My second favourite frequent flyer programme after Miles & More is Aeroplan – Air Canada’s frequent flyer programme (at least for the next 2 years). Aeroplan is an instant transfer partner of America Express Membership Rewards points and offers generous routing rules on award tickets while not charging fuel surcharges on a number of incredible Star Alliance airlines.

The “trick” to booking Aeroplan awards with no fuel surcharges basically consists of checking United.com and finding award space on a Star Alliance partner like SWISS, on which Aeroplan doesn’t impose fuel surcharges. Aeroplan’s website doesn’t show a lot of flight results at all – which is why you should always use United’s website to find flights.

Montreal - Aeroplan's "City"

Montreal – Aeroplan’s “City”

Aeroplan’s routing rules on award tickets are incredibly simple. Aeroplan doesn’t have any restrictions on the number of segments on a ticket or that you can’t route via a third region – this is what makes Aeroplan very powerful. Here are the basic rules that apply to award tickets:

  • No stopovers on one-way tickets
  • 2 stopovers OR 1 stopover AND 1 open-jaw on a round-trip ticket
  • The total distance you wish to fly from your origin to your destination must be within maximum permitted mileage

That’s basically it.. simple, right? The most powerful aspect is being able to create a mini-RTW trip for the cost of a regular round-trip ticket. You can fly from Seattle to London (stopover) to Athens (destination) to Barcelona (stopover) to Seattle for the same price that you would fly a simple round-trip from Seattle to Athens. You can even fly from (for example) Toronto to Hong Kong (stopover) to Dubai (destination) to London (stopover) to Toronto – this would be a mini-RTW ticket for the same price that you could fly Toronto – Dubai round-trip without any stopovers.

I know that Aeroplan has many flaws – for example, they constantly block some Star Alliance airlines and claim there are “problems” with those airlines when no other Star Alliance airline has these “problems”. Their phone agents aren’t the best either (they were until Air Canada made the announcement that they would create their own frequent flyer programme). All in all, I still consider the programme incredibly valuable and I’m sad to see them go in a few years – I can’t think of another programme as flexible and generous.

Be sure to check out some of the awesome Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Hotel Rewards Credit Cards, and Point Rewards Credit Cards that are available and will earn you lots of miles and great travel benefits!