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star alliance availability on aeroplan

star alliance availability on aeroplan

Old May 1, 10, 3:33 pm
  #1  
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star alliance availability on aeroplan

Hi,

I'm looking for some tips for finding good flights when booking with aeroplan points. I have a lot of points primarily from credit card rewards, but little/no status points, as usually do just a couple trips a year.

In the last year or so, I've really struggled to find anything at all in terms of availability for first/business flights, especially on star alliance flights. I'm in Vancouver, and have even looked at doing seattle or sfo departures to london to get united, but aeroplan site always tries to force me on air canada and goes back to vancouver.

Early 09, I was able to get 4 first from yvr<->tlv via chicago and frankfurt on united first, but required automating searching a 30 day range on the aeroplan site. =) This year, nothing at all for a bunch of various yvr<->lhr or yvr<->cdg.

Does anyone have any tips on finding these flights, or ways to transfer the points to other star alliance airlines (not using points.com or some other insane transfer rate)?

Are there other ways to use the points besides on the aeroplan.com website? Or is availability really that scarce? I'm starting to move to spg instead which lets me transfer to any airline, but have a lot of aeroplan point accumulated.

Thanks for any insight/help!
raincity is offline  
Old May 1, 10, 3:44 pm
  #2  
 
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the Aeroplan website will usually force you to book Air Canada. You can sign up for the ANA mileage club. They have a tool there where you can see reward availability on any star carrier (Except Air China I think).

I use the ANA tool then Call Aeroplan and spoon feed the agent the flight numbers that have the availability. You have to suck up the $35 fee but it's worth it.

What dates are you planning on flying? how many tickets?

Oh and P.S, welcome to flyertalk!
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Old May 1, 10, 4:30 pm
  #3  
 
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welcome raincity.

I agree with pilotboy1985YYC. The ANA tool is your best bet for finding *A availability. See:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/bmi-d...sterclass.html
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Old May 1, 10, 4:35 pm
  #4  
KVS
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Arrow

Originally Posted by raincity View Post
Are there other ways to use the points besides on the aeroplan.com website? Or is availability really that scarce?
Yes and yes:

[KVS Availability Tool 5.4.4/Diamond - SNT: Awards/StarAlliance/JP-ANA]
Code:
YVR  Vancouver Metro / Vancouver Int'l BC CA = YVR CXH [CYVR]
LHR  London Heathrow UK [EGLL]
MON  01 Nov 2010 | 1 Seat

Carrier    Flight  From  Depart    To    Arrive    A/C  St  Availability
---------  ------  ----  --------  ----  --------  ---  --  -------------
AC         854     YVR   19:15     LHR   11:50 +1  333  0   FS/  CS-  YS+
AC         220     YVR   16:00     YYC   18:18     E90  0   FS/  CS-  YS+
 -> AC     850     YYC   20:10     LHR   11:00 +1  333  0   FS/  CS-  YS+
AC         222     YVR   17:00     YYC   19:18     320  0   FS/  CS+  YS+
 -> AC     850     YYC   20:10     LHR   11:00 +1  333  0   FS/  CS-  YS+
AC         8099    YVR   18:35     SEA   19:25     DH3  0   FS/  CS-  YS+
 -> UA     958     SEA   08:30 +1  LHR   06:55 +2  CHG  1+  FS-  CS-  YS+
AC         8121    YVR   08:30     PDX   09:44     DH3  0   FS/  CS-  YS+
 -> UA     928     PDX   11:05     LHR   07:55 +1  CHG  1+  FS-  CS-  YS-
[KVS Availability Tool 5.4.4/Diamond - SNT: Awards/StarAlliance/JP-ANA]
Code:
SEA  Seattle/Tacoma Int'l WA US [KSEA]
LHR  London Heathrow UK [EGLL]
SUN  01 Aug 2010 | 1 Seat

Carrier    Flight  From  Depart    To    Arrive    A/C  St  Availability
---------  ------  ----  --------  ----  --------  ---  --  -------------
UA         958     SEA   08:15     LHR   05:55 +1  CHG  1+  FS-  CS-  YS-
AC         8302    SEA   10:00     YYC   12:23     CRJ  0   FS/  CS-  YS-
 -> AC     850     YYC   19:20     LHR   11:10 +1  333  0   FS/  CS-  YS-
AC         8092    SEA   12:50     YVR   13:43     DH3  0   FS/  CS-  YS-
 -> AC     854     YVR   17:05     LHR   10:15 +1  77W  0   FS/  CS-  YS-
AC         8094    SEA   13:50     YVR   14:40     DH3  0   FS/  CS-  YS-
 -> AC     854     YVR   17:05     LHR   10:15 +1  77W  0   FS/  CS-  YS-
AC         8096    SEA   16:05     YVR   16:55     DH3  0   FS/  CS-  YS+
 -> AC     896     YVR   20:30     LHR   14:05 +1  763  0   FS/  CS-  YS-
AC         8120    SEA   17:30     YVR   18:20     DH3  0   FS/  CS-  YS+
 -> AC     896     YVR   20:30     LHR   14:05 +1  763  0   FS/  CS-  YS-
UA         6049    SEA   06:03     PDX   06:56     EM2  0   FS/  CS-  YS-
 -> UA     928     PDX   11:20     LHR   08:25 +1  CHG  1+  FS-  CS-  YS-
UA         6815    SEA   08:55     PDX   09:48     EM2  0   FS/  CS-  YS-
 -> UA     928     PDX   11:20     LHR   08:25 +1  CHG  1+  FS-  CS-  YS-
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Old May 1, 10, 6:30 pm
  #5  
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Hi,

