This guide will help you to find the best Aeroplan prices for a flight with points and bypass all the obstacles of the program: flight scarcity and the astronomical prices caused by Revenge Travel.
After two and a half years of the pandemic, you probably have a large balance of Aeroplanpoints; it was the accumulation phase. Now you are in the research and use phase.
The basis for finding the best Aeroplan prices for a flight
First, it is important to understand the basic principle of the Aeroplan program where the price of a ticket on an Air Canada flight is dynamic and remains available until the flight is full. On the other hand, on partner carriers, the costs are fixed, but there are not always seats that can be reserved.
- easy to find availability (until the last minute)
- sometimes an exorbitant price
- availability is sometimes impossible to find (especially in groups)
- fixed cost
For example, to get to Tokyo from Montreal, the most obvious option is the direct route, but it is not always affordable in points. A one-way business class ticket with a partner costs 75,000 points, but can go up to 175,000 points with Air Canada depending on dynamic pricing!
Actually, this figure is just to give us an idea; there is no limit to the cost. Aeroplan is changing its fare structure as of September 1, but the way to find the best Aeroplan prices remains the same.
Without further ado, here’s how to get to those partner search results and get the best Aeroplan prices for a flight in points!
Best Aeroplan prices: flights with partners
1. Find the partner links
First, to find the best Aeroplan fares, you need to determine if it is possible to fly to your destination with a partner. To do this, you can use Flight Connections or Google Flights.
Personally, I prefer Flight Connections in order to better visualize the connections.
However, Google Flights is still very simple and easy to use.
For example, if you want to go to Japan from Montreal, you can see on the two previous screenshots that there is a flight between Chicago and Tokyo with All Nippon Airlines.
2. Find availability
Without a doubt, before you think about getting the best Aeroplan prices for a flight… it has to be available! ExpertFlyer is your best bet for this; you’ll search for space on the partner flight by entering your dates. To find premium availability, it’s best to remain flexible.
Then you can see in the following screenshot that there is room in economy class, business class, and first class on the All Nippon Airlines flight from Chicago to Tokyo on July 2, 2023. If you wish to leave on July 1st, you will be able to do so, but only in economy class.
Let’s repeat the procedure to find availability for the return trip. It is imperative to find space, otherwise only Air Canada dynamic flights will be displayed.
ExpertFlyer can send you automatic alerts when a seat becomes available!
3. Find the flight with Aeroplan
Finally, you must search for this flight on the Air Canada platform to recreate the desired itinerary from your preferred airport. In fact, you can simply enter Montreal as the departure city and Tokyo as the arrival city even if the partner flight is from another city.
The system will show you the possible routes and rates and bingo! We can see here that the best Aeroplan prices for a flight to Tokyo are with All Nippon Airways while the pricing with Air Canada is – as expected – dynamic!
This one-way flight in business class costs approximately 75,000 points, which is consistent with the fare structure between North America and the Pacific. So, this is in the best Aeroplan prices you can find. On the other hand, the economy class flight is less than 45,000 points when it is 50,000 points on the price chart! The combination of the fixed partner flight between ORD-NRT and the dynamic Air Canada flight between YUL-ORD generated this award.
It’s a really good strategy to target partner flights, as planning for point accumulation can be done more easily. For example, knowing that the price of the flight we want is 50,000 points or 75,000 points, we could take a single card like the American Express Platinum Card® card and go pick up all the points we need to make the flight! Membership Rewards points from this card are easily transferred to the Aeroplan program.
Putting things in perspective, the Platinum Card® covers the cost of a round trip in economy class or a one-way trip in business or first class, which more than offsets the $499 annual fee ($699 minus the American Express Annual Travel Credit) of the first year!
Instead of beating yourself up over paying a $499 annual fee for a credit card, why not instead look forward to getting a ticket to Japan for $700 ($499 + $198 tax); the annual fee is the very small cost that you incur to earn these points. We can see from the Google Flights screenshot that the same flight sells for $2,689. That is quite expensive, but $700 will still be hard to beat even with other cheaper flights!
This is just one example; American Express has some great offers this summer that could go a long way toward helping you reach your travel goals!
Best Aeroplan prices: complex itineraries and world tours
Once you have mastered the process of finding better prices with partner flights, you can tackle more complex routes.
Maximizing your valuable points starts with finding the best Aeroplan fares on airlines other than Air Canada, but we usually want to push as hard as we can to get the most value for our points.
For example, if someone is planning to visit Turkey, the Maldives, and Southeast Asia; how do you go about getting the best Aeroplan prices for that itinerary?
1. Establish the routes and their sequences
We must go with the idea of flying only with partners and using Aeroplan stops, but we must start by establishing the routes and the sequence of our itinerary.
In our example, there are three destinations in total so we need to find a flight:
- between Montreal and Istanbul (Turkey)
- between Turkey and Malé (Maldives)
- between the Maldives and South East Asia
- between South East Asia and Montreal
In fact, no! I know that these destinations are the goal, but we don’t have to go in the order we think is “logical” or “linear”. To get the best Aeroplan prices, the trip should be seen as:
- Flight # 1: Home – Aeroplan Stop – Destination
- Flight # 2: Destination – Aeroplan Stop – Home
So, we need to think about how to fit our goals into this framework:
- Flight # 1: Montreal – Istanbul (stop) – Singapore (destination)
- Flight # 2: Singapore – Malé (stop) – Montreal
Additionally, you must book two one-way tickets to take advantage of two Aeroplan stops at 5,000 points each; the advantage is that you can depart from an airport other than Singapore!
In this situation, you have no time limit in Southeast Asia and can travel the entire continent and return from any other city like Bali to enjoy the many free nights you get with the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card for example.
