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How To Redeem Aeroplan Factors Like A Professional

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Air Canada Aeroplan is probably the most helpful frequent flyer program on the earth… if you understand what you’re doing. On this publish I needed to dig a bit deeper into this system, and discuss how one can maximize worth with it.

Why you must care about Air Canada Aeroplan

Even in the event you’re not an Air Canada frequent flyer, you must nonetheless care concerning the Aeroplan program. Why?

  • Aeroplan factors are simple to come back by, as this system is switch companions with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Chase Final Rewards; on high of that, there’s the Aeroplan® Credit score Card (evaluate) in the USA, which is phenomenal
  • Aeroplan has 45+ airline companions, greater than every other frequent flyer program on the earth; not solely does this system companion with Star Alliance airways, but it surely has every kind of different companions, starting from Air Mauritius, to Bamboo Airways, to Etihad Airways
  • Aeroplan has extremely beneficiant routing guidelines, permitting you to plan some fairly wild itineraries, in the event you’re into that
  • Aeroplan permits stopovers for five,000 additional factors; that is an incredible alternative, particularly mixed with the beneficiant routing guidelines, because it means you might fly from the USA to Asia by way of Europe with a stopover there

You’ll nearly persistently get one of the best worth redeeming your Aeroplan factors on companion airways. Award pricing on Air Canada may be steep, because it’s dynamic, whereas journey on most companions has constant pricing.

Simply how far can Aeroplan factors be stretched? Nicely, I lately redeemed 115,000 Aeroplan factors for a six phase, one-way enterprise class award from Chicago to Vienna to Rome to Bahrain to Singapore to Ho Chi Minh Metropolis to Hanoi. Not dangerous, eh?

Redeem Aeroplan factors for Oman Air firstclass

Aeroplan award charts & award pricing

Aeroplan takes a singular strategy to award pricing. I recognize Aeroplan’s transparency, as this system publishes award charts with pricing for journey on companion airways.

To begin, it’s value understanding that Aeroplan breaks the world up into 4 zones:

  • North America — this contains North America and Central America
  • Atlantic — this contains Europe, Africa, the Center East, India, and many others.
  • Pacific — this contains North Asia, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and many others.
  • South America — this contains South America

Beneath is a map exhibiting which nations belong to which areas.

Aeroplan’s 4 award zones

Aeroplan then publishes distance based mostly award charts for journey inside and between every of those areas. Which means there are a complete of 10 Aeroplan award charts. In different phrases, the fee you’ll pay on your award ticket is a mix of the zones you’re touring between (or inside), mixed with the gap.

Observe that the pricing is predicated on the cumulative distance traveled throughout your one-way journey. All pricing is one-way, so it by no means issues in the event you’re touring one-way or roundtrip. Additionally, you’ll need to deal with the “companion airways” pricing, since pricing on Air Canada is dynamic, and falls inside a sure vary.

Anyway, under you’ll find Aeroplan’s 10 present award charts.

Aeroplan award chart inside North America
Aeroplan award chart between North America and the Atlantic
Aeroplan award chart between North America and the Pacific
Aeroplan award chart between North America and South America
Aeroplan award chart throughout the Atlantic
Aeroplan award chart throughout the Pacific
Aeroplan award chart between the Atlantic and Pacific
Aeroplan award chart inside South America
Aeroplan award chart between the Atlantic and South America
Aeroplan award chart between the Pacific and South America

All Aeroplan companions have the identical award pricing, besides one companion — Emirates. Emirates was lately added as an Aeroplan companion, and the airline has a totally separate award chart with variable pricing.

Aeroplan award chart for journey on Emirates

When you can combine and match Emirates awards with journey on different companions, it might comply with the upper award chart pricing.

The fundamentals of redeeming Aeroplan factors

With the main points of Aeroplan’s award pricing out of the way in which, let’s speak a bit concerning the logistics of really redeeming Aeroplan factors. What are the charges like, are there gas surcharges, what are the routing guidelines, how do stopovers work, how do you really ebook, and many others.?

Aeroplan has an incredible array of airline companions

The one biggest factor concerning the Aeroplan program is simply what number of airline companions Aeroplan has. Aeroplan has over 45 companions. Not solely does Air Canada belong to the Star Alliance, however Aeroplan has every kind of different airline partnerships, with carriers starting from Air Mauritius, to Bamboo Airways, to Etihad Airways, to Gulf Air, to Oman Air, and many others.