Thanks for the quick replies! The KVS Tool looks great, and definitely will try signing up for ANA.

My dates are fairly flexible, was looking some time end of may, middle of june for one week.

Interesting to compare the KVS tools with aeroplans site, this is what I see as available on Nov 1 pulled from the aeroplan site (only all business, and first, but since a/c doesn't do first, doesn't really matter):

Code:
$ ./aeroplan -f yvr -t lhr -l 2010-11-01 -r 2010-11-07  --class B,MF,F --no-classic-plus --passengers 1
Checking: YVR => LHR on 2010-11-01 to 2010-11-07 (class: B,MF,F stops: -1 passengers: 1) .. 7 options found
  found B classic class flight taking 15h 25min with 1 stops
    AC142 (B) YVR => YYZ in 333 leaving 2010-11-01T08:00:00 arriving 2010-11-01T15:23:00
    AC856 (B) YYZ => LHR in 333 leaving 2010-11-01T19:20:00 arriving 2010-11-02T06:25:00
  found B classic class flight taking 17h 25min with 1 stops
    AC142 (B) YVR => YYZ in 333 leaving 2010-11-01T08:00:00 arriving 2010-11-01T15:23:00
    AC848 (B) YYZ => LHR in 77W leaving 2010-11-01T21:35:00 arriving 2010-11-02T08:25:00
  found B classic class flight taking 14h 41min with 1 stops
    AC899 (B) LHR => YEG in 763 leaving 2010-11-07T11:05:00 arriving 2010-11-07T13:15:00
    AC251 (B) YEG => YVR in E90 leaving 2010-11-07T17:15:00 arriving 2010-11-07T17:46:00
  found B classic class flight taking 15h 56min with 1 stops
    AC899 (B) LHR => YEG in 763 leaving 2010-11-07T11:05:00 arriving 2010-11-07T13:15:00
    AC253 (B) YEG => YVR in E90 leaving 2010-11-07T18:30:00 arriving 2010-11-07T19:01:00
  found B classic class flight taking 18h 21min with 1 stops
    AC899 (B) LHR => YEG in 763 leaving 2010-11-07T11:05:00 arriving 2010-11-07T13:15:00
    AC255 (B) YEG => YVR in E90 leaving 2010-11-07T20:55:00 arriving 2010-11-07T21:26:00
  found B classic class flight taking 16h 02min with 1 stops
    AC857 (B) LHR => YYZ in 333 leaving 2010-11-07T12:00:00 arriving 2010-11-07T15:15:00
    AC137 (B) YYZ => YVR in 333 leaving 2010-11-07T18:00:00 arriving 2010-11-07T20:02:00
  found B classic class flight taking 16h 33min with 2 stops
    AC899 (B) LHR => YEG in 763 leaving 2010-11-07T11:05:00 arriving 2010-11-07T13:15:00
    AC292 (B) YEG => YYC in E90 leaving 2010-11-07T16:00:00 arriving 2010-11-07T16:46:00
    AC227 (B) YYC => YVR in E90 leaving 2010-11-07T19:15:00 arriving 2010-11-07T19:38:00
$
Interesting how the results seem quite different. I think from the KVS output I'm looking for flights with CS+ that indicate a business aeroplan ticket is available?

What I can never find is any first class flights. I used to be able to put sfo<->lhr in a year in advance and find lots of united options, but now, can never see them anymore.

