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Eventually in the miles and points game you need to look beyond the borders of the US based programs if you want to learn how to really maximize your miles. This is true even if you reside and primarily travel within the United States. Thanks to transferable points programs such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, you can easily have miles transfer to lots of programs even if you have never stepped foot on one of their planes.
One example of a program you should know aboutis the Aeroplan frequent flyer program for Air Canada, a Membership Rewards transfer partner. Aeroplan is the program we used to send my mom and aunt to Europe in business class for just 90,000 miles round trip each including a stopover and open jaw – which is a much better deal than most other award charts currently offer. They flew a mix of Star Alliance partners like United and Turkish Airlines, and had a fantastic flight experience while really stretching their miles.
However, as of December 15, 2015, you will no longer be able to book a similar award for just 90,000 miles since there are some changes coming to the Aeroplan award chart. This is hardly surprising since that award, and some others, are now “cheap” compared to what is available via other award charts, and frequent flyer programs generally only devalue as time goes on.
Here are five changes coming to this Aeroplan Star Alliance award chart that you should be aware of before December 15th – hopefully you can squeeze one more booking in before the changes kick in!
- Round trip premium cabin awards from Canada and the United States (other than Hawaii) to Europe 1 are getting more expensive. Europe 1 is defined as largely Western Europe with Luxembourg joining Europe 1 on 12/15/15 (see full country list here). Prices are going from 90,000 to 110,000 miles in business class and from 125,000 to 140,000 miles in first class.
- Round trip premium cabin awards from Canada and the United States (other than Hawaii) to Europe 2 and also getting more expensive. Europe 2 is defined as largely Eastern Europe with Poland joining Europe 2 on 12/15/15 (see full country list here). Prices are going from 105,000 to 115,000 miles in business class and from 145,000 to 160,000 miles in first class.
- Flights within Asia 1 are getting much more expensive. Round trip economy tickets are going from 20,000 to 40,000, business class is going from 30,000 to 80,000, and first class is going from 50,000 to 110,000. Not only that, but Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam will leave Asia 1 and join Asia 2. Eastern Russia and Mongolia will be joining Asia 1.
- Flights within Europe 1 are getting more expensive with economy round trip going from 20,000 to 25,000. Premium cabins are also getting pricier, but I generally wouldn’t recommend premium cabins for intra-Europe anyway.
- One-way awards are available for 50% of the round trip price not just if they/start or end in North America, but now anywhere in the world.
Some flights are also going down in price, but I highlighted what I think will be five of the largest changes for largely US based travelers. If you haven’t used Aeroplan before, I recommend you pay attention to their program, especially if you like to fly Star Alliance flights and have access to Membership Reward points via cards like the The Business Platinum Card®.
Before you go head first in making an Aeroplan booking in advance of the 12/15 changes, remember that they do charge fuel surcharges on airlines that charge them (unless you potentially do this), but that leaves options like United, Swiss, Singapore, EVA, Turkish, Air China, and more available without additional fees. Also keep in mind that on round trip awards that span two continents Aeroplan permits two stopovers or a stopover and open jaw, so you can really squeeze value out of these miles!
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.