Part three of this Aeroplan hacking series takes a look at saving you money. Yes, money. It may come as a surprise to most but booking a reward ticket is rarely free. Often a seat sale from North America to Europe can be a better deal than paying $700 in taxes to claim your “free” Aeroplan ticket. Don’t worry. There are ways to minimize and even flat out avoid Aeroplan taxes and fees.
How bad is it?
You worked hard to accumulate those Aeroplan points and put the time in to maximize their value to get the most amazing trip ever only to find out that this “free” flight is going to cost you an arm and a leg. Shouldn’t a reward ticket be a reward? If you look at booking an Aeroplan ticket on Air Canada from North America to Europe you can pay over $700 in taxes and fees. Why? Certain airlines charge hefty fuel surcharges and airport taxes on award tickets. How do you avoid Aeroplan taxes and fees? By avoiding these airlines in the first place.
Dumping fuel surcharges
Aeroplan gets you access to the Star Alliance and its 28 worldwide airlines. Of these 28, 13 charge little or no fuel surcharges. Avoid the rest. They just aren’t worth it.
Airlines That Don’t Charge Fuel Surcharge on Reward Tickets
- Air China
- Brussels Airlines
- Ethiopian Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
Airlines That Charge Low Fuel Surcharges on Reward Tickets
- Air New Zealand
Airlines That Charge the Highest – AVOID!
- Air Canada
- Asiana Airlines
- Thai Airways
How to build a Route to Avoid Aeroplan Taxes and Fees
As mentioned in my post on how to maximize your Aeroplan points, the online tool for booking these record tickets flat out suck. To book them and avoid Aeroplan taxes and fees is almost impossible through their site. You need to call in. Before calling the service centre you need to search each leg of your itinerary individually and ensure that reward tickets are available on one of the airlines that don’t charge taxes. Write them down and move onto the next one.Compare prices on flights with Skyscanner
This takes some work as the Aeroplan booking tool will fail based on some of its search rules – ie. you have to search a return flight in some instances as reward tickets aren’t always allowed one way.
Need some help?
If this seems like too much, I offer a service for booking amazing reward tickets that avoid Aeroplan taxes and fees. Let’s talk!
And don’t just take my word for it! Here is some testimonial from a few happy clients!
How did you do thatttttttttt?! Seriously. So happy right now!
- Hillary Connelly (Vancouver to Bali, open jaw to Sydney and stopover in Bangkok on way home – $230 in taxes/fees)
Shaun’s turnaround from the time I first contacted him until the time he provided several alternative itineraries was only a couple of days and the fee he charged was very reasonable. The taxes and fees were less than half of what I saw on my original Aeroplan search.
- Alan Chapman (Calgary to Croatia with a stopover in Copenhagen, all business class flights – $273 in taxes/fees)
Flying round trip from Nanaimo, BC, to London UK, on points was going to cost from $580-$800 in fees (ouch! the same price as buying a ticket). With Shaun’s help, my flight got knocked down to only $232 in fees!. He was prompt, helpful, and extremely pleasant to work with, and I couldn’t be happier!
- Clayton Cameron (Nanaimo to London, open jaw to Rome then home – $232 in taxes/fees)
Keep doing what you do Shaun. Accumulating those points is way easier than effectively booking the travel. You provide a great service.
- Greg Workun (Edmonton to HCMC, stopovers in Taipei and Singapore – $365 in taxes/fees
What say you?
Thoughts or questions on how to Avoid Aeroplan Taxes and Fees?
Let’s hear it!
For more tips from Aeroplan and beyond see HERE.
Check out the other posts in this Aeroplan Hacks series and get on your way to creating your own dream trip!
Cover photo via Flickr CC @Joao Carlos Medau
Where is EVA? I believe it belongs in the first list….
Air Canada isn’t ALWAYS bad for the carrier surcharges, but you’re right, it is often egregious.
I remember the Carrier Surcharge only being $80 on HND-YYZ. I also just checked YYZ-HND and it was only $43 in “carrier surcharges” on the non-stop AC flight.
Yes it seems to have little consistency when it comes to fees. I flew business class across Canada last summer and the fees were half what economy was. Plus your checked baggage is included sonmade the upgrade a smart one.
Will look into Japan fees. If that is the norm it makes it an attractive hub to Asia!
I also did some searching. Even LH F from HND-FRA was just $88 in “Carrier surcharges”
HI. I am stuck with cool Air Cancan vouchers but the Carrier Surcharge is astronomically high! What would be the decoy to get my butt in Europe?
Quick question. Where do I go to search for reward tickets available on the other no/low fee airlines listed above?
“Before calling in to the service center you need to search each leg of your itinerary individually and ensure that reward tickets are available on one of the airlines that don’t charge taxes.”
I love reading posts and comments on gaming Aeroplan. I love the miles-and-points scene, but I also do it to stay abreast of the changes. Rules change, including which airlines don’t have fuel surcharges, and which countries regulate them. For example, Thai is now on the no fuel surcharge list. Air New Zealand, in my experience, doesn’t have fuel surcharges. As for countries, Japan had a ban on fuel surcharges, but now has them capped to between $40 and $80 a segment. (This is thanks to Ricky, Prince of Travel.)
There are also other attractive hubs to Asia: Hong Kong, and Korea.
As for Lauren’s question, last week I wrote a step-by-step guide alongside the steps I followed to book award travel to Europe. I used my segment searches and final booking as an example. I hope it helps: http://packinglighttravel.com/travel-tips/travel-hacking/aeroplan-step-by-step-guide/
Thanks Anne! Your post is super detailed…which I love. Appreciate the share.
The people I usually use to save taxes when I book my Aeroplan reward flights closed their business last month. I look forward to finding out about your services.
Hey Brian, sorry to hear. That said, with Aeroplan’s recent backend issues, I am on hold with booking services. I am waiting for Aeroplan to fix their problems before proceeding with itinerary requests.
Feel free to email me if you need more details and be sure to see here for more info:
When it comes to flying, it’s important to keep costs down as much as possible. Great job sharing these tips for future flyers!