New Aeroplan: What to Book Before November 8 Ricky August 13, 2020

New Aeroplan: What to Book Before November 8

Prince of Travel is your home for learning about the brand-new Aeroplan loyalty program. We’ll be rolling out a comprehensive series of posts and videos guiding you through everything you need to know about the new Aeroplan. Check back frequently this week and subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed.

 

Air Canada leadership is reading every word of feedback from Aeroplan members to mould the program in preparation for launch. Click here to submit your feedback.

By now, we’ve all had some time to welcome the Air Canada’s new Aeroplan program into our world. We’ve pored over the Flight Reward Chart, gawked at the snazzy new co-branded credit card designs, and absorbed the new possibilities offered by the quartet of brand-new features.

Of course, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies, though, because the transition to the new program on November 8 will also mark the end of some of the best deals under the current Aeroplan program.

In this article, let’s recap all of the Aeroplan redemptions you should consider booking before November 8, which would either no longer be permitted or will be significantly devalued in the new program.

In This Post

Unhappy with Severe Devaluations? Speak Up.

Before we begin, let’s acknowledge the cold fact of reality that the numbers on the new Flight Reward Chart represent significant increases for most redemptions that involve travelling outside of the North American continent, as we saw quite plainly in our Old vs. New award comparison chart.

Some readers have reflected that our coverage of the new program so far hasn’t given due weight to the impact of these devaluations. For the avoidance of doubt: there’s no denying that these award chart changes, in which many redemptions are increasing by 30–40% and some even by 50%+ if you happen to take a less-than-direct routing, are severe and punitive.

That’s especially true if your current travel style doesn’t allow you to capture the benefits of the new program that might otherwise soften this blow (for example, you only booked on surcharge-free airlines in the past, or you simply aren’t interested in having a stopover on a one-way).

The good news is that none of us need to take this devaluation lying down. Part of Air Canada’s pledge for maximum transparency in the transition process to the new Aeroplan is reading every word of members’ feedback, which can be submitted here.

I encourage everyone who may be affected by the negative award chart changes to take some time and share their honest feedback with the team who designed the new charts.

Remember, feedback along the lines of “the new charts are terrible” will be less effective than a more fleshed-out response such as “I live in X and regularly travel to Y and Z; here’s why I feel the charts are unfair and what I’d like to see being offered instead”.

While I get the sense that Air Canada is convinced the new Flight Reward Chart represents the correct balance between value for the customer and the underlying costs of the program, I’m confident that sufficient volume of feedback from people living in X can lead them to change their mind.

Personally, I will be submitting feedback to reflect that the new Atlantic zone is priced disproportionately expensively in my view, as well as asking for greater transparency in helping members understand the nature of the new Air Canada dynamic price ranges, which at the moment is quite unclear and can easily confuse members into thinking that they’ll be paying the highest prices in the range all the time.

We can all be a part of the solution by taking Air Canada up on their request for feedback. At the very least, I’d say that the chances of inducing change here are greater than when writing your representatives about pressing social issues. 😉

1. Virtually All Intercontinental Trips

As a result of the broad-based devaluation, the first item in our list of what you should book before November 8 is equally as broad: virtually all transatlantic, transpacific, and trans-Americas trips will be rising in price, so any travel in 2021 should be locked in before November 8, if possible.

The new Atlantic zone is perhaps where we’re seeing the most hard-hitting changes in price: with the exception of awards to select countries on the westernmost slice of the current Middle East & North Africa zone, almost all awards between North America and Europes 1 and 2, Indian Subcontinent, and East, West, and South Africa are all increasing in price.

Vancouver
(YVR)

Calgary
(YYC)

Toronto
(YYZ)

Halifax
(YHZ)

Atlantic zone

London
(LHR)

Direct
30K to 40K
(+33%)
55K to 70K
(+27%)

Direct
30K to 40K
(+33%)
55K to 70K
(+27%)

Direct
30K to 35K
(+17%)
55K to 60K
(+9%)

Direct
30K to 35K
(+17%)
55K to 60K
(+9%)

Istanbul
(IST)

Direct
37.5K to 40K
(+7%)
57.5K to 70K
(+22%)

Via LHR
37.5K to 40K
(+7%)
57.5K to 70K
(+22%)

