The restructuring of the program brought several changes, including new rules for connections and the Aeroplan 5,000-point stopover. In the last 18 months, we have seen several very positive changes in this area.
In fact, the program allows you to build very flexible itineraries and optimize the places you can visit within the same trip with layovers and stopovers.
The rules of a layover and an Aeroplan stopover
Here is a list of what is possible or impossible to do and the rules for layovers (less than 24 hours) and stopovers (more than 24 hours) at Aeroplan.
What is possible with an Aeroplan stopover:
- The pricing of award flights is based on the concept of one-way travel between 4 different zones (North America, South America, Atlantic and Pacific)
- It is possible to make several layovers (less than 24 hours). If you build your itinerary well, you can add several small escapades on the way(and make a Mini Round-The-World)!
- It is possible to make a stopover (more than 24 hours) on a one-way trip. So, if you book a one-way ticket with your Aeroplan points, you can make a stopover of more than 24 hours en route and visit an additional destination for less.
- The prize for any Aeroplan stopover is 5,000 points.
- It is possible to build routes up to 100% above the direct distance. For example, the Vancouver – Sydney – Bangkok route (69% over the direct distance between Vancouver and Bangkok).
- There is no limit to the number of airlines on the same ticket.
What is impossible with an Aeroplan stopover:
- It is not possible to make a stopover on a North American flight reward and layovers are limited to 24 hours
- Layovers on a ticket where the departure and destination are within North America are limited to 4 hours unless otherwise authorized (i.e. Canada to U.S. or vice versa)
- There is a maximum of 6 segments allocated on a one-way trip.
- It is impossible to have an open segment on a connection or an Aeroplan stopover with a one-way ticket (for example, the Montreal-London and then Paris-Istanbul itinerary cannot be priced with the Aeroplan stopover, it will be two independent one-way segments).
- For an itinerary where the origin and destination are in the same zone, the Aeroplan stopover must also be in that zone (e.g., you cannot book a North American fare with a stopover in Paris on Montreal-Paris-New York, because Montreal and New York are in the same zone).
- It is not possible to go back on your itinerary.
- Stopovers may not last more than 45 days.
The fact that pricing is done on one-way segments, the number of opportunities explodes! Indeed, you now have the possibility to choose how you are going to get to your destination and thus, where you want to make your Aeroplan stopover.
For example, here are the results of a search for a flight to Lisbon from Montreal.
How to optimize the pricing of a route with an Aeroplan stopover?
First, if your itinerary includes a segment with Air Canada, you will be subject to partially dynamic pricing. On the partner side, there are no surprises.
However, finding availability on all flights can be problematic on partner flights, especially if you are planning to travel in business class. It will be necessary to take it in advance and at the right time.
To book an Aeroplan itinerary with a stopover, you can do so online as of September 1, 2022. Read the process here.
To begin, you need to determine the two locations you are targeting with the help of the Aeroplan stopover option. In addition, you can add several stopovers of less than 24 hours on this itinerary.
The Flight Connections website allows you to view connections from any airport and you can filter the results to show only Star Alliance flights.
For example, to get to the Maldives you could take the following route with partners (for a fixed price):
The total distance traveled will be 8,540 miles and the fare schedule used will be as follows (North America to Atlantic):
Therefore, the cost will be 70,000 Aeroplan points in economy class or 100,000 Aeroplan points in business class. Then you have the opportunity to make an Aeroplan stopover for an additional 5,000 points in Vienna or Abu Dhabi.
In addition, you can arrange your flights, according to the available schedules, to benefit from a layover of up to 24 hours in the other city for free.
The importance of the different zones
If we take the previous example for a trip where the destination is the Maldives, your fare will be calculated according to the North America – Atlantic chart.
Since the distance travelled is more than 8,000 miles, you are in the most expensive point bracket, i.e. 70,000 points in economy class and 100,000 points in business class.
However, if you add a segment between Male and Singapore, the latter becomes your destination.
Sure, you’re extending the distance travelled to 10,653 miles, but the destination of your new route falls in the Pacific zone. Therefore, to book this route, you will need fewer points!
Using an Aeroplan stopover in Male for your vacation, you will pay 65,000 points (60,000 + 5,000) in economy class and 90,000 points (85,000 + 5,000) in business class.
