Aeroplan vs. Air Miles

April 28 2007 by Ellen Roseman

There are a few key differences between these popular reward programs. If you want to keep your points and not have them taken away, choose Air Miles. It won’t zap your miles after three years of inactivity, as Aeroplan does. And if you have Aeroplan points, fill up your car with Esso gas every so often. That will be enough to keep you active.

Suppose your spouse dies. He or she has a lot of points saved up, which you want to transfer to your account. Aeroplan makes you pay a big fee to do so. Air Miles does not charge a fee.

Aeroplan charges a $30 fee for telephone bookings, but its website is far from reliable. Check this discussion forum for frequent flyers, where you’ll find many complaints about Aeroplan’s technical issues.

Air Miles gives you a wider choice of airlines for reward flights. Aeroplan has Air Canada (and the Star Alliance), whose customer service may leave you feeling frustrated. That’s a topic for another day.

117 comments

  1. Recruiting Animal

    Apr 28 2007

    The choice looks like a no-brainer, doesn’t it.

  2. Terry

    Apr 28 2007

    There is another site where we freely critique Aeroplan and AC when their issues affect us as frequent fliers and it’s a Canadian-based site.

    http://www.canflyer.com/forum/index.php

    There are other issues with Aeroplan as well. They have a two tier system for awards..classic and classic plus. On domestic and North American flights, the cash costs for a short haul classic award at 15,000 miles are $94, and if you pay the additional miles, anywhere from 8,000 to 30,000 more miles, the cash cost drops by $45. In other words, what they don’t tell the consumer is that they charge in dollars for rewards with less points required.

    Also, their website has not been functioning properly due to IT issues and they refuse to put disclaimers acknowledging these problems on the web booking engine. These website problems could conceivably cost a member many more points than are required for a flight, especially Super Elite members.

  3. Walter

    Apr 30 2007

    I fly over 200 flights every year and am an elite member of both Northwest Airlines and Air Canada’s frequent flyer programs. Air Canada’s Aeroplan is so customer unfriendly that I no longer fly Air Canada and have switched my Amex Aeroplan card. You may wish to suggest to your readers that Northwest is a great alternative for points programs. I regularly book flights to Hawaii on a few weeks’ notice using points. Northwest also treats its Elite flyer members better than Air Canada!

  4. David

    Apr 30 2007

    Sometimes you can win. My friend and I were buying the land-only portion of a tour package to Great Britain and were going to use our Aeroplan points to fly business class, Toronto to London, return. Between us, we had almost enough points, but not shared equally, so we transferred points into one account and purchased the balance. (The cost of these transactions
    was still less than buying the two tour package, airfare included, options.)

    After purchasing the business class return tickets online, I visited our travel agent to book the tours. He informed me when checking my file that we had business class one way and economy the other, despite paying the full business class redemption.

    Repeating the online process to see what I had done wrong, I noticed a message indicating that only a lesser class of ticket was available. But it was dark grey on light grey, somewhat hard to see, and easily missed.

    Shortly after, I received a “how did we do?” email from Aeroplan and I let them know. Someone replied with a thank you and a promise to talk to the website people. I replied with a question: “How about a gesture of good faith and you upgrade me to business class both ways?” They did.

    I shouldn’t have had to go this route but that’s Aeroplan. And why wouldn’t the redemption cost be reduced if business class was only available one-way?

  5. Scott

    Apr 30 2007

    I am one of the legions of people who have given up hope on Aeroplan. In my 21-year membership, I earned over two million miles the hard way, by flying long haul, full fare, business class flights. I am retired, but still fly enough to qualify as Elite, and I had been Superelite for a number of years when working.

    Now that Aeroplan miles are given out for buying orange juice, fuel and anything on your credit card, there are so many people wanting to claim flights that none are available.

    When I tried to book flights seven months in advance to see my daughter in Australia, I was offered a flight for over 900,000 miles a seat per person, with only a few segments in business class and several stopovers. This was after looking through two months of departure dates. They are obviously buying “bucket shop” tickets so they can claim they have a flight for everyone.

    There needs to be an investigation by the Federal Travel Ombudsman, the same organization that goes after Air Canada for other customer complaints, as to how they plan to reasonably honour the commitments they made to people like me who flew with them in good faith during their financial crisis. We kept them alive and now they won’t answer the phone for us.

    (Sorry for the rant, this has been a sore point with me for years.)

  6. Mark

    Apr 30 2007

    Aeroplan rivals Bell with the way it deals with customers, as if having complete disregard for us. I want to share my own Aeroplan story.

    As you mentioned in your article about booking ahead, I did just that on April 11, 2006, when I booked an Aeroplan flight to Las Vegas for the month of August 2006. A couple of weeks before that August date, I had an emergency which forced me to postpone my trip. The lady at Aeroplan told me I had a year to rebook the trip at a change fee of $55 plus tax. I was fine with that.

    In March 2007, I called to book that replacement flight for the summer, but was told that the credit would only be applied for flights leaving before April 11, 2007. I had a year from the booking date, not the flight date, which isn’t what I was told when I had to postpone the trip. However, I will have to live with that, since there is no way I could prove that information.

    So now I’m out 25,000 Aeroplan points and I’ve learned my lesson that Aeroplan gets you if you book late or if you book ahead of time. There is always some red tape that affects the consumer.

  7. Sharon

    Apr 30 2007

    I’m acting on behalf of an 80-year-old man, who phoned to book Esso gift cards with his Aeroplan points and was told he had to do it online only. He has been retired a long time and has never used a computer in his life. He’s not as mobile as younger people.

    He was told to go to a library and use a computer there. Apparently they didn’t understand he doesn’t know how to use one and has to ask someone at a library to do it for him. This makes no sense.

    As a long-time friend, I’m trying to help him. I emailed Aeroplan and got back an acknowledgement that they had received my inquiry. Then, I got another an hour or so later saying they could not reply online due to technical difficulties and to contact them again in 14 days.

    This has been ongoing for seven weeks. I keep emailing and they keep telling me the system is unable to respond. It is ironic they insist everything be done online, but cannot (or will not) reply to a customer online.

    I have tried calling Aeroplan myself and they read from a script. What my friend would like to know is why does everything have to be done online. Aeroplan has people who answer the phone and can actually look at a client account, but cannot assist elderly people with booking rewards.

    I spoke to him again today and he is very annoyed. I find it hard to believe that any computer system is out of order for a minimum of seven weeks!!!

  8. Sharon

    Apr 30 2007

    I should add that I ordered the gift cards for him online, using my computer under his name, and he just received them. Only because I have known him for decades would he have allowed me to do this. Most older people are extremely reluctant to share any personal information with anyone.
    I am sure he cannot be the only senior in this position.

  9. Ellen Roseman

    May 2 2007

    From a reader:

    I was very interested in the article on Aeroplan. I have over 200,000 points and have been on the computer trying to get a return ticket to England from Toronto.

    To get a flight with Air Canada for 60,000 points presents no problem on the outbound flight,which is non stop. However, the only return flights are through Star Alliance and are via Chicago with American Airlines, requiring a change of planes to continue to Toronto. To fly there, and return, with Air Canada requires many more points.

    Why are there seats going, but not returning, with Air Canada? One would get the impression that it’s a deliberate scheme to make it so unattractive that people will cash their points in at the premium rate. I did speak to someone at the airline and the explanation was that all the return seats on the Air Canada flights were booked. All booked from UK to here, but not from here to UK. How strange!!!

  10. Heather

    May 2 2007

    After my divorce in 1991, I signed up for a Royal Bank Visa Gold (Aeroplan version). At that time this Visa card was connected to Canadian Airlines. It was my hope that someday I could use the points to have a dream vacation. I used my credit card for everything.

    But any time I tried to use my points for a specific trip, it was usually a blackout period, the flights were booked or the connections were inconvenient. It was more convenient to just buy a ticket outright. So, I didn’t get to use any of the points. Canadian Airlines went into bankruptcy and the plan was converted to Aeroplan miles as of Dec. 31, 2000. I chose not to take out a CIBC Aeroplan credit card, but to just leave these points in the Aeroplan account for future use.

    After the transfer, I held 218,675 points. Aeroplan stated in the January 20, 2001 statement: “Rest assured, your New Mileage Balance still contains ALL your accumulated miles which you can use for eventual redemption.”

    This fall when I decided to look into my options for using these points, I was informed that the account had been dormant and was subsequently closed out in 2003. I wsa told I could repurchase these points for a price – a $30 processing fee, plus 1 cent for every mile that’s reinstated, plus taxes.

    I have written twice to the President and CEO of Aeroplan, Rupert Duchesne, requesting an explanation (Oct. 25/06 and Jan. 1/07). He has not responded to either letter. I realize that there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of other victims. Is there anything that can be done to recover my hard earned points for future redemption?

    After I contacted you and you referred my complaint to Aeroplan, I spoke to the call centre supervisor in the Montreal head office. He did refer to the fact that I had alerted the media. Long and short of the conversation was that the only way I could recover my points was to buy them back. I don’t believe I should be buying back what was once mine. So I told him I was very disappointed at the overall treatment at Aeroplan and disgusted.

    Since that time, I had a call from CIBC asking me to open a CIBC Aeroplan credit card account. I told them I was not interested as I already had too many credit cards. Also, I had a very bad experience with Aeroplan and I was not interested in collecting Aeroplan points. End of Story.

    The fact that I was not notified that my points were going down is what bothers me and will forever bother me. Where can I go from here other than to just give up? I don’t enjoy being knocked around by the “Big Guys.” They should not be able to wield that type of power.

    Following your advice, I recently wrote to the Canadian Transportation Agency. It has a consumer complaints role and looks into disputes about frequent flyer points. I’ll let you know what happens.

  11. Ganny

    May 10 2007

    I am trying to transfer my air miles from aeroplan to lufthansa as I prefer. Could someone help me how to transfer the air miles

  12. Wendy Gainsborough

    May 30 2007

    My husband recently passed away. I was advised by CIBC Visa to notify Aeroplan. When I inquired about transferring his points to my account, I was also advised that I would have t0 pay a $30 admin fee, plus 1 cent for every mile that he had accumulated (and paid for, I might add) in order to make the transfer.

    I don’t mind paying the admin fee, but this is an absolute ripoff to be required to pay anything more, as we know it only takes a few key strokes on a computer to make such a transfer with the proper documentation, like a death certificate and perhaps a notarized letter as to the beneficiary of the estate.

    Do I have any recourse??? Suggestions please.

  13. Larry Yasayko

    Jul 15 2007

    Stay away from Air Canada’s Aeroplan program. They ripped off all my points collected because of non-activity. The media says nothing was to happen until July 1, 2007, but they did this 3 years ago with no letter or notification this was going to happen. I wrote to them about the ripoff and they said they were catering to frequent fliers and not to customers like me. They had no excuse for not writing to me about the scooping of my points. I guess I am just a peon to them. I don’t spend enough flying, according to them.

    According to Air Miles, though, I am an important customer, so I now use them exclusively and have flown to Europe twice through them, with kudos to the Air Miles people. AEROPLAN IS A RIP OFF! STAY AWAY IF YOU VALUE YOUR WALLET.

  14. Ellen Roseman

    Jul 15 2007

    Larry, Aeroplan has been zapping points for non-activity since the summer of 2004. I was onto that story quickly because I started hearing complaints from readers. Later, the company formalized its policy and announced it to everyone. But the cancellation of points started earlier than July 2007.

    I agree that Aeroplan had a moral obligation to notify members in advance, so they could stay active. Why didn’t that happen? Aeroplan said notifying non-active members was too expensive. Anyway, the three-year activity rule was on its website. I found it buried in a fine-print list of several dozen terms and conditions.

