Ultimate Guide to Air Canada Aeroplan Miles: Part 3 – Step-By-Step Guide to Booking Award Seats Online
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Air Canada Aeroplan miles are super convenient for booking award travel. While you’ll have to book some award seats by phone, you can book most online.
Using Air Canada Aeroplan miles, you can book Star Alliance award seats, with airlines like EVA Air, SWISS, and United Airlines, to every inhabited continent in the world!
I’ll explain how to book award seats using Air Canada Aeroplan miles online, and explain the difference between Fixed Mileage and Market Fare awards.
Ultimate Guide to Air Canada Aeroplan Miles Series Index
- Part 1 – Introduction
- Part 2 – Step-By-Step Guide to Opening an Account
- Part 3 – Step-By-Step Guide to Booking Award Seats Online
- Part 4 – Mini Round-the-World Tickets and Routing Rules
- Part 5 – How to Avoid Fuel Surcharges and Save Money!
- Part 6 – Change and Cancellation Fees Explained
- Part 7 – Advanced Tips and Tricks
- Part 8 – How to Transfer Starwood and American Express Points
How To Book Air Canada Aeroplan Award Seats Online
Step 1. Go to Aeroplan’s Website
Link: Air Canada Aeroplan
Step 2. Go To Award Seat Search Engine
After logging in to your account, hover your mouse over the menu item “Use Your Miles” and click on “Travel.”
Step 3. Select Your Award Seat Settings
You’ll now see the Air Canada Aeroplan award search engine. To search for award seats, make sure the button “Flights” is selected. Next, select whether you’re booking a one-way, round-trip, or multi-city booking.
Air Canada Aeroplan charges 50% of the cost of a round-trip ticket for a one-way flight, so if you’re booking a round-trip, it may make sense to book it as 2 one-way tickets. This gives you more flexibility if your plans change. However, while changes are charged per direction per person, refunds are charged per ticket. So if you book 2 one-ways and you need to cancel your trip, it will cost you more to get a refund.
Next, enter your city of departure in the “From” box and your destination in the “To” box. Note that Air Canada Aeroplan does not support city codes like NYC for all New York City area airports. So you’ll have to search individual airports separately (for example, LaGuardia, Newark, or JFK).
After entering this information, the website will display areas to enter your date(s) of travel, number of passengers, and cabin. You can book flights up to 356 days in advance. Not all airlines release award seats far in advance, so check for available seats frequently if you don’t see what you want right away.
You can book coach, Business Class, and First Class. You can also book Premium Economy on Air Canada flights. Don’t bother clicking “My dates are flexible” because it doesn’t do anything important. After entering all the required information, click “Search.”
Step 4. Select Your Flight(s)
The search engine will show you all the flights it can find. You can switch between different cabins by changing the cabin type selection, and you can change your date by clicking on “Availability Calendar.”
Below these tabs, you’ll find a list of available flights. If you’re flying in Business Class or First Class, make sure to confirm that the long-haul flights are in your selected cabin! Air Canada Aeroplan is notorious for showing itineraries that have the short-haul flight in Business Class, and the long-haul flight in coach, but charging Business Class miles!
You can view the detailed flight information by selecting “Details.”
After clicking “Select,” a box will appear to your right with detailed cost information. You need at least 50% of the miles required for your ticket to book, and Air Canada Aeroplan will sell you the missing miles for ~3 cents per mile. You can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards points instantly to Air Canada Aeroplan.
If you’re satisfied with the cost, click “Book.”
Air Canada Aeroplan charges fuel surcharges on some airlines. I’ll talk about which airlines to avoid in a later post.
Step 5. Confirm Your Booking
After clicking “Book,” you’ll be directed to a series of pages to confirm your booking.
First, you’ll see a confirmation of the flight details, cost, and a prompt to accept the Terms and Conditions. Re-confirm your details, accept the Terms and Conditions, and click “Continue to Passengers.”
Unlike US airlines, Air Canada Aeroplan does NOT give you a fee-free cancellation or change period after booking, so it’s very important that everything is correct when you make the reservation!
Next, you’ll see a page to enter passenger information. You do NOT need passport information at this time (you’ll provide that when you check-in). After entering this information, you’ll be shown a screen to purchase travel insurance and pay for carbon offsets for your travel. You do NOT need to select either option.
Finally, you’ll see a screen that shows your flight information, passenger name(s), and a detailed breakdown of the miles and fees. Re-confirm that everything is correct. You can pay for your taxes and fees with American Express, Visa, and MasterCard.
After paying for your ticket, you’ll be given a confirmation number for your booking. You’ll also receive 2 emails:
- Booking confirmation email
- Ticketing email
The ticketing email, which has a PDF copy of your detailed ticket information, can take up to 72 hours to receive. The booking confirmation email will contain your partner booking references that you can use to select seats and check-in, and arrives instantly.
When using Air Canada Aeroplan, you’re allowed to have in a round-trip ticket:
- Your destination and 2 stopovers (a period of over 24 hours), or
- Your destination, 1 stopover, and 1 open-jaw (when you land in one city but leave from another city)
I’ll explain how to make the most of these rules in a later post, but you can book a more simplified version of the above using the multi-city booking option. Online, you can book your destination and 1 stopover, or a simple open-jaw.
Here’s an example of a multi-city trip to Frankfurt with a stopover in Geneva:
Here’s an example of a simple open-jaw that you can book online, flying into Geneva and out of Frankfurt:
The best Air Canada Aeroplan tickets need to be booked by telephone, but that can be a complex process I’ll explain later.
Fixed Mileage vs. Market Fare
Air Canada Aeroplan lets you book Fixed Mileage and Market Fare awards. Fixed Mileage awards are the standard chart-based awards. This is what you’ll likely be using.
Market Fare awards are only used for Air Canada flights. This option lets you use miles like cash. The system will charge the required number of miles based on the revenue cost of the Air Canada flights. This can lead to very expensive seats, sometimes costing over 1 million miles! However, Market Fare awards can be useful for last-minute flights when there are no award seats left.
Which Airlines Can You Book Online?
You can book all Star Alliance airlines online. You can also book Juneyao Air, a non-alliance Chinese airline. However, you can NOT book any non-alliance airline on Aeroplan’s website, including:
- Air Creebec
- Bearskin Airlines
- Canadian North
- Cathay Pacific
- First Air
To book these airlines, you need to call Air Canada Aeroplan at 800-361-5373.
You’re allowed 2 stopovers or 1 stopover and 1 open-jaw in addition to your destination on a round-trip ticket. Further, you can book all Star Alliance airlines online, although some non-alliance partners must be booked by phone.
In the next post, I’ll share more about Air Canada Aeroplan’s routing rules and how to book mini round-the-world tickets!
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