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Air Canada refreshed their Aeroplan frequent flyer program a few years back and ever since the re-launch, the program quickly became one of my favorites due to a number of factors including:

  • ability to easily earn points by transferring in from Amex, Chase, etc.
  • no fuel surcharges
  • flexible routing rules
  • many partners outside of Star Alliance
  • mix and match airlines on the same ticket
  • great online booking experience

Prior to the program’s refresh, Aeroplan did impose fuel surcharges on airlines like Austrian and Lufthansa, which meant most flyers avoided these even though Lufthansa does release a lot of Business Class award space. The improved routing rules and stopover rules quickly accelerated the program to the front for many of us.

Aeroplan’s award chart is based on both distance and zone – the price you pay depends on how much you fly and what zones you fly between – this has created a bunch of sweet spots all around the world thanks to Aeroplan’s unique partner airlines outside of the Star Alliance, like Air Mauritius, Gulf Air, Oman Air, etc.

Aeroplan Rates from East Coast to Europe

The distance between the East Coast and West Europe falls into one of Aeroplan’s sweet spot redemptions. Specifically, the pricing is as follows:

  • North America <-> Atlantic zone
    • Business Class = 60k miles one-way for itineraries up to 4,000 miles flown
    • First Class = 90k miles one-way for itineraries up to 4,000 miles flown

If you want to fly a little further, the price for Business Class jumps up to just 70k miles for itineraries up to 6,000 miles flown and 100k in First Class.

The Business Class price of 60k miles one-way covers many European cities from the East Coast of the U.S. and since United has a hub in both Newark and Washington D.C., many flights are possible. Not only that, but lots of Aeroplan partner airlines operate flights between West Europe and the East Coast. For example, you could fly from London to New York or Lisbon to Washington for 60k miles in Business Class.

This is a great price for Business Class without any fuel surcharges. Keep in mind that United recently devalued their pricing and now they would charge around 88k miles for the same flight if you book through their program.

Add a Stopover for 5k Aeroplan Miles

You can add on a stopover for just 5k miles extra to most Aeroplan itineraries – however, keep in mind that the overall price could change and be more than 5k points extra if you fly further or switch zones. For example:

  • Newark – London – Zurich
    • stopover in London
    • total price 65k miles in Business Class (60k because the distance of the itinerary is 3,956 miles flown + 5k for the stopover)
  • Washington – Lisbon – Barcelona
    • stopover in Lisbon
    • total price 75k miles in Business Class (70k because the distance of the itinerary is 4,211 miles flown + 5k for the stopover)

You can add multiple stopovers for just 5k miles each – you are not limited to just one stopover and they can also be added on one-way itineraries.

Bonus: Seattle/Vancouver to Tokyo Sweet Spot

What about the other side of the country – from the West Coast to Asia? Well, since the distance is much greater, expect to pay more miles. There is, however, one sweet spot – flights from Seattle or Vancouver to Tokyo price for just 55k miles one-way in Business Class. Why?

  • North America <-> Pacific zone
    • Business Class = 55k miles one-way for itineraries up to 5,000 miles flown

The distance of Seattle to Tokyo is 4,769 miles and Vancouver to Tokyo is 4,674 miles, both under 5,000 miles flown.

Anything further beyond Tokyo (except maybe a short domestic flight within Japan), will bump you up to a higher redemption rate as flights from/to North America from/to Pacific will cost 75k miles one-way in Business Class if your itinerary goes over 5,000 miles flown – which it easily will if you are flying between other city pairs.

The good news is that it is fairly simple to fly to Seattle from any place in the U.S. and then it is easy to fly from Tokyo to most places in Asia – so you could plan a multi-city trip with a bunch of one-way redemptions to take advantage of this sweet spot.

All in All

Aeroplan has a bunch of sweet spots across their award charts and when you combine that with their unique partner airlines and no fuel surcharges, you are in for a great booking experience and trip if you can find award availability. Aeroplan miles are fairly easy to earn since they partner with AMEX, Chase, and others so you can easily transfer miles instantly into your account and book your desired award itinerary. Aeroplan does still charge change and cancellation fees outside of the 24h booking window, if you need to adjust your travel plans – and if you need to call Aeroplan for whatever reason, you will be on hold for quite a while due to increased call volumes (an ongoing problem for the past few years).

Travel Miles 101 has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel Miles 101 and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.