Booking an Aeroplan mini-RTW is hands down the best redemption value for your Aeroplan miles. Typically, when you book your Aeroplan miles, you will fly to one destination and back. However, by using the Aeroplan mini-RTW method, you can go to three destinations instead of one!
This is an amazing value for your miles and allows you to visit more places around the world.
Keep in mind, the Aeroplan mini-RTW is quite an advanced strategy and if you are a complete beginner, I recommend you read my article first on the Starter’s Guide to Travel Hacking Part 1: Flights to get some basic knowledge on how Aeroplan works.
Aeroplan mini-RTW rules
- Must not exceed maximum permitted mileage
- 1 destination (turn around point) + 2 stopovers (stay as long as you want within one year of redemption) = 3 stopovers total
- If you prefer to book an open jaw itinerary, then you are allowed 2 stopovers + final destination must be adjacent to your starting point. You can also place the open jaw mid-way through your trip. For example, if you fly into Germany, you can take the train to Austria and fly out of Vienna to your next destination.
- “Unlimited” under 24 hour layover
- Must book over the phone
- You must manually piece each segment seperately
- The segments must exist
- Segments must have availability
Aeroplan mini-RTW tools
- Aeroplan website
- Star Alliance destination map
- Find the Aeroplan Maximum Permitted Mileage using this link: aeroplan.com/adr/Results_Ajax.jsp?searchType=multicity&forceIkk=false
How the Aeroplan mini-RTW works is you get three stopovers in total. One of the stopovers is your point of return. In order to make a qualified Aeroplan mini-RTW booking, you must be within the maximum permitted mileage.
If you’re wondering what the maximum permitted mileage is, it is essentially how far you are allowed to travel between your starting point and your point of return. It is also the distance you are allowed to travel between your point of return and your point of origin.
Instructions on how to find your maximum permitted mileage
In order to find your maximum permitted mileage, you will want to follow these steps:
First, open your Aeroplan account and build a multi-city itinerary. Make sure to include the city furthest away from your point of origin. The reason for this is because the maximum permitted mileage works like an elastic band. The further your turn around point is from your point of origin, the more distance you will have available to piece together your mini-RTW itinerary.
Because I live in Vancouver, Canada, I will select one of the furthest point from Vancouver which is Johannesburg, South Africa.
If you look at the screenshot above, you want to make sure to tick the box “My dates are flexible”. This will help with finding your MPM (Maximum Permitted Mileage) in case the dates entered are not available. I also made sure to include Johannesburg somewhere in the multi-city booking because that is the one of the furthest point from Vancouver and it will give us more MPM than if we booked to a city closer.
After you hit the search button, you will get a window that looks something like this:
As you can see, there is an availability in all the dates selected. However, if you do this exact same search and you don’t find any availability (it will show up as a white box in the “calendar” above), then simply select to one of the yellow boxes in the “calendar above and you’re good to go.
After you’ve selected all the days that are available, start selecting which flights you want at the bottom.
Just a quick side tip, you will want to book with carriers with no carrier fee. Some carriers charge a small fee and that is okay but you want to avoid the ones that charge high carrier fee.
List of Aeroplan carriers that doesn’t charge carrier fees:
- Air China
- Avianca Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Egypt Air
- EVA Airways
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Swiss Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
List of Aeroplan carriers that charge very low carrier fees:
- Polish Airlines
- South African Airways
- Thai Airways
- Croatia Airlines
List of Aeroplan carriers that charge high carrier fees:
- Air Canada
- Adria Airways
- All Nippon Airlines
- Asiana Airlines
- Austrian Airlines
- TAP Portugal
After selecting all the available flights (and I made sure to pick the airline carriers with little to no carrier fees), I get this as my result:
Wow, that’s really cheap, $213.81 to fly to Europe, Africa, and Asia! That’s because I selected United Airlines, Swiss Airlines, and Air China which are carriers with no carrier fee!
But, we are getting distracted. Let’s go back to the task at hand which is finding your MPM (Maximum Permitted Mileage).
After you select the flights, you want to open another tab in your browser. On that tab, you want to paste the following link:
After you paste that link in a new browser tab and hitting enter, you will get a page that looks something like this:
You might not know what’s going on above and that’s okay. The important thing is to find the MPM. In order to find the MPM, simply press ctrl+f or cmd+f (mac users) and on the search box, type MPM. This will take you to the exact MPM available between your origin and point of return. As you can see the orange highlight above and the red underline, the MPM between Vancouver and Johannesburg is 16,372.
If we copy the exact segments of each individual flights on GCMap.com, this is what our multi-city search looks like (type the airport code on the search box and put a dash between each airport):
As you can see, we’ve literally flown around the world and we are only using the multi-city search using the Aeroplan website! Think of the possibilities if we did this manually?