The chances are limitless, and I can’t emphasize sufficient how beneficial that is. These days it looks as if we’re seeing many airways lowering their variety of partnerships, so it’s unbelievable to see the pliability you have got with Aeroplan factors.

See this publish for full particulars on all Aeroplan airline companions.

Redeem Aeroplan factors for Gulf Air enterprise class

Aeroplan permits stopovers for five,000 factors one-way

These days there aren’t many frequent flyer packages that enable stopovers, in order that’s one other particular facet of Aeroplan. Aeroplan will allow you to add a stopover on a one-way award for simply 5,000 extra factors. You’ll be able to embrace a stopover with every one-way award.

Stopovers should not obtainable on awards for journey wholly inside North America. Stopovers may even be booked straight on aircanada.com, making the ticketing course of seamless.

The worth of that is merely huge, particularly since you may have a stopover in a unique zone altogether. Touring from the USA to Mauritius? You could possibly have a stopover in Europe. Touring from the USA to Australia? You could possibly have a stopover in Asia.

See this publish for full particulars on the Aeroplan stopover coverage.

Redeem Aeroplan factors for Bamboo Airways enterprise class

Aeroplan has very beneficiant routing guidelines

Aeroplan in all probability has probably the most beneficiant routing guidelines of any frequent flyer program. Whereas most packages are fairly strict by way of the routings you may take and the way a lot you may exceed the direct distance, Aeroplan actually allows you to push it to the intense.

As a normal rule of thumb, you shouldn’t have any difficulty exceeding the direct distance between two cities on an extended haul award by 50%, and also you could possibly fly much more than that. For instance, I booked an award from Chicago to Hanoi by way of Vienna, Rome, Bahrain, Singapore, and Ho Chi Minh Metropolis.

Now, admittedly on some stage you pay for a circuitous routing as a result of distance based mostly award chart. However nonetheless, the worth is probably enormous.

Aeroplan doesn’t explicitly publish how far you may push routing guidelines, and the added problem is that the majority sophisticated itineraries would must be booked by way of the decision heart. So there’s some trial and error right here, however you’ll in all probability be delighted by what’s doable.

US to Asia by way of Europe? That shouldn’t be a problem in any respect. US to Australia by way of Asia? That additionally shouldn’t be a problem. Now, there are some limits. For instance, it’s unlikely you’d be capable to journey from the US to Europa by way of Asia, for instance.

Redeem Aeroplan factors for Lufthansa firstclass

Aeroplan permits six segments per one-way

When redeeming Aeroplan factors, you may ebook as much as six segments on a one-way award. Admittedly most individuals in all probability wouldn’t need to fly six segments one-way, however that’s the restrict. That’s what I managed to do with a current award, as I flew from Chicago to Hanoi by way of Vienna, Rome, Bahrain, Singapore, and Ho Chi Minh Metropolis.

Redeem Aeroplan factors for Singapore Airways enterprise class

Aeroplan has no gas surcharges

One improbable factor about Aeroplan is that this system doesn’t have provider imposed surcharges (also known as gas surcharges) for journey on any companion airline. That’s massively beneficial, given how costly these may be via different packages.

Redeem Aeroplan factors for All Nippon Airways enterprise class

Aeroplan reserving, change, & cancelation charges

What sort of charges are you able to count on to pay with Aeroplan? To begin, there are probably some ticketing charges, as follows:

  • There’s a 39 CAD companion reserving payment, which applies to every companion award ticket booked, no matter whether or not it’s performed on-line or by telephone
  • There’s a 30 CAD telephone ticketing payment, for reservations ticketed by telephone reasonably than via aircanada.com

On high of that, there are charges if you could change or cancel an Aeroplan award. As a normal rule of thumb, you may count on {that a} ticket change on an ordinary award will price you 100 CAD, whereas a ticket redeposit on an ordinary award will price you 150 CAD.

Charges are probably decrease in the event you’re reserving the next priced award, and you can too count on to pay extra to refund a ticket via the decision heart (although there’s no motive to do this, since you may simply redeposit awards on aircanada.com). Additionally be aware that charges are per course of journey, so that you’ll pay much more in the event you’re touring roundtrip on one itinerary.

Aeroplan award change & redeposit charges

Personally I’d contemplate change and redeposit charges to be the one largest weak level of the Aeroplan program. A number of different standard frequent flyer packages have eradicated these charges, so that you’ll need to keep away from speculative bookings.

