How Do You Find Good Award Deals With Aeroplan?

How Do You Find Good Award Deals With Aeroplan?

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I often write about the value of Air Canada Aeroplan, as it’s probably my single favorite frequent flyer program. Not only does Aeroplan have more airline partners than any other airline loyalty program, but Aeroplan also allows stopovers on awards for just 5,000 points, which is an exceptional deal (given how few loyalty programs allow stopovers nowadays).

However, at times maximizing Aeroplan points isn’t easy, so I wanted to address that a bit in this post.

A reader’s question about the value of Aeroplan points

Reader Ryan sent me a question regarding redeeming Aeroplan points. Let me share part of the email:

I’m really struggling to find these great value Aeroplan reward tickets that you constantly mention and wonder if it’s easy to tell me what I’m doing wrong. I think flying out of Canada is my first mistake — it seems to trigger massive inflation of point use especially on Air Canada. That’s no problem because accessing the US is easy enough.

But even trying to fly something as simple at New York to Tokyo never seems to bring up an airline I actually want to fly (like Etihad) and focuses more on ones I don’t (like Air India).

Is there some sort of basic strategy I should be using that I’m not aware of? How far out should I be planning and looking into using these?

This is a totally valid perspective, so let’s discuss that in more detail — how do you actually get the most value redeeming Aeroplan points?

How do you get the best value with Aeroplan points?

Aeroplan points are best redeemed on partner airlines

Readers in Canada often express frustration with Aeroplan based on the award redemptions rates on Air Canada. Air Canada releases very little saver award space for its own flights. When that’s not available, Aeroplan offers last seat availability on Air Canada with dynamic award pricing. However, as you’d expect, it will cost you dearly, as is the case with so many airlines.

If you just look at Air Canada flights from Toronto to London or Paris, it’s not unusual to see Aeroplan charging 300K-400K points one-way in business class, which isn’t exactly a great use of points.

Aeroplan redemption rates on Air Canada

Don’t get me wrong, there are situations where Aeroplan redemption rates on Air Canada are quite good, though I find that to be the exception rather than the norm. Rather where I see the value with Aeroplan is for partner redemptions.

How do you find good partner redemption deals, though?

I totally understand Ryan’s frustration, so let’s talk a bit more about how you can actually maximize the value of your Aeroplan points. To state the obvious, my favorite use of Aeroplan points is redeeming them on partner airlines, for travel in first and business class.

Aeroplan lets you redeem points on 45+ airlines, which is an incredible number of partners to have access to. The catch is that finding availability can be challenging. In addition to the general tips I’ve shared for redeeming points, let’s talk specifically about Aeroplan.

Yeah, award availability isn’t great right now

Let me acknowledge what I consider to be the biggest issue with redeeming Aeroplan points (or any points, for that matter) right now — for the past year or so, award availability has just been terrible. In summer I wrote about how award availability was completely non-existent, and I wrote about how the same was largely true in fall.

The fact is that it’s a very strange time for airlines — travel demand has been through the roof, people have all kinds of deferred trips, airlines have been adjusting their schedules, and capacity isn’t back to where it was pre-pandemic.

So broadly speaking, award options right now just aren’t great. Now, Aeroplan arguably still leaves you in the best position for this, given the sheer number of partners that the program has.

My hope is that the world starts to normalize and we again see more award availability, but the situation just hasn’t been ideal.

Award availability leaves a lot to be desired right now

Be strategic about how you search award availability

I find that Aeroplan has a great award search tool, though the catch is that you can only search day-by-day. You can’t look at availability for a week or month at a time with one click, and as a result finding availability can take some effort, and a lot of clicking.

My general approach is to always search segment by segment, and go from there. The beauty of Aeroplan is that you can do a stopover for just 5,000 extra points, so that’s a way to have fun when award availability is lacking somewhat.

For example, if you wanted to fly from Chicago to Tokyo on Etihad Airways, you could start by first searching award availability from Chicago to Abu Dhabi.

