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Aeroplan's Best Kept Secret: award flights into Iqaluit

Aeroplan's Best Kept Secret: award flights into Iqaluit

Old Jan 19, 18, 10:47 am
  #46  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 203
Excellent information here. I was always wondering why the cost of flights to North is so expensive, many times you can fly cheaper to Europe than taking a 1500-200 miles north.I understand that everything cost more up north but still the prices are outrageous, not necessarily for me who I might take one trip but for the residents of northern communities.
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Old Jan 19, 18, 2:55 pm
  #47  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
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Originally Posted by mitelsp View Post
Excellent information here. I was always wondering why the cost of flights to North is so expensive, many times you can fly cheaper to Europe than taking a 1500-200 miles north.I understand that everything cost more up north but still the prices are outrageous, not necessarily for me who I might take one trip but for the residents of northern communities.
There isn't much demand for these flights, compared to say YYZ-LHR.

Also, many groups such as those with 'land claims" in the north get pretty big discounts:

http://www.canadiannorth.com/pivut

​​​​​​
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Old Jan 19, 18, 7:51 pm
  #48  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
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I once lived in YZF and regularly travel to YXY, YZF and YFB for work. I too recommend everyone in Canada try to make it north at some point. Inuvik and YXY haven't really been mentioned here but are also worth consideration. While YFB or other points north in Nunavut may be great bucket list type things to tick off, there's far more to do if you go to YZF/YXY and maybe do a side trip to the Nahanni Park, Inuvik, Dawson City, etc. depending which gateway is chosen. A trip to YFB is quite pricey once on the ground and not much to do, but you could use a week in YXY/area or YZF/area. If northern lights are your goal, YZF wins hands down - has little to do with latitude as noted upthread, but YZF has far more clear nights than YFB/YXY.

Perhaps I'll run into one of you in YFB next month!
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Old Jul 23, 18, 12:32 pm
  #49  
 
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Thank you to the OP . I was never aware of this option and had been put off visiting YFB due to the high fares posted. Yesterday afternoon I was able to secure 2 return tickets for next May for a grand total of 30k AE points = $149 in fees, saving us over $3500 had we paid cash for the same flights. That's a heck of a saving in my eyes. As for time taken. It took me less than 25 minutes from first placing the call to having the itinerary secured. Extremely impressed.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 7:57 pm
  #50  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 351
Question

Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
One thing I didn't try doing (but learned about later) was taking advantage of the free stopover rule with Aeroplan where you can "add" a destination to a domestic flight.
Could you please elaborate on this? Is it only for Northern/First Air flights or for any shorthaul Aeroplan redemption?
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Old Jul 23, 18, 8:17 pm
  #51  
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Originally Posted by emilio911 View Post
Could you please elaborate on this? Is it only for Northern/First Air flights or for any shorthaul Aeroplan redemption?
This is arguably the next best kept secret in Aeroplan - you get to add destinations that are on the way to your destination for no additional milage. Any Aeroplan redemption which involves flights solely on *A partners like AC, UA and LH entitle you to at least 1 free destination or open-jaw en-route. This doesn't appear to apply to non-*A airlines like Canadian North or First Air.

Let me give you several examples to illustrate the types of bookings you can do:
  • Air Canada (short haul redemption) : 15,000 miles + $244 in taxes & fees:
    • Depart Toronto September 4 at 07:00 arrives in Montreal at 08:14
    • Departs Montreal September 11 at 14:40 PM arrives in Boston at 15:58
    • Departs Boston September 17 at 18:10 arrives in Montreal at 19:24
    • Departs Montreal September 17 at 21:30 arrives in Toronto at 22:52
  • Air Canada/EgyptAir/Swiss/United (international redemption) : 80,000 miles + $530 in taxes & booking fees
    • Departs Toronto Tues Jan 2 at 21:05 arrives in Dubai at 18:55 on Wed Jan 3
    • Departs Dubai Sat Jan 6 at 16:20 arrives in Cairo at 18:30
    • Departs Cairo Thurs Jan 11 at 09:35 arrives in Geneva at 13:00
    • Departs Geneva at 14:45 arrives in Zurich at 15:35
    • Departs Zurich Sun Jan 14 at 10:20 arrives in Newark at 13:45
    • Departs Newark at 17:40 arrives in 19:20
As you can see you can stretch a heck of a lot of value out of these Aeroplan tickets beyond a simple roundtrip redemption. The second itinerary I actually booked late last year with Aeroplan.