Aeroplan award reserving course of

Normally you’ll need to do what you may to look and ticket your Aeroplan awards straight on aircanada.com:

  • You’ll be able to search award availability on the house web page by clicking the “Guide with factors” button
  • All Aeroplan airline companions present availability via aircanada.com, and I discover that Aeroplan has among the many fewest problems with phantom award availability
  • You’ll be able to even ebook a stopover straight via aircanada.com; when you provoke a search, simply click on the “Multi-city/Stopover” button, after which you may choose your origin and vacation spot, stopover metropolis, and the way lengthy of a stopover you need
Aeroplan’s stopover function on aircanada.com

The right way to ebook wonderful Aeroplan itineraries

The entire above in all probability sounds nice, although how do you really go about discovering wonderful offers? For instance, I lately printed my journey report introduction about an journey I booked with Aeroplan. To begin, let me recap what I booked.

My outbound journey coated a complete of 12,948 miles throughout six segments. I booked the next in enterprise class for 115,000 Air Canada Aeroplan factors plus $112.82 in taxes & charges:

1/05 OS66 Chicago to Vienna departing 4:20PM arriving 8:20AM (+1 day)
1/07 OS501 Vienna to Rome departing 7:55AM arriving 9:30AM
1/07 GF26 Rome to Bahrain departing 11:10AM arriving 6:35PM
1/07 GF165 Bahrain to Singapore departing 11:50PM arriving 12:25PM (+1 day)
1/08 SQ186 Singapore to Ho Chi Minh Metropolis departing 5:30PM arriving 6:40PM
1/08 QH256 Ho Chi Minh Metropolis to Hanoi departing 10:10PM arriving 12:20AM (+1 day)

My return journey coated a complete of 10,608 miles throughout three segments. I booked the next in enterprise class for 87,500 Aeroplan factors plus $150.11 in taxes & charges:

1/09 QH73 Hanoi to Frankfurt departing 9:40AM arriving 5:15PM
1/10 AC841 Frankfurt to Toronto departing 9:45AM arriving 12:30PM
1/10 AC1204 Toronto to Miami departing 6:30PM arriving 9:40PM

My enjoyable journey routing with Aeroplan factors!

How did I am going about reserving that? Whereas I’ve written up to now about easy methods to go about discovering good Aeroplan offers, let me clarify in a bit extra element, as a result of as you would possibly count on, aircanada.com didn’t suggest the outbound itinerary I selected. 😉

The right way to discover Aeroplan award availability

Let me share the step-by-step of how I went about discovering the above routing. Discovering a very nice redemption takes lots of effort and a major quantity of endurance. Whereas I’d prefer to assume I’m fairly good at this, I put a major period of time into planning this, so don’t count on you’ll be capable to put one thing like this collectively in 5 minutes.

Perhaps you’re used to going to aircanada.com and seeing awards for journey on Air Canada which might be priced at 300K+ factors one-way? That’s completely regular, however that’s not how I prefer to redeem my Aeroplan factors.

Aeroplan redemption charges on Air Canada may be steep

Let me emphasize that I took this journey particularly to have the ability to evaluate as many new airways as doable, so my itinerary selections had been motivated largely by airline merchandise I needed to strive. Moreover, to the typical particular person, taking a six phase one-way routing in all probability seems like hell, reasonably than one thing enjoyable. I really feel like that disclaimer is critical.

Anyway, let’s begin with the return. Amazingly sufficient, Air Canada’s web site confirmed an itinerary from Hanoi to Miami by way of Frankfurt and Toronto. That included journey on Bamboo Airways and Air Canada. Per Aeroplan’s award chart, a one-way award between the Pacific and North America that covers a distance of seven,501-11,000 miles prices 87,500 factors in enterprise class.

What a terrific worth, and there wasn’t even any effort required to ebook, because it could possibly be performed straight on-line.

Aeroplan award availability on aircanada.com

The return itinerary appeared manner too easy for me, so I made a decision to see how excessive I might go along with the outbound. 😉 With Aeroplan’s distance based mostly award chart, I’m all the time trying on the totally different distance thresholds, since clearly I need to maximize that.

On this case I used to be aiming to fly 11,001+ miles, which might be the best mileage band between North America and the Pacific, and which might price me 115,000 Aeroplan factors.

How did I discover the routing that I needed? Nicely, I had a number of airways I knew that I most needed to fly, so I pieced issues collectively. I knew that I needed to fly by way of Europe, so I began by looking out award availability between Europe and Asia.

I noticed that Gulf Air had enterprise class award availability from Rome to Bahrain to Singapore, on each the Airbus A321LR and Boeing 787-9, so I knew I needed to fly that.

