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):
…but not this (13231 miles):
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).
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.
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):
…or via Nagoya (4034 miles):
or even via Hong Kong and Osaka-Kansai (3940 miles):
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:
- American Express Business Gold Rewards Card – 40,000 Membership Rewards after $5000 spend within first three months, first year $0 annual fee
- American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card – 25,000 Membership Rewards points after $500 spend within the first three months
- American Express AeroPlus Gold Card – 26,000 Aeroplan miles after after $500 spend within the first three months
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.