AC Award - Quick Question re Availability & Fees

Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by Ed Chandler, May 18, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    I may end up attempting my first AC redemption pretty soon, so I have a quick question or two for you experts:
    1) If I'm seeing *A award availability (in ExpertFlyer) that Aeroplan isn't showing, is that generally just a case of needing to call AC instead of doing it online ... or are there "gotchas" I need to know about?

    2) Likewise, is the tax/fee estimate for the award generally pretty accurate?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Which method are you using in EF? There are some (LH/LX most notably) which are based on availability to M&M members which is different from that available to *A partners.
     
  3. If Aeroplan isn't showing it then you should simply call them to see what they say. If you book over the phone it will cost $30 per ticket, which is cheap if you get the flight you want. .
    What status are you?
     
  4. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Thanks for the advice, guys.

    Seth, the carriers in question are CA and TG.

    Guinessxyz, yes, that was my question. I'll just call to see if what I'm seeing is really available. Thanks. Paying $30 a pop is okay I guess. I can generally wrangle a fee waiver with United when I book something over the phone that was IMPOSSIBLE to book online. Ever had luck talking AC out of the fee?
     
  5. Talking Aeroplan out of a fee is like having the key to Fort Knox. You might have a very slim chance if the flights don't show on line and you are a SE. That being said, when you book on *A airlines other than AC you save a lot on other fees.
     
    LETTERBOY and milchap like this.
  6. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Thanks. I'm fairly savvy when it comes to points acquisition ... and I guess I'm okay on the utilization side, but I'll admit that I'm still missing several nuanced alternatives (obviously). That's one of the many reasons I love communities like this -- I get to bounce ideas off you guys. Here's what I'm currently thinking. I'd appreciate your opinions:

    Ignoring availability for a moment, I'm trying to go: KWL-LXA//LXA-BKK. That's a plain-Jane open-jaw. OW doesn't fly to LXA. Star can do it; not directly, but that's fine with me. So how to go about it?
    • UA treats China and Bangkok as two different regions, so a coach "saver" award is 27.5k UA +$39.(Points coming from a Chase UR transfer.)
    • AC treats it all as the same region, so that same routing would cost 20k AC + $99.
      (Points coming from an AMEX MR transfer.)
    So doing it on AC saves me 7,500 points but costs an additional $60. That makes the break-even value-per-point $.008. So if I value UR and MR points at any more than $.008 each (and who doesn't) then UA is the better value.

    That assumes that the values of UR and MR points are equal AND that I don't incur a telephone booking fee either way. (And I think those are close enough to being true that the value proposition doesn't change much.)

    So unless I'm missing something significant in the valuation, or ignoring a third option, it looks like UA is the clear winner here.

    Critique my thinking, please?
     
  7. Your thinking is fine. My methodology is to go the most direct route with the fewest segments. A few Canadians use UA via ORD for Asian flights. If I'm going to say BKK or SIN I will use Code shares ex YYZ via HKG or PVG w/o a change in regions or points. The fact you are on a completley Asian routing tells me you should use the UA system as they have more presence in Asia
     
  8. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    I live exactly halfway between ORD and STL, so those are my departure points of choice.
    Thanks, (again) for the insight.
     
  9. tomh009
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    tomh009 Gold Member

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    Actually, I think you have it backwards. If you value your points at more than $0.008, then UA is more expensive. UA needs an extra 7500 points, so the higher you value those, the more expensive the flight on UA is.
     
  10. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Crud, you're right. :oops:
     
  11. Ed Chandler
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    Ed Chandler Silver Member

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    Meh, ... as it turns out, I could book it online with United and would have had to call with AC. Even if my math was backward, I think the convenience and the fee-avoidance were worth the difference. (At least, that's what I'm telling myself anyway.) :)

    Booked! Thanks, guys.
     

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