About two years ago, Air Canada completely revamped its loyalty program, Aeroplan, and moved to a hybrid system that uses the distance between different zones to calculate award rates. Aeroplan divides the world into four travel zones (North America, Atlantic, Pacific and South America), and the award chart is split into distance bands that determine the number of miles needed to travel between zones.

Award rates are based on the total distance flown between two zones. Aeroplan publishes different award rates for Air Canada and partner-operated flights. Air Canada-operated flights are priced dynamically, but the partner flights cost fixed rates based on the zone and the distance.

Aeroplan recently implemented some changes to the award rates that are now in effect. Most of the changes represent an increase in cost for the longest distance bands, but there are also some new distance band categories with reduced pricing. The flights within North America aren’t affected.

Between North America and Atlantic Zones

The Atlantic zone is huge and covers Europe, Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East and India. The changes mostly affect long-haul partner redemptions from North America to the Atlantic zone.

The upcoming changes affect business and first class costs in the third and fourth distance bands:

  • 6,001 to 8,000 miles
    • Business class (partner) increases from 85,000 to 90,000 points.
    • First class (partner) increases from 120,000 to 130,000 points.
  • 8,001+ miles
    • Business class (partner) increases from 100,000 to 110,000 points.
    • First class (partner) increases from 130,000 to 140,000 points.
Air Canada Business Class

Air Canada Business Class

Between North America and Pacific Zones

The Pacific zone covers most of Asia and Oceania.

The changes affect business and first class costs in the third and fourth distance bands:

  • 7,501 to 11,000 miles
    • Business class (partner) increases from 85,000 to 87,500 points.
  • 11,001+ miles
    • Business class (partner) increases from 105,000 to 115,000 points.
    • First class (partner) increases from 140,000 to 150,000 points.

Even with the increase in cost by 2,500 points, the third distance band remains one of the sweet spots within Aeroplan’s flight reward chart.

Between North America and South America Zones

The old award chart for flights between North America and South America was split into two distance bands: 0 to 4,500 miles and 4,501+ miles.

The chart is now subdivided into three distance bands: 0 to 2,500 miles, 2,501 to 4,500 miles, and 4,501+ miles.

This is the pricing for the new distance band of 0 to 2,500 miles (the band with reduced pricing):

  • Economy (Air Canada): 20,000 to 45,000 points
  • Economy (partner): 20,000 points
  • Premium economy (Air Canada): 35,000 to 100,000 points
  • Business class (Air Canada): 40,000 to 150,000 points
  • Business class (partner): 40,000 points
  • First class (Air Canada): 60,000 to 175,000 points
  • First class (partner): 60,000 points

The prices in the second distance band of 2,501 to 4,500 miles, remain unchanged. The third and highest distance band is also unaffected by the changes.

The introduction of the new band for flights up to 2,500 miles is good news for North American flyers.

Air Canada

Air Canada

Within South America Zone

The chart for flights within South America is also changing.

It was unusual for a program to have the entire continent in one distance band. The upcoming changes split South America into two distance bands:

  • 0 to 1,600 miles
    • Economy (partner) decreases from 15,000 to 10,000 points.
    • Business class (partner) decreases from 30,000 to 20,000 points.
    • First class (partner) decreases from 50,000 to 30,000 points.

The second distance band covers flights longer than 1,601 miles and will see increases in pricing with partner airlines:

  • 1,601+ miles
    • Economy (partner) increases from 15,000 to 20,000 points.
    • Business class (partner) increases from 30,000 to 35,000 points.
    • First class (partner) remains the same at 50,000 points.

Short flight redemptions within South America will become a little bit more affordable, but longer flights will increase by 5,000 points in both economy and business class.

Between Atlantic and Pacific Zones

The flights between the Atlantic and Pacific zones are the most affected by the latest changes. Aeroplan has added a new distance band and Air Canada premium economy to the reward chart.

There used to be three distance bands: 0 to 5,000 miles, 5,001 to 7,000 miles, and 7,001+ miles. Now, there are four distance bands for flights between the Atlantic and the Pacific zones: 0 to 2,500 miles, 2,501 to 5,000 miles, 5,001 to 7,000 miles, and 7,001+ miles.

The first distance band is split into two distance bands, and there’s now an option to book Air Canada premium economy.

This is the pricing for the distance band of 0 to 2,500 miles:

  • Economy (Air Canada): 25,000 to 50,000 points
  • Economy (partner): 25,000 points
  • Premium economy: (Air Canada) 30,000 to 65,000 points
  • Business class (Air Canada): 40,000 to 75,000 points
  • Business class (partner): 40,000 points
  • First class (Air Canada): 50,000 to 100,000 points
  • First class (partner): 50,000 points

The second distance band covers the distance of 2,501 to 5,000 miles:

  • Economy (partner): 40,000 points
  • Premium economy (Air Canada): 50,000 to 75,000 points
  • Business class (partner): 60,000 points
  • First class (partner): 80,000 points

The third distance band of 5,001 to 7,000 miles largely remains the same, with the addition of Air Canada premium economy:

  • Economy (partner): 50,000 points
  • Premium economy (Air Canada): 65,000 to 80,000 points
  • Business class (partner): 80,000 points
  • First Class (partner): 100,000 points

The fourth and highest distance band of 7,001+ miles will also see increases and the addition of Air Canada premium economy:

  • Economy (partner) increases from 60,000 to 65,000 points.
  • Premium economy (Air Canada): 80,000 to 110,000 points.
  • Business class (partner) increases from 100,000 to 110,000 points.
  • First Class (partner) increases from 130,000 to 140,000 points.

Air Canada Business Class (Image Courtesy of Air Canada)

Final Thoughts

This is the first time Aeroplan is changing its flight reward chart since the launch of the revamped program. Some redemptions, mostly long-haul flights in premium cabins, have increased in costs, while some shorter flights between zones have become cheaper.

Hopefully, we won’t be seeing any other changes any time soon, and Aeroplan keeps the remainder of the sweet spots and the ability to book a stopover for just 5,000 extra points.