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Aeroplan’s Stopovers Are Limited to 30 Days in Duration

File this under “new information”, even though it’s a policy that has been in place since Aeroplan was relaunched in November 2020.

It’s been well-documented that Aeroplan allows you to book stopovers on a one-way journey for an additional 5,000 Aeroplan points. However, as was confirmed by Aeroplan’s leadership on a recent livestream with Anshul from Points, Miles & Bling, the duration of this stopover is limited to 30 days, and any proposed stopover of a longer duration would instead “break the one-way bound” and cause the itinerary to be priced as two separate awards instead.

30-Day Stopover Limit

Whereas the previous edition of Aeroplan (and indeed, most other airline loyalty programs that offer stopovers) had allowed stopovers to be as long as almost a year in duration, the current Aeroplan imposes a 30-day duration limit.

If you’d like to stop in Europe on your way to Asia, and only pay the price for a one-way journey to Asia plus 5,000 Aeroplan points for the stopover, then your time in Europe will be limited to 30 days.

To be honest, most Aeroplan members are likely to be unaffected by this. The ability to book a stopover on a one-way bound is very useful for stopping at an intermediate point for a few days or a few weeks before heading to your final destination; it’s really quite uncommon to book a stopover of more than 30 days, unless you’re planning an extended trip around the world.

For travellers who are interested in taking extensive round-the-world trips, though, the 30-day stopover limit may turn out to be a fairly significant limitation in their trip planning.

For example, if you had dreamed of taking a six-month trip spanning Asia, Australia, and Europe, then you might’ve envisioned leveraging Aeroplan’s one-way stopover rule to book stopovers in Asia and Europe en route to Australia, with two months planned on each continent.

But that won’t be possible. You’d still be able to book an extended stay in Australia, since that’s your final destination rather than a stopover, but your time in Asia and Europe would be limited to 30 days in duration.

(You might have to get a little crafty with the trip planning process. For example, if you wanted to spend the most time in Asia, you’d have to play around with the routing options to make Australia your 30-day stopover en route to a final destination in Asia instead.)

The 30-day limit on stopovers also affects the “Atlantic/Pacific arbitrage” sweet spot that we’ve previously highlighted.

On average, the Pacific zone award chart is priced a fair bit more generously than the Atlantic chart, so anyone headed to the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, or Central Asia can often get a better deal by tacking on extra flights to East Asia or South East Asia at the end.

Let’s take the example of a member of the Indian diaspora here in Canada who’s heading back to India to visit family. If they wanted to fly in business class on a non-Air Canada partner airline, then the round-trip journey between Canada and India could easily run them at least 200,000 Aeroplan points.

However, by booking a stopover en route to a final destination of, say, Singapore, and then returning home after that, they’d only pay 175,000 Aeroplan points under the Pacific chart (as long as the distance flown in both directions is less than 11,000 miles).

With the new information about a 30-day stopover limit, however, this means that our homebound traveller can spend no more than 30 days in India if they wished to make it their stopover point.

If they wanted to spend longer in India, then the onward segment would be priced separately as another one-way bound, and the “Atlantic/Pacific arbitrage” sweet spot wouldn’t work out in their favour.

Why Is There a 30-Day Limit on Stopovers?

As Aeroplan’s leadership explained on the livestream, the 30-day limit on stopover was implemented for risk management reasons on the program’s part.

If there were no duration limit on stopovers, it’d be too easy for members to add a speculative flight at the end of their regular one-way journey many months into the future, which may cannibalize revenue on that flight.

For example, a European-based Aeroplan member could book extended stopovers at their European home airport on a series of itineraries between North America and Asia for 90,000 Aeroplan points each in business class, thus effectively unlocking multiple round-trips to both North America and Asia at 90,000 Aeroplan points per round-trip – a fraction of what they would pay if they booked everything as traditional round-trips.

Personally, I’m not too convinced that the risk here is significant. Stopovers already aren’t permitted in Canada or the US, so these types of “stopover tricks” aren’t available to Canadian- or US-based members (which I imagine makes up a great majority of Aeroplan’s member base).

Nevertheless, that’s the official explanation for the 30-day limit on stopovers: if the limit were not put in place, then the stopover allowance on a one-way bound would’ve either cost a lot more than 5,000 Aeroplan points, or would’ve been infeasible for the program at all.

Summary of Aeroplan’s Stopover Rules

As a recap of Aeroplan’s stopover rules, then:

  • You’re allowed to add a stopover at an intermediate point on a one-way bound for an extra 5,000 Aeroplan points; on a round-trip, you’d be allowed two stopovers (one in each direction) for a total of 10,000 Aeroplan points
  • No stopover is allowed within Canada or the United States
  • Stopovers are limited to 30 days in duration

Compared to the old Aeroplan program prior to November 2020,  the new program’s stopover rules are more generous in the ability to include a stopover on a one-way (whereas the old program only permitted a single stopover on a round-trip), and less generous in the “stopover fee” of 5,000 Aeroplan points, the non-Canada/US restriction, and the 30-day limit (compared to no fee, no restriction, and no limit before).

