Aeroplan Award Search Reliability Issues
Historically, award travelers primarily use United Airlines and Air Canada's Aeroplan websites to search Star Alliance availability. Each website includes a decent user experience, results displayed a week or more at a time, and consistently shows Star Alliance award space. While phantom space issues pop up from time to time, it is rare. Overall, these two websites are head-and-shoulders above the rest of the Star Alliance sites for finding award space. Unfortunately, we have discovered widespread Aeroplan award search reliability issues that gives us pause in recommending this website for finding Star Alliance Space.
First Issue: Aeroplan Is Not Showing Saver Awards
I first discovered this issue while working on my Bilt Rewards trip from our massive giveaway on the ToP DFW Meetup. Like 3 lucky meetup attendees, Bilt Rewards awarded me 100,000 points to take a trip of a lifetime. Bilt Rewards is a transfer partner of Aeroplan and I am planning an incredible multi-city itinerary to show the power of Bilt Rewards and Aeroplan.
I have stalked award space on Turkish Airlines from South America to Istanbul for months. Last week, I received an ExpertFlyer alert that award space opened from Sao Paulo (GRU) to Istanbul (IST). I logged on to Aeroplan to confirm the space and it was there. I pieced together a 6-segment flight and called the Aeroplan call center, since you cannot book these complex itineraries online. After waiting over 3+ hours for a callback, the agent could not see the award space. The agent continuously refreshed her screen, but the space never appeared. After 17 minutes, we gave up. I reconfirmed the space was available on ExpertFlyer and was showing on both the Aeroplan and United websites. I thought this was extremely bizarre, but likely an isolated incident.
I was wrong. This is NOT an isolated problem and is now widespread.
A few days later, I noticed tons of Turkish Airlines (TK) space from Panama City, Panama (PTY). There were plenty of Copa Airlines (CM) awards, so I pivoted to book GRU-PTY on Copa and then Turkish Airlines to Istanbul. Once again, I called the Aeroplan call center and attempted a complex, multi-city award flight. After over 20 minutes on the phone, the customer service agent could not see any award space from GRU-PTY on Copa. What gives? I continued to dig deeper.
The following day, literally all of the Copa award space was gone. I double-checked ExpertFlyer to confirm the space remained. It was there.
Next, I moved on to the United website. The space was also accurately showing on the United search page.
While I hoped this issue was confined to Turkish and Copa, my friend Justin confirmed he is having similar issues with Eva Air (BR). If you are aware of any other issues, please let us know in our facebook group.
Second Issue: Aeroplan's Award Results Change by the Second
While continuing to investigate why saver awards were not appearing on Aeroplan's website, I discovered a second, even worse issue: the award search results change by the second! I discovered that if you run an award search and then toggle between dates on the 5 day search results, you see different results each time you click on a date. While searching Buenos Aires (EZE) to Panama, I toggled back-and-forth to May 10 seven different times in 1-2 minutes. I saw SEVEN different sets of results.
I first received results that there were “no available flights.” In fact, the only flight on the 5 day calendar was on Monday, May 8.
I toggled over to May 8 and then back to May 10. Suddenly, flights appeared! After 7 tries, and 7 different sets of results, I found a non-stop business class flight on May 10 on Copa Airlines. Notice the 5 day calendar still shows no flights are available, despite the flight being bookable online.
Unfortunately, this issue is not isolated to Buenos Aires to Panama City. I recreated the issue on the Sao Paulo to Panama City routes. Each time I toggled between dates, more or less space appeared, with different flights each time.
On my first search, no non-stops were available in any class of service and no business class flights existed at all.
For my 2nd search, a completely different set of options appeared. While not great options, suddenly several business class options were available. Again, these searches were seconds apart.
This continued for numerous searches. Each time I toggled back-and-forth between dates, new results appeared. On search #5, the non-stop GRU-PTY CM flight appeared for the first time.
Despite 20+ searches, I was unable to find the non-stop GRU-PTY business saver award space mentioned previously that United and ExpertFlyer shows.
This Aeroplan Award search reliability issues development is obviously unsettling. Not only is Aeroplan one of, if not THE best place to search Star Alliance award space, but it is also oftentimes the best place to book Star Alliance award flights. If the website does not return consistently accurate results and/or the agents cannot see and book space that is, or should be, available, we have a major problem.
At this time, we have investigated this issue only in South America, but there are glaring issues with Turkish Airlines and Eva Air as well. We plan to continue digging on this issue and figuring out if it is widespread. For now, we recommend everyone search and confirm Star Alliance award space on United Airlines.
Have you had issues finding confirmed saver space on Aeroplan? Or have you seen different search results when toggling back-and-forth on various dates on the Aeroplan website? If so, please let us know over in the Facebook group!