Aeroplan Hacking – Using Stopovers Creatively

Tuesday 19th, February 2013 / 20:54 Written by
Aeroplan Hacking – Using Stopovers Creatively
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This is an article in a series on using Aeroplan miles creatively to extract more value from them. My series on Aeroplan basics can be seen here.

Related Posts:

As mentioned in the earlier series on Aeroplan basics, one of the huge benefits of Aeroplan award tickets, is that you are allowed a stopover on any roundtrip ticket. The ability to use stopovers can save significant amounts of money if you had been willing to pay for that stopover anyways as well as if you can use it to strategically save some money.

The Skinny

The ability to use stopovers on award flights can save you significant amounts of money. There area few cases when the stopover feature can be used to your advantage:

  1. Making a trip with the intention of visiting 2 places (natural stopover)
  2. Reducing taxes and fees
  3. Circumventing routing rules to open up award availability
  4. Combining 2 disjointed trips with your home airport as a stopover (creative stopover)

Remember that award itineraries wholly within North America that include flights operated by United Airlines can’t have a stopover.

I recently helped someone from Vancouver with a trip where he wanted to stop in Toronto, then go to Houston and then back home. They were all sold on the Toronto (Buffalo) – Houston trip but just wanted some help with getting a discount on the Vancouver-Toronto part, which is the significantly more expensive leg. By making use of an award ticket, we were able to structure the flight to be:

  • Vancouver – Toronto
  • Toronto – Houston
  • Houston – Vancouver

This was all for the same number of miles (25K) as a Vancouver – Toronto roundtrip would have been, and we probably saved some money in the taxes and fees by avoiding the Toronto-Vancouver leg on Air Canada.

Uses of the Stopover Feature

There are 4 main ways that having a stopover can help you:

  1. Making a trip with the intention of visiting 2 places (natural stopover)
  2. Reducing taxes and fees
  3. Circumventing routing rules to open up award availability
  4. Combining 2 disjointed trips with your home airport as a stopover (creative stopover)

Making a trip with the intention of visiting 2 places (natural stopover)

This is the most natural use of the stopover. In my example above, the person I was helping had originally intended on doing Vancouver – Toronto and then going on to Houston then back to Vancouver. Using the stopover feature allowed that to be ticketed on a single itinerary.

If you often like natural stopovers, using Aeroplan miles for this purpose will be beneficial.

Reducing Taxes and Fees

As I have discussed earlier, certain flights and certain destinations will have higher taxes and fees than others. If you are interested in reducing your taxes and fees, this can be done by using the stopover feature to avoid flights with high taxes or avoid destinations that have high taxes and fees.

Avoid expensive exit tax

Another example of reducing your fees is by avoiding airports that have high departure taxes. As we noted earlier, there is a high departure tax on flights leaving the United Kingdom. Flights that are ticketed from the United Kingdom to North America have a higher departure tax than those departing to Europe (it is based on distance). This is based on the final destination, not based on the length of the specific leg leaving the United Kingdom.

To reduce the departure tax, we would have to figure out a way for the United Kingdom to think the final destination of our journey out of UK would be Europe, instead of North America. We can do this by setting up a stopover, not just a connection, in Europe on the way back. Note that your stopover in Europe must be for more than 24 hours.

Example

Let’s say you wanted to go from Montreal / YUL to London / LHR. Here are 4 suggested itineraries:

Itinerary A
No Stopovers or Connection
Itinerary B
Connections, No Stopover
Itinerary C
Stopover, No Connection
Itinerary D
Stopover & Connections
Class of Service Economy Economy Economy Economy
Route YUL-LHR YUL-PHL-LHR YUL-LHR YUL-PHL-LHR
Carrier Air Canada US Airways Air Canada US Airways
Route LHR-YUL LHR-EWR-YUL LHR-ZRH LHR-ZRH
Carrier Air Canada United Swiss Swiss
Route ZHR-YUL ZRH-YUL
Carrier Swiss Swiss
Fuel Surcharge $412.00 $0.00 $206.00 $0.00
UK International Passenger Charge $64.80 $64.80 $40.70 $40.70
Total Taxes & Fees $670.65 $273.85 $451.75 $255.65

Using the stopover over feature and avoiding Air Canada operated flights can save you a lot of money. You can also get the benefit of seeing a new city. If you are going to spend more on a hotel in Zurich than you are saving, then it is not worth your while.