Obviously, if the purpose of the Aeroplan stopover was to go to Europe and the Maldives, changing your destination to Singapore will not help. So, it’s up to you to see if the 10,000-point difference is significant or not.
The importance of distance
Indeed, when building your trip, going through one city versus another can quickly change your cost. So, if your itinerary exceeds a price bracket by a minimal amount, try substituting the location of your Aeroplan stopover or destination!
Sweetspots from an Aeroplan stopover
The following examples are shown without flights on partner airlines to simplify pricing. Depending on fluctuations, it is also possible to find cheaper award tickets with Air Canada!
A trip to Morocco and Portugal
These two countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean are located in the lower bracket of the North American-Atlantic chart.
|Segment # 1||Montreal-Lisbon-Casablanca||35,000 points||Lisbon (+5,000 points)|
|Segment # 2||Marrakesh-Lisbon-Montreal||35,000 points||–|
|Total cost of the route||75,000 points|
A trip around the world
This kind of itinerary can bring back feelings of nostalgia for the program’s veterans. Indeed, there was a time when community members could see the Mini Round-The-World they had unearthed!
It is still possible with the new rules! With an Aeroplan stopover on each outbound and return segments, and 24-hour layovers here and there… you’ve built a round-the-world itinerary!
|Segment # 1||Montreal-New York-Los Angeles-Sydney-Singapore-Male||70,000 points||Sydney (+5,000 points)|
|Segment # 2||Malé-Istanbul-Vienna-Zurich-Montreal||70,000 points||Istanbul (+5,000 points)|
|Total cost of the route||150,000 points|
24-hour connections can be made in Singapore, Vienna and Zurich on this itinerary.
A trip to Japan and South Korea
With Aeroplan stops, a trip encompassing these three regional cities plus South Korea is possible, and at your own pace!
|Segment # 1||Tokyo-Fukuoka-Seoul||8,000 points||Fukuoka (+5,000 points)|
|Segment # 2||Seoul -Osaka-Tokyo||8,000 points||Osaka (+5,000 points)|
|Total cost of the route||26,000 points|
Indeed, you could make an Aeroplan stopover in Fukuoka and Osaka; discovering southern Japan and the Kansai region deserves much more than a few days in my opinion.
Moreover, since your destination is the beautiful South Korea, there is no time limit to visiting this country!
These same flights would have cut $600 off your budget compared to 26,000 Aeroplan points. A simple credit card like the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card could give you enough points for two tickets!
This is a great way to save on expensive transportation in Japan.
A trip on two continents in the same area
Then, we buy a separate ticket with Aeroplan stopover pricing for our regional flights.
|Segment # 1||Zurich-Rome-Cairo||12,500 points||Rome (+5,000 points)|
|Segment # 2||Cairo-Athens-Barcelona||12,500 points||Athens (+5,000 points)|
|Total cost of the route||35,000 points|
So for 35,000 Aeroplan points, you can visit 5 different destinations on two continents! In fact, since Aeroplan stopovers can be spread over 45 days, you could make a very big trip:
To replicate an equivalent flight ticket, the four segments total a cost of $920. Although flights are not very expensive in Europe, there are no low-cost flights on all routes.
However, the same route can be achieved with 35,000 points. These are valued at approximately $700 (2¢ per point).
A trip to South America at a fixed price
Finally, one of the best uses of Aeroplan is for flights within South America, as all flights are priced at a flat rate of 15,000 points in economy class. So the price remains the same, regardless of the distance travelled.
The most important airports to build your itinerary are those served by Avianca and its subsidiaries.
|Segment||Baltra -Guayaquil-Bogota-Rio de Janeiro||15,000 points||Bogota (+5,000 points)|
|Total cost of the route||20,000 points|
How to earn Aeroplan points quickly?
Then, to earn a large number of Aeroplan points on a daily basis, the American Express Cobalt® Card is unquestionably unmatched in this regard.
The opportunity to make an Aeroplan stopover for only 5,000 points allows you to optimize itineraries to visit multiple locations for a small premium.
The possibilities are enormous when you add layovers and maximize the number of segments allowed.
What are the stopover routes you have managed to build? Come and share them with us in the Facebook community!