Aeroplan award availability on Etihad

Once you found that availability, you could start looking at the next date with award availability from Abu Dhabi to Tokyo. If you discover that it’s several days later, you could always do a stopover in Abu Dhabi, if you wanted to. I find that this is generally going to get you much better options than just searching Chicago to Tokyo, and hoping that Etihad availability shows up.

Aeroplan award availability on Etihad

The point is, think strategically about the airlines you want to fly, and then search specific routes where there might be availability. Then build an itinerary once you find the individual flights that work for you.

Know which partners to search availability for

Award availability on All Nippon Airways is pretty awful right now, plain and simple. Demand for travel to Japan is through the roof now that borders have finally reopened, and the airline wasn’t particularly generous with award availability to begin with. That’s not to say you won’t find any availability, but it does take considerable effort.

Aeroplan award availability on ANA

In general, you’ll find good award availability through some of Aeroplan’s unique airline partners, like Air Mauritius, Bamboo Airways, Etihad, Gulf Air, Oman Air, etc. Those are airlines you won’t find availability with through most other programs, and as a result there’s not as much competition for those seats.

Nowadays last minute is the time to book

In the past I would have said that you’re best off booking either very last minute or very far in advance. However, lately award availability far in advance is abysmal. I’m seeing very little space on most Star Alliance airlines 10+ months out. That’s not to say that it’s never available, but it’s not easy to find. So if you have the flexibility to wait and plan closer to departure, you should have more options.

More broadly speaking, though, I’m hoping we see a shift whereby things start to normalize, and award availability doesn’t remain this bad. These just haven’t been normal times, and that’s true across airlines. I can tell you that even for the travel I plan for myself (and I’m pretty good at searching award availability), it takes a lot more effort and clicking than it used to.

An example of what I might recommend booking

Ryan mentioned he was looking to travel to Japan sometime next year, so I started by searching availability for next September. Let me just share some options I came up with based on searching for a few minutes.

Without knowing for how long Ryan wants to travel, he did mention wanting to travel on Etihad, and on September 7 there’s a business class itinerary all the way through from Chicago to Abu Dhabi to Tokyo, which would allow him to fly both the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.

Aeroplan award availability on Etihad

Like I said, I don’t know how long he’d like to stay, but if you want a simple return, you could do ANA business class from Tokyo to Seattle for just 55,000 points.

Aeroplan award availability on ANA

Want a slightly more adventurous return? You could fly EVA Air’s amazing business class from various points in Japan to Toronto via Taipei, and you could even add a stopover in Taiwan, if you’d like.

Aeroplan award availability on EVA Air

Want to have even more fun than that? How about adding Thailand into the itinerary, and then returning from there via Istanbul, and enjoying a stopover in Istanbul? You could fly Turkish Airlines the entire way, or you could even add Gulf Air into the itinerary.

Aeroplan award availability on Turkish Airlines

Those are just a few examples based on a few minutes of searching, but I’m sure with some effort, it’s easy enough to come up with something that suits a particular desire (after all, some people want to fly as directly possible, while others enjoy a circuitous routing).

Bottom line

There’s no denying that redeeming any points currency right now can be challenging, at least for those of us looking to maximize our rewards with long haul premium travel. Aeroplan offers a lot of value, though maximizing Aeroplan points also takes some effort.

Hopefully award availability starts to get better again soon, and this at least provides some inspiration for how Aeroplan points can be redeemed.

What has your experience been lately with redeeming miles for saver partner awards?

Conversations (53)
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  1. azamaraal Guest

    I still think that the smart people at AC check where you are searching from the search is done and restrict Canadians from accessing anything reasonable. Solution would be a VPN and select the US or? Just check the options offered for Air Canada Credit Cards in the US and compare to the mainstream AC cards in Canada.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ azamaraal -- Hah, I can promise that's not the case. Aeroplan isn't blocking partner awards for those in Canada. And yes, US credit cards are more rewarding than Canadian credit cards, but that comes down to the US being a much more lucrative credit card market, so that's not Aeroplan specific.

  2. TheGrimCorsair Guest

    Longtime Aeroplan User here - The only way to book premium flights now at the ‘old’ prices like 60k to Europe or 75k to Asia, is to be very flexible, book within the last month or so, and check Aeroplan several times per day. They will release the ‘normal’ pricing once in a while, but only for a half-day or less, and randomly it seems. I checked every day all day for weeks until I...

