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, with the new Aeroplan mini-RTW method, you can have a total of 11 stopovers and 16 segments!
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.
Don’t forget to read this article to see how the new Air Canada Aeroplan program works.
*NOTE* This article has been edited because of the new Aeroplan program – I will get edited again after the pandemic ends to show more concrete examples
New Aeroplan mini-RTW and general redemption rules
- All booking types are now “one-way” flights
- You are allowed to add 1 stopover for every one-way bound for 5000 Aeroplan points
- Stopover is not allowed in Canada or the USA
- A one-way bound is limited to 6 segments
- You can combine up to 6 one-way bounds to create your itinerary
- You can have 12 segments if you have a flight with an Air Canada in the itinerary and 16 segments for partner only itineraries
- Open-jaw counts as a segment
- No backtracking to the same airport or country after already passing through on each one-way bounds. However, you can “backtrack” on a separate one-way bound even if it’s on the same ticket.
- Can use priority reward voucher on the combined 6 one-way bound flights
- Flying more than 100% the direct distance between two points breaks the circuitous routing (technically – but doesn’t seem to be enforced)
- Pacific to Atlantic with transit in North America is valid as long as your stopover in North America is not in Canada or the USA
- North America to Atlantic with transit in Pacific is not valid
- North America to Pacific with transit in Atlantic is valid
- Air Canada only flights will calculate the number of points you need to redeem based on the direct distance between your starting point and destination (your connections are not counted as long as you don’t fly more than 100% of the distance between your starting point and destination)
When piecing together your itinerary, you need to add the mileage flown segment by segment to determine how many points you need to redeem when flying with partner airlines.
New Aeroplan mini-RTW and ambiguous rules
- Intra Pacific flights may sometimes transit through the Atlantic
- North America to South America cannot have a transit flight in the Atlantic
- Intra North America can sometimes transit in South America
- Intra South America can sometimes transit in North America
Aeroplan mini-RTW tools
Checking for route validity if you customize your own itinerary (new Aeroplan mini-RTW)
Much like the old Aeroplan program, in the new Air Canada Aeroplan program, you can still customize your own itinerary. One of the important rules to keep in mind is making sure you don’t go over 100% direct distance between two points. And while at the moment, this is not enforced, they might enforce it in the future so it’s good to learn how this works.
To determine if your route is valid, use the Great Circle Mapper online tool.
Here’s an example of a valid route and none valid route:
Enter NRT-JNB to find distance percentage. NRT-JNB is the direct distance between two points. From there, you can compare it with your own route as shown in the example below. Don’t forget to put a “;” to compare between the two points (NRT-JNB in this case) and your customized route (NRT-AKL-PER-SIN-JNB as shown in the example).
Invalid route (technically)
Piecing together your own Aeroplan mini-RTW itinerary
Now that you know the general rules for one-way bounds, we can start piecing together your itinerary. Remember, the new Aeroplan mini-RTW is really just several one-way bounds connected together. After piecing together your itinerary, you’d have to call the Aeroplan call centre to complete and validate your booking.
To piece together your itinerary, 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).
- Flightconnections.com to find if routing exists.
- GCMap to make sure you didn’t go over 100% the direct distance between two points
For the sake of this article, I will be showing an example of dream trips I would like to pursue using this new program.
Example: Solo Around The World Trip To Re-Visit My Favourite Countries Again
One of my dreams is to travel for one year again to visit all my favourite countries. In between visiting my favourite places, I’d also like to tick off several countries along the way. As of writing this article, I’ve been to 89 countries around the world. I’d like to reach 100 countries in the next 3 years which means I have to visit 11 new countries by April 2024.
Countries that I’d like to go back to for my one-year solo travel adventure are:
- Indonesia (Jakarta and Bali)
Knowing this information, it looks like the best course of action is to fly from North America to Atlantic and ending in the Pacific Zone. I’ve always wanted to fly on EVA Air business class between Austria and Taiwan so I will definitely factor that in when making my bookings.
Colombia is out of the way so I won’t be putting it on my first one-way bound to make sure my route works. I’ll create an example of how I would connect Colombia to this itinerary after the pandemic ends when there is more flight redemption available.
Since you are allowed to add one stopover per one-way bound, I will select Poland (Warsaw) as my stopover. I will visit Serbia by taking the local bus or train and return to Poland on the flight out of Europe.
I decided to make Bali, Indonesia my destination and my hub in Asia. To go to Vietnam, I can take a budget airline and back (I can also redeem my Aeroplan points).
The flight I decided upon is YVR-FRA-WAW-VIE-TPE-DPS
By going with this route, I get to spend an extended amount of time in Poland. I will also get to try the EVA Air business class flight between Vienna and Taipei. Finally, I will use Bali in Indonesia as my destination and final stopover for this first one-way bound.
Checking to see if your routing exist
To validate the other routing, I will be using the flightconnections.com website.
As you can see, this route is valid as all flights are serviced by Star Alliance partner carriers:
- Vancouver to Frankfurt = Lufthansa
- Frankfurt to Warsaw = Lufthansa or Polish Airlines
- Warsaw to Vienna = Polish Airlines of Austrian Airlines
- Vienna to Taiwan = EVA Air
- Taiwan to Bali = EVA Air
The total Aeroplan points required for this flight is 110,000 points. Honestly, that’s really good considering all segments are in business class!
Use GCM to determine routing is valid
Remember, the current rule is not 100% set in stone. If you fly more than 100% of the direct distance between your starting and endpoint, your booking might still work. So don’t discount your routing as invalid until you have validated it with an Aeroplan call centre agent.
In this example, I will do my best to stay within the published rules. And after using GCMap, it looks like this route is completely valid. I can even add one more segment if I want to sample more business class flights.
Checking for availability in Aeroplan
Just because this Aeroplan mini-RTW routing exist and that it falls below 100% of the direct distance between your starting and endpoint doesn’t mean you can book this flight. We also need to make sure flights between each city are available for redemption in Aeroplan.
For this, I recommend using the Aeroplan website and check the dates and segments you want to fly to make sure it’s valid.
I will provide concrete examples of each individual segment after the pandemic slows down. At the moment, flights are not operating normally and it’s hard to show you availability.
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, it’s definitely worth it considering you’re flying to so many places.
You’re basically going to feed the Aeroplan call centre operator each individual segment of your customized Aeroplan mini-RTW itinerary.
After you’ve communicated the operator receives 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.
You are also allowed to change parts of your itinerary up to 2 hours before departure. So, if you need to make any changes, you can do 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 a 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 only there for under 24 hours.