Air Canada continues to push away customers with its high prices, high fuel surcharges and devaluation of its Altitude program. There are those who predict that Aeroplan and Air Canada will cease its partnership, especially with the Altitude program in place.
In terms of the Altitude program, you earn Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQM) to qualify for elite status. The earning ratios are as follows:
- Tango Fares (within Canada) – 25% AQM
- Tango Fares (outside of Canada) – 50% AQM
- Flex Fares – 100% AQM
- Latitude Fares/Premium Economy Fares – 125% AQM
- Executive Class/Executive Lowest Fares/Executive First Flexible – 150% AQM
Let’s face it, the majority of us look for deals and pay the Tango fares. So for the purposes of this post, I will disregard the other categories. Tango fares may be cheaper than the other prices of a plane ticket, but you can earn as low as 25% of the available AQM. Therefore, you are missing out on 75% of the points that you could have earned. Contrary, if you pay Flex Fares, you get 100% AQM, but clearly the Flex Fares are not 4 times the price of a Tango ticket. Therefore, it can take forever for someone only paying Tango Fares to reach any sort of elite status on the Altitude program.
Therefore, if you’re the type of flyer who wants to pay the lowest price of a plane ticket (which could very well be the majority of us), then I would not bind myself to Air Canada just to collect points with them. You are better off earning points with other airlines instead. Only pay for Tango tickets if they are in fact the cheapest ticket in town for that particular flight.
That being said, if you plan on redeeming your rewards for international travel, you are better off using your Aeroplan points on Star Alliance partners.
UPDATE– Here is a post that talks about how to get more value out from the Aeroplan program.