Classes tarifaires featured

Air Canada’s different fare options: how to choose?

To the point Are you hesitating when it comes to choosing between the different fares available? Here are the elements to consider, using Air Canada as a reference.

Note: You can also use this guide to help make your choices with other airlines.

It is often said that on the same flight there is almost as much variety of prices paid as there are seats on the plane.

Indeed, the price of a place is influenced by several factors, among others:

  • How long before the flight was the reservation made?
  • Is it a one-way or a round-trip?
  • Is this flight part of a larger journey or not?
  • Is the ticket paid in cash or points?
  • Who issued the ticket?

In addition, there is the fare that you must choose when you make your reservation, which can cost from one to five times more for the same seat, depending on the options.

In this guide, you will find the information you need to make the right decision for your situation.

The different parameters of fare options

Whether you use your Aeroplan points or pay with cash, you have several options. The options vary on several characteristics:

  • Before the flight: for example, cancellation and modification policies
  • During the flight: for example, checked baggage and seat selections .
  • After the flight: for example, the number of Aeroplan points earned .
Utilisation de points Aéroplan
Utilisation de points Aéroplan
En argent
En argent

Cancellation and modification policies

For most travelers, this is the most important criterion.

Between an option that allows you to cancel or change your ticket without charge and one that does not allow any changes, there is a significant margin.

Depending on the fare class, changes or cancellations can be :

  • free of charge,
  • with costs,
  • or simply not be possible.

Find out how much the fees cost

The calculation is quite complex, it will vary depending on the type of ticket, the destination (Canada, United States, International, sun destination), the carrier (Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge), the number of segments in the trip, the time before the flight, the mix of fare classes, etc.

  • Option 1: Consult the price list

For award tickets, the information available on the Aeroplan website gives a good idea.

Frais modification et annulation Aéroplan
Frais modification et annulation Aéroplan

For cash tickets, information is available on the Air Canada website, however there are many options.

Frais modification et annulation argent
Frais modification et annulation argent
  • Option 2: Make a simulation

The easiest way is to do a simulation on the Air Canada website.

To do this, simply select a fare.

Choix du la classe tarifaire
Choix du la classe tarifaire

Then go to the summary page and click on the fare option.

lien vers l'information
lien vers l'information

Consult the cancellation and modification policies.

exemple des frais
exemple des frais

Please note: if it is a round trip ticket and the fare class is not the same on the outbound and return trips, the least expensive fare class will apply.

How to make the right choice?

The first question to ask is obviously “Do we need this flexibility?”

Unforeseen events can occur and prevent us from traveling; we think of the death of a family member, an illness, a disaster.

Many of these conditions may already be covered by your group insurance or credit card.

Please note: credit card travel cancellation insurance is not insurance if you change your mind. The conditions are very strict and cover only unforeseen events.

The next question is about the risk premium. If there is a possibility that the trip may not go ahead or you are thinking of cancelling or changing the dates, how much are you willing to pay?

From this point on, you must calculate the additional premium you will have to pay to cover this risk.

Example of a Montreal-Paris round trip with an Aeroplan Award ticket:

Economy fare Round trip price Change fees Cancellation fees
Standard 80 000 $100 $150
Flex 100 000 $0 $75
Latitude 140 000 $0 $0

This will give between different options :

Price difference Round trip price Difference in change fees Difference in cancellation fees
Flex / Standard 20 000 ($100) ($75)
Latitude/ Flex 40 000 $0 ($75)

Since according to our evaluation, 20,000 Aeroplan points are worth approximately $400, in this example we can ask ourselves the following question:

Am I paying 20,000 Aeroplan (± $400) to maybe save $100 in case of a change or $75 in case of a cancellation?

Example of a Montreal-Paris round trip in cash:

Obviously, the same issues will arise in the cash fare, especially since some fares offer no cancellation or change options.

Fees Round trip price Change fees Cancellation fees
Basic $1,200 $1,200 $1,200
Standard $1,300 $150 $1,300
Flex $1,900 $0 $300
Latitude $3,700 $0 $0

So the price differences :

Price difference Round trip price Difference in change fees Difference in cancellation fees
Standard / Basic $100 ($1,050) $100
Flex / Standard $600 ($150) ($1,000)
Latitude/ Flex $1,800 $0 ($300)

Selections of seats and checked baggage

The fees charged for checked luggage can quickly add to the cost of your trip.

For flights to Canada, the United States and the South, we are talking about an additional $30 per one-way trip to put a first bag in the hold.

For international flights, if the fare option selected does not include checked baggage, the cost is $70 one way ($140 round trip).

Travelling with children

For seat pre-selection, please note that if the reservation includes a child under the age of 14, Air Canada will automatically assign generic seats prior to check-in at no additional charge.

You may also bring one stroller per child in addition to your baggage allowance.

All details on the Air Canada website.

Taking advantage of your credit card

Some of these fees may be covered by your credit card

  • Many credit cards offer an annual credit that can be used to reimburse these fees.

Taking advantage of your Aeroplan status

Some Aeroplan status holders may also be eligible for benefits such as seat selection or additional checked baggage allowance.

Avantages statut Élite

How do you identify the benefits you already have?

On the Aeroplan website, you can find the benefits that apply to your profile in the “Privileges” section of your profile.

Découvrez vos privilèges

For example, if you have an eligible Aeroplan credit card linked to your account, the “First Checked Bag Free” information will automatically be shown and taken into account when you book.

Aeroplan Points, Qualifying Miles, eUpgrades

In general, these criteria only tip the scales for advanced users who already have Aeroplan status or want to keep it.

Aeroplan Points and Qualifying Miles

Depending on the fare option you select, you may earn more or less Aeroplan points or Status Qualifying Miles (SQM). These are crucial when it comes to obtaining or renewing your Elite status.

Critères de qualification au statut Aéroplan Élite

Another way to earn Elite 25k status is to earn 100,000 eligible Aeroplan Points(EDQ) in a year.

In this case, the number of Aeroplan points earned on a trip will accelerate the process of obtaining or maintaining status.

Application of eUpgrades

The choice of fare option is critical when applying eUpgrades to your reservation.

In fact, the possibility of requesting an upgrade, the number of eUpgrades, the additional amount requested as well as the period of application will change depending on the fare class.

Application de e-surclassement
Application de e-surclassement

A latitude economy fare, for example, allows the upgrade to be applied at the time of booking, whereas a standard economy fare will not apply until a few days before the flight.

eSurclassement - période
eSurclassement - période

Bottom Line

We hope this short guide will help you make informed decisions when choosing between the different fares available to you.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Frédéric likes to play with numbers and is a specialist in rewards programs. As a family man, he uses his points to travel better and save money!

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