On Sunday October 15th we managed to book our now wrapped up mini-RTW. (Posts are on a delay because I did not want to advertise the whole “hey, we aren’t home for over a month, come rob us!). Our scheduled departure date was November 7th and we returned on
December 13th! December 14th. We paid 160,000 aeroplan points each and about $550 each in taxes for 16 flights, of which 13 were business class flights and 3 economy. We traveled from the east coast of Canada to Europe, to Asia, to Australia, to the west coast of the USA and back again to the east coast of Canada, literally traveling around the world, in 38 days. (Our scheduled Itinerary was for 37 days but a lucky change allowed an extra day layover in Los Angeles resulting in a trip of 5 weeks and 3 days total.)
I wrote a little bit about it in my previous post on the planning of the whole thing and I’ll elaborate a
little bit a lot more here.
2 key points;
- I could not have done this without Tom. Impossible, never gonna happen. Tom has been a computer programmer slash full-on nerd for a good 18 years, he doesn’t like it when I call him a nerd… he also doesn’t know this blog exists (well, he likely does, but since it’s kind of a secret I get creative liberties to say whatever I want HA). His brain and my help enabled us to execute this crazy adventure.
- We accumulated Aeroplan points rapidly through credit card signups and promotions. I’ve thrown some estimates out there and it’s most accurate to say that it took less than a year to accumulate the points needed for my flight, without spending beyond my regular budgeted expenses. Creativity is a wonderful thing. Aeroplan had a transfer promotion earlier this year and through the purchase of two Marriott travel packages (which will be used in spring 2018) and the subsequent points transfer from Marriott into Aeroplan and the award of bonus Aeroplan for transferring in we earned the miles needed to push us over 160,000 Aeroplan each. Take a breath now 🙂
For those not familiar with how Aeroplan works a great primer to get started can be found here. The Flyertalk forum is a wonderful resource for total newbies as well as seasoned traveler. I’ve been creeping there for a very long time!
We were already brainstorming on how to use the points and 160,000 was the goal and we wanted to try this whole flying in business-class thing. We knew that we needed 160,000 points to travel in business class to Australia and everything started from there. If you’re going to attempt something like this you definitely need to be tenacious because this took many weeks of planning.
Our next steps and I’ve attempted to be brief;
- Determine Aeroplans MPM of departure-destination to determine the leeway in our travel (your first hit on google will be this link, which credits FLy1234 on Flyertalk, Fly1234= Tom. I feel oddly proud of this, hehe 🙂 )
- Sorted out which destinations worked within that mpm using Great Circle Mapper
- Gathered data on flights to/from through Aeroplan (subpoint; we initially started simply searching on Aeroplan and working with a spreadsheet which turned out to not be sufficient for our plans, Tom created a database with the information and searchtool through which we were able to sort what we wanted… (i’m going to bold this; there are lots of people with lots of points but very few itineraries we’ve seen that have done, well, the extent of what we did, if you want more information about the technical aspect of how, send me an email, we are not unique in having booked with Aeroplan, you can do this on your own but if you don’t have the time or don’t know how.. there’s
peoplecrazy people like usthat can help with that!)
- Picked which specific flights and planes we wanted since we wanted to include a flight on an a380 and we wanted to avoid certain companies to avoid high taxes. Avoiding high taxes is worth a post of its own! As flight availability changes daily, once we ironed out our ideal itinerary we;
- Called in to aeroplan and talked to a supervisor (you need a knowledgeable agent, you can start talking to a regular agent and the odds are you’ll end up transferred to someone with more experience) we spent a few HOURS on the phone on a quiet Sunday and booked, but not confirmed, we had to wait for a call back the next day to confirm and after that another call as the charges went wrong on our cards. (double charge, double refund… yea!
We ended up choosing Perth as our destination, simply because we wanted to go to Australia and had no idea which place to pick IN Australia and Perth gave us the highest MPM to work with. After picking Perth our other destinations were partly determined by flight routes… we knew we wanted to fly across the Atlantic ocean as I wanted to go home to the Netherlands. This meant we needed to fly from Montreal into Zurich for the lowest taxes/fees. We had lots of other places that sounds interesting… Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Bangkok etc. We worked out what we wanted.
And so the start of our adventure was born, just for fun, the day we actually got this booked we went online and sorted out how much it would have cost us to book this outright on that day;
It would have cost $27,524.88. ^ This is what we actually booked with Aeroplan.
We flew from Charlottetown to Montreal and, after a quick breakfast in the Montreal at the lounge (Business class includes lounge access!) spent the day walking around downtown Montreal, shopping for the currencies needed for the rest of the trip. We flew overnight from Montreal to Zurich, spent the day in Zurich, flew to Amsterdam where we had a ten day stop Amsterdam was our first stopover. While we were in the Netherlands we hopped on the train for a weekend in London and after visiting all my family flew to Istanbul, where we spent a very fun 7 hours in the very large IST lounge. From Istanbul we flew to Beijing where we stayed the night and explored the Forbidden City the next morning. In the afternoon we flew to TaiPei where we met up with Tom’s nephew and went up Taipei 101, we spent the night in Taipei and spent the next day exploring Singapore… so humid! After Singapore we hit our destination; Perth.
It took a little while to get our bearings in Australia but once we did we LOVED it. After our time in Australia we flew back to Singapore for a day where we went for a short hike in the MacRitchie nature reserve, and on to Bangkok, Thailand, our second stopover. We spent 6 days in Thailand, loved it also! Then began making our way back home with a day in Shanghai, a day in Tokyo (totally bizarre), a night in Seoul, two nights in Los Angeles and home through Montreal. Due to winter weather in Canada we were able to move our flight and called in to stay an extra day in LAX. We spent the extra and last afternoon of our trip biking Ocean Drive.
The final cost of our trip was about $1,850CAD, including the Aeroplan taxes, car rentals, insurances, accommodations, food and everything not mentioned. We used points and credits from various programs to pay for things. You would think we’re all out of points now? They just keep coming… I’m almost up to 100,000 aeroplan again!
And that is how we booked and went on a round the world trip, for pretty cheap, with Aeroplan. 🙂 (And yes, we are working on the next big adventure!)