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FlyerTalk Forums Thread Wiki: The Complete Newbie Guide/FAQ to the Air Canada Aeroplan Mini-RTW
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New List of Mini-RTW 2.0 version after Oct 29th, 2014 "enhancement" (i.e. less MPM)

FAQ: List of valid and booked mini-RTW itineraries version 2.0 (post-"enhancement&quot

INTRO

This wiki is taken from the excellent overview in the first post of this thread by FrequentFlyer9000 and is meant as a guide to the Aeroplan "Mini-RTW" for the uninformed newbie flyer. This is a no judgment zone and newbies are welcome. In this thread, the usage of scary acronyms and complicated FlyerTalk insider-speak will be minimized.

Also, this wiki is a work in progress so please provide feedback or make wiki edits if you think something warrants it.

INFO & COMMON QUESTIONS

What is the "Mini-RTW"?

The Mini-RTW is a name given to a type of reward booking using Air Canada's Aeroplan miles. It is actually not a "round-the-world" ticket at all - it is a regular award redemption. Just as you would use 75K frequent flyer miles to go to Japan on another airline, you can use 75K to do so using Aeroplan miles. The difference is that Aeroplan allows you to "stopover" in multiple cities at no extra mileage cost, making it very attractive compared to other reward travel. It should be noted that this isn't really that much better than some other airlines. For example, Delta offers one stopover + open jaw, which is only one stopover worse than Aeroplan's deal. But many of the airlines only offer one stopover and no open jaw. So there is definitely value here.

In addition to your final destination (in which you can stay for days/weeks/months), you are allowed:

•Two stopovers in other cities (stay for days/weeks/months). You are allowed to trade one of these stopovers for an open jaw (where you land in one city, but take the next flight out of another city)
•10 segments (layovers during which you spend less than 24 hours in a given city) <-- this limit may be gone as of 2014/2015

So, disregarding the additional 10 segments, an award trip for Japan could actually look like this:

NYC > Tokyo (destination - one week) > Paris (stopover - one week) > London (stopover - one week) > NYC

You basically get three times the world exploration for the price of one. If you add on the extra layovers allowed, you can turn it into:

NYC > Los Angeles (one day) > Hawaii (one day) > Tokyo (one week) > Seoul (one day) > Hong Kong (one day) > Paris (one week) > Munich (one day) > London (one week) > Washington DC (one day) > NYC

Of course, you don't have to do the above. Spending so much time in airports can be exhausting. But the option is there for you if you want it.


How many miles is this going to cost me?

See the Award Travel chart here.

From North America to "Asia 1" countries: (effective Jan 1, 2014)
•75K in Economy
•150K in Business
•210K in First

From North America to "Europe 1" countries:
•60K in Economy
•90K in Business
•125K in First

...and so on. Check the link for other combinations. Assuming you are stopping in three cities, the city in the most "expensive" redemption zone is the zone you will have to pay for. So if you are visiting two Asia1 zone cities and one Middle East city, you will pay 80K miles rather than 75K miles since that is what the Middle East trip costs (numbers assume Economy class travel).

Which miles do I need to use? Can I use miles from other Star Alliance airlines?

You need to use Aeroplan miles. You cannot use miles from other Star Alliance members, such as United, to book this mini-RTW. However, you can book flights for the mini-RTW on any airline that is in the alliance and has the desired award seating available. You technically do not have to fly any segments on Air Canada at all.

So, what's the catch? What are the restrictions?

There is no catch. However, there are some restrictions on your itinerary. This is where things get a bit more complicated.

Want to find the new MPM after 10/29/2014?
Aeroplan City Pair mileage (new pseudo-MPM) - FlyerTalk Forums

This is no longer valid after 10/29/2014
Quote:
1) Your itinerary must be within 5% of the total "Maximum Permitted Mileage" (MPM) for the route from the origin to the destination. Even though you are stopping in three cities by using your two stopovers and a final destination, you can define the destination as the stop city furthest away from the origin. Although certain flyers have gotten away with telling an inattentive phone rep that their final destination / "turnaround city" is one of their layover cities to increase their MPM, this does not always work. Sticking with one of your three stop cities is a safe bet.

