If you buy a steak sandwich using only the finest filet mignon, homemade bread and quality ingredients you are likely to have a fabulous and memorable meal. If you leave that sandwich sitting on your kitchen counter for a few months you will have a memorable meal, it will just be memorable for all the wrong reasons. I see frequent flier miles like expiring beef. Get enough to use in an ideal way as fast as possible and then.... use them. Fast. Their value is almost never going to rise. Aeroplan is back with it's second devaluation in two years, which for those holding miles is enough to make anyone sick.
We care about Aeroplan because even if you've never flown on Air Canada or any other Star Alliance carrier you can transfer your American Express points into Aeroplan for some of the best frequent flier values on five star airlines like Lufthansa, Singapore, Asiana and more, well currently. After the changes it's mostly bad news, but there is some good.
The Good News
For the first time in Aeroplan history you can now book one way awards from areas outside of North America. With the rise of people who understand and use "Open Jaw" ticketing this can be a great way to get from point B to point C before heading back to point A. So yes, if you have a stack of Aeroplan miles and want to book a one way flight allowing you to see two great cities on your vacation have at it! Anywhere.
The Bad News
Inevitably, this column is much larger. Bastards. Anyway, basically everything you can think of using Aeroplan miles will now require...you guessed it, more miles. Unlike some of the shocking devaluations we've experienced this year the Aeroplan devaluation is of a gentler nature, but anytime you need more miles to do something than you did yesterday it's all bad news. Two of the best uses for Aeroplan miles currently are to fly business class between the US and Europe (vice versa) and to South America. Presently both require less than 100,000 miles round trip. In a shocking (just kidding) move they've upped the prices for both destinations to a steady 110,000 miles. The thing that sucks is that it's not a horrible number of miles compared to other competitive programs, but on top of the miles Aeroplan charges surcharges, which mean you're getting hit with a lot of miles and some of your cash. Unfortunately for those who have been holding out for the golden goose such as Lufthansa First Class or Singapore Suites it gets even worse. The changes are clearly a response to mileage holders becoming better at using them and no one wants to give First Class out for free. US to Europe (vice versa) will jump from 125,000 miles plus surcharges round trip to 140,000 miles. Wherever you are going it's more. Period. Compare for yourself...
Get that award search engine open because Aeroplan's changes will kick in on December 15th. Remember, you can search up to a calendar year ahead of that dreadful day so if you have any thoughts for any trips in the next year think about liquidating your stack! I always recommend searching one way at a time and generally advise to shoot for premium cabins like business or first which help justify the fuel surcharges and bring an elevated sense of travel. You can always follow my essential tips for booking award tickets if you get lost! And as to who's next for a devaluation? My money is on American. Simply too good right now.
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