TORONTO The Complete Guide to Aeroplan Flight Rewards

all right guys welcome back to the channel and welcome back to your home of learning about the new aeroplan program now we’ve had tons of videos about the new aero plan ever since the first details were announced back in august we had a 30 minute feature about all the basic details that you need to know we had a live study session along with a live chat with some members of the aeroplan team and then i also shared with you some of my own thoughts and impressions about the new aero plan program after that we covered the new aeroplan credit card details when they were first announced and then after that on november 9th 2020 when the program itself first launched i did a four hour live walkthrough on the new aeroplan search engine as a first look at the new program and now here we are one month having passed since then and now it’s time to fire up the new website take a closer look at the search engine and tell you everything you need to know about the new aero plan program in this complete guide to aeroplan now as usual everyone if you enjoy these videos if you think they bring value to your life then do consider hitting the like button and subscribing to the channel just as this video is starting and that helps the youtube algorithm spread the video to even more viewers and helps them travel the world at a fraction of the price as well now without further ado we’re going to delve right into the video it’s going to be largely concentrated on the new flight rewards basically how we optimally redeem arrow plan points for flights going forward both in terms of the actual flight reward charts as well as the online search engine and the aeroplan call center before we delve into the award charts and the award pricing the first thing you need to know is that you can redeem aero plan points on air canada flights on one of 26 star alliance partner flights as well as a small but ever-growing pool of independent partner airlines of the aeroplan program now these include air serbia based in belgrade etahad airways based in abu dhabi azul airlines and goal airlines based in brazil as well as vistara based in india now we’ve been told that there’s even more exciting airline partnerships coming along soon as well and with that said let’s take a closer look at the flight reward charts and figure out how to calculate how many points you’re going to need for your upcoming trip let’s take the example of a flight from toronto to istanbul in turkish airlines business class now since that’s a trip between the north america zone and the atlantic zone we scroll down to the north america to atlantic zone charts and then we have to figure out the distance of the flight now my preferred method for figuring out distances is to go to a website called greatcirclemappers.com here we can simply enter the airport codes for toronto to istanbul and then we get the result i usually like the light map style just to make things easier to see and we see that the distance is 5091 miles so then we can go back to the flight reward chart and see that that falls into this distance band between 4001 and 6 000 miles since we’re interested in flying in business class on a partner airline we see that that’s going to cost us a total of 70 000 aeroplan points so that’s basically the workflow for figuring out how many points you’re gonna need it’s pretty simple you take your proposed routing and you put it into great circle mapper you find out the distance you look that up against the distance band on the appropriate chart based on your origin and destination and then you look at the class of service and find out how many aero plan points you’re going to need now since we figured out that toronto istanbul is going to cost 70 000 points in business class let’s fire up the search engine and verify if that’s correct the aeroplan search engine is now seamlessly integrated with the air canada website so over here we can simply check points instead of cash and then we’re doing a one-way flight from toronto to istanbul let’s choose a date let’s say in the fall of 2021 which is when i feel like most of us are going to be ready to travel again so let’s do a date in september let’s say and then we just press find and boom 70 000 points from toronto to istanbul in business class just as we had suspected as you can see the new search engine is a pretty significant improvement upon the old one showing you up to 150 search results for any given search you’ll also notice that there’s now a variety of different ways to sort and filter the search results you can sort by earliest departure time arrival time trip duration or the lowest pricing you can display things like the flight number the aircraft types the number of e-upgrades required to upgrade and air canada flights as well as whether you’d like to see a visual display of the mixed cabin search results we can see that we can also filter by the number of connections along the way the appropriate connecting airports as well as the airlines that you fly on route to your final destination so as you can see when it comes to the partner airlines the pricing is pretty straightforward and pretty predictable based on the flight reward charts and the online search engine reflects exactly what we had expected now it’s a different matter under the new aeroplan program when it comes to air canada flights because air canada flights are subject to what’s known as dynamic and preferred pricing under this new program and that’s what i’d like to talk about next now the best example of air canada’s dynamic pricing is probably to search for the flagship domestic route of toronto to vancouver so let’s take a look at that and while that search is running let’s take a look at what we expect the flight cost to be now if we take a look toronto vancouver that’s 2085 miles in distance so if we consult the within north america chart we expect that to fall into this distance band and so we’re looking at between twelve