For the past few days, I have been reading, and learning how to use my aeroplan points efficiently to book a trip to Europe.
It was not that successful!
Firstly, I am not supposed to travel with Air Canada, due to its high tax and fuel surcharge when it crosses ocean. For example, I need to pay $736 CAD tax + 60,000 aeroplan points for a round trip to Lisbon, Portugal even though the air ticket is free itself. duhhh..
Secondly, I suppose to find flights with United Airline because it has very minimum tax and fuel surcharge, which means I would need to transfer in USA. If I am okay with that, the most challenging part is to find a flight that fits your schedule that has seats allocated for reward travel. So I managed to find UA flights to London, transferring at Newark airport, which is not too bad: YYZ – EWR – LHR. After staying at London for 2 days, LHR – LIS via TAP Portugal. So far so good. The problem is with the return trip, the agent cannot find a United flight that has seats for reward travel. So here are are my options:
1. Lisbon – Milan – Toronto: $540 CAD where last leg is flying with Air Canada
2. Lisbon – London – Toronto: $567 CAD where last leg is flying with Air Canada
3. Lisbon – London – Washington – Toronto: a long trip from 7:40am to 11:30pm IF there’s no flight delay: $360 CAD all United flights
4. Lisbon – London – Newark – Toronto: $282 CAD all United flights, but I have to stay in New York overnight, since there’s no United flight with reward seat that same day
Can you see the difference in price when you flight United vs. AC?
Thirdly, find the market price of your flight and determine your cents per mile (cpm). I found flights on Air Transat web site: Toronto to London, then Lisbon to Toronto, all direct flights at $660 CAD; plus an one way ticket from London to Lisbon at about $180 CAD, total comes out to be $840 CAD. Say I choose option 3 from above, that means I would be saving $480 CAD, and the cost is 60,000 aeroplan points. So my cents per mile is 0.8 (480/60000). Rule of thumb is don’t use your points if cpm is below 1.5!
Let’s say the cpm is 1.5 in my case, whether I am willing to transfer twice during the return trip is still debatable.
Anyways, I just booked my solo trip to London and Lisbon through Air Transat for $660! And saving my aeroplan for mini around the world trip! You can find more information about it here:
How To Save Money on Aeroplan Europe Redemptions
Aeroplan Mini RTW