For those that have been following my blog or Instagram, you might know that I have been travelling around Southeast Asia. Within the 5 months, I was deciding on where to go after Southeast Asia, and I came across this opportunity with Aeroplan. By redeeming my Aeroplan points, I turned my Southeast Asia trip to a mini round the world trip!
Before we start,
What is Aeroplan?
For those that do not know, Aeroplan is a loyalty program created by Air Canada as an incentive program for its frequent flyer customers. You earn Aeroplan points by flying Air Canada flights and its Star Alliance partners. Buying in their retail partners such as Home Hardware and Amazon will also earn you points. In 2002, the airline sold the program to another company, Aimia and in 2017 Air Canada announced it plans to launch a new loyalty program to replace the Aeroplan program in 2020. More recently Air Canada, along with TD Bank, CIBC and VISA, agreed to acquire Aeroplan back from Aimia. They plan on to transition the existing Aeroplan points to Air Canada’s new loyalty program launching in 2020. There is still a lot of uncertainty of what will happen to your Aeroplan points when they get transitioned to the new loyalty program in 2020. I made the decision to redeem all my Aeroplan points for this trip in anticipation that Air Canada will devalue the $1.9 billion worth of unused Aeroplan points.
What is the Aeroplan Mini RTW (Round the World)?
Each of the three global airline alliances (Star Alliance, OneWorld, and SkyTeam) sells special tickets called round the world tickets where you can fly around to multiple destinations around the world with their member airlines. These tickets are not cheap as they start around $4000 CAD. Aeroplan also sells these RTW tickets starting at 200,000 points.
The great thing about booking with Aeroplan is that it allows you to stop in three destinations and along with its liberal routing rules, you can fly “round the world” for the price of a round trip flight.
I wont go on about how to book the Mini RTW as there are other websites that do a better job such as the article from Prince of Travel.
One of the rule of an Aeroplan itinerary is that it must fall under the “maximum permitted mileage” (MPM) between your origin and destination. This is set so that you can’t have layovers or stopovers in Asia even though you’re starting in Canada and only flying to Europe. Aeroplan calculates the MPM between two cities using their formula, but basically cities that are farther apart will have a higher MPM. As I am travelling for over a year, it would also be nice to visit home, and as I’m currently in Southeast Asia, I chose to start in Perth, Australia and chose Toronto, Canada as my destination so I would have a high MPM. This would allow me to have a longer itinerary.
My main goal for this trip was to use my points to travel new continents, South American and Africa. I decided to give myself 3 months in South America and 2 months in Africa. I narrowed down the regions to explore to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, in South America and South Africa, Namibia, and Victoria Falls in Africa.
The added bonus of this 32,057 miles itinerary I chose is that it allows me to have long layovers in the rest of the cities I am going to (except for Warsaw). I originally wanted a longer layover in Warsaw, and a layover in Nairobi, Kenya, but couldn’t make it fit into my itinerary.
|Johannesburg||Sao Paulo||11:10||17:00||6 hours in Johannesburg|
|Avianca||Sao Paulo||Panama City||3:00||7:59||3 months in South America|
|Copa||Panama City||Mexico City||18:48||22:58||10 hours in Panama City|
|United||Mexico City||Houston||15:05||17:25||16 hours in Mexico City|
|United||Houston||Toronto||12:15||16:35||18 hours in Houston|
|LOT||Toronto||Warsaw||22:05||12:40||1 Month in Toronto|
|Austrian||Warsaw||Vienna||15:05||16:25||2 hours in Warsaw|
|Austrian||Vienna||Bucharest||10:05||12:40||17 hours in Vienna|
|Aegean||Bucharest||Athens||10:40||12:15||22 hours in Bucharest|
|Aegean||Athens||Cairo||7:30||8:30||19 hours in Athens|
|Cairo||Addis Ababa||2:20||7:20||17 hours in Cairo|
|Ethiopian||Addis Ababa||Johannesburg||23:30||3:55||16 hours in Addis Ababa|
|Johannesburg||Perth||21:15||12:20||2 months in Southern Africa|
Cents Per Point
In determining whether a reward flight is of good value, you need to figure out how much you’re saving by calculating the “cents per point” or “CPP” of your reward. This is something to brag about in the award travel community. The higher the CPP, the better your reward!
CPP = 100 x (Cost of buying a ticket – Aeroplan taxes & fees)/(cost of Aeroplan ticket in points)
My mini round the world trip with Aeroplan cost me 110,000 Aeroplan points, $346.20 CAD in taxes, and $30 CAD in booking fee. The $30 booking fee is mandatory when you book a reward flight over the phone, which you will need to with such a complicated itinerary.
After doing research on flight prices, I have came up with a conservative estimate of how much this itinerary is worth.
|South African||Perth||Sao Paulo||1,820||Layover in Johannesburg|
|Copa||Sao Paulo||Toronto||782||Layover in Panama City|
|Ethiopian/South African||Toronto||Johannesburg||952||Layover in Addis Ababa|
|Singapore||Johannesburg||Perth||722||Layover in Singapore|
The tickets above are four one way flight tickets that I think this is the closest thing I can come up with that matches with my itinerary. For $4,276 CAD, they cover the same destinations (Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Toronto) and with some of the layovers I am going to. Considering my itinerary covers more layovers, my journey could be considered more value than this one. So the CPP for my mini round the world trip with Aeroplan would be:
CPP = 100 x ($4,276 – ($346.20 + $30))/(110,000)
The above calculates to 3.89 cents per point, which is a great redemption!
In general, you should aim for a CPP of at least 1.5. When people say that Aeroplan is not worth it, usually they redeemed their miles at a very low CPP. If you can redeem your miles at a value of 2 CPP, this means that you got $500 worth of value out of 25,000 points
Plans on the Layovers
As I will only have less 24 hours in each of the layovers, here is my rough guide for each city
- Check out the Panama Canal in Panama City
- Eat tacos in Mexico City
- Pig out on Texas BBQ in Houston
- Explore and eat cakes in one of my favourite cities in the world, Vienna
- See the largest parliament building in the world in Bucharest
- Check out the Parthenon in Athens
- Wonder at the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo
- Learn about Ethiopian culture and history at Addis Ababa’s many museums
I will be making a blog post on each layover destination. Make sure to subscribe here to keep up to date!
How did I accumulate so many miles and points?
Well that has to be a separate blog post in the future. Make sure to subscribe here if you want to read it as soon it comes out!