New Aeroplan Routing Rules Unveiled

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Aeroplan recently unveiled a whole host of new changes to their 2015 program, most of which were negative. However, given some of the highest American Express signup bonuses we’ve seen for a while (such as the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card‘s 40000 mile bonus), the redemption side of things were mostly untouched. Until today that is, since a new method of validating award tickets and applying maximum permitted mileage rules came into effect.

The changes are very different, yet unannounced, but based on what I’ve seen the new method of validation has both ups and downs. The old maximum permitted mileage system was rumoured to be on the way out, and it had indeed been replaced. But that doesn’t mean complete lawlessness in the field of validating awards – you are still bound by new distance-based routing rules. Let’s take a look at exactly what the new rules are, and how they compare.

The IATA Maximum Permitted Mileage is determined by city pair and routing, and is common with all IATA airlines. The new routing system is 100% mileage based and is calculated solely based on the distance between your origin and your point of turnaround. You are then allocated a certain number of miles, regardless of which routing you take. It sounds complex in theory, but examples are good, so here are some.

Aeroplan Permitted Mileage Rules

Take a hypothetical award between Sydney, Australia and Toronto. Under the old routing validation system, you were allowed the MPM plus 5% for your specific routing. Let’s see what this means.

The MPM+5 for Toronto to Sydney via the Pacific is 12165 miles. This means that you could route via Beijing (12130 miles):

a map of the world

Toronto to Sydney via Beijing, a valid Aeroplan routing

…but not this (13231 miles):

a map of the world

Toronto to Sydney via Tokyo and Auckland, not permitted under the old MPM+5 rules

However, IATA also publishes a MPM for Toronto to Sydney via Atlantic, which at MPM+5 is 21000 miles. This meant that under the old system, you could effectively validate routings such as Toronto to Sydney via Los Angeles, Zurich, Tokyo and Auckland (20907 miles).

a map of the world with red dots and a red line

Toronto to Sydney via Los Angeles, Zurich, Tokyo and Auckland, a valid routing under the old MPM+5

Under the new validation system, the MPM rules have been replaced with a centralised maximum mileage value, which is determined solely by your city pair. In the case of Toronto to Sydney for instance, the new mileage rules permit a maximum of 15440 miles, regardless of the routing taken. This means that convoluted routings via the Atlantic are no longer permitted such the one above, but mileage for those traveling via the Pacific has been increased significantly.

a map of the world with red lines

Toronto to Sydney via San Francisco, Shanghai and Singapore, now a valid Aeroplan routing

Increases in Permitted Mileage

One of the real beneficiaries of this new change are short to medium haul awards, or intra-zone awards. Take Singapore to Shanghai for example, where the old MPM+5 was 2971 miles. Under the new routing rules, you are now permitted a maximum of 4278 miles – a significant increase. This means all sorts of routes are now possible, such as via Fukuoka (3335 miles):

a map of the world

Shanghai to Singapore via Fukuoka

…or via Nagoya (4034 miles):

a map of the world

Singapore to Shanghai via Nagoya

or even via Hong Kong and Osaka-Kansai (3940 miles):

a map of the world

Singapore to Shanghai via Hong Kong and Osaka-Kansai

Maximising New Aeroplan Routing Rules

The way to maximise the new rules are pretty simple – make your sure your point of turnaround is as far away from your origin as possible. For example, if you lived in Toronto, you’d look for the furthest point away from Toronto as a point of turnaround for a mini-RTW (something like Perth). Before, you could get away with routing a mini-RTW with a destination of Tokyo for instance, due to the generous MPM+5 values offered via the Atlantic. Now, a centralised maximum mileage value for all routing means the further the distance to your destination, the more miles you will have to work with. It’s really much more simple, in a sense.

Earning Aeroplan Miles

The best ways to earn Aeroplan miles are by flying, credit cards or transferring them from American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. Credit card offers useful for accruing Aeroplan include:

Both of these cards have the annual fee waived for the first year. Alternative cards include the American Express Platinum Card (Canada) which comes with a 60,000 point signup bonus, as well as the Starwood Preferred Guest Card (Canada) which comes with a 10,000 point signup bonus.

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  1. how to find centralize maximum mileage value for a given city pair?

    under the old rule, i was never able to price a ticket like HKG OKA on *A, I am curious for something like HKG MMY or HKG ISG which is very close in distance, but any *A routing would involve backtrack.

  2. So where would I find the new centralized MPM value for city pairs? In addition, what happens to my mini-rtw booked for next year? I have a TATL and TPAC, does that mean I won’t be able to make any changes?

    • Simple solution: you don’t have to read it or click on them.

      Jeff is providing his services so everyone can benefit. This is his only form of compensation for his time.

  3. So under your new rule example of YYZ-SFO-PVG-SIN-SYD, I thought that would be invalid since you’re only allowed 2 stop-overs?

    Also, when you try to do something like that, does the agent ever have trouble with making long stop-overs (lets say, I am “connecting” at SFO for 4 days, then SVG for another 4, and SIN for another 2, only to reach my “final” destination of SYD)? What is the longest stop-over you can get away with? Thanks in advance

    • No, because the YYZ-SFO-PVG-SIN-SYD routing doesn’t have any 24+ hour stopovers. You’re permitted 2 stopovers in addition to your destination (point of turnaround), as well as an unlimited number of stopovers 23 hours 59 minutes and under, as long as your overall routing is valid. You can only have stopovers on a round-trip award, so there’s no way you’d get away with 4 days in SFO, PVG, and SIN, especially that’s it’s automated verification. If you did however a roundtrip of YYZ-SFO-PVG-SIN-SYD-SIN-PVG-SFO-YYZ, you’d have the option to have stops in 2 of those locations for 24+ hours (in addition to Sydney).

  4. Hi Jeff

    Thanks for this information. Really appreciate your Canadian perspective.

    Can you please let us know the effective date of these changes?

    Any thoughts on how this would affect a YVR-CPT mini RTW in the future?


  5. Thanks for all the info Jeff, I was planning to book a Mini RTW in the next few weeks but now I am unsure if it’s still a valid routing:
    YVR – FRA (stop)
    FRA – SIN (turnaround)
    SIN – HKG
    HKG – PVG (stop)
    PVG – YVR. I
    s this still a valid routing? I am under the assumption it would help to leave from YYZ to give myself more room with the MPM.

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