bother...but I was earning 75-150k on flights alone, the CC was just a supplement.
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Feb 25, 2007
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There are 3 underlying causes to all this.
  1. Frequent flyer programs used to be airline loyalty programs, a cost for airlines to increase share of wallet of their customers. Now they are profit generators. In the case of Aeroplan, Air Canada actually spun them off for $$$ though now has a perhaps somewhat strained relationship with Aeroplan
  2. Aeroplan is awash with points. They are easy to collect, don't expire, and a ton of Aeroplan "money" has been printed, and continues to be printed, with credit card sign up bonuses in particular. Meanwhile, even if availability were constant (see point below), the *potential* capacity for airline rewards has increased much less. Profit-seeking frequent flyer programs have provided a sea of additional rewards, but with much lower valuations: rather than flights valued at 2c/mile++, you have toasters and gift cards at 0.5c/mile. It has worked for them: people join and collect dreaming of flying to Paris in first class (or at least 4 seats to Disneyworld in economy for March Break) but then buy those toasters when disillusioned.
  3. Airlines are much better at yield management, so their actual cost of providing reward seats is higher. Load factors (% of seats sold) used to be in the 50-65% range in the early 1980s I think; now it's in the 80-85% range. That means the marginal cost of a seat given as a reward decades ago was close to zero; now it's much more likely to be the price of a ticket they can't sell as a result. This is why airlines have been increasing redemption mileage levels and sneaking in "carrier surcharges" etc.
If you think about the economics of all this, the only reasonable solution is for frequent flyer point "currency" to devalue against the $, and to have a high inflation rate. And that is exactly what is happening.
Like nalababe and Pete_Coach, I've been able to get super redemptions over the years with some effort, and hope to continue to do so for some years to come. But what is "super" now would have been "meh" 10 years ago, and I'm pretty sure I'll say the same thing again 10 years from now.
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Jul 16, 2005
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@houska, points do expire. I neglected my points and all were gone this January. :-(
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shopper_of_things wrote: @houska, points do expire. I neglected my points and all were gone this January. :-(
All Aeroplan users were warned, many times.
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Feb 25, 2007
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shopper_of_things wrote: @houska, points do expire. I neglected my points and all were gone this January. :-(
I should have been precise. Points do not expire in the sense they don't have a shelf life beyond which they would vanish; you can continue slowly accumulating for as long as you like. All points get forfeited, however (reinstatable for a fee that makes it not worth it...) if you have no account activity for too long (one year? 18 mos? can't recall). This is, in my opinion, a reasonable measure Aeroplan instituted primarily for accounting reasons, so they could get rid of long-abandoned accounts whose points would otherwise need to be a liability on their balance sheets. But I'm sure they're not crying a river when someone like you "loses" their points merely through inattention, not due to long-term complete abandonment. My sympathies.

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