Aeroplan Mini RTW Basics

With the Aeroplan devaluation, I wanted to write an updated guide for the mini RTW.

October 2014 Updates: Please see updated routing rules in this post.

What is the Aeroplan Mini RTW?

The Aeroplan mini RTW is basically a regular redemption redemption using Aeroplan’s fairly generous routing rules. On roundtrip international awards, you are permitted TWO stopovers OR ONE stopover + open jaw. This means, that you can visit up to three continents on a single award. Note that you have to call in to book these (the fee is $30) – online redemptions only permit a stopover OR open jaw.

These are the relevant parts of the award chart to/from North America for an Aeroplan Mini RTW:

Aeroplan Mini RTW Award Chart

Aeroplan Award Chart

The award prices are listed from top to bottom in economy/business/first class. That means an award to Asia 1 is 150,000 in business class. This is the best price in my opinion given that you can actually avoid fuel surcharges on many airlines (versus first class redemptions where nearly all airlines operating first class have fuel surcharges with aeroplan). You can include Europe and South America in most of these cases (award space and routing permitting) as the award prices to those regions are significantly lower which means you can combine them.

I tend to think of this award as having one destination as the main place you wanted to vist – but you can throw in two or more destinations along the way. So instead of flying something simple such as Vancouver – Tokyo, and you can throw in Singapore and Istanbul.

Aeroplan Mini RTW Rules

As with other awards, the following rules apply to the Aeroplan Mini RTW(which can be bent for the most part):

  • 10 Segment Maximum on an award: Pretty straightforward
  • Open-Jaw with region: If you choose to use an open jaw (instead of a second stopover), it has to be within the following regions.Regions
  • Backtracking: You can’t fly unreasonably such as from Asia to Europe via North America, and other illogical routings.
  • Routing: Your set of flights have to follow rules such as being within the MPM5 (discussed further in detail later)

The master Flyertalk thread on booked Aeroplan Mini RTW awards give examples of many routings that don’t conform to these rules – so it does serve as a reference that these rules at point have been overlooked, although it doesn’t mean that the agent you work will let you do such a routing.

Aeroplan mini RTW Routings

Once you’ve decided on potential destinations, you want to find the one that’s furthest from your origin (where you’re starting the award). That will be your “point of turnaround” and that determines permissible routings from your starting city. For example, let’s say I want to go to Istanbul, Singapore, and Taipei.

Aeroplan Mini Rtw Map

Map

Your point of turnaround is Singapore, because that’s the furthest distance from Vancouver.

There are two main points of figuring out a legal routing with Aeroplan:

  • Maximum Permitted Mileage (MPM): This is a number that airlines publish between two city pairs that is the maximum number of miles you are permitted to fly for it to be a legal routing, and is different from the actual distance between two cities. Aeroplan allows you to exceed this by 5%. This is referred to as MPM5 or 5M, and can be found with paid tools such as KVS Tool or ExpertFlyer.
Aeroplan Mini RTW Maximum Permitted Mileage

Maximum Permitted Mileage

This is the MPM for Vancouver – Singapore. Note that there are two sets of MPMs, which may occur with some city pairs. MPM AT refers to the MPM on a Trans-Atlantic, and MPM PA refers MPM on a Trans-Pacific routing.

  • Published Routings: This is are the permitted connections that an airline allows on a paid ticket, which Aeroplan also will allow. This would be useful in situations where the maximum permitted mileage is exceeded. Again, published routings can be found on tools like KVS or ExpertFlyer, or even ITA.
Aeroplan Mini RTW Published Fare

Published Fare

This generally gets very nebulous, and your mileage may vary especially given the agent’s leeway in interpreting the routing. I’ve personally never found anything specifically that falls here when booking an award but there has been plenty of routing that are over MPM that have been ticketed.

I think a good start for beginners is to start and just do a simple search on united.com for each of the city pairs. So if I was a beginner, for my Aeroplan Mini RTW, I would search Vancouver – Sinagpore, Singapore – Istanbul, and Istanbul – Vancouver. I’d find a routing that I’d like and plug it into gcmap.com, and check whether the routing is legal. I think this should only be done if you are lazy though, because this won’t yield the best results.

What most of you should be doing is searching segment-by-segment for individual flights you want, rather than an inferior (in most cases) computer-generated set of flights that don’t take into consideration the quality of the routings (like the product and connection times). 