    Only later did Aeroplan make the warnings more explicit on its website. But there’s still no advance notification for members who are about to lose their points because they’re not paying their way. That’s nasty for a “loyalty” program.

  15. E Bergler

    Jul 15 2007

    I just checked Air Miles site: Vancouver to Stuttgart via Frankfurt, Germany, my normal family visit, takes a minimum of 7,800 miles (low season, 9,800 high season), for which I will have to spend 20 x 7,800 = $156,000 in purchases. Aeroplan is 60,000 points, or $60,000 in spendings. Guess who I will stick with!
    To prove a point I twice looked for tickets in August for early September and twice!! got them. Yes, it was not easy, but it worked!
    For example, when looking, also look at other nearby cities, as I can fly London-Stuttgart (did it once), Paris-Stuttgart, maybe Mailand-Stuttgart. And I did find that the people on the phones are very friendly and helpful. I get a free ticket to Europe almost yearly just by putting EVERYTHING on my Aeroplan Visa Card! Including all my liquor purchases – ha ha!

  16. Larry Yasayko

    Aug 1 2007

    Hi Ellen: Thank you for your comments on my plight with Aeroplan. I just felt that since I was going to school for 3 years taking Criminology (now a grad) that Aeroplan should have had some contact with me. After all, they did take over 11,500 points from me. My courses were back to back, with no time off even during the summer, so my time did not allow for travel. I took no holidays, I was dedicated to my studies and it paid off with an Honours Degree and ranking in the top 10 in 300 students. So you can see I had very little time to travel and now I am going for my Doctorate.

    As a new grad who will be travelling a fair amount, I will not be using Air Canada or Aeroplan again. They basically told me in a phone call that I was small potatoes, so I am gone to WestJet and other competitors.

    I hope Air Canada smartens up before they find themselves in the same soup as before, losing money due to a pompous attitude. I see many others have complained too. Are they going to listen before it’s too late?
    Thanks again, take care.

  17. Andrea

    Aug 1 2007

    We are frustrated with Air Canada, Aeroplan and CIBC regarding our planned trip to Australia in 2008.

    We had amassed the number of miles required for a ticket for one person (return from Toronto to Australia). We, obviously incorrectly, assumed that it would be just a matter of a phone call to book the Aeroplan ticket and then call Air Canada to book the “paid” ticket on the same flight, since we had already checked on seat availability.

    According to Aeroplan and Air Canada, we could book the Aeroplan ticket, but if we both wanted to fly on the same flight(s), there was a charge of $3,950 for a ticket for the second person. Stunned by that amount, we decided to change our tactics and book the Air Canada (paid) ticket first, which was $2,278 return from Toronto to Australia. Much to our surprise, even though there were almost 130 unsold seats available on both the flight from Toronto to Sydney and on the return portion, we were informed that none of the seats were available for Aeroplan users.

    At that point, we went to the CIBC web site and also spoke to our local CIBC representative, since most of our miles were accumulated using CIBC AeroGold. The CIBC advertisement states: “Enjoy access to every available seat on Air Canada, including Executive Class”. As we were not booking executive class, we found it difficult to understand why we could not have one of the 130 available seats.

    Now we are in the situation where Air Canada blames Aeroplan, CIBC blames Air Canada and Aeroplan, and Aeroplan blames Air Canada and CIBC. I don’t care who is to blame, but it needs to be fixed now.

    We eventually decided to bypass both Air Canada and Aeroplan and booked our trip with another major airline. Now both of us are flying return to Australia for $2,015 each on the dates that we requested. Since Air Canada would have charged us $3,950 for one ticket to fly on the same flight, there is a difference of $1,800 for one seat. We are a retired couple and that is a substantial amount of money going into someone else’s pocket that we could use on our vacation. So we were forced to go “out of country” to book our trip. Does this make sense to anyone?

    We have been collecting Aeroplan miles for many years and use the CIBC AeroGold VISA constantly in order to fly and visit our families. This has become a situation of too many large corporations trying to ‘gouge’ their customers and treat them as incompetents.

    I’d like an explanation of why we were unable to fly together without paying an astronomical amount for a ticket, or why we were unable to book our Aeroplan seat on the less expensive flight (with 130 unsold seats). Someone must step up and be accountable.

  18. Anne Marie

    Aug 23 2007

    My husband and I are long-time Aeroplan members. On Feb. 7, we flew to Costa Rica on Air Canada with Senior Tours Canada. We registered our Aeroplan numbers on check-in and when we boarded the return flight on Feb. 21, we double checked that the numbers were in the system.

    We waited until May to allow time for the credit to show up. When it did not, we called Aeroplan and asked about the missing points. After considerable discussion, we were told that the tickets were too cheap to qualify for points. We spoke to people in the Senior Tours office in Hamilton and were told this was the first time they had heard such a complaint and their tour escorts who had accompanied previous groups had not had trouble getting credits. We then followed the routine for obtaining missing credits by sending in our boarding passes on May 16.

    When nothing had shown up on our accounts by mid-July, we contacted the Aeroplan Centre by phone. The representative could find no record of our boarding passes being submitted and advised me to resubmit my photocopy of the passes by registered mail.

    Later that day, he called me back and left a message saying that what we had was a Z class ticket which did not qualify for mileage. The only mention of a Z class ticket on the Aeroplan site is a statement that these will be good for full mileage on trips to Costa Rica starting in September 2007.

    The Aeroplan site does state in very fine print that “travel industry discounted tickets ” are not eligible for mileage accumulation. But Air Canada Vacations advertised an all-inclusive 1 week trip to Costa Rica for $1,169 in the Star on May 12 with 4,600 Aeroplan Miles included. (The flight part of our trip was approximately $700.)

    It strikes me as ludicrous that I can walk into a Home Buiding Centre, buy cleaning supplies and get Aeroplan miles. But buying an airline ticket and actually flying on Air Canada doesn’t earn me anything but frustration.

    On Aug. 17, I received an answer from Aeroplan written by Jerry McDonell, Customer Service Manager, which would appear to be in response to your inquiry. It read as follows:

    “Members cannot earn mileage for industry discounted travel or complimentary hotel stays and car rentals. Aeroplan reward tickets, Air Miles tickets with a fare basis ZLAIRM and tickets bought through Priceline.com and tickets purchased at certain booking classes are also excluded from mileage accumulation. As the documentation submitted is of the above nature, we are unable to credit your account.”

    This tells me some of the fares do not qualify for mileage, but does not say anything about what does qualify. And it doesn’t tell me which class of ticket I bought.

    They also returned my original boarding passes along with a sheet showing the names of all the passengers in our group with the code AN in front of each of them and a lot of cryptic information, which I assume has something to do with the booking arrangements.

    If I read what he wrote correctly, they can exclude just about any ticket they choose from earning mileage!

    To add insult to injury, the next day I received my Aeroplan update showing my 6 miles earned for a purchase at Home Building Centre, along with a flyer telling me how to earn extra miles in addition to the 250 I could earn per day by renting a Hertz car and showing my Aeroplan card. I also earned 10 Aeroplan Miles by sending in a product code from Tropicana Orange juice to a special website. At that rate, if I had spent the air fare to Costa Rica on orange juice, I’d have earned close to 2,000 miles.

    I am beginning to laugh at the absurdity of the whole Aeroplan situation. It’s like something out of Alice in Wonderland.

  19. Domenic V.

    Aug 29 2007

    I have just been told that as of July 20, I no longer have any miles in my plan (24,000 gone). I discussed the situation with an Aeroplan supervisor after sitting on hold, of course, for over half an hour. I thought that as long as you make one transaction per year, the miles carry forward for up to seven years. I was wrong! The transaction has to occur prior to the one-year anniversary of the previous transaction. This is not how the policy is worded.

    The supervisor couldn’t care less and was even smug and condescending. What I would like to know is how people like us who have been ripped off can advise future shareholders of Aeroplan that this company is not a good investment, that it is in fact a huge dysfunctional white elephant.

    Sorry for the rant, but something has to be done about making this issue public.

  20. Donna

    Sep 11 2007

    For six weeks, I tried to book my annual trip on aeroplan.com and found that I got error messages every time. I figured at first that they were having glitches, then I thought maybe the frequent flyer seats were sold out. I called customer service a few times. The message said a 15-minute wait, but after 30-60 minutes I’d give up.

    I tried booking my flights out of the US on other programs, but I couldn’t get a reasonable route. So the other night, while I was searching around on their site after trying again, I noticed that my 20,000 points had been cancelled. I also found a web support number.

    I called and they said the site has had problems booking flights for over a month and they still had no idea of what the problem was or when it would be solved. I asked why they didn’t have a notice on the website about the issue and they said they didn’t have control of the website. None of this made any sense. They gave me a workaround on the error messages I was getting (you have to use the drop down list for cities/airports, and NOT type it into the box yourself).

    The thing is, if the website had been functioning properly, I would have had my tickets booked before the points expired.

    I’m now glad I didn’t transfer my 47,000 AMEX points needed to do a flight into my Aeroplan account!

    Of course, the onus is all on me and they can be as irresponsible and unresponsive as they please. It seems to me that they are on a mission to expire as many points as possible.

    I’m wondering. How can they change the terms of expiry on old points when they made promises about them never expiring or expiring after x number of years? It is ludicrous that our elected officials allow this kind of corporate irresponsibility!

  21. Rob

    Oct 25 2007

    Ellen, I thought that the only way to fight inactivity was to use the aeroplan miles – flight, or other purchases. You said that you only have to buy gas at ESSO. Does earning aeroplan miles through sponsors also keep your miles from expiring? If so, I am a happy man.

  22. Ellen Roseman

    Oct 25 2007

    Hi Rob. Sorry to create confusion. I mentioned buying Esso gas since this is an easy way to stay active in Aeroplan and avoid losing your miles.

    You can do other things, too, to stay active. Aeroplan even explains what to do at its website now, renouncing its past secretiveness about forfeiting miles to inactivity.

    Here’s what I found under Top 5 frequently asked questions:

    Question:
    How can I make sure my Aeroplan miles do not expire?

    Answer:
    When you stay active in Aeroplan, you make sure that your Aeroplan Miles don’t expire. All it takes is one transaction every 12 months to keep your account active, and you have a full 7 years from the time you accumulate the miles to redeem them for a reward. There are so many easy ways to stay active:

    Earn Aeroplan Miles with any type of Aeroplan Partner – you have over 100 airline, financial, hotel, car rental, telecommunication, and retail and services partners to explore.

    Redeem your Aeroplan Miles for more rewards than ever from our Aeroplan Partners.

    Donate your Aeroplan Miles to one of our Beyond Miles charities.

    Please read more about our Mileage Expiry policy.

    Question:
    Will my Aeroplan Miles ever expire? Answer:
    Aeroplan, like almost all loyalty and frequent flyer programs, does have a mileage expiry policy. Until June 30, 2007, miles expire in accounts that have had no activity for the prior 36 months (3 years).

    Starting July 1, 2007, mileage will expire in accounts that have had no accumulation or redemption activity in the previous 12 months (1 year). In other words, you must accumulate or redeem miles in your account at least once a year to ensure that your account stays active. So, if you have not been an active Aeroplan member in the last 6 months of 2006, you have until July 1, 2007 to either accumulate or redeem miles in your account to avoid expiry.

    Also note that starting January 1, 2007, accumulated miles will be available for redemption for 7 years following the accumulation date. For example, if you earn 500 miles in February 2007, you will be able to redeem these miles until February 2014. Miles unredeemed after 7 years from accumulation will be removed from the account. Please note that all miles in your account at the end of 2006 will be given an accumulation date of December 31, 2006 regardless of their actual accumulation date, meaning that these miles will be available for redemption until December 31, 2013.

