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Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

Fredericton, Canada
posts: 396
reviews: 27
Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

We're looking at cashing in our Aeroplan miles to get us from Fredericton to Toronto to catch a charter flight to the Caribbean out of YYZ. Never done this before and I am wondering if anyone could share experiences of flying using Aeroplan points - is there a danger of getting bumped? Can we assume our reward points-booked flights are as reliable as regular paid AC bookings? We are planning to use the reward flights to fly up the day before the charter leaves and fly home the day after it returns, just to be safe.

Any input would be appreciated.

43 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 46,261
reviews: 14
1. Re: Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

I've not had any issues when flying with Aeroplan miles v paying for travel; I've flown as any other passenger. On one occasion the departing flight time was changed by 30 minutes; AC's email notification arrived well before the travel date.

You should be able to select seats and use OLCI as with any paid booking.

Fredericton, Canada
posts: 396
reviews: 27
2. Re: Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

Thank you! That's very helpful.

Calgary, Canada
posts: 2,814
reviews: 41
3. Re: Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

We use Aeroplan points constantly and have never had any problems.

Now when I say "we" I mean my husband does all the leg work, so I'm a bit clueless as to the actual process:)

Canada
posts: 6,893
reviews: 23
4. Re: Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

Availability is the biggest issue with redeeming AE points/ miles. Not familiar with the Fredricton market......but a YYZ destination usually offers some choice thereby ...perhaps, more availability.

Be prepared for the added taxes/ fees....which always seem to come in higher than one expects.

The online booking process is easy enough.

I wouldn't worry about being vulnerable to involuntary bumping just due to the type of ticket. Do make sure to report to the Airport in good time (90 mins domestic)..... and OLCI as soon as possible. Sometimes if there is involuntary bumping...the Airline will look to " the last one to check-in"

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 31,810
reviews: 51
5. Re: Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

We great difficulty using our Aeroplan miles to book a flight and we had plenty. We had to travel at peak times. For Australia, I wanted to use them but they were sold out of reward seats. As well, we could book outbound one year in advance, but coming back 5 weeks later, we had to wait to book one year ahead of that date. So we were stuck with potentially having a flight out but not being able to get a flight back. But we just couldn't get out of Vancouver, in the first place, for Australia (or for the States.) In fact, I remember one Aeromiles staff person suggesting that those on the east coast/side of Canada (see, it's your fault!! :-D) had access to the "one year in advance" magic clock ahead of the west coast and they had the advantage. We did use them to fly a few domestic flights and those were fine.

I wish we had chosen Avios way back when the choosing was good.

I eventually said forget this, moved over to TD which "pays you back" after you travel as you like and have had years of satisfaction from that system. We used up all our Aeromiles on "purchases" from their "store."

Now that's just my experience which might be different from others and certainly might be different from yours. But my tip is to consider your dates, and consider your destinations because that can make a difference. Be flexible about dates because I don't think Aeromiles works very well for personal schedules where you can only book during peak times. Don't tie your flights to an event or somewhere you have to be on a given date because that restricts your flexibility. Be prepared to pay the taxes on the ticket.

Edited: 12:41 am, January 08, 2013
Leicester, United...
posts: 1,275
reviews: 1
6. Re: Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

Obviously it is much easier if you can be flexible, including flexible about routings.

One word of caution though. Aim to fly in the day before your charter flight. If anything at all goes wrong, if you've only left yourself a few hours, you will lose your holiday. Likewise on the way back. There are lots of decent hotels near the airport and you can get really good deals. Worth the extra money to me for the peace of mind.

Fredericton, Canada
posts: 679
reviews: 1
7. Re: Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

Hi Ronnie,

Like others on here we have booked and no issues with getting bumped - it;s generally an issue with availability to get the booking.

Just another comment since you are from Fredericton like us- it takes 25,000 aeroplan to roundtrip to Toronto (long haul) - same number of points as it would take you to go to Alaska, San Diego etc. For that reason we never use aeroplan to go to Toronto if we can avoid it.

Can you take a similar charter from Montreal - typically the charter prices are similar and it is only a short haul (15,000) flight.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 6
8. Re: Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

Hi Ronnie,

There should not be any issues re. getting bumped w/ an award ticket vs a purchased ticket. However, as a general rule, cashing in your miles with Aeroplan for domestic flights is not such a good bargain. Aeroplan will charge fuel surcharges, taxes and other fees on your award flight so that you may not save that much, if at all, when you redeem your miles for a flight from YFC - YYZ . Also, as mentioned above, YFC-YYZ is not a short haul flight but a regular North America flight, which is 25 K in economy (you'd pay the same number of miles to go to San Diego).

The best way to use your Aeroplan miles (if you have enough) is to use them on long-haul flights in business or first, those can be really good deals. Aeroplan charges surcharges on Air Canada flights but it does not necessarily charge fuel surcharges on all the other Star Alliance carriers. For example, when I looked up flights from Toronto recently, I could have booked YYZ-San Francisco for a total of $25 in fees (United flight), whereas YYZ-Vancouver was $300-400 in fees bc it was an AC flight.

Cheers

ph

Toronto, Canada
posts: 4,760
reviews: 32
9. Re: Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

Agree with Weddingmonsoon and Milez-dot-biz --the whole issue with Aeroplan is using your points wisely.

Why spend 25,000 on economy class for a relatively short flight, when you could spend those same points and fly a lot further, basically anywhere in North America. Remember also, you can use those Aeroplan points on any Star Alliance flight.

Most people who "really" use Aeroplan to the max know the tricks and tend to use their miles for Business (or First, but those are harder to get these days) flights rather than economy and you can string together quite a reward if you know the ins and outs of their program.

Aeroplan will still charge you taxes and fuel surcharge on Air Canada flights, so it is not as "free" as you think it will be. Their website will try and steer you to Air Canada flights, but you can use other Star Alliance airlines as well

Edited: 1:02 pm, January 08, 2013
Calgary, Canada
posts: 2,814
reviews: 41
10. Re: Booking Air Canada Aeroplan rewards flight - any experience?

Maple G speaks the truth, We booked business class to Fort Lauderdale from Calgary via Chicago in April, on United. That cost 50,000 points and about 100 bucks (Like I say I don't pay much attention to DH's excited gibberings from the sofa:)

WE also did Business all the way too and from Australia last year on Aeroplan.

Edited: 1:24 pm, January 08, 2013
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