Air Canada’s spun off Aeroplan program used to be one of my favorite frequent flyer programs. They’re transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, and back in the day had the lowest redemption rates, most generous routing rules, great stopover policies, and didn’t impose fuel surcharges for travel on partner airlines.
For 120,000 miles you could fly first class from the US to Asia via Europe, with two stopovers enroute and no fuel surcharges.
Then they substantially raised award costs and added fuel surcharges to partner airline redemptions overnight. So while they don’t impose fuel surcharges on all partner airlines, they do impose them on most.
One of the partner airlines on which Aeroplan does ordinarily impose fuel surcharges is Asiana, though for whatever reason they’re not imposing these surcharges for the time being. It seems to be a temporary glitch.
Asiana A380 First Suite (with horrible CGI)
Aeorplan’s redemption rates to Asia aren’t nearly as lucrative as they used to be — nowadays they charge 105,000 miles for one-way first class travel between Los Angeles and Seoul Incheon on the Asiana A380:
Anyway, fuel surcharges vary by markets, so for Los Angeles to Seoul Incehon they’d usually be ~$150 one-way.
This isn’t a reason to go out of your way to book Asiana first class. At the same time, United substantially raised their MileagePlus award redemption rates earlier in the year, so it’s not comparatively as bad of a value as it used to be.
The best way to book Asiana first class continues to be through Avianca’s LifeMiles program, as they have reasonable redemption rates and don’t impose fuel surcharges. Between the US and North Asia one-way they charge 62,500 miles in business class and 75,000 miles in first class.
So file this under “things that are good to know but that shouldn’t necessarily cause you to take action.” Though I also wouldn’t expect this to last…
(Tip of the hat to Canadian Kilometers)