The ANA tool (and KVS/EF) is really the best in finding specific routes that you want, but now that I’m writing this sentence I realize how important it is to know route networks well as that’s one of the keys in booking segment-by-segment. This is also a reason good award booking services are extremely valuable in booking these complex awards, if you don’t have the knowledge.

Notes on the Aeroplan Mini RTW

For some of the routings there’s no requirement that go over both options. For example, you could fly to Asia via Europe (and have a stopover), or fly via Asia both way when heading to Oceania.

Generally, I find that the Aeroplan mini-RTW awards really do limit you in the routings you can do especially if your point of turnaround is located in the southern hemisphere (like South Africa and/or Oceania), so actually it’s probably easier to throw in an avios trip or intra-region trip in the middle if you want to make it more like a real round the world trip.

A stopover is any destination where the flights in between the city are more than 24 hours. This means, availability and flight schedule permitting, you can have a few more cities where you spend 23 hours in, which is always quite fun and very miles/points-centric (in my opinion).

Certainly, Aeroplan is nowhere close to the value it provided 3.5 years ago, but given there have been so many devaluations and only more to come (especially with US Airways and American) it’s still possible to get great value from miles and points, especially when an Aeroplan mini RTW can run close to $15,000 or more in business class on a paid fare with a similar stopover in Europe and Asia (not that I’d be willing or able to pay that).

Constructing an Aeroplan Mini RTW

So for example let’s construct an Aeroplan mini RTW by using united.com to search for award space. I’m trying to reduce the learning curve as much as possible, so I’m going to pretend to be a first-timer beginner (no offense to you if you are one). AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, YOU SHOULD ONLY BE DOING THIS IF YOU JUST WANT TO USE YOUR MILES. THIS IS PURELY FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY AND IF YOU HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE SEARCHING WITH THE ANA TOOL PLEASE DO THAT.

This is of course a VERY bad way to search if you know how to use the ANA Tool, but for those of you who don’t, please humour me for a bit.

For example, when I search each city pair, this is what I come up with:

YVR-TPE

YVR-TPE

TPE-SIN

TPE-SIN

We can now verify the MPM on our outbound, as the routing so far is YVR-ICN-TPE-SIN. This is valid as this clocks in at 8012 miles which is well under the MPM of 10033.

SIN-IST

SIN-IST

IST-YVR

IST-YVR

Again, this return is 12647 mile and under the 5M limit of 14914.

You want to ignore the mileage requirements on united.com as they don’t reflect what Aeroplan charges. So from 10 minutes of united.com searching (pretending like I am a beginner) this is what I have:

Mini-RTW

Mini-RTW

At least all the segments are in business class and this is still very good for a “first-timer”. Of course there is going to be lots of fuel surcharges since there are segments on Thai and Air Canada, but at least it gets the job done. There is approximately a 0.1% chance that I would book this as I find most of these products fairly dull.

I want to mention this one more time, because I can’t say this enough. I WOULD NEVER SEARCH LIKE THIS TO CONSTRUCT MY AWARD. I’m only using this method as a reference to make a valid Aeroplan mini RTW.

I will go over perfecting these awards with the ANA tool and other paid programs in a future post.

Earning Aeroplan Miles

Aeroplan is a transfer partner of both AMEX Membership Rewards in the US and in Canada, as well as as an SPG transfer partner. American Express Cards in the USA  are probably the easiest way to get more Aeroplan points. In Canada, CIBC, TD, and AMEX issue cards which earn Aeroplan miles. These are my AMEX Canada referral links:

I appreciate your support and that is all I will say. 🙂

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Comments

  1. Hi Jeff,

    Sorry for the dumb question but when you stay 2 stopovers, does it include the destination or is that separate? For example, is JFK – FRA (stop for 2 days) // FRA – IST (destination) // IST – LHR (stop for 2 days) // LHR – JFK a valid routing (just from a stopover perspective, ignore all other rules at this time)?