If you prefer the ability to mix-and-match a one-way Aeroplan redemption with another booking (whether paying cash or redeeming points) on the return journey, then you’ll likely favour the new program’s allowance for a stopover on a one-way. However, if you usually book round-trips with a stopover in one direction anyway, then you might’ve preferred how things were before. 

Currently, stopovers must be booked over the phone. The online multi-city tool does not correctly price out one-way itineraries with a proposed stopover; instead, it treats all such itineraries as two separate one-way bounds for pricing purposes.

Also as per the recent livestream, Aeroplan hopes to introduce the ability to book one-way stopovers online by the end of 2021, with the full “custom routing” online tool (that allows members to book six one-way bounds on the same itinerary) coming in 2022.

Conclusion

I must admit, back when we were first exploring the details of the new Aeroplan program last year, it was something of an oversight on my part that I never even thought to inquire about whether there was a duration limit on the 5,000-point stopover on a one-way bound. 

We’ve now learned that Aeroplan’s stopovers are limited to 30 days in duration, which may affect your plans if you’ve been dreaming about an elaborate multi-stop Aeroplan trip around the world in the post-pandemic days.

Most Aeroplan members will be unaffected, though, and will definitely find value in being able to add a stopover on a one-way bound of a few days or weeks’ time en route to their destination. 

13 Comments
  1. LD

    Anyone know if the stopover (extra 5k pts) is allowed in a different zone ie: YYZ to Dubai then Hong Kong. That’s 3 zones in total

    1. LD

      oops, google search took me to the last paragraph and upon reading the rest of the article I found my answer

  2. Issac

    Hi Ricky,

    I am new to this, do I also need to call in to book layovers? Thanks!!

    1. Ricky

      If they don’t show up on the website, yes.

  3. Ruddy Lelouche

    Thanks for this post, Ricky. When you write that the possibility of a stopover on a one-way flight is a bonus compared to the old Aeroplan program, I don’t quite agree. When I read that in the new program, I thought “Well! they are finally returning to the former program (which allowed two stopovers on a return trip between North-America and outside North-America). That should never have ceased…”. And I think it was even possible to use the two stopovers on the same travel (both on the outbound flight, or both on the returning flight….

  4. Aaron

    To put it bluntly…this sucks. Their explanation sounds reasonable on paper but loses any credibility in practice

  5. Brad

    Thanks for the heads-up Ricky. This will definitely impact the one-way ticket I have in mind for early summer which was to travel from Canada to Europe (stopover) then onwards to SE Asia. I wanted to have a long and flexible stopover in Europe as we all know the opening of Asia seems to keep getting pushed back. Question, if I do book and take the flight to Europe (stopover) but cannot carry on to Asia because of current restrictions, would I be entitled to a refund on a portion of the Aeroplan points and fees?

    1. Ricky

      Yes, you’d be entitled to a partial refund in that case, although the methodology of how the partial refund is calculated is not openly published or disclosed.

  6. Andrea

    Hi Ricky and the crew, thanks for the heads up on this 30 days stopover limit. On my year end Asia Europe Canada trip, one segment would require me to book Qatar from DOH to SIN. Understand Qatar is OneWorld. But is a “partner” of Air Canada. Can I use my Aeroplan points to book Qatar’s flight from DOH to SIN ? Qatar’s schedule doesn’t seem to be searchable on AirCanada.com. How to book this Qatar flight with my Aeroplan points? Your advice is greatly appreciated.

    1. Ricky

      There are different levels to airline partnerships. While Qatar Airways is a codeshare partner with Air Canada, they aren’t an Aeroplan redemption partner, so you won’t be able to redeem Aeroplan points on their flights. Consider booking something like DOH–AUH–SIN with Etihad instead.

      1. Andrea

        I see… Thanks Ricky for the advice. I guess I would either book Etihad instead. Or, transfer some points from Marriott to Qatar to book the DOH-SIN segment; or, wait for a buy points bonus from Qatar to buy some Qatar bonus points…

  7. Andrea

    Thanks for the post. This will change my upcoming Canada-Asia-Europe trip late this year. As I originally planned from YVR-NRT-HKG-SIN ; stopover at HKG for 40 days, and SIN being the Destination of this outbound segment. But from this post, I might have to change the HKG as the Destination since I’ll staying over 30 days. Thanks, your post really help!!

  8. DenB®

    “Most will be unaffected”? Sure, and “most” were affected by Surcharges, before they were dropped as part of the 2020 deval. But are we really conerned by “most” in this forum? Before the deval an attentive POT reader avoided surcharges, booked extended stopovers and got used to paying 77,500 miles for Business Class oneways to Asia. I’m grateful for the heads up about this limitation and I applaud Ricky for posting about it. But I respectfully disagree that it’s “no big deal”. Call me contrary, but for last-minute fliers like me, Aeroplan 2020 2.0 is lipstick on a pig. I’m glad y’all are enjoying its new complexities, but truly it punishes anyone who doesn’t plan ahead, or can’t.

Ricky Zhang

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