If you look at the total miles above, it is 23,996. Because our MPM is 16,372 multiplied by two (since the MPM is just for “one way” between your point of origin and furthest point/point of return), we actually have roughly 32,744 MPM available. I say roughly because the numbers is not exactly 16,372 between point of origin and furthest point/point of return, but it’s close! Now, to avoid any confusion, you don’t actually have 32,744 MPM available to piece together your itinerary. Using the GCMap data above, this is roughly what you have:
Origin to furthest point/point of return:
1,764 (YVR-ORD) + 4,160 (ORD-BRU) + 301 (BRU-ZRH) + 5,212 (ZRH-JNB) = 11,437 miles
Because the MPM is 16,372, if we minus 11,437, we still have roughly 4,935 miles available between the origin (YVR in this case) and furthest point/point of return (JNB in this case).
Furthest point/point of return to origin (back home):
7,270 (JNB-PEK) + 5,291 (PEK-YVR) = 12,561 miles
Because the MPM is 16,372, if we minus 12,561, we still have roughly 3,811 miles available between the furthest point/point of return (JNB) and the origin (YVR).
Applying the Aeroplan mini-RTW rules to the multi-city example above and adding an additional stopover
If you wanted to maximize the value of this multi-city booking by applying the Aeroplan mini-RTW rules, we can add an additional 2 stopovers in this flight.
The itinerary above looks like this:
YVR-ORD-BRU-ZRH-JNB-PEK-YVR (the ones in bold are places we are staying longer than 24 hours)
If we call over the Aeroplan call centre and do this booking over the phone, we can actually add another stopover. Let’s say you want to explore Beijing also, you can phone in Aeroplan and request to stay there longer. Essentially, you can stay as long as you want (within one year of your booking) at all three stopovers.
Our itinerary now looks like this:
We’ve now essentially visited and explored three continents in this Aeroplan mini-RTW booking!
Because we are allowed to have a layover for as long as 23 hours and 59 minutes (below 24 hours), we can technically stay for 23 hours and 59 minutes in Chicago (ORD), and Zurich (ZRH). This allows you to leave the airport and explore the city and even stay there overnight. Why would you do something like this? Well, I think this is a great way to get a “taster” of any city of country to see if you’d like to come back there one day and explore it more thoroughly.
If you’re someone that likes to collect countries, this is also a cost efficient way to tick off as many countries as possible while still paying the same amount as a round-trip flight through Aeroplan miles redemption.
Piecing together your own Aeroplan mini-RTW itinerary
Now that we have the MPM if we use Johannesburg as our furthest point/point of return, let’s try making a customized Aeroplan mini-RTW itinerary.
Let’s say we still want to go to Johannesburg (because South Africa is awesome., But, we don’t necessarily want to have a stopover in Brussels and Beijing. At the same time, we want to increase the amount of under 24 hour layover so we can sample a bunch of countries.
In order to do this, we will use the following tools:
- Aeroplan website to find availability (I know other experts use better tools but this is a non-complicated way for beginners).
- Star Alliance destination map to find if routing exist.
- GCMap to determine how much of the MPM we’ve already used up.
Let’s say we want to go to Istanbul, Johannesburg, and Singapore as our three main stopovers. Between Istanbul and Johannesburg, let’s say we want to do an under 24 hour layover in Cairo because we want to see the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian museum. After Johannesburg, we’re going to fly to Singapore as our final stopover. To fly back home to Vancouver, we decide to fly from Singapore to Bangkok and do an under 24 hour layover there to sample the street food scene in Bangkok. The next day, we fly to Taipei to check out the food scene before flying back home to Vancouver.
Essentially, our desired route is the following:
The first thing we want to do is first check to see if this routing falls within the Maximum Permitted Mileage. Since we’ve already determined earlier that the MPM between Vancouver and Johannesburg is 16,372 between YVR and JNB one-way, the next thing we need to do is determine two things:
- If this routing exist.
- And if this routing falls under the MPM.
Checking if this routing exist
I personally know that the routing above exist except for one segment which is YVR-IST. Typically, if you want to fly from Vancouver to Istanbul, you need to connect to another flight from either: Toronto, Chicago, or Montreal. After doing my own search, I find that Montreal is the best way to connect to Istanbul based on my itinerary:
After doing a search, it looks like we need to fly into Istanbul from Montreal. This means we need to fly from Vancouver to Montreal first before flying to Istanbul.
Our routing now looks to be: YVR-YUL-IST-CAI-JNB–SIN-BKK-TPE-YVR
Checking to see if your routing exist
To validate the other routing, you can use the Star Alliance Destination Map. Just go to google and type “Star Alliance Destination Map” and you’ll be taken to a website that shows the world map with all the airports that Star Alliance covers.
I won’t be showing all the different airports in this example but here’s a quick example of how this works:
Part of our routing in this Aeroplan mini-RTW is JNB-SIN. Looking at the map, you can see that flights between Johannesburg and Singapore exist. Basically, if you want to see if flights between two cities exist, just click on one of the cities you want to go to and follow the line to see if there is a line between the dots of both cities. So essentially, for this Aeroplan mini-RTW example I am using, if I was a complete beginner, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to open the Star Alliance Destination Map and click on YVR, IST, CAI, JNB, SIN, BKK, and TPE to see if they connect to each other. Obviously, as you get better at this, you’ll be using other tools and you’ll have some of the routes memorized.
