April 22 2009 by Ellen Roseman
Aeroplan has a harsh bereavement policy, which requires widows and widowers to pay 1 cent a mile to transfer points after their spouse has died. When I wrote about this in my column, I heard from many readers who had beefs about both Aeroplan and Air Miles.
Did you know you still have to pay a fuel surcharge when you use your points to get a reward ticket? Both programs have kept the fuel surcharges, even though many airlines have dropped them (including Air Canada on North American flights) as oil prices have plunged.
I checked Aeroplan’s website and found a vague question and answer. Since it told me nothing, I called Aeroplan’s customer service (as instructed) and got the real story.
Yes, Aeroplan does have a fuel surcharge for reward tickets, I was told. It has nothing to do with fuel costs and is misnamed. It’s there because Aeroplan hasn’t adjusted its points levels in a few years. This is another way of compensating the airlines for the reward tickets earned by members.
I asked Air Miles about the fuel surcharge and got an official answer, posted below, and a response from an angry reader.
Of course, there are many other taxes and fees you end up paying when you get a “free” ticket. That’s the reason why many people would rather just buy a discounted airfare and use their points for something else.