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Aeroplan's Best Kept Secret: award flights into Iqaluit

Aeroplan's Best Kept Secret: award flights into Iqaluit

Old Jan 16, 18, 5:53 pm
  #31  
 
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As someone that lives up in the north..I recommend you all visit the north - we need those tourism dollars spent. And would appreciate a Do I could manage to get to easily


Originally Posted by canadiancow
Ugh First Air flies to YRB, but Canadian North does not, so I can't use EF

I had no issue finding 2 seats on YOW-YFB on dates that worked for me though.
I was going to give you a challenge of getting status with Canadian North (Aurora Concierge | Canadian North), since if you had their status they used to open up AE seats on demand, but I'm not seeing that on their benefit sheet any more. They used to have MLL access and everything but many of the AC integration benefits have disappeared in recent years.

Last edited by CdnFlier; Jan 16, 18 at 5:56 pm Reason: fixed link
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Old Jan 16, 18, 8:04 pm
  #32  
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I am well aware of the rules surrounding IKK and that for any non AC metal that IKK doesn't work. However, I was not aware of the strategy used by the original poster until now, so worth asking - I assume super elites also cannot use IKK for this airline?
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Old Jan 16, 18, 9:05 pm
  #33  
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Originally Posted by longtimeflyin
I am well aware of the rules surrounding IKK and that for any non AC metal that IKK doesn't work. However, I was not aware of the strategy used by the original poster until now, so worth asking - I assume super elites also cannot use IKK for this airline?
IKK only applies to AC metal.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 4:18 pm
  #34  
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Northern Flights Bookable on Air Miles!

Originally Posted by jerry305
Available on Air Miles; AP is new to me and I will check out more on that.
Apparently some northern flights appear to be bookable on Air Miles online (haven't gone through with the booking process as I only have 100 Airmiles). When I ran the search I was given the following tidbit of information (for roundtrip travel between Ottawa and Iqaluit):



That seems like a reasonable amount of miles considering the value of the tickets involved (you're looking at a sign up bonus from 1-2 choice credit cards to earn enough points). One thing that isn't apparent from this are what the taxes+fees are (Aeroplan only charged me $35 in taxes and another $30 for using the phone to make the booking).

Would be curious to learn more about Air Miles reward booking process for this award and what's involved there.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Jan 17, 18, 6:10 pm
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso
Would be curious to learn more about Air Miles reward booking process for this award and what's involved there.
Churchill from YWG is particularly cheap, owing to how Air Miles sets its rewards geographically: 1200 to 1920 Air Miles roundtrip + $94.
YMMV
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Old Jan 17, 18, 9:42 pm
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso
Apparently some northern flights appear to be bookable on Air Miles online (haven't gone through with the booking process as I only have 100 Airmiles). When I ran the search I was given the following tidbit of information (for roundtrip travel between Ottawa and Iqaluit):



That seems like a reasonable amount of miles considering the value of the tickets involved (you're looking at a sign up bonus from 1-2 choice credit cards to earn enough points). One thing that isn't apparent from this are what the taxes+fees are (Aeroplan only charged me $35 in taxes and another $30 for using the phone to make the booking).

Would be curious to learn more about Air Miles reward booking process for this award and what's involved there.

Safe Travels,

James
Booked two tickets for YOW-YFB on air miles for a trip in May. Had the BMO World Elite MC which knocked the miles cost down. I paid 6000 air miles and $200 for the flights. I think either the price has gone up or the W.E. discount has gone done. Either way, a huge valuation for Air Miles compared to a normal redemption.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 11:05 pm
  #37  
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Originally Posted by pedantic
Booked two tickets for YOW-YFB on air miles for a trip in May. Had the BMO World Elite MC which knocked the miles cost down. I paid 6000 air miles and $200 for the flights. I think either the price has gone up or the W.E. discount has gone done. Either way, a huge valuation for Air Miles compared to a normal redemption.
Were you able to book this entirely online or did you need to call it in? Also what did availability look like - was it a specific set of days that worked or was availability pretty open during then? I'm a bit surprised you could snatch two tickets like that considering the struggle I had trying to secure 1 with Aeroplan. Would be interesting to hear your experience

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Jan 17, 18, 11:31 pm
  #38  
 
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As an Iqaluit resident, I can attest to this Aeroplan reward. I have booked approximately 7 roundtrips in the last 5 years saving me thousands of dollars.
While it is 15000 miles, you absolutely must book well in advance especially during busy seasons. Generally, with the young population, any time school is on holidays are times yo absolutely must book in advance. March/April for Easter, start of July, end of August, Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years. You can book YOW to YFB fairly easily 3-4 months in advance. Most of the time, you will have to be flexible with the dates and you will have greater success. An agent has once told me there are generally two reward seats every flight.