    Longtime Aeroplan User here - The only way to book premium flights now at the ‘old’ prices like 60k to Europe or 75k to Asia, is to be very flexible, book within the last month or so, and check Aeroplan several times per day. They will release the ‘normal’ pricing once in a while, but only for a half-day or less, and randomly it seems. I checked every day all day for weeks until I found J seats to Tokyo for my trip last month. Take what you can find early like PE and then keep checking so you can make changes closer in. I booked pe non-stop yyz-Nrt for 100k and then changed to J for only 72k flying thru Yvr with Ana. The return leg was only 67k for j with Ana again thru yvr. And always have a backup plan to pay cash for some segments or use other FF plans on multi-itineraries. D’ONT fall for the 200-400k pricing, it’s criminal. AC premium is still out there but takes lots of effort over weeks to find when it briefly pops up.

  3. A.Shah Guest

    I am a senior and have been saving points for over 15 years, hoping that one day I could fulfil my dream to fly business class from Toronto to an Asian country. I had nearly reached that point two years, only to see that Aeroplan has increased their points to redeem for the business class. Once again, it's out of reach. The mixed class routes are very unfair, when you are redeeming business class points....

    I am a senior and have been saving points for over 15 years, hoping that one day I could fulfil my dream to fly business class from Toronto to an Asian country. I had nearly reached that point two years, only to see that Aeroplan has increased their points to redeem for the business class. Once again, it's out of reach. The mixed class routes are very unfair, when you are redeeming business class points. I want to travel on Star Alliance flights, business class all the way, to Singapore or Bangkok but cannot find them on the aeroplan site. Can someone please advise me.

    1. Peter Guest

      Good availability for YYZ-X-BKK through AUH or ADD next October for 87.5k/115k, respectively

  4. Fred Guest

    I didn't get which webpage you search through. Please clarify! Thanks!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Fred -- The screenshots are from aircanada.com.

  5. Wasiq Guest

    You should also write in your blog that ALOT of times it’s bogus availability specially on etihad. When you are finally ready to pay error returns, etihad has been stingy in releasing award seats on most routes. Secondly i will give you $100 bill if you find me one seat in Oman air on any of their routes like London, bangkok, frankfurt and Paris. Lastly, i don’t lnow why you are obsessed so much about...

    You should also write in your blog that ALOT of times it’s bogus availability specially on etihad. When you are finally ready to pay error returns, etihad has been stingy in releasing award seats on most routes. Secondly i will give you $100 bill if you find me one seat in Oman air on any of their routes like London, bangkok, frankfurt and Paris. Lastly, i don’t lnow why you are obsessed so much about aeroplan that
    Last time you posted about bogus availability of Singapore Business class long haul via aeroplan and none of the seats were bookable. Kindly have something solid before you post

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Wasiq -- Oman Air availability has been pulled briefly due to a technical glitch, and should be back shortly. As far as Singapore Airlines availability goes, that should also be back shortly.

    2. ODB Guest

      how shortly? it's been a couple weeks now.

  6. Ivan X Guest

    Agreed that it’s hard to find saver level business class tickets with Aeroplan or anyone else, and near impossible if far in advance. Pay with points prices are often superior if getting 1.5 cents per point with Chase Sapphire Reserve or 1.54 cents per point with Amex Business Platinum. Award ticket prices on many airlines are hovering around 1 cent per point, or worse.

    The effort required to find Business Saver right now is almost...

    Agreed that it’s hard to find saver level business class tickets with Aeroplan or anyone else, and near impossible if far in advance. Pay with points prices are often superior if getting 1.5 cents per point with Chase Sapphire Reserve or 1.54 cents per point with Amex Business Platinum. Award ticket prices on many airlines are hovering around 1 cent per point, or worse.

    The effort required to find Business Saver right now is almost not worth it; they’re out there, but kind of unicorns, and if you don’t have a lot of schedule flexibility, forget it. I have also tried tools like point.me but the results have been disappointing. I am just trying to accept the “lower-price” Standard awards as the new saver (e.g. 60K for UA transcon vs 100K or 120k, 155K for UA intl vs 255K or 275K) but that doesn’t help at all when trying to find partner tickets.

