If you’ve done much searching on the Aeroplan website, you’ve likely noticed a tab called “Market Fares” where the miles required are usually a lot more than the regular “Fixed Mileage” amount. But occasionally the market fare amount is lower than the fixed mileage. At the moment it appears there may be some good deals from Maritime airports using the market fare option.
The Aeroplan website does not maintain a list of destinations with low market fares. You just stumble upon them while searching. However, Aeroplan recently added a page to its website that lists some recent examples of city pairs with low market fares.
The general opinion on these lower market fares is that, despite the discount, they still represent a poor value. That’s because these fares typically show up when the cash fare for that route is low. Therefore, when you consider the taxes and fees you have to pay in addition to the miles, you’d be better off just paying cash for your ticket and saving your miles. Market fares involve flights on Air Canada planes so the option of flying another Star Alliance airline to reduce the taxes and fees does not exist.
Here’s an example:
Halifax – Paris (Sept. 18-25) Market fare is 30,150 miles (instead of 60,000) + $586.86. The Air Canada fare on those dates is $727. And if you can change your dates to Sept. 17-24 you can fly Icelandair for $625. I think it would be difficult to find a good market fare to Europe but it’s always worth taking a look.
North America is a different story. Back in February I discovered market fares of 18,800 to San Francisco in April. Taxes and fees were $80.70 . The cheapest cash tickets were in the high $400’s which is good for the west coast USA, but the Aeroplan market fare sure beat the fixed mileage fare of 25,000 miles + $219.
The only North American city in the Aeroplan list of examples is Las Vegas (LAS). Here’s what I found on some random dates in October, although low market fares appear on some dates all the way to next Spring.
(When the market fare is lower than the fixed mileage, those results show up first on the screen. The flexible dates calendar is blue and when you select dates the low priced options are highlighted with a tag that says “Great Deal”.)
Halifax – Las Vegas 21,300 + $69.86
Moncton – Las Vegas 18,800 + $64.11
Fredericton – Las Vegas 21,300 + $64.11
Saint John – Las Vegas 21,300 + 74.83
Charlottetown – Las Vegas 21,300 + $63.91
I also found low market fares to Los Angeles (LAX) at 21,300 from Halifax and 23,800 from the other airports. So, with the multi-city search you can do an open-jaw like Charlottetown to Las Vegas, Los Angeles to Charlottetown for 22,550 miles + $105.36.
The taxes and fees on the fixed mileage fares are the highest I’ve ever seen them for flights in North America. They range from $239-$265. Yikes.
Airfare to Las Vegas from the Maritimes in October is in the mid-high $400’s. Airfare to Los Angeles is in the low-mid $500’s.
There were low market fares to Hawaii as well (fixed mileage 45,000):
Halifax – Honolulu (HNL) 29, 300 + $83.06
Halifax – Maui (OGG) 31,550 + $83.06
Moncton – Honolulu, Maui – Moncton 31,550 + $86.35
Airfare to Hawaii from the Maritimes is around the low $600s.
One last example:
Halifax – Hong Kong 67,500 (vs. 75,000) + $79.08
There are those in the miles earning community who believe the best redemptions are for premium class flights. It’s true that the value per mile is highest considering the cost of business or first class fares. But, if you’d like to stretch your miles so you can take more trips, economy is the way to go. If you can find availability, it seems these market fares may help you do that.