Generally, you call the Aeroplan agent. you cannot book this online. Most of the time it takes at least 30-60 minutes, however, I have noticed that agents have been quicker lately.
When you reach the agent, you specifically say you want to book a First Air/Canadian North flight. This gets them ready.

The thing to keep in mind is the different systems they deploy for each airline. Canadian North is on their booking system so they can immediately see whether there is a seat or not. Meanwhile, First Air requires that Aeroplan contact them for each specific date and wait for a response from First Air to confirm whether or not a seat is available. This can make booking First Air tedious. From my experience, Canadian North has always been easier to book.

Alternatively, booking Montreal to Iqaluit is much easier. This flight flights back and forth Monday, Wednesday and Friday on First Air. This does have a stop over in Kujjuaq QC.

Another option is Edmonton to Iqaluit via the "milk run" route. This flight leaves Edmonton, flies to Yellowknife, then Rankin Inlet and finally Iqaluit. This flight is 25000 miles, however I find I can easily book this flight less than a month in advance easily.

You can also add a Air Canada leg to any of these flights in one ticket however, be prepared to have a lot of waiting time at airport. Expect to pay about $90-$100 in taxes when booking the reward flight (YFB to YOW, YFB to YUL, YFB to YEG alone, no Air Canada segments included).

Another option is to have a heart attack on the way to Europe or on the way back. We are one of the few airports in the North capable of landing large jets. We have had many airlines land here due to medical emergencies. I have personally seen Aeroflot, Air India, Delta, Swiss, and Air Canada land here due to medical emergencies. On that note, even if you are Canadian, you must absolutely purchase out of province medical insurance! A Medevac flight out of Iqaluit to Ottawa or Montreal for emergency medical reasons is not covered by out of province health care plans. This emergency flight can cost over $30000 and I have seen too many people run into this situation at our hospital.
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Last edited by MaHa; Jan 17, 18 at 11:40 pm
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Old Jan 18, 18, 9:28 am
  #39  
 
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Originally Posted by j2simpso
Were you able to book this entirely online or did you need to call it in? Also what did availability look like - was it a specific set of days that worked or was availability pretty open during then? I'm a bit surprised you could snatch two tickets like that considering the struggle I had trying to secure 1 with Aeroplan. Would be interesting to hear your experience

Safe Travels,

James
I didn't have the exact flight destinations, but I booked a flight YYZ-YZF for September in hopes of seeing the northern lights using Air Miles as I signed up to a couple of credit cards and participated in some challenges to get quite a few air miles, and I would have to say from my one experience, it wasn't the easiest in finding flights that were at the lowest redemption with reasonable flight times. It was only specific days that would work for me, and while I didn't exactly book a year in advance of when flights immediately became available, I didn't think booking 9 months in advance would be so difficult.

I feel like there isn't nearly as much forum discussion on travel booking tips using air miles based on my google queries. The aeroplan search approach of looking for availability for one way journeys don't work, because apparently inventory for one ways are different than round trips, when I spoke to a representative. Keep in mind, the availability I saw was already considered expanded since I was an Oynx member, which is Air Miles top status level.
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Old Jan 18, 18, 3:38 pm
  #40  
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Fare code for AirMiles Redemption?

Originally Posted by circky
I didn't have the exact flight destinations, but I booked a flight YYZ-YZF for September in hopes of seeing the northern lights using Air Miles as I signed up to a couple of credit cards and participated in some challenges to get quite a few air miles, and I would have to say from my one experience, it wasn't the easiest in finding flights that were at the lowest redemption with reasonable flight times. It was only specific days that would work for me, and while I didn't exactly book a year in advance of when flights immediately became available, I didn't think booking 9 months in advance would be so difficult.

I feel like there isn't nearly as much forum discussion on travel booking tips using air miles based on my google queries. The aeroplan search approach of looking for availability for one way journeys don't work, because apparently inventory for one ways are different than round trips, when I spoke to a representative. Keep in mind, the availability I saw was already considered expanded since I was an Oynx member, which is Air Miles top status level.
Could you share the fare code/booking class the redemption booked into? Should be able to find it either from Air Canada confirmation email or by plugging the PNR into Candida. Norths website to pull up res. This would be helpful for FT users since we can plug it into ExpertFlyer to get a better picture of availability. I suspect X but have been wrong on the last with these things.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Jan 18, 18, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by j2simpso
Were you able to book this entirely online or did you need to call it in? Also what did availability look like - was it a specific set of days that worked or was availability pretty open during then? I'm a bit surprised you could snatch two tickets like that considering the struggle I had trying to secure 1 with Aeroplan. Would be interesting to hear your experience

