Visit Portugal with points and miles
ranking of the favorite destinations of Quebecers
established by the Ulysse Guides, Portugal is ranked in 7th position.
It is possible to visit the important attractions of the country in 1 week even if 2 weeks are ideal. Let’s see how we could put our points and miles to good use for this destination!
The airplane ticket
The most accessible airport is the one in the capital, Lisbon (LIS).
In season, you could find a direct flight Montreal/Toronto – Lisbon with Air Transat.
All year round, you will have to go through a stopover:
- Air Canada (Brussels, Geneva, London, New York, Toronto)
- Air France (Paris)
- American Airlines (Philadelphia)
- British Airways (London)
- KLM (Amsterdam)
- United (Washington)
- Swiss Air (Zurich)
Prices range from $800 to $1,200 roundtrip in economy class during June 2016.
A quick look at Aeroplan and British Airways Executive Club shows us that for this type of travel, it is not really worthwhile to use miles.
There is no availability on Swiss (which would have greatly reduced the cost of the ticket).
We will find on Air Canada and TAP a flight for 60 000 Aeroplan miles and… 772$ !
British Airways Executive Club
British Airways Executive Club
it’s a little cheaper, both in Avios and in money… but there is very little availability.
Here is an example via London with British Airways for 39,000 airline miles and $511.
If you have miles of Avios and are flexible, this is a solution to consider.
However, I would advise you to pay for your airfare instead.
To help offset the cost, you could use a card that provides travel credit, such as the
BMO World Elite Mastercard
(30,000 points or $300) or the
American Express Gold from Scotiabank
(20,000 bonus points or $200).
American Express Gold Rewards Card
which offers you 25,000 Membership Rewards points as a welcome bonus (that’s $250 in travel credit – except during promotional periods like right now when this credit is worth 25% more) and the first year free.
I assumed 4 nights in Lisbon and 3 nights in Porto, the two major stops on a trip to Portugal.
In Lisbon, the Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa represents a great opportunity with excellent value for money. It is available for 7,000 starpoints per night (21,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) or 28,000 starpoints for 4 nights (84,000 Marriott Bonvoy points).
In Porto, the Sheraton Porto Hotel & Spa is in the heart of the city and is highly rated. It is also available for 7,000 starpoints per night (21,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) or 21,000 starpoints for 3 nights (63,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) .
How do I get 49,000 starpoints?
A couple can easily get 50,000 starpoints with
American Express Marriott Bonvoy card
The first one will just have to sponsor the second one to get 10 000 starpoints and to group everything on the same Marriott Bonvoy account !
For only $240 in membership fees, the 7 nights in Portugal will be obtained!
What to visit in Portugal?
Lisbon or the city of 7 hills
It will seduce you with its maritime heritage, its national monuments, its modernity and its authenticity. Take the streetcars 28 and 15.
Take a walk during these few days in the heart of the city in the Baixa district; visit the beautiful Trade Square.
Climb the hill by the elevator da Gloria to walk through the gardenim of São Pedro de Alcântara and see the beautiful church of theIgreja de São Roque.
Then discover a very special attraction, theElevador de Santa Justa, a wrought iron elevator allowing you to return to the Baixa district, 45m below.
Lose yourself in the streets of the Alfama district; discover the São Jorge Castle, the Sé Cathedral or the Saint Anthony Church.
Spend a day in the Belém district. There are many attractions including the Belem Tower.
You will learn about the history of the city, the explorer Vasco de Gama and the maritime heritage of the city with, for example, the Monument to the Discoveries.
Wind through the streets of the city and climb to the top of some of them to discover amazing panoramas such as theArco de Rua Augusta or Portas do Sol.
With the kids, a visit to the Oceanarium or the Zoo will satisfy the whole family.
Finally, take a day to discover the coastline and its magnificent sandy beaches, some of which are accessible by train or bus if you do not have a car.
Attend a Fado concert in the Chiao district where artists and craftsmen gather or soak up the local atmosphere at one of the many restaurants or bars and taste the famous Pastéis de Belém pastries.
NataGo out and party after dark in the Bairro Alto neighborhood!
The city of Porto
Porto, less big than the previous one, can be visited in 2 or 3 days but is still interesting.
For example, wander through the streets of the old Ribeira district, visit its cathedral and continue with the Baixa district.
A cruise is usually suggested along the river, the Douro. Many excursions or cruises are available.
Relax on one of its beaches during the day before getting ready to discover its nocturnal ambiamce. In the evening, head to Rua Galeria de Paris for a lively atmosphere.
Enjoy a meal in one of the city’s many restaurants or taste Port wine in one of the cellars on the south bank of the Douro.
Some guides to give you ideas to visit Portugal:
It is therefore possible to visit Portugal while saving with points and miles. However, you will have to be judicious in your choices: as you have seen, using Aeroplan miles is not necessarily the best choice for this destination!
On the other hand, Starpoints have proven to be very useful here!