    Q: I’ve been an active Aeroplan member by ensuring that I have at least one transaction every 3 years. Are my miles at risk of expiry with this policy change?

    A: This policy change does indeed affect members who have been used to transacting with Aeroplan once every 3 years. In order to keep your miles active beyond July 1, 2007, you must ensure that your most recent Aeroplan accumulation or redemption occurred after July 1, 2006.

    Q: Are there any exceptions to this policy?

    A: Accounts belonging to minors are exempt from the expiry policy. Once the member turns 18, they will have 12 months to continue their engagement with Aeroplan prior to account expiry. Likewise, miles accumulated in the minor member’s account prior to their 18th birthday will be given an accumulation date equal to their 18th birthday, regardless of actual accumulation date. From this point the member has 7 years to redeem their miles, as long as they remain active as per the terms of the new policy.

    A second exception is for Tier members. While the member has Tier status, their account does not expire. If, however, a Tier member has been inactive for 12 consecutive months and reverts to Basic status, the account will expire at that time. Tier members have 7 years to redeem their miles from date of accumulation, just like all other members.

    Q: Is it realistic for me to accumulate enough miles in 7 years to be able to redeem?

    A: On average, Aeroplan members redeem their miles every 2.5 years. Aeroplan regularly introduces new reward options at various mileage levels to ensure that you have a choice of rewards when you wish to redeem your miles.

  23. Gary Barnes

    Oct 30 2007

    We also lost 40,000.00 hard earned points. some from various “loyalty partners”

    Thing is we paid for those points and they were our property. Air Canada cannot just steal them, with ambiguous wordings which (even though we are reasonably well educated and fairly intelligent) are difficult to interpret.

    There are two things you can do about this.

    1, Write a letter condemning the program to all of their “loyalty partners” such as Esso, (list can be found on Aeroplan .com. the letter should be brief and to the point do not whine. Ensure it is addressed top the CEO, and cc’d to the VP Customer Service, and the president of Aeroplan. All names and addresses are available on thier respective websites.
    2. Join in on a lawsuit to be brought by an Ontario lawyer (see sueaeroplan@hotmail.com.

    Or you can be a true Canadian and roll over – which is what Aeroplan expects you will do

  24. Veronica

    Nov 8 2007

    I just found out the Aeroplan accounts for my two children aged 13 and 16 have expired with zero balance. I thought minors were exempted.

  25. Wayne

    Nov 20 2007

    I just found out that I lost 85,000 Aeroplan air miles (about $900 to buy back) due to Aeroplan’s bad policy. I just emailed Shawn at “sueaeroplan@hotmail.com” to join in on the lawsuit against Aeroplan. Below is a link to other people who have lost their Aeroplan air miles.

    http://www.canadiancapitalist.com/2006/10/19/changes-to-aeroplan-loyalty-program

  26. Terry

    Nov 27 2007

    My wife and I encountered a similar problem to that of Anne Marie (Aug. 2007). We flew from London, ON to Istanbul in July 2007 and returned in August. In all, it took six flights to get us there and back. We booked the flights on the phone with an Air Canada representative.

    After our return, I checked our Aeroplan accounts online and found that neither of us had been credited for one of the flights. This was the flight from Toronto to Frankfurt (an Air Canada flight). I tried to claim the points online. Several weeks later, I received a letter from Aeroplan stating that they could not credit us because we had already been credited. We had not. I called Aeroplan and after 20 minutes on hold I had a lengthy discussion with a representative who agreed that we had not been credited and that we qualified for the points. She submitted the request again and suggested we follow it up with a letter.

    I wrote a letter and enclosed our invoice and boarding passes. A few weeks later, I received the same form letter from Jerry McDonnell that Anne Marie received:

    “Members cannot earn mileage for industry discounted travel or complimentary hotel stays and car rentals. Aeroplan reward tickets, Air Miles tickets with a fare basis ZLAIRM and tickets bought through Priceline.com and tickets purchased at certain booking classes are also excluded from mileage accumulation. As the documentation submitted is of the above nature, we are unable to credit your account.”

    I have just written again, explaining that the items noted in his letter do not apply to our flights. Because of my recent dealings with Aeroplan, I am not optimistic that this will be satisfactorily resolved.

  27. Elizabeth

    Dec 1 2007

    Hey,
    I’ve been reading everybody’s complaints and WOW! I’m almost afraid to say this, but I work at Aeroplan and I can totally understand your frustration. I was really shocked at some of the policies they enforce.

    Just a word of advice for everybody, all of us agents in the call centre are NOT trained on the website. In fact, they encourage us not to even use it. So when the website is down, which is often, it’s a waste of your time to call us. We’re not allowed to waive any fees unless we get a special code from the Tech Support people; our managers monitor everything.

    So next time the website is down, call the Tech Support directly and if they can’t help you by waiving the fee, nothing else can be done.

    But on the brighter side……I can’t actualy think of anything, but I’m sure it exists!

  28. james dougan

    Dec 26 2007

    Since October, I have attempted to use my Air Miles to plan a trip to Costa Rica in January 2008. At that point, their agents told me they had no seats available except through U.S. carriers, all at high season rates. When I investigated online, Air Canada still had availability and U.S. carriers had lots of availability at half the Air Canada price. Despite my desire to travel nonstop, I paid cash to travel with a U.S. carrier.

    Then I tried to reserve a car for my trip using my Air Miles. After a few weeks of deferrals by agents, the Air Miles agent finally said they wouldn’t have rates for cars until Jan. 14, a week after I arrived in Costa Rica. The agent indicated in confidence that Air Miles is having a serious problem meeting demand on and she advised that I should buy a camera with my accumulated miles.

    This is a scam! If I wanted to subscribe to Zellers’ or the Bay’s loyalty program to get a camera, I would get their card! I have complained to Air Miles, Bank of Montreal and WestJet, which are all partners on my loyalty card. So far, absolutely nothing in response. I’m feeling really ripped off! Any suggestions?

  29. Kelly

    Jan 3 2008

    RE:Airmiles vs Aeroplan. Wow, these reviews for Aeroplan are nasty! Maybe they are right, but personally it’s been working very well for me. I can honestly say that I always got my flights when I wanted them. I’ve been to Las Vegas, Rome, Edmonton & Mexico (Edmonton and Mexico with Lisa) and never had a problem. I also don’t know what they’re talking about regarding web site problems; I never had a problem….if you do go with Airmiles, let me know how your experience is. I don’t really have loyalty to anyone really, and will switch if the reason is good enough. I’ve just been too busy to compare. My brother has also been with Aeroplan for ever and I don’t believe he’s had any problems, and he has gone to Asia a number of times. Ciao

  30. Tom Ritchuk

    Jan 12 2008

    Here’s my experience with the Royal Bank Avion miles plan. In April 2006, I booked a flight for me and my wife to Paris, departing Sept 15. My travel agent gave me the details of our trip (no airfare included) and the same afternoon I called the Royal Bank Avion line to book the flight tickets.

    All supposedly went well. They issued a computer ticket that day. When I came home that evening (I booked from my office), I checked the tickets. Hello! They were issued for the day after. So I called, saying the tickets were issued for the wrong date. Their reply…too bad , so sad…you said Sept 16….not Sept 15. No way I said…..but anyway, we were 5 months away from departure date so I figured this was just a technicality. Wow, was I wrong.

    I called everybody I could think of for the next 2 weeks trying to have the date changed. Remember this was their mistake, not mine. It was nice of them to issue the ticket that day. I didn’t ask them to issue the ticket that day. Any time between the date I booked to maybe a month before departure would have been fine with me.They could not prove I said the 16th, and I told them if you can prove I said the 16th, I would apologize and accept any penalties.

    Of course, they had no response to this. I have to say that Royal Bank Avion rewards takes the GOLD MEDAL for absolute customer indifference and contempt. I would not let this pass. They told me it would cost me $200 per ticket to change the travel departure date. What???????

    Now my wife has worked for the Royal Bank for 35 years. And they proudly advertise the Royal Bank Avion points for the platinum cards. But when we contacted them for help in this situation, they just pointed the finger and said you have to speak to the Avion people. Well, thanks a lot. Great to know you have no support when you need it.

    Being the tough SOB that I am, I finally won out at the end. I didn’t end up paying a cent…The Royal Bank did….Our Royal Bank account manager, whom my wife has known for many years, agreed to credit us with $100 per ticket after she heard our story, which she found to be incredible, from her expense account. That made up for the $200. Eventually Visa picked up the other $200.

    So you Avion Platinum card holders, make damn sure you have the correct dates of your flight before confirming your flight.. Trust me, you do not want to deal with a bunch of completely indifferent cold-blooded idiots like I had to deal with. Better still, get yourself another air miles travel card/plan.

    What Avion may not appreciate is the number of people who I have related this horror story to…they get the message… Avion doesn’t get their business.

    I remember! I won’t forget.

  31. Jed

    Jan 16 2008

    Researching getting Aeroplan when I saw quote “Mark Apr 30 2007, Aeroplan rivals Bell with the way it deals with customers.”

    Bells deals with its customers? When did this happen? They never let me know. Guess I won’t be going Aeroplan based on that.

  32. ACPilotWannaBe

    Jan 29 2008

    I think most of these nasty reviews could have been avoided if people took the time to read the fine print… it’s not the company’s fault if people can’t spend 20-30 minutes reading the details of the contracts they’re agreeing to, but people feel it’s their right to complain anyway.

    It’s an immoral way of doing business (in my opinion) and I’m glad Air Canada decided to separate itself from Aeroplan. So don’t blame Air Canada for your Aeroplan problems! They’re totally separate companies now!

  33. Steve

    Feb 5 2008

    Here is a copy of a letter I sent to the CEO of Aeroplan several weeks ago. I have yet to have my miles reinstated.

    Rupert Duchesne
    President & Chief Executive Officer
    Aeroplan

    Dear Mr. Duchesne,

    I have just talked with Ms. Mindy Goldberg (sp) from Montreal’s Aeroplan office who basically reiterated the status quo of your company’s policy. I understand that it is my responsibility to read your emails addressed to me, except for the fact that 80% of aeroplan’s emails are pure junk mail (selling of goods) and have nothing to do with me or my account. Over the past year I have received over a dozen emails from your company and only two of them had to do with my personal account. I simply refuse to read corporations’ anonymous advertising. In amongst the junk mail that you sent were a couple of emails that dealt directly and personally with my account. They are written in the same format as your junk mail, so don’t stand out in any way. In fact, unless I read the whole email, I would not have known that my aeroplan miles were to expire. If I had to do that with every company I deal with (professionally as well as personally), it would amount to reading over 100 extra emails every week. A task that I cannot achieve.

    It is clear by Ms, Goldberg’s refusal to reinstate my aeroplan miles, that your company’s policy was conceived solely for one purpose, and that is to recoup as many aeroplan miles as possible thereby saving the company, millions in unspent dollars. As far as I’m concerned, that amounts to a form of corporate fascism of which I do not want to subscribe. If you really cared about your clients as most companies claim to, you would reinstate my aeroplan miles simply on good faith. This relationship renders your clients powerless to your arbitrary policy changes and in fact, forces us to read all your publications regardless of their relevance to our personal accounts.

    Ms, Goldberg informed me that I should have read and continue to read all my correspondence from all the companies I deal with in the slight chance that amongst the anonymous selling of products (junk mail), I might come across some important policy changes that affect my personal account as was the case with aeroplan. Simply stated, that is ludicrous. In today’s bombardment of media and advertising, I find it silly to suggest that the onus is on the client to receive critical information hidden amongst the junk. I personally, refuse to engage on that level simply from a political position. I don’t want to be enslaved by corporations and their advertising.