Safe Travels,

James
I was looking at pretty specific dates, hoped to go on a specific date. I booked it in September, so about 8 months in advance. I think I was looking for a five day trip but had to settle for four days. I booked it all online. Had to try a few different searches to get dates that worked. It was really fun, hope to go back and experience more of the winter activities some time.
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Old Jan 18, 18, 9:53 pm
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Thanks to the OP, eigenvector and others for the photos - looks like an amazing area to visit.
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Old Jan 18, 18, 10:35 pm
  #43  
 
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By far the finest and most uplifting thread ever! THANK YOU ALL!!!
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Old Jan 19, 18, 9:05 am
  #44  
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Apologies in advance for the long write up but thought I'd provide a more comprehensive look at the booking situation for both Canadian rewards programs:

Looking through the Air Miles partner chart reveals several partners that may be relevant if you're going up North or Northish (i.e. Northern BC).

Calm Air (Air Miles and Aeroplan Partner):

Would need to call Aeroplan to make booking (unsure of Air Miles situation).



Canadian North (Air Miles and Aeroplan Partner):

Bookable online for Air Miles. You'll need to call Aeroplan to make such a redemption. Cost is 15,000 points + ~C$65 for the flight between Ottawa and Iqaluit.
Availability can be found using tools like ExpertFlyer (select Canadian North as Availability and select the Aeroplan redemption option).


Central Mountain Air (Air Miles Partner):

PAL Airlines (Air Miles Partner)


Other AirMiles Partners

Alaskan airlines is also listed as a partner of Air Miles which as you can imagine flies to most destinations in Alaska from its hub in Seattle (i.e. Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau, etc.). Delta is also a partner and flies to major Alaskan cities like Anchorage.

First Air (Aeroplan Partner)
As before you'd need to call Aeroplan if you'd like to book this redemption. Montreal/Ottawa to Iqaluit is 15,000 miles + ~C$65 in taxes and fees.
Availability can't be found using ExpertFlyer so you'd need to negotiate that with the call centre.

Air Canada

Limited Northern Destinations (Northern parts of Canadian provinces and the capitals of Yukon and Northwest Territories). Flights between Vancouver and Yellowknife are 15,000 points + ~ C$100 whereas the cash price for those flights are around C$400 if you book well in advance (so decent redemption). Flights between Calgary/Edmonton and Whitehorse are 15,000 points + ~C$150 with similar cash pricing when booking in advance. They also fly to Anchorage (seasonal service from YVR) although you're looking at 25,000 points for that redemption. All of these may be booked online. It may also be possible to book both destinations on a single itinerary for 25,000 points from anywhere in North America. However, I couldn't manage to do this online so I suspect you'll need to call Aeroplan to make such a booking.

Air Creebec

Yet another Aeroplan partner. They fly to Northern Ontario and Quebec from their bases in Timmins, Ontario and Montreal.
Redemptions cost 15,000 miles and again can only be booked by calling Aeroplan.



Bearskin Airlines

Another Aeroplan partner that flies to Northern Ontario from its bases in Timmins, Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. Sadly, they will be leaving the Aeroplan program on June 30, 2018 meaning no more tickets can be booked after that point (you can travel on those tickets to May 28, 2019 however).





United Air Lines

United is an Aeroplan and Air Miles partner and they fly to both Anchorage and Fairbanks. These redemption would qualify as a standard (25,000 point) Aeroplan redemption since Air Canada isn't operating those flights. One advantage to this approach is that you avoid paying the silly carrier surcharge as United is one of the few that don't have it on Aeroplan. As before, you could combine this reward with another flight within North America, allowing you to build a crazy itinerary like this: Toronto to Anchorage, Anchorage to San Francisco, San Francisco to Toronto for 25,000 points + taxes & fees.

Summary

With plenty of options available across the Aeroplan and Air Miles rewards networks there really is no excuse to explore the great white north. So long as you're flexible with either dates or destinations, you're certain to find a good deal on these programs. The sheer number of Northern Airlines both programs have as partners combine only backs up that point. Combine that with Aeroplan's generous stopover rules for continental flying and you can see the Northern Lights from 2 destinations, or just one and while later sipping a mai tai in Miami.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Jan 19, 18, 9:31 am
  #45  
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Originally Posted by j2simpso
Would be interested to hear fellow FTers experience booking these awards and advice they have.
Don't post it here because I've been trying to work this out for years and now everyone will crowd in!

Just kidding of course . I've personally known a bit of this but haven't had a chance to put it together, hopefully many can take advantage of a great resource to visit a beautiful area. Including myself, eventually!
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