Aeroplan is notorious for blocking useful partner award space, from Swiss to Avianca to EVA at various times. The latest victim (from our perspective) is LOT Polish Airlines. I’m looking at a couple of flights for myself, both within Europe and to North America. They’re shown on the websites of Lifemiles, Singapore, and United, but not Aeroplan. The phone agent couldn’t see it either. This has been previously documented by Travelling the World and Live and Let Fly, the latter giving some potential workarounds that nonetheless failed.
It has been well noted that Aeroplan has only ever blocked partners they don’t (or barely) collect fuel surcharges on, i.e. the good ones. Since Aeroplan only has a few such partners with semi-decent award space (of which LOT is one), each time this happens, its usefulness plummets. It affected me last year with their Swiss glitch; I was ultimately able to book it when they fixed it weeks (months?) later, but it was frustrating given that Swiss is one of their very few partners based in central Europe without fuel surcharges. Lufthansa and Austrian, also with plenty of award space, are useless as even economy award tickets come with hundreds of dollars in surcharges.
I also agree with Travelling the World that Aeroplan’s phone agents are dreadful to deal with, among my least favorite across programs. In my experience, they’re consistently arrogant and unpleasant, acting as if they’re doing you a huge favor by barely doing the basic job. Their award search engine is also the work of an incompetent imbecile. The search results are almost always laughably irrelevant (business class results: 45min in “business class”, the rest of the 15 hours in economy), while unable to pull up routes of any complexity that United happily finds.
When it works, Aeroplan is great. You find one of their partners without fuel surcharges and book online. Transfers from Amex Membership Rewards are instant. Problem is their online search engine sucks and they regularly block their useful partners with no workaround. These issues seriously undermine their usefulness.
In my case, I’m not seeing any other origin-to-destination award space, so here are some alternatives to the non-working 55k Aeroplan option:
- Book the same itin with 70k United miles. Nah, I’ll save it for something else.
- Call Singapore to book (their site shows the individual segments but not the whole itin)
- Call Asiana to book for 40k – a great deal, and surcharges should be same as Aeroplan (small amount for LOT)
- Book alternative itin with 57.5k AA miles + 8k UA miles for positioning. The departing airport isn’t served by any oneworld airline.
I’m leaning towards the latter two. I have to chuckle that AA is beating Aeroplan in an Europe award. Not sure it’s more of a kudos for AA or shame for Aeroplan. Lifemiles also shows the individual segments but not the whole itin; I’ll spare myself grief from their call center.
In a Nutshell
Hopefully this will get fixed soon. Meanwhile, if anyone has luck booking LOT through Aeroplan, please let me know.