Aeroplan awards cheaper than expected when flying Air Canada

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cheaper Aeroplan awards

Air Canada’s new Aeroplan frequent flyer program is now live (read about it here).  I logged in to see if award pricing met expectations and I was pleasantly surprised to find that awards booked on Air Canada itself (as opposed to partner airlines) were often cheaper than expected based on Aeroplan’s new award charts.

Aeroplan Award Chart for flights within North America

For example, as you can see above, Air Canada flights within North America under 500 miles should cost between 6,000 and 10,000 points for economy or between 15,000 and 25,000 points for business class.  In practice, I’m seeing that awards operated by Air Canada are often cheaper than advertised.  One example is the short flight from Toronto to the NYC area where you can book economy for as low as 4,800 points and business as low as 11,600 points:

I searched many destinations flown by Air Canada and found the same pattern in almost all of them: award prices are frequently lower than expected. Here’s a table showing cheaper than expected awards.  Lower than expected awards are bolded and underlined.

From Toronto To Distance (Miles) Economy Expected Economy Observed Business Expected Business Observed
Mexico City 2,015 12.5K-17.5K 10,600 25K-60K 19,800
NYC ~400 6K-10K 4,800 15K-25K 11,600
LAX 2,175 12.5K-17.5K 9,700 25K-60K 21,700
Denver 1,315 10K-15K 10,000 20K-35K 18,900
Honolulu 4,649 17.5K-25K 20,700 35K-70K 35,100
Liberia 2,306 12.5K-17.5K 12,600 25K-60K 44,800
Panama City 2,383 12.5K-17.5K 12,000 25K-60K 22,700
Hong Kong 7,810 50K-90K 36,600 85K-200K 69,500
Santiago 5,332 40K-70K 33,200 60K-200K 71,800
São Paulo 5,075 40K-70K 31,900 60K-200K 48,700
Frankfurt 3,953 35K-60K 29,200 60K-160K 47,900
Delhi 7,246 55K-80K 44,000 85K-200K 66,300
Edmonton 1,675 12.5K-17.5K 9,800 25K-60K 19,900

Additional Findings

  • As expected, award prices flying Air Canada are not consistent (that’s why they show a range in the award chart). I expect that I could find lower than expected pricing on all of the above flights if I tried different dates.
  • In all cases that I checked, partner awards priced correctly according to the award chart.
  • Award pricing for mixed awards with Air Canada and a partner were inconsistent.  Often they priced according to the partner award chart, but in a few examples I found lower than expected pricing like above.  It didn’t seem to matter whether Air Canada flew the shorter or longer leg.
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