We expect to see more changes in the near future, ahead of the June 2020 full integration. I share most of the same sentiments as DCTA on the changes below, so below are some additional thoughts on each change.
Complimentary, full refunds within 24 hours of booking
Beginning July 15, 2019, Aeroplan members will be able to cancel and refund Flight Rewards for free within 24 hours of booking. Please note that if a member wishes to cancel a booking that was completed by an agent, the $30 Aeroplan Contact Centre service fee will not be refunded.
This move was essentially to line up with Air Canada’s existing 24-hour cancellation policy, which Aeroplan did not have. As the integration continues, if there is a conflicting policy between Aeroplan and Air Canada, I can only hope that they choose the better (for the consumer) of the two policies like they have here!
Option to refund your Flight Reward up to 2 hours before departure
Previously, Aeroplan Flight Reward bookings could not be refunded within 21 days of departure. As of July 15, 2019, Aeroplan members can cancel and refund their Flight Reward booking for a fee up until 2 hours prior to the departure time of the first flight in the reservation. This will apply to all bookings, including those made prior to the new policy coming into effect. Rather than keeping cancelled tickets open for future travel, Aeroplan Miles, taxes and fees will be refunded, and members may book new tickets anytime in the future, delivering greater flexibility than before.
Same as the above, glad they chose the better of the two policies. Cancellations 3 weeks in advance (except due to schedule changes) was definitely not very customer friendly. So another positive change!
Reduction of the aeroplan.com Refund Fee
As of July 15, 2019, Aeroplan will lower the Refund Fee to $125 for refunds completed via aeroplan.com. The new, lower fee will apply to all bookings, including those made prior to the new policy coming into effect.
Please note that Aeroplan members with diamond status will continue to enjoy lower fee amounts, and Air Canada Altitude Super Elite 100K members will not be charged the fee, as described below.
Any time a fee is reduced, it is always a positive. Due to inflation, rarely do we ever see fee reductions, so I am surprised by this. That being said, a drop from $150 to $125 probably won’t make a huge difference to consumers, as this reduction probably won’t increase the number of cancellations (i.e. people more willing to cancel their flight), but it could affect Air Canada’s profits by collecting less fees.
New for Air Canada Altitude Super Elite 100K members: Complimentary changes and refunds
Beginning July 15, 2019, Air Canada Altitude Super Elite 100K members will no longer be charged a fee when they request a change to their Flight Reward booking. Additionally, these members will also no longer be charged a fee to refund their bookings. These fee waivers will apply to all bookings, including those made prior to the new policy coming into effect.
This is the last of the positive changes. Glad to see loyalty members be given more benefits, it only increases the value of elite status.
Now for the negative changes that will be temporarily suspended, effective September 1, 2019.
Multi-City Flight Reward Bookings
This one is a big hit. Having the multi-city reward flight option is one of Aeroplan’s most valuable feature. I hope that the temporary suspension does not last too long.
I get this funny feeling that it may not come back, or if it does, it will be less favourable that it was. Hope that I am wrong.
Either way, if you have some bookings in mind, I suggest making them before September 1, 2019 to take advantage.
Around the World Flight Reward
Around the World Flight Rewards will be discontinued as of September 1, 2019. Please note that, as today, a stopover in Europe for Flight Rewards between North America and Asia continues to be permitted.
We never like to see negative changes, but this one is not bad, as there is probably only a small percentage of people who take advantage of this feature. If negative changes only affect a small percentage of members, I will gladly take the hit.
All things considered, these changes were fairly positive overall. When companies merge, initial change announcement tend to be more positive, as they want to soften the blow to consumers. None of these changes were mind blowing, but they are a step in the right direction. I hope that Air Canada has more up their sleeves.
What are your thoughts about the changes? More importantly, what other changes would you like to see ahead of the integration? Please let us know in the comment section below!