Do you want to travel to Europe and use your Aeroplan miles to do so? Good news! In this article, you will see an example on how to book your Aeroplan mini-RTW soley for travel in Europe! For my upcoming 2-week vacation, I’ll be visiting a friend Helsinki, Finland. I then decided to book an Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe to make this trip happen.

Book your Aeroplan miles on a mini-RTW trip before September 1, 2019 if you can

When booking your Aeroplan mini-RTW, you’re allowed 3 stopovers (1 destination + 2 stopovers) before September 1, 2019. After September 1, 2019, Aeroplan is changing the program and you’ll have 2 stopovers (1 destination + 1 stopover) instead of 3.

So if you’re reading this before September 1, 2019, go book all your Aeroplan miles for an Aeroplan mini-RTW before it’s too late!

My Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe destinations

For my upcoming trip, my goal is to visit my friend who lives in Helsinki, Finland. From there, we will both fly into Moscow and check out the famous Russian city. I’ll end my trip in Russia by spending 24 hours in St. Petersburg (they only gave me a 4-day Russia Visa For Canadians unfortunately) and taking the train back to Helsinki.

Besides Helsinki, I will be using Larnarca in Cyprus as my furthest destination and Istanbul as my other stopover. I wanted to use Istanbul as my stopover because I already have the Visa for the country from a previous Istanbul layover back in June 2019.

Desired layovers

When booking your Aeroplan mini-RTW, you’re allowed a grand total of 16 segments. This means on top of your 3 stopovers (or 2 after September 1, 2019), you can have between 13-14 under 24-hour layovers.

Usually, people hate layovers, but if you score a layover that’s roughly 23 hours and 59 minutes, you’ll actually have plenty of time to get off the plane, go sight seeing, stay overnight, then fly back out. If you’re like me and you’re a country collector, then maximizing your layovers is a cost effective way to tick off lots of countries in one flight booking!

My long layovers for this upcoming trip that will allow me to tick off new countries visited are:

  • Malta – 20 hours and 20 minutes
  • Moldova – 5 hours and 30 minutes
  • Ireland – 22 hours and 35 minutes

Maximum permitted mileage

After checking the Maximum permitted mileage (MPM), I got the number 10,708 (use this Aeroplan mini-RTW guide to find out the MPM).

Perfect, now I know how much MPM I have available, it’s time to validate the routing.

Validating the Aeroplan mini-RTW in South America routing

To determine if the routing existed, I used flightconnections.com and selected Star Alliance as the airline alliance.

Then, I checked each segments individually on the Aeroplan website (you can use United also but make sure to double check your segments in Aeroplan) to ensure the routing exist. If you’re feeling a bit confused by what checking each segments individually means, it’s basically doing a “one way” flight search from the starting airport to the departure airport on the Aeroplan website to make sure a direct flight is available and if the times work with your itinerary.

After spending several hours trying different routing combinations to see which one would work, I finally came out with this itinerary:

Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe

Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe

Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe

Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe

I tried booking all my flights in Business Class because I’m going to be dead tired flying all over the place. If you didn’t know, a lot of European carriers that are labelled Business Class aren’t really business class. They’re more like premium Economy so it’s a bit misleading but that’s just the reality of things.

I was also unable to secure a Business Class flight from Dublin to Montreal so I’m hoping that availability pops up near the date of departure.

GCMap

To further validate my routing, I had to use a tool called GCMap to ensure that I’m below 10,708 miles per direction (Starting point to destination/point of return and point of return to starting point).

The furthest point from Vancouver (YVR) in this upcoming trip is Larnaca (LCA) and it came out to be 10,343 miles. So as you can see I’m right below the 10,708 miles permitted.

Here’s what the mileage looks like on GCmap:

Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe

From the point of return (Larnaca) all the way back to Vancouver (YVR), my total mileage came out to be 8,725 miles. So again, I am below 10,708 miles. Here’s what the return home flight looks like on GCmap:

 

Since both “sides” of the flight is right below 10,708 miles, this Aeroplan mini-RTW booking in Europe is completely valid! It’s time to call the Aeroplan call centre.

Calling the Aeroplan call centre to book my Aeroplan mini-RTW in South America

After putting together my itinerary and validating it, I went ahead and called the Aeroplan call centre. The agent that helped me was good at piecing together my itinerary but after awhile, she got fed at the number of segments I had. Eventually, she got off work and passed the task to another agent who was more patient and friendly. The next agent managed to piece together my flights and provide me with a reference number. The lady was really friendly and was even asking me questions like “What’s in Moldova?” when I told her some weird cities I’ll be doing layovers.

