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Aeromexico's Club Premier frequent flyer program can be a touch harder to book than some of its partners in the SkyTeam alliance. But that doesn't mean you should shy away from booking an award!
With some patience, persistence, and time on the phone, Club Premier members can extract top value from Aeromexico's program.
We've covered the sweet spots in Club Premier in another post, so won't detail them here. This post will focus on the process of booking an award flight on Aeromexico, or one of its partner airlines.
Does Aeromexico Club Premier Add Surcharges or Fees on Award Tickets?
Yes, they do. Club Premier adds additional surcharges to its own award tickets and to those ticketed on partner airlines. The charges aren’t over the top on most routes, although flying business New York—Paris round-trip on partner Air France will run you close to $1,000 in fuel surcharges.
Are You Allowed One-Way Award Flights with Club Premier?
Yes. One-way awards are possible using half the miles of a round-trip award plus fees/charges. For example, flying business class one-way from the U.S. to Japan or South Korea will set you back 56,250 miles and about $130/150 in fees and charges.
Understanding the Aeromexico Club Premier Award Chart
Club Premier made some significant changes to its award chart in 2015, few of them positive. However, there are still valuable routes offering good value between the U.S. and Europe, to Northern Asia, and also for round-the-world flights.
Premier Points are valued differently to other rewards points, with American Express Membership Rewards transferring at a ratio of 1,000:1,600 points. To get a comparable value from the award rates shown in the Club Premier award chart, divide the total points required by 1.6 to discover the number of Membership Rewards points an award will cost.
Can You Book Club Premier Awards Online?
That depends if you can read Spanish…
Realistically, the answer is no. The award booking system used by Aeromexico Club Premier is in Spanish, and if you don't have all the points in your account you can only calculate the points required, not the fees and taxes. Not much help if you intend transferring points from Amex.
The site also doesn't allow you to search for, or book, partner awards. This can only be achieved by calling the Aeromexico U.S. call center on (1) 855 412 2650.
Ironically, although this number appears in a pop-up window for U.S. members to call, when we called in to price awards to Asia we were greeted by a stream of Spanish, with the only understandable words for an English speaker being ‘por favor.’
One of the biggest pain points of booking awards with a foreign carrier can be the language barrier. Booking partner awards with Korean Air SKYPASS is now a breeze following the last update to Korean’s website. The entire process from award search to purchasing award tickets has become streamlined and painless.
The process with Aeromexico was not painless… at all.
How to Search and Book Award Tickets with Aeromexico Club Premier
First, you need to find partner award availability using another SkyTeam award search engine such as Delta, Korean, or Air France. Be as specific as possible recording flight numbers, times, and connections if any.
To find an agent capable of searching, pricing, and booking return flights between New York (JFK) and Seoul (ICN) in business, at a rate matching the Club Premier award chart, required four calls. This may not be everyone's experience, but from our end, it was hard going and frustrating work.
The first two reps we encountered both appeared knowledgeable when we could understand each other. The communication issues were bad enough we hung up and called back.
As we couldn’t understand the call center greeting, each time we called back was a few minutes of pushing 1’s and 0’s until we could get an operator on the line and then asking ‘Hablando inglés por favor’ in appalling Spanish.
The third agent spoke fantastic English, but had a very poor understanding of the award chart and could not find partner award space we had showing up across multiple Sky Team partner websites. When she finally found the availability, the rep had the award rate pegged at 371,000 Premier Points per person for round-trip flights in business class between the U.S. and South Korea (180K on the Club Premier award chart) and wouldn't budge no matter how much we explained the situation.
Calling back again we finally got the rep we needed. She found the flights we were chasing immediately and had them priced up correctly at 180K Premier Points with accompanying fees and charges of US$276 (this includes an approx $25 booking fee), all within 10 minutes of getting on the phone.
Will Club Premier Hold an Award Ticket?
Yes! After completing the booking process, the rep then offered to hold the award for up to six days while we transferred points to Club Premier from Membership Rewards. Amex transfers to Club Premier can take up to two weeks, but as long as you link your account with a small transfer first, can be as quick as a few days.
Best Cards for Building a Usable Balance of Premier Points
While Aeromexico offers three co-branded credit cards through US Bank, you can take advantage of better bonus categories and build your points balance faster using American Express Membership Rewards, which transfer to Premier Points at a 1,000:1,600 ratio.
Points transfers are final once completed, so only transfer points when availability is confirmed. One of our favorite credit cards for earning Membership Rewards is:
- 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
Booking an award flight with any foreign frequent flyer program that doesn't allow you to book online can be frustrating in the extreme. The total time on the phone added up to a little over an hour, and that was only trying to book for one person, on a fairly common award route, with a large partner airline.
Booking a round-the-world itinerary with multiple stopovers (one of the best sweet spots in the Club Premier program) would be hard going if you get the wrong sales agent.
Our advice if you struggle to make them understand your request is to simply hang up and call back until you get a rep that speaks good English and has a thorough understanding of the award booking process.
Have any experience redeeming Aeromexico awards? We would love to hear it in the comments!
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