Aeroplan's new "Preferred Pricing"
Updated: Nov 16
One of the best-hyped but worst-explained aspects of the new Aeroplan program is the Preferred Pricing benefit offered to members with Elite frequent-flyer status and Aeroplan-branded credit cards. In short, the higher the status you hold, the bigger the discount you (supposedly) get when booking flights with Aeroplan points.
Well, it's technically true, but it's nothing to write home about. To make a long story short, there's *very* little difference between the discount offered to somebody with zero Elite status and an entry-level credit card, and somebody with both Super Elite status and an Aeroplan-branded credit card. You'll pay noticeably more if you have no status and no credit card, but once you hit the bare minimum, you're getting almost everything this benefit has to offer, which is pretty disappointing.
I've been through a few hundred sample searches since I got access to the new Aeroplan booking engine, and laid out below are a few examples that give a pretty fair picture of what I've been seeing overall.
EDIT: In a conference call November 16, Air Canada's VP Loyalty & eCommerce, Mark Nasr, indicated that updates are coming 'soon' to this program, that will likely include better discount rates for program members with Elite status and / or premium credit cards. I'll keep an eye on this and update here when we learn more.
For each destination and status level, you'll see a stack of three numbers, representing the points cost each way for Economy, Premium Economy and Business, respectively. In the case of Toronto-Tokyo, the fourth number is the increasingly-rare First Class. "CC" represents a non-premium credit card like the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, while "VIP" represnts a premium credit card like the American Express Aeroplan Reserve.
As you can see, there's a fairly consistent discount of about 10-12% between someone with no Aeroplan status and no Aeroplan credit card, and someone with either low-level Aeroplan status, or a non-premium Aeroplan credit card.
Beyond that, there's very little incremental benefit given to Air Canada's top customers, as even a Super Elite member (100,000 miles flown and $20,000 spent each year) who's also paid $500+ for a premium credit card, gets a discount of only another 800-1,000 miles over someone who never flies and holds a first-year-free Aeroplan credit card.
Hopefully, Air Canada will notice this oversight and improve this benefit over time, but as of launch week, it's led to some remarkably angry top-tier customers.