How Aeroplan’s Award Stopover Feature Works

How Aeroplan’s Award Stopover Feature Works

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Air Canada Aeroplan is probably my single favorite frequent flyer program. There’s a lot to love about the program, including the number of airline partners that Aeroplan has. In this post I wanted to specifically talk about Aeroplan’s award stopover policy, which is one of the most generous in the industry.

Aeroplan allows award stopovers for 5,000 points

Nowadays there aren’t many frequent flyer programs that allow stopovers on award tickets. That’s one of the things that I love about Aeroplan — when you book an Air Canada Aeroplan award ticket, you can add a stopover to a one-way award for just 5,000 points (and since all Aeroplan awards price as one-ways, you could also do a stopover in the other direction for the same price).

There are a few restrictions to be aware of when it comes to Aeroplan stopovers:

  • Stopovers can be for up to 45 days in duration; if you have a layover of under 24 hours, that’s not considered a stopover
  • Stopovers aren’t allowed in the United States or Canada, regardless of the destination
  • You can’t transit the same city twice on a one-way award (in other words, you couldn’t fly New York to Frankfurt to Hamburg, have a stopover, and then fly from Hamburg to Frankfurt to Dubai)
  • Awards with stopovers must be booked by phone, though the phone booking fee should be waived for these kinds of awards; as of later in 2022, it’s expected that Aeroplan will start allowing stopovers to be booked online
Aeroplan allows stopovers for 5,000 points

Why Aeroplan’s award stopover policy is awesome

Before we get into the logistics of this, let’s talk briefly about why this policy is so awesome. Sometimes you might be taking an international trip where you hope to visit more than one destination. Ordinarily if you wanted a stopover, you might have to book two separate one-way tickets. Being able to instead redeem just 5,000 additional points for that stopover is an amazing deal.

This policy can come in handy in all kinds of scenarios. Just to give a few examples:

  • You could redeem for Etihad business class from New York to Abu Dhabi to Bangkok, with a stopover in Abu Dhabi for 5,000 additional points
  • You could redeem for Lufthansa first class from Miami to Frankfurt to Johannesburg, with a stopover in Frankfurt for 5,000 additional points
  • You could fly Turkish business class from Los Angeles to Istanbul to Bishkek, with a stopover in Istanbul for 5,000 additional points
  • You could redeem for Gulf Air business class from London to Bahrain to Male, with a stopover in Bahrain for 5,000 additional points
  • You could redeem for Air Mauritius business class from Paris to Mauritius to Johannesburg, with a stopover in Mauritius for 5,000 additional points

Just to give an example of the mileage savings here, let’s use the Lufthansa first class from Miami to Frankfurt to Johannesburg example:

  • A Miami to Frankfurt to Johannesburg first class award costs 130,000 points, and then you’d pay an extra 5,000 points for the stopover
  • If you were to book this separately, you’d pay 100,000 points for the Miami to Frankfurt flight in first class, and then you’d pay an extra 90,000 points for the Frankfurt to Johannesburg flight in first class
  • So you’d save 55,000 points compared to booking those flights separately
Aeroplan’s stopover policy can save you lots of points

How Aeroplan’s award stopover policy works in practice

Understandably there are probably some questions about logistics here. Where exactly can you plan a stopover, and what are the limits to Aeroplan’s routing rules? Let me try to break it down as simply as possible.

First it’s important to understand Aeroplan’s general rules with award pricing and routing rules:

  • For the purposes of award pricing, Aeroplan breaks up the world into four regions — North America, Atlantic, Pacific, and South America
  • For travel within and between regions, there are distance-based award charts; that means there are a total of 10 award charts (four for travel within regions, and six for travel between regions)
  • Aeroplan has pretty liberal routing rules, and you are allowed to travel via third regions (like North America to Pacific via Atlantic), though you can’t backtrack (technically)
  • Ultimately the computer decides what is and isn’t allowed, so if an award doesn’t price, it’s typically not because the Aeroplan agent is making a mistake
Aeroplan’s four award regions

I’d say the “no backtracking” policy isn’t quite as extreme as it may sound. You’ll have no issues flying from New York to London via Frankfurt. You will, however, have issues flying from New York to London via Tokyo (obviously). Essentially if you’re not getting greedy you shouldn’t have too many issues with Aeroplan’s backtracking policy.

So what’s the best process for trying to book an Aeroplan award with a stopover?

  • First you’ll want to find flights that have award availability, and you can do this directly on aircanada.com, or via your preferred award search tool; if you want a stopover, you’ll have to search each portion separately
  • To figure out how many points will be needed, determine the distance of your routing via gcmap.com, and then consult Aeroplan’s award chart
  • Once you’ve determined the cost of the award and availability, phone up Aeroplan’s call center; Aeroplan’s call center times can be brutal, so I’d recommend calling the minute that the call center opens, if possible (I can’t wait until these awards can be booked by phone)

By the way, there’s one other potential strategy. What I usually do if I want a stopover is to book the main part of the award on Aeroplan’s website. Then within 24 hours I call to add the other segments, and then the award can easily be repriced (just make sure it’s within 24 hours, to avoid fees). I find this to be more efficient, since you don’t have to give traveler details, etc.