MPM exist so that you cannot repeatedly fly around the world 10 times on your 10 segments. There is a limit to how many miles you can fly on the reward ticket. MPM guidelines can be found by using the KVS tool or by using Expert Flyer. MPM is calculated between your origin and your destination, one-way. The trips to and from your destination are calculated separately. You are allowed to overshoot this number by 5% ("MPM5"). If you can find a bookable itinerary online that has a mileage longer than the published MPM, this is a "published routing" and can be used even if it exceeds the MPM5. In KVS, navigate to the "Reference" tab, select "MPM" from the dropdown menu, and enter your city pair. MPM information is available under the Travel Information section of ExpertFlyer. It is available to all subscribers, Basic or Premium, and there is a 5-day free trial to ExpertFlyer.com that can be used.

To see if your itinerary fits your MPM limit, you can use the site here to see your total miles traveled: www.gcmap.com. Enter your airport codes separated by dashes to see the itinerary and get the total mileage (e.g. NYC - LHR - NYC). Example here.

TO READ MORE ABOUT MPM: Read this (short) document
2) If you do elect to use an open jaw instead of one of your stopovers, you must schedule the open jaw so that it is in the same "IATA zone" as either the origin or the destination city. So if you are going from NY to Japan to Europe and back to NY, the open jaw cannot be scheduled in Europe, since it is neither the origin zone or the destination zone. The open jaw also cannot be a larger distance than any two legs you are actually flying. In case you are wondering, IATA zones are as follows:

IATA 1 - The Americas (incl. Caribbean, Hawaii)
IATA 2 - Europe as far as the Ural Mountain range, Middle East & Africa
IATA 3 - Oceania, SE Asia, Far East, Sub-Continent.

Remember that if you use your open jaw at the turnaround/destination point, you will only have one stopover to use left. So you would be able to do NYC > Singapore (destination, open jaw) // Tokyo (stop) > NYC. This has one destination, one open jaw (at turnaround point), and one stopover. However, you would not be able to do this: NYC > Madrid (stop) > Singapore (destination, open jaw) // Tokyo (stop) > NYC. Because your 2 stops + 1 open jaw would be more than the two allowed.

3) You cannot land in the same city twice in any one direction. This means that on my way from NY to, let's say, Cairo, I cannot do New York > London > Paris > London > Cairo on the way there, since I would be stopping in London twice in one direction. However, I can stop in London on the way to Cairo and then again on the way back from Cairo.

4) The actual trip needs to be "bookable". It needs to follow certain rules. I won't get into too many details, but anything completely nonsensical in terms of routing is generally not going to fly. But most routes will not fall into this category. Just something to keep in mind.


Do I have to go in the same direction for every leg of the flight?

No. As an example, you can cross the Atlantic twice or cross both the Atlantic and the Pacific once (more like a real RTW trip).


How do I book this?

Assuming you have already planned out your entire itinerary to the dot and have made sure your trip is in accordance with the above restrictions, call Aeroplan and speak with a representative. Alternatively, you can try to book online for free. However, this is not always possible with more complicated routings.


What will this cost me in real cash? How can I minimize fees?
It depends on the region you travel to and which airline you fly on. In general, the more Air Canada segments you fly the more fees/taxes you will pay. Aeroplan does not collect surcharges on non-Air Canada-operated flights. So flying Air Canada internationally will cost you extra. If you use a lot of Air Canada flights in your mini-RTW, your fees could be anywhere from $150 to $400, even sometimes creeping up above $600. Lesson is to avoid AC "metal" (airplanes) if possible.

Every trip will have a $30 cost per person for booking on the phone, regardless of the itinerary.


What are the change fees if I want to change a leg or multiple legs of the trip later?

$90 for changes after original booking. If there is an involuntary change because of flight schedules changing, there is no fee charged. Note that when you make a change, the taxes/fees associated with fuel, etc. may change. They may decrease or increase depending on the previous flight and the new flight. This is independent of the $90 rebooking fee. The $90 is flat regardless of how many of the segments you change. It is not $90 per changed segment.


How do I plan this trip out? Even finding a simple award ticket can be difficult online, let alone one with 10 segments!

