One of the best features of the Aeroplan loyalty program is the ability to book stopovers for an additional 5,000 Aeroplan points.
In taking advantage of Aeroplan stopovers, you’ll be able to add more destinations to your journey and turn one trip into multiple trips for a modest extra cost.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Aeroplan’s stopover feature.
Summary of Aeroplan’s Stopover Rules
Since the launch of the new Aeroplan program in November 2020, there have been a few ongoing changes to the stopover policy. The below information represents the current state of affairs for Aeroplan stopovers.
Stopovers cost 5,000 points
You’re allowed to add a stopover at an intermediate point on a one-way bound for an extra 5,000 Aeroplan points per passenger.
On a round-trip booking, which is essentially just two one-way bounds, you’re allowed two stopovers (one in each direction) for a total of 10,000 Aeroplan points per person.
Stopovers can’t be in Canada or the United States
Stopovers are permitted everywhere other than in Canada or the United States. Booking a stopover within Canada or the United States will result in two one-way bounds, so you’re better off just booking two one-ways to begin with.
Stopovers elsewhere in North America, such as in Mexico, Central America, or the Caribbean, are allowed.
Stopovers can be up to 45 days
Stopovers are limited to 45 days in duration. This means that for any stops between 24 hours and 45 days in length, you’ll only be charged an extra 5,000 points per person.
Any stopovers that exceed 45 days in length will be treated as a separate booking, and will be priced accordingly.
A connection must be over 24 hours in duration to count as a stopover. Connections of under 24 hours in duration are treated as layovers instead, and are not subject to an extra points surcharge.
Stopovers can be booked online
If you’d like to book a stopover on an Aeroplan redemption, you use the Aeroplan search engine to construct your itinerary.
You’ll only be able to book itineraries with up to four flights per direction of travel online, as this is currently the maximum amount the search engine can handle.
For example, you can book Vancouver–Istanbul–Abu Dhabi–Malé (stopover)–Singapore (four flights) online, but you can’t book Vancouver–Montreal–Istanbul–Abu Dhabi–Malé (stopover)–Singapore (five flights) online.
On the main Air Canada website, select “Multi-city/Stopover (BETA)” and select “Book with points”. Then, click “Add a stopover for Flight 1”, and a new search field will appear.
You’ll then need to put in your origin, destination, stopover city, travel dates, and length of stopover.
For example, if you’d like to fly from Chicago to Rome with a stopover in Zurich for eight days, you’d enter Chicago as your origin, Rome as your destination, and Zurich as the stopover city.
The search results will display multiple options for each flight along your journey. If you know the flights you’d like, you can use the filters to reduce the number of options you see.
Once you’ve found the flights you’d like, the extra 5,000 points for the stopover is already included in the price. For example, flights from Chicago to Rome via Zurich price out at 70,000 points in business class, plus 5,000 points for the stopover, for a total of 75,000 points.
Examples of Booking Aeroplan Stopovers
To better understand how to maximize Aeroplan stopovers, let’s take a look at a few sample routings.
Stopover on a one-way
Let’s consider a routing Boston–Istanbul–Jakarta. If you didn’t want to stop in Istanbul for more than 24 hours, this would price out at 87,500 Aeroplan points as per the North America–Pacific award chart.
If you wanted to add a stopover of over 24 hours and less than 45 days in Istanbul, the cost would increase by 5,000 points, paying a total of 92,500 Aeroplan points for the entire journey.
For example, if you load up your cities in the search engine, along with your stopover length and departure date, you’ll see the results price out with the stopover included.
The itinerary prices out as we had expected, and you can proceed to book it by simply clicking through.
Two stopovers on a round-trip
Suppose that you’d like to visit Tokyo and Bangkok on a winter holiday next year. You’re flexible with routings, and consider flying via the Middle East on your outbound flight and across the Pacific on your return.
Although your origin is Toronto, you’d like to spend a few days in Chicago at the beginning of the trip, but decide to book that separately.
For your outbound flight, you hop on Etihad Airways from Chicago to Abu Dhabi, flying for 13 hours in its lovely business class. After staying in the UAE for a week or so, you then proceed onwards to Bangkok, again onboard Etihad Airways.
Booked separately, these flights would cost 145,000 Aeroplan points in business class. When booked as a one-way with a stopover, however, the cost drops down to only 92,500 points: 87,500 for the flights and 5,000 for a stopover.
Similarly, on the way back, you could fly from Bangkok to Tokyo aboard Thai Airways First Class, add a stopover for up to 45 days, and then continue back to Toronto via Chicago, but this time in ANA First Class on a Boeing 777.
Booking these flights as two one-ways would cost 155,000 Aeroplan points, while booking them as a one-way with a stopover drops the cost to 135,000 points.
In total, your round-the-world routing would cost 227,500 Aeroplan points.
Further applications of adding stopovers are almost endless. Indeed, stopovers can be a great way to plan a short visit to a new city or country that you’d consider visiting in the future, giving you a taste of a new part of the world en route to your final destination.
Logistics of Booking Aeroplan Stopovers
Once you have an idea of where you’d like to go, you’ll then go through the process of making the booking.
The best way to approach booking stopovers is to do all of the planning in advance, and then go ahead with actually booking the stopover.
Start by looking for award space on flights that you’d like to take. Make sure to calculate the distances using Great Circle Mapper, to ensure that you aren’t crossing into a farther distance band and unnecessarily spending more points.
When you find flights that work, note down the dates and the flight numbers, and begin the process of making the booking. You’ll also want to calculate the number of days required for your stopover, as this is the least intuitive part of the search.
Play around with the filters on the search results page to find the specific flights you’d like. Your hard work will have paid off when you find the perfect itinerary at the price point you’re looking for.
Once it’s all booked, you’ll be able to select your seats on all segments of the journey, and then begin looking forward to actually flying on it.
Is the Aeroplan Stopover a Good Deal?
Across airline loyalty programs, it’s fairly rare for stopovers to be permitted on a one-way booking. Other programs, such as British Airways Avios, simply cumulatively add up the distance and charge you accordingly.
A few other programs, like Alaska Mileage Plan, do allow you to add a stopover on a one-way flight for no additional charge, which is more favourable than Aeroplan’s “stopover fee” of 5,000 points.
However, it’s worth noting that Aeroplan’s flexible routing policy allows travellers to cover a lot of ground en route to their destination. This is what makes it possible to stop in Europe on the way to Asia, or stop in the Middle East on the way to Australia, all while mix-and-matching Aeroplan’s 45+ partner airlines.
Indeed, Aeroplan’s constantly expanding network of partners adds more clout to an already strong program. As we’ve seen, carriers such as Oman Air, Virgin Australia, Etihad Airways, and Vistara, amongst others, add to the extensive Star Alliance global network accessible through Aeroplan points.
Compare this to other airline programs with stopover features: Alaska Mileage Plan only lets you book one partner airline along with Alaska Airlines themselves, which limits the overall usefulness of the feature even if it’s available at no additional charge.
Aeroplan’s stopover rules permit travellers to squeeze in an extended stay on a one-way trip to most places in the world for only 5,000 extra points.
Personally, I’ve used stopovers on many Aeroplan bookings ever since the feature was first launched. I appreciate how I can visit multiple countries on one trip, without being unduly penalized for it by having to book separate itineraries.
Being able to book stopovers online gives Aeroplan members more power to construct their ideal itineraries without picking up the phone. The last step in the search engine’s rollout is the ability to create fully customized itineraries, which we’ll hopefully see at some point in the near future.