Fly Turkish Airlines and add a stopover in Istanbul for 5,000 points

Aeroplan has great partners, and points are easy to earn

When I mention Aeroplan, a lot of people might be thinking “well I don’t fly Air Canada a lot.” That’s totally fair, because neither do I. But that’s the beauty of Aeroplan.

For one, Aeroplan points are really easy to earn. Aeroplan is 1:1 transfer partners with Amex Membership RewardsCapital One, and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Transfers from all of these partners are generally instant, which matters because often there might be award availability but then you find that a transfer takes multiple days, which can quickly ruin your plans.

On top of that, there’s the new Aeroplan® Credit Card (review) in the United States, which offers a great bonus and some unique perks. Lastly, Aeroplan often sells points at a reasonable cost.

The other thing that’s awesome about Aeroplan is how many airline partners the program has. Aeroplan has more airline partners than any other airline loyalty program in the world. Not only does Aeroplan give you access to all Star Alliance airlines, but Aeroplan also has non-Star Alliance partners, including Air MauritiusAir SerbiaAzulEtihadGulf AirOman AirVistara, and more. Best of all, the list of partners continues to grow.

Aeroplan has unique airline partners, like Oman Air

Bottom line

Air Canada’s Aeroplan program has one of the most useful stopover policies of any frequent flyer program. For just 5,000 points one-way you can add a stopover, with very few restrictions. This can really come in handy, especially if you’re planning a long haul premium cabin award.

This feature should get even better a bit later in 2022, when these awards become bookable online.

Have you ever used Aeroplan’s stopover feature? If so, what was your experience like?

Conversations (25)
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  1. Sam Guest

    Aeroplan's biggest value to me: EY availability search to book with AA miles. AA's site won't show lots of available EY routes. Found DOH-AUH-SEZ on Aeroplan yesterday for 45k. Called AA & booked for 30k.

  2. Peter Guest

    Lucky, how long was your wait times on the phone to speak with an agent to complete the stopover reservation? Any tips for calling hours/locations etc.,?

  3. Marco Guest

    Aeroplan works great as long as you get the flights you want at 85K. Which is one reason you have to book it when you see it online. Example 85K in J on BR (SIN-TPE-YYZ) which was available until mid Jan. Now it's all mixed cabins with just one at 85K with routing on NH,UA,AC (SIN-NRT-EWR-YYZ). And the mixed cabins are with the longer flights in Y. The options with mixed cabins have 70% of...

    Aeroplan works great as long as you get the flights you want at 85K. Which is one reason you have to book it when you see it online. Example 85K in J on BR (SIN-TPE-YYZ) which was available until mid Jan. Now it's all mixed cabins with just one at 85K with routing on NH,UA,AC (SIN-NRT-EWR-YYZ). And the mixed cabins are with the longer flights in Y. The options with mixed cabins have 70% of the route in Y. Yes options exist in J but they go to 150K and above.

    It's great you love Aeroplan but please be more honest in your review here, as others too have pointed out. Just helps keep things real.

    1. DenB Diamond

      Those BR seats will appear in the last 2 weeks. Set alerts on Expertflyer for 5 calendar days and you'll get what you want.

    2. Marco Guest

      Thanks DenB. Is that the last two weeks in March? I didn't specify a travel date so I guess you meant this month :) However, what do you think of the SIN-NRT-EWR-YYZ option. United Polaris sounds tempting :). Fingers crossed with UA it's the 7773ER or what is currently showing as the 787-10

    3. Marco Guest

      Have to be an early worm as from experience from constantly browsing for fun you'd see seats and then gone. And now when it's actually time to book, nothing available. Yes I guess one has to constantly check.

      Some flights that have the 85K option show now 4% avialability in J and others at full J show between 180K to 330K.(SIN-NRT-YUL-YYZ) Nice!!! As well once the promotion ends the seats somehow appear again. Will wait.

    4. David Diamond

      @Marco He means last 2 weeks before departure date, as BR releases many J seats close in.

  4. Cedric Guest

    Not sure how this is an improvement over the old policy of two stop overs for free. Such a massive downgrade.

    1. DenB Diamond

      Agreed. All bloggers, vloggers, "influencers" are total fanboys of New Aeroplan. Even the Canadian ones, who should know better. They puff up its new features and downplay the few negatives they acknowledge. I've yet to see a published piece seriously criticize the apocalyptic price increases on Award bookings in Business class on AC metal. Wanna go Toronto to Los Angeles or London or Tokyo? Price gone up 200-500%. Ben is not alone in his wild...

