Air Canada’s Aeroplan announced today that they are making some positive changes by extending change fee waivers and points expiration. They have also announced that they intend to update elite status earning requirements for this year. That’s all good news for members.
No change or cancellation fee on awards
The first part of the announcement and part likely of most interest for many readers is that Aeroplan will extend their policy for flight rewards: All Aeroplan flight rewards booked through February 28, 2021 can be changed or cancelled free of charge, at any time before departure. That’s great news and means that those with Aeroplan miles in their account can make future plans without worrying much about whether or not the trip will pan out.
I still wouldn’t be in a hurry to move transferrable points to Aeroplan given the uncertainty of future travel. However, if you have points sitting there from expired travel, this could certainly make your points more flexible.
We reported yesterday about the wide open availability in United Polaris business class on many routes. Having the flexibility to change or cancel all the way up to departure could certainly make a speculative booking more highly possible. I’m doubt that international travel will be fully back up and running during 2021, but at the same time I don’t know what the timeline will look like. I’d be happy to book something for late this year with the knowledge that I can get the points back without penalty.
Points expiration paused until June
Aeroplan will continue to pause the expiration of points through June 29, 2021. As long as you earn or redeem a single point before that date, your expiration will be extended for 18 months. If you do not earn or redeem any points by June 29th, they will then expire. I’ve set myself a reminder for June 15th to transfer miles if I haven’t as I do currently have a few Aeroplan miles that I don’t want to expire.
Easier elite status path
While Aeroplan had previously extended 2020 status through 2021, today they also noted that they will be announcing ways they will help members “qualify more easily” for 2022 elite status. Will they bring back the ability to earn status via point transfer? I’d guess they won’t but will instead reduce requirements. That said, I know that they know that we will all assume they will just reduce requirements. But Aeroplan has seemed to have been focused on exceeding expectations over this past year or two, so perhaps they will do something more interesting. Either way, an easier path will surely be appreciated given that most members likely still aren’t traveling or aren’t traveling nearly enough to meet traditional elite status requirements.
These announcements from Air Canada are certainly positive. I hope to see change and cancellation fee waivers continue to be extended beyond February, but from an airline perspective it probably makes sense to take it slowly on extending those. While I wouldn’t recommend transferring points to Aeroplan, I may change my tune if they offer the ability to earn 2022 elite status through points transfer as that may be harder for me to resist.