Circumventing Routing Rules to Open Up Awards

When flying between 2 Canadian destinations, a connection airport can’t be in the US. However, on Aeroplan tickets, a stopover can be made in the US, as long as it is within the routing rules. As mentioned earlier, the routings have to work out such that your stopover is in a reasonable connection city. When there is no availability for the domestic portion, such as at Christmas, we can use 2 roundtrips with stopovers to make up the route via the US.

Remember, flights between 2 Canadian cities can’t route via the US, so it would require 2 separate 1-way awards, or 1 roundtrip with open-jaw award (where allowed) to recreate this.
2 separate 1-way awards will cost you more than the roundtrip with stopover.
If you are able to create a valid open-jaw award, why not just take the extra free flight on a roundtrip with stopover to close the open-jaw?

Pointster’s Pointers:
  • If your (within Canada) routing could be a short-haul flight, use US cities that maintain that short-haul (YHZ-YUL using BOS or YVR-YYC using SEA)
  • Creating a flight between 2 hub cities may let you put both your flights within Canada at a later date (YYZ-YVR can be done as YYZ-SEA, return via YVR & YVR-ORD, return via YYZ)
  • Flights operated by United Airlines can’t be used when there are stopovers on a “North America” only itinerary
  • Where possible, use US Airways cities (PHL, CLT, PHX) as your US “hubs”
    • More US Airways operated flights that will be direct
    • Reduce the fuel surcharge that would be applied on Air Canada operated flights

I think examples show this the best.

Example: YYZ-YHZ

You want a return ticket from Halifax / YHZ to Toronto / YYZ. There are direct flights between these 2 cities, and any legal routing would have to connect in a Canadian city.

Let’s say that you are from Toronto but you go to school in Halifax and fly the Toronto – Halifax route regularly. It is the middle of October and you realize that your flights around Christmas might be very pricey so you are looking to get that flight paid for using miles.

Unfortunately, booking “so late”, there are no more award flights available between Halifax and Toronto on Air Canada for Aeroplan redemption. What we will do is set up 2 roundtrip flights with stopovers, such that our plans around Christmas can be done on US Airways flights (partner) through the US where there is availability instead of on Air Canada flights through Canada, where there is no availability.

Roundtrip 1
YHZ-PHL
Return via YYZ
Roundtrip 2
YHZ-PHL
Outbound via YYZ
Flight 1 Dec 23 (am)
YHZ-PHL
US
Nov 1
YHZ-YYZ
AC
Flight 2 Dec 23 (pm)
PHL-YYZ
US
Dec 29 (am)
YYZ-PHL
US
Flight 3 May 5
YYZ-YHZ
AC
Dec 29 (pm)
PHL-YHZ
US

We would need to fly YHZ-YYZ in advance of Dec 29 because the route we are doing is YHZ-PHL (return via YYZ). To have an itinerary start with YHZ-PHL, we would need the return to be PHL-YYZ via YHZ which is not a valid routing due to distance.

In this scenario, you were able to get your roundtrip YHZ-YYZ flight made (using miles) on Dec 23 – Dec 29, using the stopover feature. We would also get the other legs (one YHZ-YYZ and one YYZ-YHZ) available for use when we can find much more award availability.

Example: YYZ-YVR

In the above example, we used the hub city of PHL to make up the flight between Halifax and Toronto. We had to have a flight on the front end of Roundtrip 2 because Halifax is not a valid connection on the YYZ-PHL route. If we were interested in flying between 2 hub cities where we can make lots of legal connections, we could structure our 2 closed-ended roundtrips.

Consider the following example: You live in Toronto and want to go to Vancouver at Christmas, then again in the summer. Award flights between Toronto and Vancouver for Christmas are taken as early as July, so you want to make those flights up through the US.

Roundtrip 1
YHZ-SEA
Return via YVR
Roundtrip 2
YVR-ORD
Return via YYZ
Flight 1 Dec 23 (am)
YYZ-SEA
AC
Dec 29 (am)
YV-ORD
AC
Flight 2 Dec 23 (pm)
SEA-YVR
AC
Dec 29 (am)
ORD-YYZ
AC
Flight 3 July 5
YVR-YYZ
AC
July 2
YYZ-YVR
AC

Because our origin and our destination are hub cities, we can tell Aeroplan to use them as stopover points for the “return” from our US city. This allows us to create 2 closed roundtrip flights.

