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As the three US legacy carriers bring their loyalty programs more in line with each other (similar revenue based earning structures, elite tiers, etc.) it becomes more and more important to look to foreign carriers to find differentiation and value. This is especially true for frequent SkyTeam travelers who’ve seen an incredible amount of value wiped out of two of the alliance’s most prominent loyalty programs. Specifically, in recent years both Delta and Air France/KLM Flying Blue have switched from fixed award charts to “variable” or dynamic pricing. This leads to some comically outrageous pricing, such as this one-way business class ticket from Atlanta (ATL) to Johannesburg (JNB):
If you’ve been feeling the burn and are looking for a new program for SkyTeam redemptions, look no further than Aeromexico’s Club Premier. This program offers a fairly solid value if you’re willing to push through some of its quirks. Today we’ll walk through everything you need to know to earn and burn Premier points efficiently.
Earning Premier Points
In addition to crediting SkyTeam flights to Club Premier, a number of popular transferable points currencies also partner with Aeromexico:
- American Express Membership Rewards points transfer to Aeromexico at a 1:1.6 ratio, though through November 30th, 2018, you can register for a 25% bonus which will bump your transfer ratio to 1:2.
- Aeromexico is at the top of the list of Capital One’s new airline transfer partners (at least alphabetically…). Points earned on the Venture and Spark card families transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio.
- Marriott Rewards points transfer to Aeromexico at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred (up to 180,000 points per day), effectively giving you a 3:1.25 ratio on larger transfers.
While these different ratios are bound to get confusing, it’s important to remember where your points are coming from in order to decide whether an Aeromexico redemption is a good value. Club Premier uses a relatively inflated pricing scheme, which makes matters more complicated, but generally speaking the best values will come from Amex and Capital One transfers.
Most airlines utilize different award charts for flights on their own metal and those operated by partners, and Aeromexico is no different. Whether you’re flying on Aeromexico itself or on a partner airline, you’re allowed one stopover per round trip award, which is a great deal and an increasing rarity. This might be a great way to see Mexico en route to another South American destination, or see two cities in Asia or Europe for the price of one.
Round-trip Aeromexico flights to or from Mexico are priced based on the below award chart, depending on whether you’re flying in economy or business class and traveling during low season or high season.
One way awards are available for half the cost, and for flights that use Mexico as a connection but not the final destination, you can refer to this chart. Of course, most US based travelers will be primarily interested in flights to and from Mexico. Thankfully Aeromexico is lenient in what it classifies as “high season” (June to mid-August and December to mid-January), and during low season one-way flights start at 28,000 Premier Points. Aeromexico even offers sporadic award sales on certain routes, like this flight from Mexico City (MEX) to Los Angeles (LAX) for only 22,400 Premier Points and ~$70 in taxes. You can see the standard one-way award rate of 28,000 Premier Points below it, as well as the standard one-way business class rate of 52,000 points at the top.
Also, remember that with the convoluted transfer rations, you would only need to transfer 14,000 Membership Rewards points to get 22,400 Premier Points, or 32,500 MR if you wanted to fly in business class.
You can construct some solid deals by routing through Mexico, including a one-way ticket from the US all the way down to Buenos Aires (EZE) for only 48,000 Premier Points (or 30,000 Membership Rewards points).
Note that these costs are about in line with what other major airlines such as American or United would charge you. The advantage comes when you compare to another SkyTeam carrier like Delta, who might charge you a little bit more, or might charge you a whole lot more for the same one-way economy ticket.
SkyTeam Partner Awards
Aeromexico’s award chart for SkyTeam partners follows the same mantra: reasonably priced, but not laden with sweet spots to take advantage of. You can’t book partner awards online though, so you’ll need to find the award space first and call Aeromexico to book. For round-trip flights departing the US, award prices are as follows (again, with one-way tickets costing half as much):
It’s hard to tell exactly what counts as a “saver” award with Delta these days, but you can book one-way awards within the US for only 20,000 Premier Points, or 12,500 Membership Rewards points. You could also book the same flight by transferring the same number of Amex points directly to Delta, so outside of the current transfer bonus there’s not much incentive to pick Aeromexico instead.
Round-trip business class flights to North or Southeast Asia will set you back 256,000 Premier Points or 160,000 Membership Rewards points (128,000 during the current transfer bonus period). While every airline has a slightly different pricing scheme, I’d say 80,000 miles each way in business class is about as close to the industry average as you can get. The same thing can be said of round-trip economy tickets to Europe: 96,000 Club Premier points, or 60,000 Membership Reward points, is an aggressively average price.
You might end up saving a few thousand miles relative to other programs on flights to certain parts of South Asia or North Africa, but nothing to get too excited about. Don’t get me wrong, the devaluations to Flying Blue and Delta should make any loyal SkyTeam flyer crave a consistent, average award chart, but for the price conscious among us Aeromexico doesn’t do much to stand out.
Round The World Pass
While Aeromexico’s standard award chart can best be described as run-of-the-mill, there’s one reason that I’m still incredibly excited to see Club Premier transfer options (and transfer bonuses) popping up all over the place: The SkyTeam Go Round The World Pass. While this type of mega trip obviously won’t be for everyone, it offers a huge value boost to the most adventurous among us. Let’s start with the terms and conditions, which are among the most generous of any round the world (RTW) pass available:
- Valid only for travel on SkyTeam airlines.
- Travel must continue in the same direction, east or west (although there are some reports that Aeromexico is flexible on this if you’re backtracking to connect through a SkyTeam hub city).
- Travel must begin and end in the same country.
- You can have a minimum of three or a maximum of 15 stopovers, with no more than five per continent. A stopover is defined as any city where you remain for 24 hours before continuing your travel.
- All flights must be booked in the same class of service.
- Pass is valid for one year from the date of issue.
You can book this multi-city extravaganza in either economy or business class at the following rate:
|Aeromexico Premier Points||224,000||352,000|
|Amex Membership Rewards Points||140,000||220,000|
|Capital One Miles||299,000||470,000|
|Marriott Rewards Points||672,000||1,056,000|
You’re allowed a maximum of 16 flights (15 destinations), but even if you only include 10 cities on your RTW trip you’d be getting each flight for as cheap as 14,000 Membership Rewards points in economy or 22,000 in business class, including long-haul international segments.
The sky is the limit as to what you can do with a trip like this, but here is one of the infinite possibilities for redeeming this RTW pass. This six-stop trip is on the lighter end for sure, but would still allow you to see some of the biggest and most vibrant cities in Asia and Europe for a fraction of the normal cost.
You could retool this to fly through Australia or Africa instead, or spend more time in Europe and the Middle East if you please. The only real limitation is that you have to find award space for each flight you want, but presumably with a large trip like this your dates will be slightly more flexible than a shorter vacation. To make your planning a little easier, I would suggest making sure that every flight segment is either from or to a SkyTeam hub, that way you’ll have an easier time finding award space.
With more ways than ever to earn Aeromexico Club Premier Points, it’s worth spending some time familiarizing yourself with this program. It rises above the crowd not because of its own inherent strengths, but rather because it offers consistency at a time when SkyTeam redemptions are increasingly expensive and unpredictable. If you find yourself getting price gouged by Delta or Flying Blue, Club Premier can offer a great alternative. By far the best value though lies in the round the world pass, which features lax terms and generous pricing. Even on shorter trips that only include three to four stops, you might come out ahead choosing this option over a conventional award ticket.
Know before you go.
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