    So I just open as many cards as I can and prepare to blow a lot of points and miles.

    I am hardly an expert in this domain but over the next decade I expect a total revamping of the partner system for award tickets: the notion of “saver” vs “standard” feels like a legacy, outdated concept for carriers as they march towards chartless, dynamic pricing.

  7. Paul B Guest

    I am hoping to find two premium economy seats for 100,000 miles per ticket or less from Amsterdam to SFO on Air Canada next October. Would anyone care to venture a guess as to whether my expectations are realistic????

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Paul B -- If you put some effort into it, you should be able to get business class seats for less than that. Good luck! :-)

    2. Peter Guest

      AMS-LIS-SFO on TP for 90k points on Oct 2, 9, 16, 17
      AMS-YYZ-SFO on AC for 92k points on Oct 5, 16, 23, 26

  8. Steve Guest

    Fairly pleased with being to transfer CSR to Aeroplan, especially in November with the 30% bonus. Found a workable GF itinerary in J. That said, about a week before, there was extensive WY availability, including in F. It seems to be gone now. Re: SQ, there was some SQ J availability, but almost every itinerary, the long-haul SQ was in Y (hence 'mixed cabin'). I think Aeroplan has some potential and I'll continue to consider it.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Steve -- Both Oman Air and Singapore Airlines awards should be back shortly, these are technical glitches that Aeroplan is working on resolving.

  9. glenn t Diamond

    I can relate to the comment about 2nd (or 3rd) tier airlines, like Air India, popping up regularly padding out various itineraries. Thanks but no thanks!
    Also irritating is finding the perfect routing on Etihad Business, or even 1st, and finding there is a 9 or 14 hour layover in AUH.
    The identical flight with perfect layover time (less than 2 hrs) is available there only in Economy. grr.....
    In common with...

    I can relate to the comment about 2nd (or 3rd) tier airlines, like Air India, popping up regularly padding out various itineraries. Thanks but no thanks!
    Also irritating is finding the perfect routing on Etihad Business, or even 1st, and finding there is a 9 or 14 hour layover in AUH.
    The identical flight with perfect layover time (less than 2 hrs) is available there only in Economy. grr.....
    In common with other FF programs (lookin' at you AlaskaMP) Aeroplan is a big fan of offering heaps of Mixed Cabin awards.
    Who is going to fork out a full serve of Business Class miles for an award "6% in Business Class" ? Not me, that's for sure!
    Other than that I like Aeroplan, and especially like paying for miles in $CAD rather than inflated $US.

  10. Ravi S Guest

    Is it taboo to talk about tools? I paid for 3 tools recently, and wish I had one that simply showed the month and the availability for that month.
    It's quite infuriating to have to go day by day from either yow YUL or yyz.
    One of tools searches all MR transfer partners and Aeroplan, it will search dozens of reward partners but I only have these two. Clearly they can search daily.....

    Is it taboo to talk about tools? I paid for 3 tools recently, and wish I had one that simply showed the month and the availability for that month.
    It's quite infuriating to have to go day by day from either yow YUL or yyz.
    One of tools searches all MR transfer partners and Aeroplan, it will search dozens of reward partners but I only have these two. Clearly they can search daily.. They should just say.. I'll search the month but it's a 5-10 min query. Fine I'd freaking pay and wait for results.
    Save those results and run 3 searches. Leaving and arriving various cities.. Suddenly you're looking at a dash board of options.
    Add in layovers..
    Blam
    Given there's dozens of points booking services. I bet there's tools that do this.

  11. Hans Guest

    For some of you who’ve been on here for a long time, is it true that Ben used Aeroplan heavily for award redemption in the past?

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      In the past, not to the same degree as now. At least not until AA and others went to and price-based awards charts/fares. His fave was AA and AS. Then this dried up. Avianca has always been a good choice, too. But for most *A awards, that wasn’t until fairly recently - last few years.