    Ms. Goldberg also offered me the opportunity to repurchase my confiscated aeroplan miles at basically their cost value. Another absurd suggestion. I can only state that my dealings with your company have forced me to go public (media, press, blogs) about the way in which you have treated me, a long time loyal subscriber to your program. And I know I’m not alone. In fact, there are several, if not hundreds of complaints and perhaps even law suits against aeroplan demanding reinstatement of collected miles, just like mine. That can’t be good for any business. It’s obvious that Aeroplan is more concerned with saving money than keeping their “so-called” clients happy.

    Simply stated, unless I get my aeroplan miles reinstated for free, I will not travel with Air Canada ever again.

    I thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Sincerely,

    Steve

  34. Stan Galler

    Feb 7 2008

    I too saved up air miles for when I retired. Now that I am retired, the air miles are gone, over 50,000 of them.

    Air miles are part of the purchase contract entered into with the provider. They were advertised as part of the purchase of the flight tickets. If they were not offered, the airline would have needed to reduce the price in order to be competitive. There is a monetary value to these miles, proven by the fact that they sell top-ups.

    Ontario did pass a law of no expiry on gift cards. Aeroplan miles are no different, as they become an earned gift that carries a monetary value. So the consumer ministry should be brought into this dispute, especially as there are so many of us. That only proves that Aeroplan’s notification method was flawed.

    Are there any of us out there who have government contacts, where we can exert some pressure for change?

  35. David Howatson

    Feb 7 2008

    Hello, we have a way to get the most from your miles and points. There is a new website we’ve created where you can turn loyalty points and miles into cash and get the flight you want, when you want, http://www.loyaltymatch.com

    Your first transaction is FREE and every transaction is only $1.99 from there!

    So, get to LoyaltyMatch.com as soon as you can, take a few minutes to register, then enjoy turning your points or miles into cash. Have fun rewarding yourself!

    PS: We’re always looking for ways to improve the customer experience. Your feedback on the website and our service sent to memberfeedback@loyaltymatch.com would be appreciated.

  36. A Smith

    Feb 8 2008

    I too am boiling over about the loss of over 60,000 Aeroplan points…I am, however, happy that I contacted a consumer affairs show on CTV about Aeroplan and they are going to do a consumer affairs segment about what happened to me.. Perhaps it will be worth the 60,000 points to have the last word on national TV about Aeroplan’s poor policies.

  37. AndyB

    Feb 15 2008

    A few years ago, I was traveling a lot on business. I decided to use Air Canada (being a loyal Canadian) and collect Aeroplan miles. I managed to save 74,000 miles, which took a while. Shortly after that, I had some personal and financial difficulties ands couldn’t travel much for a short while.

    Then I needed to book a trip with my accumulated Aeroplan miles, because I couldn’t afford to pay cash at the time, and discovered that all my Aeroplan Miles had been wiped out by Air Canada. This was literally about 6 days after ‘their’ set deadline. I contacted them and tried to appeal to their goodwill – to no avail. Needless to say, I have not travelled by Air Canada ever since.

  38. Pat McConvey

    Feb 19 2008

    If there is a Class Action taking place against Aeroplan’s 1 year expiry rule, please let me know. contact pat.mcconvey@sd41.bc.ca I am totally flumoxed that they could take away my hard earned 82000 points which were going to take me to visit my two year old grandson in Sydney. As a teacher I give them 20% or less for their communication skills on letting a person know about the plan and 0% in Ethics for sneaking it into place.

  39. Alfei

    Mar 13 2008

    Hi, A Smith, please let us know when the show will be on the air.

  40. Henry

    Mar 14 2008

    Hi All,

    Great feedback on Aeroplan, although I am sure those with negative experiences tend to be more motivated to submit a posting. I am trying to decide between the two and it would be great to see some ideas about Air Miles too.

    Any thoughts?

  41. DV

    Apr 6 2008

    I recently got online access for my wife’s Aeroplan account. I am the computer nerd in the family and since Aeroplan stopped sending statements, we lost track of what was happening in her account.

    I was surprised to learn that the full balance had been deducted in August, since she had no activity in the account for the previous 12 months. I was surprised for two reasons.

    First, I thought we had 7 years before the miles would have been cancelled. Barbara at Aeroplan tells me that we have 7 years to use the miles, but if your account is inactive for a year, then you also lose the balance.

    I consider myself to be an informed consumer – I am more anal than most about these things – so I suspect others may be unaware of the one-year clause.

    I was also surprised because we had flown Air Canada several times in the one-year period. So for some reason, the flights were not being recorded on her account.

    Aeroplan indicated that we only had 6 months to dispute the flights not being recorded. Again the onus is on the “guest”, so they were unwilling to check the records to see if the termination of the balance was unwarranted.

    The agent was very dismissive of our case – the policy is there in writing and applies to everyone – so I asked to speak to management. It took about 5 minutes of argument – they will simply tell you the same thing – and a promise that I would communicate my displeasure to Aeroplan, Air Canada, CIBC and the media – before I was connected to a supervisor.

    Because we had booked a flight before the July deadline, they agreed to re-credit the account.

    So I am not asking for you help in resolving my situation. I am shocked, however, at the dreadful nature of both the policy and the administration of the policy by Aeroplan agents. This is truly a case of caveat emptor.

    The onus of managing your rewards account is clearly on the collector. You must download your own statements to audit activities. You must bring missed flights to their attention within 6 months. You must ensure that there has been activity at least once a year. And agents have no discretion to exercise judgment.

    This is about the worst combination of service elements I have ever encountered!

  42. Cynthia Arnold

    Apr 22 2008

    My husband received a letter from Aeroplan, saying he had more than 7,000 points and must redeem them or lose them by May 3rd.

    He attempted to redeem them six or seven items in this range of points, only to be told that the offers were cancelled!

    This seems to me to be a rip-off. What do you think?

  43. James Salt

    May 7 2008

    I have some 93,000 miles in my Aeroplan account. In the fall, we are planning a trip to Europe, flying one way and going by sea the other. As a single round trip ticket “costs” 60,000 miles, I expected two one-way tickets would be slightly more, allowing for a small “penalty”.

    Surprise, surprise. A one-way ticket from Toronto to Paris “costs” 138,000 miles. Hello? Have I missed something here?

    I have contacted a director in the company and my e-mail has now been passed to a third person, without anything more than an acknowledgement of receipt. I hope none of their policy makers ever decide to go into politics!!!!!

    I may just end up with a new camera and fly another airline.

  44. Craig

    May 8 2008

    I was informed yesterday that my Aeroplan points have expired, 160,000 of them. I am livid, as I had been under the impression that they were safe for at least another year. This is no way to run a loyalty program.

    So what to do? I tried to contact the sueaeroplan@hotmail.com people but that email account is no longer valid.

    I was previously a very loyal Air Canada flyer, but this fiasco and the changes to Air Canada’s booking policies have created a huge disincentive for me to ever fly Air Canada again. Of course I could be persuaded if there were some cost effective way to reinstate those points, certainly better than 1 cent per mile.

    If there is a collective or individual way to get some satisfaction, please let me know.

  45. Ellen Roseman

    May 8 2008

    Hi Craig. I can pass on your complaint to my Aeroplan contacts and they will review it for you. Please send me an email at the Star and tell me more about your complaint. Why did you think your points were safe? Did you check the new rules?
    Thanks.

    In my experience, Aeroplan is taking a tough stand on restoring points. You can pay to have them restored, but the cost is steep. You can only get free replacement of points if you have a plausible, tear-jerker of a story about why you couldn’t stay active as a member.

  46. Mark Hodge

    May 13 2008

    Aeroplan – what a fraud!!! There should be an investigation. Try and use points for flights less than 4 months in advance, good luck. Like Air Canadas Mantra…we are not happy until youre not happy.
    BTW – fuel surcharge, charging for pillows, blankets etc. Keeping costs down they say – check our Monty Brewers (CEO) comp for 07 = $7 Million

  47. AG

    May 14 2008

    How can Aeroplan can treat their clients in this manner?

    We are 2 adults planning a trip to England in October of this year to visit family. We had enough miles to fly with our Aeroplan miles, which was going to help us out financially. The price of 60,000 miles per person was fine. We even considered an upgrade to the Economy Classic seats, which would be 70,000 miles each.

    I went through the booking process online and was about to confirm 2 seats, when the final figure of 120,000 miles, plus $1,009.60 for taxes, charges and fees appeared. So not only would we pay the miles we had collected, but an additional $1,009.60 ($504.80 per person).

    This did not seem reasonable, so I confirmed the amount by phone with an Aeroplan representative, who basically told me that if I didn’t like it to go elsewhere. So, that I did.

    We went to Air Transat and booked 2 tickets to England (same dates, same destination, except Air Transat is a direct flight, Air Canada was not). Our total cost for 2 tickets was $1,339.26 or $669.63 per person. The taxes and extra charges (included in the $669.63) were $310.63 per person.

    So for an additional $164.83 each, we paid for our tickets and all other taxes and charges. Does this sound like fair treatment to clients who spend years collecting enough miles to travel?

    We are retired and collect almost all of our miles by credit card purchases. As a result, we will be cancelling our Aeroplan credit cards, for which we pay $170 per year for the ‘privilege’. We are now left with approximately 160,000 Aeroplan miles that are useless to us.

    It was only for air travel that we began collecting Aeroplan. I did try to book hotels in England with these miles, but it seems that you have to have stayed in hotels on Aeroplan’s list and collected ‘Prestige Points’ in order to use your Aeroplan miles for this purpose. They really do have you ‘coming and going’!

    As an aside, my husband and I travelled to Melbourne, Australia earlier in the year and after being told that we could not fly together on the same flight (with one of us using Aeroplan and the other a paid ticket) without incurring an enormous amount of money), we quickly went to United Airlines and booked 2 tickets with them. (They are Star Alliance members, so we still collected our Aeroplan miles, 20,000 miles each.)

    By comparison with Air Canada and Aeroplan, United charges $298.40 (CDN) for taxes and other charges for a return flight from Toronto to Melbourne. Very interesting, since the flights to and from Toronto/LA were on Air Canada; LA to Melbourne was via Air New Zealand.

    It appears that as long as you don’t book with the Canadian carrier, you will get a much better rate, as well as improved service.

    I realize that this has been lengthy, but I do not understand how Aeroplan can do this and have everyone turn a ‘blind eye’. And although Air Canada separates themselves from Aeroplan, they are basically the same with their taxes, charges and rates. Other taxes/charges on Air Canada booked flights to Australia were more than double the amount of those on United Airlines.

    There are really no advantages any more for the residential consumer to belong to Aeroplan.

  48. Ian Brett

    May 16 2008

    I must add my name to your list. I just discovered that all the 49,000 miles we had accumulated were stolen by Aeroplan just 2 weeks ago. To get these back, I must now pay $500. How can this be legal?

  49. JoAnne Hayes, Aeroplan

    May 20 2008

    Below is the response I received from our flight rewards team. I have also sent this to AG (above).

    Consistent with other major programs, the miles required for Aeroplan’s flight rewards cover the cost of the airfare only.

    Taxes and fees are charged separately, as they can vary substantially by airline and by destination. These fees and taxes are only collected by Aeroplan and are then passed on to the airline. This practice is very similar to how airlines charge taxes and fees, which are generally listed separately from the fare.

    It is important to note that these taxes and fees (except for the Aeroplan booking, change or cancel fees) are required by Air Canada and its airline partners and are very similar to the taxes and fees these airlines would charge if you were actually purchasing the ticket (as opposed to using your miles).