Good question. It is recommended that you use either the All-Nippon Airways (ANA) website (guide on how here), the KVS tool (costs money) or ExpertFlyer (costs money), or http://FliSea.com. I personally like to use KVS, but it is not newbie-friendly. It is $20 for 2 months for the "diamond" level service, and $75 for a year. Small price to pay for saving a lot of time, if you can handle the learning curve. ANA is a good free method of finding segments and many people have had plenty of success with it; FliSea is a metasearch tool that uses all of the sites above.

The trick is to do this one segment at a time. So first find NYC > LONDON for the date you want and make sure that the award class you are looking for is available (e.g. Economy low fare). Then do the next leg: LONDON > ROME. Repeat for every segment. Write down the details of each flight, calculate the mileage using the www.gcmap.com resource, and call up Aeroplan to book.

One of our Flyertalk members has built a database with all the Mini-RTW routes that have been flown in the various threads in one simple place: http://www.turnleftat.com/mini-rtw-list/
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Old Feb 27, 12, 1:16 pm   #61
  
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: YOW
Programs: Aeroplan
Posts: 388
Best airlines to avoid high fees, YQ

I couldn't find any clear answers to this so apologies if it's already covered somewhere.

I'm in the early planning stages of a mini-rtw and in the past the plan was to avoid AC, LHR and FRA to keep fees low. With YQ now being charged by AE on a lot of partner airlines I'm no longer sure of the strategy to keep 'fees' low. Searching itineraries online brings into play so many airlines & options it's not easy to figure out who the lowest are. I read TK is a good choice for this - and I've had good experiences with them, but are there any others that don't charge YQ?

I was in Asia in December and wanted to take advantage of the class upgrade, which I did, but booking online without the ANA tool or a lot of time to search I paid $690 in taxes & fees (ouch)! I want to cut that way down on my next one.

I'm looking at J class and more concerned with comfortable 180 beds than the quality of food/beverages if that matters. Do UA/CO charge YQ? My first segment will be YOW to HKG so I'm open for route suggestions. I don't have dates locked down yet but it will be sometime in Dec 2012 or Jan 2013. I don't know how much YQ is on the YYZ - HKG direct flight since I haven't found any availability on it. So I'm assuming it wont be an option anyway.
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Old Mar 15, 12, 1:38 pm   #62
  
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 29
Hi Everyone, in the early stages of planning a mini-RTW trip for Dec/Jan and would love some advice. I have read through some of the material here and it is pretty overwhelming. Any advice would be very welcomed even if it is just threads that I can go through.

Essentially I am looking to go from Toronto (YYZ) to the following locations in no particular order:

Singapore (Mostly because this is a main port city for flights from Toronto)
Malaysia
Thailand
Australia
New Zealand (Optional)
Fiji/Bora Bora (Optional)

From the research I have done there is an option for YYZ-SIN-SYD-YYZ there are some stopovers in there along the way but these are the cities I would effectively stay for longer than a layover with this itinerary.

Would appreciate any and all advice, especially any that relates to routes that will provide more coverage of the locations above.

Notes:
- I care more about direct flights or shorter travel times than saving fees
- I will likely book economy as I probably won't be able to collect enough aeroplan miles for business/first class by than.

Thanks!!!
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Old Mar 15, 12, 2:23 pm   #63
  
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farooqm View Post
From the research I have done there is an option for YYZ-SIN-SYD-YYZ there are some stopovers in there along the way but these are the cities I would effectively stay for longer than a layover with this itinerary.
This is not a mini-RTW, there are no stops in Europe. There are also no non-stop flights to SIN from YYZ (it's a loooooooong way). Perhaps you would be better off if you asked this question in another thread.
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Old Mar 15, 12, 2:24 pm   #64
  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: YVR
Posts: 1,364
Quote:
Originally Posted by farooqm View Post
Notes:
- I care more about direct flights or shorter travel times than saving fees
- I will likely book economy as I probably won't be able to collect enough aeroplan miles for business/first class by than.
If you book economy tickets with your miles and pay fuel surcharges, then you get a very poor value for your miles. You would be better off just buying a ticket for cash, and also earn miles, which can be later used for business class awards.

For example, a cash economy ticket from Toronto to Singapore is around $1,200 - $1,300 all included, while a redemption could cost you 75,000 miles plus $1,000 in fees, so your 75,000 miles only get you $200-$300 discount, and you also miss out on earning miles, and you get much less flexibility.

