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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Free 1K Aeroplan Points AND The Truth About Aeroplan!

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So Aeroplan is offering 1K Aeroplan points for taking this quiz though there is a stipulation that the points may only be awarded to those who received an invitation to the quiz so don't hold your breath, but it's a minute of your time for possibly 1K Aeroplan points, so might as well give it a shot.  BTW, all the answers are "Myth" but here comes the TRUTH about Aeroplan:

Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards are never available.

Aeroplan answer: myth.  REALITY: TRUTH in many cases--if you try to get tickets to fly somewhere during the "busy" season, whether it's flights to Puerto Rico in December Break, Paris or Rome in the summer, or Florida for March Break (for examples), Aeroplan will release perhaps TWO seats and NOT necessarily 356 days in advance.  They may not even release "Market Fare" seats 356 days in advance.  There is NO knowing when the seats will be released--you just have to keep trying and you MAY get the two seats they release for any specific flight.  Aeroplan's quiz claims that 70% of their reward flights booked are at fixed mileage levels, but that's VERY misleading, since that means that only 30% bother getting ripped off purchasing Market Fare flights to popular destinations.  If you buy Market Fare ticket WAAAY in advance, the advantage is that it will cost you the minimum number of points that they would ever charge for that route if you're the first one buying the tickets, and you can buy enough for a large family. But if you wait....for example, want to go to Fort Lauderdale for December break and your looking for tickets right now?  Have some status with Aeroplan, perhaps Black Distinction status?  It'll cost you "only" 90,100 (minimum) AP points per ticket instead of 110100AP, or 25K for a Fixed Mileage ticket--which you can't get of course.  Want a different flight time?  How about the 8:45am flight for 112600AP points per ticket? 
So, are they never available--"Never" is a tricky word-no--not NEVER, but for a family of 3+, yes, pretty much NEVER for a vacation destination during peak travel times. And with another airline like United, maybe only ONE flight per month available.  I've seen it MANY times.  Want to fly out of Buffalo with United to somewhere--but there is only one flight available in an ENTIRE month as Aeroplan likely doesn't want to give you that option as the taxes are less than $10 return ANYWHERE through United out of BUF.

Aeroplan has blackout dates.

Aeroplan answer: myth.  REALITY: MYTH BUT PRACTICALLY TRUTH--as per my comments above, if you can't get flights out during peak travel times with Fixed Mileage, are you really going to spend upwards of 100K+ points (in some cases less or much more) for EACH ticket to somewhere that should only cost you 25K (long haul flights within North America)?  So in practical terms, YES.  They do have blackout dates.

Contact Centre agents have access to more seats.

Aeroplan answer: myth.  REALITY: PRACTICALLY TRUTH in complex flights.
If you're trying to get somewhere that involves, or MAY involve stopovers, the Aeroplan website does a good job of making it exceeding difficult to find a flight to avoid fuel surcharges, as they will always prioritize AC flights, whether direct or indirect, on the departure or the return or BOTH.  Say you want to fly to Israel with Aeroplan and avoid the lie of fuel surcharges (jet fuel has gone done in price along with gas prices but they continue to charge the charge though United, South African, Turkish, Ethiopian, Egypt, and many other airlines NEVER charge fuel surcharges).  Let's make it even more complex.  Let's say you want to do a multi-city vacation to hit both Tel-Aviv and Capetown ("only" 100K AP points) as one of the two cities will be considered the "final" destination.  Okay, so you want to fly Toronto to Newark with AC or United, then United to Tel-Aviv via Newark, then Turkish to Capetown with a stopover in Istanbul and Joberg (you stay on the plane) (safe airline though Istanbul did have that bombing several months back), then back from Capetown to Addis Ababa, and then to Toronto.  No fuel surcharges--cannot fly through the same city twice with AP rules; hence, the complex route.  Try finding THAT through the Aeroplan website! ;)  You'll want to speak to an experienced Aeroplan agent after telling them you want to avoid all fuel surcharge airlines in the Star Alliance.  If you don't get a good feeling about the agent (they aren't being helpful or are just inexperienced), HUCA (hang up, call again).  Then, book it online if possible to avoid the extra Aeroplan fee for booking with an agent.

My TD® Aeroplan® Credit Card is my Aeroplan card.

Duh.  Myth.  One is a membership card, the other is a credit card that gives you Aeroplan points.   This one quiz question is the only straightforward REAL Myth answer.

There are no real perks to achieving status with Aeroplan.

MYTH--Really, in most cases, and with the new rules kicking in in December.  If you have Diamond Distinction status, by getting 100K Aeroplan points (NOT through welcome bonuses anymore--grrrr), but through flying AC or Star Alliance flights (and attributing the flights to AP), or by getting Aeroplan points through purchases at stores or Aeroplan credit cards from AMEX, CIBC or TD, you will save a lot on cancellation fees (if necessary) and Market Fare flights.  Sometimes, it doesn't matter what your status is--Market Fare will give you the same discount whether you're black, diamond, silver, or nothing--depends if it's ticket that AC is certain they won't be able to sell out (off peak).
Oh, and the higher your status, the less time you'll wait on hold to speak to an Aeroplan agent.
For some flights, you'll get the maximum discount of 35% off the number of points to fly, though as stated earlier, sometimes it's a MUCH bigger discount and irrelevant what your AP distinction status is.
So go take the quiz and know better now! :)

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