I have 23,966 miles. You need 15,000 miles for a "select, short-haul flight," which from Halifax means that you can reach Montreal or New York, but not Toronto. 25,000 gives you access to pretty much the whole of Northern America, so I'm aiming to get 25,000 and use it to get to Vancouver with a stopover in Toronto. Yes, you can do that - it ups your airport and NAVCAN fees, but not the required mileage. I've never been to Vancouver, and I'm raring to travel again anyway. My foster brother also lives out there, and so do a few old CWY mates.
The thing is, accumulating miles while you're on the ground is tricky if you 1) don't want to get an Aeroplan-enabled credit card that has high annual fees (they all do) and 2) don't want to sign a long-term service contract for long distance or insurance or what-have-you. You can get a few miles at Esso, but it's really more for maintenance than it is for accumulating - your mileage accrual per visit is usually in the single digits.
Fortunately, periodically there's a promotion with Quaker cereals and Tropicana juices where you can get Aeroplan miles using codes on the packaging. Typically you get 25 miles a pop (or 10 for the juice). That's not bad, really.
So I have 23,966 miles, and I'm trying to get to 25,000. I'm 1,034 miles short. A box of, say, Quaker Instant Oatmeal, gives you 25 miles. That means I only need to eat 42 boxes of Quaker Instant Oatmeal. Back in Japan I was going through about a box a week (of course, the boxes I got were the ones made for international export, so they didn't have any promotions of any kind on them). So that means I could start now and have my miles by December 2nd of this year, well before my pre-2007 miles (from before the expiry rules came in) expire on December 31st, 2013.
Of course, had I not been booted off that flight in Kyiv, the mileage from the subsequent Munich > Toronto segment would have put me over the top. Bah. =) On the other hand, it was a stroke of luck that the Narita > Itami segment of my journey to Tokushima was operated by ANA (a Star Alliance member), so I got to accumulate a few miles there, and more importantly, keep my Aeroplan account good for my entire year there. I got an e-mail warning me about my mileage expiring due to inactivity when I was still in Japan, but fortunately I had until January 2nd to deal with it, and since I came home on Christmas Day, I was able to do so through a two-pronged attack involving an Esso fill-up and Life-brand cereal boxes.
Hmm... maybe I should just book a trip anyway and buy the extra miles. It'd only cost $31.02. Assuming the oatmeal boxes were $5 each, that comes to $210. Of course, you do get the oatmeal, whereas with the $31 you don't really get anything. Well, we'll see how it goes.