How Do You Discover Good Award Offers With Aeroplan?

I usually write concerning the worth of Air Canada Aeroplan, because it’s in all probability my single favourite frequent flyer program. Not solely does Aeroplan have extra airline companions than some other airline loyalty program, however Aeroplan additionally permits stopovers on awards for simply 5,000 factors, which is an distinctive deal (given how few loyalty applications enable stopovers these days).

Nevertheless, at occasions maximizing Aeroplan factors isn’t simple, so I needed to deal with {that a} bit on this submit.

A reader’s query concerning the worth of Aeroplan factors

Reader Ryan despatched me a query relating to redeeming Aeroplan factors. Let me share a part of the e-mail:

I’m actually struggling to seek out these nice worth Aeroplan reward tickets that you simply continually point out and surprise if it’s simple to inform me what I’m doing fallacious. I believe flying out of Canada is my first mistake — it appears to set off huge inflation of level use particularly on Air Canada. That’s no drawback as a result of accessing the US is straightforward sufficient.

However even attempting to fly one thing as easy at New York to Tokyo by no means appears to carry up an airline I truly need to fly (like Etihad) and focuses extra on ones I don’t (like Air India).

Is there some type of primary technique I ought to be utilizing that I’m not conscious of? How far out ought to I be planning and looking out into utilizing these?

This can be a completely legitimate perspective, so let’s talk about that in additional element — how do you truly get essentially the most worth redeeming Aeroplan factors?

How do you get the very best worth with Aeroplan factors?

Aeroplan factors are greatest redeemed on companion airways

Readers in Canada usually specific frustration with Aeroplan based mostly on the award redemptions charges on Air Canada. Air Canada releases little or no saver award area for its personal flights. When that’s not accessible, Aeroplan provides final seat availability on Air Canada with dynamic award pricing. Nevertheless, as you’d count on, it can price you dearly, as is the case with so many airways.

In case you simply take a look at Air Canada flights from Toronto to London or Paris, it’s commonplace to see Aeroplan charging 300K-400K factors one-way in enterprise class, which isn’t precisely an incredible use of factors.

Aeroplan redemption charges on Air Canada

Don’t get me fallacious, there are conditions the place Aeroplan redemption charges on Air Canada are fairly good, although I discover that to be the exception slightly than the norm. Quite the place I see the worth with Aeroplan is for companion redemptions.

How do you discover good companion redemption offers, although?

I completely perceive Ryan’s frustration, so let’s speak a bit extra about how one can truly maximize the worth of your Aeroplan factors. To state the apparent, my favourite use of Aeroplan factors is redeeming them on companion airways, for journey in first and enterprise class.

Aeroplan enables you to redeem factors on 45+ airways, which is an unbelievable variety of companions to have entry to. The catch is that discovering availability might be difficult. Along with the final suggestions I’ve shared for redeeming factors, let’s speak particularly about Aeroplan.

Yeah, award availability isn’t nice proper now

Let me acknowledge what I take into account to be the most important difficulty with redeeming Aeroplan factors (or any factors, for that matter) proper now — for the previous 12 months or so, award availability has simply been horrible. In summer season I wrote about how award availability was fully non-existent, and I wrote about how the identical was largely true in fall.

The very fact is that it’s a really unusual time for airways — journey demand has been via the roof, folks have all types of deferred journeys, airways have been adjusting their schedules, and capability isn’t again to the place it was pre-pandemic.

So broadly talking, award choices proper now simply aren’t nice. Now, Aeroplan arguably nonetheless leaves you in the very best place for this, given the sheer variety of companions that this system has.

My hope is that the world begins to normalize and we once more see extra award availability, however the state of affairs simply hasn’t been best.

Award availability leaves lots to be desired proper now

Be strategic about the way you search award availability

I discover that Aeroplan has an incredible award search instrument, although the catch is you could solely search day-by-day. You may’t take a look at availability for per week or month at a time with one click on, and in consequence discovering availability can take some effort, and a variety of clicking.

My normal method is to at all times search section by section, and go from there. The fantastic thing about Aeroplan is that you are able to do a stopover for simply 5,000 further factors, in order that’s a strategy to have enjoyable when award availability is missing considerably.

