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2011 Air Canada Top Tier Program - Modifications to Benefits

2011 Air Canada Top Tier Program - Modifications to Benefits

Old Dec 14, 2010, 12:31 pm
  #151  
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Originally Posted by SFO777
Very true, SQ wouldn't care because, unlike AC or any other NA airline, they actually have a premium product that pax will continue to willingly buy, regardless of FF bennies.
At last check - many customers are posting here that it's very hard to upgrade especially on our Asia routes, so someone must be paying for it? Our premium revenue in Q3 grew 26%.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 12:31 pm
  #152  
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Let's also be honest. The program and the changes will work for some people and will not work for others.

Just because the program and changes do not work for you doesn't mean that they are bad.

Also, everyone wants more and more and at the same time want to pay less and less. At some point in time, something is going to give.

Going from 50% status miles for all discounted fare types to Tango and 25% non status miles was the first thing to give. Free food was taken away and buy on board was introduced. By doing this AC is trying to increase revenue and increase the value of their business class product.

If AC loses all its customers, then maybe they will learn that they made a mistaken and went to far and swing the pendulum the other way.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 12:36 pm
  #153  
 
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Originally Posted by zkzkz
A quote from the New Coke story of yesteryear: "We're not that smart, and we're not that dumb".

I don't think it's credible that AC had this devious plan right from the start. They honestly didn't expect quite this dramatic of a rebellion and they're honestly trying to fix the problems within the constraints they've imposed on themselves. They do deserve kudos for reacting so quickly.

The problem is that there's still a fundamental disconnect between how AC is costing these upgrades and how flier's purchasing patterns are actually affected. AC is treating each one as a lost sale in J or Latitude. And from this side of the fence that just seems like it's from another planet.

From the passenger's point of view, if paid J is an option then spending *any* number of ecredits on an upgrade is a waste of his personal benefits to save his employer money. If his job allows booking paid J or Latitude he's going to do so for the benefits those fares grant, not to save his personal ecredits.

I'm convinced the *vast* majority of people booking M fares are people for whom paid J and Latitude are simply not an option. They're booking M fares as a buy-*up* from cheaper fares which offer exactly the same benefits. The only difference is the upgradeability.

So AC's cost model should be focused on the difference between low T+ and M. Not on the difference between M and Latitude. Each upgrade is an opportunity to sell an extra Y seat and collect the extra income from the M fare buy-up. It probably makes them more money than the added costs of J service.

The net effect of the changes even after the improvements is that I've gone from 8 upgrades of which two were SSWUs to either 2 SSWUs or 3 SWUs. And if I want the 50% tier bonus I only get 1 SSWU or 2 SWUs. That's still a pretty dramatic change.

I had expected to lose out in the new system but the worst cast I had anticipated was perhaps to lose half the upgrades and end up with 6 SWUs or 2 + 2 SSWUs. And I wasn't expecting to lose the tier bonus in the equation.
^ +1
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 12:43 pm
  #154  
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Originally Posted by Andrew Yiu
At last check - many customers are posting here that it's very hard to upgrade especially on our Asia routes, so someone must be paying for it? Our premium revenue in Q3 grew 26%.
That is not surprising considering your US-Asia pricing strategy. BTW, that is not a criticism.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 1:09 pm
  #155  
 
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Originally Posted by Andrew Yiu
To put things in perspective (and you can all decide if this works for you), there are extreme cases and then there are many customers who will fall between those extremes. With 35 credits, one could either upgrade 17 Latitude YYZ-YVR (That's not a lot, we're talking about about 1 trip a month and this person is still not close to SE) or one could upgrade a return Tango Plus YYZ-LHR and have enough credits left for 5 Latitude YYZ-YVR or 1 Tango Plus YYZ-YVR or one could choose to use all the credits for a YYZ-SYD. It's very clear that the higher the fares you're on, the more opportunities you'll get to upgrade your flights.

In previous years, one has to spend a SWU regardless of whether it's Latitude YYZ-YUL or YYZ-YVR or YYZ-SYD. The single piece of paper wasn't a fair representation of what an upgrade is worth; by moving towards a credit based system incorporating it with a zone system, it's a better representation of the upgrade currency.
Andrew, I appreciate your comment regarding extreme cases and how most people fall somewhere in the middle.