Direct
37.5K to 40K
(+7%)
57.5K to 70K
(+22%)

Via LHR
37.5K to 40K
(+7%)
57.5K to 70K
(+22%)

Casablanca
(CMN)

Via YUL
40K to 40K
(0%)
82.5K to 70K
(–15%)

Via YUL
40K to 40K
(0%)
82.5K to 70K
(–15%)

Via YUL
40K to 35K
(–13%)
82.5K to 60K
(–27%)

Via YUL
40K to 40K
(0%)
82.5K to 70K
(–15%)

Dubai
(DXB)

Via YYZ
40K to 70K
(+75%)
82.5K to 100K
(+21%)

Via YYZ
40K to 70K
(+75%)
82.5K to 100K
(+21%)

Direct
40K to 55K
(+38%)
82.5K to 85K
(+3%)

Via YYZ
40K to 55K
(+38%)
82.5K to 85K
(+3%)

Johannesburg (JNB)

Via LHR
50K to 70K
(+40%)
75K to 100K
(+33%)

Via LHR
50K to 70K
(+40%)
75K to 100K
(+33%)

Via LHR
50K to 70K
(+40%)
75K to 100K
(+33%)

Via LHR
50K to 70K
(+40%)
75K to 100K
(+33%)

Maldives
(MLE)

Via TPE, SIN
50K to 70K
(+40%)
75K to 100K
(+33%)

Via NRT, SIN
50K to 70K
(+40%)
75K to 100K
(+33%)

Via IST
50K to 70K
(+40%)
75K to 100K
(+33%)

Via LHR, IST
50K to 70K
(+40%)
75K to 100K
(+33%)

New Delhi (DEL)

Direct
50K to 55K
(+10%)
75K to 85K
(+13%)

Via YVR
50K to 55K
(+10%)
75K to 85K
(+13%)

Direct
50K to 55K
(+10%)
75K to 85K
(+13%)

Via LHR
50K to 55K
(+10%)
75K to 85K
(+13%)

Awards to South Africa and the Maldives, two traditionally popular tourist destinations, are both increasing by 40% in economy class and 33% in business class.

Similarly, Canada’s Indian diaspora will find that their trips back home are now getting at least 10% more expensive, and that’s only if they can find a relatively direct routing – otherwise, they’re looking at 33–40% hikes too.

The impact to the Pacific zone is less significant, but most awards are still increasing in price with the exception of a few select sweet spots out of Vancouver and Calgary.

Vancouver
(YVR)

Calgary
(YYC)

Toronto
(YYZ)

Halifax
(YHZ)

Pacific zone

Tokyo
(TYO)

Direct
37.5K to 35K
(–6%)
75K to 55K
(–27%)

Direct
37.5K to 35K
(–6%)
75K to 55K
(–27%)

Direct
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)
75K to 75K
(0%)

Via YYZ
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)
75K to 75K
(0%)

Beijing
(PEK)

Direct
37.5K to 45K
(+20%)
75K to 75K
(0%)

Via YVR
37.5K to 45K
(+20%)
75K to 75K
(0%)

Direct
37.5K to 45K
(+20%)
75K to 75K
(0%)

Via YYZ
37.5K to 45K
(+20%)
75K to 75K
(0%)

Hong Kong
(HKG)

Direct
37.5K to 45K
(+20%)
75K to 75K
(0%)

Via YVR
37.5K to 45K
(+20%)
75K to 75K
(0%)

Direct
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)
75K to 85K
(+13%)

Via YYZ
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)
75K to 85K
(+13%)

Singapore
(SIN)

Via TPE
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)
75K to 85K
(+13%)

Via NRT
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)
75K to 85K
(+13%)

Via TPE
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)
75K to 85K
(+13%)

Via LHR
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)
75K to 85K
(+13%)

Sydney
(SYD)

Direct
45K to 50K
(+11%)
80K to 85K
(+6%)

Via YVR
45K to 50K
(+11%)
80K to 85K
(+6%)

Direct
45K to 50K
(+11%)
80K to 85K
(+6%)

Via YYZ
45K to 50K
(+11%)
80K to 85K
(+6%)

Auckland
(AKL)

Direct
45K to 45K
(0%)
80K to 75K
(–6%)

