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new AC Aeroplan program - *constructive* criticism

new AC Aeroplan program - *constructive* criticism

Old Aug 17, 20, 11:08 pm
  #1  
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new AC Aeroplan program - *constructive* criticism

new AC Aeroplan program - constructive criticism

So we've all been discussing the new Aeroplan program:.
2020 Air Canada Aeroplan Program

In case somebody missed it, Aeroplan members are encouraged to provide feedback on the new program:
https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/.../feedback.html

Let's assume that AC management is actually reading and considering the feedback received. If that's the case, maybe the AC FT community should compile a list of constructive criticism.

1) Many AC FTers have an excellent, in-depth understanding of the AE program and AC elite benefits (and in some cases, of AC as a company).
2) Many Aeroplan members will want to provide constructive feedback and may appreciate some general pointers/suggestions.

In order to keep this thread constructive, let's try to minimize ramblings about how much better AE was 20 years ago and let's try to identify (potential) issues with the new AE program.

Bonus points if you provide constructive suggestions that take into account both members' needs and expectations as well as AC's considerations.
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Old Aug 17, 20, 11:10 pm
  #2  
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short-haul award pricing:

The distance-based pricing within each award chart will no doubt benefit some people. However, the 500 mile cut-off excludes various "routes on the margin" such as YEG-YVR (506 miles) and YUL-YHZ (501 miles).

Could AC therefore please consider:

1) slightly increasing the limit for short-haul awards to 510 miles - similar to the distances used to calculate the e-upgrade requirements? or
2) increase the threshold for short-haul awards to ~650 miles in order to be competitive with the BA Avios program?
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Old Aug 17, 20, 11:11 pm
  #3  
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mixed class of service awards:
:
Currently AE allows members to upgrade segments booked in a lower class of service free of charge if the award was priced based on a higher class of service wirhout incurring any change fees (e.g. on a business class award, an economy class segment could be upgraded to business class if availability opened up on that segment at a later point without incurring a change fee as long as the routing/airlines/etc. remain the same).

Could AC kindly confirm that:

1) this policy will apply to awards booked before Nov. 8 and rebooked after Nov. 8 without triggering a complete repricing of the award?
2) this policy will still apply for bookings made after Nov. 8?
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Old Aug 17, 20, 11:12 pm
  #4  
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Million Miler benefits:

Whether or not basing 50% off priority rewards entirely on SQD makes sense or not, the new program appears to completely neglect MM members.

The MM program - and the motivation to spend more money on AC operated flights - is directly related to receiving meaningful benefits.

If the current priority rewards are eliminated entirely and the new 50% off priority rewards / coupons are solely based on SQD, the value of MM status has greatly deteriorated, and as a result the incentive to spend more money on AC in order to earn (a higher) MM status has greatly decreased.

It would therefore make sense to award MMers with a certain number of 50% off coupons / priority rewards each year regardless of SQD. Or to put it in more general terms: It makes little sense from a member's point of view to show any loyalty towards AC if the benefits deteriorate at a greater pace than we can earn them.
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Old Aug 17, 20, 11:14 pm
  #5  
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Aeroplan points accruel on international, premium cabin flights:

Based on the recent announcements, it is clear that AC wants to "reward" pax who spend a lot of money on expensive, short-haul flights while offering far fewer benefits to travelelrs on long-haul, international flights.

At the same time, AC has invested a lot of resources to attract international travellers, and in particular sixth-freedom traffic, during the last few years.

As a SE for eight consecutive years, my travel is almost exclusively international, booked in Latitude / Premium Economy / Business Class.

According to the new AE miles earning system, I would earn 60%-70% fewer AE miles.

While directly linking AE miles earning to spend may make sense (or not), it fails to take into account that international travellers have the most flexibility to choose between airlines and FFPs.

May I suggest that AC introduce a higher multiplier (4x/5x) for Latitude / Premium Economy / business class fares? Or offer any sort of incentive for choosing an AC operated flight over another airline when booking an international itinerary in PE/J?
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Old Aug 17, 20, 11:26 pm
  #6  
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Great thread idea!

Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
Million Miler benefits:

Whether or not basing 50% off priority rewards entirely on SQD makes sense or not, the new program appears to completely neglect MM members.

The MM program - and the motivation to spend more money on AC operated flights - is directly related to receiving meaningful benefits.

If the current priority rewards are eliminated entirely and the new 50% off priority rewards / coupons are solely based on SQD, the value of MM status has greatly deteriorated, and as a result the incentive to spend more money on AC in order to earn (a higher) MM status has greatly decreased.