  2. Hi Jeff!,

    Have you by any chance written anything about finding better stopover connections?
    you mentioned this before so I am just wondering
    “I will go over perfecting these awards with the ANA tool and other paid programs in a future post.”I am super newbie and still have problems to find what considered to be acceptable stopovers

    I base in YVR and would like to fly J class to go to (SIN/HKG-Asia) via Dublin – Spain if all possible !??

    and also back to YVR from SIN/HKG- Asia via Hawaii?!
    Sorry if this qs is stupid, and if it is too much
    I would not think that this will be allowed?

    Thanks a million

    • You can have as long as a stopover within 330 days as you want, as long as all flights in your ticket are done within the 330 day time frame. You are free to go anywhere you want while on a stopover. So if you did Vancouver – Frankfurt (stopover for 30 days) – Tokyo (stopover for 3 days) – Vancouver you can head all around Europe during your 30 day stopover.

  3. Thank you so much for such a quick response! It is my first time booking using aeroplan. I am using the aeroplan website and using multi stop option. After selecting the first flight, the flight results for the second segments are all grayed out. And I get the following message “this flight cannot be combined with your previous selections”. Would you be able to tell me why? I try different flights from the first segment and I keep getting the same message. Thank you so much for your help.

  4. Hi Jeff,

    Quick question regarding routing – what is considered to be ‘illogical routing’? Example: YYZ – EZE – LIM – GRU – YYZ…Is this considered illogical as I go from East to West, back to East before heading back to my origin?

    Thanks.

  5. hi, i was wondering if you could tell me any nice places to make a stop over that aeroplan would allow on a flight from toronto to barbados?
    thank you

  6. Hi Jeff,

    Could you please help me to determine if the following routes is allowed?

    YYC-FCO-HKG-TPE-YYC

    or more specific

    YYC-YUL-ZRH-FCO-SIN-HKG-TPE-YVR-YYC

    Thanks so much for your help

    • Under the new system it’s unlikely that your outbound would be within the new mileage limit. I would recommend making your destination Singapore so you have the most miles to work with. Otherwise you’d have to call in to ask to validate the routing first.

      • Thanks Jeff.
        My goal is to do stopovers at TPE, FCO and HKG if possible.

        So to make SIN as my destination, I tried to search
        YYC-FCO-SIN-YYC with aeroplan site, it gave me a list of available fligts, but after I selected the flights I want, it gave me an error: “Your current flight selection exceeds the maximum allowable distance permitted. Please start a new search and select more direct flights (if available)”

        I had tried different combination, but still didn’t work.

        So is it still possible to do an asia reward ticket with a stopover in FCO?

        • It should be. Sometimes the combination of flights you select will be beyond the maximum permitted miles, so won’t be allowed. The best way is to actually call in when booking a multi-city award, because you’re allowed two stopovers plus your destination which is more than what you can do online.

  7. can I apply this on Asia Zone1 or have have to be form or to North America region? What what I want is a round trip 30k in business with two stopovers like this:
    PEK-NRT(stop#1)-BKK(stop#2)-TPE(destination)-PEK
    Is it legit? Is there any FY on Air China , ANA or TG?
    I am not quiet sure about the date of the last segment TPE-PEK? Can I change date after flying the first three segments? Is there ant fee? Thanks.

    • You’re allowed a maximum of two stopovers, so it wouldn’t be. To find info on fees, you’d have to look at a paid fare for the YQ component. That’s generally similar to what Aeroplan will charge.

  8. Hi Jeff,

    Would this be a valid itinerary: YOW-YYZ-LIM (stopover/open jaw) GIG (turnaround point) – PTY – MEX (stopover) -YYZ-YOW

    Thanks.

  9. Hi,

    Great blog. Very useful for us newbs.

    Do you think yvr-ORD-FCO-ZHR-ord-yvr would be allowed for a 60k Europe economy redemption?

    With stops in ORD and ZHR and the destination being FCO?

  10. Hi, Jeff: if i use the aeroplan miles to book the business class, the surcharges and fees will be less than economy class. is that true ?

  11. Hello Jeff, this is a very useful post. I was wondering if you have that follow up post showing how to improve the search using the more advanced tools?

    Also, can you confirm that you example above (YVR-ICN-TPE-SIN-BKK-IST-FRA-YUL-YVR) is still doable with current guidelines? (since it’s been 2 years since this post).

    One last question, again using the example above, the layovers are fairly short, is it common/possible, to try and maximize the layovers to get close to the 23hours limit in one city?

    Thanks very much!

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