This Aeroplan pricing glitch is obviously no longer available. But I wanted to share the story so that you understand the importance of having a healthy stash of points from the key rewards programs (that way you can get in on the endless deals and promos that regularly appear) and to show how variable-value rewards can provide outsized value and unlimited value.
An 11-hour business class flight worth $2,000+ (and one of the highest-ranked business class experiences in the world too) for just 25,000 Aeroplan points?
That’s how good Aeroplan’s Turkey pricing glitch was. That flight would’ve required 200,000+ points from fixed-value reward programs…
Error fares on cash tickets are a bit more common, but with points… it’s extremely rare. But this one was epic.
Air Canada’s Aeroplan program is the most important one for Canadian travelers (as mentioned in our free cheat sheet about the 5 essential programs for Canadians that you should really download) just because it is so easy to earn so many points.
Before the new Aeroplan program was launched, a one-way economy ticket to anywhere in North America cost 12,500 points in economy and 25,000 points in business class.
Turkey was 37,500 points in economy and 57,500 points in business class.
Quite a difference.
The major pricing glitch was that 2 small airports in Turkey were coded as if they were in North America in the Aeroplan search engine!
So flights to both Bursa (YEI) and Şanlıurfa (GNY) cost the exact same amount of points as any other city in North America!!!
(Why? It’s probably a human error, and for Bursa my guess would’ve been that it’s one of the rare airport codes to start with a “Y” that is not in Canada, but Şanlıurfa does not start with a Y, so who knows…)
Whatever the reason, the fact is that the price was 2-3 times lower than what it should have been!
That’s insanely cheap.
The YEI glitch was fixed rather quickly, so I hurried to book the GNY glitch.
I bought one roundtrip to GNY in economy for just 25,000 points. That’s an incredible deal to go so far away. I went there in December 2019.
But I also bought a one-way from GNY to Canada in business class for my very first premium cabin experience, also just 25,000 points (rescheduled for today, to return from my current trip to Uzbekistan).
Again, just to put this into perspective: you can’t even fly to Canada from the closest cities in Europe for 25,000 points in economy! I was all the way in Turkey… and it was in business class!
A simply amazing deal.
Another important lesson: a great deal is a great deal! Even if you didn’t plan to go there, there’s always something interesting to discover everywhere. I did not necessarily have plans to visit Turkish Kurdistan… but I absolutely loved it there.
Oh and since I was departing in Turkey and not paying Canada’s world-leading airport taxes and fees, the ticket only cost me C$69 in taxes.
For a $2,000+ ticket.
An 11-hour flight in a state-of-the-art lie-flat business class seat on a 5-star airline, Turkish Airlines.
For just 25,000 Aeroplan points.
That’s much less than what you get with just one card’s welcome bonus, like for example the one with no minimum income, the American Express Aeroplan Card (you’ll get a welcome bonus of 43,500 Aeroplan points; worth a net of ≈ $533 based on our Flytrippers Valuation).
Even at the normal price for business class, it is obviously a lot better to use points than cash. You save thousands of dollars.
That’s why variable-value rewards are infinitely better than fixed-value rewards (that are never going to be worth more than what they’re worth) or cashback (that should be avoided at all costs if you’re a traveler).
Variable-value rewards like Aeroplan offer outsized value and unlimited value: no matter the cash price, even in the thousands of dollars, you still pay the same amount of points.
There is simply no limit to how much money you can save, no limit to how much value you can get. It’s the best for those who like good deals, like us.
Why I usually don’t fly business class
Flying business class is usually the #1 goal of those who are into the travel rewards hobby. It is normally the most lucrative way to get the most value out of your rewards, at least in terms of theoretical savings (that is: compared to paying with cash).
But as I recently broke down with the deal for 21 free nights in Bali vs. just 5 free nights in an overwater villa in the Maldives, I prefer to compare to the price I’d actually pay to determine value. And I’d never pay $2,000 for a plane ticket, that’s just insane to me.
I want to travel more, so I make decisions accordingly… it’s really not that complicated. Saving on each trip makes it possible to go on more trips. Simple math.
I know many prefer spending money on more quality experiences instead of traveling more often, and that’s fine… as long as you understand that that’s why you aren’t traveling as much as you might want to.
Also, there is the fact that I averaged 71 flights per year in the 3 years since launching Flytrippers (excluding the pandemic year of 2020 where I dropped to 35) and I was frankly scared that I’d never want to go back to economy after getting a taste of business class.
Whether I’m paying with points or cash… paying the premium for business class on 70 flights a year would be just impossible.
Because while it’s true that business class flights are a great theoretical use of points… you’re still using points that could give you 2 flights to get just 1 flight.
And again, I want to travel more… so I just can’t justify the extra cost (in points or in cash; that’s irrelevant) if I want to be consistent and true to my philosophy and goal to travel more.
Especially with my goal to visit every country in the world: I need to be very extreme about always saving. That’s why I share all my great tips here so you can travel more too.
Want to get all our tips for Aeroplan and travel rewards?
The Aeroplan Turkey glitch was arguably the best deal ever in terms of reward redemptions.
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Featured image: Turkish 787-9 Dreamliner (photo credit: Adam Moreira)
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