Via YVR
45K to 45K
(0%)
80K to 75K
(–6%)

Via YVR
45K to 50K
(+11%)
80K to 85K
(+6%)

Via YYZ, YVR
45K to 50K
(+11%)
80K to 85K
(+6%)

Perth
(PER)

Via NRT
45K to 50K
(+11%)
80K to 85K
(+6%)

Via NRT
45K to 50K
(+11%)
80K to 85K
(+6%)

Via NRT
45K to 65K
(+44%)
80K to 105K
(+31%)

Via LHR, BKK
45K to 65K
(+44%)
80K to 105K
(+31%)

Here, the price increases are more punitive for those who usually book in economy class – these rates are going up 30–40% in many markets, compared to a milder increase of 10–15% for premium cabins.

Going forward, economy class travellers to Asia may even want to rely more on cheaper cash fares or other award programs for these bookings, while saving their Aeroplan points for other uses.

Flights to South America follow largely the same pattern: whether you’re headed to the current Northern South America or Southern South America zones, you’re likely to pay more for your trip from November 8 onwards.

Vancouver
(YVR)

Calgary
(YYC)

Toronto
(YYZ)

Halifax
(YHZ)

South America

Bogotá
(BOG)

Via IAH
25K to 30K
(+20%)
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)

Via IAH
25K to 30K
(+20%)
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)

Direct
25K to 30K
(+20%)
37.5K to 50K
(+33%)

Via YYZ
25K to 30K
(+20%)
37K to 50K
(+33%)

Lima
(LIM)

Via IAH
30K to 40K
(+33%)
55K to 60K
(+9%)

Via IAH
30K to 40K
(+33%)
55K to 60K
(+9%)

Direct
30K to 30K
(0%)
55K to 50K
(–9%)

Via EWR
30K to 30K
(0%)
55K to 50K
(–9%)

São Paulo
(GRU)

Via IAH
30K to 40K
(+33%)
55K to 60K
(+9%)

Via IAH
30K to 40K
(+33%)
55K to 60K
(+9%)

Direct
30K to 40K
(+33%)
55K to 60K
(+9%)

Via EWR
30K to 40K
(+33%)
55K to 60K
(+9%)

The only exception is likely a trip between Central or Eastern Canada and Peru, which can clock in under the 4,500-mile distance threshold despite Peru counting as “Southern South America” before.

Everyone will have to decide what to book for themselves based on their 2021 travel goals and their Aeroplan mileage balance. But generally speaking, I’d say if you have even the slightest intention to travel internationally next year, you should run the numbers on your planned trips and at least consider locking something in.

The only exception would be if you’re specifically looking to take advantage of the new sweet spots and possibilities under the new program, such as booking Air Canada or Lufthansa flights that would currently come with $500+ in surcharges. In these cases, the savings in surcharges will likely be worthwhile compared to the additional number of points if you book after November 8. 

2. Canada/US Round-Trip with Stopover

Right now, Aeroplan members are able to book a complimentary stopover on any round-trip flight – essentially getting to visit two places for the price of one – including for travel within Canada and the US. This has always been one of the best “easy” sweet spots in the current program, allowing members to get outstanding travel value out of a relatively small sum of Aeroplan miles.

On the other hand, the new Aeroplan will introduce the ability to add a stopover on a one-way flight for an additional 5,000 Aeroplan miles – but no stopover will be permitted within Canada and the US.

Therefore, for travel wholly within Canada and the US, Aeroplan members no longer be able to add any stopovers on a round-trip; if they wish to visit multiple cities, they’ll need to book it as multiple one-way bounds and pay for each one separately.

Let’s take the example of Toronto–Vancouver–Los Angeles–Toronto. Currently, this can be booked as a single round-trip with a stopover for 25,000 Aeroplan miles in economy class.

However, under the new Aeroplan, you’d have to book every segment separately, paying 12,500 Aeroplan points for Toronto–Vancouver, 10,000 Aeroplan points for Vancouver–Los Angeles, and 12,500 Aeroplan points for Los Angeles–Toronto. You’d pay a total of 35,000 Aeroplan points – a 40% increase compared to today.