    With the increasing cost of fuel, airlines have been forced to charge a fuel surcharge. A large portion of the extra charges is comprised of the fuel surcharge, which again is very similar to what you would pay if you were purchasing the ticket.

    In the example cited (Toronto – London), the taxes and fees for a direct flight are approximately $442.60 per person (round trip). Higher amounts may apply for routings involving connecting flights on other carriers, which is probably the reason you were quoted $504.80 per person.

    You mention that Air Transat charged $310.63 per person. We believe the difference is largely explained by the fuel surcharge, which many airlines have recently increased, but still varies somewhat by carrier.

    We observe that more and more airlines are charging similar amounts (for example: both Air Canada and WestJet have recently announced identical fuel surcharges of $20, $30 and $45 per direction for flights within Canada).

    Charter and discount airlines may from time-to-time charge highly discounted airfares. However, these flights are not always available at such highly discounted rates and airfares in Economy from Toronto to London can cost more than $1,000.

    While the airfares vary, the number of miles required for an Aeroplan ClassicFlight or Star Alliance Flight Reward doesn’t vary. So in the instance you mention, you saved $164 per person; however, this amount is generally greater when you consider that the majority of Aeroplan members using their miles to get to Europe do so during the peak summer season when airfares are more expensive.

    In terms of using your Aeroplan Miles for hotel stays (which are among the 400 other ways in which to use your miles aside from air travel), Aeroplan has partnerships with several of the world’s leading hotel brands: Starwood (Sheraton, Weston, W Hotel, Le Meridien, Four Points by Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, and St. Regis) as well as Best Western. Aeroplan doesn’t have any restrictions on using miles for these rewards and they can be easily redeemed online at Aeroplan.com. In fact, Aeroplan boasts a rich hotel reward offering with over 4,000 properties available around the world.

    Similarly, Aeroplan members can use their miles for car rentals from Avis, Hertz, and National, while cruises and vacation packages can be redeemed from Air Canada Vacations and CruiseShipCentres.

    In regards to your question about flying to Melbourne – one person with a reward ticket, the other person with a regular ticket – the costs would be based on the airline fare, taxes and fees for the regular ticket and taxes and fees for the reward ticket (in addition to the miles). Although coordinating a reward ticket with a regular ticket is not always easy (since you’re making the bookings separately), the charges are the same as if you were only booking a reward ticket.

    We’ve also investigated the amount you mention of $298.40 per person for the following routing: Toronto – Los Angeles, Los Angeles – Melbourne. Currently, the extra charges for an Aeroplan ticket are approximately $511.70, which compares almost identically to the amount of $506.38 we found on United’s website for the same routing.

    The difference in the amount from your earlier trip is likely due to the increasing amount charged for fuel by most airlines. In fact, we observe that major airlines like United and Air Canada charge almost identical amounts for fuel (on a route or market basis).

  50. Yvonne Foster

    May 28 2008

    This is a complaint about Emirates and their Skywards program. I have had major difficulties for months now obtaining my dead husband’s air miles. We both had a free flight to redeem and they refuse to award me the miles.

    I now cannot redeem my free flight because of this dispute and they expire in July. The dispute has been going on for 8 months. I want this publicized as they are the most bombastic people on this planet.

  51. Jim Maddin

    Jul 9 2008

    I do not recall ever receiving any notice of changes to the Aeroplan point cancellation policy.
    And now I discover my 118,000 or so Aeroplan points have been cancelled due to “account inactivity”.

    Surfing around the web indicates I am not alone in my anger and frustration.

    Amid all the talk of individual and class action lawsuits, can anyone please advise whether or not any legal action has ever been launched against Aeroplan?

  52. walter

    Jul 26 2008

    Not much to say other than aeroplan sucks. How about a class action law suit by everyone that has lost points even though they earned them.

  53. luci

    Sep 19 2008

    I’ve just got off the phone with Aeroplan representative Albert, a supervisor. Rest assured, all Aeroplan does on the phone, according to him, is repeat and repeat its company policy and tell you they can’t do anything for you. Well, at least anything that’s solid enough that keeps anyone in a dispute to stay.

    Anyone wish to write to Aeroplan’s headquarters? I got the mailing address which is probably filled with bags of complaint letters that most likely will never see daylight again ever.

    You, and your unable-to-travel or non-pc 100 years old grandma have to figure out their policy on your own. By the way, buy a 1000X magnifying glass just so you don’t miss anything, because if you do, well of course it’s your fault, for getting a copy of policy that does not contain everything!

    They don’t do mail. Any mail they send to you is “courtesy” mail. Heck, they talk to you as “courtesy”. You’re so darn lucky if you got a letter, even if it’s 2 months later than it’s dated. As for me, their system tells them my letter was sent out 3 days before it was printed. Har har.

    So, lesson learned here: Don’t have a dispute, because their customer service becomes the arbiter of policy.

    I can’t wait for Rob to have a dispute against Aeroplan. He’s one of the unlucky ones that haven’t gone through it yet.

  54. Kelly

    Sep 26 2008

    I am an Aeroplan Plus member and wondering what the policy is, when I book at prefered hotel through a site like Hotel.ca? Do I get the double miles or no?

  55. Wanda

    Nov 5 2008

    I am an employee of Air Miles and a collector of both Air Miles and Aeroplan points.

    Air Miles, by far, is better than Aeroplan. The Air Miles program is bigger, more flights are offered and ding ding, your Air Miles will NEVER expire.

    You can save them for 20 years if you wanted to, plus your Air Miles account always remains active — even if you don’t have any activity for years.

  56. Huong Dong

    Dec 9 2008

    We just found out we lost our 88,000 points we had been building up for years. This happened in October 2008.

    I was told I had 4 years, not 12 months. So randomly I would buy some breakfast cereal for my kids and enter in the PIN number. I never got a letter or any correspondence to tell me I was at risk of losing all these points that we looked forward to using.

    All I can say is we will make sure anything related to Aeroplan gets our opinion shared with others and that we ban it from our household. Imagine being offered to buy back already earned points?! Is that not some sort of misleading activity that takes advantage of people?

    I wonder if an audit was done on Aeroplan what they save in this 12-month rule point expiry scam. I am sure it is quite significant and the real reason behind why they do it. It is similar in my opinion to gift cards expiry dates.

    If there is a class action suit, please count me in!!

  57. Robert

    Dec 24 2008

    I lost over 13,000 miles due to their 12-month policy. The reason I didn’t redeem my miles within a year is that they changed the minimum for a return flight to Montreal from 10,000 to 15,000 miles, unilaterally, and without notifying me.

    Not only did they screw me over, but now they’ve raised it from 15,000 to 25,000 miles, again, without notifying me.

    Count me in on that class action suit.

  58. Grip Hrkac

    Mar 15 2009

    Stop all your whinning. First off Aeroplan is a loyalty program, for all those that lost your points after a period of inactivity, your not holding up your end of the bargain either. Second there are over 7 million Aeroplan members, if you think you can just call up and reserve a flight from Toronto to Sydney two weeks inadvance, call up any Airline and see how much they will charge you. You want to book flights with your Aeroplan points, how about some preplanning. Not weeks in advance, but months, many months in advance. You’ve got to stop calling Aeroplan or logging onto their site thinking your their only customer and that they owe it to you to get you where ever you want at your terms.

    You have a responsibility too, this is a relationship and when you enter into it, you need to know what the rules of engagement are. Aeroplan points expire after 7 years, if you don’t use. When redeeming your points, the oldest get used first. Also, if you are inactive for a 12 month period from your last activity you will lose your points. It has happened to me, I wasn’t aware of the rule and I lost. That is the rule, and whether you were aware of it or not, you agreed to it wen signing up. Read the rules people, hello, you are not entitled to anything for just being you. You need to be more informed. I didn’t know is not a valid excuse. Come on people wake up.

    Oh, by the way, if you’re not happy with Aeroplan, go ahead sign up with AirMiles and we’ll see how long it will take you to accumulate enough for a trip. If you start at 20, you might be able to plan for your retirement vacation, maybe. Good Luck!

  59. Hol

    Mar 29 2009

    Count me in on a class action suit as well. Just found out I lost 17000 Aeroplan miles due to inactivity, even though I booked (and paid for) a trip 1.5 months prior to the one year date, with Air Canada. When speaking with the rude customer service rep at Aeroplan, I was informed that I had to travel within the year to keep my account active and that booking and paying for a Air Canada trip within the year did not count.

    A note to last entry(Grip Hrkac), Oh, by the way, I’m not happy with Aeroplan, have been signed up with AirMiles for the last 10 years and have gone on two family trips for five from Alberta to Florida, a trip for two from Alberta to B.C. and a trip for two from Alberta to Nevada (all with earned AirMiles) and still have accumulated, once again and only within the last year, more than enough AirMiles for another trip for my family of five to Florida from Alberta if that’s where we choose to go. I’m no where near the age of retirement!

  60. James Bartell

    Apr 9 2009

    Air Miles is scary. I just tried to book with them.

    I was amazed to see that the same return flight (date, company, seat) is charged $498 in “taxes” with Air Miles and $232 from anyone else.

    They explained to me that their “tickets” have a higher tax rate. I confirmed with the government that it just ain’t so.

    As well, a quick Google search will show that their “refund” policy is as close to fraud as one can get. Traveller beware!

  61. landrik

    Apr 29 2009

    Now, I’m scared. I flew with New Zealand in December, last week I was checking my miles and realized they didn’t include my way back from LAX to LHR flight.

    The website says I need to write to them, as there is no option for NZ to claim miles online. Do you think i will get them? Gonna go ahead and try it anyway.

    But yeah, Air Canada is a bad story. Will never fly with ‘em, even if my life depended on it…!

  62. Hari Balaraman

    May 17 2009

    I use Aeroplan and have redeemed two tickets with them and am very satisfied so far.

    Although the payback on economy class tickets isn’t always very good, depending on where you are flying to, it is excellent for Business and First Class tickets.

    Aeroplan redemption does not require you to top up with taxes (as it is with Air Miles). I discovered that when I redeemed for a particular ticket two years ago, that although originally the Air Miles payback seemed good, I ended up paying half the ticket price in taxes AFTER redeeming my points for the ticket.

    Aeroplan has a pretty good website, making it pretty clear that you have to have one transaction a year and you have seven years to use your points. There are far worse programs in North America.

    If you lose your points because you don’t follow the rules, you shouldn’t blame Aeroplan. Seven years is a fairly long time to keep points active.

    I have had issues getting points credited once, but the Aeroplan supervisor, after my many patient conversations, credited my points as a courtesy.

  63. Kevin

    Jun 9 2009

    I booked a flight to Sydney from Toronto through Air New Zealand. I specifically asked if I would be credited aeroplan miles since part of the flight was air canada and part was air new zealand. The Air New Zealand rep said sure you will be credited for the whole trip. The ANZ boarding passes had my aeroplan number on them. Guess what the points were not credited so i called and the Aeroplan Rep said she would check with her manager and then said i had to mail the original passes to Vancouver and it would be taken care of. She even looked up my flight and knew exactly what flight i was on and what the fare class was. Ok I then send the passes registered mail to make sure they would be received. Two weeks later I got my rejection letter and of course they did not return the original AIr New Zealand boarding passes. Thats theft in my mind because I might want to claim Air New Zealand credits or to use th passes as evidence in small claims court. The letter said that the fare class was not acceptable but when i bought the tickets originally I was assured I would receive Aeroplan Miles. Well the tickets were $2300 return and thats more than most tickets to Sydney from Toronto. I decided to pay the fare anyway thinking I would receive the miles. Now i am calling Aeroplan as i write this and the recording said I would be on hold for 25 minutes! I am considering two options: small claims court for misleading advertising and misrepresentation or and call the CBC and suggest they do a story on our national airline after setting up a hotline for a couple of weeks to gather all the many complaints about misrepresentation. Aeroplan should be accountable. It should not be able to be running a con.