It would therefore make sense to award MMers with a certain number of 50% off coupons / priority rewards each year regardless of SQD. Or to put it in more general terms: It makes little sense from a member's point of view to show any loyalty towards AC if the benefits deteriorate at a greater pace than we can earn them.
To a similar extent, this applies to the non-resident requirement as well. I have no issue hitting 20k, but I know a lot of $10,500 SEs. AC wants them badly enough to cut that in half, but if they also cut a benefit in half, it makes SE less useful.

My main suggestion is also around the priority rewards, and my advice would be to turn them into more of a currency like eUp credits.

2 credits gives you NA Y
3 credits is NA PY
4 credits is intl PY or NA J
5 credits is intl J
6 credits is intl F

Obviously SEs now need to start with more than 4, and these numbers need serious tweaking (I put almost no thought into them). But make it worthwhile for an SE to use them for NA trips. Allow us to use them for intl F, just not as many times as intl J.

I don't want this to cost AC any more money than it already does, but I'd like to do 3 intl F trips instead of 4 intl J trips or something like that.
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Old Aug 17, 20, 11:30 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
Based on the recent announcements, it is clear that AC wants to "reward" pax who spend a lot of money on expensive, short-haul flights while offering far fewer benefits to travelelrs on long-haul, international [cheaper] flights.
I disagree, and have slightly tweaked your wording to match how I see it. If you're buying cheap P fares, you're not as important as someone buying full Y/B fares (not cheap FPs). I know lots of people who spend more on Flex than I do on J on the same itinerary, and they're getting a lot less value out of it. I see no reason not to give them more miles than the cheap P fares.

Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
May I suggest that AC introduce a higher multiplier (4x/5x) for Latitude / Premium Economy / business class fares? Or offer any sort of incentive for choosing an AC operated flight over another airline when booking an international itinerary in PE/J?
I wondered about that multiplier table. Right now it's "basic economy" and "everything else", which really makes me wonder why they bothered with a column. Is a $100 Basic fare really worth fewer points than a $100 Flex fare?

But at the same time, I don't agree that someone buying a $2000 P fare should earn more miles than someone who buys a $2000 M fare.
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Old Aug 17, 20, 11:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
mixed class of service awards:
:
Currently AE allows members to upgrade segments booked in a lower class of service free of charge if the award was priced based on a higher class of service wirhout incurring any change fees (e.g. on a business class award, an economy class segment could be upgraded to business class if availability opened up on that segment at a later point without incurring a change fee as long as the routing/airlines/etc. remain the same).

Could AC kindly confirm that:

1) this policy will apply to awards booked before Nov. 8 and rebooked after Nov. 8 without triggering a complete repricing of the award?
2) this policy will still apply for bookings made after Nov. 8?
So my suspicions are that for partner redemptions, it will be the same as before.

For AC, we don't have enough technical details for me to provide any guesses, because I can think of 3+ ways the booking engine may actually work, and each have 2-3 possibilities for how changes would work, and I don't really want to enumerate 2-3 scenarios for each of 10+ hypothetical implementations
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Old Aug 17, 20, 11:56 pm
  #9  
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I appreciate the sentiment, but do we really need another thread?

I think the biggest problem right now is that they've not released the details of the elite benefits for 2021. I recognize they said something about things weren't really changing, but it would have been nice to just get everything out there now. As a status-holder, most of the changes appear pretty negative. Elite benefits may help offset some of the overall negative changes to the awards program, but we only have hints at what those might be.

Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
Aeroplan points accruel on international, premium cabin flights:

Based on the recent announcements, it is clear that AC wants to "reward" pax who spend a lot of money on expensive, short-haul flights while offering far fewer benefits to travelelrs on long-haul, international flights.

At the same time, AC has invested a lot of resources to attract international travellers, and in particular sixth-freedom traffic, during the last few years.

As a SE for eight consecutive years, my travel is almost exclusively international, booked in Latitude / Premium Economy / Business Class.

According to the new AE miles earning system, I would earn 60%-70% fewer AE miles.

While directly linking AE miles earning to spend may make sense (or not), it fails to take into account that international travellers have the most flexibility to choose between airlines and FFPs.

May I suggest that AC introduce a higher multiplier (4x/5x) for Latitude / Premium Economy / business class fares? Or offer any sort of incentive for choosing an AC operated flight over another airline when booking an international itinerary in PE/J?
I'm not sure I follow this point.

The other revenue-based programs award miles strictly on spend, with no multiplier for premium cabins, so the precedent doesn't support this, for whatever that's worth.