Don't do it. Earn more miles and use them for a business class award.
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Old Mar 15, 12, 11:09 pm   #65
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Programs: Hyatt Diamond, Fairmont Platinum, Aeroplan Diamond, HHonors Gold, SPG Gold
Posts: 18,686
Quote:
Originally Posted by echino View Post
If you book economy tickets with your miles and pay fuel surcharges, then you get a very poor value for your miles. You would be better off just buying a ticket for cash, and also earn miles, which can be later used for business class awards.

For example, a cash economy ticket from Toronto to Singapore is around $1,200 - $1,300 all included, while a redemption could cost you 75,000 miles plus $1,000 in fees, so your 75,000 miles only get you $200-$300 discount, and you also miss out on earning miles, and you get much less flexibility.

Don't do it. Earn more miles and use them for a business class award.
+1.. Gotta watch what you redeem miles for nowadays and look at the fees and selling prices of the tickets before pulling the trigger on the redemption. Business and first class redemptions is worth it, and some routes i.e. HI. Shorthaul from Western Canada to Florida worked out not bad for my buddy as he redeemed for 7 tickets round trip on one plane (he has 5 kids) and saved quite a bit.
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Old Mar 16, 12, 10:13 am   #66
  
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 29
Thanks for the advice everyone, I know you are doing this out of the goodness of your heart so I really really appreciate it. Had not realized that not going through Europe was considered not a mini-RTW. Any advice on where to post this would be appreciated.

Appreciate the advice on the business/first class, perhaps my wife and I might have to open a couple platinum amex cards to get the additional points needed for this.. would love some advice though as to my comments below as throwing on $1000 in fees to get those 100,000 points might negate the value of business class. Than again if what you are saying is true and I am off base with my comments below I need to reevaluate..

Here is what I was originally considering:

Fri Dec 21:
YYZ->FRA->SIN
Wed Jan 2:
SIN-> SYD
Tues Jan 22:
SYD->YVR->YYZ

Although I can't seem to be able to select the second flight anymore on aeroplan so I can't see the fees. Also what I meant by direct which reading it now was unclear, is that I prefer to spend less time in the air as opposed to saving $100 - $200 in fees/taxes.


In terms of the value, from what I can determine looking on Kayak these flights during the Christmas period (Dec/Jan) are in and around the $3500 mark. If I am totally off base there than let me know. And that is without your help in optimizing the stopovers and open jaws and such. I would think those are the main value adds with booking with Aeroplan when you are talking about a multi-destination trip?

Would appreciate any and all comments. Thanks!

Last edited by farooqm; Mar 16, 12 at 10:29 am
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Old Mar 16, 12, 10:30 am   #67
  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: PHL, NYC, DC
Posts: 9,032
Quote:
Originally Posted by farooqm View Post
Thanks for the advice everyone, I know you are doing this out of the goodness of your heart so I really really appreciate it. Had not realized that not going through Europe was considered not a mini-RTW. Any advice on where to post this would be appreciated.

Appreciate the advice on the business/first class, perhaps my wife and I might have to open a couple platinum amex cards to get the additional points needed for this.. would love some advice though as to my comments above as throwing on $1000 in fees to get those 100,000 points might negate the value of business class. Than again if what you are saying is true and I am off base with my comments below I need to reevaluate..

Here is what I was originally considering:

Fri Dec 21:
YYZ->FRA->SIN
Wed Jan 2:
SIN-> SYD
Tues Jan 22:
SYD->YVR->YYZ

Although I can't seem to be able to select the second flight anymore on aeroplan so I can't see the fees. Also what I meant by direct which reading it now was unclear, is that I prefer to spend less time in the air as opposed to saving $100 - $200 in fees/taxes.


In terms of the value, from what I can determine looking on Kayak these flights during the Christmas period (Dec/Jan) are in and around the $3500 mark. If I am totally off base there than let me know. And that is without your help in optimizing the stopovers and open jaws and such. I would think those are the main value adds with booking with Aeroplan when you are talking about a multi-destination trip?