      Agreed. All bloggers, vloggers, "influencers" are total fanboys of New Aeroplan. Even the Canadian ones, who should know better. They puff up its new features and downplay the few negatives they acknowledge. I've yet to see a published piece seriously criticize the apocalyptic price increases on Award bookings in Business class on AC metal. Wanna go Toronto to Los Angeles or London or Tokyo? Price gone up 200-500%. Ben is not alone in his wild enthusiasm and in overlooking the disastrous price increases in premium awards on AC. Aeroplan put something in the boys' KoolAid and for a year they've been saying "Yum!"

      But fair enough; Ben said it just above. He's American, writing primarily for Americans, who aren't captive to AC metal, which is where the brutal devaluations are. Just once, though, I'd like to see a piece that properly calls out AC for 200,000-point Business Class fares on 7-hour nonstops that cost 25,000 pre-deval.

      New Aeroplan works well for economy travellers, for foreigners who can avoid AC metal, and for Air Canada elites. Mere points collectors are sitting in the back on AC-operated flights.

    2. AA70 Member

      So am I part of the lucky few who was able to book AC FRA-YYZ-ORD for 70k in business?

    3. DenB Diamond

      Yes that's very rare. Before the deval, AC would wait, as all carriers do, before releasing more seats. But the price was always the same. Now, after those two initial cheap premium seats are gobbled up by early worms like you, it's Game Over. Aeroplan users have "last seat availability". Search your flight daily from now to flight date. Look at the price of a Business Seat. You got the last affordable seat.

    4. David Diamond

      I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about. It has always been that AC would release the cheaper awards (which they still do), and the "dynamic" (read: expensive) ones which are priced based on cash price. The tickets you see as expensive would simply not even appear in a search in the old Aeroplan program, unless you were to click the tab that shows the expensive dynamic tickets.

      @Cedric
      Because having the flexibility to...

      I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about. It has always been that AC would release the cheaper awards (which they still do), and the "dynamic" (read: expensive) ones which are priced based on cash price. The tickets you see as expensive would simply not even appear in a search in the old Aeroplan program, unless you were to click the tab that shows the expensive dynamic tickets.

      @Cedric
      Because having the flexibility to book 1 way with a stopover is huge? For example, BR only used to release awards far out or close in. If you're close in, good luck trying to book a roundtrip on them if you're, for example, YYZ departure as they used to only release 5 days before departure. Now you can book the departure 1 way with a stopover, and come back either with Aeroplan again, or use another program like Alaska for even more award inventory, airlines, cities and flexibility. It might not be valuable to you, but it is absolutely not a massive downgrade for a sizeable number of travellers.

  5. Azamaraal Diamond

    The problem with Aeroplan is basically you cannot find or book partner awards online so you are going to pay for the call to the agent. There is also a partner booking cost of $39. (Just finished booking an award with Avianca and AC).

    Do you think that if you can book a stopover on-line that they will then not charge a partner award fee?

    1. DenB Diamond

      A more practical way of thinking about it: all worthwhile Aeroplan award bookings will cost some points and some money. Look at the total and decide whether it's acceptable value. It's much easier to stomach if you don't get hung up on the detail.

  6. Randy Gold

    Can you have overlapping one way ticket time period. People used to do this on CO flights with the third segment used several months later. This of course is only 45 day to minimize that.

    Say you\fly A to B to C (with 45 days stopover) one way.
    And you start a C to B to A (45 day stopover) one way, during the stopover time of the outbound one way.

  7. TranceXplant Member

    Not directly related, but pertinent for those of us considering Aeroplan's current 100% bonus offer: does Singapore Airlines ever release partner award space for transpacific routes? I can never seem to find any, which reduces the appeal (to me) of this program.

    1. Azamaraal Diamond

      Supposedly only economy but I have heard last minute Business might occasionally be available.

    2. TranceXplant Member

      Thanks for the reply. Short notice would work for me, since that tends to be my booking pattern.

  8. Brodie Member

    Great thread. I was just looking at this program due to the amount of partners available and appreciate all the insight.

  9. Peter Guest

    MIA-FRA-JNB on Lufthansa 1st would be 195k ANA miles Round Trip with one total stopover and hefty surcharges versus 270k Aeroplan miles with two total stopovers and no carrier surcharges.

  10. Bob Guest

    Online booking was coming "later in 2020" then it was "later on 2021".

    See the pattern?

    Also it's not as clear cut. A lot of the routings its "computer says no" and its beyond frustrating.

    You also cant combine partners with AC flights without the pricing getting out of whack.

    And dont forget cancel fees are $150 per person, per direction.

    You obviously havent attempted this IRL.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Bob -- I have used this in real life, including for the trip report I'm currently publishing. Yes this isn't great when combining Air Canada with other partners, because Air Canada doesn't release much saver level award space. But that's also of limited use to most of my readers, who would be looking at the value of this in terms of partner awards (which is why all my examples include partner award travel).

  11. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    The Oman Air partnership is wonderful; especially factoring in stopovers.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Cedric Guest

Not sure how this is an improvement over the old policy of two stop overs for free. Such a massive downgrade.

1
Azamaraal Diamond

Supposedly only economy but I have heard last minute Business might occasionally be available.

1
Marco Guest

Thanks David.

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