Aeroplan is Air Canada’s spun-off loyalty program. Aeroplan.com is an awesome search engine that displays award availability on almost all Star Alliance flights.
You should know how to use aeroplan.com whether or not you ever plan to redeem Aeroplan miles because you shouldn’t necessarily search the website of the miles you’re using. You should just search the website that is easiest and best at displaying award availability. Any award availability shown at aeroplan.com will be bookable with Aeroplan, United, Singapore, ANA, Lufthansa, and Avianca miles.
Aeroplan.com is usually my backup search engine. I start my searches for Star Alliance award space at United.com because you can search without signing in, its two-month calendar is useful, it shows most partners, and it’s pretty good at finding available space.
I also use the ANA search tool to if I want to be sure whether there is space on an award segment or not because it is the most accurate Star Alliance search engine. Complete guides on how to perform those searches can be found here:
- Free First Class Next Month: Searching United.com to Redeem United Miles
- How to Use the ANA Search Tool for Awards with United Miles
There are a few instances, however, when it makes sense to search for Star Alliance award availability on aeroplan.com:
- When searching for an award that you know will take more than one segment, and united.com brings up no award space
- When searching for award space on Singapore Airlines
Aeroplan’s search engine has also been programmed better than United’s to find itineraries with multiple connections. I frequently find award space on aeroplan.com for two or three layover itineraries that I did not find on united.com. That’s why I always search aeroplan.com before moving on to more complicated segment-by-segment searching.
- How do you go about searching for award availability on Aeroplan.com?
- Are there any limitations when using Aeroplan.com?
- If United.com is flawed, why shouldn’t you just use Aeroplan.com for all Star Alliance searches?
Searching for Award Availability on Aeroplan.com
If you aren’t already a member, the first thing you’ll need to do is enroll in the Aeroplan reward program, which you can do here or by clicking on the link shown below.
The process is no different than signing up for other rewards programs–just some basic information. Once you’ve completed the registration process, you’ll automatically be signed in, and you’ll want to hover over “Use Your Miles” and click “Travel.”
You’ll then be on the Travel Reward Search page. Select roundtrip or one way, your departure and arrival cities, the dates you want to fly, the number of passengers, and the flight cabin of your preference.
For the purposes of this tutorial, I am going to search for a flight that isn’t displayed on united.com: Singapore to Bali, Indonesia on Singapore Airlines. For example, when I search on united.com, I am given the following result:On Aeroplan.com, I plugged in all my information and checked the little box beneath the dates that says “My dates are flexible.” This will bring up a calendar of availability above the results for a single day.
Once all the information is filled in, click “Search.”
Now on the Search Results page, you’ll see that award availability is wide open in both economy and business/first the entire month of November between Singapore and Bali. You can switch the calendar view to show Business/First availability instead of economy by selecting it in the drop down menu:
Scrolling down the same page, you’ll see that there are multiple flights from Singapore to Bali on November 9 on Singapore Airlines.
United.com didn’t show any of these flights!
If you’re planning on using Aeroplan miles for this trip, you would select your flight times and click “Book.”If you are not using Aeroplan miles, simply note down the flight numbers, dates, and cabins of all your flights.
Once you decide which Star Alliance member’s miles you want to use for this trip, you will simply call their rewards booking number and feed the agent all the information for your flights. In this case, the prices displayed on aeroplan.com are not the number of miles you’ll use. Consult the award chart of the airline whose miles you are using.
There are a few things United.com does well that Aeroplan does not:
- You can’t see a full two month calendar of availability in economy and premium cabins on Aeroplan.com like you can on United.
- You can’t see availability in all cabins at the same time on aeroplan.com. It’s as simple as toggling the drop down menu from economy to Business/First, but is an extra step nonetheless.
- You have to sign in before searching for award availability on Aeroplan.com. The two extra clicks you need to get to the search screen is a big deterrent if you do a lot of award searches like me– not to mention the time it takes to register if you don’t already have an account.
Should You Always Use Aeroplan.com?
Despite United.com’s downfalls of being slightly worse at multi-segment searching and not showing any Singapore Airlines award space, I think it’s still the better search engine for finding the majority of Star Alliance award availability.
The bottom line is no search engine is perfect. As evidenced above, there are a few significant reasons why Aeroplan.com is not as useful as United.com when searching for Star Alliance award availability.
Yes, you can see more Star Alliance partners on Aeroplan.com, but the ease of searching on United outweighs that factor.
While not the go-to search tool for Star Alliance flights, Aeroplan.com is a great backup to know how to use.
When looking for Singapore Airlines award space, use Aeroplan.com as it does not show up on United.com
When you do a search that you know will take many segments, like Las Vegas to Prague, and united.com shows no availability, search on aeroplan.com before beginning to search segment-by-segment.
Ultimately, both sites have flaws, but along with the ANA search tool, your arsenal for finding availability on Star Alliance flights just got more powerful.