Aeroplan miles is a loyalty and incentive program for frequent flyers. This reward system, which has around 4.6 million active members, is now being blamed for being unsympathetic to families of deceased members.
The program is capitalizing on the grief and sorrow experienced by the family of the deceased members, people familiar with the matter said.
Some elderly and even young travelers accumulate a large number of Aeroplan points, the program is charging a high fees to transfer these points to the family members in case of an unfortunate death. This fee is highly insensitive and unnecessary, relatives of deceased members said.
For transferring the points to another surviving member, Aeroplan charges an initial fee of $30 and then a one cent charge for every point accumulated by the member. So if a deceased person had accumulated 250,000 points, the family would have to cough up $2,530 just for the transfer.
Aeroplan defended itself saying it also had another option to transfer the points to a newly created estate account which could be used by family members of the deceased.
However, grieving family members were unsatisfied with this reply as points in the estate account had to be used up within a single year. Travel plans need to be made much in advance on Aeroplan redemption and family members could not make vacation plans after immediately having had to suffer a dear ones loss, they said.
Aeroplan however said it was not actually the case as Air Canada tickets could be booked up to two years in advance of date of travel. The families just had to use the points to make the booking within a year, it said. Another option to use the points was to buy an Air Canada certificate which would not have an expiry, Aeroplan said. However, buying a gift card could be comparatively lesser value than buying flight tickets. Certainly a Aeroplan short haul.
Other reward program have even less favourable options, Shoppers Drug Mart’s popular Optimum points program closes the members account upon the death of a member.
Travel bloggers and travel advisers have found a way out of this by advising relatives of members, to not notify the loyalty programs about the death but use the points to book flights when needed, as reward points can be used to book flights for anyone and not necessarily the member. However to follow that advice it would be necessary to know the login details of the deceased person.