Domestic & USA itineraries automatically entitle you to 1 free stopover along the way. International itineraries entitle you to 2 (hence the reason why I could stop over in Cairo and Zurich on the way back from Dubai). To take advantage of the 1 stop-over benefit simply book your flight as a multi-city on the Aeroplan website. To take advantage of the 2 stopover benefit you'll need to call Aeroplan (and pay a $35 phone booking fee).

Note : You might notice that some reward flights have insane taxes & fees on Aeroplan. The way around this is selecting a *A airline that doesn't charge those insane booking fees (i.e. United or Swiss). It should be noted that short-haul redemptions require that AC, Canadian North, or First Air be the airline (i.e. you can't book United from YYZ to ORD).

Finally, I'd recommend you take a cold hard look at what constitutes a short haul (15,000 mile) and transcontinental (25,000 mile) award booking as there are a ton of sweet spots that most people miss when using Aeroplan like Iqaluit or Anchorage.

Hope that provides some insight.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Jul 23, 18, 8:24 pm
  #52  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post
Domestic & USA itineraries automatically entitle you to 1 free stopover along the way. International itineraries entitle you to 2 (hence the reason why I could stop over in Cairo and Zurich on the way back from Dubai). To take advantage of the 1 stop-over benefit simply book your flight as a multi-city on the Aeroplan website. To take advantage of the 2 stopover benefit you'll need to call Aeroplan (and pay a $35 phone booking fee).
Thank you for your amazing explanations!

Small remaining question: This only applies to roundtrips, correct? There's no free destination for one-ways, correct?
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Old Jul 23, 18, 8:32 pm
  #53  
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Originally Posted by emilio911 View Post
Thank you for your amazing explanations!

Small remaining question: This only applies to roundtrips, correct? There's no free destination for one-ways, correct?
Correct.

I should also add that you can add open jaws. What's an open jaw? Imagine you want to go on vacation to Europe, let's say Rome for the sake of convenience. You could fly Toronto to Rome roundtrip (like 99% of the people do) but are on a tour that ends in Milan. Rather than figuring out a way back from Milan to Rome, you could book Toronto to Rome on the outbound then Milan to Toronto for the return flight. Another reason you might do this is award availability (especially in business class is limited). For instance, you may find first class from Montreal to Zurich on the outbound with Swiss but for the return. So you book Montreal to Zurich in first class on Swiss, then for the return you book say Frankfurt to Montreal in First on Lufthansa as they have availability (which also gives you the opportunity to try the first class terminal in Frankfurt, a spiritual experience in itself).

I think for international itineraries you can have 1 open jaw and an extra destination so you could do something like Toronto to Milan, Rome to Zurich, Zurich to Toronto.

Hope that provides further insight.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Jul 23, 18, 8:41 pm
  #54  
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One final Aeroplan tip I thought I'll throw out there for those who have status on other airlines like United:

I'm a United Gold member (i.e. I fly 50,000 miles with UA and *A partners every year) which entitles me to things like baggage allowance, free upgrades, lounge access and priority everything when flying with them. Unfortunately I have no such status with Aeroplan, which I have been told might be Air Canada's frequent flyer program. The first thing I do after I book an award flight with Aeroplan is update my frequent flyer number from Aeroplan to my United number. Doing this automatically switches the benefits I get on that flight from a general member to at least a *A Gold member (i.e. I can access the Maple Leaf Lounge when flying with Air Canada on an Aeroplan ticket). Also in the event they made an error booking the award ticket, I might actually earn award miles on this award flight (odds are 1 in a million but worth a shot anyways).

