** Update as of May 27**
It looks like Aeroplan has once again enabled international award searches though I still question the integrity of Aeroplan and their willingness to make things intentionally difficult for Aeroplan users.
I have a real love-hate relationship with Aeroplan and it is heavily in the hate column right now because of the underhanded tactics they have undertaken to devalue the program.
There have been multiple reports of Aeroplan not showing availability with some major airlines that do not charge fuel surcharge (YQ) including, Avianca, Copa and now SWISS but this next bit of news is the MOST egregious betrayal of the public trust to date.
As of today, you will no longer be able to search for Star Alliance availability for non-North American flights.
Why does that matter you might ask?
It’s because in order to take advantage the best redemption with Aeroplan, the mini-RTW, you need to be able to search for availability outside of North America. As an example, if you wanted to do a mini-RTW to Europe, you would search from North America to Europe, which is no problem. But when you look for flights between European cities, you run into a roadblock, even though Star Alliance partners fly those routes.
This is absolute bullcrap.
Here’s what happens when you search.
You first get presented with the “thinking” page.
But then … the HUGE middle finger to Aeroplan Members.
To me, this completely destroys the value of Aeroplan, at least in the way I use them.
I mean think about it, not only is Aeroplan not showing non-North American availability but they option they give you is to call into their call centre to find availability … and if you’ve ever called, you know that you can have hours of wait time in front of you.
Absolute and utter garbage.
If you’ve ever read my blog, you will know I’m pretty even keeled but this simply pisses me off.
Can’t I Just Use United’s Search Engine?
Theoretically, you could but the problem is that United and Aeroplan’s availability seems to be mismatched. For example, you would see Swiss flights on the United search engine but if you called into Aeroplan to book, you wouldn’t be able to. Also, it pisses me off that you have to find a workaround in order to use the points you EARNED.
In the above example, you would have to search using United’s site. Call into Aeroplan. Wait an hour on hold only to be told that the award was not available. If you did manage to have matching award availability, and then likely get hit with Aeroplan’s phone booking fee ($30). Ridiculous.
PointsNerd’s Next Steps
It’s hard to get away from Aeroplan as a Canadian and I’m sure that some workaround will be found to address this issue, but I intend on crediting every Star Alliance flight to any other program than Aeroplan. You can also be assured that I will not be converting my Membership Rewards to Aeroplan anytime soon. I will also continue to look for Alaska Airlines redemptions because unlike Aeroplan, they care about their customers.
H/T to Matthieu from Milesopedia for the heads up.