We then repeat the same steps as in the previous section with the Flight Connections tool to target all the possible routes, but we do it differently since we dissect the flight segments.
You will have to find all the possible partner connections between Montreal-Istanbul and so on.
Advanced technique: arbitration between zones
Now that you understand the need to set up routes and their sequences, there is an advanced technique you should know about: arbitration against Aeroplan’s fare structure.
Aeroplan has divided the world into several geographical areas (North America, Atlantic, Pacific, etc.).
And as you can see in the fare schedule for travel between North America and the Atlantic/Pacific zones, the cost in points will differ depending on the distance traveled.
For example, it could be cheaper to add a destination in the Pacific zone to make your trip to the Atlantic zone less expensive!
The best-known example is the Maldives, which we started to explain above.
By making the Montreal-Istanbul-Male trip, the cost would be:
- 70,000 points in economy class
- 100,000 points in business class
By adding a destination in the Pacific zone to the trip, you can reduce this cost. For a Montreal-Istanbul-Male-Singapore trip (including a stop in Male for a cost of 5,000 points), the cost would be:
- 65,000 points in economy class (including stops)
- 90,000 points in business class (including stops)
This could save you between 5,000 and 10,000 Aeroplan points while adding a destination to your trip!
This type of arbitration is an Aeroplan sweet spot that you can find for destinations on the border of different geographical areas.
2. Find availability
Still keeping our example in mind, you have now determined that Montreal-Istanbul can be done at the partner rate on the wings of:
- Turkish Airlines (direct flight)
- Swiss Airlines (stopover in Zurich)
- Austrian Airlines (stopover in Vienna)
- Lufthansa (stopover in Munich or Frankfurt)
Although it is more convenient to fly direct from Montreal to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines, this does not mean that there will be award availability.
On the other hand, you have several other choices, but that implies additional stopovers. But let’s look on the bright side: Aeroplan allows you to add stopovers (up to 24 hours) for free!
So you can even visit a few bonus cities on your mini-tour of the world and get the best Aeroplan prices for the trip!
You must repeat this with all segments to determine each of the airports in your path and all the flights available for your project.
3. Book with Aeroplan
Once you have found all your flights and are sure they are all available, you must call Aeroplan to proceed with the booking; fees are waived for this type of itinerary with Aeroplan stopThis feature is not yet available online (it should be available in the fall).
A tip would be to determine the exact price of your itinerary with Great Circle Map and Aeroplan fare charts before calling to book. This way you will know if the person on the phone is giving you the best Aeroplan prices or not. Unfortunately, not all agents are accustomed to making this type of reservation.
When you only have partner flights, the final cost is easy to target with distance traveled, zones crossed, and the Aeroplan 5,000 point stop. When you have a segment with Air Canada, the fare will vary according to the weight of their flights in your itinerary.
Best Aeroplan prices: flights with Air Canada
1. The right timing to get started
Some routes are only served by Air Canada. So you have no choice but to navigate with dynamic pricing.
In these cases, you’ll get the best Aeroplan prices with luck or advance notice, especially if you’re coveting a busy time of year like the holidays or spring break.
Each class of service has several fares, so when all the tickets in one price band are sold, you move on to the next more expensive band, and so on.
In fact, the “Flex” or “Latitude” Economy fare can be 4 times the price of the “Basic” Economy fare when you are sitting in similar seats side by side on the plane. That’s why prices vary so much.
2. Find the lowest prices in silver
Since points pricing is, to a large extent, correlated to cash cost, you can use Google Flights to get an idea of which days are cheaper to travel on. Don’t forget to apply your filters so that they are reflected in the calendar.
You can see here that there are several pairs of dates that show a price of $485 between Montreal and Orlando.
The best Aeroplan prices don’t always follow the cash price, but it can give you an idea even if this comparison doesn’t work every time. On the other hand, sometimes it does. If I take the dates of March 13 to 17, which is spring break in 2023 (depending on the region), we end up with a rate of 15,700 points per person to go to Disney World.
Then, it’s a good idea to be a program credit card holder to get the best Aeroplan prices. In fact, cardholders like the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card have access to a preferred rate; if you pair that with Aeroplan Elite status, you’ll get more of a discount!
Finally, considering the current welcome bonus on this card, you will receive all the points you need for a couple’s trip and a mini at Disney World!
In addition, holders of the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card cardholders can check one free bag on all flights with Air Canada!
3. Use the interactive map
Finally, if you just want to see the best Aeroplan prices for all destinations, Air Canada has an interactive search map!
To use this tool to find flights, you just have to enter your departure city without specifying a date and the map will generate the best Aeroplan prices it can find at short notice.
If you are not flexible on the dates, you can always enter them and you will see the best Aeroplan prices for your dates.
Once you have decided on a destination, a date, and a price, you can simply click on “book now”.
It’s a sure thing that after all the effort we put into the strategies to accumulate so many points, we hope to find the best Aeroplan prices for our trip.
It’s not impossible to find partner flights, but it’s definitely easier to collect points when you have a fixed cost in mind for use.
Then, when we fly with Air Canada, we at least try to have an Aeroplan credit card in our wallet in order to have the best Aeroplan prices!
How to find cheap flights with Aeroplan?
It is necessary to turn to partner carriers because the fare will be fixed unlike flights with Air Canada. However, space is limited so be sure to book early.
Is it really worth it to use Aeroplan?
Yes, because Aeroplan points are very easy to accumulate and they even allow us to have luxury at low prices.
Can I only book on Air Canada with Aeroplan points?
No, you can book on a multitude of partner airlines; often the best Aeroplan prices will be found on this side.