With all the uncertainty that has surrounded our beloved Aeroplan Mini-RTW sweet spot throughout much of 2019, I’ve been making a real concerted effort to explore and understand the “round-the-world” sweet spots in the various other award programs out there.
So far, we’ve looked at an alternative Star Alliance option in ANA Mileage Club, we’ve explored two Oneworld multi-carrier award charts in British Airways Avios and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, and today we’ll hop over to the SkyTeam alliance for a close-up look at the Aeromexico Club Premier round-the-world award.
In This Post
- Earning Miles with Aeromexico Club Premier
- The Rules
- A Few Examples
- Taxes & Fees
- How to Search and Book
Earning Miles with Aeromexico Club Premier
Before looking at redeeming Aeromexico miles for a round-the-world trip, we first must consider the best ways to earn Aeromexico miles… which is something I bet you’ve never considered before.
There are three potential ways for Canadians to accumulate miles within the Aeromexico program: Marriott Bonvoy, Amex US, or Citi ThankYou Points.
(Technically, Aeromexico uses “kilometres” instead of “miles”, but as much as I usually champion the metric system for all other purposes, “redeeming kilometres for travel” just doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, does it? We’ll continue to call them “miles” for that reason.)
Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to Aeromexico at the usual optimal ratio of 60,000 Bonvoy points = 25,000 Aeromexico miles. This can be a reasonable way of earning if you have a large stash of Bonvoy points (and a high-value Aeromexico round-the-world award within your sights), but the reality is that your Bonvoy points can often be redeemed at better value for hotel stays.
Instead, I’d probably recommend transferring either Amex US MR points or Citi ThankYou Points to Aeromexico Club Premier. Amex US MR points transfer over at a ratio of 1:1.6, while Citi ThankYou Points transfer over at a ratio of 1:1.
With Amex US, remember that as long as you have a single Amex US MR credit card (like the Amex US Gold Card, the Amex US EveryDay Card, or the Amex US Business Platinum Card), you may transfer your Canadian Amex MR points over to the US at the prevailing exchange rate once every year.
Overall, this would probably be the most feasible way for Canadians to rack up points with Aeromexico: transferring their Canadian MR points over to the US, and then transferring those points into Aeromexico at a 1:1.6 ratio.
This redemption opportunity within the Aeromexico Club Premier program is formally known as a “SkyTeam Go Round the World Pass”, and you can find the limited official information that exists on the Aeromexico Club Premier website at this page.
What’s very interesting about the Aeromexico round-the-world award, compared to other similar sweet spots we’ve studied in the past, is that the rules are exceedingly simple.
There is no distance-based award chart at all; instead, any SkyTeam Go Round the World ticket will cost you either 224,000 Aeromexico miles in economy class or 352,000 Aeromexico miles in business class, no matter which airlines you fly, which destinations you visit, or how convoluted you plan your itinerary.
(Those may seem like sky-high redemption price points, but when you consider the generous 1:1.6 transfer ratio from Amex US MR, it boils down to a more reasonable 140,000 or 220,000 US MR points respectively. Then consider the fact that Amex US often puts on 25% transfer bonuses to Aeromexico, and the math works out even more in your favour.)
So what will 220,000 US MR points get you? Well, here are the rest of the rules:
As you can see, travel must take place on SkyTeam airlines, you must start and finish within the same country, and you must travel entirely in an eastbound or westbound direction (which I imagine is mostly governed by a “no-backtracking” rule among the three IATA zones, and a few data points indicate that slight backtracking to a SkyTeam hub is acceptable).
What makes this award redemption extremely attractive, though, is the fact that you can have a maximum of 15 stopovers on the ticket (with at most five per continent). That’s right, imagine the flexibility of the Aeroplan Mini-RTW in putting 16 segments on the same ticket, except you aren’t simply restricted to two or three stops – every city can be a stopover!
And furthermore, remember that you’ll pay the same price whether your SkyTeam round-the-world award has three stopovers or 15 stopovers – so it’s definitely in your best interest to maximize the amount of time you get to spend in each city and stretch the value of your 224,000 Aeromexico miles (in economy class) or 352,000 Aeromexico miles (in business class) as far as they will go.
(The rules do not make any mention of open-jaws being allowed, besides the fact that your starting and ending points may be different as long as they’re in the same country.)
There are also a few rules that are more restrictive: the entire trip must take place within one year of the ticket issuance date, and also, all flights on the itinerary must be in the same class of service, and mixed-cabin awards are not permitted.
As always, economy class awards should be relatively straightforward to find, but if you choose to book a business class ticket, you’ll need to work very hard to find availability in business class on every single segment of your journey, all while ensuring that the whole trip is completed within one year’s time.
Nevertheless, those are basically all the rules, and you’ll notice there are no restrictions on the total distance flown. That leaves us a fair bit of room to play with…
A Few Examples
Let’s take a look at a few illustrated examples to see what you can do with an Aeromexico round-the-world award. Remember that all itineraries cost 224,000 miles in economy or 352,000 miles in business – equivalent to 140,000 or 220,000 US MR points respectively.
