Kicking off 2018 here, time to start planning what we’re going to do for a major trip this year! And we’re going to walk you through it, as this is going to turn out one of the more intricate ones no doubt, follow along with this and you’ll be ready for advanced planning with whatever your frequent flying program of choice is!
Our main goal here is to burn our remaining Aeroplan points (you may recall it’s going away and all) left over after traipsing back to Canada over Christmas to touch base with the parents, dutiful son that we are; so the first step is to check out the Aeroplan Flight Rewards Chart to see what regions we can get to at what cost from Bangkok, part of “Asia 2”…
… and that tells us that the most effective use of those points is that they’re just a good dinner’s worth of a topup away from a ticket to “Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific,” which consists of … “Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norfolk Island, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu.”
Well, as we have in fact not been to any of those places yet — no, seriously, somehow we’ve managed to be probably the only English-speaking person ever on planet Earth to hit 100 countries visited and none of them was Australia, to everyone’s shock — that sounds like a fine region to visit!
So, second step is to pull up a map of inscribed World Heritage Sites in the region, the ones on the UNESCO site are acting wonky for us recently so we’ll grab this one from the always handy worldheritagesite.org,
and then a map of the Star Alliance-served airports in the region, which are the ones we’re going to be able to get routed to with a ticket booked through Aeroplan most likely:
And it’s fairly clear from that the farthest place we can get to is Tahiti (PPT), which also has a World Heritage Site to visit, so that establishes the endpoint for our trip…
… and this is where the real fun starts!
As you may recall from the discussions back in Pro Tip: How To Find Partner Awards, Aeroplan has an unusually flexible awards redemption policy, allowing us a stopover plus another stopover or open jaw in the itinerary; plus, any layover under 24 hours does not count as a stopover. Here’s a couple articles that go into more detail on that:
The Secret Sweet Spots of Aeroplan Stopovers and Open Jaws
But before we start playing around trying to find how many stops we can fit in those restrictions, we need to figure out the Maximum Permitted Mileage (MPM) for our BKK-PPT flight. And there’s a new trick we noticed here:
I’m surprised no one has posted this, as Aeroplan has included the MPM in their search results source for several years.
Simply search for a 3 flight multicity trip with dummy dates, set the origin and return your home airport and the 1st or 2nd destination your desired POT. Make sure the other stop is a lot closer to home and that all 3 legs have availability. Then once the flight results load, in a new tab quickly open the JSON source using this URL (replace the dns if different):
Then in the JSON, search for the text “mpm”. You’ll also see other goodies in the file such as the miles between each segment’s city pair.
Or, a faster method but only tested on Chrome [ED: Works fine on Safari too, once you enable it and turn off all the ‘you know, this is really unsafe’ warnings], after the results load simply type this into your browser’s address bar.
To verify your POT is correct, type
To view the city pair distances, use:
So we do that with a BKK-PPT-SIN-BKK plan, and that tells us BKK-PPT MPM is: 12900! And we’ll make a note of those city pairs too, those’ll come in handy later…
… so now we’ll go back to that Star Alliance-served airports map. We know already from that screenshot there’s only one route to PPT, from Auckland AKL; but when we take a look at the next furthest out, Raratonga RAR in the Cook Islands, it has connections to both Auckland and Sydney:
So from an efficiency of worldwide travel perspective, our best choice here is to take AKL-PPT for the final leg out, and then take the open jaw option to take Air Tahiti for the PPT-RAR leg, and then pick up the points ticket again with a flight to Sydney from the Cook Islands.
So that simply leaves us with how to arrange the BKK-AKL and SYD-BKK legs so as for the most advantageous layovers and best use of our remaining stopover!
p dir=”ltr”>… at least, that’s the theory. Now that we have a rough plan, we’re going to pull together Country Files for all the countries in the region here and see what the optimal route to check off as many Sites and Wonders as possible might be, with some attention to what places MostTraveledPeople.com and Travelers’ Century Club count them as. So look forward to lots of those in the next couple weeks!