Interview with Aeroplan – Send us your Questions!

We are excited to be interviewing the Chief Marketing Officer Mr. John Boynton of Aimia (Canada), owner of the popular Canadian loyalty program Aeroplan!

Appointed CMO of Aimia in Canada to expand the program in September 2014, Mr. Boynton aims to “shape the future of the Aeroplan program by accelerating the development of innovative products and marketing, leveraging valuable member insights to ensure a rich and relevant member experience”. More information about Mr. Boynton can be found on the Aimia press release page.

Readers, if you have a burning question to ask about Aeroplan – all the good, the bad, and the ugly – this is your chance to voice up and get a good understanding on what is happening with Aeroplan now and where it will be heading. Simply write your questions in the comments section of this post (or if you feel more comfortable shooting us an email instead) and we will include them in the interview question. Include your name or your Twitter handle if you have one and you will be credited with your question if you choose to (just let us know if you want to remain anonymous).

What is going to happen is that we will be doing a phone interview with Mr. Boynton over the phone next week and he will respond to your questions accordingly. Due to the limited time we have we may not get through all the questions, so apologize in advance if that is the case. Please send in your questions by Friday July 24th because after which we will not be including them as part of the interview questions.

Please keep your questions in the comments section/email respectful and relevant for everyone as they are more likely to be selected over others.

With that said… fire away!


  1. Thanks for this opportunity to raise our commenta and questions!
    Taking flights in Canada or from Canada usually involves high fees and fuel charges. When redeeming miles for flights on Aeroplan, sometimes these are so expensive that it just doesn’t worth booking it with miles instead of cash. Is there a way Aeroplan can help deviate these fees by giving the opton to pay them using aeroplan miles? I know that it’s the airlines and the government that are charging those, but a way to saves on those fees and charges will be very appreciated.

  2. As per Nachshol’s question, I think it should be “when will fuel surcharges be dropped from award tickets????”

  3. Hi
    Great you are doing this!!
    On the exact first day I could book a one way flight from Cancun to YYZ for this coming February, 100 seats disappeared from the flight availability and so did any chance of using the classic rewards of 20k a flight. The only flight available for the flight was through market fare – the classic flight available was returning at 1:40 am and we have three small kids -so no way. The market fare was outrageous. So we scrambled, used other points, and booked on westjet. My question is how is Aeroplan going to deal with ridiculous situations like this. If I am booking basically a year out, on the day that flight becomes available, there should be 5 available seats on the classic rewards. Not much use in continuing to use aeroplan -so convince why I should remain!

  4. Sorry, forget to add… if AC doesn’t collect YQ from United on award tkts UA issues on AC, then why does AE have to collect and pay these fees? I can’t see UA paying these.

  5. I would like to see all of the rules in print. Nothing like wasting 3 hours on the phone with agents that differ in applying the rules…. second though… doesn’t really matter I have one more trip using Aeroplan then my account is drained. accumulating other places.

  6. How does Aeroplan think about / determine future point devaluations? What factors are involved (total points in the system, flow vs stock of points, total demand and types of demand for certain fares, cost of redemptions) if any?

    Would Aeroplan consider adding international one-ways, and if not, why not? (not N.A.)

    Why doesn’t Aeroplan have a trading program for members to purchase and sell points to/from each other, and to collect a commission from each transaction?

  7. Why doesn’t Aeroplan list airlines in which we cannot redeem First Class such as Swiss, Singapore etc…

  8. thought of more:

    Ask are they going to update their mobile APP? Such as being able to search and book flights? Or being able to add card to Passbook? They haven’t updated that app in a long time!

    Ask why they don’t engage on social media such as having a presence on FlyerTalk.

    Ask why members should pay $30 booking fee when the site is down or there is a error message?

  9. Thanks for the opportunity to ask questions….

    In October 2006, Aeroplan announced the 7-year mileage expiration policy. At that time, Liz Grahma, VP Operations, said that the ultimate success of any loyalty program is predicated upon having an active membership….we’re changing elements of our program to encourage members to maximize the value of their everyday spending with Aeroplan’s partners, and to welcome some members back to the membership fold…”

    In June 2013, just six months shy of the 7-year mileage expiration date instituted back in 2006, Aimia (Aeroplan) announces that it cancels the 7-year mileage expiration. While great for those who didn’t “burn” through their miles to avoid the 7 year expiration, it was rather sneaky of them to do it 6 months before the end date. Aimia said “… the cancellation will provide more flexibility to those who want to accumulate over the longer term and thus simplify the member experience.”

    How do the comments in 2013 reconcile with those said in 2006 when they wanted members to remain active and engaged? More importantly, what guarantees to Aeroplan members have that Aimia won’t back track on the 7 year mileage expiration and reinstitute another “use-them-or-lose-them” ultimatum at some point in the future. It’s always a balance between keeping shareholders happy (and hence Rupert Duchesne well fed and clothed) vs. keeping the membership happy. Unfortunately, the balance has always titled towards the shareholders – am I wrong in that conclusion?