Similarly, consider the Aeroplan short-haul sweet spot, which treats Quebec and the Atlantic provinces as a single short-haul zone. Currently, Montreal–Halifax–St. John’s–Montreal is an excellent redemption for only 15,000 Aeroplan miles in economy class.

From November 8 onwards, this will be composed of three separate awards of 10,000 Aeroplan points each (even for Montreal–Halifax, which agonizingly clocks in at exactly 501 miles in distance flown, just one mile above the lower distance threshold), for a total of 30,000 Aeroplan points.

That’s double what it costs today – yuck!

3. Trips Over 2,750 Miles in Canada/US

While the stopover within Canada and the US will be going away, there are a few simple one-way and round-trip redemptions within Canada and the US that will be getting significantly devalued as well.

Any journey that exceeds 2,750 miles in flown distance – such as St. John’s–Vancouver, St. John’s–Calgary, Halifax–Vancouver, Halifax–Los Angeles, or Vancouver–Miami – will fall into this category.

(By the way, St. John’s–Calgary is a good example of why you shouldn’t be trusting the Aeroplan Points Predictor tool. The direct distance is less than 2,750 miles, but there’s no way to fly on scheduled Air Canada flights between the two cities without overshooting that threshold.)

Previously, these trips, like any other intra-Canada/US redemption, would cost 12,500 miles in economy class or 25,000 miles in business class one-way. But with the new distance-based system in place, these redemptions will fall into the highest distance band of “2,751+ miles”, meaning that they will cost:

  • In economy class, at least 17,500 Aeroplan points for travel on Air Canada or 22,500 Aeroplan points for travel on partner airlines
  • In business class, at least 35,000 Aeroplan points for travel on Air Canada or partner airlines

Both price points represent increases of at least 40%. For those of you who regularly travel between extreme opposite ends of the North American continent, it’s time to lock in some bookings before this hard-hitting devaluation arrives.

This one also applies to those of you who’d like to take advantage of Aeroplan’s partnership with Canadian North to travel to the extreme far-north parts of our country.

Of course, the flip side to this is that Canadian North currently levies a carrier-imposed surcharge of $75 per segment, which will no longer be levied under the new program. Therefore, depending on how many segments you’re planning on your Northern milk-run, it may also make sense to wait.

4. Air Canada Awards Within Canada/US That You’re Happy With

With dynamic pricing about to be introduced on Air Canada, I’d also make the argument that if you’re planning any travel within Canada or the US on Air Canada, you should lock in any awards that you’re currently happy with – even if they might be lower under the new program.

Some of the shortest short-haul flights in the network, for example, will be changing their rates from a fixed 7,500 miles to a dynamic range of 6,000–10,000 points for a one-way economy class flight.

Sure, you have the possibility of saving 1,500 points if you wait until November 8, but since the dynamic pricing will reflect the underlying cash fare, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to snag the cheapest rate of 6,000 points on your specific date and route.

There is inherent value in certainty compared to uncertainty, and that value could easily be worth more than a token savings of 1,500 Aeroplan points. If you’re happy with the price on any Air Canada reward you see before November 8, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to lock that in.

5. Etihad Apartments

One of the most compelling sweet spots for aspirational luxury travel in the current Aeroplan program is an opportunity that came to life very recently: the ability to book the Etihad Airways A380 First Class Apartments using Aeroplan miles, and especially the sweet spot of redeeming 110,000 Aeroplan miles between New York and Sydney, via Abu Dhabi, for 27+ hours onboard the Etihad Apartments.

You can refer back to our analysis of what’s happening to First Class sweet spots in the new Aeroplan, but to put it simply: things are not looking too pretty for the Etihad Apartments, and our favourite redemption between New York and Sydney will be rising from 110,000 Aeroplan miles to 140,000 Aeroplan points.

To stave off this 27% price increase, you’ll want to lock in a booking on this route before November 8 if you have any aspirations of travelling to Australia in the throes of luxury sometime in 2021.

Due to the overall devaluation in the Atlantic zone chart that we discussed above, most other Etihad Airways premium redemptions are increasing in price as well: Toronto–Abu Dhabi in business class, Los Angeles–Abu Dhabi in 777 First Class, Washington–Abu Dhabi in 787 First Class, London–Abu Dhabi in the Apartments, etc.

