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.
That 23 hr layover tool is super comprehensive! Well done!
Do these routing rules:
Two stopover cities
One stopover city and one open jaw
apply to a Canadian reward?
Example: YYZ-YWG (stopover)-YVR (destination)-YYC (stopover)-YYZ
Unfortunately, these rules do not apply to routings within the same country, however, you are able to do your destination + 1 stopover on your routing. The rules specifically state:
28.1. Travel within Canada or between Canada and the Continental USA (not including Hawaii/Puerto Rico): One stopover permitted in addition to the point of turnaround. One open jaw is permitted in lieu of the one stopover.
The full terms and conditions can be found at https://www3.aeroplan.com/terms_and_conditions.do
I managed to leverage this a couple of years ago for a trip to Orlando. I booked Orlando as a stopover and then had New York as my destination. Total miles redeemed was 25,000, so it’s a great way to maximize the value of your Aeroplan.
Thank you Mr. Jayce for your very well written and easy to read webpage/tutorial.
I live near IAH and I am thinking about BKK, DEL, and ZRH. I note the largest distance between any city pair is IAH-BKK, so I assume BKK would be considered the destination.
Is the following route valid: IAH — BKK (destination) — DEL (stopover) — ZRH (stopover) — IAH? Or does the destination need to be between the stopovers?
Once again, thank you for any insight you can provide.
Great work…. Now using it to optimise
How precise is the calculation for the turnaround point? Example, i’m planning from Europe to HKG and Japan. Using GCM
If i start in AMS, AMS-HKG 5773, AMS-KIX 5743
If i start in ZHR, ZhR-HKG 5844, ZHR-KIX 5980
so both have different turnaround point, correct? (i can also start playing with my Japan airport to make it work)
GCMaps is very accurate but what I would do is call into Aeroplan and ask them for the Maximum Permitted Mileage for your routing and then use GCMaps to find a routing that fits within your allowed MPM.
For example, you would ask them for the MPM for AMS-KIK and/or ZRH-KIK. Aeroplan would give you that number and then you can use GCMaps to your heart’s content to plan out the different stops that still fits that MPM.
Hope that makes sense and helps. Cheers
Hi there! Amazing series. This is the silliest question – but how do you actually input these cities into the Aeroplan flight reward search so that you capture all of the destinations you want? Thank you!
Let me be more specific about my question. I was quick on the “submit” button!
Your example above shares: “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: YYZ-LHR-IST-BRU-YYZ
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.”
Let’s assume I want to do something very similar: fly from Vancouver and stop in Barcelona, London and Paris, before returning to Vancouver. Help!
I was quick on the response too LOL … didn’t see your follow up comment until I answered your original question.
The theory remains the same. What you want to do is find your availability segment by segment. In your case, you would figure out what flights will get you from YVR-BCN. Then from BCN-LHR and LHR-CDG before trying to find you CDG-YVR flight. If you find the flights, you can try plugging them into the multi-city search but I would guess that it might be difficult to have them show up, in which case, you are left with the only option available. Calling into Aeroplan.
Take a look through my other series Finding Award Availability and it should all make sense once you read through it. Cheers
Not a silly question at all. You can try using the Multi-City tab in the search but you will find more often than not that it won’t work. What you need to do is find your flights segment by segment and then call them into Aeroplan to book them. You will have to pay a $30 fee but it’s a minor cost in comparison to the value of the ticket. I wish the multi-city would work but often the itineraries are just too complicated for the system to properly find them. Hope that helps.
I use the multi city tool to determine if a route is valid. First I pick 2 of the three cities that I am going too. Second I drop one city and add the city that I missed in the first search. If the routes works in the multi city tool I will make a quick call to see if the route is acceptable. Next step is to find the exact flights to pick. I use the one way tool to find the best days and flights. I take a printout of these. With this information I will call aeroplan and book the trip.
Just booked a trip today for the fall. YUL CDG KTM DPS YUL
Omg, where did you come from? I retire from the military in less than 2 yrs and have oodles of Aeroplan Miles that I’ve been planning vacation variations of on as to where I will go and how. Now that you’ve introduced me to RTW….seriously, I’m in heaven!!!! Thank you so much!
Glad you’ve found us! And thank you for your service. Remember to continue to have activity on your Aeroplan account to avoid points expiry and to book your RTW before the Aeroplan-Air Canada split on June 30, 2020!
Hi Jay, when I look Aeroplan site for multi-city option, it only allows me to book up to 3 flights. You mentioned up to 2 stop overs are allowed on each direction. What am I missing? Also could you please recommend a good route start from YYC with max stop overs? I like to travel Europe and Asia in one trip. Thank you so much in advance!
Aidan, you are definitely allowed a destination and 2 stopovers on an Aeroplan booking but you can’t do it through the multi-city tool. To figure out how to book your RTW trip, take a read through our Aeroplan RTW series.
“In order to be considered a mini-RTW, you need to touch at least two continents.”
i think this is incorrect. I was trying to do a Marrakesh- Antananarivo flight with stopover in Istanbul, and was not allowed , even though the regular award with no stopover goes through Istanbul… So maybe the requirement is Dep and Arr. on different continent.
Can I do an open-jaw like this: YVR >PEK (stop-over) > KUL Kuala-Lumpur (destination) >YUL. ..?