Combining 2 disjointed trips into a single award ticket (creative stopover)

The creative stopover is my favorite use of the stopover feature. This is when one combines 2 disjointed trips and uses the home airport as the stopover. This really only works when the home airport is either a natural Star Alliance hub or you are traveling in different directions for your disjointed trips. Note that this strategy is the best you can do using Aeroplan miles since you are allowed 1 open jaw OR 1 stopover on award tickets. Other programs such as United MileagesPlus, American AAdvantage and Delta Skymiles allow much more opportunities to exploit this.

Example

Let’s say that you live in Toronto, but have family in both Vancouver and in Halifax. You are going to be visiting your family in Vancouver at Christmas and then going to visit your family in Halifax in March. Normally, you would book this as 2 separate roundtrip tickets. Using Aeroplan miles, this would cost you 25K each roundtrip for a total of 50K + taxes and fees.

Home airport:  Toronto / YYZ
Destination 1:  Halifax/ YHZ (December)
Destination 2:  Vancouver / YVR (March)

There are a few options:

  •  Option 1: Buy 2 disjointed roundtrips
  • Option 2: Buy the first leg as an independent 1-way, buy the rest as a multi-city with a stopover in your home city

Option 2 would look like this:

Date Route Price in Miles
Flight 1 Dec 10 Toronto to Halifax 17K miles
or revenue ticket
Flight 2 Dec 15 Halifax to Toronto 25K miles
Flight 3 Mar 21 Toronto to Vancouver
Flight 4 Mar 28 Vancouver to Toronto
Flight 5 Mar 28 Toronto to Halifax

You will not actually get onto the plane for flight 5.

To get this to work, your Vancouver – Halifax flight would have to be done with a connection in Toronto and you would NOT check a bag. When you get to Toronto, you will “forget” to take your Toronto-Halifax flight. Since you want to end up in Toronto, this works out well.

Not taking this last flight is considered to be faux-pas, however, there is nothing illegal about it. If you do it many times, Aeroplan / Air Canada may get upset. The first or second time you do it, though there will be no repercussions.

This is a method of cherry picking your flights. Since you would have to buy your upfront leg with cash, you can take advantage of cheap one way flights. If you are substituting a US city, such as Boston for Halifax in the above example, you can also save a lot of money on your front leg YYZ-BOS ticket if you instead used Buffalo airport. As explained in the article here, using Buffalo airport can save you a lot of money when flying from Toronto area to many US destinations. If you are crossing the border into the US, and your home airport is the first point of entry into the US (in this case Toronto), you will be able to check bags on your last flight (Vancouver to Toronto) since you will be forced to get your bag in Toronto for US customs.

Recap

The ability to use stopovers on award flights can save you significant amounts of money. There are a few cases when the stopover feature can be used to your advantage:

  1. Making a trip with the intention of visiting 2 places (natural stopover)
  2. Reducing taxes and fees
  3. Circumventing routing rules to open up award availability
  4. Combining 2 disjointed trips with your home airport as a stopover (creative stopover)

Knowing how to exploit this feature can be very valuable.

,

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35 comments on “Aeroplan Hacking – Using Stopovers Creatively”

  1. Bruce says:

    I tried the following on aeroplan redemption but does not work:

    YYZ-SEA Fri Oct 18 2013
    SEA-YVR Fri Oct 18 2013
    YVR-YYZ Fri Oct 25 2013

    and got the error “Your requested itinerary is invalid and cannot be booked on one reward.”

    • thepointster says:

      That is definitely a valid itinerary. If I were you I would call in to Aeroplan.com and tell them the problem. I am really unsure why this would not work, since it is clearly a stopover in North America. Did you call Aeroplan and see what they said?

      In fact, I realized that you can get 2 stopovers or 1 open jaw / 1 stopover if you would like on an international itinerary

  2. sly delvecchio says:

    Love the article. Definitely will consider your recommendations when booking my next flight.

  3. Eva says:

    Hello…I was wondering if you could help me figure out to book from YvR to Rome for 4 weeks over summer (August/sept). Would love to stay over in Amsterdam or some other European country before going to Rome or even on the return flight back to YVR. I’m pretty open. When I looked to book from YVR to Rome the fees and taxes for 2 people were approx. $1200!!!!! Any help appreciated.

