UPDATE: I received the following email from my contact at Aeroplan:
We’re glad you noticed that Copa availability was back […]
This was part of our testing. I wanted to let you know that Copa will be unavailable again over the weekend while we analyze the results from the last couple of days but we hope to reinstate Copa more permanently early next week. [emphasis added]
My friend Dominik at Travelling the World told me that Copa airlines, Panama’s largest airline, is available again on Aeroplan. Like Air China and Swiss (which have both been resolved), Copa was unavailable uniquely to Aeroplan users due to technical issues. This has been going on for years. Now Copa is once-again available for booking, which is great since they release a significant amount of award inventory and Aeroplan does not assess fuel surcharges on Copa segments.
There are direct flights to Panama City from Toronto, and with Aeroplan, you only need 60,000 Aeroplan miles for a round-trip business class ticket from Canada to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Since Copa has no fuel surcharges, and has plenty of award availability, this makes an excellent use for Aeroplan awards. You can get 60,000 Aeroplan miles with the American Express Platinum card, which gives you 60,000 points after spending $3,000 in three months, and it’s easy to get the practical fee down to $299 – well worth a free flight in business class to Central America.
Since the Aeroplan/Air Canada break-up announcement, it appears Aeroplan is significantly investing in their customer service – these “broken airline links” have been going on for years, and now they’re almost all fixed (except for Avianca). While Copa isn’t a “first in class” carrier, with business class seats similar to United domestic first, this is a significant improvement in Aeroplan’s infrastructure and I hope that it remains a permanent fix.