      The above said, he didn’t ignore AC and Aeroplan at all, it just wasn’t quite the topic of discourse it...

      In the past, not to the same degree as now. At least not until AA and others went to and price-based awards charts/fares. His fave was AA and AS. Then this dried up. Avianca has always been a good choice, too. But for most *A awards, that wasn’t until fairly recently - last few years.

      The above said, he didn’t ignore AC and Aeroplan at all, it just wasn’t quite the topic of discourse it is today because they were so many other options of similar or better value. AC gets a lot of press now because, like Ben says, it’s probably the best awards redemption airline out there more.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Hans -- Depends how far back you want to go. Going back a decade, Aeroplan was also my favorite program in the world. Aeroplan allowed round the world first class awards for 120K points with two stopovers, in addition to the destination. I can't count the number of awards I booked through Aeroplan at the time. As you'll see, that was first on my list of awesome redemptions from the "good old days."
      https://onemileatatime.com/insights/good-old-days-redeeming-miles/

  12. Sean M. Diamond

    Aeroplan is borderline dishonest, advertising Oman Air and Ethiopian as partners when neither has had award availability through Aeroplan for a while now.

    1. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

      Last 20 days I booked Etihad ORD-AUH-JNB in J for a safari next August. 110K Aeroplan points per person. I understand this sounds a little high, but chase was also doing a 30% transfer bonus at the time so the actual cost was 85k URP + $61.00 CAD…. That’s a great deal in my book. Again this was the middle of last month. I’ve used Aeroplan a number of times for good to great redemptions. I even speculatively transferred additional URP for the next redemption.

    2. Sean M. Diamond

      That's great.

      However, Etihad is neither Oman Air nor Ethiopian.

    3. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

      Excuse my responce, as I had miss-read Ethiopain.

      I've booked Oman in the past with Aeroplan (about 6 months ago), for how long have these two partners not come up in the search results? You would think Ethiopain would be easy enough to list...

    4. Sean M. Diamond

      Ethiopian has been unavailable for the majority of 2022. It comes back for a few days and disappears again.

      Oman Air comes and goes from time to time. I too was able to book them in June, but when I wanted to make a change in August, the links were down again and I had to stick with my original flights. Seems like it is off again right now.

      I saw similar issues with South...

      Ethiopian has been unavailable for the majority of 2022. It comes back for a few days and disappears again.

      Oman Air comes and goes from time to time. I too was able to book them in June, but when I wanted to make a change in August, the links were down again and I had to stick with my original flights. Seems like it is off again right now.

      I saw similar issues with South African Airways in July - availability visible to other Star Alliance partners was not showing up on Aeroplan, but that got resolved and seems to be ok now.

      They probably have these issues with other partners too - it is just that these are the ones I check often and hence the ones I notice.

    5. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sean M. -- I totally get your frustration, though I think some perspective here is also important. Unlike some other programs, Aeroplan puts effort into making sure there's as little phantom availability as possible. When there's a partner with lots of phantom availability or ticketing issues, Aeroplan pulls that space, and tries to resolve it with the partner (and as you might expect, not all partners are equally fast at getting things fixed).

      Aeroplan...

      @ Sean M. -- I totally get your frustration, though I think some perspective here is also important. Unlike some other programs, Aeroplan puts effort into making sure there's as little phantom availability as possible. When there's a partner with lots of phantom availability or ticketing issues, Aeroplan pulls that space, and tries to resolve it with the partner (and as you might expect, not all partners are equally fast at getting things fixed).

      Aeroplan is having technical issues with Oman Air, and those redemptions should be back soon. It's my understanding that it's an easy fix, but it just takes a second, given that Oman Air has to be involved.

      Meanwhile with Ethiopian Airlines, several Amadeus-hosted Star Alliance carriers have pulled this availability. It's my understanding that this is because Ethiopian has been showing I9X9 on every flight, the airline accepts the booking, and then after ticketing it comes back as unconfirmed.

      While I know Aeroplan and other Star Alliance partners are working on resolving this, this obviously presents a major issue, and until that's fixed, space has been pulled. Like I said, Aeroplan isn't the only Star Alliance program to pull space for this reason, and the hold-up here is with Ethiopian Airlines getting this fixed.