IMHO the fact that last year I was able to use all of my upgrade certs on Tango Plus fares (because of M/U passes) is likely an extreme case. My take on things is that the tier bonus was an extremely popular choice. It would have been nice if E's could have kept that choice, and then been able to select enough e-certs to upgrade 1 RT trip to the farthest destination. It would be up to the individual customer to decide if they wanted to take more frequent NA upgrades in lieu of the int'l RT option.

Of course, YMMV.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 1:21 pm
  #156  
 
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Some notes and thoughts...

Afternoon all,

So, I have had time to digest all the changes, and have made (for what it's worth) my decision: I'll be leaving the AC/AP program. Below are some thoughts and notes for Andrew and Ben in the hope they will prove useful for future development. Naturally I acknowledge it is basically impossible to create an FFP that suits all travellers all of the time but even so I hope my notes provide some food for thought and debate in the finest tradition of FT!

1. Big thanks!
First of all I want to re-iterate, as many others have done, my thanks to Andrew and Ben for taking notice and reacting. The modifications may not have been to everyones liking but the fact that senior AC reps are reading and changing things based on those words deserves significant praise.

2. eCredits are not universal
In my humble opinion, eCredits are not universal, and we have already seen noted by Andrew that the P eC's are not the same as E/SE eC's. The principle of the idea is extremely sound - a 'currency' that can be spent on upgrades and that can be spent anywhere on the system. Unfortunately the reality is that the system is large, and separated by geographical areas such as NA, TALT and TPAC and the inherent costs (distances) of flying across them. Herein lies the problem. The old paper system did fairly well at providing a distinction between NAU and the rest in particular that allowed the program to reward those who had a combination of flight patterns. I am not privvy to the numbers (of course) but it is clear that providing the SSWU TPAC was a significant cost to AC and a significant 'carrot' to those using this route. Given that eC's are not universal, can a third type not be introduced for NA travel (say)? Obviously, adding complexity is antitheses to any FFP, but as the P eC's are already different, this could be worth thinking about. Currently those planning to use the NEW E benefit on NA routes, especially higher fares, are net gainers, but those on mostly international routes (pointed out by many) are significant losers: I would hazard to propose that this is a direct result of attempting to provide a 'universal' currency valid both NA and system wide.

3. 35k vs. 50k / COS bonus(es)
It is clear that AC want to protect their J product, and they are right to do so - it is of very high quality and consistency. However, if there are truly too many Elites upgrading, then I would personally suggest the time might be right to revaluate the 35k threshold. As others have pointed out (e.g. Jasper2009) other carriers (e.g. CO) use a 50k threshold. When combined with 25% or 50% COS for higher fares (e.g. M!) this lowers the 50k by 50% to 33k, close the the current level but with the added benefit of essentially providing 2 incentives to the purchaser to buy the M fare (miles + upgrades chance) rather than just one incentive as things currently stand. Add in some some extra eCredits from the abolishing of both 40k and 60k thresholds, allied to the already improved Prestige benefits, may well lead to a much happier family of Elite members.

4. Bottom line...
For me, as primarily a TATL flyer of ~50k/year, the program devaluation was that simply not enough eC's were provided from day 1 to get my minimum requirement of 2x SSWU + 2x SWU. Granted, I will now hit the required 44 points (M->J) after collecting the 20k threshold bonus, but at the cost of having to select ALL the credits I could from the select package, as well as (typically) the loss of another 2-4SWU and 4 NAU. For me the price is too high, and as zkzkz points out, other carriers on this routing provide many more opportunities to upgrade from the equivalent of the 'M' fare to business. For those of TPAC routes, the required points cannot even be earned even after the second threshold bonus at 40k (pointed out by travelblond). Therefore if the systems stays 'as is' I'd suggest upping the 40k threshold gift to 15, sort of like a 'congratulations' for making E once again.

So, that's me signing off. It's clear that the program suits SE rather than E now, but here's another parting thought - all SE are E at some point (even if only fleetingly!) so perhaps it would be nice to encourage them to stay and become SE one day, where the benefits do seem rather decent (I notice very few SE posting on the threads now!).


Ciao everyone, have a good one...
VM
(Elite 2010/2011)

Last edited by VolcanoMan; Dec 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 1:21 pm
  #157  
 
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Does not work for me

As an Elite who does about ~60,000 miles primarily on Latitude fares, with YVR-LHR being my key upgrade route, the old certs translate into 56-64 eupgrade credits vs the 35 I get now. Even the flight pass credit is essentially halved for me.