thousand five hundred and seventeen thousand five hundred points in economy class for air canada flights or twenty five thousand to sixty thousand points in business class and the fact that there is a range there for air canada flights already tells you that there’s going to be some dynamic element to how these flights are priced so let’s take a look at our search results now as you can see the number of points required for toronto to vancouver tends to fluctuate based on which exact flight of the day that you choose to book and that reflects the fact that every seat on air canada flights is now bookable on points but the number of points required is still going to vary dynamically based on the underlying cash fare if you were to pay cash for that flight now if we take a look at the actual price points we see that they largely fall into the published ranges that we were expecting at least for economy class for business class you’ll see that the range tops out at sixty thousand points but a lot of the flights here actually exceed that sixty thousand point marker and this one especially at a hundred thousand points exceeds it by quite a large margin so the way to think about air canada’s dynamic pricing these days is that the published ranges on the flight reward chart is supposed to represent a rough estimate there’s going to be times when the price point falls below the range there’s going to be times when it falls above the range and the published range is basically supposed to be about 80 of cases now the other aspect to air canada’s dynamic pricing is that the price also varies based on how engaged you are with the program under what’s known as preferred pricing and so all the search results that we just saw are displayed to somebody who’s not logged in or an aero plan member who doesn’t have any elite status or doesn’t hold any aeroplan co-branded credit card if we were to log in for my own account as somebody who has aeroplan plan 50k status as well as one of the core credit cards then we’re actually going to see lowered or discounted pricing based on the preferred pricing model so let’s take a look cool so as you can see i’ve now logged into my own account as an aeroplan 50k member and a credit card holder and now we’re looking at the exact same flights that we just looked at but the flights are significantly discounted you will recall that these two flights used to be priced at 12 500 points but now they’re available for only 9 500 points similarly i recall that these two flights in business class were around the range of 26 000 points but now they’re available for 21 500 points only these flights below used to be priced at around 69 000 points but now they’re discounted to 54 000 points now with preferred pricing in play the effect is also pretty strong on international travel so let’s take a look at toronto to paris for a flight around the same time let’s just choose the same date we can see that the direct flight between toronto and paris is actually being offered at 55 500 points in business class and if we were to compare that to our actual expectation on the flight reward charts we’ll see that the actual published range for air canada flights in this first distance band between north america and atlantic zones is actually beginning at 60 000 points so through preferred pricing we’ve been able to get a discounted figure that actually falls below the range so you can see that the new aeroplane’s preferred pricing model actually gives pretty meaningful discounts on air canada flights if you’re an elite status member or you’re a credit card holder now as of now it seems that just by having the minimal level of elite status which is aeroplan 25k or by having the minimal level of a credit card which is the entry level even a no annual fee credit card from cibc will give you a more meaningful discount compared to getting the higher elite status levels or higher credit cards that’s based on our research at the early stages when the program has first launched you can see some of these results in this blog article up here but we’ve also been told that there’s going to be future tweaks to the preferred pricing model that’s going to reward you know the higher status members the higher credit card holders more significantly especially even based on your credit card spending as well now we’ve talked about partner flights which have a fixed price point we’ve talked about air canada flights which have a dynamic pricing model now let’s talk about some of the smaller things that i also wanted to highlight in this new aeroplane search engine starting with the new fare categories that we can book so let’s resume with this toronto paris example that we’re just looking at we can click on any one of these options and see that within economy class we actually have three different options for booking of flights we have standard flex and latitude and flex generally costs about you know five thousand roughly five thousand points more than standard latitude generally cost roughly ten thousand to fifteen thousand points more than standard similarly within premium economy we have the lowest reward and the flexible reward which generally commands a premium of about seven thousand to eight thousand points and then over in business class we have lowest and flexible with flexible being about 10 000 to 12 000 points more than the lowest reward so what are the main differences when it comes to all of these different fare categories well we can actually see pretty clearly right here when we’re making our choice you can see that the standard reward will charge you a fee for changes and refunds as well as seat selections and check bags whereas the latitude reward and economy class gives you free changes you only have to pay the fair difference you can refund your flight for free and redeposit your points into your account you can choose a preferred seat for free in economy class you can get two free check bags included as well as same-day standby and priority