As I alluded to in my previous post, I will be starting a new series that will introduce you to what I believe to be one of the best values when it comes to miles and points redemptions. Today we will talk about the mini-RTW from a 30,000-foot level to get you comfortable with the terminology and the rules associated with booking the trip.
A mini-RTW trip is an award that allows you to book a trip from your home airport to an international destination PLUS one of the following:
- Two stopover cities
- One stopover city and one open jaw
If it isn’t clear, travel from your home airport to get to the hub airport is included in the Aeroplan redemption price. So if I were to fly from YYC-YUL-IST-CPT-GIG-IAH-YYC, where the cities in bold are my layover and destination cities, the connectors (YYC-YUL and IAH-YYC) are included in the Aeroplan redemption price.
In addition to the above, you are allowed up to 10 layovers on your mini-RTW trip. A layover is defined as staying less than 24 hours in a city.
For example, if you flew into Paris and landed at 8:00 AM and flew out of Paris to your next stopover or layover, at 7:59 AM, you would only be charged the additional airport fees and taxes. If you are mobile enough and only travel with carry-on luggage, there are many cities that are conducive to the 23:59 layover.
If you would like to see which cities are best suited for layovers, please refer to a compiled city list here. I can’t take credit for the work on this sheet but I can’t remember where I got the information either so, unfortunately, I cannot attribute the source.
Stopovers are the cities that you visit where you stay longer than 24 hours. For example, on a mini-RTW, you could fly from Toronto to Istanbul, which would be your destination but you could stop in London on the way there and Brussels on the way back.
This itinerary would look something like this:
The stops in all three destinations can be as long as you want so long as you return on your original ticket within 365 days. So essentially you could fly to London, stay for 5 months then fly to Istanbul for 2 months and then to Brussels for another 5 months before returning back to Toronto.
An open jaw is where you fly into one city but out of another. An example of this would be if you flew from Toronto to London, took a train to Paris, and then flew back from Paris to Toronto. The illustration below might be helpful to you if you don’t fully grasp what an open jaw is.
For a mini-RTW redemption, the open jaw can only happen at the destination city. The destination city is the city in the award that is the furthest distance.
To figure out what your “destination” city would be, simply use GCMaps to figure out which of your three cities is the furthest distance from your starting point.
Let’s try an example. If we were flying from Toronto and wanted to go to Istanbul, Warsaw, and Prague, how would we determine what Aeroplan would deem the destination? Well, let’s try
If we were flying from Toronto and wanted to go to Istanbul, Warsaw, and Prague, how would we determine what Aeroplan would deem the destination? Well, let’s try GCMap. Simply use the syntax below to determine the furthest distance using GCMap:
YYZ-IST, YYZ-WAW, YYZ-PRG
Here we can see that Istanbul is the furthest distance from Toronto, so it is considered the destination on a mini-RTW redemption.
What does that mean for an open jaw? Well, for this particular example, it means that your open jaw must use Istanbul as one of the open jaw cities.
I know this can be confusing but let’s clear it up with an example. So let’s say we are still using a similar itinerary as the one above but this time with an open jaw. Here’s what it would look like:
Here we are flying from Toronto to Prague and then from Prague to Istanbul. In Istanbul, you would use some other mode of transportation like train or bus to get to Warsaw. From Warsaw, you would fly back to Toronto.
To make the open jaw just a little more complicated, your open jaw must be within the same region. So you couldn’t fly to Zone 2 (Europe) and then fly out of Zone 3 (Asia).
Now that you know what you can do in terms of the number of places you can visit, we need to take a look at the other rules associated with the redemption.
Type of Award
The mini-RTW must be done as a round trip ticket in order to get the benefits of the award. One way redemptions on Aeroplan do not allow for stopovers so you must book a round trip.
In order to be considered a mini-RTW, you need to touch at least two continents. So if started your trip in Canada and wanted to visit 3 cities in the US, it would not be allowed because Canada and the US are in North America. With that being said, if you did want to maximize a trip in North America, you are allowed one stopover in addition to your destination.
For example, on a previous redemption, I redeemed for a ticket that departed from Calgary and had a stop in Orlando for 8 days before going to New York for 5 more days. That was redeemed for 25,000 Aeroplan Miles.
You must travel in a continuous and/or logical direction. For example, if you wanted to fly from Vancouver to Tokyo, you couldn’t do it through Europe.
Logical routing used to be determined by the Maximum Permitted Mileage (MPM) whereby Aeroplan would give you a total distance you could fly on your award which would eliminate illogical routings but that has since been eliminated. What it has been replaced with is “secret” and not something that Aeroplan discloses. It’s safe to say that creative routings are much harder to come by nowadays.
In the next blog post, we’ll take a look at the miles required for a mini-RTW redemption and how to earn them. I’ll take a look at a couple of highly coveted regions that people tend to go on vacation (Europe and Asia) and walk you through how you can easily accumulate the points.