Jayce Loh
Jayce Loh
Mar 21, 2017 · 9 min read

Today, we will cover the points required to book your mini-RTW trip and how we go about accumulating them. This may come off like a post designed to get affiliate sign ups and I won’t lie … there’s a bit of that to it because keeping this blog running and making it more interactive costs money. I would like to upgrade the look of the site as well as improve its speed and functionality and without the revenue generated from affiliate links, there is no other income coming in to support the blog.

The other reason that this post exists is that you need to understand how much this mini-RTW trip is going to cost you. I personally feel that a Business Class redemption is the best value but I understand that many people would rather travel twice in Economy than once in Business, so I’ll cover both.

Points Required

I realize that I intermingle the terms “miles” and “points” but ostensibly they mean the same thing. Aeroplan calls their currency “miles” but again … six of one, half-dozen of the other.

If we look at the Aeroplan Reward Chart, we can take a look at a couple of the areas that most people want to travel to — Europe and Asia. There are of course other regions of the world that the mini-RTW will work but I just want to give a couple of thorough examples and you can extrapolate if you want to travel somewhere else.

mini-RTW Reward Chart
mini-RTW Reward Chart

As I mentioned above, we will be focusing on Europe and Asia, which is why I have highlighted the section of the chart above.

Your first question might be “what countries are in Europe 1 vs Europe 2?” or “what countries are in Asia 1 vs Asia 2?”, well, luckily Aeroplan is quite clear in their chart what is in each geographical area.

Europe 1–60K for Economy and 110K for Business

Europe 1 basically consists of the Western European countries and includes the following:

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain (incl. Balearic Islands; excl. Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

Europe 2–75K for Economy and 115K for Business

Europe 2 is generally the Eastern European countries or Western European countries that are further away, like Greece. The full list of Europe 2 countries includes the following:

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia (Western), Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Ukraine

Asia 1–75K for Economy and 150K for Business

Asia 1 is more of the traditional Asian markets and would what most people think of when someone mentions Asia. The countries include:

China, Eastern Russia, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan

Asia 2–90K for Economy and 155K for Business

Asia 2 is what most people would refer to as Southeast Asia. These countries include:

Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Micronesia (Incl Guam), Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam

Setting the Stage

For the most part, the Star Alliance is a difficult alliance to use if you want to travel in First Class as only a few partners offer international first class service. With this in mind, we will exclude First Class from our area of focus. Premium Economy falls into the same boat. While many airlines are adopting Premium Economy, not all airlines offer it.

Based on the above, we will only be looking at Economy and Business redemptions, which I believe covers off 95% of the readers of PointsNerd.

I will give you my best recommendation on how to quickly and economically accumulate the points. I only receive compensation for the American Express links but I will be recommending other cards that I have no affiliation with.

Credit Cards to Consider

My main goal is to get you on your mini-RTW trip as cheaply as possible. What I am trying to provide to you here is the best bang for your buck, meaning, I will be recommending cards that will help you accumulate your points for as little money out of your pocket as possible.

I will provide the CPM for each card so you have a good understanding of what each point is costing you. I will, of course, start with the lowest cost CPM cards that you can get and move up from there.

American Express Gold Personal

gold_rewards_card_chip_238x151
gold_rewards_card_chip_238x151

The AMEX Gold Personal is one of my favorite cards, mostly because of the 2x points multiplier for gas, grocery, drugstore and travel purchases. It also has excellent insurance coverages for travel. For a full review on the Gold Personal card, refer to my post.

American Express points are called Membership Rewards but they transfer to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio and the transfers are instantaneous.

Points Available: 30,000 (25,000 for sign up and 5,000 if you sign up for a free supplementary card)
Annual Fee: $150 annual fee (reduced by $50 if you use the Great Canadian Rebates link below)
Spend Requirements: $1,500 in the first 3 months
CPM: 0.50 ($150/30,000 x 100)
CPM (with GCR): 0.33 ($100/30,000 x 100)
Sign Up Link: http://www.pointsnerd.ca/amexgoldreferral
Notes: the above link takes you to Great Canadian Rebates which gives you $50 cash back on sign up and approval.

American Express Gold Business

business_gold_rewards_card_en_sbs_chip_238x151
business_gold_rewards_card_en_sbs_chip_238x151

The AMEX Gold Business is another great card that I use. One of the main uses I have for the card is to Manufacture Spend through Plastiq and with it offering the first year free, it’s a no-brainer for signing up. Remember, a sole proprietorship is eligible for a business card. For a full review on the card, please refer to my post.

Points Available: 40,000
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year ($250 thereafter)
Spend Requirements: $5,000 in the first 3 months
CPM: 0.00 ($0/40,000 x 100)
Sign Up Link: www.pointsnerd.ca/amexreferral
Notes: the affiliate link above will take you to the general sign up area. Look for the American Express Platinum Personal card at the bottom of the page as the link may not send you directly to the card.