Checking to see if YVR-YUL-IST-CAI-JNB-SIN-BKK-TPE-YVR falls within the MPM
The best way to figure out if our desired routing falls within the MPM, we simply plug the airport codes on GCMap starting from the origin to the point of return. In this case, YVR is the origin and JNB is the point of return.
After plugging in the airport codes, this is the result:
- YVR-YUL-IST-CAI-JNB = 11,736 Miles which is below the 16,372 MPM
- JNB-SIN-BKK-TPE-YVR = 13,775 Miles which is also below the 16,372 MPM
Looking at the figures above, if we wanted to add more under 24 hour layover, we can actually do that because we have tons of leftover mileage left.
Checking for availability in Aeroplan
Just because this Aeroplan mini-RTW routing exist and that it falls below the MPM doesn’t mean we can book it. We also need to make sure flights between each cities are available for redemption in Aeroplan.
To find out if each routing exist, we can simply plug in each individual segments on Aeroplan as shown below:
After checking each individual routing on Aeroplan by plugging in both cities on the one-way flight section, we get the results above. Obviously, the results above took some time to find and it required many searches but as you can see, it looks like this Aeroplan mini-RTW trip is bookable!
It’s going to cost 100,000 Aeroplan Miles on economy or 150,000 Aeroplan Miles on business class since Africa is the furthest distance from Canada.
The itinerary above works great because of the following reasons:
- All the flights found are on carriers with little to no carrier fees or they are exception to the rule (like if Air Canada doesn’t fly over the Atlantic Ocean). This means we pay the minimum amount of fees and taxes instead of an absurd amount.
- We have lots of time in Istanbul, Johannesburg, and Singapore which is our three chosen stopovers.
- Our layovers are also perfect. We have about 15 hours and 20 minutes to explore Cairo and see the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Musuem. Also, because we arrive in Egypt at 7:50am giving us an early start without needing to book a hotel at night.
- We have 22 hours and 10 minutes in Bangkok. This gives us plenty of time to explore the city and stay overnight before flying out at 7:10am.
- Also, we have arrive at 11:50am in Taipei giving us plenty of time to explore the capital city of Taiwan before flying out at 23:55 (11:55 pm) at night to go to go back home to Vancouver on EVA Air (awesome airline)
Booking your Aeroplan mini-RTW
After getting all the necessary information to build your Aeroplan mini-RTW, it’s time to call the Aeroplan call centre and book this itinerary!
Make sure to note all the dates, airline carriers, times, and all the other important information before making your booking. The cost of booking your Aeroplan Mini-RTW is $30 over the phone but definitely worth it considering you’re flying to so many places.
You’re basically going to give the Aeroplan call centre operator segment by segment of your customized Aeroplan mini-RTW itinerary.
After you’ve communicated with the operator your itinerary, they’ll piece it together for you and let you know if it’s valid or not. They can also help you find alternative routes if needed. I have heard of stories where it could take up to 2 hours and 30 minutes to piece together a very complicated itinerary.
You are also allowed to change parts of your itinerary up to 2 hours before departure. So, if you need to make changes before or while you’re already travelling you can do just that.
Things to consider
Putting together an Aeroplan mini-RTW itinerary is a very time consuming process. Finding the perfect routing can take a lot of time. However, I do think it is worth the time spent researching because of the sheer value you get from booking the flights.
So if you love travelling and want to visit lots of different travel destinations, then the best way to achieve your goals is by booking an Aeroplan mini-RTW itinerary. However, if you like going to just ONE destination, then it’s best to just do a regular online booking on the Aeroplan website and just make sure you avoid booking on carriers that charge a high carrier fee.
I think everyone has a list of countries they really want to visit. Most people also have a list of countries they’re not sure if they want to visit.
Using the Aeroplan mini-RTW is the perfect opportunity for you to travel to all your favourite travel destinations. At the same time, using the Aeroplan mini-RTW is also great way to sample some new countries.
You can literally bounce to several countries and do an under 24 hour layover. Doing so will give you a feel for how things work in that new country. If you like it, then perfect. Because next time, you can add it as one of your stopovers and spend more time there. And if it’s terrible, then it’s fine because you’re not staying long anyways.
When Aeroplan and Air Canada announced that they are splitting up, people have been worried. This makes sense because you want to make sure Aeroplan is still a good program to collect miles.
The final date you can redeem your Aeroplan Miles using the current system is June 30, 2020. This gives you roughly two years to book as many Aeroplan mini-RTW as possible.
If you’re diligent, you can probably crank out 2-3 Aeroplan mini-RTW before this happens. You can still technically book your final Aeroplan mini-RTW on June 29 or 30. Then, you’ll have one entire year to complete this booking because Air Canada will still honour it.
I would recommend to continue earning and burning Aeroplan miles until June 30, 2020 while the frequent flyer program is still amazing!