    • thepointster says:

      Hi,

      We can definitely help you out. A few things that you might want to look into. The taxes are very high using certain carriers. Using Aeroplan miles, Air Canada planes are going to carry very high taxes, as will Lufthansa, for example. The most important thing to do is get onto more tax efficient carriers. From Vancouver to Europe (using Aeroplan miles), that is going to be a routing through the US and using United planes or Swiss Air planes among others. This should be the best way to reduce your taxes and fees on this flight. Note that this will likely reduce your options for direct flights and such.

      In terms of your stopover in Amsterdam / Rome, this should be doable using Aeroplan miles so you shouldnt have an issue doing it.

      So given that you know what to look for, you should be aware that the Aeroplan website is going to generally try to show you flights that have higher fees for Aeroplan redemptions. The cheaper options may be hidden and / or not the first options shown. Your best bet to look for flights is going to be the United website or the ANA website. I go over that in the following articles:
      http://www.creditwalk.ca/aeroplan-basics-finding-award-availability/
      http://www.creditwalk.ca/aeroplan-hacking-when-you-cant-find-award-availability/

      Finally, if you are struggling to find a flight that works, I am happy to do it for you if you would like to hire me using my award travel booking service:
      http://www.creditwalk.ca/award-travel-booking/

      Good luck and let me know if you need any help.

  4. Tony says:

    Hey,

    I could really use some help… My girlfriend and I would like to use my aeroplane points to fly from YVR to London Heathrow, but the taxes, fees, etc are ridiculous ($1,400)!!!

    We were hoping to also fly over to Munich for a few days or we also considered doing a stop-over in Minneapolis.

    How could I best utilize my points to make any of this happen?

    • thepointster says:

      This can definitely be done better.

      First you will want to avoid air Canada planes. To Europe it makes sense to try to get onto flights operated by united. That might mean a routing Vancouver to san Francisco to london. Alternative are likely through Chicago or Denver or Houston. The less distance you fly on air Canada (or other fuel surcharge carriers) the better it will be for your pocket book.
      Here is an article discussing the taxes and fees
      http://www.creditwalk.ca/aeroplan-basics-taxes-fees/

      Secondly, you will pay am exit tax out of London. This is based on the distance you fly out. This means that exiting London to Europe will cost you less than exiting London to north america. If you structure it as Vancouver… London…Germany…Vancouver that will be cheaper than Vancouver… Germany… London…vancouver. that is destinations not connections that I mentioned above.

      Finally your stopover in Minnesota should be doable as well but the ticket has to be called in. Be aware that this can’t be done online. Aeroplan phone agents are inconsistent in enforcing written rules in my experience so actually getting it to work is hit or miss. I suggest you try but expect it to not happen.

      Finally if you are in a jam, email us through the award booking service link above and I’ll look into the specific flights for you.

  5. Mike says:

    Hi Pointster, Your article caught my eye because I often fly YVR/CDG which necessitates a stop over in YYZ or YUL and I would love to be able to combine a trip to CDG with a short trip to YYZ. Do you know of any way through aeroplan points of actually having a stop over of several days rather than just hours?

    • thepointster says:

      Hey,

      On any roundtrip flight that is overseas, you are allowed up to [2 stopovers] or [1 open jaw and 1 stopover] in addition to the destination. By this, stopovers mean destinations that you can stay at for as long as you like, up to 1 year.

      (Connections are when you are in a city for less than 24 hours, and simply using the airport to get the next flight)

      What that means is you can book your trip as
      Montreal – Toronto
      Toronto – Paris
      Paris – Zurich
      Zurich – Montreal

      This would be actual destinations, not connections. This way, you can spend several days in Toronto if you like.

      I used Zurich and Toronto as examples here, but you can choose any cities you like that are in North America and Europe as long as it is not too far out of the way from the base trip, which would appear to be Montreal – Europe. (The “base trip” doesnt have to be Montreal – Paris, since in theory Paris could be considered the stopover en route to the other destination, that is farther)

      Somethign to consider if you are booking with Aeroplan miles is that you will want to try to get off of Air Canada operated planes if you have an option. In this situation, a stopover in Toronto would mean you are targetting the YYZ-CDG flight on Air Canada to redeem your miles on. Doing this will run you a lot in terms of taxes / fuel surcharges. If you are indifferent to where you connect / stopover, I would suggest you try to target a flight operated by United Airlines or possibly Swiss Air as Aeroplan does not charge the very expensive fuel surcharge on flights operated by these carriers. You could save several hundreds of dollars (possibly $700 or $800 per passenger) by simply connecting in New York so you can take the United flight. Just bear this in mind as you are already requiring a connection. If you are indifferent, you should choose the one that saves you money.