Will give the other tools a try! Thanks!
raincity is offline  
Old May 2, 10, 7:53 am
  #6  
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Remember the less Air Canada legs you have in your award itinerary, the less it will cost you in real money.
This is why AE pushes AC flights, to collect a fuel surcharge, most of the time its worth spending the $35 phone fee to avoid being ripped off by excessive fuel surcharges when redeeming on Air Canada flights
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Old May 2, 10, 7:57 am
  #7  
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dont put your hard spent $$ into aeroplan in the first place.
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Old May 2, 10, 9:02 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by why fly View Post
dont put your hard spent $$ into aeroplan in the first place.
At least as an SE on AC I can get an award almost any time I want it at the standard (classic) pricing. On UA I can never find premium award space even on UA unless I am willing to pay twice the number of miles. UA is far worse than AE for redeeming seats, even on its own carrier (unless you want to fly in the back cabin).
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Old May 2, 10, 9:41 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by why fly View Post
dont put your hard spent $$ into aeroplan in the first place.
OP said most of his miles are earned through credit card use. Does UA have a credit card available to Cdns? I know I can get AA miles through TD's Visa, but I don't recall seeing a UA credit card north of the border. The TD AA Visa might be a good option for the OP however. I have had excellent luck at redemptions with AA (to go to Acapulco and Tahiti) even as a non-status member. I think the overall feeling at FT is that AA is very good with regards to award redemptions. (Plus AA participates in the i-dine program which can help you earn lots of extra miles. I've earned over 180K miles on AA in the past 4 years, just from eating in restaurants.)

Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
At least as an SE on AC I can get an award almost any time I want it at the standard (classic) pricing. On UA I can never find premium award space even on UA unless I am willing to pay twice the number of miles. UA is far worse than AE for redeeming seats, even on its own carrier (unless you want to fly in the back cabin).
If you can't find availability as a UA 1K, how does the average plebe fare? I never visit the UA forum, but are most people happy with award availability on UA, especially those without status?

Welcome to FT raincity!

Last edited by margarita girl; May 2, 10 at 9:47 am
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Old May 2, 10, 9:47 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by margarita girl View Post

If you can't find availability as a UA 1K, how does the average plebe fare? I never visit the UA forum, but are most people happy with award availability on UA, especially those without status?
yes, besides 1K status doesnt really get you much extra, there was a recent thread about it. The only thing it does get you is extra COACH availability on UA metal flights (NY class, only visible to 1Ks). The value of that is questionable to most, but seems to work great for others who do last minute domestic trips.

Aside from that, its the same availability that every Star airline has (AC included), minus some (sometimes substantial) blocking of inventory done by United. So the claim of not being able to find premium class redemptions vs being able to find them via Aeroplan on Star partners is ridiculous, its the same inventory (minus some blocking)

With the new region 1 unlimited upgrades, and one-way bookings for half miles (to be extended to all Star partners in the future), there are some good options on United. Of course there are better redemption deals on AC, I dont really think we can say one is better than the other, its all so dependable on personal travel/redeeming habits...

With creativity and using the AC/CO/ANA booking tools, one should be able to create a route that suits them, and then spoonfeed the phone agent, regardless of what Star airline account the miles are coming from.
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Old May 2, 10, 11:46 am
  #11  
 
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May I give a pitch to the KVS tool for award availability? It's a shell around the ANA tool, but it's a lot easier to work with.
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Old May 2, 10, 12:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Shareholder View Post
At least as an SE on AC I can get an award almost any time I want it at the standard (classic) pricing.
+1 ^

Originally Posted by Academic View Post
May I give a pitch to the KVS tool for award availability? It's a shell around the ANA tool, but it's a lot easier to work with.
+1 ^ I plan everything out on KVS first and use it to max out on routings, segments, <24hr stopovers that are considered layovers, etc. I then call AP and spoonfeed the agent and the complex routing is booked within minutes. Only downside is not able to get SQ11/12 or SQ25/26 in F through KVS/AP.

raincity, a warm welcome to FT!

cheers.
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Old May 2, 10, 2:09 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by why fly View Post
dont put your hard spent $$ into aeroplan in the first place.
Can't agree with this. I'm a non-status member who redeems about 3-6 J award tickets annually for typical major destinations of YYJ, YVR, LHR, FRA. I do book quite a while in advance (2+ months) but I never have a problem getting the flights I want. Aeroplan works great for my needs.
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Old May 3, 10, 9:42 am
  #14  
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dont put your hard spent $$ into aeroplan in the first place.
Yes, I'm moving to SPG instead, but still have a lot of aeroplan points. Been with aeroplan for a long time, and used to have no problem getting first/business tickets which gives you almost a 9% return on the credit card (although would never pay for first in the first place, so the whole thing is a bit dubious, but sure feels good). =)

Over the past two years though, seen massive decline in availability of first/business tickets (and don't get me started about classicplus). There's never a problem getting economy tickets, but I typically only use this for long haul flights and love the sleepers.

With creativity and using the AC/CO/ANA booking tools
What is the CO tool?

Only downside is not able to get SQ11/12 or SQ25/26 in F through KVS/AP.
Could you decode that part for me? What aren't you able to see via kvs? Is it truly just a shell around ana? Or does it give you access to more (purely in terms of award point booking)?

Thanks!
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Old May 3, 10, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by OttawaMark View Post
Can't agree with this. I'm a non-status member who redeems about 3-6 J award tickets annually for typical major destinations of YYJ, YVR, LHR, FRA. I do book quite a while in advance (2+ months) but I never have a problem getting the flights I want. Aeroplan works great for my needs.
A credit card miler!
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