Aeroplan mini-RTW rules, tricks and explanation, part 1

It’s one thing to discuss the current greatest deals and give heads-up on promotions, but it’s entirely another matter to discuss the entire point of all this point hoardage – taking round-the-world trips in business or first class, for pennies (well, for low dollars).

First, a bit of background. On December 8, 2008, one of the biggest changes ever to a frequent flyer program was announced. Generally, changes are never good. Point levels increase, restrictions are imposed, and so on. But this one was a shocker, and a spectacular one, at that. As detailed in this FlyerTalk post at the time, the two most important things that changed for international itineraries were:

  • two stopovers, instead of only one, would now be permitted, and
  • outbound and return flights no longer have to be over the same ocean

Between the first and the second point, you were now being officially told, though not in such direct terms, that if your routing allows it (subject to various rules that we will discuss later, MPM and so on), then you can stop twice along the way – on top of the destination, of course, which is excluded from this.

This opened the door to paradise. All of a sudden, flying Montreal-Tokyo would no longer have to be Montreal-Toronto-Tokyo or Montreal-Chicago-Tokyo on the outbound and on the return. Now, all of a sudden, you became able to fly Montreal-Toronto-Tokyo-Beijing-Singapore-Frankfurt-Montreal, which is obviously a round-the-world routing, but now you were also able to stop, for instance, in Beijing and Frankfurt in addition to your destination of Tokyo. Combined with no fuel surcharges and low redemption rates (100K for business, 125K for first class), this was the golden age of Aeroplan.

Of course, since then, some changes have been brought in (fuel surcharges and higher point levels – 125K for business and 175K for first, limited availability in first class on Swiss and Lufthansa, and so on), but I argue that this still remains one of the best frequent flyer programs because of the two stopover rule, allowing any trip to Asia to visit Europe and another point in Asia before getting to your destination. Or, which is even better (although much harder because of availability), a ticket from Montreal to Sydney would allow you to stop in Singapore and the Cook Islands in addition to your Sydney stop.

But how is this magic done? We will explore this in a series of posts that have absolutely nothing to do with raising the profile of this blog, and all to do with sharing the wealth of information. 🙂