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Aeroplan, the spun-off loyalty plan of Air Canada, and the first publicly traded loyalty program in the world, is one of the easier rewards programs to search and book rewards travel.
Unless you’re booking an award with multiple stopovers, the entire process can be completed online. And if you run into strife, the call center speaks familiar North American English, so there is less possibility of misunderstandings.
We’ve covered Aeroplan best value redemptions and sweet spots in another post, so won’t dig into that here. This post will focus on the award rules and the booking process.
Does Aeroplan Pass on Fuel Surcharges?
Yes.. and no… This is one area where Aeroplan gets confusing for a lot of frequent flyers. Aeroplan is a member of Star Alliance, but only passes on fuel surcharges from some airlines and not from others.
You will be charged all fuel surcharges (YQ/YR on your airfare breakdown) when flying on these carriers using your Aeroplan miles:
- Adria Airways
- Air Canada
- All Nippon Airways
- Austrian Airlines
- TAP Portugal
- Thai Airways
We’ve pulled LOT out of this bunch and thrown it in the middle because although the charges are passed on, they are very reasonable.
- LOT Polish Airlines
Aeroplan doesn’t pass on the fuel surcharges on the following airlines:
- Aegean Airlines
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Eva Air
- SAS (Scandinavian Airlines)
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Swiss International Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
This opens some interesting redemption options, and we’ll show it pays to bookmark this list before searching an award flight. Flying the right airline with your Aeroplan miles could save you $1,000’s per round-trip.
Can You Fly One-Way Awards with Aeroplan?
Yes, you can. Aeroplan used to charge 67% of the return award rate for one-way awards and travel had to originate or terminate in North America. But, changes to the program rules over the last few years now allow one-way awards at 50% of the miles listed on the award chart, with travel available between any regions.
“One-way Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards require 50% of the miles listed below for round-trip flight rewards.”
There is still a restriction on one-ways that prevents you from making any stopovers unless flying on a round-trip fare.
Making Sense of Award Stopover and Open Jaw Routing
26. Stopovers are not permitted on one-way flight rewards.
27. Stopovers and/or open jaws are not permitted on flight rewards with Calm Air.
28. On round-trip rewards, stopovers are permitted as follows:
28.1. Travel within Canada or between Canada and the Continental USA (not including Hawaii/Puerto Rico): One stopover permitted in addition to the point of turnaround. One open jaw is permitted in lieu of the one stopover.
28.2. Between Canada/Cont. USA and Hawaii/Puerto Rico/Mexico/Central America/Caribbean:
28.2.1. Rule for rewards containing only Air Canada flight: Two stopovers are permitted in addition to the point of turnaround. One open jaw is permitted in lieu of one stopover.
28.2.2. Rule for rewards containing a minimum of one flight on a Star Alliance partner other than Air Canada: One stopover is permitted in addition to the point of turnaround. One open jaw is permitted in addition to the one stopover.
28.3. Intercontinental travel (travel between two continents): Two stopovers permitted in addition to the point of turnaround. One open jaw is permitted in lieu of one of the two stopovers.
28.4. Intracontinental travel (travel within the same continent) except for travel within Canada/Continental USA, or between Canada/Cont. USA and Hawaii/Puerto Rico/Mexico/Central America/Caribbean: Stopovers are not permitted. One open jaw is permitted.
The Aeroplan Award Booking Process
How you book an award with Aeroplan depends on your plans. If you intend to book a one-way, return, or multi-city award involving no more than one stopover, you can complete the entire process online.
We’ll be walking you through a multi-city award in this example, but the process for one-way and round-trip awards is almost identical.
Log into your Aeroplan account and click through to ‘Use Your Miles’ and select ‘Travel.’
Enter your destination cities, dates, passenger numbers, and cabin, and hit ‘Search.’
You’ll be directed to a page to select your flights, at this stage it’s worth revisiting which airlines pass on fuel surcharges.
And finally, Aeroplan will display your planned itinerary with any fees and taxes in CAD$. You can expand the taxes & fees section for a breakdown of the charges.
Unfortunately, if you are unable to complete your award booking and need help, or if you wish to include more than one stopover, you will need to call the Aeroplan Contact Center on 1-800-361-5373, which will cost CAD$30. Asking very nicely may get the fee waived.
It helps to have all the flight numbers and booking details written down before you call in as the over the phone booking process can often feel akin to having teeth pulled if you make the rep do the legwork of searching award availability and airlines. Nor are the reps under any obligation to search for fares/routing that will avoid excessive surcharges.
Things to Watch out for When Booking Aeroplan Awards
It pays to be aware of the Maximum Permitted Mileage (MPM) for the award you're trying to book (you can find these at ExpertFlyer.com). If you go over the MPM, you will be dished up a warning like below, and asked to change the routing before moving forward with your booking. While there are hard and fast rules to this, you will find exceptions if you play around with the booking engine on Aeroplan's website.
You'll also want to keep these rules in mind for changes and award refunds:
- Changes to an award fare can get costly, particularly if there are multiple tickets that require changes. Changes are charged at CAD$100 per direction so changes to round-trip tickets will cost CAD$200.
- Refunding and canceling awards is also costly at CAD$150 per ticket, and you can’t redeposit miles for awards canceled within 22 days of departure, you must apply them towards another award within 12 months.
- Booking an award over the phone attracts a CAD$30 fee
If you have any questions regarding the award booking process, let us know in the comments!
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