One-Way Aeroplan Partner Awards Now Bookable!

Air Canada’s Aeroplan program is kicking off the new year by implementing changes to their frequent flyer program, effective as of today. Aeroplan announced the changes to their award chart last June, and while the changes are negative for the most part, one huge improvement is the ability to book one-way awards for half the price of a round trip.

This is really exciting, as even with the price increases there are still some great values to be had on the Aeroplan award chart.

  • Travel between the US and Europe “zone 1” is 90,000 miles in business class, which means a one-way business class ticket is just 45,000 miles
    • Aeroplan defines Europe 1 as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain (incl. Balearic Islands; excl. Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
    • Europe 2 consists of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldovia, Romania, Russia (Western), Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and the Ukraine, and is 105,000 miles for the round trip in business class, or 52,500 for the one-way.
  • Travel between the US and Asia “zone 1” is 150,000 miles in business class, which means a one-way business class ticket is just 75,000 miles
    • Asia 1 is fairly comprehensive, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, North Korea, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.
    • Asia 2 includes Brunei, Cambodia, Guam, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mariana Island (Spain), Myanmar, Philippines, Russia (Eastern), and would be just 155,000 miles for the round trip in business class, or 77,500 for the one-way.

Aeroplan-One-Way-Award

The catch is that Aeroplan imposes fuel surcharges for redemptions on most of their partner airlines, but if you can avoid those surcharges then these mileage amounts can be a great value. When booking through the Aeroplan program you’ll want to stick to Air China, Brussels, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, EVA Air, Scandinavian, Singapore, Swiss, Turkish, United, and US Airways as much as possible, as these airlines have no (or as in the case of LOT, very low) fuel surcharges.

It’s also worth noting that you can include other airlines that do impose fuel surcharges on the same Aeroplan award, and you’ll only be charged the fuel surcharges for the segments on the airlines which impose them. So a short intra-European flight shouldn’t have especially high fuel surcharges, should you want to include a segment on Lufthansa or Austrian to connect to your transatlantic segment.

Although I’m never a fan of increases to award charts, I think having the option to book a one-way is an huge improvement. If you’re looking to redeem miles for an award flight this expands your options significantly:

  • You could look at using American miles or British Airways Avios to fly Oneworld carriers in one direction, and return on Star Alliance carriers using Aeroplan, for example.
  • With the changes to the United award chart, travel on partner airlines is rather expensive, though it might make sense to book Austrian or Lufthansa through United in one direction (as both have high fuel surcharges), then use Aeroplan miles for an airline that doesn’t have high fees in the other.

I typically find the best way to acquire Aeroplan points is through American Express Membership Rewards, which are accrued with the The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card, The Enhanced Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, and The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express . The transfers are instant, and any Membership Rewards account can transfer to any Aeroplan account, which is quite handy.

Alternatively, Starwood Preferred Guest also transfers at a 1:1 ratio to Air Canada Aeroplan, and given that they offer a 5,000 point bonus when transferring in 20,000 point increments can be a tremendous value. The transfers do take about a week, but you can book a round-trip ticket to Europe for just 75,000 SPG points. I find the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express tremendously valuable for non-bonused spend, and while I generally use SPG points for hotels, there is a good value to be had in the airline transfers as well.

Overall, while the Aeroplan award chart changes are no doubt negative on the whole, the ability to book one-way awards at half the cost of a roundtrip is a great new option to have.

(In the interest of full disclosure I earn a referral bonus on some of the above links — thanks for your support!)

Comments

  1. The big warning I always give is Aeroplan is NOT open 24 hours a day. Good luck if you have a problem with flights(s) on an award itinerary and they’re not open. You’re SCREWED.

  2. One caveat – if you use AC for a TATL or TPAC leg leaving N America, they have been known to impose fuel surcharges on the entire itinerary – even if you have no or low YQ flights. Be careful and avoid AC or LH flights especially if at all possible and use UAMP for these two in particular to avoid scam charges on the exact same flights that AC dings you on.

    @Mitchzmagic – Australia to Asia 1 is 60K/90K/130K

  3. Seems like Amex gains, and Chase a loser with the UA devaluation. I am looking to maximize spend on Amex cards now because of the better options for transfer of miles.

  4. Hi Lucky

    Does it make sense to collect Aeroplan miles when living in Europe? Can one earn and redeem miles on their partners or do you have to fly on their own metal from time to time?

    Thanks!

  5. So Swiss has no fuel charges but Lufthansa does? I thought they were all one big happy Miles & More family??

  6. @ Tom — It can be a decent program, though depending on where you’re traveling to and what fare classes you book, there are better programs. They do however require you to earn at least 10,000 elite qualifying miles and five segments on Air Canada in order to qualify for status, so it might not be a great option.

  7. Bad news Lucky – the one-way for 50% price only seems to apply for awards starting or ending in Canada/USA. When you try to make a booking for anything else (e.g. Australia – Asia 1) the website returns an error and says it’s not eligible for a one-way reward.

    I’m really hoping it’s one of Aeroplan’s frequent IT glitches, but since non-Canada/US awards are specifically listed only on the “Round-trip ClassicFlight Rewards” table it’s probably not.

    Looks like AC got us again!

  8. What value is this for Swiss? Seems like they don’t release J/F awards for travel to North America…is that correct?

  9. @ Jeremy – Swiss doesn’t release any F space at all to partners. There’s J space available several months in advance, particularly on YUL-ZRH. They also release a fair number of J seats within a week or two of departure.

  10. Funny that you mentioned “one-way business class ticket is just 75,000 miles” and highlighted in bold just wanted to push your referral links….what good about this? 75000 miles one way with no stopover is definitely not good at all when comparing to most other programs…..not to mention most partners with aeroplan have high fuel surcharges and often you don’t get a direct flight, more connections means more fuel surcharges for them

  11. @ Jose – Keeping in mind the upcoming changes to award charts I *do* think that’s a good rate. After February 1 United will charge 70,000 miles for a one-way to North Asia on United metal, and 80,000 on partner airlines, so the Aeroplan rates aren’t unreasonable, in my opinion.

  12. That is true if you compare to United only. However, you forgot to mention the other major programs such as US airway, Sky miles, AA or Avios etc, these programs charge less or alot less from North America to North Asia. Don’t get me wrong I think Bloggers do deserve people use their referral links considering if they provide true and FULL details. The markets are bombarded with many outstanding points that’s a major reason why we are seeing miles devaluation more and more often nowadays because of some bloggers falsely push their referral links but not telling the whole true of it.

  13. The fuel charges are getting out of hand, or rather, the fact that Aeroplan makes you pay for them.

    YQ on a recent RTW (Asia 1 reward) came to $1089 !! Mind you that’s a round trip.

    Be aware that in addition to the one way miles, you may need a large YQ co-pay.

  14. @Arcanum, yup knew that about F but thanks for info about Swiss J. Never seen seats with UA miles though. Do they release more to Aeroplan?

  15. @ Jeremy – I think Aeroplan gets the same access as everyone else. There are scattered seats available from mid-March to November if you do a non-stop search on the UA website.

  16. I’m getting an error of ineligble one way for YIH-PEK-SHA ON CA.. is one way not allowed for same region awards?

  17. What is the deifnition of a stop over? Can I book xxx-yyy, arrive at 1330 and depart xxx-zzz at 0715 +1 day later?

  18. @ ORGODD — Depends on where you’re flying. For a longhaul award, 24 hours should be fine as a connection.

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