But it seems to me that those with status should generally earn more miles on international premium tickets under this system, unless they're buying the tickets very cheap.

Let's look at a cheap P fare that I booked to Europe a while back. YYC-FRA-MUC; VIE-FRA-YYC. I got 14,596 base Aeroplan miles (AQM) plus 9,465 bonus Aeroplan miles thanks to the SE bonus, for a total of 24,061. AQD was $3,502. Under the new system, that would be 38,522 miles - 10,506 base miles (3x base), 14,008 SE bonus miles (4x), plus an additional 4x for the SE 100% bonus select privilege.

That ticket wasn't actually quite as cheap as I remembered, so let's look at a different one. This one was a lower base fare and one on which I used a promo code; YYC-FRA-FCO; VCE-FRA-YYC. 23,987 Aeroplan miles (14,512 AQM + 9,475 SE bonus). AQD of $2,399. With the new rules, that would still work out to 26,389 miles.

So even on a cheap ticket with a promo code, it's a few more miles.

I won't say that it's always going to be more miles under the new system - a YYC-YVR-TPE round trip in PY with $2K AQD would be 28,692 miles under the old system but only 22,000 under the new system, but that's the whole point - buy cheaper tickets, get fewer miles.

This would also significantly increase the amount of miles on expensive premium cabin bookings. All those times I've had to fly last-minute on business, man, it's sad how many miles I missed out on. Here's one example. YYC-YYZ-MAD; FCO-FRA-YYC. I got 25,656 Aeroplan miles. The $7,249 AQD would have earned me 79,749 Aeroplan points under the new system.

I had a YYC-LHR round trip with a higher base fare that would have had an even higher gap to the new program too, sadly.

I appreciate that for someone who only buys premium cabins at their absolute cheapest (i.e. when AC's margins are lowest), this may result in fewer miles, but that's pretty much what AC is trying to accomplish - better align points accrual with spending.

Your incentive to book a premium cabin is that you'll get to sit in a premium cabin; or if it's Latitude vs cheaper fares, it's the benefits of Latitude, inlcuding upgradeability.
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Old Aug 18, 20, 12:01 am
  #10  
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But let's be clear the "additional 4x for the SE 100% bonus select privilege" is speculation. I'd bet $50 on it, but it's speculation.

So then are we suggesting we won't earn enough based on not knowing the elite benefits?
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Old Aug 18, 20, 12:08 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
But let's be clear the "additional 4x for the SE 100% bonus select privilege" is speculation. I'd bet $50 on it, but it's speculation.

So then are we suggesting we won't earn enough based on not knowing the elite benefits?
Sure, somewhat speculative, but even if we take that away, the earning is still going to be better under the new system a lot of the time, and not nearly as bad as Jasper2009 is thinking.

Going back to that TPE example I used above, at 7x rather than 11x, the AQD on the ticket would have to be sub-$1700 to be 60% worse than under the old system. Not impossible, I know, but again, it's a revenue-based program. If you're scoring a PY seat to TPE for $1700 AQD, you almost certainly don't need any additional incentive to book it.
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Old Aug 18, 20, 1:15 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Sure, somewhat speculative, but even if we take that away, the earning is still going to be better under the new system a lot of the time, and not nearly as bad as Jasper2009 is thinking.

Going back to that TPE example I used above, at 7x rather than 11x, the AQD on the ticket would have to be sub-$1700 to be 60% worse than under the old system. Not impossible, I know, but again, it's a revenue-based program. If you're scoring a PY seat to TPE for $1700 AQD, you almost certainly don't need any additional incentive to book it.
I indeed used the 3x-7x multipliers since we haven't received any information yet regarding any additional E/SE bonuses - beyond the increased multiplers mentioned based on status.

(1) A Cdn SE exclusively flying AC Flex (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $20k AQD currently earns 200k AE miles.
(2) A Cdn SE exclusively flying AC PE or Latitude (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $20k AQD currently earns 180k AE miles.
(3) A Cdn SE exclusively flying AC J (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $20k AQD currently earns 167k AE miles.
(4) A non-Cdn SE exclusively flying AC Flex (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $10k AQD currently earns 200k AE miles.
(5) A non-Cdn SE exclusively flying AC PE or Latitude (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $10k AQD currently earns 180k AE miles.
(6) A non-Cdn SE exclusively flying AC J (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $10k AQD currently earns 167k AE miles.

Under the new program said SE would earn 70k / 140k AE miles (not incl. any additional bonus miles on top of the imcreased multipliers).

