Throughout most of 2020 and 2021, Aeroplan has offered a flexible change and cancellation policy with a rolling deadline.
As long as members booked their trips by this deadline, they could change or cancel their itineraries (even after this deadline) free of charge.
With continued uncertainty around travel at the moment, the “free changes” policy is now getting extended to May 31, 2022, while the “free cancellations” policy had officially ended as of September 30.
Book By May 2022 and Get the “Free Change” Policy
The first component of the policy relates to making changes to a flight reward. This flexible policy has now been extended through to May 31, 2022:
Flexibility with Aeroplan bookings – Until May 31, 2022, if you want to change your Aeroplan flight reward, we’ll waive all change fees. After May 31, 2022, you can still make one change without a fee.
Prior to May 31, all change fees to Aeroplan flight rewards are waived. After this date, only the first change to a ticket booked through May 2022 will be free, and subsequent voluntary changes may still incur a change fee.
The news that the flexible change policy has been extended to May 31 is very welcome. Even though we no longer have free cancellations (as mentioned below), we can always change our bookings at least once without paying a change fee.
This keeps the door somewhat open for continued speculative bookings: if one booking doesn’t work out, change it to a trip you do intend to take (or a fare option whose policies you do intend to take advantage of).
Given the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation these days, it’s reasonable to think that the deadline of May 31, 2022 for the flexible change policy may get extended even further into the future, but we’ll have to wait and see what type of approach Aeroplan takes at that point in time.
Keep in mind also that involuntary schedule changes on your itinerary (eg, if the airline cancels a flight or changes the departure or arrival times) also entitle you to a waiver of the standard change fees if you were to make a reasonable modification to your itinerary as a result.
“Cancel Anytime” Policy Ended on September 30
In terms of cancellations, Aeroplan’s policy reads as follows:
Need to cancel your trip? Aeroplan flight rewards booked through September 30, 2021 can be canceled free of charge, anytime. Flight rewards booked as of October 1, 2021 apply the cancellation fee structure of the fare option purchased.
For cancellations, you’ll receive points back in your account, plus a full refund of any associated taxes, fees and charges on the unused value of your travel. (Note that refunds will not apply for previously-charged fees, including contact center booking fees and change fees, or for government taxes and fees which are non-refundable by law.)
As you can see, any bookings made through the September 2021 deadline are eligible for a free cancellation at any time.
This means that every Aeroplan booking completed by September 30 is essentially “risk-free”: even if your travel plans don’t work out, you can simply cancel free of charge and get all your points redeposited into your account, as well as the associated taxes and fees (including the $39 partner booking fee, if applicable) refunded to your credit card.
However, this policy has not been extended past September 30, 2021. After that date, the cancellation fee for new Aeroplan bookings will depend on the fare option purchased (see below for the full fee schedule).
One consequence of this is that you should continually monitor the prices of any Aeroplan bookings made on Air Canada flights for bookings that you had made through September 2021.
The new dynamic pricing model can be highly variable over time, so if you see that your flight has in fact gone down in price, then it might make sense to cancel for free and rebook, saving yourself a nice chunk of points.
Aeroplan’s Change & Cancellation Fees
As a reminder, Aeroplan’s change and cancellation fees under normal circumstances can be found in the Flight Reward Policy, and they look as follows.
Since cancellation fees may apply for bookings made in October 2021 or thereafter, you may wish to consider purchasing (or making a free change to) the higher fare options with no change or cancellation fees, if you think there’s a high chance that you’ll want to cancel the ticket.
Otherwise, if you continue to pick the default “Standard” or “Lowest” fare categories, then your bookings will be subject to a cancellation fee of at least $150 per ticket if you change your mind and need to cancel.
Aeroplan’s current change and cancellation policies for flight rewards are quite generous, in light of the ongoing uncertainty around travel – even though they’ve gotten a little less generous as of September 30.
Any booking that was made by September 30, 2021 is subject to free cancellation, whereas a cancellation fee may apply depending on the fare category for bookings made after this date.
Meanwhile, any booking made by May 31, 2022 will enjoy a free first voluntary change at any time (even in June 2022 or thereafter), which opens the door to greater flexibility – and perhaps even an element of speculation – when booking travel for later in 2022.