Nobody likes paying fees for award ticket changes – especially 2 of them back-to-back, but in a case like mine, it definitely makes sense.
Last March, my spouse and I booked a one-way award ticket to Amman, Jordan to experience Turkish Airlines business class (still haven’t done) using 82,500 Aeroplan miles per ticket. We were feeling ambitious and wanted to squeeze Jordan before traveling to Dubai and flying home in Etihad’s First class Apartments.
Long story short, the trip was becoming too long, so we canceled the tickets, and flew straight to UAE onboard Etihad Business Studio, which was a phenomenal experience to say the least.
We had one dilemma though – we booked the tickets on March 4, 2016 for a March 17th departure. If you’re at all familiar with Aeroplan awards, flights canceled within 22 days of departure cannot be redeposited; instead, the original passenger has until a year to change the date (for a 90CAD fee) of the ticket to complete travel.
While that’s a pretty generous and inexpensive way to cancel an award ticket, there was another problem – 82,500 Aeroplan miles were indefinitely tied to my husband… and let’s just say he’s not as frequent of a traveler as I am.
Of course, I tried to use the canceled ticket as an excuse for us to take another big trip together for many months, but our schedules didn’t really align. Fast-forward to January 2017, the clock was ticking and it was time to proactively take action.
My ultimate goal was getting the miles back in the account, so that myself,
my kids, or Dad could use them on a future trip. Once March 4, 2017 hit, they would be long gone.
Air Canada’s Aeroplan program is pretty flexible and inexpensive when it comes to changes to award tickets. Under the old pricing model for tickets issued before December 6, 2016, you could change or cancel a ticket for only 90 Canadian dollars. The fees have now increased to 100CAD and 150CAD, respectively, but one essential “rule” still remains in place – the 22 day redeposit window.
Earlier this week, I called Aeroplan (using the priority line, of course), and the hold time was less than 4 minutes. I told the agent I wanted to change my husband’s ticket to depart on February 22, 2017.
Before forking over the 90CAD fee, I asked the agent to confirm that once I made the change, I’d be able to call back within 22 days and have the miles redeposited into the account with a cancellation. He gave me the green light and we proceeded.
The following day, I called Aeroplan again. This time there was an 80(!!)-minute phone wait time. Good Air Canada has a call-back option (every call center should have this). Once the agent called me back, I paid another 90CAD to cancel the ticket and had the 82,500 miles redeposited into the account!
While having to pay a fee in general stinks, sometimes its’ worth it if that’s what it takes to get a boatload of miles back. Paying a total of 180CAD (~$135) was definitely worth it to have our miles back. I value 82,500 Aeroplan miles at around $1300, and they’re essential to have for some great bookings, such as Lufthansa First Class. I would hate to lose them!
Have you ever tried this workaround with an Aeroplan award ticket?