The list of beautiful landscapes isn’t exhaustive, obviously. However, the peculiarity of these destinations is that it is easily imaginable to visit them by redeeming points; you either get there sing points, or you use points to pay for expenses on the spot.
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a beautiful place that is easily accessible with the help of any Aeroplan credit card. The region’s magnificent landscapes are breathtaking!
It is possible to find award tickets for as little as 20,000 Aeroplan points for a round trip in economy class.
Several credit card , including the AeroplanMD* American ExpressMD card , can earn a couple enough points to pay for airfare!
On the lodging side, overnight stays in Las Vegas, your gateway, can be covered with Marriott Bonvoy points.
Secondly, hotels and motels around the Grand Canyon are not very expensive; rates start around $60-80 per night.
National park entry fees are $35 US per vehicle for up to 15 people and this pass is valid for 7 days. Single person access is $20 US for one week as well.
In terms of activities, I highly recommend taking a helicopter ride or hiking to the bottom of the canyon. You will then be able to fully take in the immensity of the place.
The Galapagos Islands
In this archipelago, the landscapes are sublime on the right and on the left.
For more information, I recommend you to read our complete guide to the Galapagos Islands.
Admittedly, this destination requires a credit card strategy that is a little more complex, but it is still very accessible with points. In fact, applying for 4 credit cards could help you earn up to $2,500 worth of rewards points. Prices for Galapagos Island cruises start at $2,000 with G Adventures.
Located on the border between Brazil and Argentina, you can visit the beautiful Iguaçu Falls from both countries to see them from a different perspective.
On the Brazilian side, the waterfalls are further away so the view is more of an overall perspective. Being a photographer with a penchant for landscapes, I was very spoiled. The panoramas are magnificent!
In Argentina, there is a footbridge to get to the heart of the Garganta del Diablo, the biggest waterfall. The latter is not always accessible, especially when the flow of the cataract can compromise the safety of visitors. However, if the path is open, expect to come out all wet!
The helicopter tour and the boat tour are also worth the price.
For Canadians, visas are no longer required to enter Brazil and Argentina has abolished reciprocity fees.
The Sahara Desert
The Sahara Desert covers an area of 9.2 million km² in the north of the African continent. After my experience on the dunes in Morocco and Egypt, I can confirm they are really more beautiful in Merzouga, Morocco.
Casablanca and Marrakech are easily accessible with Aeroplan points. A train connects both cities in 2 hours and 40 minutes (at a cost of 80-150 MAD) if you land in Casablanca. The route between Montreal and Casablanca is the only sweetspot to cross the Atlantic on Aeroplan’s new program.
Then, for accommodation, Morocco is also a sweetspot for Marriott Bonvoypoints!
However, it should be noted that in order to fully grasp the pulse of the magnificent landscapes of the Sahara desert, I recommend a 3-day excursion.
Merzouga is located about 10 hours drive from Marrakech. I had the chance to go twice and I really enjoyed the experience even though the drive was tough… both times!
The Cappadocia Valley
This historic region is known for its beautiful scenery of atypical rock formations, its legendary heritage and its hot air balloon tours.
Currently, the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® welcome bonus provides enough reward points to cover the expenses related to hot air ballooning for a family!
Turkish Airlines provides direct service between Montreal and Istanbul.
Our complete industry guide is here!
When we talk about beautiful landscapes, we can’t forget Iceland!
It is a destination mainly focused on nature and the outdoors. There is a lot of diversity in the panorama. Indeed, the country abounds in black sand beaches, sublime waterfalls, glaciers, geothermal springs and spectacular caves.
The cost of living is high in Iceland. However, it is a great place to go camping to cut costs.
Also, I suggest renting a car.
Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is huge; in fact, it covers more than 1,500 km². Besides its size, what is most impressive is the thousands of limestone islands that rise out of the emerald waters.
The best way to experience this natural beauty is on the bay itself. Whether it’s a kayak tour or a one- or two-night cruise, you’ll be immersed in the bay’s beautiful scenery!
Although it is possible to choose an operator on the spot, for the sake of quality, I recommend using a platform like Viator. Local agencies are a hit or miss just like for excursions in the Sahara.
The island of Bali
A trendy travel destination, Bali also offers beautiful scenery to discover with the help of points.
Beyond the sublime landscapes and magical temples, Bali has all kinds of natural beauties. Beautiful beaches, mountainous areas, picturesque waterfalls, emblematic rice fields, etc., make up the island’s panorama.
Although it is expensive and time-consuming to travel to Indonesia from Canada, this country is another one of my favourites. Once there, the cost of living is relatively low, and Marriott Bonvoy points can go a long way!
With the Marriott Bonvoy Credit cards Welcome Bonus, the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card (or the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card), you could get up to 15 free nights in Bali!
It is a great destination to try with your family as well as Indonesia in general. There is something for everyone, young and old!
The program of choice will be with Aeroplan as it is easier to earn points with the multiple credit cards available.
With the abolition of categories and the introduction of dynamic pricing, the number of points required could be exorbitant.
Of course, a minimum of 130,000 points is currently required for a 5-day stay in the beautiful landscape of the archipelago. That might sound like a lot, but it will be much more unattainable after next spring.
Points purchase promotions could prove to be an interesting way to treat yourself to luxury at low prices. Finally, the quickest way to earn them is through the welcome bonuses on the Membership Rewards giving cards, the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card and the Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card.
The Great Barrier Reef
Australia is full of beautiful landscapes. On the other hand, the beaches of the east coast and the immensity of the coral reef will leave you speechless.
This wonder is located in the state of Queensland and extends from the north of Brisbane to Cape York.
For scuba diving or snorkeling enthusiasts, the Great Barrier Reef is a must-see. It is the largest coral reef in the world. The aquatic life over there is amazingly diverse.
In addition, there are a variety of activities to please everyone. The white sand beaches are perfect and the water is crystal clear.
The ideal trip would be to rent a campervan and drive along the coast. However, since it’s not always possible to have that many vacation days, here are my favourite spots.
- Airlie Beach
- Fitzroy Island
- Port Douglas
I particularly liked having a base at Airlie Beach which is the gateway to the Whitsundays. Of all the beaches I have seen, this is the most beautiful.
And yes, I get on plane and helicopter rides everywhere!
For more information on individual reefs and what they offer, go here.
Points for travel or cash back? Here are my two strategies with credit cards: