Flying from Asia to Canada can be expensive—but it doesn't have to be. If you have the right knowledge and tools, you can do it for less than $75. This post will give you the knowledge and the tools you need to do it yourself—all in 10 minutes or less. Getting yourself an American Express Gold Rewards Card is the first step.
The American Express Gold Rewards Card for Canadians is an excellent travel card for Canadians looking for a high-impact card with a low annual fee. It comes with a welcome bonus of 25,000 points—which we value at between $500-$750—plus an impressive travel insurance policy, $100 in hotel credit, and much more. With an annual fee of just $150, this card pays for itself several times over in just a single trip to Asia.
I need to come home.
Not because I'm homesick. No, it's because I have flights booked that are taking me to LA, San Francisco, Vegas, Toronto and more, all scheduled for the next couple of weeks.
So I'm going to book my flights in the next 60 minutes. And while I do it, I'm going to document exactly how I do it. Here's my situation:
I need to get from Asia to Los Angeles, where I'll be visiting a few friends. I have unfinished business in both Guangzhou, China and Singapore, so I'd like to leave Asia from one of those two cities.
Oh ya – and I want to do it as cheaply as possible.
Luckily, I have a secret: I know how to drop the cost of these Asia to North America flights by 90%.
Yes, that's right, I'm going to pay 10% of what the passengers on my left and right paid.
How will I do it? I'm going to use 37,500 Aeroplan points, which are an exceptionally valuable tool when used in the right way.
And right now, in the next five minutes, I'm going to show you both a) how to get them, and b) how to use them the right way.
This Is How Flight Experts Find Cheap Flights
First, you need to know which are the best airlines for using your Aeroplan points with:
- United Airlines
- Swiss Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Air New Zealand
- Eva Airways (SE Asia)
- Air China
Why are they the best? Because they don't make you pay the fuel surcharge, which is a fee several hundred dollars in magnitude on international flights. In other words, these airlines are a lot cheaper to fly with.
And when I open up the Guide, something jumps out at me right away. Three of the top seven airlines on the list, my personal favourites, are based in Asia: Singapore Airlines, Air China, and EVA Airways. That tells me something even more important: their hub cities, Singapore, Beijing, and Taipei will definitely offer some great prices to North America.
Just thirty seconds into my search process, my decision is made for me: I'm leaving from Singapore.
A quick search on the Aeroplan website confirms it: I can get from Singapore to LA for $73.80 CAD. I'll book it right now.
(5-minute pause while Jordan books his ticket)
Okay, I've booked the Singapore-LA flight for $73.80. But now I'm curious – what are the prices like from those other two cities? As expected, they're exceptionally cheap, just like my Singapore flight:
Okay, that all makes sense – the Guide basically gave that one away. But what if I just wanted to go to LA directly from Chiang Mai?
Good question. And I'd tell you that's a bad move.
Why? Well, the entire key here is that the most important factor in booking your flights with Aeroplan is the airline, which is why the first thing I did when thinking about my flights was determine which airlines are based where in Asia. So in keeping with that thought process, we need to think about which airlines are based in Chiang Mai. The answer?
Not a single one. In that case, we need to look to other airlines based in the same country or region. Here in Thailand we've got Thai Airways which, without surprise, dominates traffic in and out of Chiang Mai.
But there's a problem: Thai Airways isn't anywhere on our list of good airlines to fly with. In fact, on a global scale, it's one of the worst for Aeroplan flights. I avoid them at all costs when booking with Aeroplan, and you should too. From a practical perspective, Thailand is a bad place to fly into or out of.
That sounds harsh, but when you see all of the other options you have, it ceases to matter. Here are just a few amazing flights from cities all over Asia that I found in a few minutes of searching:
There's actually something exciting here for you if you need to reach Thailand: you can visit another Asian city and still pay less than you would by flying into or out of Thailand. Bonus!
Also, do you notice anything about the above examples? That's right, we're also using United Airlines. United is another favourite from Page 7 of the Guide, so any flights you can take with them are going to be cheap as well. Just like I did with the Singapore to LA flight, combining one of Singapore Airlines, Air China, or EVA Airways with United Airlines is a fantastic, replicable way of getting from Asia to North America.
So that's that; my flight is booked, and there's a myriad of other options for anyone else leaving from Asia as well.
But some of you are thinking, “This doesn't apply to me, I'm not going to LA!” Take a look at these next two flights. Yes, this strategy works to anywhere in North America.
