On its own, Air Canada can be a great airline to fly. It constantly garners awards for being the best airline in North America both from magazines like Business Traveler and Global Travel and industry organizations like Skytrax and World Travel Market.
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But for frequent flyers, the Air Canada experience is only part of the draw. Though Air Canada spun off its frequent flyer program Aeroplan years ago, making it a separate for-profit entity, it is still one of the most valuable ways to travel on award tickets in the Star Alliance, the largest global airline alliance.
In addition to the 26 members of the Star Alliance, Aeroplan awards can also be redeemed on a whopping 31 other airlines, including major non-alliance carriers like Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, and Hawaiian Airlines, and members of the other two major airline alliances like SkyTeams Delta Air Lines and oneworlds British Airways. And nearly every partner is bookable online.
When Should You Use Air Canada Aeroplan Awards?
Air Canada’s award chart has some valuable sweet spots, like 110,000 miles roundtrip for business class flights to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. When you use this award to fly United or SWISS, you also get to skip fuel surcharges.
While some routes offer great value, Aeroplan’s awards are most valuable for their flexibility. You can get a maximum of five stopovers and an open jaw on an award ticket on allowable routings. A maximum of one stopover is permitted in any one city. So it’s easy to create a very respectable round-the-world itinerary for a song combining less-than-24-hour stopovers with a long stopover and open jaw.
If you want the full round-the-world ticket experience, Air Canada also lets you buy that as an award. You can get a $10,000 to $20,000 ticket for 200,000 to 400,000 miles, depending on the class chosen.
Partners bookable online:
- Adria Airways
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Canada
- Air China
- Air India
- Air New Zealand
- Asiana Airlines
- Avianca Brazil
- Brussels Airlines
- Copa Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- EVA Air
- LOT Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Thai Airways
- United Airlines
Partners bookable by phone:
- Air Creebec
- Bearskin Airlines
- Canadian North
- Calm Air
- First Air
When to Book by Phone
- Award flights involving partners not available online
- If you see award availability on another Star Alliance website but not the Aeroplan website
- For complex stopover itineraries, like creating a pseudo round-the-world award with a ticket to Asia or Oceania
See below for our phone booking tips.
How to Search for Air Canada Aeroplan Seats Online
Air Canada and Aeroplan are operated separately, so you cant even search for award tickets on the Air Canada website. To find an award flight, either go directly to Aeroplan.com, or click the first menu option, “book travel,” in the top left corner of the Air Canada website.
Then select the option for Aeroplan under “enhance your travel experience” to the right of the ticket search form.
On the Aeroplan homepage, mouse over the “use your miles” section of the header and click on the top link, “travel.”
Click the orange “book now” button. If you haven’t already logged into your account, you will be asked to do so now.
Next you will see an award booking search engine that allows you to search for flights, hotels, car rentals and vacation packages.
On the search results page, Aeroplan conveniently splits standard ClassicFlight awards and the more expensive Market Fares into separate tabs.
Air Canada offers two types of award tickets: ClassicFlight, which adhers to the standard, zone-based award chart pricing, and Market Fare, which is pegged to the cost of cash tickets and priced based on demand. Market Fares are not a great value, so you should keep your eye on the ClassicFlight awards.
If you do not see availability in the lowest redemption category for your dates, you can use the award calendar to see which dates still have availability.
How to Confirm and Book Air Canada Aeroplan Award Flights Online
Once you’ve narrowed down your flights on the results screen, click the “select” button to see the actual award pricing. Even though the search result screen implies that the cost starts at 55,000 miles, it does not mean you will always be able to get an award seat at that level.
On the next screen, you can see the final price in miles plus the additional payment for taxes and fees. Its important to pay attention to this because Air Canada passes on fuel surcharges for most of its partners, and they can be high.
If you see an excessive additional cash price on this page, click on the small orange “taxes, fees & surcharges” link to see what is causing the price to go up.
If it is because of high airport taxes, like those in London, you can simply choose different routing. If there is a high fuel surcharge, try changing the partner airline.
Aeroplan will allow you to buy an award ticket as long as you have at least 50 percent of the required miles. However, they charge 3 cents per mile plus tax, so it is not the best deal.
Aeroplan award booking phone number: 1-800-361-5373
Air Canada’s robust online booking tool can meet most needs, so there are not many reasons to call. If you do need to call, you’ll incur a CA$30 (about $25) fee, but the wait is typically short. Aeroplan’s phone agents are knowledgeable and adept at handling complex awards since that is the main reason to book by phone.
Important Award Booking Considerations
- Flights available to book 355 days ahead
- No last-minute booking fees
- One-way awards available
- One open jaw and one stopover, or two stopovers permitted per itinerary on Air Canada ClassicFlight Tickets
- One stopover allowed on Star Alliance flights
- Miles can be purchased at a reduced rate during checkout if needed
- No award reservation holds
- CA$90 (about $74) cancellation or change fee
- Fuel charges levied on select partner awards
- CA$30 (about $25) phone booking fee