If you have a lot of vacation time and a lot of miles, the Aeroplan around-the-world award might be for you. It allows great flexibility for travel, which maximizes the distance and number of destinations you can see over any other Aeroplan award type.
The Aeroplan around-the-world award allows you to go around the world:
(1) With up to five stopovers, and one open-jaw.
(2) You are only allowed to stopover in any one city once, and you must start and end your ticket in the same country.
(3) Your return flight cannot go beyond from where you started.
(4) The itinerary must include both a transatlantic and a transpacific flight.
(5) The entire reservation cannot be more than 34,000 miles.
What is a stopover?
A stopover is like taking a small trip on the way to your destination. Think of it as a layover, but over 24 hours. So for example, say your “destination,” which is the furthest point on your itinerary, is Sydney, Australia, and you leave via Toronto, you might fly Toronto-Vancouver-Seoul-Sydney. If you were changing planes in Vancouver or Seoul for under 24 hours, that is considered as a layover. However, if you stay more than 24 hours, that’s a stopover. You can stay however long you want during a stopover. With a typical Aeroplan round-trip ticket, you’re allowed up to two stopover. On around-the-world awards, you’re allowed up to five stopovers and one destination – which means you’re allowed to spend more than 24 hours in 6 different places. You can have as many layovers (under 24 hours) as you want so long as you meet maximum mile requirements (explained below). For example, an itinerary could look like this:
Note that the rules only allow you to make a stopover in any one city once. That means, you couldn’t do the following:
The reason the above isn’t allowed is because you’re making two stopovers in Beijing, when you’re only allowed to do one in any city.
What is an open-jaw?
An open jaw (OJ) means that on the same ticket, you land in one city, but leave from another. For example:
You’ll note how the passenger would land in Beijing, but leave from Taipei. The passenger would have to get between the two cities by themselves. This is called an open jaw. It can be very useful if you’re going to be travelling around in a certain region, or if you’re having trouble finding appropriate award inventory, in which case it offers more flexibility.
On the around-the-world award, you’re allowed one open-jaw on your itinerary. You can plan this open-jaw at any point in your itinerary.
Starting and Ending
Your ticket must start and end in the same country, but your ending point cannot be geographically further than your starting point. For example, if you started in Toronto, you can end anywhere between Vancouver/Victoria and Toronto, including Toronto, but not anywhere East of Toronto, or in the United States. In contrast, if you started in Vancouver, and your first flight was over the Pacific and your last long-haul flight is over the Atlantic, you can end anywhere in the country, because there is no further point from your start point of Vancouver in Canada (perhaps with the exception of Victoria — see the note below). However, if your first transoceanic flight was over the Atlantic, returning over the Pacific to Canada, and you started your ticket from Vancouver, you would have to return to Vancouver or Victoria, as anything else would be further than your starting point.
Note: Technically, Victoria is further than Vancouver, so if you left Victoria and returned via the Pacific, you would only be allowed to end your itinerary in Victoria. However, it’s extremely close. I called Aeroplan and they said the computer would not validate this itinerary, although the agent was skeptical. For our purposes, I would consider Victoria the furthest point in Canada, and apply the rules strictly to that, but you might be able to get away with it with an Aeroplan agent considering how close Victoria and Vancouver are together.
One Transatlantic and One Transpacific
To validate your around-the-world itinerary, you actually have to go around the world by crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. There’s no specific order that you have to do them in, but you have to cross both oceans at some point in your itinerary.
Maximum Permitted Mileage: 34,000
Unlike one-way or round-trip awards, which are calculated dependent on your city pairing, around the trip itineraries give you a flat 34,000 miles to work with. You can basically do any sort of backtracking you want, so long as the other rules of the around-the-world ticket are met, and you don’t exceed 34,000 miles. A great tool to help you determine whether or not you fit within the maximum permitted mileage of 34,000 is to use the Skymiles Calculator.
What are the costs?
Aeroplan charges the followings point amounts per around-the-world itinerary:
Taxes and surcharges will be calculated on a per flight basis, as normal.
How do you get enough points to do an Aeroplan Around-the-World award?
No doubt, it takes a lot of Aeroplan points to redeem for an Aeroplan around-the-world award. However, you can get 25,000 Aeroplan points with the American Express Gold Card (this is a referral), which has the first year free. You can get 40,000 Aeroplan points with the American Express Gold Card for Business (this is a referral), with the first year free, and $5,000 spending in three months.
For $699, you can get the American Express Platinum Card (this is a referral). This comes with 60,000 Aeroplan points, a $200 travel credit per calendar year (so if you get it mid-year, that’s 2*$200, so a $400 discount on the annual fee), a full priority pass, elite benefits with hotels and car rental agencies, and a number of other benefits.
Finally, if you get the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite (this is not a referral) through the RedFlagDeals cash-back portal, you’ll get 25,000 Aeroplan points, the first year free, and a $70 check from RedFlagDeals.
You are allowed, and it’s easy, to get all three American Express cards above and the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card at the same time. If you do so, you’ll have 150,000 points, only 50,000 points short for an around-the-world itinerary – a shortfall you can easily make up with churning!
The Aeroplan around-the-world itinerary can be an excellent use of miles depending on your travel goals. The mini-RTW also provides great value, although nothing close in terms of flexibility as the around-the-world award.
SQ also does something similar which seems very interesting!