I understand it is a business, so I have always been happy to buy Latitude fares to get upgrades. With the new structure, I will certainly re-assess my purchase of higher fares.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 1:21 pm
  #158  
 
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Originally Posted by Andrew Yiu
At last check - many customers are posting here that it's very hard to upgrade especially on our Asia routes, so someone must be paying for it? Our premium revenue in Q3 grew 26%.
i was 2% off..... i read somewhere it was 24%.....
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 1:40 pm
  #159  
 
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I know AC has to make money but posts saying we should not be complaining are irritating.

In 2010 I selected the 50% bonus miles and recieved 2 SSWU and 2 SWU. So using the eupgrade credits for YYZ to PVG I was intially awarded:

17+17+8+8=50 equivalent credits. In 2011 I will only be award 25, 1/2 of last year if I select the mileage bonus. Why would this make me happy?
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 1:41 pm
  #160  
 
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Originally Posted by Shareholder
.
Lest I be attacked for being repetitive, I just want to add how amazed I am that it takes so little to placate so many. You sound like the Obama White House apologists!
we have not generally agreed on things before, however, i actually agree with you here. E's should have had a min of 40 eupgrades even with selecting the 50% bonus..
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 1:49 pm
  #161  
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Originally Posted by AndrewO
I know AC has to make money but posts saying we should not be complaining are irritating.

In 2010 I selected the 50% bonus miles and recieved 2 SSWU and 2 SWU. So using the eupgrade credits for YYZ to PVG I was intially awarded:

17+17+8+8=50 equivalent credits. In 2011 I will only be award 25, 1/2 of last year if I select the mileage bonus. Why would this make me happy?
You should be happy and grateful because AC just announced that youll only need 50 credits vs. 56 credits for your flying pattern.

(The fact that youll only get tier bonus + 25 credits to start with is only a minor fact which should be neglected, it only is an obstacle to your and our happiness)
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 1:51 pm
  #162  
 
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To go back to the Tropicana analogy from before, Air Canada first said the price you paid for the 2L bottle would now get you just 1L. We all started screaming, and Air Canada always knew that if that happened, they would offer us a 1.2L bottle to be grateful. So they did.

Let's just try to forget those 5 agonizing days of the 1L bottle and analyze what they are really giving us now compared to what we got before. Even if the container is now made of glass, not paper, and if you can now buy it online, and if you can share the juice with other people, and, and, and...
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 1:52 pm
  #163  
 
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Originally Posted by AndrewO
I know AC has to make money but posts saying we should not be complaining are irritating.

In 2010 I selected the 50% bonus miles and recieved 2 SSWU and 2 SWU. So using the eupgrade credits for YYZ to PVG I was intially awarded:

17+17+8+8=50 equivalent credits. In 2011 I will only be award 25, 1/2 of last year if I select the mileage bonus. Why would this make me happy?
+1 my thoughts exactly!
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 2:03 pm
  #164  
 
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The max. number of credits I'll get next year as an Elite is 35 and that's if I forego my Top Tier bonus???

That's not enough to upgrade one Canada-Asia trip booked in Tango Plus.

What a jipp!!!! I had 8 certs last year... a potential to use them for four flights return... now I can't even use my upgrades for ONE return flight.

Edit: Just noticed that it will requires 34 credits for a Canada-Asia trip booked in T+...

Now the question is do I forego by Top Tier bonus to get the additional 10 upgrade credits so I can actually pull off this trip?
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 2:03 pm
  #165  
 
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Originally Posted by Andrew Yiu
However, after realizing I would not have a chance of upgrading a trans-ocean round-trip I had already selected the tier bonus as second priority.
If you really would like to adjust, please send me an email or PM and I can look into it for you.
Thank you, Andrew. I think I will stick with the selection of the 50% bonus in the hopes of earning enough miles for an F-class reward trip, which may have a higher probability than actually being able to upgrade a T+ round-trip to Europe. As much as I enjoy reading about upgrade successes of SEs, I have had very limited success in using SSWUs for my preferred destinations (ZRH, FRA). So as much I would like the chance of an upgrade, the certainty of 50% bonus seems preferable. It's unfortunate we have to make the choice, though.
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