Recently I booked LAX to DTW with United using my Aeroplan miles. The moment I "imported" my Aeroplan flight into my United profile I was put on the upgrade list for the flights, could access Economy+ seating (normally $20-$50) and will have access to the *A lounge at LAX and the LH & TK lounge at IAD

Updating your frequent flyer number on Aeroplan tickets will vary depending on the airline and frequent flyer program you're a member of. For AC award flights I had to call them to get my frequent flyer updated to my United. For Swiss and EgyptAir it could be done online from manage reservations. As mentioned before, United was the simplest, just plug the United PNR into my MileagePlus account!

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Jul 23, 18, 9:12 pm
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by mitelsp View Post
I was always wondering why the cost of flights to North is so expensive, many times you can fly cheaper to Europe than taking a 1500-200 miles north.I understand that everything cost more up north but still the prices are outrageous, not necessarily for me who I might take one trip but for the residents of northern communities.
It's simple - have you noticed that many of the airlines that serve the far north are combi aircraft (half passenger, half cargo)? There really isn't much demand for bums in seats to Iqaluit - despite the claims of some. Many northern residents traditionally don't travel, or are generously subsidized to do so. The demand is for perishable food and other high-value goods, which can otherwise only arrive by seasonal boat. If you and your bags weigh a total of 100 kg, that's 100 kg of fruit & vegetables that you have displaced - which at any time of year is an extremely high-value commodity. Also consider there's no such thing as same-day Prime delivery on Baffin Island; if you aren't prone to placing a goods order months in advance and unwilling to wait until the first ship arrives after the harbour thaws in late spring, you're forced to pay to have it flown to you.

We should feel fortunate that such redemptions are considered domestic and available for 15,000 miles. However, like many other "secrets" - once broadcast on websites like this, the countdown clock begins until their demise.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 9:40 pm
  #56  
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Originally Posted by mitelsp View Post
Excellent information here. I was always wondering why the cost of flights to North is so expensive, many times you can fly cheaper to Europe than taking a 1500-200 miles north.I understand that everything cost more up north but still the prices are outrageous, not necessarily for me who I might take one trip but for the residents of northern communities.
Nobody except tourists pay full revenue fares. They are either getting 50-75% NLCA beneficiary discounts or their employer is covering the cost.
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Old Jul 24, 18, 12:13 am
  #57  
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Originally Posted by CZAMFlyer View Post
We should feel fortunate that such redemptions are considered domestic and available for 15,000 miles. However, like many other "secrets" - once broadcast on websites like this, the countdown clock begins until their demise.
Not really! These award redemptions are capacity controlled: Canadian North only releases 2 seats per day on their YOW -> YFB service to Aeroplan. From my experience flying them, they appear to be an airline that doesn't have a high pax load factor and it would be impractical for them to be constantly reconfiguring their aircraft to support changing pax loads. Hence, releasing a couple extra seats earns them some money they would otherwise have not earned! This method of booking is a well known fact to those who live in the North (or who have relatives/friends in the South) which is why it often takes many minutes on the phone (or perhaps even hours) of negotiation to find a date that has been taken for the outbound and return.Also keep in mind that similar redemptions are possible with AirMiles so our carriers to the North have no problem releasing limited availability to these programs. No doubt the tourism agencies in the North are part of the reason why these seats are made available.

The real crime are the countless Canadians who don't even leave the province (or worse the city) they've grown up in all their life. Canada's a big country and has a lot to offer in terms of culture and scenery. I feel fortunate to have visited Iqaluit in November and am sure glad to have this redemption available as an option in the future.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Jul 24, 18, 4:16 pm
  #58  
 
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That didn't take long:

SO COOL: Flying To The Canadian Arctic Is Easier Than I Thought

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Old Jul 24, 18, 5:36 pm
  #59  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
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I had to let out a sigh when I saw that.

Can't wait for:
  1. the 4 paragraph intro linking back to his discovery of this amazing deal on today's entry
  2. the review of him suffering in economy class for his followers
  3. the disappointment at the lack of amenities wherever he ends up going
  4. and last but definitely not least, the plethora of credit card links to build up your Aeroplan balances!
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Old Jul 24, 18, 5:39 pm
  #60  
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Hasn't Canadian km or someone already written about this? I.e. it's not that concerning to see this on the blogs when you consider the number of people who would actually take this trip
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