In November, Aeroplan e-mailed all its members to let them know it was updating its general terms and conditions. Most people likely ignored or deleted the e-mail without a second thought.
Fortunately, your Aeroplan points are still worth exactly the same, and for most people, the upcoming changes won’t matter. However, the updated terms do address fraud and credit-card welcome bonuses, so it’s worth understanding how they may affect you in the future.
Credit-card welcome bonuses capped
The most significant change for Aeroplan members is how the program now treats co-branded credit-card welcome bonuses. The new language states that the welcome offer you get when you sign up for a new credit card is only available once per card type, regardless of issuer.
For example, if you have the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card, you shouldn’t expect to get the welcome offer if you sign up for the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card since they’re the same type of Aeroplan card.
In addition, Aeroplan states that it can limit the number of bonuses you get if you switch your credit card to another Aeroplan card type. In other words, someone switching from the CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card – a premium card with an annual fee of $599 – to the no-fee CIBC Aeroplan Visa could possibly get the welcome bonus. However, if the person tries to switch again, Aeroplan could deny the welcome offer or claw back any points received.
The new terms do state that the bonus is available once per card type, and there are five Aeroplan card types: entry, core, premium, core small business and premium small business. But the terms also state that the number of bonuses you can receive in a given period might be limited.
So, while it’s still possible to still get multiple bonus offers, it would likely be limited to one personal and one small business card (if you have a small business) in a given period.
This new language was added to address abuse. Some Aeroplan members would repeatedly sign up or switch Aeroplan cards to take advantage of any bonuses offered. The new terms and conditions make it clear what is and isn’t allowed.
Addressing account abuse
In the past, some people would try to make multiple accounts with different e-mail addresses, identification and other methods. Having various accounts allowed them to potentially take advantage of multiple bonuses.
Aeroplan now says you can have only a single Aeroplan account. If you’re caught with different accounts, Aeroplan can remove your points and ban you entirely.
Another addition that may seem odd at first is that Aeroplan now has the right to request you validate the relationship you have with other family members. This is relevant because the Family Sharing feature, where you can pool your points, has been abused.
It had become such a concern that Aeroplan shut down the ability to create new Family Sharing accounts back in August of 2023. This happened because points brokers – people who buy Aeroplan points – would create Family Sharing accounts and then add someone looking to sell their points as a “family” member. Once the new person was added, brokers would buy flights using their points.
Selling points is not allowed in Aeroplan and it goes against the spirit of Family Sharing plans. Brokers could later resell those flights to the highest bidder.
Also, since those flights would be tied up, it would create artificial demand, which increases the price for everyone else. Aeroplan is trying to level the playing field.
Now, if you’re caught taking part in this activity, you and anyone in your Family Sharing plan could be banned. On a positive note, with these new rules in place and other security measures, Family Sharing should return soon.
How the changes affect members
For most Aeroplan members, it’ll be business as usual. Applying for a new Aeroplan credit card a few years after you cancel your old one won’t raise any red flags – you just might not get the bonus. Having more than one type of Aeroplan credit card also likely won’t be an issue.
While some people may be worried that currently having multiple Aeroplan credit cards could leave them open to a potential ban, that doesn’t appear to be the reason behind the update. The new terms and conditions are clearly meant to stop loopholes and abuse.
Barry Choi is a personal finance and travel expert at moneywehave.com. He was previously affiliated with CIBC and Aeroplan but currently has no relationship with any of the brands.
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