One very interesting possibility is to book Toronto–Abu Dhabi–Baku, which counts as a Europe 2 redemption and falls within the MPM for Toronto–Baku, for only 57,500 Aeroplan miles in the current program. Of course, whether or not you mysteriously miss your flight to Azerbaijan is another matter.

Alas, “Europe 2” will no longer be a thing after November 8, meaning that this opportunity is very much in its dying days.

6. Two-Stop Aeroplan Mini-RTW

As we discussed in yesterday’s post, the Aeroplan Mini-RTW will be transforming in many ways under the new program. Instead of a typical range of 150,000–165,000 miles for a round-the-world trip in business class, we can expect to pay about 180,000–200,000 Aeroplan points for a similar journey going forward, although we’ll be rewarded with a more generous routing and stopover allowance.

That’s the trade-off that’s being presented to us, and if you aren’t a fan of that trade-off, then you still have the opportunity to book one last hurrah under the current edition of the Aeroplan Mini-RTW – even if you’ll only be able to add one stopover or one open-jaw on a round-trip.

As I mentioned before, there is considerable value in the certainty we have on the current routing rules and MPM restrictions. Air Canada has given us a fair bit of guidance on how the new routing logic will work, but until November 8, any conclusions we draw remain hypothetical.

On the other hand, right now we know we can fly over 18,000 miles on the way to Perth for a fixed price of 160,000 miles round-trip, so if that’s the type of travel that makes you happy, then by all means lock it in. I’m certainly giving some thought to booking one last epic trip under the old rules – after all, the new Aeroplan will always be there to maximize after November 8.

7. Equal-Priced Partner Bookings

One of the “saltier” policies that the new Aeroplan will be introducing is the $39 booking fee on partner airlines.

I describe this as “salty” because a redemption on a partner airline’s premium cabin will obviously still represent great value in spite of the $39 fee, but it’s something we’ll begrudgingly have to pay nonetheless.

In light of this, even if the award cost of your favourite partner redemption isn’t increasing, it’s still beneficial to book before the transition to avoid the $39 partner booking fee. An example of this would be Vancouver–Taipei on EVA Air: this will cost 75,000 Aeroplan miles/points both before and after November 8, but if you make your booking before that date, you’ll save $39 per person travelling.

8. One-Way Hoppers with 7+ Segments

An edge case, but a cult favourite.

One of the more interesting bookings you could accomplish under the current Aeroplan was to book one-way “hopper” trips in which every stop is less than 24 hours (outside of Canada and the US) or less than 12 hours (within Canada and the US).

As long as your overall routing was within the maximum permitted mileage (MPM) between the origin and destination, you could slot in up to 16 flights on the same crazy one-way booking if you wished. For example, I had used my Aeroplan miles to take a Canadian Hopper across the country in 2018, and had booked a Balkan Hopper for my Euro 2020 trip which obviously eventually got scrapped.

In the new Aeroplan, the one-way bound logic limits each one-way bound to a maximum of six segments; after that, the bound will break and a new one will begin, meaning that you’ll end up paying for two separate awards instead of one.

Therefore, if you’ve ever dreamed of redeeming Aeroplan miles for a “hopper” trip across a certain part of the world in which the Star Alliance route network is fairly robust, then this is your last call.

(If you’ve never dreamed of doing such a thing, carry on – you’re a 100% medically-certified normal human being.)

Logistics of Making Bookings Before November 8

Finally, let’s address some of the questions that inevitably arise when we’re talking about making bookings prior to November 8 for travel after November 8.

Obviously, any bookings you make before the new Aeroplan program launches will continue to be subject to the current award chart, stopover policy, routing rules, and fee structure. With Aeroplan, you may book travel as far as 355 days into the future, meaning that the last possible travel date for a trip booked under the legacy Aeroplan rules is October 28, 2021.

Sometimes, when loyalty programs makes changes, they will honour the “old rules” as long as the ticket was booked prior to the changes kicking in. For example, you might expect that as long as you’ve made a booking before November 8, then you’d be able to modify it sometime in 2021 and still be subject to the old Aeroplan rules.

However, in this case, we’re seeing a wholesale relaunch of a new loyalty program, rather than simply changes happening within the same program. Therefore, this conventional practice will not be the case: if you made a booking prior to November 8 and needed to change it afterwards, you’d be subject to the new program’s award chart, stopover policy, routing rules, and fee structure.

