How I Saved 23% on ANA First Class with Aeroplan Dynamic Pricing Bug

Something strange happened with Aeroplan today. Star Alliance partner award tickets suddenly became dynamically priced, which was supposed to be for Air Canada-operated flights only. This was first noticed by Running with Miles and confirmed as a bug by View from the Wing.

Aeroplan Dynamic Pricing on Partners

A little background on dynamic pricing. When Air Canada switched to its Aeroplan frequent flyer program to a new system on November 8, 2020, all Air Canada-operated flights became dynamically priced. Although the dynamically pricing more or less follows a range defined by Air Canada, true pricing has been known to go both lower and higher than the defined ranges. For example, points required for a flight such as Sydney to Vancouver can become as expensive as half a million Aeroplan points! Meanwhile, itineraries operated by Star Alliance partner airlines are still priced based on a separate fixed award chart.

That was until this morning, when it suddenly appeared all partner awards are now priced dynamically, just as with Air Canada-operated flights. This means some flights have became more expensive. But on the flip side, some sweet spots opened up, albeit temporarily.

Taking Advantage of Partner Dynamic Pricing Error

By the time I became aware of this bug, which was almost 3 hours after Running with Miles first posted about it, Air Canada had already pulled all of their Star Alliance partner award flight inventory from their website and app. However, those itineraries were still bookable over the phone with their Aeroplan agents.

Yes, there is a $30 CAD agent fee when booking over the phone which is non-refundable (even if cancelling within 24 hours), but that was only way to get the deal at that point. Aeroplan also has a $39 CAD fee for any booking that involves at least 1 segment on a partner airline. So there is also that. But is it worth it? You’ll see.

So I knew my time was short. I called in to lock in a NRT-LAX flight on ANA first class for 85,900 Aeroplan points. The regular price for this is 110,000 points:

That is a savings of 24,100 points, or a whopping 23.5% discount!

Sadly, Air Canada was quick to patch this bug, and the prices are now back to the fixed pricing, and inventory is once again available on their website and app. I did not explore more options because I knew the bug could be patched imminently, and I was right. I was glad I was able to get this one locked in.