check-in queue so essentially when you’re paying the incremental points for a flex or latitude reward in economy class or a flexible reward in business class compared to the lowest reward you’re getting a lot of extra perks included with your tickets and it’s really up to you whether those extra perks are worth the extra points that you pay now i do want to take this moment to highlight two particular strategies that i think are going to be very interesting when it comes to booking a specific fair category the first one relates to the business class reward and the business flexible reward essentially if you book a business class flexible reward instead of a lowest reward on an air canada business class flight departing out of toronto or vancouver then you’re going to actually get access to the air canada signature suite which is air canada’s flagship lounge experience in toronto or vancouver airport now the signature suite was previously never accessible on points bookings at all so this is actually a fantastic opportunity to try out the signature suite for yourself while redeeming points for an air canada flight now the second opportunity that i would like to highlight when it comes to these different fare categories is actually booking an economy class flight in latitude and then upgrading that instantaneously using your air canada e upgrades into business class now i’m not going to go into too much detail about e-upgrades here in this video because they could be a subject of a future video all on its own but basically e-upgrade credits are earned as a reward for qualifying for aeroplane elite status and they help you upgrade from a lower class of service to a higher class of service on air canada flights now the thing with e-upgrades is that if you book an economy class flight in standard fare category then you actually need to wait until you know about 4 to 14 days before your flight to be able to upgrade that flight using your e-upgrade credits however if you book an economy class flight in the latitude fare category then you can actually instantly upgrade that flight into business class using your e-upgrades as long as there’s space in business class to upgrade into so basically the strategy here is that we can actually book a latitude flight reward for 40 and 300 points and then use our e-upgrades to confirm that upgrade into business class space instantly and avoid having to pay the total of 55 and 500 points for a business class flight and if you want to learn more about the strategy which we call the latitude attitude which basically lets you reduce the number of aero plan points you pay for air canada business class by combining them with some of the e-upgrade credits that you earn from aeroplant elite status then you can check out this article up here which outlines the strategy in full for now that’s all i wanted to say about the fair categories let’s now talk about the next thing which is air canada’s priority rewards which lets you get a 50 discount on your eligible award flights now the air canada priority rewards are meant to be for aeroplan elite status members and it gives them 50 off the price and points of a flight reward it’s pretty simple but if we take a look at this page here we see that priority rewards are meant to be earned based on your status qualifying dollars or sqds which is basically a measure of how much money you spend with air canada so normally only when you cross the 4000 sqd 7000 sqd and so on thresholds do you actually earn an additional priority reward voucher and if we take a look here we also see that your aeroplant elite status determines which set of flights you can actually apply your priority rewards on so if you’re a 25k or 35k member you can only use it on flights within canada and the us and economy class and if you’re a super elite you can use it on worldwide flights up to signature and business class so obviously if you’re a super elite you’re going to have the most powerful priority rewards because you can actually book business class and get 50 off i’m just going to quickly show you an example here as a 50k member from toronto to mexico city for a trip next spring let’s take a look here so we can already see a few different flight options being shown here but now i’m going to choose my priority rewards and apply my two north america priority rewards because remember i’m only a 50k member so i can only redeem priority rewards on flights within north america i’m going to apply them and see what happens and here we can now see that the economy class pricing on these flights from toronto to mexico city have been reduced by a half now the business class pricing has not been affected and that’s because my priority reward only applies on flights up to premium economy in terms of the class of service but having said that these are still looking like a pretty good deal 4 400 points one way from toronto to mexico city is a pretty spectacular deal after all so now let’s click through the booking process here and then i’ll show you the next thing that i wanted to talk about once you’ve chosen your flights you’ll be brought to the fair review page and here’s where another very interesting feature of the new aero plan program known as points in cash comes into play scrolling down we can see that the regular amount of points and then the taxes and fees is the default option when it comes to the four different redemption options at our disposal but then we also have the ability to pay for the entire thing with points or we also have the ability to pay fewer points and offset the rest using a cash supplement and if we’re to do the math here then we can see that if we were to choose points only then we’re basically redeeming arrow plan points at a value of one cent per point to cover the additional taxes and fees and one cent per point is honestly a pretty poor value to be redeeming your arrow plan points because generally you should be aiming for at least around two cents per point if not higher