This means that you may have to pony up an extra chunk of miles to make your change, you’ll pay the new set of change fees, etc. On the plus side, any fuel surcharges you pay at the moment should be refunded, since there will be no surcharges on any redemption under the new program.

Therefore, if you’re making a booking before November 8 for future travel, you’d better make sure it’s the exact itinerary you’ll be flying – or else the benefit of booking before November 8 will be negated.

(Of course, there is one reprieve here: if there’s an involuntary schedule change on your itinerary and you aren’t happy with the alternatives being offered, then Aeroplan agents wil be able to help you fix up your itinerary without enforcing the new program’s rules. And given the state of global aviation these days, I’d say that an involuntary schedule change is fairly likely to happen on any itinerary booked for 2021.) 

Conclusion

Whether you’d like to fly to Paris or Sydney, Mumbai or Cape Town, Qionghai or Sanliurfa – the majority of Aeroplan redemptions for intercontinental travel will be increasing in price as of November 8. Moreover, some of our favourite sweet spots (such as the North America round-trip with stopover) and niche redemptions (such as the amusingly priced Sydney–Abu Dhabi–New York redemption on the Etihad Apartments) will be going away too.

Let’s give them the send-off they deserve by maximizing our bookings before the November 8 transition, and be sure to play your part in making your feelings known about the unfavourable award chart changes by submitting your feedback. 

(featured image by OneMoreWeekToGo)

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49 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Peter Cott

    Managed to hoard 700k points in hoping to take family of 4 on a trip to Asia in Bus class. 0 visibility on when that will happen. Did I just got further from the goal

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      It’s looking like prices for your trip will likely increase, unless you happen to be based in Vancouver or Calgary and only want to go to Japan. Might be worth locking in a booking prior to Nov 8 for around Fall 2021, you already have enough miles to do so.

  2. Avatar
    Calvin Chen

    Ricky:
    Last time I was redeemed a business-first class round trip YUL~FRA~PEK~TPE~NRT~ORD~YUL with 150K Aeroplan miles .
    This time after viewed all your analysis and suggested , I was redeemed a business-first class one way trip TPE~IST~YUL with 75K Aeroplan miles.Another one way trip YUL~YVR~TPE by purchase A.C.with $455.(Limited time offer)
    On the other hand I was applied Amex.gold card to get welcome bonus 25K pts.
    I hope that is the right choice.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Looks good, TPE—IST–YUL would definitely be more expensive under the new program so you got in on the better price.

  3. Avatar
    Mike

    Hey Ricky thanks for all the great coverage / breakdown of the new AE program.

    Quick questions re: bookings made PRIOR to the launch of the new program (So before Oct 28th).

    What will the cancellation policy be for these sorts of trips? ie) Trip booked for travel Sept – Oct 2021. If I had to cancel it sometime in 2021 or closer to the date of travel, would it be a full refund on points / taxes? Or fall under the rules of the new program?

  4. Avatar
    Sam

    Ricky, what if I need to book a multi-city flight returns on November 01, 2021, I will fall under the new aeroplan reward system?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Yes.

  5. Avatar
    Kevin

    How did you get YVR-TPE with 75000 pts? On the new calculator, it shows 50000 pts one way trip.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      75K in business class.

      1. Avatar
        Kevin

        oh ok thanks!! YYZ-TPE in Y got devalued so hard. 60% increase is just ridiculous.

  6. Avatar
    Hunter

    Hey Ricky,

    I just have a question in regard to this part of this article. You said, “(even for Montreal–Halifax, which agonizingly clocks in at exactly 501 miles in distance flown, just one mile above the lower distance threshold), for a total of 30,000 Aeroplan points.”

    Being someone from the East Coast that flies this route a lot, on my Air Canada account for the miles I would get from the distance flow on the direct flight from Halifax-Montreal, the total miles always came up as 499. Do you think Air Canada would use that mileage for the distance, or would The Great Circle Mapper be more accurate? Big difference depending on which way they decide!

    Thanks!

  7. Avatar
    Vincent

    Is it possible to book a one way NRT > HKG > BKK. HK as of a stopover? I would like to know how to book a stopover from aeroplan website. Thx

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Not right now. In the new program, yes. At that time, I’d expect that you should be able to input it on the search engine quite easily.