One of the last segments I had flying home was going from DUB-YUL-YVR and apparently, DUB-YUL didn’t have any availability. I then explained to search for DUB-YVR since DUB-YUL-YVR was a married segment and the agent was able to find it and add it to the booking.

Eventually, the itinerary was completed and it was time to get a quote for taxes and fees.

Fees paid for the Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe

The initial quote I got from the agent was an insane price of over $800!

I was shocked and asked the agent to check again.

Thankfully, there was a mistake and my fees came out like this in the end:

  • $286.26 taxes and carrier fees
  • $30 booking fee

The lesson here is that the initial quote is not always right!

Travel itinerary and plan of action

Toronto

With 8 hours and 21 minutes layover in Toronto, sufficient to say, I won’t be getting much sleep. My goal here is to find a nearby hotel, get some sleep, then head back to the airport for my next flight.

New York

Another terrible connection. This is the part I hate about being a country collector is having to put up with lots of useless layovers. I’m not really interested in seeing New York and I have to find a way to go from LGA airport to JFK. Because I have 10 hours and 31 minutes layover here, I might find a cheap accommodation (which probably doesn’t exist in New York) to catch up on sleep and just rest up before flying out of the country.

This is the price you pay for trying to avoid paying huge carrier fees and connecting through the US to avoid Air Canada.

Zurich

Short connecting flight to Malta. I’ll probably check out the lounge and get a nice meal to eat.

Malta

I have an awesome 20 hours and 20 minutes in this country! It’ll also be a new country ticked off my list which I’m super excited about.

Apparently, Malta has beautiful beaches and historic sites so I’ll definitely scope that out. And rabbit is apparently the cuisine to try on this island paradise so I’ll have to try that out, too!

As for getting around, I heard the hop on hop off bus is quite good and affordable. I may also look into possibly renting a car or worst case scenario joining a tour. We’ll see…

Istanbul

I pretty much have 2 full days in Istanbul with the third day just to fly out of the country. To be honest, I don’t like Istanbul that much so my plan here is to go to Cappadocia to see the famous hot air balloons!

The domestic flights appear to be quite cheap so I’ll probably just pay for that out of pocket. Seeing the hot air balloon rise during sun-rise has been one of my bucket list things to do. I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Moldova

Another country I need to tick off! I have about a 5 hour layover here so I can leave the airport and look around for a short bit.

I’m not really interesting in seeing this country that’s why I decided not to stay too long in it.

Warsaw

Super long connecting flight in Warsaw. I’m not sure what I’m going to do here. I’ve been to Poland before and made a lot of friends there. I was thinking maybe I can reach out to some of them living in Warsaw and hang out with them.

Cyprus

I’m looking forward to visiting Cyprus because it’s a new country for me. My biggest problem is I arrive in the country around 3am and I fly out also at 3am. Because the time is so obscure, I think I’ll be pretty beat up when I arrive.

One of my options is renting a car and I think that might be the best way to see the country in 24 hours. There’s definitely a lot of places to see here (like the Tomb of the Kings) so I’ll have to make good use of my time.

Warsaw and Stockholm

Two short connecting flights.

Helsinki, Moscow, St. Petersburg

Helsinki is my final stopover. I’ll be meeting my friend here and we’re flying to Moscow together. From there, we’ll go sight seeing for about 3 days before he flies back home.

Then, I’ll be taking the high speed train to St. Petersburg and hang out with my Russian friends before taking the train back to Helsinki.

I’ll spend some time with my friend in Helsinki and also visit some friends of mine who lives in this country.

Copenhagen

Another short connecting flight.

Ireland

Going to Dublin will be interesting because it’s another country I need to tick off in my list. To be honest, I’m more interested in Northern Island. I’m debating renting a car in Dublin and gunning it all the way to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Island which is what I really want to see. I’ll have to mull this over to see if I want to do that.

Montreal

I have an overnight layover in Montreal. I’ve never been to this city but heard good things. I also have a friend who lives here so I might visit him there. After Montreal, I fly back home to Vancouver ending my Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe!

Conclusion

As you can see, with practice, you can book the Aeroplan mini-RTW on an annual basis! In a previous article, I talked about how to book an Aeroplan mini-RTW in South America. Check that out if you haven’t done so already.

After I complete this Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe, I’ll be nearly finished visiting every single European country. The last one left would be Iceland which I’m saving for later because I want to do a road trip in that country. And again, if you love collecting countries, you definitely cannot beat the Aeroplan mini-RTW ability to help you achieve that goal.

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