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Aeroplan to hike travel points requirements

Aeroplan users will need to save more points starting this summer so they can cash in on free flights to many popular travel destinations.

Groupe Aeroplan , the loyalty points program operator behind the popular Aeroplan card, says it's boosting the required amount of points by an average of just under five per cent starting July 15.

The changes will include increasing the points needed for a long-haul business-class flight within North America to 50,000 points from the previous 40,000 points on Air Canada flights.

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The required number of points to fly business class to both Middle Eastern and Australian destinations will rise by 20,000 points to 135,000 points.

There were smaller changes to economy class point requirements as well, with a flight to Mexico on Air Canada rising to 40,000 points from 35,000.

The company said the decision to revise the points requirements will help manage the higher costs of rewards in recent years. Points operators have felt the pinch of rising gas prices in recent years, which have driven up the costs of each airline seat.

It also aligns the mileage levels for Air Canada flights with those of the other carriers that are part of the Star Alliance.

"Aeroplan continues to offer flight rewards that are still amongst the best value in the industry," said marketing vice president David Klein in a release.

The move is among a variety of changes to Aeroplan.

The company said it is also making improvements to its flight booking program that are intended to synchronize its booking website with the call centre, and provide more route options.

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Groupe Aeroplan, which was spun off from Air Canada, also owns loyalty marketing service Carlson Marketing, U.K.-based loyalty program Nectar and operates data analytics business LMG Insight & Communication.

It holds a 60 per cent interest in the Air Miles Middle East program in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

Shares of Aeroplan were unchanged at $13 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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