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite

sbb-fall-campaign-aeroplan-business-card
sbb-fall-campaign-aeroplan-business-card

I personally have the TD Aeroplan card because it also has an annual fee waiver and a pretty healthy sign-up bonus. There are no spend requirements with the card, so it’s a really easy way to get some points. One negative thing about the card is that the bonus is tiered based on time so you need to have the card open for 3 months before you get the full sign-up bonus, which can be a problem if you have imminent plans.

Points Available: 30,000 (15,000 on first spend + 10,000 after 3 months + 5,000 with a $50 supplementary card)
Annual Fee: $0 for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Spend Requirements: None — points awarded on first use of card
CPM: 0.167 ($50/30,000 x 100)
Sign Up Link: http://www.tdcanadatrust.com/products-services/banking/credit-cards/view-all-cards/aeroplan-infinite-affiliate-custom.jsp

American Express Platinum Personal

platinum_charge_card_en_chip_238x151
platinum_charge_card_en_chip_238x151

We are starting to get into more expensive cards but the value of the cards really do justify the annual fees, especially if you consider that you receive perks like lounge access and annual travel credits that help offset the annual fee. I do a pretty thorough review of the AMEX Platinum Personal Card so if you’re on the fence, take a read and perhaps you’ll see why I love the card. You will find that I subtract the 2 annual travel credits (2 x $200) off the cost of the annual fee as you can convert that to cash (read my review carefully).

Points Available: 60,000
Annual Fee: $699
Spend Requirements: $3,000 in the first 3 months
CPM: 0.50 ($299/60,000 x 100)
Sign Up Link: www.pointsnerd.ca/amexreferral
Notes: the affiliate link above will take you to the general sign up area. Look for the American Express Platinum Personal card at the bottom of the page as the link may not send you directly to the card.

American Express Platinum Business

business_platinum_card_en_sbs_chip_238x151
business_platinum_card_en_sbs_chip_238x151

The Platinum Business Card does not come with an annual travel credit like its counterpart the Platinum Personal, but it does come with lounge access so if you are looking to very quickly accumulate points and a bang for your buck, the Platinum Business is the way to go. The sign-up bonus is quite large and while spending requirements are a bit high, the annual fee isn’t terrible, especially if you consider the points you get. For a full review of the Platinum Business, please refer to my review.

Points Available: 75,000
Annual Fee: $399
Spend Requirements: $5,000 in the first 3 months
CPM: 0.532 ($399/75,00 x 100)
Sign Up Link: www.pointsnerd.ca/amexreferral
Notes: the affiliate link above will take you to the general sign up area. Look for the American Express Platinum Business card as the link may not send you directly to the card.

CIBC Aeroplan Affiliated Cards

I do not recommend these cards because their sign-up bonuses are quite small and the annual fees are not waived for the first year. In my opinion, these cards are not worth the hard credit pull you would get by applying for the card.

If you already have the cards listed above and are desperate for additional points, it may be worth checking out but I would only do so in the most desperate of circumstances.

PointsNerd’s Recommendations

Here’s a sample of what I would do if I had no Aeroplan points, had none of the cards I had listed above and wanted to do a mini-RTW trip. My criteria would be for the lowest possible CPM and easiest accumulation.

Europe 1

Europe 1 requires 60K Aeroplan in Economy and 110K in Business.

Remember. Membership Reward points instantly transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Aeroplan.

For an Economy Award, I would sign up for the following:

Here we accumulate enough points for 1 person to do a mini-RTW to Europe for free as the annual fee is waived with both cards.

For a Business Award, I would sign up for the following:

While you won’t get enough points for the 110K award (10K short), you have a spend requirement of $5,000 in the first 3 months with the AMEX Gold Business and a $1,000 spend requirement with the Gold Personal so you will already accumulate 6,000 Membership Rewards from the spend required to trigger your sign-up bonus. That leaves you 4,000 Aeroplan Miles short of your redemption, which can be easily achieved through other spend on the cards you now have.

Other Areas

I won’t step through each area because I’m sure that everyone has their own specific needs so take a look at the cards above and read through some of my reviews to get a better understanding of what you need in order to get set up for your mini-RTW trip.

The key message here is that through credit card sign-ups, you are well on your way to taking a mini-RTW trip for very little out of pocket cost.

Next Up

In the next post, we will look at carriers to consider for Europe and Asia. The focus will be on award availability as well as no/low fuel/carrier surcharges.


Originally published at PointsNerd.

PointsNerd

PointsNerd is dedicated to teaching you how to Travel Hack and explore the world in luxury for the cost of an economy ticket.

Jayce Loh

Written by

Jayce Loh

PointsNerd

PointsNerd is dedicated to teaching you how to Travel Hack and explore the world in luxury for the cost of an economy ticket.

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