Fly to a reopened Canada with wide-open award space on many airlines

Aug 15, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

After more than a year of strict border closure, Canada reopened its borders to vaccinated Americans on Aug. 9, 2021. Restrictions have been gradually lifted over the past couple of months, but Aug. 9 marks the first day Americans have been able to freely cross the border, granted they’re fully vaccinated and provide a negative test.

If you’re looking to pay a visit to our northern neighbors this fall, you may want to book your tickets now. We’re seeing low-cost award tickets on many major U.S. and Canadian airlines through the end of the season, so you can use your transferable points and airline miles to book them.

Here, we’ll give you an overview of open award space on a handful of popular routes between the U.S. and Canada. Since these flights are short, we will show you economy award space unless otherwise noted.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

In This Post

The deal

Airline: Air Canada, American, Delta United and WestJet

Routes: Dozens of continental U.S. cities to major Canadian cities

Cost: From 6,000 miles one-way

Dates: September through December 2021

How to book: Search for award space with your airline of choice’s website and book by following the on-screen prompts.

Pay taxes and fees with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline; on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on travel) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel) for travel protections on your award flight.

Related: 5 small Canadian cities you can use points and miles to visit in 2021

Is it worth it?

Air Canada 737 MAX at ORD
You can use this award space to save big bucks on your next trip to Canada. (Photo by Andrew Kunesh / The Points Guy)

Flights from the U.S. to Canada have a history of being pricy. There is little competition in the Canadian airline market and while that’s starting to change, you’ll often find high fares between even the largest U.S. and Canadian cities.

For example, you’ll find one-way basic economy fares from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Toronto (YYZ) starting at $143 this October. This doesn’t sound like much until you consider that this is a shorter flight than Chicago to New York, which can be booked for as little as $59 one-way this October.

Chicago to Toronto flight price calendar on ITA Matrix
(Screenshot courtesy of matrix.itasoftware.com)

That said, you should always compare the award ticket cost to the cash price to make sure it’s a good deal. Using TPG’s valuations is a good starting point. In some cases, it’s worth paying cash or using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal to book your flight instead.

For example, this flight from Portland (PDX) to Vancouver (YVR) costs $81.80 or 6,544 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred and book through the travel portal. The same flight costs 12,500 United miles, so you’re better off paying cash.

PDX to YVR Air Canada flight on the Chase Travel Portal
(Screenshot courtesy of chase.com)

Regardless of how you book, the more money you save on flights, the more you have to spend on an amazing trip to Canada.

Related: How I decide when to redeem points for a flight or pay cash

Sample itineraries

Now, let’s take a closer look at award space from the U.S. to Canada. Here, you’ll see a handful of routes across several different airlines. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so make sure to run your own searches if you’re looking for a different route or set of dates. All prices listed are for round-trip nonstop flights with the stated airline or one of its partners.

Charlotte (CLT) to/from Montreal (YUL) with American

You can fly American’s nonstop flight from Charlotte (CLT) to Montreal (YUL) for 15,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip in October, November and December. You can book these flights with other Oneworld partners like British Airways Avios, but you’ll spend more points to do so.

Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to/from Toronto (YYZ) with American Airlines

Further, Chicago to Toronto has saver award space almost every day in November and December on American. Round-trip awards start at 12,000 AAdvantage miles.

Los Angeles (LAX) to/from Edmonton (YEG) with WestJet

WestJet has plenty of award space on nonstop flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and Edmonton (YEG). Award space is open in economy almost every day this October and November. You can book these with Delta SkyMiles as the two carriers have a non-alliance partnership. Round-trip economy awards cost 25,000 SkyMiles and $58 in taxes and fees.

LAX to YEG Award Calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of delta.com)

New York-JFK and LGA to/from Montreal (YUL) with American

American also operates nonstop flights to Montreal from New York-JFK and LGA. You’ll find cheap award space on many dates toward the end of the year, with round-trip tickets as low as 12,000 miles. Here’s a look at award prices in November:

New York-JFK and LGA to/from Toronto (YYZ) with Delta

Likewise, Delta operates flights to Toronto from its New York-JFK and LGA hubs. You’ll find round-trip tickets as low as 12,000 Delta SkyMiles on many dates between October and the end of the year.

NYC to YYZ Delta award calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of delta.com)

San Francisco (SFO) to Vancouver (YVR) with Air Canada and United

United and Air Canada have lots of award space on the San Francisco (SFO) to Vancouver almost every day in September and October. United charges 21,000 miles for a round-trip ticket on most dates, while Air Canada charges as little as 19,600 points. You’ll pay minimal taxes and fees with both programs.

Related: 11 reasons to visit Canada this year

Boosting your AAdvantage balance with Citi ThankYou points

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

American AAdvantage offers the best award pricing across the board this fall. AAdvantage was recently added as a temporary Citi ThankYou transfer partner through Nov. 13, 2021. Citi points transfer 1:1 to AAdvantage during this promotion.

If you want to earn AAdvantage miles, consider opening a Citi Premier® Card that’s offering a record-high 80,000 ThankYou points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

To put this into context, this is enough points to book six round-trip tickets between New York and Montreal. Plus, you can transfer your Citi ThankYou points to other great loyalty programs like Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. You can use this partner to book United and Air Canada flights to Canada for 20,000 miles round-trip in economy on all routes.

SFO to YVR Turkish Airlines Award Ticket on Air Canada or United
(Screenshot courtesy of turkishairlines.com)

Related: Competitive perks, manageable annual fee — Citi Premier credit card review

Bottom line

Canada is reopening and is set to be a hot tourist destination this fall for Americans. Use the award space shown in this article to save money on your next trip to the Great White North. Again, always do your own research to see if it’s worth using points and miles to pay for your ticket. You’ll generally find the best redemption values on peak dates and business-heavy routes.

Feature photo by Massimiliano Pieraccini / Shutterstock.com

 

 

 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.