    6. Sean M. Diamond

      Easily solved with an AVS recap, and easily worked around with manual long sales. Sorry, but that is excuses rather than reasons.

      It also surprises me that it only affects some Amadeus hosted carriers but not others (eg. LifeMiles) given that Sabre-Amadeus have a standard AVS link across partitions. Unless some are using Type B messaging or API links, this should not happen in isolation - which leads me to believe the issue may...

      Easily solved with an AVS recap, and easily worked around with manual long sales. Sorry, but that is excuses rather than reasons.

      It also surprises me that it only affects some Amadeus hosted carriers but not others (eg. LifeMiles) given that Sabre-Amadeus have a standard AVS link across partitions. Unless some are using Type B messaging or API links, this should not happen in isolation - which leads me to believe the issue may be on the Amadeus end rather than Sabre.

    7. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Sean M. -- Good news, Ethiopian Airlines awards are back with Aeroplan!

  13. Andrew Guest

    Searching segment by segment only gets you so far... When I've tried booking it, agents often tell me they can't add that flight on. I've encountered that issue with LH, SQ, and SK. I know others who have that problem with BR, lots of married segment and unmarried segment logic going on in the background...

    1. L Lau Guest

      Yeah, married segments are problematic. EY is bad for this. I'm still not convinced Aeroplan is a good program

  14. Todd Guest

    Great post!!! Thank you!!

  15. Rob Guest

    @Lucky Oman Air flights have been removed from Aeroplan.

    1. PJTO Guest

      This might explain why their participation in Aeroplan was so short lived:
      https://onemileatatime.com/news/oman-air-oneworld/

      Ben: I suggest you drop mention of them when discussing Aeroplan rewards, They have in practice already exited!

    2. Wasiq Guest

      Correct so are the J in SQ

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Rob -- This is a technical glitch, and they should be back soon. This has nothing to do with Oman Air potentially joining oneworld.

  16. Omar Guest

    Etihad has been playing games with married segment logic even with stopovers. I found F on iAd-Auh but any additional flights only showed in economy even with a stopover. Calling didn’t help either and they even checked with ticketing. Etihad is throttling availability if you are seeking a stopover.

    1. Andrew Guest

      Strange… I was able to book iad to Auh in F then do a 2 night stopover and continue into Seoul in business class all on one ticket. It was also for 2 people.

  17. Anthony Diamond

    The mismatch here is that the average consumer will think "Hey! I hear Air Canada has a great program - let's see what they have to and from Canada!" and it turns out getting to Canada on Air Canada metal is the worst way to redeem the miles. I provided the example of getting to Vancouver for ski season, with flights costing 150K to 200K each way to go from JFK to YVR in J....

    The mismatch here is that the average consumer will think "Hey! I hear Air Canada has a great program - let's see what they have to and from Canada!" and it turns out getting to Canada on Air Canada metal is the worst way to redeem the miles. I provided the example of getting to Vancouver for ski season, with flights costing 150K to 200K each way to go from JFK to YVR in J.

    I guess this begs the question - which airlines consistently have the most availability and decent pricing on their own metal? Forget about partners.

    1. Nick Guest

      Whilst the fees are trash, can't fault BA for their approach. Opening up 4 seats in every single flight for booking with avios means there's hope for everyone...

    2. Jacob Guest

      Yes, the fees on BA are horrible. Flying from the West Coast to Europe, I just pay cash now (when they have discounted fares) and use Avios to fly everywhere else except to Europe. I even have a companion pass and didn't think that the value I got for the points + fees was worth it.

    3. digital_notmad Gold

      I think that has to be Flying Blue.

  18. DenB Diamond

    I agree it's delightful to find those rare partner itineraries and they offer great value. But this "How To" piece doesn't actually show how, cuz it's nearly impossible right now. For Canadians (the main market for Aeroplan) the new Aeroplan has effectively wiped out value for nearly all premium travel. Business Class fares (in points) are sky high on Air Canada metal, offset by eUps only for those with elite status. So if you want...