Aeroplan award availability on aircanada.com

Now I simply wanted to determine easy methods to fly from the USA to Rome, and easy methods to fly from Singapore to Hanoi. I ended up looking out availability from main gateways in the USA (together with Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington, and many others.). Ultimately I discovered an Austrian Airways itinerary from Chicago to Rome by way of Vienna, which might enable me to evaluate the Boeing 777-200ER and Airbus A320. Superior!

Aeroplan award availability on aircanada.com

Lastly, I wanted to search out award availability from Singapore to Hanoi. I noticed that Air Canada’s web site was exhibiting availability from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh Metropolis on the Boeing 787-10, after which from Ho Chi Minh Metropolis to Hanoi on the Bamboo Airways Airbus A321neo.

Aeroplan award availability on aircanada.com

I do know to most individuals that routing sounds horrifying, although to me it sounded enjoyable. How did I really go about reserving that, although?

See this publish for my high recommendations on redeeming airline factors.

The right way to ticket sophisticated Aeroplan awards

Not less than as of now, Air Canada’s web site gained’t mean you can ticket itineraries which might be this sophisticated, so you could ebook by way of the decision heart. As you would possibly count on, that’s half of the journey. In spite of everything, how do you clarify to a telephone agent that you just’d prefer to fly from Chicago to Hanoi by way of Vienna, Rome, Bahrain, Singapore, and Ho Chi Minh Metropolis? You’d in all probability count on to get a response like this…

Nicely, in the event you get a superb agent, it shouldn’t be sophisticated in any respect, and they may not even be fazed by your peculiar preferences. As soon as I used to be on the road with an agent, it took solely 14 minutes to ticket the above itinerary from begin to end. That shocked even me.

How did I am going about explaining what I used to be in search of? The dialog went one thing like this:

Me: “Hello there, I’m seeking to redeem Aeroplan factors for a enterprise class ticket from Chicago to Hanoi, but it surely’s an advanced itinerary with six segments, and I wasn’t capable of ebook this on aircanada.com. Would you be capable to assist, please?”
Agent: “Certain, I can’t assure it’ll value, however let’s give it a strive. What did you take into consideration?”

To keep away from overwhelming the agent an excessive amount of, I made a decision to interrupt it down in phase pairs, to match up with what Air Canada’s web site was exhibiting. Moreover, since there’s generally married phase availability, that is often the best choice for really discovering availability. So the decision continued like this:

Me: “I used to be seeking to journey from Chicago to Rome on January 5, from Rome to Singapore on January 7, and from Singapore to Hanoi on January 8. I can provide the flight numbers, if that may assist.”
Agent: “Let me simply pull up availability, give me a second.”
Agent: “Okay, which flights had been you taking a look at?”
Me: “On January 5 I used to be taking a look at OS66 from Chicago to Vienna, connecting to OS501 from Vienna to Rome, on January 7.”
Agent: “Yep, I acquired that.”
Me: “Nice! Then from Rome to Singapore I used to be taking a look at GF26 from Rome to Bahrain, connecting to GF165 to Singapore.”
Agent: “I see that as effectively.”
Me: “Superior! Lastly, I used to be seeking to fly from Singapore to Ho Chi Minh Metropolis on SQ186, connecting to QH256 to Hanoi.”
Agent: “I see that as effectively.”

Certain sufficient, a second later later the agent confirmed the worth. I’d be aware that Aeroplan brokers are likely to not bat an eyelid to sophisticated itineraries. They’ve been skilled that circuitous routings are allowed, given the mix of the zone and distance based mostly award chart.

Moreover, there’s no guide evaluate right here as as to if a routing is allowed or not. Quite all of it comes right down to what the pc costs. I used to be absolutely ready to listen to…

…however nope, it labored out!

Backside line

Air Canada Aeroplan is an unbelievable frequent flyer program, due to affordable award redemption charges, a beneficiant stopover coverage, an enormous variety of airline companions, and really beneficiant routing guidelines. I redeem extra factors via Aeroplan than via every other frequent flyer program, and persistently get nice worth.

The bottom line is that you need to put in some work to maximise Aeroplan factors — it takes some analysis and time to search out the great choices, however whenever you do, they’re disproportionately rewarding.

In case you haven’t but booked an superior journey via Aeroplan, hopefully that is the encouragement you wanted. Hopefully it additionally sheds some mild on my Aeroplan reserving course of.

Have any OMAAT readers redeemed factors via Aeroplan?

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