This evening, Aeroplan will shut down for a couple days as it transitions to the new program. This is your last call to book sweet spots utilizing the old Aeroplan chart.
New Aeroplan: Generally Higher Prices, Lower Fees On Some Carriers
Across the board, prices are going up. The flip side is that fees will be capped at CAD39/ticket, which means carriers which used to carry exorbitant fuel surcharges, like Lufthansa and Austrian, no longer will.
But the new distance/zone-based chart will penalize those on the West Coast traveling to Europe or East Coast traveling to Asia. Rather than rehash that here, you can check out my detailed breakdown of the new Aeroplan program.
> Read More: Aeroplan’s New Award Chart: Winners And Losers
Last Call: Which Aeroplan Awards To Book Today
Generally, there are a few things I recommend booking today.
1.) North America – Europe
If you’re going to Europe, you currently pay 55K one-way in business class for Western Europe and 57.5K one-way for Central/Eastern Europe. After tonight, that rate will go up from 60K to 100K for exactly the same thing.
For example, let’s say you want to fly Los Angeles to Paris via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. This is an award I book all the time for Award Expert clients. Currently, the award costs 55K miles. Even though Istanbul is in the Eastern Europe zone, since your destination is in Western Europe you are charged the lower price. After today, that award will cost 100K, if it is even permitted. That’s because the new award chart is both zone and distance based and LAX-IST-CDG is 8,230 miles. As you can see below, all trips over 8,001 miles cost 100K miles. The new rules also state no backtracking, so it isn’t even clear if these type of routes will be allowed.
If you booked Los Angeles to Istanbul alone today, the cost is 57.5K in business. The same flight will be 80K after today.
Plus, Turkish flights don’t currently have fees and will carry a 39CAD/ticket fee after today as well.
While this is a poignant example, there are so many examples across the board of rates going up.
Even my Los Angeles – Zurich nonstop economy class on SWISS that I have booked so many times for my own family at a rate of 30K miles + $5.60 will go up to 36K miles after today and now carry a 39CAD/ticket fee plus the $5.60 in government taxes.
Currently, Aeroplan allows two stopovers on a round-trip journey (if booked over the phone, one if booked online) but none on one-way tickets. Free stopovers on round-trip tickets will no longer be available, but Aeroplan will allow for stopovers on a one-way basis (one only) at a cost of 5,000 miles plus any additional taxes the stopover incurs.
That opens up many opportunities, but it also eliminates clever stopover routings that currently do not incur additional mileage charges. If you are booking a multi-city trip, considering booking today.
3.) Partners Without Fuel Surcharges
In addition to less miles, you’re also going to pay less out-of-pocket if you book today for the majority of partners which do not tack on fuel surcharges. I mentioned SWISS above, but this applies to the majority of Aeroplan’s 30+ partner airlines. Say you want to fly Air China from Los Angeles to Bangkok via Beijing. The price today is 77.5K miles in business and virtually zero taxes/fees. Tomorrow, the price goes to 85K, which isn’t too bad. But you’ll also pay 39CAD per booking on top of the taxes.
Why not just get it booked today?
4.) Even Lufthansa Transatlantic Flights Originating in Europe
Lufthansa Business Class from Rome to Los Angeles via Frankfurt costs 55K miles today and about $400 in fees/taxes. Tomorrow, you’ll pay 85K miles, about $136 in taxes, and a 39CAD booking fee. I value Aeroplan points at around 1.5 cents each, so 30K miles is worth $250 to me. I’d book today even though my out-of-pocket drops tomorrow.
Reminder: Aeroplan Will Shut Down This Evening
While Aeroplan has not indicated a cut-off time, if there is something you have been dragging on booking, I would book now and not later. Last night, the hold times to reach an agent were over 90 minutes. I can imagine they will be similarly bad today.
Here’s what Aeroplan has said about its transition timeline:
Flight rewards will be temporarily unavailable for new reservations, changes and cancellations from the evening of Nov. 6, through the afternoon of Nov. 8. If a member is traveling during that time and needs immediate support for a previously booked flight reward reservation, they can contact the Aeroplan Contact Centre at 1-800-361-5373.
Bottom line: book now.
Some awards are going to cost a lot more tomorrow than they do today. If you are looking at taking the family to Europe next summer and flying on a carrier like Turkish, SWISS, TAP, or SAS, book your award today.
If you are considering signing up for a new credit card please click here and help support LiveAndLetsFly.com.