      Email me if you want help with your specific flights. Good luck and have a great trip.

  6. Dave says:

    My wife and I are flying from YYT to Orlando.

    I would like it a multicity stopping either on the way down or back into another city for a few days.

    I seem to only be able to get this to work with Toronto and Montreal.

    Is there a way to find out which other cities I may be able to use as part of multi city?

    • thepointster says:

      Hi Dave,

      The multi-city option is a useful one. The letter of the law states that you can make a stopover anywhere that is reasonably en route. In theory, that should be any city up and down the East Coast of the the United States, say New York for discussion purposes. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my article on the devaluation of Aeroplan miles with the exit of US Airways, this is going to not work since your flight that would be wholly in the US (Orlando to New York) would have to be operated by a US partner carrier as Air Canada would not be allowed to operated this flight. United is the only partner allowed to do this route, so it would have to be there, but from multiple sources, it seems that United operated flights are not allowed to be used on any domestic (Canada / US only) Aeroplan itineraries that include a stopover. You can use United planes for any Aeroplan itineraries that are not limited to the North America zone.

      For you, that means that your stopover would have to be in Canada, so that every flight you take is operated by Air Canada. This also means you are paying high taxes / fuel surcharges so be aware of that. You can take your stopover in any Canadian city that is en route. For a St John’s to Orlando, that would be anything east of Ontario. Your eventual flight to Orlando would have to connect in either Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal or Halifax (seasonal), but you could go to another city.

      For example, if you want to take your stopover in Quebec City, which is a beautiful place in the Spring and Fall. You could route it as:

      St Johns – Montreal – Quebec City (stopover)
      Quebec City – Ottawa – Orlando (destination)
      Orlando – Montreal – St Johns (return)

      Note that this advice is based on the letter of the law. Getting it approved from Aeroplan might be a challenge and you may need to phone it in if you don’t get it to work through the website.

  7. farnorthtrader says:

    Just checking to see if you think this itinerary would work as one award ticket on aeroplan:

    YEG-MCO (connecting through Houston) in December
    MCO-LIM (connecting through Panama City) return in June

    and maybe adding on Cuzco (CUS) as final destination instead of LIM

    • thepointster says:

      Hi,

      That is definitely doable. You are allowed (2 stopovers) en route or (1 stopover and 1 open jaw) en route in addition to your final destination for international itineraries (by the letter of the law). You will have to call in and you will likely struggle to get an agent to ticket this and waive the phone booking fee, but enough persistence should pay off.

      Edmonton to Cusco is your main award.
      Orlando is your stopover en route.
      Lima is your second stopover.

      Good luck.

  8. Gvigico says:

    I want to book a flight to Paris and noticed if i book via JFK first it stops in YYZ. Can I get on in YYZ thus making a direct flight to CDG.

    • thepointster says:

      I am not quite sure what your routing is, but if you are looking at an award ticket on Aeroplan, then you will be able to book this as a YYZ-CDG ticket direct if you like. You just want to make sure that this is still in line with the rules of the award ticket (ie roudtrip / stopover rules are not being violated when combining this leg with any other legs of the journey).

      Another nuance is that the taxes may change as a result of picking up the flight in YYZ instead of JFK. You may have a change in the fuel surcharges and taxes as a result of this change, so beware of that.

      Good Luck.

  9. FS says:

    Hi!
    Do the flights have to originate in Canada? I’m looking to go from SFO->LHR, (open jaw) BCN (or CDG)-> SJC (making this a stopover for a month), and then finally SJC->YYZ. Is that possible?

    • thepointster says:

      Flights do not have to originate in Canada.

      SFO-LHR
      SJC-YYZ

      That would not be a valid routing.

      SFO-LHR (dest)
      LHR-SFO (stop)
      SFO-YYZ (open jaw)

      That would be allowed.

  10. cyclops says:

    So can I do:
    ORD-JFK (stop for 3 days)
    JFK-BRU (15 days at BRU)
    BRU-JFK (stop for 2 days)
    LGA-ORD (notice LGA instead of JFK)
    in one award?
    Do I have to call in to get this award or is it bookable online?
    Is LGA instead of JFK a problem? If yes then I am happy to fly through JFK too.

