Air Canada announced how its new Aeroplan program works. We have covered the main topics in these posts:
Now that you start to know the new Aeroplan rules, let’s take an in-depth look at the program.
So, over the next few weeks, we’ll see:
- New Aeroplan sweet spots by travel zone
- Flight rewards to book before November 8
- New Ways to Travel around the world with Aeroplan
Let’s start with our series on Aeroplan’s new sweet spots.
Finding Aeroplan's New Sweet Spots
A word on the old sweet spot: the m-RTW
A sweet spot is a bargain you can get in a rewards program, compared to the cash fare. Usually, it is by playing with the established rules that you can find these good deals.
In the past, a great Aeroplan sweet spot was the so-called Mini Round-The-World (m-RTW). We were able to make a round-the-world journey, stopping at three different locations for only 150,000 Aeroplan Miles in business class.
We think, for example, of this type of itinerary that I have personally done several times:
In September 2019, Aeroplan removed the possibility of adding a 3rd stop, which reduced the interest of the m-RTW, without eliminating it.
And it is clear that in the new program, it will often cost more to make a m-RTW. So it’s not an Aeroplan sweet spot anymore. If you’re interested in that topic, Ricky from Prince of Travel has made a very detailed post about it. I will also do one soon on the subject.
How to find an Aeroplan sweet spot?
The new Aeroplan program is based on:
- travel zones
- distance you travel
Then, Aeroplan subdivided each travel zone with a distance criterion in miles: the more you fly, the more you pay.
Distance thresholds in miles are different depending on:
- each travel zone (Atlantic, Pacific, etc.)
- travel between each zone (Atlantic to Pacific, North America to South America, etc.)
And the cost in points will be different depending on a flight with Air Canada or one of its partners.
The new flight rewards chart
To be able to find sweet spots, you have to master the new Aeroplan flight rewards chart that we have analyzed here.
The sweet spots will generally be found:
- by discovering destinations at the farthest point of each travel zone (i.e.: Montreal – Nassau in the 501-1500 North America Travel Zone which will cost between 10,000 and 15,000 points on Air Canada without surcharge )
- by determining flight combinations that don’t exceed a travel distance limit, even by adding a stop (i.e.: Fukuoka – Seoul – Shanghai in the 0-1000 Pacific Travel Zone which will cost 13 000 points, stop included)
Great Circle Mapper
Great Circle Mapper (GCMAP) is a powerful tool for calculating distances between airports.
You will need to know the airport code for this, such as:
- Montreal = YUL
- Quebec = YQB
- Toronto = YYZ
- Paris = CDG
To calculate the distance between two airports, simply indicate the two airport codes separated by a hyphen :
To calculate the distance between several airports, just indicate all the airport codes separated by a hyphen :
And if you want to add a stop, you will have to insert a comma between your routes:
You can then play with advanced functions such as adding a radius, different colours to your itineraries, etc.
Air Canada's destinations
Finally, the Air Canada flight map shows you flights operated by Air Canada and its partners, which is ideal for knowing the exact distances from your departure hub.
You can set up this map to display:
- Flights from an airport
- Flights between two destinations
All you can include flights with connections as well as partner flights such as Swiss, Lufthansa, etc.
Then, at the bottom of the screen, you will find the list of flights, and you can sort it by distance. You will be able to identify any sweet spots located at the threshold distance limit within the chart.
For example the Montreal – Nassau flight (501-1500 threshold in the North America travel zone).