Award Booking Service
Sample Trips From Past Clients
Flight awards come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes a handful of miles can save you a ton of cash on a last-minute business trip; sometimes you'll save up a ton of miles for an epic, unforgettable trip around the world.
Below, you'll find a few sample trips, to give you a real-world look at some of the things your miles can do for you!
Trip #1 - Short Flight, Big Savings
7,500 pts in Economy, 15,000 pts in Business
One of the best value-for-money award flights is the last-minute, short hop.
On my last trip to New York, I got a phone call from a client asking me to drop everything and get to a meeting in Toronto the next day. Last-minute airfare was going to be $375 for the one-hour flight, but the exact same flight cost 7,500 Aeroplan miles plus $45 in taxes.
It's not the most glamourous travel, but it can save you an awful lot of money!
Trip #2 - Bucket-List Concert, Plus A Free Trip To Visit Family
25,000 pts in Economy, 50,000 pts in Business
Stewart is a huge EDM fan, and really wanted to attend the Ultra Music Festival in Miami at the end of March. He's also got family in Mississauga, so we built him a round-trip from Vancouver to Miami, using Aeroplan's free domestic stop-over benefit to add on a three-day stop in Toronto on the way to the concert.
A paid Economy ticket booked months in advance was showing up at nearly $1,000. Instead, he paid 25,000 points and about $150 in taxes.
Trip #3 - Eurotrip
60,000 pts in Economy, 110,000 pts in Business
For our last trip to Europe, my wife and I wanted to visit family in England, meet up with friends for a few days in Amsterdam, then visit Oktoberfest before driving through the Swiss Alps and flying home. Not a bad way to spend three weeks.
Starting in Vancouver, we flew business class to Montreal and then Brussels, and spent the afternoon wandering Brussels before flying to London for several days with family.
Our second leg took us from London to Copenhagen to Amsterdam, unfortunately incurring the relatively high taxes on all award flights leaving Britain.
On this trip, we used Aeroplan's "open jaw" allowance, which replaces one of your permitted long stops, but allows you to leave your flying itinerary in one city and pick it back up in another. This is useful when you want more long stops than are permitted in a single award flight.
note: since this trip, the Aeroplan rules have changed slightly; you can now replace your allowed stop-over with an open-jaw.
So, our Aeroplan ticket covered everything from Vancouver up to Amsterdam, then continued from Zurich, flying back home on Swiss Air and Air Canada through Montreal.
We bought a cheap cash airfare from Amsterdam to Munich, and found a great deal to rent a BMW to spend the day driving through the Alps to Zurich, which remains one of the best single travel days we've ever had.
Total cost for two of us was 220,000 Aeroplan miles, plus about $650 per person including the car and local flight.
Trip #4 - Three Continents, One Ticket
100,000 pts in Economy, 150,000 pts in Business
The stop-over rules are what make Aeroplan points really valuable, because they let you build multiple destinations into one ticket.
note: since this trip, the Aeroplan rules have changed slightly; you're now allowed one long stop-over on international trips, previously it was two.
Since the rules basically say you can stop anywhere that's "on the way" to your furthest destination, this creates some really interesting possibilities.For example, let's say you're flying Calgary to Johannesburg. You can buy a ticket from Calgary to London to Jo'burg, which is fine. But, look at a globe; there's a *lot* of places that are "on the way" from Alberta to South Africa.
For example, you could do something like this:
Fly Calgary-Toronto-Buenos Aires on Air Canada. Stop for a few days and visit Argentina, drink a little wine.
Fly Buenos Aires-Sao Paolo on - oddly enough - Ethiopian Airlines, and spend the day in Sao Paolo; that night, fly direct to Johannesburg on South African Airways. Spend two weeks exploring South Africa.
Fly Johannesburg to Zürich on Swiss Air, use your remaining free stop, and spend a few days driving through the Alps. I really do recommend spending the extra $30-40/day to bump up to the BMW 3-series.
Fly Zürich to Montreal on Swiss, then Montreal to Calgary on Air Canada.Because the Aeroplan rules allow for two stop-overs "on the way" to your furthest destination - in this case, Johannesburg - all the flights in this trip will fall under a single round-trip ticket from Calgary to Jo'burg, for 100,000 points per person in economy or 150,000 in business class.I ran this same itinerary through Google Flights, and it came back at $3,400 CAD in coach and $11,600 in business. You probably wouldn't book a trip like this for cash - so it's hard to say the points are "worth" that much - but this is one more way your miles can unlock an amazing experience!
Trip #5 - Around The World In Business Class, 16 cities on one ticket.
90,000 pts in Economy, 155,000 pts in Business
For our last sample trip, we're going to push the rules right to the limit, and we'll use a real-life example.
Lauren came to me a few months ago with a boatload of miles and a dream; she wanted to meet some friends for a week in Bali, but on the way she wanted to go on an adventure. She asked me to get her a week in Stockholm, and a week in Vietnam, and then to send her for as many one-day adventures as I could fit into one award ticket.
So, we built her a ticket I still refer to as "The Beast". Sixteen cities on one ticket, all business class, for 155,000 points and just over $500 in taxes and fees.
What surprised me as we booked, was that this trip didn't come close to reaching the maximum permitted mileage - we could have added more cities!
Still, this one's a marathon - remember, that's 16 cities, but only three can be stops of longer than 24 hours. Here we go!
note: since this trip, the Aeroplan rules have changed slightly; you're now allowed one long stop-over on international trips, previously it was two. A trip of this complexity is still possible, you just have to shorten the second stop-over to 24 hours or less.
Part One - Ottawa To Stockholm
Ottawa to Newark on Air Canada (full-day stop)
Newark to Copenhagen on SAS (full-day stop)
Copenhagen to Riga on SAS (overnight stop)
Riga to Stockholm on SAS (7-day stop)
Lauren arrives in Manhattan just in time for lunch and an afternoon of sightseeing. She has dinner and heads back to the airport, for a late-evening departure from Newark to Copenhagen on SAS' highly-rated new flat-bed seats.
She wakes up on descent into Copenhagen, and takes the 15-minute Metro ride downtown in time for coffee and fresh 'Ondagsnegeln' cinnamon pastries at Sankt Peders Bakery before exploring the city. After dinner, it's a quick ride back to the airport, and a short 1-hour hop on SAS over to Riga, Latvia, to check into a hotel for a well-earned night's sleep.
After a day of exploring in Riga, it's a short SAS flight up to Stockholm, Sweden, to spend her first long stop, a week visiting with family and friends.
Part Two - Stockholm to Hanoi
Stockholm to Helsinki on SAS (overnight stop)
Helsinki to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines (evening stop)
Istanbul to Hanoi on Turkish Airlines (10-day stop)
After an early lunch, Lauren takes a quick 55-minute hop from Stockholm over to Helsinki, Finland, for an afternoon and evening of exploring, spending the night in Helsinki. The next day, lunch takes place in the sky, with one of Turkish Airlines' renowned in-flight chefs.
On arrival in Istanbul, she has three options to choose from; take the free, guided tour of historic sites, rest up in the complimentary hotel Turkish Airlines provides to passengers with long-haul business-class connections, or simply relax in the massive, two-storey Turkish Airlines Lounge at Istanbul, complete with indoor driving range, arcade and rain showers.
From the parade of excited WhatsApp photos I received, she enjoyed the lounge!
Just after midnight, she joins the armada of Turkish Airlines wide-body flights departing for two dozen destinations in Southeast Asia, but the late departure still features a four-course meal served by the onboard chef.
After dinner, the steward makes up her seat into a bed, complete with mattress pad and duvet, for a full night's sleep across the southern edge of the Himalayas. Time zones being what they are, she arrives in Hanoi late in the afternoon, just in time for hotel check-in.
Lauren wanted to add a few small stops in this part of Asia, but it was simplest to book separate tickets on local carriers like AirAsia and VietJet - for example, her flight from Hanoi to Siem Reap was $25 plus seat selection!
Part Three - Hanoi to Bali
Hanoi to Bangkok on Thai Airways (overnight stop)
Bangkok to Denpasar on Thai Airways (11-day stop)
A relatively short hop, it's two hours across the Laotian highlands to Bangkok, for an afternoon touring Buddhist temples and an evening in the hectic night markets.
The next morning is a relatively early departure, one of the last opportunities to fly business class in 'bubble' atop the legendary Boeing 747, for the four-hour flight to Bali and 11 days of surf, yoga and general chill.
Part Four - Bali to Ottawa (with several stops)
Denpasar to Singapore on Singapore Air (overnight stop)
Singapore to Hong Kong on Singapore Air (overnight stop)
Hong Kong to Beijing on Air China (overnight stop)
Beijing to San Francisco on United Polaris (full-day stop)
San Francisco to Toronto on Air Canada (quick connection)
Toronto to Ottawa on Air Canada (home)
After a relaxing week in Bali, Lauren opts for a whirlwhind tour that would have knocked me flat on my back.
Starting off with a quick 2-hour hop to Singapore, she heads downtown and immediately checks off one of my bucket-list items, a close encounter with the family of river otters that lives in Singapore's famed Marina Bay!
The next morning, she starts the trip towards home with an overnight stop in Hong Kong, hitting a few highlights like the Star Ferry, surely the world's greatest 1-dollar harbour cruise, a walk through the sensory overload of Nathan Road and the Ladies Market, and an urban hike on the Central Escalators.
Her final overnight stop is Beijing, and the obligatory visit to the Great Wall, before boarding United Airlines' new Polaris business-class service for the flight home.
She arrives in San Francisco in the morning, and stores her bag at the airport before hopping the BART train into the city, and a stop at Pier 39 to visit the sea lions, and a walk through Nob Hill and the Mission.
The last night of the trip is a few hours napping in business class aboard an Air Canada Dreamliner, and a one-hour hop from Toronto back to Ottawa.