Soon after launching a partnership with SunExpress and teasing its next one, Aeroplan announced that Bamboo Airways will become its newest partner. Bamboo Airways joins as Aeroplan’s 46th airline partner, which brings the number of partners closer to 50 than 40.
Vietnam-based Bamboo Airways is not only a new partner that adds new routes and destinations to Aeroplan’s flight network, but the airline also has a lie-flat long-haul business class product. Let’s dive in to all the details.
A Short Recap…
As a reminder, when announcing the partnership with SunExpress last week, Aeroplan teased their next partner:
They serve a particular, amazing aspirational destination and are the only one serving it on a scheduled basis with jet aircraft. In fact, the aircraft they use on this route is a fleet type they added specifically to serve this market!
Our guess was Air Greenland, which was perhaps a bit ambitious.
Bamboo Airways has a much farther reach than our guess, due to its wider route network and aspirational business class product. Here’s how Aeroplan solved the riddle:
It was Bamboo Airways that took on the Embraer 190 fleet type specifically to serve the islands of Con Dao (VCS) – a gorgeous destination noted for its coral reefs, stunning beaches and clear waters. VCS is not yet able to handle the Airbus aircraft, hence the addition of the 190, which enables Bamboo to provide the only scheduled jet service there.
Redeem Aeroplan Points on Bamboo Airways
Similar to the previous partnerships, Aeroplan redemptions on Bamboo Airways follow all of the principles set out by Aeroplan:
- Bamboo Airways flights will be priced based on Aeroplan’s pricing for partner airlines.
- Members will be able to book Bamboo Airways flights online and over the phone.
- Bamboo Airways flights can be combined with flights operated by Air Canada and other international airline partners.
- A $39 partner booking fee will apply.
The partnership officially launches on November 8, and Bamboo Airways flights will be bookable through the usual mediums of the Air Canada website, the Air Canada app, or the Aeroplan contact centre.
Bamboo Airways Destinations
Before we look at what it will cost in points, let’s take a look at Bamboo Airways’s route network. They have been expanding aggressively, and have already launched international flights to London, Paris, Sydney, and Melbourne.
Their future plans include over 50 new flight routes, with all signs pointing towards service to Frankfurt and Los Angeles to launch imminently.
Bamboo Airways’s hubs for international travel are Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which is identical to Vietnam Airlines. This makes sense, as these are the most active hubs in Vietnam.
On top of Bamboo Airways’s international network, they also offer an expansive domestic network throughout all corners of Vietnam.
Bamboo Airways’ domestic hubs are Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Nha Trang, and Da Nang. Needless to say, all of Vietnam is well covered, and Bamboo Airways should prove very useful for hopping around the country and even to the greater area of Southeast Asia.
Bamboo Airways Award Pricing
If you grab a direct routing from London or Paris, it will cost 80,000 Aeroplan points one-way in business class.
If you want depart from North America and fly to Vietnam via Europe, it’ll cost either 87,500 points or 115,000 points in business class, plus 5,000 points if you decide to add a stopover. The pricing depends on where you begin in North America, and how much of a roundabout routing you take.
Domestic flights within the country will start at just 8,000 Aeroplan points per direction in economy class, which is a great deal. Of course, you should also price shop with VietJet and other ultra-low-cost-carriers (ULCC), where the price of the entire flight could be equal to Aeroplan’s taxes and fees.
Before committing to a ULCC, such as VietJet, it’s important to compare the onboard experience and the add-ons. For example, many low-cost-carriers do not include a carry-on suitcase in their base price, and charge for every other add-on, beginning with seat selection.
Since Aeroplan made Côn Đảo (VCS) a highlight as the destination that Bamboo Airways acquired an Embraer 190 aircraft to serve, let’s take a look at pricing options to get there as well. Côn Đảo is known for its coral reefs, stunning beaches, and clear waters.
Côn Đảo is served by direct flights from Hanoi (HAN) and Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) throughout the North American winter season, and a direct flight from either city costs only 8,000 Aeroplan points one-way in economy class.
Bamboo Airways also offers a new way to fly to Australia in business class. From Vietnam, flights to Sydney or Melbourne will price out at only 45,000 Aeroplan points in business class, which is a great deal. You could also add a stopover in Vietnam after flying from North America, and then head to Australia afterwards.
There are plenty more sweet spots to find, and I’d encourage you to play around with FlightConnections and Great Circle Mapper to plan out a few dream redemptions.
What Is Bamboo Airways’s Onboard Product Like?
Bamboo Airways currently has three Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in its fleet, with 10+ still on order to serve its future long-haul destinations.
Their Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners have 28 business class seats arranged in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration. This provides a very competitive business class product that’s not dissimilar to Air Canada’s own Signature Class product onboard the Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The seats are fully lie-flat, and the sides jut forward to provide privacy when leaned back or in lie-flat mode. Middle dividers between seats come down, which makes the middle seats the ideal choice for couples or friends travelling together, while solo travellers will want to select a window seat.
These Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners serve Bamboo Airways’s long-haul international destinations, which currently are London, Paris, Sydney, and Melbourne.
Bamboo Airways also has a premium economy cabin onboard their Dreamliners, which should be adequate for a daytime flight from Oceania.
The workhorses of the Bamboo Airways fleet are the narrow-body Airbus A320 aircraft and the newly-acquired Embraer 190, all of which offer both a business class and economy class cabin. Although not necessarily worth the points premium for a standalone short-haul flight, it is reassuring to know that you can continue throughout the country in comfort if already redeeming points for business class to cover the long-haul segment.
Earn Aeroplan Points on Bamboo Airways
As part of the new partnership, passengers who fly on cash fares with Bamboo Airways may also credit their flights to Aeroplan and earn Aeroplan points, according to the following chart:
The following conditions also apply regarding earning towards Aeroplan points:
- Aeroplan members will earn points based on distance flown on all scheduled flights operated by Bamboo Airways, with exception of transpacific flights between Asia and North America when they are launched
- Aeroplan Elite Status qualification is not applicable
Aeroplan’s next partner is a very exciting addition, promising a brand-new lie-flat business class product bookable with Aeroplan points. Bamboo Airways will officially join Aeroplan as of November 8, 2022.
Based in Vietnam, Bamboo Airways will soon be launching long-haul service to Los Angeles, representing a great direct flight from North America to Vietnam that Aeroplan members can book with their points. By all means, this is an aspirational redemption, and I cannot wait to fly Bamboo Airways’ Boeing 787-9 into the country before continuing to dreamy destinations like Phú Quốc and Côn Đảo.