    • thepointster says:

      Hi,

      That shouldnt be a problem exactly what you want to do. You are going to have to call in to get it done. I don’t think that the LGA – ORD would be a problem, but the problem is that you are going to have to convince someone on the phone to let you do it. It should be ok according to the rules. I would say that the phone agents are sometimes tough to convince on these more complicated routings.

      Good luck.

  11. Miffy says:

    can I do NYC- YVR – LAX then LAX- YVR- NYC? i’m YVR base and try to create the extra leg so i can fly to both city with one redemption

    • thepointster says:

      Hi,

      Unfortunately, one of the rules that the government has put in place is that you can’t connect in Canada on a flight between 2 US cities. If you call and play dumb, a clueless Aeroplan agent might let you do it, so it is worth a try. By the letter of the law, though it is not allowed.

      This means that your return flight (LAX-YVR…throw out the YVR-NYC) is not going to be allowed. What you can do, though, is change that around so that you have:

      NYC-YVR (dest)
      YVR-LAX (stopover en route to NYC)
      LAX-SEA-…-NYC

      (throw out the portion after SEA)

      and use SEA to be a proxy for YVR, since it is so close to Vancouver and there is good transportation options from there on the ground or as a 4500 BA Avios SEA-YVR on Alaska Airlines.

      This rule that restricts crossing a border for a stopover generally is frustrating to Canadians in the opposite direction. I mean flights crossing Canada (say YYZ-YYC) are unbearably more expensive since they have to stay within Canada and therefore Air Canada and Westjet dont really have to push the prices down. If, for example, I could do YYZ-ORD-YYC, then I could fly on United, American, Delta, US Air etc. and all of them would fight to keep that price low. Unfortunately, this rule exists and your routing wont work.

  12. Chris says:

    Hi Pointster,

    I’m hoping you can offer some advice :) I’m trying to use my aeroplan miles to book a flight that ideally, would look like this:
    YYZ -> HKG
    HKG -> KIX (Osaka)
    HND (Tokyo) -> YYZ

    When I tried to book this through their call centre, I was told that the flights are available but the computer shows it as “Over mileage” and will not allow it. Do you have any suggestions on making this itinerary work?

    There is a flight I can take from HKG->HND with a stopover in KIX. What are the risks if I book that flight and not continue onto HND?

    Thanks in advance!
    Chris

    • thepointster says:

      Hi,

      You do NOT want to skip a leg in your trip. As soon as you miss any part of your trip, the rest of your ticket is forfeited. The only time you should skip a leg is at the end of the trip.

      You have to maintain the A-B-C-A routing or A-B//C-A routing. What you have right there is a A-B-C//D-A routing. That is not allowed.

      What you will want to do is make KIX-HND a side trip. (It is really not that far).

      Route your trip as:

      YYZ-HKG
      HKG-HND
      HND-YYZ

      Then do a side trip HND-KIX and KIX-HND. You can do that using the Japan Rail pass as I suggest in ny thoughts on Japan.

      https://www.creditwalk.ca/some-thoughts-on-traveling-through-japan/

  13. catherine says:

    Hi there

    Thanks so much for your helpful tips and advice.

    I am trying to swing a trip from Toronto to Tokyo for the christmas holidays, and potentially stop over in Vancouver to visit family. How long can a layover be? Can it be for a day? or just a few hours? I dont have enough aeroplan points currently and was going to use expedia or something to book the tickets.

    Any thoughts or advice would be most appreciated.
    Thanks!!!

    Catherine

    • thepointster says:

      A stopover can be for up to 1 year. There are always rules around stopovers.

      A connection is supposed to be when you connect in a city to catch the next plane. If I recall correctly, it should be up to 4 hours or the next flight for a domestic flight. A connection on an international flight can be up to 24 hours or the next flight.

      The stopovers discusssed here are really a benefit of the Aeroplan award ticket. Each type of ticket that you buy has different stopover rules. If you buy a ticket from Expedia, likely a stopover will be an expensive add-on and will price completely differently than you would expect.

      For example, a ticket that is Toronto-Vancouver-Tokyo with 3 hours in Vancouver might be say $1000. The same ticket with 30 hours in Vancouver instead might cost $1500 or more.

