North Americans are spoiled with choice when it comes to flying across the Pacific Ocean. Some of the world’s best airlines are based in Asia, and fortunately, many offer direct flights to destinations across Canada and the United States.
What are the best airlines to get you across the Pacific? Which points currencies should you be focusing on? What are the availability patterns like, and how far in advance should you book?
In alphabetical order, let’s look at the 12 top-choice airlines for booking transpacific flights in a lie-flat seat with a reasonable number of points and minimal out-of-pocket expenses.
1. Air Canada
Air Canada serves many Asian hub cities, and it continues to add new routes and restore previously suspended ones. There are direct flights to Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Mumbai, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo (Haneda and Narita) from Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver.
With Aeroplan, pricing for these flights is subject to the distance-based tiers on the “Between North America—Pacific Zones” section of the Flight Reward Chart.
With a distance-based chart, there are some excellent opportunities to reduce the cost in points depending on your origins and destinations.
For Vancouver-based travellers, a direct flight to Tokyo or Osaka squeezes in at 4,701 miles and 4,942 miles, respectively, which is satisfyingly placed in the first distance band. This means that a direct flight in business class with Air Canada should cost as few as 55,000 points.
With the exception of the Toronto—Mumbai and the Toronto—Hong Kong routes, most others fall in the second distance band. In theory, this means that a seat in business class could cost as few as 75,000 points, while the others in the third distance band could cost 87,500 points.
The reality, however, is that you’ll be hard-pressed to find many seats available with these prices. In many cases, booking directly into business class will skew the price threefold or fourfold.
If you have status with Air Canada, one method to combat dynamic pricing is by employing the “Latitude Attitude” and using your Aeroplan Elite Status to your advantage.
By booking in a cheaper economy fare and using eUpgrades to upgrade to business class, it’s sometimes possible to bring the redemption cost back to reality when dynamic pricing is skewed the wrong way.
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