      1. Avatar
        vincent liu

        So you mean in the old program there is no way to book a stopover ?

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          Not on one-way flights, no.

  8. Avatar
    Michael

    Ricky,

    When Aeroplan decided to change/remove the 2 Stopover policy (Sept 1, 2019) everyone started to book frantically (including me) and I got that done. Decided to cancel the trip this year due to the pandemic we are having. With the big changes coming up, will Aeroplan still honor the 2 Stopover policy from the old rules if I decide to book it before November 8?

    Thanks

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Very unlikely. You might find an agent who’s willing to make concessions, but it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

  9. Avatar
    tyler

    I believe I read somewhere that gate upgrade possibility for mixed cabin itineraries is going away(which previously applied to AC flights only). Can you confirm if that’s the case? Also, any official word on how they’ll handle mixed cabin itineraries when space in the higher cabin becomes available? Currently it’s free to make the change to the higher cabin – will that remain the case?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Confirmed on the first point, for bookings made after Nov 8. Let me get back to you on the second.

  10. Avatar
    Haris Farooqui

    I cannot find any 2021 dates that have the first class jfk-auh even available. can anyone see any dates available? i deally i would have taken it from yyz but those apartments!

  11. Avatar
    BG

    Hey Ricky: any thoughts on my question below?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Sorry, got you mixed up with another commenter at first. 🙂

      YVR-ICN(S)-AUH(S)-JFK-YVR: this would be a YVR-ICN-AUH bound with stopover, followed by an AUH-JFK-YVR bound. In First Class, this would be 130,000 points + 130,000 points + 5,000 points = 265,000 points. However, this is actually bookable under the current rules; Seoul would be your stopover and Abu Dhabi your destination. It would only cost 230,000 miles, so I’d recommend booking it before November 8 if possible.

      You’ll definitely want to do the Apartments over the 777 if you have the chance.

  12. Avatar
    mark diamond

    great insights Ricky ! Question; what am I doing wrong with regards to Aeroplan search engine. I would say 95% of the award searches I do on Aeroplan come up with “Your requested itinerary cannot be booked at this time, please try again. If the problem persists, please call the aeroplan.com website support centre at 1-866-689-8080”.. Ive tried searching by segment, to no avail. Flights that show award is available on united.com won’t show up on Aeroplan. It seems like a very frustrating search engine. thoughts ? if it shows up on united.com, should I call Aeroplan to book rather than trying their online search engine? Thanks.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      That error might relate to phantom availability, which should occur much less in the new Aeroplan’s search engine. Which routes are you trying to book?

      1. Avatar
        mark diamond

        trying to book North America to South Africa. Wanting to fly Ethiopian Airlines business class IAD,ORD, or YYZ to ADD and then on to JNB. Theres plenty of availability on united.com for 88k United points but per the Aeroplan award chart, it should be 75k using Aeroplan points. But when I search on Aeroplan multiple dates the error always comes up. Thoughts ? It seems like the most reasonable way to get to South Africa in business using points.

        1. Ricky
          Ricky

          Which error?

          1. Avatar
            mark diamond

            “Your requested itinerary cannot be booked at this time, please try again. If the problem persists, please call the aeroplan.com website support centre at 1-866-689-8080”… almost every search I make brings this up. If the award shows up united.com, should Aeroplan agents be able to book it for me even though Aeroplan site doesn’t show it ?

            1. Ricky
              Ricky

              This sounds like it may be related to phantom availability. It’s worth calling in to try your luck, but don’t be surprised if the agents can see it but can’t book it as well. The new program, under the Amadeus search engine, should encounter phantom availability a lot less.

              1. Avatar
                mark diamond

                thanks for the advice Ricky. cheers

  13. Avatar
    Peter Findlay

    But why would I book transatlantic from YYC to FRA before November 8 as there is a $800 tax/surcharge levy on the ticket vs. After November 8 when there will not be one ? Thats worth the 20k in points, no ?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Yes. That would be an example of “specifically looking to take advantage of the new sweet spots and possibilities under the new program”. I’ll expand this section to touch upon the surcharges trade-off.