  14. Irene says:

    Hello,

    I’m wrapping my head around planning a business/first class aeroplan trip. My preference would be to fly with EVA (for part of my trip) since their taxes, fees and surcharges are low. When I search date combinations on the areoplan site I don’t get results for EVA. Any suggestions? The route I want to take is.

    YVR ->BKK
    BKK -> DEL
    DEL ->YVR

    Thank you!!
    Irene

    • thepointster says:

      Aeroplan’s website should show Eva, but EVA may not be the ideal flight for Aeroplan to sell you so they might not prioritize showing those. They may show you more expensive routings. What you will want to do is to look at each routing specifically.

      IE, look on Aeroplan.com for:

      YVR-TPE (find the EVA Air flight that works)
      TPE-BKK (find the EVA AIr flight that works)
      etc.

      and put together your itinerary leg by leg following the rules of the award you are pricing.

      Then, you will have to call in to Aeroplan and get them to put that itinerary for you. They may charge you for the phone booking, but the $30 is much prefereable to paying Hundreds in excess fuel charges.

      I hope that helps.

  15. Richard Vinet says:

    Hi Poinster. I’m trying to fly Montreal, Ishigaki Japan with 1 week stopover, then Ishigaki Tokyo with another week stopover, then Tokyo Montreal. I’m getting a message stating I can’t do the Ishigaki Tokyo leg since they are both in non-Canadian cities. Is there some way to get around this?

    Merci beaucoup. Thanks for your help.

    Richard

    • thepointster says:

      Hi,

      This intra-Japan flight will have to be on ANA. If htat is the case then you should be able to do it.

      What you will not be able to do is buy the intra-Japan as a one-way. It will have to be a part of the international itinerary. ONe-way awards on Aeroplan are only available for flights originating or departing in North America. You will want to do the stopover method anyways to save money.

      If Aeroplan.com doesnt price it out for you (it often doenst price out itineraries that are very good), you are going to have to call them. If you can sweet talk someone, then they may waive your phone booking fees. My experience is that Aeroplan does not waive those fees and it sometimes feels like it is an intentional way of extracting more fees from you to not have “good” itineraries available for online booking.

      Good Luck.

  16. stephane says:

    Hi,

    I am trying to be creative and for a trip to Australia. I am looking at the following itinery:

    1) YUL-SYD
    2) Cruising from Sydney to Auckland
    3) AKL-RAR (9 days)
    4) RAR-YUL

    Would this itinerary works for Aeroplan?

    Many thanks

    • thepointster says:

      Hi,

      This SHOULD work for an Aeroplan award. YOu are allowed 2 stopovers or 1 stopover and 1 open jaw.

      You would be open jaw at SYD-AKL. You would be doing stopover in RAR.

      You shoudl be good.

      Call it in and you should be good. If you get a rogue agent who says no, then you try again.

  17. GUY says:

    Hi.

    I’m trying to use this hacking tool but I can’t seem to get the results you mentioned.

    Jan 11, 2017: MCO -YVR is 8900 aeroplan points with a stop over at either YUL or YYZ

    I’d like to stop at YYZ or YUL for a few days.

    Ideally, I’d like the following itinerary.

    Jan 11, 2017: MCO to either YYZ/YUL
    Jan 15, 2017: YYZ/YUL to YVR

    • thepointster says:

      Hi,

      For an aeroplan classic (fixed price) ticket you have a few options:

      one-way
      roundtrip
      roundtrip with a stopover

      Unfortunately, your option doesnt look to be any of those.

      What you can do is:

      one-way MCO-YYZ (12.5K +tax)
      one-way YYZ-YVR (12.5K + tax)

      however, you will already have the parts of a round-trip with a stopover, so by picking up these 2 tickets on a single itinerary, then you would essentially be able to get a trip from YVR-MCO for no additional aeroplan miles (you would still have to pay the tax and fees).

      Option 1:

      one-way MCO-YYZ (12.5K)
      one-way YYZ-YVR (12.5K)
      Total = 25K

      Option 2:

      MCO-YYZ
      (stopover)
      YYZ-YVR
      (turnaround on roundtrip)
      YVR-MCO

      (25K as a roundtrip with a stopover)

      These aer all classic awards. The 8900 that you are seeing is not a classic / fixed price award. That comes from a market price award and you are essentially paying for whatever you fly. You can’t leverage that 8900 mile ticket to get a stopover. Sorry.

      Good luck.

  18. GUY says:

    Thank you for the info!

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