    Another great example was the de-valuation of mileage value when Aeroplan increased the miles required for reward tickets in 2011 and then again in 2014. At the same time, the rate at which you can earn miles through flying has essentially been cut in half as most people will only earn at a 50% rate given the most will fly “Tango”/economy.

    Is Aeroplan becoming a loyalty program only for the rich/well-off or those who travel in business class/first class on the company dime? …. feels like it is…. how can you justify that Aeroplan is a loyalty program for the masses when it takes “forever” to earn enough miles to get a “free” ticket?

    1. Hello JS, thank you for your question. Do you have any reference articles/links/press release where Aeroplan made the 2006 and 2013 comment? It would be helpful if you can provide to go along with your question submittal. Thanks!

      1. Here’s the link to 2006 press article – http://www.canada.com/story.html?id=71d52901-9ca7-499d-931d-c358edba2672

        2013 – this was a comment said by Rupert during the conference call – unfortunately, that link doesn’t seem to be active any more, but you can see the press release and link to the (inactive) webcast here … http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1191089/aimia-announces-groundbreaking-transformation-of-aeroplan-program-signs-new-10-year-financial-credit-card-agreement-to-commence-in-2014

        I think the important take away here is that no matter how you twist and turn the aeroplan story, it really is a program for the well-off vs. the masses. Sure you get a sign-up bonus when you apply for an aeroplan credit card in the first year, but what happens after that? Not ever one can spend 15 to 25K a year to get miles to continue to earn enough miles for travel. Also getting back to my point on earning miles on flights – you only earn a decent amount of miles if you buy the expensive fares – how many people can do that?

        Anyway good luck with trying to get a straight answer to these questions is you choose to use them.

  10. The Aeroplan site has several “computer glitches” that require a member to call in and book the ticket(s) with an Aeroplan agent. Even though these are well-known problems with the Aeroplan site, using the services of an agent incurs a fee of $30. Doesn’t this seem unfair? It’s not like the member has a choice … in fact, I’d much rather book my tickets myself … but the $30 (per ticket) fee is NOT waived. C’mon Aeroplan, either fix your site, or waive the booking fee!

  11. I regularly get email from Aeroplan noting that there has been a schedule change to one of my award tickets, enclosing an updated ETIR, but with no list of what’s changed.

    So, each time I have to comb through each flight on the itinerary, inevitably to learn that the 9:00 from YUL-YYZ now leaves at 9:05.

    Could you for crying out loud please include a summary of changes?

  12. Many of your customers award redemption opportunities have been switched from Air Canada to Air Canada Rouge. There’s no nice way to say it … Rouge is despised by your customers (particularly those who are frequent fliers). And many, myself included, cannot physically fit in Economy class on their 319s.

    Given that most AC leisure routes have been or will be Rouged, that’s a pretty significant reduction in the value of an Aeroplan point. And for me, Rouge therefore devalues Aeroplan. (I’ve already switched most of my credit card spend away from my TD Aeroplan card to an SPG card.)

    I know the standard Aeroplan message when asked about Rouge is that you have lots of other carriers available. But when most leisure non-stops are being Rouged, and non-Rouge alternates becoming few-and-far-between, it’s becoming a big issue for your members.

    1. Realizing that Rouge is AC’s baby (not yours) but that Aeroplan’s customers are suffering a a result, what are you doing to resolve the issue?
    2. Why on earth does a Rouge redemption cost the same number of points as the same route in it’s pre-Rouge days? And the same as real airlines with real legroom operating in the same redemption zones?

  13. Why does Aeroplan levy such hefty surcharges on Air Canada flights when United and many other star alliance partners do not?
    If the answer is “it is Air Canada who impose them to Aeroplan”, then why can United and the others negotiate with Air Canada to not have surcharges and Aeroplan can’t? And, why can Aeroplan negotiate no surcharges on a number of *A carriers while it does not on others?
    Regardless, of the answer to these questions, it would be good to know if Aeroplan feels it is just to levy surcharges that often match and in some cases surpass the discounted economy price, effectively rendering aeroplan miles without value in economy class, and forcing people to only redeem for business class if they want value out of their miles.

  14. Why does Aeroplan only give points for certain flights / class? Flew from Canada to NZ. They gave me points for the small flights that gave low points, but said that my 2 long (13+ flights) were ineligible. Tried to contact them about it. Their website is horrid to use and it’s a pain to contact people. There response was simply, sorry, we don’t give points for that class of seats. I haven’t used Aeroplan since.

  15. Thanks everyone for participating in the Aeroplan Interview!! We’re closing the comments now as we have received a good handful of questions that I’m sure everyone is curious to know the answers to. We will do our best to post the 45-min interview by the first week of August. Cheers!

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