How to Avoid Carrier Surcharges and Save Money on Aeroplan Redemptions

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Key Takeaways:

  • Carrier surcharges are extra fees that airlines add to the base ticket price to cover the fluctuating costs of aviation fuel and other expenses.
  • Aeroplan, the loyalty program of Air Canada, eliminated carrier surcharges on partner award tickets in November 2020, but still charges a flat $39 partner booking fee per ticket.
  • You can avoid or reduce carrier surcharges by choosing surcharge-free airlines, routing your flights through certain countries, and requesting a surcharge refund if applicable.
  • You can use tools like Aeroplan surcharge calculator and Aeroplan surcharge avoidance guide to help you plan your redemptions and save money.
Traveler packing suitcase with Aeroplan ticket and savings symbols like piggy bank and calculator on world map background with flight paths and discount icons.
Smart Travel Savings: Mastering Aeroplan Redemptions with Strategic Packing and Financial Savvy.

If you are an Aeroplan member, you probably know how valuable your points can be when you redeem them for flights. You can fly to hundreds of destinations around the world with Air Canada and its Star Alliance partners, and enjoy perks like priority check-in, lounge access, and seat selection.

But you may also be aware of the downside of Aeroplan redemptions: the carrier surcharges. These are extra fees that airlines add to the base ticket price to cover the fluctuating costs of aviation fuel and other expenses. They can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, depending on the airline, the route, and the class of service.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid or reduce carrier surcharges and save money on your Aeroplan redemptions. In this article, we will show you how to do that by choosing surcharge-free airlines, routing your flights through certain countries, and requesting a surcharge refund if applicable. We will also share some tools that can help you plan your redemptions and compare the costs of different options.

Choose surcharge-free airlines

One of the easiest ways to avoid carrier surcharges is to choose airlines that do not impose them on Aeroplan redemptions. As of November 2020, when Aeroplan revamped its program, there are no longer any carrier surcharges on partner award tickets. However, you still have to pay a flat $39 partner booking fee per ticket, regardless of the airline or the destination.

Some of the surcharge-free airlines that you can book with Aeroplan are:

  • Air China
  • Air India
  • Air New Zealand
  • ANA
  • Avianca
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • SAS
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United Airlines

You can also book flights with Air Canada, the main carrier of Aeroplan, without paying any carrier surcharges. However, you may have to pay higher taxes and fees, especially for international flights, as Air Canada charges higher airport and government fees than some of its partners.

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Route your flights through certain countries

Another way to avoid or reduce carrier surcharges is to route your flights through countries that restrict or ban them. For example, Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, and the Philippines do not allow airlines to charge fuel surcharges on flights departing from their airports. This means that if you fly to or from these countries, or transit through them, you can save money on your Aeroplan redemptions.

For example, if you want to fly from Toronto to Sydney, Australia, you can book a flight with Air Canada that stops in Vancouver and Hong Kong. This way, you will only pay the carrier surcharge for the Toronto-Vancouver segment, which is about $50, and avoid the surcharge for the Vancouver-Hong Kong and Hong Kong-Sydney segments, which could be over $300.

Alternatively, you can book a flight with United Airlines that stops in San Francisco and Tokyo. This way, you will not pay any carrier surcharge at all, as United is a surcharge-free airline and Tokyo is a surcharge-free airport. However, you will still pay the $39 partner booking fee per ticket.

Request a surcharge refund if applicable

A third way to avoid or reduce carrier surcharges is to request a refund if you are eligible. This may apply to you if you are a child, a student, or a senior citizen, or if you have a medical condition that requires you to travel with oxygen or a wheelchair.

According to Aeroplan’s policy, you can request a refund of the carrier surcharge if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are a child aged 2 to 11, or a student aged 12 to 25, travelling on an economy class ticket from the UK. You are exempt from the UK Air Passenger Duty, which is part of the carrier surcharge. You can request a refund after you complete your booking by calling the Aeroplan Contact Centre at 1-800-361-5373.
  • You are a senior citizen aged 60 or over, travelling on an economy class ticket from France. You are exempt from the French Civil Aviation Tax, which is part of the carrier surcharge. You can request a refund after you complete your booking by calling the Aeroplan Contact Centre at 1-800-361-5373.
  • You have a medical condition that requires you to travel with oxygen or a wheelchair, and you have a valid medical certificate. You are exempt from the carrier surcharge on Air Canada flights within Canada or between Canada and the US. You can request a refund after you complete your booking by calling the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk at 1-800-667-4732.

Use tools to help you plan your redemptions

To help you plan your Aeroplan redemptions and avoid carrier surcharges, you can use some tools that are available online. Here are some of them:

  • Aeroplan surcharge calculator: This tool allows you to enter your origin, destination, airline, and class of service, and calculates the carrier surcharge and taxes and fees for your flight. You can use it to compare different options and find the lowest surcharge possible. You can access the tool here.
  • Aeroplan surcharge avoidance guide: This guide provides a list of surcharge-free airlines and surcharge-free airports that you can book with Aeroplan, as well as some tips and tricks to avoid or reduce surcharges.
  • Aeroplan points value calculator: This tool allows you to enter the cash cost of a flight and the points required to book it, and calculates the value of your Aeroplan points. You can use it to determine if your redemption is worth it or not, based on your personal valuation of Aeroplan points.

Conclusion

Carrier surcharges can be a major pain point for Aeroplan members, as they can significantly increase the cost of your award flights. However, by following the tips and tricks in this article, you can avoid or reduce carrier surcharges and save money on your Aeroplan redemptions. You can also use some tools to help you plan your redemptions and compare the costs of different options.

Remember, Aeroplan is a valuable loyalty program that allows you to fly to hundreds of destinations around the world with Air Canada and its Star Alliance partners. By avoiding carrier surcharges, you can make the most of your Aeroplan points and enjoy your travel experience. Happy flying!

Source: (1) Aeroplan – The Official Website. https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/aeroplan.html. (2) Avoid Aeroplan surcharges and blackout dates with booking service. https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/avoid-aeroplan-surcharges-and-blackout-dates-with-booking-service-1.3089231. (3) Aeroplan Flight Reward Policy. https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/aeroplan/legal/aeroplan-flight-reward-policy.html. (4) Air Canada Customer Service FAQ. https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/fly/customer-support/frequently-asked-questions.html.

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