  64. asad

    Jul 6 2009

    I HATE AEROPLAN as I lost all my points, 27,000 points, for not being active. Isn’t it their responsibility to inform you of something like this before pulling the plug?

    I hope they lose this class action, and if anybody knows how I can add my name to this class action, please leave a comment.

  65. Ellen Roseman

    Jul 8 2009

    There’s an attempt to start a class action lawsuit against Aeroplan for cancelling points without advance warning.

    http://www.thestar.com/business/article/660311

    http://www.merchantlaw.com/aeroplan.html

  66. Jack Mari

    Jul 16 2009

    I lost over 200,000 points without any prior warning. I did not know this rule of erasing points if there was no activity in our account for 12 consecutive months existed.

    I demand a fair settlement and I will join any class action against Aeroplan. Please let me know how I can add my name to this class action by leaving a comment. Thanks.

  67. sylvia

    Aug 5 2009

    I was notified my points would expire March 1/09.

    I had bought a return ticket in January, Vancouver/Brisbane/Auckland/Sydney, flying in mid-February. My 48,000 points were stolen by Aeroplan because there was a seat sale on Star Alliance carrier Air New Zealand. My travel agent had booked the first seat available.

    Silence greets my written protest to Aeroplan. So yes, I will join any class action with great pleasure.

  68. sylvia

    Aug 5 2009

    48,000 points down the drain because the first available seat Vancouver/Auckland was on sale and does not count. Outrageous!

  69. Francis

    Oct 9 2009

    I had the same problem as most of the people. Without any warning or notifications, all of my 30,000 Aeroplan miles were expired a couple months ago due to inactivity for one year.

    When I called Aeroplan and asked them why I did not receive any kind of warning before the expiration of all of my points, they have indicated that a warning email was sent to me. Of course, I never received that warning email from Aeroplan.

    In fact, I received the monthly statement up until my Aeroplan miles were going to expire and then I never received another email from them until I filled up my gas in Esso recently and received a statement with only 48 miles.

    The agent from Aeroplan said that the only way to get those points back was to purchase them back at 1 cent per point, with a $30 administration fee.

    Actually, by looking at how many points required to redeem a trip or some of the gift cards, I can basically buy those trips or gift cards with the amount I have to pay Aeroplan.

    I personally think that the Aeroplan is a company that has no integrity at all. All they care is figure out a way to EVAPORATE your points without giving you anything in return. I really don’t want to deal with Aeroplan any more.

  70. Dana

    Nov 5 2009

    Many businesses operate with integrity. Sadly, Air Canada is not one of them — eradicating Aeroplan points from loyal clients, points earned and paid whenever flights were taken. Thousands of points were diminished under their new directives without prior notice.

    To restore dignity to unsatisfied loyal clients, it should make restitution to all those who have unjustly lost their points. Under the new system, Air Canada should make a public announcement to restore its faith and integrity.

    Thanks to Ellen and others for their support. Otherwise, I would not have known had I not checked this website.

  71. Peter

    Dec 1 2009

    Bah Humbug Air Canada/Aerplan!

    I am a Senior (71 years old) and we were “forced” to cancel and re-book our return flight from Baltimore to Toronto because of inclement weather our cruise ship was 12 hours late in docking in Baltimore.

    We called from the ship to Air Canada/Aeroplan and were TOLD, PROMISED, they gave us their WORD, that’s okay Sir we re-book you on the next available flight out ( 2 days later)and there will be NO CHARGE!

    Right….guess what I found on my Visa? A charge from Air Canada/Aeroplan for $ 189.00 and we I called them they simply said” well Sir…you VOLUNTARILY cancelled and re-booked and for that we charged you $ 189.00.

    I have written Air Canada/Aeroplan, I have called Air Canada/Aeroplan, I sent an e-mail to their President Mr. Rovinecu in Montreal and all I got back was a “nice ” letter but noooooooo $ 189.00.

    There was a time when ones WORD meant something, it was to be HONOURED…but not by Air Canada/Aerplan or that’s what it looks like to me.

    Hope you can all sleep well Air Canada/Aeroplan.
    I am an old guy and I save from me pension to go on “cheapo” cruise every 2 or 3 years or so and this $189.00 HURTS….A LOT.

  72. JE Corser

    Dec 3 2009

    My mother was told that my father’s aeroplan points had expired because he had not used them. She told them that he had died nearly two years before. That made no difference to them. They said they had notified her that they were going to expire…by email. My mother, 83, does not \do\ email. (My father had had an email account, which no one had used after he died.) They did not offer to reinstate or transfer the points for a fee or anything else, they just told her his thousands upon thousands of points had \expired.\ This is robbery. And it’s worse, it’s robbery of orphans and widows.

  73. lesley

    Dec 8 2009

    Hello, just trying to find a way to use my points, having made the mistake of collecting Aeroplan rather than Singapore Airlines miles on my last trip.

    Does anyone know if it’s ok to book a hotel room on someone else’s behalf (e.g. for my daughter to use while overseas)?

  74. Semsem

    Dec 12 2009

    Air Canada SUCKS.

    I booked an N fare which according to United Mileage Plus entitles me to 100% mileage credit on my New York to Geneva flight. I never got it. Will certainly make a fuss to get it. Dishonest lies.

    My outbound flight was delayed 27 hours. No effort by AC to get me to GVA as quickly as possible.

    Return flight my suitcase is lost. Gone since a month.

    Meals: insufficient quantity. And disgusting deserts.

    Planes returning from GVA are hardly cleaned. The seat pocket had kleenex, a stirrer and plastic in them.

    My November flight still had the October in flight magazine.

  75. Lina

    Dec 14 2009

    RBC charges over 100 dollars just to have the card. Those 15,000 points will get your likely only from Malton to Toronto or Edmonton to Red Deer. It is a rip off because they also charge you ridiculous credit rates close to 20 or more percent. So lets see, 19 percent on 1000. Thats 190 a year add in 120 in fees thats 210 in one year…Oh did I mention that the interest is compounded. If you get one of these, you must have rocks in your head. Oh and did they tell you how much longer it will take to get enough points to go MORE than a VERY short haul? See you in Mexico in 20 years and 50k in debt

  76. GARY

    Dec 17 2009

    Come on people! We all knew this was going to happen when Air Canada sold Aeroplan to ONEX, a private operation. How in the world could ONEX possibly care about Air Canadas customers when it is trying to make a profit? What a phoney relationship this has become.
    Anyway I only got action from Aeroplan when I COMPLAINED TO AIR CANADA! Somehow Onex will only move on Air Canadas complaint. Not yours!

  77. Anne Nonymous

    Dec 30 2009

    There is a class action against Aéroplan for the way they wipe off thousands of points from people’s accounts.

  78. Anne Nonymous

    Dec 30 2009

    The class action can be seen here: http://www.merchantlaw.com/classactions/aeroplan.php

  79. Gloria

    Jan 22 2010

    How do I use my Aeroplan miles to travel from Toronto to Trinidad & Tobago?

  80. Steve

    Jan 25 2010

    To answer Gloria, you simply need to book the flights through Aeroplan.com when booking flights. But Air Canada doesn’t fly to Trinidad, as I understand, therefore you won’t be able to do this with Aeroplan. I would just call their customer service to confirm.

    Nice evolution of comments for this older article. First things first, the website has gone through a lot of changes, and I consider it to be one of the best.

    Secondly, I had my share of frustrations until I understood how the miles work and the different types of miles. The key is in understanding those parameters and booking in advance.

    When someone says it cost them 138,000 miles for a trip that should have been 60,000, please note that you may not be getting the type of ticket that costs only 60,000. If you don’t book in advance, you will end up paying more for the ticket.

    I do agree that expiring miles is not customer friendly, but the real question here is: Why even have a loyalty card if you aren’t using it?

    All you have to do is use it once a year to collect or redeem points. How hard can it be to go through Esso and swipe it once a year?

    Another cool way is to simply get a credit card that gives you those miles and then you’ll never worry about having them expired.

  81. Steve

    Jan 25 2010

    I would also recommend that anyone who has questions should go direct and contact the customer service at Aeroplan, rather than vent frustrations that you are not answering by contacting more individuals that have even less information.

    Go directly to the source. Please note that Aeroplan is not Air Canada, so when contacting customer service relating to Aeroplan miles, you don’t go to Air Canada customer service. They are 2 different legal entities. Hope this helps.

  82. Nick

    Feb 17 2010

    I just did another comparison where I compare the quality of sponsors and the different types of redemptions each program offers. You can find it here: http://scwpg.com/?p=62

  83. AERO PLAN ROCKS

    Mar 16 2010

    AEROPLAN DOESNT WORK FOR ANYBODY HERE, THEY DO NOT NEED TO REMIND YOU WHEN YOUR MILES ARE GOING TO EXPIRE!!!! WHEN YOU SIGNED UP FOR AEROPLAN, YOU SHOULD HAVE READ YOUR END OF THE BARGAIN. ITS A LOYALTY PROGRAM, NOT A GIVEAWAY. IF YOU WERE LOYAL TO THEM, AND KEPT USING YOUR CARD EVERY 12 MONTHS, THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN LOYAL TO YOU AND NOT TAKEN YOUR MILES. ITS YOUR OWN FAULT FOR EXPECTING EVERYTHING FOR NOTHING. PUT IN SOME EFFORT PEOPLE.

  84. Kerry

    Mar 31 2010

    I too was 21 when I took a trip and gained my Aeroplan miles. I was a student and had not traveled for a few years when I went to use the miles. They said I could not because I was not an active member.

    I now am a mother and took a big trip with my nine year old daughter. When I called, I was told that I could get my “MINOR” daughter’s points because she could not have a card.

    Then, when I called to register my trip and get the miles, I was told I had been misinformed and my daughter actually needed her own card. As it was after the trip, it was too late and she lost out on the 13,000+ miles she would have gained.

    I have escalated the complaint, but am having no luck. When I asked for an email address or phone number to their office of the president, I was told they did not have one and there was no way of contacting the office of the president with my complaint.

    The lady then proceeded to call me a liar and said there was no way I could have been misinformed. Well, I was and I am extremely upset.

    I am awaiting notification of my escalation. I call every few days and keep getting put off. I told the agent I will wait until the end of next week and then I am going to the press.

    I feel that Aeroplan should be held accountable for their actions. While I was not in a position to travel regularly before, I earned those points fair and square, so why take them away?

    And as for my daughter’s points, she is a minor so her activity level will be low. I disagree with the fact that she has to call and identify herself for security reasons, because it is her card.

    Aeroplan is a scam! I will not rest until my daughter gets her points! I will be their worst nightmare!

  85. Considering my options

    Apr 14 2010

    For many years I have had a low interest/no rewards RBC Visa and have recently decided to upgrade to a credit card that has a return in a form of points.

    My dilemma was whether to collect Air Miles or Aeroplan points, but after reading the above comments, I must say that I’m in shock.

    I had no idea that I would have to deal with blackout periods, expired points, misleading claims and rude customer service agents.

    I will keep my low interest/no rewards credit card and instead opt to buy a ticket when there’s a seat sale.