Would appreciate any and all comments. Thanks!
if you cant see the flight, the inventory might be gone/taken away or by someone else
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Old Mar 16, 12, 10:49 am   #68
  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Calgary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by global_happy_traveller View Post
if you cant see the flight, the inventory might be gone/taken away or by someone else
I think he is referring to when certain flights displayed in the grid of available flights gets greyed out when you select your first sector. This happens when the first flight selected causes the next option/s to become invalid due to MPM or routing rules.
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Old Mar 16, 12, 1:00 pm   #69
  
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 29
That is correct yycworldtraveler. (I like your username, I grew up in Calgary and most of my family is still there) It is odd though as it was allowing me to select the exact same segments a few days ago..do you see anything wrong with the segments I am trying to select?
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Old Mar 16, 12, 1:36 pm   #70
  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: PHL, NYC, DC
Posts: 9,032
Quote:
Originally Posted by yycworldtraveler View Post
I think he is referring to when certain flights displayed in the grid of available flights gets greyed out when you select your first sector. This happens when the first flight selected causes the next option/s to become invalid due to MPM or routing rules.
Because it exceeds MPM.......... You have to call Aeroplan and do a manual booking on this. If they say this is too far off the maximum permitted mileage, let them know this is a "published SQ routing"

Only down side is you get dinged for the booking fee of $30-35 per person

good luck
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Old Mar 16, 12, 1:49 pm   #71
  
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 29
Thanks for the heads-up! Do you think that this routing is optimal for what I am trying to do? Is there a better route? Also do you agree that business class is worth spending $1000 to get the extra points? Or am I getting enough value from the economy route. Thanks!
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Old Mar 16, 12, 2:30 pm   #72
  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: PHL, NYC, DC
Posts: 9,032
Quote:
Originally Posted by farooqm View Post
Thanks for the heads-up! Do you think that this routing is optimal for what I am trying to do? Is there a better route? Also do you agree that business class is worth spending $1000 to get the extra points? Or am I getting enough value from the economy route. Thanks!
the difference between Economy and Business class is probably a difference of $5000 (assuming retail Economy class is $2000 and Business is $7000).

I will let you decide whether its worthwhile
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Old Mar 17, 12, 4:28 am   #73
  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: HKG (mind in YYZ)
Programs: MPC Green, AC Tangerine :)
Posts: 1,102
quick question, i know i can only change routing after my reward trip commences, i currently have 1 stopover + destination, if i change an existing connection to a second stopover, would it just be $90+tax change fee or would all legs that i haven't flown be recalculated and accessed YQ

my apologies if this has been already answered somewhere
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Old Mar 17, 12, 9:32 am   #74
  
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Programs: StarAlliance (Aeroplan)
Posts: 498
Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by wwtsang View Post
quick question, i know i can only change routing after my reward trip commences, i currently have 1 stopover + destination, if i change an existing connection to a second stopover, would it just be $90+tax change fee or would all legs that i haven't flown be recalculated and accessed YQ

my apologies if this has been already answered somewhere


Hi Wwtsang,

If you booked before the Fuel Surcharge increase, then you are correct:
Quote:
"I know i can only change routing after my reward trip commences"
If you do change before departure they will re-calculate all the taxes, fees and surcharges.

If you make any changes after departure you will need to pay for any taxes, landing fees, airport fees, air traffic fees but you will NOT have to pay more fuel surcharge fees.

Some people have reported that Aeroplan reps have said that you do have to pay but this is not correct, if this happens ask for a supervisor or call back.
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Old Mar 17, 12, 10:58 am   #75
  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: HKG (mind in YYZ)
Programs: MPC Green, AC Tangerine :)
Posts: 1,102
Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneTravel View Post
Hi Wwtsang,

If you booked before the Fuel Surcharge increase, then you are correct:

If you do change before departure they will re-calculate all the taxes, fees and surcharges.

If you make any changes after departure you will need to pay for any taxes, landing fees, airport fees, air traffic fees but you will NOT have to pay more fuel surcharge fees.

Some people have reported that Aeroplan reps have said that you do have to pay but this is not correct, if this happens ask for a supervisor or call back.
thanks for the prompt answer

my current trip looks like this
YYZ-DUS-ZRH(stop)-BKK-HKG(dest)-ORD-YYZ
i'm looking to make DUS another stop, pretty sure that'll be doable right?
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