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Aeroplan, the loyalty program of Air Canada, offers some excellent deals on flights thanks to its generous award chart. However, there’s another benefit Aeroplan offers that’s not talked about nearly enough — the stopover. Although adding a stopover to an award flight isn’t free, it is cheap — you’ll pay just 5,000 additional miles to tack a stopover on to your one-way flight.
Let’s take a look at Aeroplan’s one-way stopover rules, how the stopover policy works and the best ways to earn Aeroplan points.
Aeroplan’s stopover policy
Aeroplan is one of the few loyalty programs that allows you to add a stopover to your one-way award ticket. As we mentioned above, it’s not free to do so, but at a cost of just 5,000 miles, you can get yourself a flight that would otherwise cost hundreds of dollars.
» Learn more: What are layover, stopover and open-jaw flights?
There are some conditions you must meet to book these stopovers:
You can have one stopover per direction of travel; this means you can have one stopover on a one-way flight or two stopovers on a round-trip booking.
Stopovers are subject to a maximum of 45 days.
Stopovers are not allowed within the United States or Canada.
You cannot combine a stopover with an open-jaw ticket; your onward flight must continue from the city at which you arrived. This means that if you booked a flight from New York-John F. Kennedy to Istanbul via Paris-Charles de Gaulle, you’ll need to depart from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to continue your trip to Istanbul.
No backtracking is permitted on a stopover, as travel must be made in one direction.
A stopover that creates a circuitous route is allowed as long as the cumulative flown distance between your origin and destination is less than double the mileage of a nonstop flight.
How to book an Aeroplan one-way stopover
As of now, Aeroplan stopovers cannot be booked online. Instead, you’ll need to call Aeroplan’s customer service center to be ticketed.
Let’s say you’d like to book a flight from Los Angeles to Capetown, South Africa.
Aeroplan’s award chart breaks the world into four different zones, and each zone will have different pricing for an award flight.
A direct flight between Los Angeles and Capetown is 9,993 miles, which means an economy class ticket will range from 70,000 - 100,000 points:
Between North America and Atlantic zones:
When searching for a flight in September, 2022, a one-way ticket with a layover in Frankfurt costs 70,000 Aeroplan points.
Let’s say, however, that you don't want to route through Frankfurt. Instead, you’d like to throw in a stopover in Singapore.
In that case, you can fly from Los Angeles to Singapore on Star Alliance partner Singapore Airlines for the price of 60,000 Aeroplan points:
You can then continue onward to Capetown on another Singapore airlines flight for 50,000 Aeroplan points:
The difference in cost when booking with a stopover versus booking separately is significant. When booking with a stopover, you’ll pay the price of your final destination according to Aeroplan’s award chart, plus 5,000 miles.
Here’s how the cost difference breaks down:
When booking separately: 110,000 points (60,000 points + 50,000 points).
When booking with a stopover: 75,000 points (70,000 points + 5,000 points).
As you can see, you’re saving 35,000 points by taking advantage of a stopover rather than booking two separate itineraries.
Keep in mind that you’re eligible to book up to two stopovers on a round-trip itinerary, which means that if you’re booking a flight back from Capetown, you could choose to stop off in Europe, Asia, or a variety of other destinations for an additional 5,000 miles.
Be aware that because this itinerary can’t be booked online, Air Canada will waive the $30 fee it normally charges for flights booked over the phone.
» Learn more: The points collector’s guide to Air Canada Aeroplan
Earning Aeroplan points
Aeroplan points are easy to earn, thanks to its own co-branded credit card and connections to several major points transfer partners.
Aeroplan® Credit Card
The recently launched Aeroplan® Credit Card gives cardholders in the U.S. an easy way to earn Aeroplan points and benefits. (As of now, there is no small-business version of the card.) Here's the welcome offer that comes with the card:
Aeroplan® Credit Card: Earn a Welcome Flight Reward worth up to 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months from account opening and up to 51,000 points through 10x total points on travel and dining in your first 6 months.
In addition to the welcome bonus you’ll earn after meeting a minimum spending requirement, you’ll also be able to earn points in these ways:
3x points on dining, grocery stores and flights booked directly with Air Canada.
1x points on all other purchases.
500 bonus points for every $2,000 you spend in a calendar month.
Air Canada’s Aeroplan program partners with several flexible point currency programs, meaning you can transfer your existing points from any one of these programs to Aeroplan.
American Express Membership Rewards. Transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
Capital One Miles. Transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
Bilt Rewards. Transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
Marriott Bonvoy Program. Transfer at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000 mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer.
» Learn more: Sweet spots of the new Aeroplan program
If you’re looking to book a stopover on your Aeroplan reward flight
Aeroplan has a generous reward program as-is, and thanks to its strong partnerships, building up an Aeroplan point balance is simple. Taking advantage of Aeroplan’s stopover policy is a great way to make those points go even further.
» Learn more: The best airlines for free stopovers
Although it’s inconvenient that these awards flights can't be booked online, the ability to add a stopover for just 5,000 miles means you can include another destination and save yourself thousands of miles in the process.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card