    I agree it's delightful to find those rare partner itineraries and they offer great value. But this "How To" piece doesn't actually show how, cuz it's nearly impossible right now. For Canadians (the main market for Aeroplan) the new Aeroplan has effectively wiped out value for nearly all premium travel. Business Class fares (in points) are sky high on Air Canada metal, offset by eUps only for those with elite status. So if you want to bring aunt Blabby to Toronto (or Houston, via Toronto) from Budapest, she'll be flying economy. Oneway nonstops on heavy routes like London (Ben's example) or California have quintupled in price in Business class and only AC status passengers can pay less. The search engine pushes travellers through Canadian gateways, raising prices even on US-originating overseas trips. LA to Bangkok? Connect in YVR and pay hundreds of thousands for the trip. So, when you encounter enthusiasm for Aeroplan 2.0, it's from people who have AC Status and use eUpgrades. Partner bookings? So rare they're not a thing right now. Beware the snake oil salesman promising "more choice" or "every seat availble on points". It's lots of lipstick on an apocalyptic deval.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Exactly. A more accurate title might have been “It is possible to find awards on Aeroplan. Look, I found some!"

    2. Bobo Bolinski Guest

      DenB is 100% Spot-on!

      This post is a perfect example of the dirty little lies that dishonest bloggers tell. Don't believe the lies.

      Aeroplan is great! Yeah, sure...you can find one seat to some obscure destination but only if you live the life of a blogger: you have to wait to do trip planning until 2 days before the flight, stitch together some crazy routing that works, then you drop everything in your life, grab...

      DenB is 100% Spot-on!

      This post is a perfect example of the dirty little lies that dishonest bloggers tell. Don't believe the lies.

      Aeroplan is great! Yeah, sure...you can find one seat to some obscure destination but only if you live the life of a blogger: you have to wait to do trip planning until 2 days before the flight, stitch together some crazy routing that works, then you drop everything in your life, grab your toothbrush, and head off on Ubangi Airways for a trip to Rangoon, with a 3-day stopover in Kabul. No worries, you don't have a job, a mortgage to pay or a family. It's a great value!!!

      But bloggers have bills to pay, and they need your clicks to pay them. Suckers...

  19. Shmulik Guest

    Hi ban
    Im a big fan of the blog
    Thanks for your effort.
    I have a wird question.
    I leve in Israel and my eyes os on the
    Availability for next aug
    between Israel and Europe
    With turkish airlines .
    For the last 2 months is so fantastic Availability and pricing.
    (20k on business )
    It's has for various of destinations
    Like gva,zrh,lys ext..

    Hi ban
    Im a big fan of the blog
    Thanks for your effort.
    I have a wird question.
    I leve in Israel and my eyes os on the
    Availability for next aug
    between Israel and Europe
    With turkish airlines .
    For the last 2 months is so fantastic Availability and pricing.
    (20k on business )
    It's has for various of destinations
    Like gva,zrh,lys ext..
    And then last week I tried to see egain
    But turkish is dropped from all flight Availability in July/Aug. From tlv
    I want to ask you if it's normal
    And If you believe thy will return to the table.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Shmulik -- Thanks for reading! Turkish Airlines can be really quirky with award availability, and it's not unusual to see the airline sometimes release a lot of space, and then at other times not release much space. So I'm not surprised to see Turkish going from one extreme to the other. I'd recommend keeping an eye on availability, and I wouldn't be surprised if it opens again.

  20. Euro Member

    Just did this for several trips I am managing. Part of me is thinking people are in the "planning and switching around itins" for their trips next year.

    I'm not sure if the "book out of major international gateways with no domestic connecting itin" rule applies to Canada, but for my Europe trip, I just focused on itins to/from Toronto and to a smaller extent, Montreal for Canada and east-coast cities in the US. Also...

    Just did this for several trips I am managing. Part of me is thinking people are in the "planning and switching around itins" for their trips next year.

