Aeroplan has been working hard in 2017 to add new earn and redemption options for members who are wary about its relationship with Air Canada in 2020 when the latter officially starts its own frequent flyer programme and compete directly. The loyalty program added Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) and its subsidiary Cathay Dragon (KA) to the mix.
The change in partnership between Air Canada and Aeroplan was announced in May 2017 (Related news on Air Canada launching its own loyalty program in 2020). While Canada’s national airline continues to work on a new program, Aeroplan is adding new partners and options for current members to earn and redeem Aeroplan miles.
Cathay Pacific Airways
On all eligible flights operated by Cathay Pacific Airways (CX) and its subsidiary Cathay Dragon (KA) between Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and the following eight Southeast Asian airports would be eligible to earn Aeroplan miles:
|Chiang Mai (CNX)||Cebu (CEB)||Kuala Lumpur (KUL)||Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)|
|Phuket (HKT)||Manila (MNL)||Hanoi (HAN)|
The earning chart is highlighted below:
As a bonus, all Air Canada’s Altitude Members will earn a minimum of 63 award miles per segment up to the distance flown by on all eligible fare tickets plus 50% more for first class, 25% for business class and 10% for premium economy flights. Unfortunately, Aeroplan members will only receive actual distance flown plus cabin bonus mentioned above. Both will continue to earn miles if flights are paid by a credit card issued by Aeroplan branded companies such as TD Bank Group, CIBC or American Express.
Redemption rates are the same as the ones currently published for all flights:
Hong Kong is in zone Asia 1 while the eight cities are in Asia 2. Economy, business and first class of service between these two zones will cost 40k, 80k, 130k Aeroplan miles on a roundtrip booking (one way costs 50%). North American bookings to Asia 2 will cost 90k, 130k, 155k, 215k for economy, premium economy, business and first class. For the time being, all itineraries involving Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon segments cannot be booked online and will require a call to the Aeroplan Contact Center at 1-800-361-5373.
This new partnership is a great addition for Air Canada flyers as the Canadian national airline furthest route to Asia is to Hong Kong International Airport (1x daily from both Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)) and does not currently serve any of the eight cities listed. Booking as an award, Aeroplan members is able to travel with one less connection which will reduce total travel time and is a good supplement to options from Star Alliance Southeast Asian member Singapore Airlines (SQ) and Thai Airways (TG).
Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon are the newest partners not affiliated with the Star Alliance organization. The others include:
- Canada – Bearskin Airlines, Calm Air, Canadian North
- Brazil – Gol Transportes Aéreos
As Aeroplan transitions out of its partnership with Air Canada as the sole supplier of award miles for Star Alliance flights, it would be important for the loyalty program to sign up with as many travel partners as possible to maximize the value for existing members who only use the program for their travel needs this alliance. While loyalty programs are owned by an airline, Air Canada divested Aeroplan completely which created a unique opportunity for the latter to branch out and sign up with other partners. Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan is an example where the airline is not tied to an airline alliance and is able to sign up many SkyTeam and oneworld airlines for mile earning and redemption opportunities. Moving forward, Aeroplan’s parent company Aimia may have to renegotiate with each of its 40 airline partners to maintain the same earning / redeeming power and seat availability.