February 11, 2013

A number of years ago I decided to try and use up my Aeroplan points. Thereafter my intention was to cancel my Aeroplan card.

Unfortunately Aeroplan has made it so difficult to use points that my account just keeps growing. The company either blocks the dates of interest, proposes to charge an exorbitant number of points or charges for business class tickets while only providing business class service for 10% of the flight time.

Most recently I have been trying to book a couple of flights to Calgary. Aeroplan is now using the new tactic of recommending an untenable itinerary. I think 12 hours and 22 minutes between Victoria and Calgary (typically a 1 hour and 21 minute flight) doesn’t suffice.

Undoubtedly the company is doing this because of the multi-hundreds of millions of points overhang.

However, the unintended consequence of all this is that people like me can’t use their points. We end up continuing to accumulate at a meaningful rate serving to grow the overhang of unused points.

These loyalty programs used to be terrific. I guess they are victims of their own successes.


5 Responses to “Aeroplan”

  1. Read, Jeffrey Says:

    Hi Mark
    Good to hear from you. Let’s have lunch this spring. Your post intriged me as I use points every year. I have been to Italy France twice Greece China Vietnam and brought my son home from Queens several times. I will tell you how in exchange for a clubhouse sandwich.
    Jeff Read
    Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

  2. pfahrmann Says:

    Excellent commentary Mark. I have similar frustrations with Aeroplan. If I ever manage to use all my points (gasp) I’ll be switching to Avion.

  3. Erik Says:


    I’m in complete agreement with you.

    The phrase “bait and switch” used to go through my mind when trying to do Aeroplan bookings (along with other choice expletive deletives that don’t merit a mention here).

    More recently I have fine tuned my analysis. I now simply liken their business practices to those utilized by insurance companies who rarely pay up. They’re shysters.m.

    They are unethical, inconsiderate scoundrels. I’d be more plain, but I think we all get the idea.

    Given their monopoly status, it almost warrants an enquiry. Wouldn’t you say?


    Erik D.

    PS. We should do lunch one of these days. And we can each buy our own clubhouse. 😉

    • Good comments Erik. I’ve often thought that a better way to govern the overhang would be to grandfather points under the old rules and make newly acquired points subject to the new rules. They’d maintain a lot of the goodwill they once had and even might keep some customers. I’ll email you for lunch.

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