Sweet Spot: The Best Redemption for Aeroplan ever!!

Yesterday I was chatting with my friend about how he wanted to go to Resolute, Nunavut. Obviously, the air fares are exorbitant as very limited airlines fly routes up north. I was just pricing a multi-city Vancouver – Iqaluit – Resolute- Vancouver trip on ITA Matrix.

So I present to you the best economy class redemption in the world (from a numerical standpoint)!

Map

Map

The price comes out to $7,976!

Fare Breakdown

Fare Breakdown

The flights are on First Air which apparently have great service, with hot towels in economy and handwritten notes for things to do like Singapore First Class (see this trip report from Airliners.net). They also happen to partner with Aeroplan, which means this should be redeemable (assuming award space) for 25,000 miles! That is 31 cents value per mile which makes it the best redemption ever a redemption with a very high “return.” Try and beat that with an economy class redemption!

One thing I just wanted to point out is that miles are definitely great for everyday use. I personally don’t redeem miles for domestic/transborder flights, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t, if it fits your needs. Avios is a great example of that for short trips with sky-high fares (as is this one if you actually lived up north). You can choose to use miles for flights that you would normally pay for if that would save you money. Obviously it isn’t aspirational unlike international first class, but I would assume most people do need air fares.

On the other side of the spectrum, if you do have a limited amount of miles you do want to consider your return on your miles, because your thinking is flawed if you are getting them for free. There is always an opportunity cost for acquiring these miles. So for example, I can choose to redeem 25,000 miles x 5 to the US (florida, la, wherever), where the airfares are around $350 (if you leave from the US), which makes five of these redemptions just around $1750. But that’s the same price for a mini-rtw in business class with aeroplan, while the cost of the retail ticket is significantly higher (and even buying us dividend miles are still going to take you over $2000). So assuming you do have a travel budget and miles, it would be better to purchase those RT tickets to Florida and spend your miles on the business class round the world redemption and not vice versa.

Of course, what is to say that this redemption isn’t aspirational either? Even though it’s economy class, I’m sure to some people the destination and the flights are just as stunning (as a traveller and avgeek).But even a simple Vancouver/Toronto-Iqaluit flight costs over $1500 dollars, and I’m sure many travellers from the North do purchase those fares. So even for everyday travel using miles in this instance is definitely worth it.

A lot of the things that do pester us are definitely #firstworldproblems so while it is nice to talk about 31 cents per mile sometimes you also need to look for a point beyond the miles (bad pun intended) and just enjoy whatever travel you can take. Of course my other real series on Aeroplan Sweet Spots are coming up except the first post I wrote on the series is much sweeter than the other posts I have in mind. But they’re coming along 🙂

Also check out the smoking hot 3.9 cpm UA MR from YYZ here! If you do find a good fare please let me know!

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    • It’s actually the most direct routing as far as I know. Resolute is extremely remote.
      To book, you have to call in to the Aeroplan call center (you can find the number online).

  1. Jeff!! Don’t spill our Northern secrets like this!! As a resident of Iqaluit and avid Aeroplan miles collector (it’s a bit of an extreme addiction, actually), I’ve known about this Aero “deal” since I moved up to Nunavut. It is the best Aeroplan deal that I know of, but it is also extremely difficult to book award tickets on Northern airlines, especially on 7F. Generally, there are only 2 award seats per flight, and these get booked MONTHS in advance. With exhorbitant ticket costs, it’s no surprise that award tickets get booked so quickly and why I collect so many Aeros. I currently have a flight/month booked until April. Gotta stock up on food somehow, and visit civilization once in a while.

    Someone asked about the cash portion of these award tickets: YFB-YOW return on 7F or 5T is 15k miles and about $35 in taxes plus $31.50 Aeroplan booking fee – so “free” considering a regular ticket would cost $1.5k+ (you cannot book award tickets on Northern airlines online). For anyone interested in visiting, be ready to spend a lot of money here regardless of whether or not you get an award ticket up. Hope this helps, and keep up the good work!

    • I’ve heard the same success stories booking Northern flights using Air Miles (which are normally not a good value for flights).

      I am curious to know why these flights aren’t bookable online when all other partner flights are?

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