in terms of the value you’re getting out of your points so i would almost never recommend choosing the points only option but on the other hand if we were to choose one of the fewer points options then we can actually only redeem sixty percent of the total points cost that we’re actually supposed to pay and pay the rest in cash and the value here is a pretty respectable 1.8 cents per point essentially what’s happening here is you’re buying back some of your aero plan points at a value of 1.8 cents per point and so since you’re generally trying to redeem arrow plan points for higher than 1.8 cents per point in the future like i mentioned before you’re trying to get at least two cents per point most of the time it can often be a good idea to actually use the fewer points options to save some of your hard earned points for future trips instead of course that’s assuming that you’re ready to part ways with enough cash to cover that difference at a value of 1.8 cents per point and so with the points and cash feature that just about wraps up everything i wanted to talk about within the current aeroplan search engine itself so now let’s move on to some of the more advanced things that you can do with aeroplan some of the more advanced and interesting bookings that you can make which might require calling the call center instead of just using the search engine the first example of this is the well-publicized ability to add a stopover on a one-way flight for only five thousand aeroplan points now unfortunately stopovers for 5000 points cannot be booked online right now through the multi-city tool and i’ll show you why so let’s go back to our earlier example of toronto istanbul on turkish airlines business class let’s say we wanted to fly to istanbul stay there for two weeks and then continue on to abu dhabi after that stopover this is supposed to count as a redemption from toronto to abu dhabi with a stopover in istanbul so we can see that the total distance is 6980 miles and if we go to the flight reward chart that falls into this distance band on the north america to atlantic zone chart and so we look at business class and that’s going to be 85 000 points for the one-way flight and on top of that we need to add 5000 points for the stopover in istanbul so we’re expecting to pay 90 000 points for this overall journey however the important thing to know is that the multi-city tool on the aeroplan website currently is not able to actually price these stopovers correctly because if you were to search for toronto istanbul abu dhabi through the multi-city tool it would actually price each one of these two awards separately and charge you more than you actually should pay so what’s the only way to book these one-way flights with stopovers right now well you got a call i’m looking at toronto to istanbul on september 9th 2021 in business class that’s the first flight toronto to istanbul 9th of september okay yeah and then 25th of september istanbul to abu dhabi uh on etihad is it one passenger one passenger we’ve been looking at 90 000 90 000 points that’s right okay so that’s toronto istanbul with a stopover and then istanbul abu dhabi right that’s right okay um well yeah that’s that’s basically what i had expected um i was just calling to check but i’ll i’ll consider it and call you guys back when i’m ready to book that sounds good okay thank you so much thank you bye so as you can see guys you do need to call in to book that one-way flight with a stopover these days and it’s a little bit disappointing that the online multi-city search engine can’t handle it just yet we’ve been told that it might take up to a whole year’s time until we get the more robust multi-city search engine to be able to actually book stopovers and multiple journeys multiple one-way bounds online so if there was something to be a little bit disappointed by in the new program this would be it because if you do want to maximize that stopover for 5 000 points on a one-way journey you do have to call in every time and pay that 30 phone booking fee every time over the past month or so i’ve actually conducted quite a few more experiments just like the one i did right now over the aeroplan call center to figure out what’s actually possible in terms of booking complex trips which zones you can transit through on routes from one zone to another zone so if you’d like the full details on those rules and the rules that govern how far you can fly and which zones you can transit through then check out this post up here for all the details you need to know in terms of the best sweet spots of the program going forward i think a good starting point is to look at the flight reward charts and take note of the fact that the north america to atlantic zone chart tends to be disproportionately more expensive in both economy class and business class when you compare it to the north america to pacific zone chart which tends to be a little bit more favorable so as a result i think flying over to asia and australia will generally be a little bit more favorable on your aeroplan points balance in exchange for what you’re getting compared to flying over to europe africa the middle east or india now that’s a bit unfortunate if you tend to like to visit these places in the atlantic zone over the pacific zone but that’s kind of just how the chart played out in the end so with that in mind let’s highlight a few of the best sweet spots in the program starting on the west coast and then we’ll move on to the east coast on the west coast one of the best sweet spots is naturally going to be this vancouver tokyo or calgary tokyo flight the former is served by both air canada and a a the japanese airline and the latter is served only by air canada on a seasonal basis you’ll notice that both flights clock in just under the 5 000 mile threshold for the first distance band on the north america to pacific zone chart which means that you’ll only pay 55 000 points for a one-way flight on a a business class as a partner