File this under “good to know” even if not immediately useful knowledge for most: the maximum length of a stopover in the new Aeroplan program is 30 days. Anshul from Points Miles & Bling recently confirmed this on a Facebook livestream and while I imagine that most readers aren’t booking complex international itineraries with long-term foreign stopovers at the moment, this is worth keeping in mind for those who in a more normal travel environment like to leverage the power of stopovers.
Prince of Travel points to a number of situations where the 30-day stopover rule might be problematic in specific circumstances. While most readers probably aren’t in a position to book trips with stops of more than 30 days at a time, there are certainly some who are retired or able to work remotely or who are able to take a year off of work to travel and this rule could obviously impact them.
However, there are also times when long stopovers can be useful even for more normal-length trips. As someone who has had a remote work lifestyle since long before it was the norm, I’ve always looked for opportunities to leverage long stopovers into multiple unrelated trips. As a non-specific example of the concept, one could book a one-way flight from the US to Asia with a 6-month stopover in Europe. The traveler could then fly to Europe and really only stay there for a week, booking a round trip paid flight from Europe to the US and later back to Europe for the trip to Asia (we’ve seen TAP Air Portugal business class fares under $1,000 round trip from Europe to the US at times). Imagine something like this:
- January 15: New York To Lisbon (6-month stopover in Lisbon)
- July 15: Lisbon to Frankfurt to Tokyo
But in between, this traveler could fly:
- January 22nd: Lisbon to New York (really having only spent 1 week in Europe)
- July 14th: New York to Lisbon (so they can connect on and go to Tokyo)
That theoretical example might save miles and/or money over booking the trip as separate award flights. (Again, this is just an example of the concept rather than a real-world demonstration).
However, with this new 30-day stopover rule, that type of move would not be possible since the stop in Europe could not be longer than 30 days. Stopovers already are not permitted in the US and Canada, so the utility of stopovers for free one-way add-on shenanigans was already somewhat limited, but this makes it a bit more limited yet.
Overall, this is not a hugely impactful rule, but it is one to keep in mind. While the new Aeroplan program allows a stopover on a one-way award for 5,000 miles, a stopover of longer than 30 days would cause it to price as two separate awards.