Obviously most SEs will earn status via a mix of Flex/Lat/PE/J fares. But the above examples don't even take into account the opportunity to earn more than 100k AQM while only meeting the minimum AQD requirement - thereby potentially earning even more than 200k AE miles.

A lot will depend on whether there will be an E/SE bonus in addition to the increased multipliers, but if not, the new earning rates are a major devaluation for the vast majority of long-haul fliers.

Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
If you're scoring a PY seat to TPE for $1700 AQD, you almost certainly don't need any additional incentive to book it.
Yes and no.

PE fares between NA and Asia in the $1700-$2000 range are not at all uncommon. Obviously restricted to certain seasons / dates / days / etc. with various restrictions / advance purchase requirements / nlack-out dates....

But as a leisure traveller, why would I choose AC PE over BR PE when AC is now rewarding me with fewer miles than it previously gave me on a Tango/Standard fare?

You can only maintain a solid base of int'l / sixth-freeedom travellers by offering a compelling package consisting of a superior product and/or lower fares and/or superior schedules and/or superior FF benefits.

Last edited by Jasper2009; Aug 18, 20 at 2:06 am
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Old Aug 18, 20, 4:40 am
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Jasper2009 View Post
I indeed used the 3x-7x multipliers since we haven't received any information yet regarding any additional E/SE bonuses - beyond the increased multiplers mentioned based on status.

(1) A Cdn SE exclusively flying AC Flex (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $20k AQD currently earns 200k AE miles.
(2) A Cdn SE exclusively flying AC PE or Latitude (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $20k AQD currently earns 180k AE miles.
(3) A Cdn SE exclusively flying AC J (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $20k AQD currently earns 167k AE miles.
(4) A non-Cdn SE exclusively flying AC Flex (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $10k AQD currently earns 200k AE miles.
(5) A non-Cdn SE exclusively flying AC PE or Latitude (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $10k AQD currently earns 180k AE miles.
(6) A non-Cdn SE exclusively flying AC J (long-haul) earning SE status via 100k AQM and $10k AQD currently earns 167k AE miles.

Under the new program said SE would earn 70k / 140k AE miles (not incl. any additional bonus miles on top of the imcreased multipliers).

Obviously most SEs will earn status via a mix of Flex/Lat/PE/J fares. But the above examples don't even take into account the opportunity to earn more than 100k AQM while only meeting the minimum AQD requirement - thereby potentially earning even more than 200k AE miles.

A lot will depend on whether there will be an E/SE bonus in addition to the increased multipliers, but if not, the new earning rates are a major devaluation for the vast majority of long-haul fliers.
Your problem is the assumption that a $20k AQD SE is an amazing customer worthy of everything.

$20k AQD means you're hitting the bare minimum acceptable spend for status.

I don't like talking about my spend, but under the new rules, I would have earned at least 6 priority rewards based on last year's flying. That means I earned at least $25k AQD. And I'm one of the bottom feeder non-residents.

If you're comparing "I just barely qualified" levels of AQD to the new program, then yeah, you're going to earn fewer Aeroplan points. But that's the point of the new Aeroplan.

I like the idea of this thread, but I really don't think you're taking into consideration "AC's considerations".
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Old Aug 18, 20, 10:07 am
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Air Canada is free to target Aeroplan as it chooses. AC seems to think that expensive short-haul flights should be rewarded most, so good luck to them.

BA is also free to target its Executive Club as it chooses. BA clearly thinks that leisure travellers are worth rewarding handsomely, so good luck to them.

As a leisure traveller, I and my family are free to travel with the airline that values us most highly.

Decision made.
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Old Aug 18, 20, 11:20 am
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There's a "sour spot" in the domestic award chart that I suspect AC has overlooked - I say this because it only penalizes a handful of airports, and not in a way that would substantially benefit AC from a revenue perspective, given the nearly-identical routings that ARE allowed.

For example, a flight from Vancouver to Montreal to Moncton clocks in at 2,734 miles, and starts at 25,000 miles round-trip, while a flight from Vancouver to Montreal to Halifax clocks in at 2,796 miles, but costs another 10,000 miles.

As this last bit really only affects coast-to-coast travellers, as well as anyone travelling from the Yukon to Eastern Canada, Iím hopeful that Air Canada decides this was an oversight, and bumps up the mileage allowance on that zone to allow all travel within Canada. Certainly the least they could do for a country thatís been - cough - pretty helpful to the airline industry during the COVID crisis.

Anyone living in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador or the Yukon might want to point this out to AC.
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