airline and if you’re flying air canada business class then the published dynamic range also begins at only 55 000 points and remember it’s possible for the pricing to go even lower than this as well now moving over to eastern canada starting out of a place like toronto i would say that actually one of the best sweet spots in the program is flying over to asia with a stopover in europe on the way and that goes back to the fact that the pacific zone chart is slightly more favorable than the atlantic chart especially if you keep your distance flown less than 11 000 miles in total and so here we see that in this sample journey from toronto to istanbul to singapore we’re only at 10 484 miles if we look at the charts anything up to 11 000 miles only costs 85 000 points in business class plus that 5 000 points for a stopover if you add it so it’s 90 000 points and that’s a pretty far journey to be traveling in exchange for that 90 000 point outlay so if we think about the aeroplan mini around the world that we’re all used to from the old program well now if we take that 90 000 points for a one-way flight with a stopover to asia and if we double it that’ll be 180 000 aeroplan points for a round-trip flight to somewhere around southeast asia from the east coast with a stopover in let’s say europe and then another stopover in let’s say in east asia and in general i would say that paying that 180 000 points for that round-the-world journey is gonna be the best sweet spot for maximizing your distance flown while adding two stopovers or having a total of three places that you’re visiting for an extended period finally let’s talk about the fees with the new aero plan you’re gonna have to pay a 30 phone booking fee just like before if you need to make a booking over the phone instead of online you’re gonna have to pay a 39 partner fee if you include a partner airline other than air canada on your ticket and then there’s the change in cancellation fees which are also a little bit more expensive than they were before and they’re displayed on screen right now on the topic of change in cancellation fees however there is a little bit of reprieve thanks to the current covid situation if you make any aeroplane booking until february 28th of 2021 then you’ll be able to cancel that booking for free at any time even if you need to make that cancellation after the deadline of february 28 2021 on top of that you’ll also be able to make one free change to the booking without having to pay a change fee you’ll only pay any difference in the cost of points and if your new booking actually costs fewer points then you’ll get that difference refunded partially back to your account so that’s great to see it’s great to see aeroplan putting on these flexible change in cancellation policies and it opens the door for you to make as many bookings as your aeroplan points balance will allow prior to february 28th of 2021 and then you’re free to cancel them if you don’t need them afterwards for no charge all right so after all that i feel like we’ve done a pretty good job of covering the new aeroplan flight rewards and showing you everything you need to know about redeeming your aero plan points for flights under the new program now there’s one more thing i wanted to show you over on the websites and that’s the new family sharing feature family sharing is accessed through your air canada dashboard directly after you log into your aeroplan account it’s available under this tab and once you click it you’ll be able to get started in setting up your family sharing account with up to seven other family members now it’s pretty straightforward in terms of how you actually do it you simply enter your family members first names and last names you enter their aeroplane number you choose the relationship between you and the family member and then you select whether or not that family member can actually redeem points out of the family pool once that’s done you click the send button and the invitation is sent off the invitee will receive an email from aeroplan where they can accept the invitation and join the family pool so as you can see it’s a pretty straightforward but very useful feature that allows an entire family to pull their points together and get to that redemption level that much faster now there are some rules to be aware of in terms of joining and exiting family sharing pools once you’ve joined you must remain a member for at least three months and then after leaving a family sharing pool you can no longer join another family sharing pool for a six-month waiting period and that’s just to prevent you know some unscrupulous behavior for the distant uncles out there in terms of sharing points through the family pools anyway that’s where i’m gonna end today’s video there’s been a lot of information that we’ve covered to bring you fully up to speed on the new aeroplan program now that it has launched in full if you enjoyed the video if you found that it has brought you value as you learned about the new aero plan then feel free to hit the like button and subscribe to the prince of travel youtube channel just click the subscribe button below the video and if you really really enjoy the video and would like access to some extra content and interaction on the side including some aeroplan sweet spots that have not been fully disclosed publicly then feel free to support prince of travel through the patreon membership page the link to which is in the description down below at the end of today’s video i would like to thank our patreon supporters alan g philippe b and alice c for your kind support and hey let me know in the comments what do you make of the new aeroplan as a whole have you been able to take advantage of some of the sweet spots just yet whether that’s something like vancouver tokyo for 55 000 points in business class or perhaps the latitude attitude for booking economy class and upgrading straight into business let me know what you think and i’ll see you in the next video