  86. andrew

    May 5 2010

    is there anyway i could transfer my aeroplan points to a differnent airline award like for e.g skypoints or continental points or ANYTHING

  87. Shane W

    May 9 2010

    For those who are using the Aeroplan credit cards (CIBC Aerogold, Amex, etc.), do run the numbers before paying those credit card membership fees. I did and can’t think of a single situation where these cards are profitable for the consumer.

    Much better to go with a no fee card that pays 1% cashback on all purchases, such as MBNA SmartCash or similar. The cashback exceeds the value of either Aeroplan or Air Miles. Just use the refund to buy your flights.

    The best part, cash does not expire.

  88. Lan T

    Jun 10 2010

    I have been using Air Miles since it was mentioned in my marketing class in university (over 10 years ago). I then started collecting Aeroplan points when I was started working and able to afford to fly.

    The service at Aeroplan is atrocious compared to Air Miles. I have dealt with Air Miles many times in the past and while they are not perfect, they are head and shoulders above Aeroplan.

    I have long given up on collecting Aeroplan points.

  89. Nina

    Jun 13 2010

    I, too, gave up on Aeroplan some years ago. THE worst customer service I’ve ever had (and I remember Bell Canada from the 1980s :) I love Air Miles, and have had many, many flights through them, because they’re fairly easy to redeem and they accumulate forever. Plus, you can exchange them with other people without charge. Brilliant and simple.

  90. kelly

    Jun 29 2010

    If you want to sign up for this class action suit, you can do so online at:

    http://www.merchantlaw.com/classactions/aeroplan.php

    These thieves must be stopped. I lost 40,000 points today, and only noticed when expecting to book a trip to Mexico for a family wedding, after years of saving points through business travel. Down with Areoplan!!!

    I will actively post everyone so you can all get involved also.

  91. nick

    Sep 10 2010

    Let’s face it all!

    Air Canada and Bell Canada are a pair of companies that lie and cheat to get every nickel they can from us every chance they get.

    And you may wonder why and how they get away with it. The answer is quite clear and simple. Their corporate offices are full of ex-politicians who have made a career out of screwing the likes of you and me at every turn.

    Until we expect real democracy in this country instead of quasi democracy — no, the socialist state we have — companies like Bell and Air Canada will always act like the government. And we, as we have always done, complain a little then bend over before getting screwed again while asking them to be “a little more gentle this time please.”

    Look at the G20 fiasco! If we are not ready as a nation to take a stand when our so called democracy is crushed by our police force, when our politicians and certain members of the public think it is fine to have passes to access our own homes, then all this complaining about these two corporate giants is going nowhere.

    They don’t care. We have given them the power to do what they want with impunity!!

  92. Anne-Marie

    Oct 8 2010

    After saving points for a few years, I finally decided to treat myself to a “free” flight to Paris by redeeming 60,000 points. After hitting “book,” the taxes and fees appeared on the next screen: $492! What a rip-off!

    A so-called “fuel surcharge” accounts for $346 of that, the rest being various security and “solidarity” fees.

    Sure, if I buy the ticket on Air Canada’s website for the same dates, the same “taxes” apply (base fare $758 + $492 = $1,250).

    However, when I checked prices with KLM for the exact same dates, the fare is only $764.12 + $127.62 taxes = $891.74.

    How come Air Canada still charges such a hefty “fuel surcharge” in 2010?

    Clearly, Air Canada and Aeroplan are in cahoots to gouge customers.

  93. Rusty

    Oct 27 2010

    Like so many others, both my wife’s and my accounts, held and occasionally active since 1993, were vacuumed of >90,000 points, but under unusual circumstances.

    We’d been living overseas for some time and recently moved back to Canada (2009). One boring evening, I checked our balances and decided to update our personal details, including our mailing address.

    While we lived outside of Canada, our account balance remained. About a month after this change, I checked the accounts again to discover the balance of both our accounts had been set to zero.

    It is apparently too much to expect that Aeroplan might have been ‘loyal’ enough to us to have sent us an email giving some warning that we should ‘tank up at Esso’, or some such, prior to absorbing our points.

    Like much that we’ve experienced of the changes during our absence from Canada, it is disappointing and disheartening to realise just how low corporations and institutions here have sunk.

    Thank you, Aeroplan, for that first ‘welcome back’ slap-in-the-face.

  94. Elizabeth Dixon

    Nov 4 2010

    I recently had a horrendous customer service experience with Aeroplan. I plan to write letters to everyone on their board including links to articles like this and links to customer service research.

    Yesterday, I called Aeroplan to book a flight from Montreal to Boston on points. The agent told me that the flight I wanted was available for 20,000 points, but that there was a $30 fee to book over the phone.

    I opted to try to book it online, but the website was clearly not working. I called Aeroplan again for assistance.

    They wanted to check my security settings, but since I was calling from work I was unable to see them. They insisted they could not waive the fee if I was unable to check my security settings and also refused to stay on hold for a moment while I confirmed with my internal support that the website wouldn’t be blocked.

    (Absolutely no other websites that I use, including this site, my bank’s site, or Facebook are blocked where I work, so I knew the issue was with Aeroplan’s website.)

    At this point, I asked to speak to a manager and was put on hold (go figure) for quite a while waiting to speak to the manager. During this wait, I IM’d my technical support, who confirmed that there was custom security set up but that this type of web site would definitely not be blocked.

    Nevertheless, the manager who picked up said that they could not help me since I couldn’t actually change the security settings on my own. (I should have just said that I COULD indeed change them, since there is no way for them to know this anyway, but I digress.)

    This manager suggested that I call later from my personal PC. I got his name, as well as that of the agent I had initially talked to during this call, and I also got a ticket number for my issue.

    Later that night, I attempted to book the flight on my own computer but ran into the same issues. I called Aeroplan’s technical support, having verified that I had the correct security settings (medium).

    At this point, they indicated that they would be able to waive the fee and book the flight over the phone…however, they insisted that this one-way ticket was now 50,000 miles!!!

    I persisted over and over again, stating that this was impossible, that the flight was too short and was showing up as a 20,000 mile flight online. But both the Aeroplan technical support person AND the Aeroplan bookings person continued to say that the flight would cost 50,000 miles!

    Further, the Aeroplan technical support person said that there was not a supervisor on duty and that someone would call me the next day (yeah, right). After about an hour, I ended up screaming at the technical support person and he hung up on me.

    The next morning, I came into work and decided to attempt to book the ticket just one last time before I called technnical support to try to resolve this issue. At this point, I was feeling pretty hopeless, and I was exhausted from the stress of the prior day and actually losing sleep due to the hour-long phone call the night before.

    Well, wouldn’t you know it? I was actually able, finally, to book this flight FROM MY WORK COMPUTER with no issue – for 20,000 miles.

    I called Aeroplan again, cited my ticket number, and told the lady who picked up what had happened. She said the people I talked to last night had probably been offering me another “product” entirely. Even a round-trip flight for an Elite customer such as myself should have only been 40,000 miles.

    Right now, I am telling my story here and plan to tell the CEO of Aeroplan as well as all the board members my story.

    I work with 13 people and we all travel to Canada every single week from New York. We have the choice of what airline we wish to fly with, as we work for a large corporation. And since our tickets are often booked at the last second, we pay a premium for many of our flights.

    This experience has convinced me that once the project I’m working on is over, I will commit to another airline and an entirely different rewards program.

  95. andrea

    Nov 5 2010

    I booked a flight with aeroplan and just looked at my visa statement. there was an additional charge of 33.60, when i called to discuss this I had the worst customer service awful person on the phone. I really hate him, he ruined my day…..Jerk! horrible service….

  96. Bill

    Dec 8 2010

    I just found out today that our Aeroplan points were taken away from us ‘expired’ in 2007. I am extremely upset that Aeroplan has the right to do this.

    Talking to a Customer Rep, I was told that my original signing document in 2001 indicated that points would expire without certain usage requirements.

    I told the Rep that most people don’t refer to their original documents and that an expiry ultimatum should have been published on each and every statement, which it was not.

    We have lost almost 24,000 Aeroplan points. Someone has gained from this theft, but not us.

    I can only hope I can find some way to pursue this matter further in order to reclaim these stolen points.

  97. Bill

    Dec 9 2010

    I have signed onto the class action suit located here:
    http://www.merchantlaw.com/classactions/aeroplan.php

  98. ERIC

    Jan 19 2011

    AEROPLAN SUCKS

    Yesterday I checked my Aeroplan account to book an Air Canada flight to Toronto. To my dismay, my 35,000 air miles had been cancelled.

    I called Aeroplan and talked to a Supervisor in Customer Service. She told me that my air miles had been cancelled due to “account inactivity” for 12 months.

    She said I had been notified by email but I can’t remember ever seeing an email reminder.

    I was told I could have the miles reimbursed for a fee of $30, plus one cent per mile. I find this hard to accept with something I thought I already owned.

    I have decided to leave Aeroplan and go with Air Miles since they don’t have any expiry date. I have also joined the class action law suit against Aeroplan.

  99. Paula

    Feb 6 2011

    Aeroplan employees get paid $11.00 per hour, so you know you are getting top notch customer service when you call (as they are paying top dollar to hire the ‘best’ people out there…NOT! My 15 year old babysitter makes this amount!).

    I know it would be BAD to have to call anyone at Aeroplan. I try to stick to online booking, which has been successful everytime I’ve booked. Sure, you have to book popular destinations 6 months to a year in advance for a family of four, but it’s totally worth it to save Aeroplan points with a CIBC Gold card if you’re planning on travelling to the other side of the country.

    It’s really sad that a lot of people had their points removed from their accounts, but this was widely publicized when it happened, so the fact that it’s a ‘shock’ to some people is surprising. I am not saying it was a good move on their part customer service-wise, but I am not sure there would be any point to a class-action lawsuit.

    I’ve been using my BMO Airmiles Mastercard for years now, and plan on moving back to an Aeroplan CIBC Visa Gold card again as I find my airmiles redemptions undervalued. I can get way more of a bang for my buck with my Aeroplan points. I’ve rarely had any issues redeeming for 25,000 miles – esp. since I can do so with partner airlines (like United) and there seems to be an endless supply of first class redemption for almost all flights I’ve checked. That’s good value for your points!!!

    Customer service is going downhill everywhere – Aeroplan is no exception. You just need to be informed, diligent, and persistent to survive is such a world. I feel sorry for th elderly, as it’s very different now than it was for them – and they need that good customer service more than anyone.

    Aeroplan points can work well for everyone, we just all have to work for ourselves to get the best out of it. The same can be said for the entire travel industry. I am my own best travel agent. Their value in the world is now obsolete. But, that’s another rant altogether…

  100. Phil Mess

    Feb 7 2011

    Aeroplan is terrible. They just don’t care and it shows. Awful customer service. Quit before you pile too many useless points.

  101. Richard

    Feb 14 2011

    I got my Aerogold CIBC card about 10-11 years ago and finally accumulated enough miles to travel First Class from a US airport to Kiev, return, on a top-notch Star Alliance carrier.

    Only the trans-Atlantic leg is First Class; the remainder is Business, which is fine. I’m very happy with what I was able to book, because those First Class/Business seats required only 50% more miles than a coach seat, but cash-wise were valued at about 10X the coach price.

    I’m travelling with another person who’s using Delta miles, and the benefits are not nearly as good as what I’m getting, and for less miles. Arguably, I haven’t actually flown yet with this reward flight, but I am trusting that I’ll get there and back as promised without any disappointments or cancellations.

    I know lots of others who have complaints against Aeroplan, usually concerning exotic or Canadian destinatiuons, but so far I’m pleased with what I’ve been able to book. We’ll see how it all pans out.

    I did discover that if I had used a Canadian departure point on Air Canada instead, the routing, stops, layovers and legs would have been really terrible and inconvenient.

