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Air Canada & Aeroplan’s Summer Domestic Seat Sale (Ends Tomorrow)

I had touched upon these deals in one of our Sunday newsletters a few weeks back, but I think it’s worth expanding on these spectacular Air Canada and Aeroplan deals for summer domestic travel, which are scheduled to end as of tomorrow, May 25, 2021.

Air Canada has dropped its economy class and business class fares to staggeringly low levels on key transcontinental routes for the summer in all classes of service, which has resulted in equally low prices when booking with Aeroplan points under the dynamic pricing model.

If you’d like to explore a bit more of our own backyard this summer before international travel hopefully ramps up later in 2021, there won’t be any better time to book flights than today and tomorrow.

Economy Class Flights from ~5,000 Aeroplan Points or ~$120

Under this seat sale, Aeroplan redemptions on the flagship transcontinental Vancouver–Toronto route can be booked for as little as 5,200 Aeroplan points with preferred pricing in play (or 5,900 points without preferred pricing). 

Flights to Montreal are slightly more expensive, at 9,300 Aeroplan points one-way with preferred pricing.

If you’re headed to Alberta, a Toronto–Calgary flight can be booked for only 3,600 Aeroplan points with preferred pricing!

As someone who still recalls the days of fixed-price one-way flights within Canada for 12,500 Aeroplan points each, I never thought I’d see the day that we’d be able to book those flights for almost one-third the price.

(You’ll also take note of the new calendar search feature that has been rolled out on domestic itineraries only. At this stage, the calendar tool isn’t able to filter by different classes of service, so it mostly only shows the lowest economy class pricing for each day. Later in 2021, Aeroplan will introduce a more comprehensive calendar tool that can filter by class of service and includes international destinations.)

Of course, despite these very low price points, it still won’t necessarily be the best value to redeem Aeroplan points for these economy class flights, since cash fares for domestic travel have also been very low as of late.

From mid-June onwards, the Toronto–Vancouver route is priced consistently at $128, while the reverse journey is priced at $114.

 Even if you were to redeem 5,200 Aeroplan points and pay about $40 in taxes and fees, you’d only be getting about 1.8–1.9 cents per point (cpp) in terms of value. That’s not bad for an economy class redemption, but it falls short of the 2.1cpp target valuation that we recommend aiming for when redeeming Aeroplan points.

Toronto–Calgary is a similar story, with cash fares priced at $116 one-way throughout the summer. With cash fares so low, you may as well save your Aeroplan points for more valuable redemptions elsewhere.

(Then again, it’s “only” 3,600 Aeroplan points too – so it doesn’t really matter whether you pay with cash or points, it’s a screaming deal either way.)

One upside to booking cash fares is Aeroplan’s concurrent promotion to earn 2–3x bonus points on your paid Air Canada flights throughout the summer, for travel between June 1 and September 6.

This promotion ends tomorrow, May 25, so be sure to click here and register for the promotion to earn double points on any cheap fares you book.

These cheap cash fares would also be a great fit for the ongoing cash back offers for Air Canada flights on Aeroplan co-branded credit cards, especially the TD and CIBC offers which require a ticket price of at least $100 to trigger. 

Business Class Flights from ~15,000 Aeroplan Points

While the value in redeeming Aeroplan points isn’t outstanding in the case of flying economy class, it’s a different story in business class. There are some absolute steals of about 15,000 Aeroplan points one-way available for the taking.

(Premium economy can also be a decent deal, but this is one of those situations in which the price difference to business class is so small that you may as well go the full distance with lie-flat business class seats.)

Let’s start by looking at the cash fares. While the bargain-basement economy class fares appear to be ongoing throughout the summer, Air Canada is also putting on a fare sale for its premium cabins (premium economy and business class), which is scheduled to end as of tomorrow, May 25.

Under this sale, premium economy seats are priced at $599 one-way, while Signature Class seats are priced at $899 one-way, both of which are fairly low cash fares compared to historical levels.

There’s a key distinction to take note of here:

  • On the three-cabin Boeing 777 and Boeing 787, the business class cabin is known as Signature Class with its lie-flat seats; these seats are priced at $899 one-way. Meanwhile, these planes also offer a premium economy cabin with reclining seats, which are priced at $599 one-way.
  • On the two-cabin Boeing 737 MAX, Airbus A220, Airbus A320, and Airbus A321, the business class cabin only consists of recliner seats; these are priced at $599 one-way, since they’re comparable to the premium economy cabins on the 777 or 787.