Didn’t find the city or reference you needed? No problem! Here's a list of Cheap Airlines in Southeast Asia
Cheap Airlines In Indonesia
Airlines in Indonesia offer flights to destinations such as India, Saudi Arabia, East Timor, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Macau, Thailand, as well as destinations within Indonesia (like Java, Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Maluku, among others).
Main hub: Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International (Jakarta)
You can also find partner airlines with AirAsia and AirAsia X.
There are only two low-cost airlines in Vietnam but they offer flights to Thailand, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Myanmar, and Macau, and even destinations within Vietnam.
Cheap Airlines in Vietnam:
Main hubs: Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon), Noi Bài International Airport (Hanoi)
Like Vietnam, Thailand also only has two low-cost airlines and those will allow you to travel to: China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, and even Japan. As well as some other marvellous destinations within Thailand, from Krabi to Chiang Rai and beyond.
Cheap Airlines in Thailand:
Main hubs: Don Mueang International Airport (Bangkok), Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok), Chiang Mai International Airport (Chiang Mai), Phuket International Airport (Phuket)
You can also find partner airlines with VietJet, AirAsia, Scoot, and Lion Air.
Another country with only two low-cost airlines but that was a bit expected from Singapore, right? Either way, you get lots of destinations to fly to! Such as Taiwan, New Zealand, India, Australia, and Japan, other southeast countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Macau, Cambodia, and Myanmar.
Cheap Airlines in Singapore
Main hub: Singapore Changi Airport (Singapore)
AirAsia is a low-cost powerhouse, the amount of destinations you get with them is insane. Here are some of them: The UAE, Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, China, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, the United States (Hawaii), Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Taiwan, Laos, the United Kingdom, Mauritius, Oman, France, Japan, Singapore, and Iran.
Cheap Airlines in Malaysia
Main hubs: Kuala Lumpur International Airport (Kuala Lumpur), Penang International Airport (Penang)
Tip: AirAsia has a lot of affiliate airlines and subsidiaries. Just check out this list:
- AirAsia China
- AirAsia Vietnam
- AirAsia India
- AirAsia Japan
- AirAsia X
- AirAsia Indonesia & Indonesia AirAsia X
- AirAsia Philippines
- AirAsia Thailand & Thai AirAsia X
You can hop on a low-cost airplane from the Philippines to Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Macau, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the UAE, and Vietnam!
Cheap Airlines in the Philippines
Main hub: Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Manila)
Tip: You can also find partner airlines with AirAsia.
Okay, maybe this is all a bit overwhelming. After all, you just want to get from A to B as cheaply as possible, right?
Exactly. So here's the 80/20, or how to get the most value from this post. (Canadians only )
STEP 1 OF 2: GET YOUR POINTS
Your ticket to 25,000 points (and a $75 flight to Asia) is in the American Express Gold Rewards Card. Just take 3 minutes to fill out the application form, and you'll have your Gold Rewards Card in your hands within a week.
STEP 2 OF 2: USE YOUR POINTS
As soon as you close that tab, get yourself an Aeroplan Card. You're going to transfer your American Express points into Aeroplan points in order to take the flights above, so you'll need one of these. Fill out their 60-second online form and you're all set – everyone gets approved automatically.
Some tips to keep in mind when you travel to Asia…
- Flights are the cheapest about 120 days from your departure on average, according to CheapAir.com. That being said, you do get a lot of flexibility when booking a flight since the prime booking window, when flights are low and aren't fluctuating as much, is nearly six months long.
- Asia has the cheapest fares in the month of June, so you may want to keep that in mind when booking.
- If you’re traveling domestic (within Asia) you’ll get the best fares on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
- Do a little research before flying, check if there are any upcoming holidays there that may cause a delay on your flight, especially if you’re traveling on a schedule.
And that's it! You'll be enjoying authentic dim sum in no time.
If you want to show your friends how much of a flight hacker you are, share this post with them. Or if you're not quite there yet and still need some clarification, we're easy to reach via email, and we deal with these sort of problems every single day. I'd love to help you explore the world in a deeper, more meaningful way in 2019 and beyond.
Oh, and let us know if you got any value out of this post – depending on the response it receives, we may create similar posts for reaching the other continents, like this one to Europe. Yes, you can fly to any continent in the world for under $100 (except Antarctica – we haven't quite cracked that one yet). Help us help you by sharing this post and giving us your feedback!