1. A Classic RTW
Starting in Toronto, fly south to Atlanta and take a Delta One Suites flight to Paris. Stop in Paris for a few days then catch a Korean Air flight to Seoul. Continue onto Shanghai in China Eastern, followed by a China Airlines journey to Los Angeles via Taipei.
Finally, return to Vancouver on a set of Delta flights via Seattle – remember that your starting and ending points may be different, as long as they’re in the same country. (Of course, you could also just return to Toronto as well.)
Assuming you have a stopover for longer than 24 hours in every one of these cities, you’ll have used seven stopovers out of your total allotment of 15.
2. Six Continents à la Aeromexico
Fly Delta One south to São Paulo before catching an Air France flight to Paris. Then fly Kenya Airlines to Nairobi, before stopping in Saudi Arabia (they issue e-visas now!) then continuing to Istanbul and then Moscow on a mixture of Saudia and Aeroflot. Continue on to visit Japan before flying Korean Air to Sydney and taking another Delta flight to LAX. Finish the trip with a Delta flight back to Toronto.
You may choose any of these cities to stopover for an extended length, or simply to make it a layover and continue the journey. Such is the immense power of the Aeromexico round-the-world award.
3. An Oddball Airline Adventure
If you’re someone who would enjoy a round-the-world trip on some of the world’s more obscure airlines, then the Aeromexico round-the-world is right up your alley, since the SkyTeam alliance happens to have a lot of these lesser-known airlines for you to try.
Starting from Vancouver, fly to Xiamen and then Kunming on XiamenAir, followed by a hop down to Jakarta via Ho Chi Minh City on China Eastern and Vietnam Airlines. Continue to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on the award-winning Garuda Indonesia, and then connect onto a Saudia flight to Beirut, Lebanon.
Then, take Middle East Airlines to Frankfurt, and see if you can convince the Aeromexico phone agent to allow you some backtracking leeway here as you head to Bucharest and then Moscow on TAROM, the Romanian national airline. and then catch an Aeroflot flight back to New York.
After all this, your Aeromexico flights back to Vancouver – via Buenos Aires and Mexico City on Aerolíneas Argentinas and Aeromexico – should seem positively pedestrian!
Since there are no mileage/distance requirements and all awards are fixed price, the sky is the limit in terms of booking any of these awards. There’s no need to worry about how many miles you’re flying – if the route is flown by SkyTeam, you can book it (provided you’re not backtracking too much, of course).
Taxes & Fees
The taxes and fees are a major unknown here. If fuel surcharges are indeed passed on to the passenger on all segments, then a quick look on ITA Matrix tells us that the above itineraries would come with at least $500–1,000 in surcharges.
It could definitely be worthwhile to start the entire round-the-world journey from a jurisdiction that imposes regulations on fuel surcharges, like Brazil, Japan, or Hong Kong.
This may require additional positioning flights from Canada, but then again, if you have the flexibility to be booking an Aeromexico round-the-world award with 15 stopovers in the first place, that likely isn’t going to be a problem for you!
How to Search and Book
When searching for SkyTeam award space, the best airline search engines to use are going to be the websites of Delta, Air France/KLM, or Korean Air. Keep in mind that these search engines will show additional award space for their own flights (for example, searching for Delta One seats on the Delta website may give you additional space that isn’t actually bookable on Aeromexico’s side), so it’s best to cross-reference between at least two different search engines.
Delta’s website can be particularly useful as a starting point thanks to its 30-day calendar view:
In addition, ExpertFlyer’s coverage of SkyTeam airlines is very strong, showing award space on every single SkyTeam member (unlike Oneworld, where it has major gaps in terms of the airlines it covers). I’d probably recommend using ExpertFlyer if you have a subscription, and then using the individual airline websites to cross-reference.
The Aeromexico round-the-world award cannot be booked online, and must be booked over the phone with the Aeromexico call centre. Wait times may be longer than average, and many agents are not completely fluent in English, so a great deal of patience will likely be required.
If there were one type of award redemption for which your patience would be very much justified, though, a round-the-world trip with 15 stops of extended duration – particularly in business class, if you can pull it off – is probably it.
Aeromexico Club Premier offers easily the most powerful round-the-world award redemption that we’ve examined thus far, purely in terms of the 15 (fifteen!) places you get to visit as part of a single ticket. For a fixed price of 140,000 or 220,000 US MR points in economy or business, respectively (25% transfer bonuses notwithstanding), there is insane value to be unlocked in such a redemption by those of us with aspirations of extensive round-the-world travel.
On the downside, like the ANA Mileage Club round-the-world award, it’s not exactly straightforward for Canadians to earn Aeromexico miles, and you do need to be playing the US credit card game at least a little bit in order to earn the miles required.
There seem to be preciously few data points available when it comes to booking the Aeromexico round-the-world award, so if you do give it a try, be sure to share your experience with us in the comments!