Chock head - One of the other great things that WJ has is practically across the board awesome employee morale. Ask any WJer if they would leave, given the chance to get on with AC, and you'll get a resounding NO!
Admiral ackbar -
Second hand anecdotal experience from Flyertalk.com? Hahaha. In the past 2 years, I've flown AC YOW-FCO-YOW, MCO-YOW-MCO x3, MCO-YHZ-MCO, YOW-YSJ-YOW, YUL-RDU-YUL, YUL-YYZ-YUL all on Elite points, without a problem from initial phone call to trip completion. That is my personal anecdotal experience. See how that means NOTHING? 2nd hand anecdotal experience means even LESS.
You are right about the requirement to use double points to open up additional seats as an Elite memeber (35,000 miles in one year). However, Super Elite status does not have this requirement - rightfully so, since that status requires you to fly 100,000 miles in one year, quite a difference from Elite. If you want to be treated as Super Elite, simply fly more. Either way, I still view free flying as a benefit, even if AC does have the "gall" to have progressive perks programs.
"IIRC, most FFP in their upper tiers allow you to convert revenue seats into reward seats for little (not 200%) or no premium, provided that there are seats on the plane."
Really? I would like to hear examples. Others I know of; AA and DL both require additional points for last minute reward travel. Additionally, both those milage plans have a minimum of 25,000 miles per trip - AC has less, at 15,000 for travel within the North East. Furthermore, AA even redeems fewer miles based on the type of ticket you have: .5 points per mile flown if you only bought a discount economy ticket.
What am I trying to prove here? ALL airlines are fickle with their reward programs - they've got to be, otherwise they'd all be losing more money than they already are. I think it's time for self-important yuppies (not directed at anyone in particular) to develop a less ego-centric view of air travel and adopt more realistic expectations.