Air Canada Revises Earnings On Swiss Flights – And It’s Bad

Well it looks like earning rates continue to be cut by airlines around the world. Effective June 1, 2016, Air Canada will revise their earning rates on flights operated by Swiss Airlines – and it’s pretty bad. Luckily there is a decent alternative if you are looking to credit your flights elsewhere.

Swiss B777

Under the new earning scheme, earning rates on intra-European flights have been hit the hardest. Aeroplan defines “intra-European” flights as flights:

  1. Within domestic Switzerland; and/or
  2. Between Switzerland and Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldavia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian. Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom

For those that are unaware, until May 31, 2016, for intra-European flights operated by Swiss, you will earn according to the following rates:

  • Business Class Booking Class P Earns 100% Base Miles
  • Economy Class Booking Classes Y and B Earns 125% Base Miles
  • Economy Class Booking Classes M, U, H, Q, V or G Earns 100% Base Miles

Effective June 1, 2016, however, the earning rates will be as follows:

AC 1

That means the following changes:

AC 3

Looking at the changes, full-fare Y and B class tickets – the most expensive economy class tickets – have been cut by a massive 75%! That is truly awful. What is even crazier to me is that even discount business class tickets (P fare class) are being cut by 50% to earning a mere 50% of miles flown. Although intra-European business class is usually just an economy class seat with the middle seat blocked off, I am still shocked that Aeroplan would cut business fare earning rates that much. I cannot think of a single other airline (that does not utilize a revenue based earning chart) that offers less than 100% for even their cheapest of business class fare.

On the plus side, the earning rates for flights other than intra-European flights remain largely intact. The exception is economy class booking class G, which will now only earn 50% of the miles flown.

AC 2

Notably, if you do not see your booking class on either of the above charts, you will earn 0 base or elite qualifying miles on Swiss operated flights credited to your Air Canada Aeroplan account. It is also worth noting that Swiss flights operated under flight numbers LX8000-8499 will earn redeemable miles, but not Air Canada Altitude Qualifying Miles (which are used for earning elite status). Swiss flights operated under flight numbers LX8500-8969 will earn both redeemable and Air Canada Altitude Qualifying Miles.

AC 4

If you are interested in reading more about Air Canada’s partnership with Swiss, you can do so here.

So where should you credit your Swiss operated flights? I would recommend either Swiss’ own Miles & More program, or Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus program. Aegean’s award program is actually one of the more generous programs out there and is among the easiest Star Alliance partners to earn the coveted Star Alliance Gold status. Reaching Miles+Bonus Gold status (which also earns you Star Alliance Gold status) requires you either earn 36,000 Tier Miles and take four Aegean or Olympic Airlines flights; or earn 72,000 Tier Miles from flights on partner airlines.

Where Aegean really exceeds the competition though is in re-qualifying for Gold status.  To retain your Gold status, you have a fixed 12-month period from the date of your upgrade or renewal of your tier to collect 12,000 Tier Miles, including 4 flights with Aegean and/or Olympic Air, or collect a total of 24,000 Tier Miles, regardless of which airline you choose to fly with. That is truly incredible that 24,000 Tier Miles will allow you to retain top tier Star Alliance Gold status! You can find more about the Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus program here.

Final Thoughts

I think this is realistically part of a bigger trend we are (and will continue to be) seeing in the commercial aviation industry where only premium cabin or full-fare tickets are going to be given full mileage credit. The days of a mile flown is a mile earned are unfortunately quickly coming to an end. That is exceptionally bad for all but those who travel on full-fare tickets, which of course tend to be business travelers who need the added flexibility to be able to cancel a ticket and receive a refund.

I obviously do not like this change, but at least there are alternatives available like crediting your flights to Aegean Airlines (or other Star Alliance partners). In any case, I really do not like this trend!

What are your thoughts on this change or where you might credit your Swiss flights to?

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