When searching for business class cash fares, you’ll see a mix of pricing at the $599 and $899 levels, reflecting the narrowbody and wide body aircraft that these flights are operated with, respectively.

Now, here’s the interesting thing when we look at Aeroplan redemptions: the fare sale is very much reflected in Aeroplan’s dynamic pricing model, although there appears to be no distinction between narrowbody and widebody aircraft!

If you’ve searched for Toronto–Vancouver flights anytime since the new program launched, you’ll know that there’s often only one or two flights per day that are priced at the lower end of the dynamic range, with the remaining flights priced much higher.

Throughout the summer, there are many dates where it’s possible to snag a lie-flat business class seat on a Boeing 777 or Boeing 787 at the lower end of the range – and given the current fare sale, that can be as low as ~15,000 Aeroplan points with preferred pricing!

Similar low-priced lie-flat seats are also available on the alternative transcontinental routes to Quebec…

…and Alberta.

If you’re looking to spruce up your domestic travels this summer with a premium cabin experience, this is most certainly going to be your best opportunity to book some flights, even if they’re speculative in nature.

Remember, under Aeroplan’s generous change and cancellation policy, as long as you make an Aeroplan booking by May 31, 2021, you’ll be able to cancel it free of charge anytime before two hours prior to departure.

Conclusion

With Canada’s vaccination efforts picking up their pace, many of us are looking forward to a summer of safe and enjoyable domestic travel as we wait for international borders to reopen. If that’s the case for you, Air Canada and Aeroplan’s summer seat sale is an opportunity you absolutely don’t want to miss. 

If you’re happy to fly in economy class, then the ultra-low cash fares we’re seeing at the moment may still last a little while longer, driven down by competition from low-cost carriers like Flair Airlines.

However, if you’ve sipped from the ever-flowing fountain of Aeroplan points in recent months and would like to treat yourself to Air Canada’s lie-flat Signature Class cabins, then be sure to snag some transcontinental business class flights for around 15,000 Aeroplan points before the underlying fare sale ends tomorrow.

We might bemoan Aeroplan’s dynamic pricing model when it throws up unreasonably high prices – but when the pricing is very much in our favour, as is the case here, don’t let the opportunity pass you by! 

11 Comments
  1. CT

    Just booked tonight 2 reward tix, for me and my wife, YVR – YOW direct flight, a 1-way tix. Total of 32,600 points + $67.46 Business (I) class.
    Inspired and reminded by Ricky. Thanks, Ricky. I will treat you Pho in Vancouver if you are available. 🙂

  2. Robert G

    Quick question Ricky, I just bought a one-way to YYZ on AC Boeing 787 leaving YVR at 16:00 on June 6th for $1140 all incl. Biz class. Couldn’t find anything cheaper. Do you know why I couldn’t get the $899 fare? Thanks for clarifying. Cheers, Robert

    1. Ricky YVR

      If you look at the “Travel Dates” in the screenshot on the fare sale, the sale period is June 15 – September 6.

      1. Robert Gilbert

        Thanks Ricky! Missed that! Thanks again and enjoy your family time! Cheers, Robert

  3. Bileth

    How do you calculate 1.8-1.9 cpp?

    1. Adele

      The most accurate way is to check the cash price of the exact same itinerary, subtract tax portion of the award ticket, and divide that by the points amount.

      For example, I’m looking at booking a weekend trip YVR-YYZ. The award ticket is 12,400 points + $75, and the cash price for those same flights is $319. The rate is: (319-75) / 12,400 = $0.0197, which is 1.96 cpp.

      1. Bileth

        Thanks, but what about when the cash price has a different (lower) tax amount?

  4. Rocky

    I originally booked 4 cash fares in Y yyz-yyc. ($116 each) Rebooked it to 4 J fares at 15.3k each instead. Super excited to bring able to treat family on their first J flight and lie-flat experience! It will be kept as a secret until check-in time 😁

    1. Ricky YVR

      Ahh, I love hearing about stuff like this. Enjoy!

  5. Connie Fung

    Ricky,
    Do you expect any Air Canada and Aeroplan’s Quarter 4 International seat sale?
    Would Aeroplan’s change and cancellation policy be extended to June 30, 2021 from May (free of charge)?
    Thanks!

    1. Ricky YVR

      Once the picture around international travel is clearer, I absolutely expect some thrilling seat sales (with Aeroplan dynamic pricing to match) to get our butts into Air Canada’s seats. Whether that’s Q4 of this year or early next year is still a bit early to tell.

      I do expect the cancellation policy to be extended past May 31 too – we’ll find out soon enough.

Ricky Zhang

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