    One minor complaint is that I was hoping to book one leg on an Star Alliance Airbus A380 (new double decker plane). Even though all the first class seats were available on the carriers for the dates I wanted, they were not released for reward flight booking. Dang.

  102. thenvironmentalist

    Mar 4 2011

    wow this is informative! I will never collect aeroplan miles!

    After reading this, I am hesitant to ever fly Air Canada.

  103. Bill Sangster

    Mar 7 2011

    Ripped off flight mileage on United. Both my wife and I never received a single mile for Detroit to Chicago, 1st Class Chicago to Seattle. After talking on four occasions with Aeroplan, I was told that I would receive the mileage.

    In December, the last time that I called Aeroplan yet again, my problem turned out my account was setup as “Bill,” not the name on my passport, “William.”

    My wife had a similar issue. Hers was still in her maiden name. We updated both accounts. However, they lied to us ! Air Canada and Aeroplan stink.

    I would rather try walk to Calgary than ever make the mistake of ever trusting Air Canada/Aeroplan ever again.

    SHAME ON YOU!

  104. myska

    Mar 23 2011

    A warning to everyone!!

    I would like to write about my recent experience with Aeroplan. I used Aeroplan points to fly basically around the world in four months.

    It was all going well until the earthquake struck in Japan. I was in the airport catching my flight back to Canada that day. Flights were cancelled, people stuck.

    When flights finally resumed on the second day, 27 hours after the disaster, I was not able to get on the plane. Many standby people were put on the first flight, but not me. At that point, I was still calm and accepting.

    We were told there was another flight the next day that had seats available. Many of us made calls to air Canada and they all got rebooked. Not ME!!

    At that point, I was becoming suspicious. After experiencing this terrible earthquake, after night and day spent at the airport with aftershocks occurring and running for doors, I was told I was of the lowest priority because I was flying on Aeroplan points!!!!! I could not believe it!!

    On the third day, I was emotionally exhausted and stressed out to the point I thought I was going to collapse.

    I kept fighting Air Canada until I was finally put on the plane, after three days and two nights spent at the airport. Needless to say, until the very last minute they kept telling me there were no seats available.

    Shame on you, Air Canada, and shame on you, Aeroplan. This is not how your customers should be treated.

    I was discriminated against only because I was flying on Aeroplan points. Who says we’re all even in this country? Money talks and that is the sad reality.

    I’ve flown a lot with AC, but I guess I am not valuable enough to them when I fly on my hard-earned points.

    I know I am done with Aeroplan and I am done with Air Canada.

    Take this as my warning to you, Aeroplan customers, that you are worthless.

    Happy travels.

  105. herman

    Apr 3 2011

    Can any one tell me what hotels in Toronto accept air miles
    or aeroplan points.

  106. ricardo berner

    Apr 18 2011

    Visa and Aeroplan mislead people with all this deals.

    I have 122,000 Aeroplan miles and they cannot book me a trip to South America.

    They can fly me to Chile but they cannot fly me back to Canada. What a joke!!!!

  107. Francis B

    May 9 2011

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Aeroplan Accounts Supervisor:

    I have been an Aeroplan member since June 4, 1993. I attained most of my points as an Elite member flying with Air Canada while employed with NOVA Chemicals during the latter years of my employment.

    After I retired, I ended up with a considerable amount of air mile points in my account. I had always intended to take my wife on a trip to Hawaii and use most of my points. Somewhat to my surprise, all of my points disappeared.

    I contacted the Aeroplan service account representative and she informed me that my account had been inactive for over a year and Aeroplan had withdrawn all of my points. I was not aware of any such condition as part of my Aeroplan membership.

    I did, however, agree to purchase my points back. At that time, I think it cost me around $300 to re-buy my points from Aeroplan. These points meant a lot to me, so I agreed to this cost.

    Since then, I have found it extremely difficult to maintain sufficient purchases on a yearly basis to maintain my Aeroplan account as active. Most of the partners that Aeroplan is affiliated with are not those I normally deal with.

    An additional problem with trying to maintain my account active is the fact that I spend winters out of the country for six months every year.

    My last Aeroplan newsletter was April of last year. I had no idea this would happen and I was still making small purchases of gas in order to maintain my account activity requirement.

    When I came home this year in mid-April, I started to search for the status of my account balance. I managed to get in contact with one of the account representatives, who informed me that my account had been inactive for over one year. I found this very upsetting as I was sure that I had made a purchase at one of your affiliates before I left for winter vacation.

    I told the account rep that I had received no notification that my account was inactive. She said Aeroplan had sent me electronic notification to my email address. I received no such notice. If I had received an inactive notice, then I would have taken steps to have someone make a purchase on my account.

    The account rep informed that I could purchase my points back at the cost of $1,020. In my mind, Aeroplan just ripped me off to the tune of over $1,000.

    I think it is very unfair to treat a customer this way, someone who has been involved in your program as am Elite member at one time since June of 1993. This is very upsetting to me and I hope my points are restored before other people are involved in this matter.

    Please have one of the Account Supervisors call me for resolution of this matter.

    Regards,

    Francis

  108. Ted A

    Sep 22 2011

    I have a complaint about Air Miles and the way they extort money from you on flights.

    Prior to checking with Air Miles about redemptions (plus costs attached), I went on WestJet’s site to see what I would save using Air Miles. They would cover the airfare, but the taxes were another thing.

    For 2 people to fly return to Vancouver, WestJet’s total NAV charge was $92. Air Miles’ NAV charge was $212.

    Since we had booked 2 flights redeeming Air Miles, I sent them a letter asking for a refund of $240.

    I received a phone call late one Friday afternoon about 4 weeks later, saying it was a fuel surcharge (which it wasn’t because I had previously printed off the true ‘WestJet’ cost).

    All other taxes were the same. Air Miles cheats on redemptions.

    I wrote to BMO and told them they were dealing with an unethical organization. They suggested I contact Air Miles.

    Anybody else had experience with this? It’s a scam!

  109. Ted A

    Sep 22 2011

    It’s not Air Smiles!

  110. Dawna

    Oct 9 2011

    I myself lost almost 40,000 points. I live a simple life and earned points through travel and Esso. Then my worklife became unexpectedly busy and I haven`t had time for vacation, and I also started busing and biking so didn`t need to fill up at Esso anymore.

    The classaction lawsuit is still underway. Please sign up to be a part of this if you are so inclined:

    http://www.merchantlaw.com/classactions/aeroplan.php

  111. Oren

    Nov 1 2011

    Does anyone care that the http://www.airmiles.ca website has been down since Saturday, Oct. 30th at 10 pm?

    They were supposed to go down for 24 hours, but it’s Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 1st, and it’s still down.

    No one is reporting on this at all. I can’t redeem my points for a trip I want to take in 10 days!

  112. Jim

    Nov 9 2011

    Is there a way that I can prevent my Aeroplan points from expiring (after 3 or 7 years earned) by transferring these points to another program…like Air Miles?

  113. vince

    Dec 27 2011

    Did you know, starting Dec. 31/2011, Air Miles will have date stamps of 5 years?

    This means there will be an expiration date on your Air Miles and no more hoarding.

    The announcement will be made Dec. 28th/2011.

  114. MR

    Dec 30 2011

    Yesterday, I listened to a radio news item concerning a new 5 year expiry period for accumulated Air Miles and a marked increase in their redemption rates.

    And I also received a communication from Neil Everett, Air Miles EVP & CMO. See below.

    Please mention this change in one of your upcoming articles. I suggest that you use the phrase ‘putting lipstick on a pig’ to describe how Air Miles has chosen to roll out this abrupt change as a positive evolution and, near silently, of the expiry/redemption rate change, hidden in their ‘Terms & Conditions’.

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: AIR MILES Reward Program

    Date: 29 December, 2011 9:01:39 PM EST
    Subject: Important changes to the AIR MILES Reward Program

    Learn about AIR MILES® Cash and important changes to our program.

    Dear MR,

    After nearly twenty years of delivering great value to Canadians, we’re thrilled to introduce our most exciting program enhancement yet.

    It’s called AIR MILES Cash and it’s our newest instant redemption feature.

    This March, you’ll be able to redeem instantly at checkout towards purchases at participating Sponsors. Visit airmiles.ca/cash for more information and to activate this new feature today.

    We have also made important changes to our Terms and Conditions regarding the expiry of AIR MILES reward miles. You’ll find helpful information provided below.

    Thank you for participating in the AIR MILES Reward Program. We encourage you to take full advantage of AIR MILES Cash and the opportunity to redeem instantly at checkout at participating AIR MILES Sponsors.

    Sincerely,

    Neil Everett

    Executive Vice President and
    Chief Marketing Officer
    AIR MILES Reward Program

    https://www.airmiles.ca/arrow/Splash?splashId=15300116&changeLocale=en_CA

  115. Donny

    May 9 2012

    Air Canada is the worst airline and ripoff and they completely screw you with miles.

    NEVER EVER TRAVEL WITH AIR CANADA. THE COMPANY OUTRIGHTLY LIES TO THEIR CUSTOMERS.

  116. W Robson

    Jul 30 2012

    Dear Ellen:

    You may recall that in November 2011, I emailed you to say how impressed I was that Air Miles had actually come thru with some miles after my husband’s death… many years later and retracted “needing a lawyer, etc.”

    Due to some other issues, I did not even notice that AEROPLAN (and guess who had created the Profile) had NEVER sent me a card in 2 years (never mind the fact that if I pay for a family member’s flight, I do not get the points).

    TIME SPENT: I have now spent a total of 85 minutes with 2 polite and gradually more flexible Aeroplan agents, one of whom was trying to solve how I could have a profile on there (see Privacy issues).

    WHOOPS, they just transferred the call at midnight and it hung up. So, like I know I am small potatoes (see famiy million milers from Qatar to St John’s). But really?

    An hour ago, as we tried to retrieve info (evidently iPhones don’t do Adobe well), we now have lost bar codes to scan for boarding passes.

    Bottom line: I create Profile last night and am told there is already a Profile. Phone for password. (See Privacy issues 2.) They neglect to send card and make it so complicated to get to site.

    Last night, it told me I didn’t TAKE the flight on July 11 to Calgary. So there are 4 flights to and from L.A., 3 flights to and from Calgary unaccounted for… and NO air miles.

    They don’t send out the card. make their tech support unfathomable and yet, they want people to fly??

    I really hope that next time you are asked to contribute to Marketplace and Customer Dis-service.. you mention AEROPLAN!!

    The agent herself (I was ready to hang up from speakerphone, waited 35 minutes and this was the second one) had to be persuaded that this was NOT a new card to get my one darned flight out of 5.

    Sad, since I wasn’t too thrilled with the crew on leg of last Westjet flight in May.

    I am not phoning them again, so if you have any suggested actions, I would surely appreciate them. Thanks.

    Meanwhile, yup, they have earned every negative reputation they got. THANKS AS EVER FOR having consumer action on this one too!!

  117. mel

    Jul 22 2013

    Air Miles screwed me over with their ‘cash rewards’ and ‘dream rewards’. I used to always redeem Air Miles for $20 certificates for use at Shell or Rona. After painstakingly amassing 1200 airmiles to use at Rona, I can’t because they have my air miles in the ‘dream rewards’ account. Absolute bs. Can only use those air miles to buy overpriced crap they have on their site. Basically, they keep changing their policy so you get less. Suggest you find another ‘reward’ card. I’d give them zero stars, but I cannot do it on this site.

    Suggest Rona and Shell and other signees to Air Miles reconsider, as this loyalty program has left a bitter taste in my mouth, and every time I visit a business with the Air Miles logo, I want to leave the store.

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