For instance, should you needed to fly from Chicago to Tokyo on Etihad Airways, you may begin by first looking out award availability from Chicago to Abu Dhabi.

Aeroplan award availability on Etihad

When you discovered that availability, you may begin trying on the subsequent date with award availability from Abu Dhabi to Tokyo. In case you uncover that it’s a number of days later, you may at all times do a stopover in Abu Dhabi, should you needed to. I discover that that is usually going to get you significantly better choices than simply looking out Chicago to Tokyo, and hoping that Etihad availability exhibits up.

Aeroplan award availability on Etihad

The purpose is, assume strategically concerning the airways you need to fly, after which search particular routes the place there could be availability. Then construct an itinerary as soon as you discover the person flights that be just right for you.

Know which companions to go looking availability for

Award availability on All Nippon Airways is fairly terrible proper now, plain and easy. Demand for journey to Japan is thru the roof now that borders have lastly reopened, and the airline wasn’t notably beneficiant with award availability to start with. That’s to not say you received’t discover any availability, however it does take appreciable effort.

Aeroplan award availability on ANA

Normally, you’ll discover good award availability via a few of Aeroplan’s distinctive airline companions, like Air Mauritius, Bamboo Airways, Etihad, Gulf Air, Oman Air, and so forth. These are airways you received’t discover availability with via most different applications, and in consequence there’s not as a lot competitors for these seats.

These days final minute is the time to e book

Up to now I’d have stated that you simply’re greatest off reserving both final minute or very far upfront. Nevertheless, these days award availability far upfront is abysmal. I’m seeing little or no area on most Star Alliance airways 10+ months out. That’s to not say that it’s by no means accessible, however it’s not simple to seek out. So when you’ve got the pliability to attend and plan nearer to departure, it’s best to have extra choices.

Extra broadly talking, although, I’m hoping we see a shift whereby issues begin to normalize, and award availability doesn’t stay this unhealthy. These simply haven’t been regular occasions, and that’s true throughout airways. I can let you know that even for the journey I plan for myself (and I’m fairly good at looking out award availability), it takes much more effort and clicking than it used to.

An instance of what I’d advocate reserving

Ryan talked about he was trying to journey to Japan someday subsequent 12 months, so I began by looking out availability for subsequent September. Let me simply share some choices I got here up with based mostly on trying to find a couple of minutes.

With out figuring out for a way lengthy Ryan desires to journey, he did point out eager to journey on Etihad, and on September 7 there’s a enterprise class itinerary during from Chicago to Abu Dhabi to Tokyo, which might enable him to fly each the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.

Aeroplan award availability on Etihad

Like I stated, I don’t know the way lengthy he’d like to remain, however if you would like a easy return, you may do ANA enterprise class from Tokyo to Seattle for simply 55,000 factors.

Aeroplan award availability on ANA

Need a barely extra adventurous return? You may fly EVA Air’s wonderful enterprise class from numerous factors in Japan to Toronto through Taipei, and you may even add a stopover in Taiwan, should you’d like.

Aeroplan award availability on EVA Air

Need to have much more enjoyable than that? How about including Thailand into the itinerary, after which getting back from there through Istanbul, and having fun with a stopover in Istanbul? You may fly Turkish Airways the whole means, or you may even add Gulf Air into the itinerary.

Aeroplan award availability on Turkish Airways

These are just some examples based mostly on a couple of minutes of looking out, however I’m certain with some effort, it’s simple sufficient to provide you with one thing that fits a selected need (in any case, some folks need to fly as straight doable, whereas others get pleasure from a circuitous routing).

Backside line

There’s no denying that redeeming any factors forex proper now might be difficult, no less than for these of us trying to maximize our rewards with lengthy haul premium journey. Aeroplan provides a variety of worth, although maximizing Aeroplan factors additionally takes some effort.

Hopefully award availability begins to get higher once more quickly, and this no less than gives some inspiration for a way Aeroplan factors might be redeemed.

What has your expertise been these days with redeeming miles for saver companion awards?

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