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Aeroplan Reward Flight Review from Ottawa (YOW) to Amsterdam (AMS)

People always wonder if Aeroplan miles are worth it. What can we do with them? Today, I am going to share one of my reward redemptions with you.

Recently, my wife and I took a trip from Ottawa, Canada (YOW) to Amsterdam, Netherlands (AMS) on an Aeroplan fixed rate reward flight. After coming back from the trip, I would like to share my reward redemption experience with you, as it took an interesting turn along the way.

Reward Redemption

I booked 2 Aeroplan fixed rate reward flight tickets for 60,000 miles + $208.40 (taxes and fuel surcharges) back in October 2015 for a reward flight departing in April 2016. I am going to break down the value of the miles that I redeemed.

First of all, let’s low ball and assume that I could have bought 2 one-way flight tickets from Ottawa to Amsterdam for $750 (or $375 each person). As a result, the math would look something like this:

  • $750 (what it would have costed) – $208.40 (taxes and fuel surcharges) = $541.60
  • $541.60 / 60,000 Aeroplan would give me 0.9 cent per mile

If you increase the value of the ticket, let’s say 2 one-way flights would have costed $1,100 (or $550 each person) during a higher peak season, I would have gotten the following value:

  • $1,100 (what it would have costed) – $208.40 (taxes and fuel surcharges) = $891.60
  • $891.60 / 60,000 Aeroplan would give me 1.5 cent per mile

Definitely not the best redemption out there, but considering that I earn most of my miles from credit card sign up bonuses, I am more than happy to use less out of pocket money for this flight.

Initial Itinerary

Below is the itinerary of the flight when I initially booked it back in October 2015.

Departure Arrival Airline
Ottawa, Ottawa Int’l (YOW)
Sat 16-Apr 2016
14:37
Washington, Dulles Int’l (IAD)
Sat 16-Apr 2016
16:10
United Airlines
Washington, Dulles Int’l (IAD)
Sat 16-Apr 2016
17:15
Copenhagen (CPH)
Sun 17-Apr 2016
07:15
Scandinavian Airlines
Copenhagen (CPH)
Sun 17-Apr 2016
08:15
Amsterdam, Schiphol (AMS)
Sun 17-Apr 2016
09:40
Scandinavian Airlines

As you can see, it was not the most direct route. First of all, we head southward to Washington D.C. Then we head back north to Copenhagen, which completely overshots Amsterdam. Then we hop on another flight to go backwards to Amsterdam.

Change in Itinerary

However, a week before our departure date, our route was changed to the flowing instead:

Departure Arrival Airline
Ottawa, Ottawa Int’l (YOW)
Sat 16-Apr 2016
18:00
Toronto (YYZ)
Sat 16-Apr 2016
19:07
Air Canada
Toronto (YYZ)
Sat 16-Apr 2016
20:45
Amsterdam, Schiphol (AMS)
Sun 17-Apr 2016
10:15
Air Canada

As you can see, the initial routing was very annoying, but it all worked out as I was able to be changed to a more favourable itinerary instead.

We even switched airlines to Air Canada without incurring any additional costs! That’s pretty neat because a flight on Air Canada to Europe would have costed a lot more taxes and fuel surcharges than what we paid.

In terms of the routing, it definitely inconvenient that we went backwards to Toronto first, before going forward to Amsterdam. But we do spend less time travelling. We do depart 3 1/2 hours later than before, but we arrive 35 minutes later. Not a big deal considering we only have 1 stop now instead of 2.

Thoughts on the Experience

I am not going to lie, I would much rather be on an Air Canada flight, rather than a United Airlines flight. United Airlines do not exactly have the most modern planes. Air Canada is relatively comfortable for economy class.

The flight ended up landing 5 minute earlier than planned but was delayed by 15 minutes on the approach to the gate as the prior plane was delayed.

Unfortunately, Air Canada is usually more expensive, especially when redeeming with Aeroplan miles. Luckily for me, this time around, I was able to board an Air Canada flight, while paying the lower taxes and fuel surcharges because the change in itinerary was out of my control.

We made it to Amsterdam just in time for the tulip festival!

Amsterdam

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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