Aeroplan’s crazy generous award sale!

I realize I’m way late on this, mostly because I’ve been in “start up” mode with my new luxury travel consulting service. But hey, better late than never, I figure.

Last Friday Gary wrote about what appeared to be a glitch with the way Aeroplan was pricing award tickets, whereby first class awards were pricing at the business class cost, while business class awards were pricing at the coach cost. I didn’t write about it at the time because I figured it would be fixed within hours of it being posted, though as it turns out it wasn’t a glitch, but rather an unadvertised award sale.

It’s truly baffling to me that they would offer an unadvertised award sale. I’m not sure what they have to gain by doing that (you’d think they’d at least advertise it if they did, to create some goodwill after all the “taking” they’ve been doing lately), but then again I’ve been wondering if anyone is really awake at Aeroplan lately.

So while we don’t know how long the deal will last, there are some truly spectacular values to be had.

To start, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First of all, Aeroplan is transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. Points transfer instantly from Membership Rewards, while they can take about a week when transferring from Starwood Preferred Guest. Therefore I wouldn’t transfer from Statwood if you’re planning on taking advantage of this promotion, since I suspect it won’t be around by the time the points are in your account.

Second, it’s worth keeping in mind that Aeroplan is offering bonus points when transferring points from any of their partners, with the following bonuses:

The thing to understand is that the bonus points only post upon the completion of the promotion. That means you’ll need to transfer the full number of points required now, and then you’ll have extra points in your Aeroplan account in a few weeks that you can use for a future redemption.

Next, it’s worth keeping in mind that Aeroplan devalued their award chart back in July, so be familiar with their new pricing. Their Star Alliance award chart can be found here.

Next, keep in mind that Aeroplan has recently added fuel surcharges on just about all of their partner airlines, with the exception of Continental, United, and US Airways. That being said, fuel surcharges on Aegean, TAM,  TAP, and South African only kick in on December 14. So in the meantime that translates to some killer deals.

So while your strategy when redeeming miles should typically be to aim for a foreign carrier because they have better service, this is a case where it can be advantageous to fly a US carrier.

For example, for a Chicago to Tokyo award on United in business class, Aeroplan is presently charging only 75,000 miles:

Want to visit South Africa? If so, it’s only 100,000 miles on South African Airways in business class, and if you book by December 14, there are no fuel surcharges:

Want to go to Europe? Right now it’s only 60,000 miles roundtrip in business class:

Even better is that India only costs  100,000 miles in business class, while Australia only costs 80,000 miles in business class… if you can find the availability!

So if you’re in the position to book an award, you should definitely go for it. Just remember to stick to an airline on which Aeroplan doesn’t impose fuel surcharges, or your savings will be negated pretty quickly.

And keep in mind that the above bonuses don’t factor in the bonus points you can earn if transferring points from Membership Rewards.

Good luck!

Comments

  1. Can changes be made with only the change fee?one writer reports quoting an Aero rep they will bump up the miles to the prior sale level if its after the sale in according with the T&C of the sale.

  2. Are there any discounted deals flying in economy, or does the promo of less points only apply to first/business flights?

  3. @ ashley — Aeroplan is easily the most inconsistent airline when it comes to enforcing rules. Historically as long as you don’t change regions the cost shouldn’t change, so I would suspect that’s the case here. Though “your mileage may vary.”

    @ mike — Unfortunately if you don’t have Membership Rewards points or Aeroplan miles, there’s no easy way to get in on it.

    @ Frank — As far as I can tell this applies to business and first class only.

  4. FYI, my bonus points on two MR to Aeroplan transfers hit within a few hours, not at the end of the promo. YMMV.

  5. Personally, I think it’s a glitch and they’re calling it a “sale” to save face. It will go away as soon as they fix the back-end. It probably went haywire when they were implementing the recent fuel surcharges…

  6. Here are my unsubstantiated thoughts….Air Canada is on the soup. They need to raise cash to avoid a repeat of the recent AA issue.

    They spun off Aeroplan into its own company during their bankruptcy. Company entity is now called AIMIA. But I digress.

    Recenlty Aeroplan started to collect surcharges that the airlines charge. It is my belief that they do not have to pay these surcharges to the partner airlines for reward flights issued. An F fare I booked last year netted 390 dollars in charges. A similar F fare will now mean 2100 dollars in charges.

    My thought is that if they can sell off as many seats on Aeroplan as possible they they have that cash on hand.

    In the case where AC actually has to pay the partner’s airline fees then they have an interest free loan until the flight occurs.

    More than a few people are booking now in order not to lose any Aeroplan (for flight travel) should the unthinkable happen to AC.

  7. mike,

    If you have an Amex Platinum card, you could always call Membership Rewards and ask for an advance. They typically allow up to 60,000 points for an advance, with the stipulation that you have to “earn” those points within a year. If you don’t, you’ll be charged for any points you didn’t repay (I forgot the exact amount). For other Amex cards, they’ll typically allow a 15,000 advance.

    There were some truly killer deals with this. SQ 380 JFK-FRA-SIN RT for 75K miles and no fuel surcharges(with only one segment being in an SQ777). Saw some availability two days ago but now it’s all gone.

  8. Is there an easy way to find out what the fuel surcharges will be? I found a flight – SFO to ZRH to NRT to SFO for 75k miles in business. All segments are on United except for the ZRH-NRT leg which would be on Lufthansa.

    I went to Lufthansa’s website and priced out a one-way business class ticket from ZRH to NRT, and the fuel surcharge came out to about $348USD, which isn’t too bad for a rtw in business.

  9. Hi Lucky,

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but for international flights on Air Canada specifically (not Star Alliance partners), what exactly is First class? It looks to me like their international business class books into what they call “Executive First”, which leaves me wondering what benefits, if any, there are to redeeming points for travel in First.

  10. Just picked up a business class to Belgrade for 75k. Thank you Lucky for letting us now about this rare opportunity with Aeroplan!

  11. Tried to get a flight to Australia, but it was impossible to find anything… just decided to do LAX-ICN-NRT and back in J. Nice way to burn 75,000 miles. 🙂

  12. @keith, you are right, the bonus kicks in the day after I made the transfer.

    I scored two C tix SQ 25 JFK-FRA among other crazy segments, mini-RTW trip. The only draw back was the fuel surcharge, over $500, but it takes us to KTM and DEL, so can’t complain.

  13. Just booked exec first return to MAN from YYZ in January – no fuel surcharge and only 60K points. woohoo!

  14. It Ended this morning 7 a.m Dec 21st. 🙁

    been searching all 3 days. You know what they

    say everything good must end.

  15. @ Apu — Given that it was unpublished to begin with (and possibly an IT error they were promoting as a sale to save face) I doubt we’ll see it return anytime soon. Though who knows…

  16. Cool, I am working on doing myself a favor by planning my next trip – I think 🙂 … love your blogs!

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