    I'm not sure if the "book out of major international gateways with no domestic connecting itin" rule applies to Canada, but for my Europe trip, I just focused on itins to/from Toronto and to a smaller extent, Montreal for Canada and east-coast cities in the US. Also focusing on lesser-known routes with lower demand or non-Star Alliance hubs. The Swiss route JFK-GVA. TAP Portugal's route MIA-LIS and maybe even the EWR-OPO route (less than expected availability when I checked). United's route BOS-LHR. That and looking at trends based on direction of travel. Europe-to-North America routes have from what I have seen, better award availability than North America-to-Europe.

    Also in general, supply and demand. Award availability on the most desirable airlines to fly gets taken the soonest it is released into the wild. You see an acceptable but not ideal itin, you book it to grab it, then you keep looking for itins that are more to your liking. I waited on booking for the trips I am managing and missed out on a lot of award availability on EVA in J and TAP's A330neo in J. Just my two cents. Also, Aeroplan's phone lines were swamped when I called in to change my itin. Just keep calling even if the message says "sorry we are closed, please call back between [hours]" and you are calling back in that timeframe.

  21. ann Guest

    What about redeeming on all this extra SQ availability? ;)

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ ann -- Hah, hopefully soon enough...

    2. Robert R Member

      @Lucky Oman Air flights have been removed from Aeroplan.

    3. skimegheath Gold

      I am SQ PPS and there is very little availability. I tried to book the newly released SIN to MEL (where I now live) and could not get anything. Could see things in J though.

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DenB Diamond

I agree it's delightful to find those rare partner itineraries and they offer great value. But this "How To" piece doesn't actually show how, cuz it's nearly impossible right now. For Canadians (the main market for Aeroplan) the new Aeroplan has effectively wiped out value for nearly all premium travel. Business Class fares (in points) are sky high on Air Canada metal, offset by eUps only for those with elite status. So if you want to bring aunt Blabby to Toronto (or Houston, via Toronto) from Budapest, she'll be flying economy. Oneway nonstops on heavy routes like London (Ben's example) or California have quintupled in price in Business class and only AC status passengers can pay less. The search engine pushes travellers through Canadian gateways, raising prices even on US-originating overseas trips. LA to Bangkok? Connect in YVR and pay hundreds of thousands for the trip. So, when you encounter enthusiasm for Aeroplan 2.0, it's from people who have AC Status and use eUpgrades. Partner bookings? So rare they're not a thing right now. Beware the snake oil salesman promising "more choice" or "every seat availble on points". It's lots of lipstick on an apocalyptic deval.

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glenn t Diamond

I can relate to the comment about 2nd (or 3rd) tier airlines, like Air India, popping up regularly padding out various itineraries. Thanks but no thanks! Also irritating is finding the perfect routing on Etihad Business, or even 1st, and finding there is a 9 or 14 hour layover in AUH. The identical flight with perfect layover time (less than 2 hrs) is available there only in Economy. grr..... In common with other FF programs (lookin' at you AlaskaMP) Aeroplan is a big fan of offering heaps of Mixed Cabin awards. Who is going to fork out a full serve of Business Class miles for an award "6% in Business Class" ? Not me, that's for sure! Other than that I like Aeroplan, and especially like paying for miles in $CAD rather than inflated $US.

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Sean M. -- I totally get your frustration, though I think some perspective here is also important. Unlike some other programs, Aeroplan puts effort into making sure there's as little phantom availability as possible. When there's a partner with lots of phantom availability or ticketing issues, Aeroplan pulls that space, and tries to resolve it with the partner (and as you might expect, not all partners are equally fast at getting things fixed). Aeroplan is having technical issues with Oman Air, and those redemptions should be back soon. It's my understanding that it's an easy fix, but it just takes a second, given that Oman Air has to be involved. Meanwhile with Ethiopian Airlines, several Amadeus-hosted Star Alliance carriers have pulled this availability. It's my understanding that this is because Ethiopian has been showing I9X9 on every flight, the airline accepts the booking, and then after ticketing it comes back as unconfirmed. While I know Aeroplan and other Star Alliance partners are working on resolving this, this obviously presents a major issue, and until that's fixed, space has been pulled. Like I said, Aeroplan isn't the only Star Alliance program to pull space for this reason, and the hold-up here is with Ethiopian Airlines getting this fixed.

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