Good Value in the Aeroplan Award Chart – “Sweet Spots”

I often fault Aeroplan for being a very weak program because they have high fuel surcharges on certain airlines, fairly high award chart redemption prices, and semi-restrictive routing policies (but then every award program has it’s own quirks).

But I think it’s worth mentioning a few redemptions where I believe the Aeroplan redemption costs are equal if not lower to the other programs. Aeroplan also allows 2 stopovers in addition to your destinations when you call in and book your itinerary, which means surprisingly Aeroplan is a better value for these redemptions than other redemption. You can think about them as the “sweet-spots” if you want to too.

Remember, Aeroplan is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, so in some cases this may be the best option for using those miles if you want to redeem to certain places.

This is the first post in a series that I will be posting this week and I hope you’ll take the time and mentally note in your brain so you don’t spend more points the necessary for your next redemptions! You can access Aeroplan’s award chart here.

1. Hawaii to “Southern” South America

With Aeroplan, Southern South America is

8.11AC

This is actually cheaper than using other types of miles to this region (Southern South America):

(Economy/Business)

Aeroplan: 60,000/80,000

United: 60,000/100,000

American: 60,000/100,000

US Airways: 60,000/100,000

Delta: 70,000/120,000

Avios (as priced per segment): 60,000+/120,000+

This is an extremely good value because Aeroplan allows 2 stopovers or 1 stopover + 1 openjaw in addition to your destination, meaning that you can put in a stop in your home city in North America. So that means you actually a get a free one-way from Hawaii!

What I mean by that is your itinerary is going to be Hawaii-North America(stop)-South America(destination)-North America(open jaw) which means in addition to your core North America-South America trip, you also get the extra Hawaii-North America trip for the same mileage price.

Aeroplan validates routings based on MPM (maximum miles permitted) and/or published routings. This is the maximum permitted mileage for Hawaii to São Paulo:

8.11MP

You can access this with ExpertFlyer subscription, but with Aeroplan you want to pay attention to the 5M column, which is 5% over the maximum permitted mileage. With Aeroplan you can fly an itinerary that is under this length award space permitting and it should be bookable.

The 5M number is 10,962 miles, which means any itinerary which is under that should be permissible.

For example here is an itinerary that should be valid:Sample itineraries (given award space available):

HNL-YVR-IAH-GRU(destination)-ORD-YYZ(open jaw) (on UA = no fuel surcharges)

Sample 1

Sample 1

Note the highlighted red box which is 9,578 miles. This is lower than the 5M number (10,962) which makes the flight path valid.

Here are some other possible routings to other destinations (award space permitting):

HNL-YVR(stop)-IAH-EZE(destination)-SCL-YYZ-YVR(stop)-HNL (*AC fuel surcharges!* :P)

HNL-SFO(stop)-IAD-GIG/(openjaw+destination)-IAH-HNL

You can clearly see that Aeroplan has equivalent pricing in economy class and clearly superior pricing in business class. As long as you avoid Air Canada metal, then you will be able to not get tacked with fuel surcharges. Both United, US Airways, and Air Canada all have decent full-flat planes in business class down to South America which is great.

United BusinessFirst

Aeroplan does *price* awards as most expensive region transited, but I’ve seen accounts of two stopovers being booked and it shouldn’t be a problem. You can also price it online but as I said booking online will only let you have one stopover or one open-jaw and it won’t let you ticket segment by segment, but here is an example:

Online Itinerary

Online Itinerary

This will only cost you $129 in taxes and fees:

Taxes and Fees Breakdown

Taxes and Fees Breakdown

This is one of my favourite sweet spots that is actually in my opinion not a bad redemption at all if you are looking to go to South America, and in this case tacking on a flight from Hawaii actually lowers the price, as Hawaii to Southern South America is 80k miles in business versus North America to South America as 95k!

I hope you found this post useful. If you didn’t, please tell me why or how I could improve!

I will also be posting the next “sweet spot” tomorrow! Stay tuned!

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Comments

  1. Is this itinerary useful for people who don’t live in Hawaii? From the way that you’ve written your post it seems like all flights need to originate in Hawaii for this itinerary to be valid. Or am I reading this wrong? Thanks!

  2. Hawaii to Asia1/Asia2 also seems very sweet if you can somehow build in a stopover in LAX. I wonder if this exceeds the maximum mileage permitted for example: HNL-LAX(stop)-HKG(stop)-SIN(dest) and back. Of course with two stopovers, you’d have to book a dummy leg from LAX-HNL, instead of an open jaw, but that doesn’t seem too hard.

    • I don’t think that is doable simply because that’s a lot of backtracking. With this award the only way to get to South America is through the US and that’s why it’s doable. There are direct flights from HNL to ICN and NRT so I think those would be the only itineraries permitted (although I haven’t tried myself). Also with UA it is only 35,000 each way in business for Hawaii to Asia so it’s not such a sweet spot in my opinion.

  3. Interested in the next “Sweet Spot” which the post above suggests may already be out. Also, a “sweet spot” for travel on AC is the relatively inexpensive cost to add infants to international reservations.

  4. Do you think this routing is possible?

    HNL-PDX(stover)-LIM(stopover)-GRU-HNL. The idea is not to go back to HNL, but get off somewhere in the continental USA?

  5. Hi Jeff,

    Can you please tell us whether Avios or Asia Miles is a better program to travel on One world reward tickets in terms of lower surcharges and taxes, easier to get one year advance booking traveling from Canada to Asia when we try to enroll credit card with bonus?

    Air New Zealand is offering 30% discount to redemption to AKL from through ANA Airlines, how can we transfer the points from Aeroplan to ANA or can we ask Aeroplan to honor this promotion from Air New Zealand?

    Any suggestion how to get a better mileage for reward ticket from Canada to JNB, South Africa through Aeroplan?

    Thank you in advance for answering three questions in a row.

    • The best oneworld program to credit your flights to are AAdvantage as they have no fuel surcharges (except on BA) and one of the better award charts.
      You cannot transfer Aeroplan to ANA nor can you get them to honor the promotion, unfortunately.
      With Aeroplan NA-South Africa the award chart prices are fixed, so to “maximize” you’re best off just flying airlines that don’t have YQ.

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