      1. Avatar
        Dana

        Yes, a “what’s worth booking *after* November 8, 2020” might be an idea? (Unless you’ve already written it; I’m just catching up now.)

  14. Avatar
    Dean Mcmillan

    Thank you for the explanation. From what I can see from your examples it will usually be cheaper to book the trips ‘separately’ rather then as a multi-city as is currently available. But points wise it will quite a bit more expensive but there are savings to had in regards to cash for the trip. Do you happen to know if the software will find the best deal for the user? Or will it but up to the user to try the myriad of combinations to find the best deal? I am note sure what you mean by circuitous. The trips I just looked at are from Calgary to Istanbul with a stop over for 7 days then Istanbul to Tel Aviv with a 6 day stopover and then Tel Aviv back to Calgary.

  15. Avatar
    Hailey W

    Well, this is a nice return back to normal Ricky. Like everyone else, I was pretty convinced you got brought off by Aeroplan to promote their program. Hoping the critical introspection stays.

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      I appreciate that Hailey.

      For clarity, the critical lens that readers expect of me isn’t going anywhere; the focus in the first couple of days was very much to convey the huge volume of new information, with more critical analysis following it.

  16. Avatar
    Dino

    Hi Ricky,
    If I book a flight that starts and ends within the same zone and with is a stop over in a different zone, how should I calculate the miles that I would need? For example lax-bog-puj.

    Thank you,

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      There is a rule that “for one-way bounds wholly within a region, connecting points must remain within”. So your example would be priced as two one-way bounds.

  17. Avatar
    steve

    Do you have any thoughts if this big Aeroplan change will have an effect/change on the Amex MR, RBC Avion, CIBC Aventura 15,000 point short-haul (very select) flights they all offer?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Only if those programs choose to make a change in response. I could see some of them making changes at some point in 2021, for example, as one of AC’s main goals with their intra-North America pricing was very much to incentivize Canadians to collect points and book with Aeroplan rather than with any of the banks’ program.s

  18. Avatar
    Dean

    Ricky,

    I am rather confused about this whole mile/zone charts. Can you please look at the following example and let me know how it would work. This is for Calgary to Atlantic.
    A to B 5800 miles Stop for 10 days B to C 600 miles stop for 6 days C to A 6150 miles

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      Happy to.

      A–B–C would 85,000 points, plus the stopover for 5,000 points.

      C–A would cost 85,000 points. Total of 175,000 points.

      Interestingly, assuming the routing isn’t circuitous, you could potentially choose to book this separately as A–B (70,000) and B–C–A (85,000 + 5,000) and save 15,000 points as a result. I’d need more details though – which cities are you looking at?

  19. Avatar
    Brian

    If you book a trip now and then decide to add an infant after November is it simply a matter of paying the new fee? Or will there be other impacts?

    1. Ricky
      Ricky

      I would imagine you’d only add the infant fee, without incurring a change to the overall ticket; however, I’ll follow up on this eventually to get an official answer.

  20. Avatar
    Codfish

    Thank you for the suggestions! I’m going to book at least two of them.

  21. Avatar
    Adam C

    Thanks for some final objectivity on this huge devaluation Ricky, other blogs such as OMAAT seem to have had their judgement impaired on this point. My main gripe here is how SE status is being severely devalued. I hope at least change fees to award status will be waived and expect a significant amount of 50% off vouchers to compensate for the loss of IKK to not be revolted at this new program. Also, once everything is clearer it would be great to hear your thoughts on why any frequent traveler with status would want to switch from the standard Amex Gold rewards to a co-branded card when they are getting less points per dollar spent on travel.

  22. Avatar
    BG

    Ricky: on the Etihad sweetspot, I was thinking of YVR-ICN(S)-AUH(S)-JFK-YVR, but current plan only allows one stopover. With the new plan, it will be 280K + 10K for 2 stopovers? Don’t think 70K if worth it for another extra stop.

    Do you see any other options? I was thinking of abandoning the last leg, but that might run into problems with US immigration. I could do AUH to LAX. Is there a big difference between apartment and regular 1st class?

  23. Avatar
    Scott

    Sanliurfa, huh 😉

    1. Avatar
      John

      Is this a code word 0_o

    2. Ricky
      Ricky

      Like I said – giving the old Aeroplan the send-off it deserves. 😉

Ricky

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