I’m not going to lie, I get very envious of the different options that Americans (U.S. Citizens, not American Airlines) have to help make travel more affordable. Starting from higher credit card sign up bonuses, more competitive airlines fares, better perks and benefits associated with credit cards, etc. That being said, it doesn’t mean that Canadians don’t have a few options as well.
Today, I will list some of my top travel tips to consider when travelling:
Know the Baggage Policies
Know when you need to pay and when it’s included in the fare. Also know the dimension and weight requirements to avoid any unnecessary inconveniences at the airport. If you can, sign up for a credit card that gives you free checked bags. Or just focus on using a carry-on only if you can get by without a checked bag.
Checking in your bag at the gate is a great way to avoid check-in fees.
One thing that I do is bring a carry-on one way to avoid the fee. And if I come back with a lot of souvenirs, I would pay a one way fee on the return flight.
Connect through the United States
This is especially true when booking an international award travel with Aeroplan. You are better off flying on United Airlines and connecting through the United States to reach your outside-of-North-America destination rather than flying with Air Canada. United Airlines has much lower taxes and fuel surcharges. I would take it a step further if you fly with Star Alliance partners often enough, you are better off signing up for a United Airlines MileagePlus account and banking your points there instead of Aeroplan. You can redeem your MileagePlus points for the exact same United Airlines flight as you would using Aeroplan points, and it will cost you less taxes and fuel surcharges.
Collect British Airways Executive Club Avios
There isn’t much competition on which airlines we, as Canadians, can take advantage of to rack up points with large sign up bonuses. But one option, aside from Aeroplan is Avios. Mostly notably with RBC and American Expresss. Oneworld alliance have lots of great members to use your Avios with. What is great about the redemption schedule is that British Airways uses a distance-based chart to redeem a reward flight. As a result, you can get more value from Avios than from Aeroplan.
Know the Cancelling Fees
Ditching a flight could be cheaper than changing it. The cost of change fees can be really high, so knowing your options can help you avoid unnecessary fees. If you really want to change a flight, its often better to do it on the day of your flight for a heavily reduced change fee.
If you know that you need to cancel a flight, wait until closer to the last minute because sometimes they change the time of your flight and give you an opportunity to cancel or change your flight without any fees. This may happen even more often in the winter season.