A crazy bet
At the origin of this trip around the world, made in the company of my friend Jean-Francois, a crazy bet:
Would you dare to go away for a week by stopping every day in a new city… and completing a complete tour of the globe?Jean-Maximilien
With the changes made on the Aeroplan program,the mini-round the world as we know it (with 3 stops of more than 24 hours) no longer exists since September 1, 2019.
We wanted to make one last one (even if it is not really a mini-round the world since we stopped only twice more than 24 hours, which is still achievable today).
So we booked this trip only a few days before departure!
The experience of a lifetime
Jean-Francois and I both have:
- a spouse
What’s more, mine are still very young (2 and 4 years), so “experiences” of this type are more difficult than being single / childless.
In addition, being able to tell yourself to have:
- completed the complete tour of the planet
- changed time zone every day
- travelled between 15 and 25 kms on foot in each of the destinations
- eaten at different local specialties totally different
- travelled in many business classes
- visited family and friends all over the world
- visited 7 Hard Rock Café in 7 days (Jean-Francois’ passion trip)
… and all this in 1 week, is for us, the experience of a lifetime.
In short, it is above all a site of “contents” that we create based on real lived experiences and not “stock photos”.
While the testimonials of our members are a major part of the site, our reviews and opinions help our readers and members in their choice of destinations, hotels, airport lounges or airlines.
The use of loyalty programs
This experiment was also done to demonstrate that:
- loyalty programs have important powers to experience this type of experience
- credit cards have undeniable benefits for travellers
- Knowing each trick of a program can greatly facilitate travel
For example, we used:
- Marriott Bonvoy
- Best Western Rewards
- Priority Pass / LoungeKey
- A credit card with no foreign currency conversion fees
- A credit card to earn more points for our restaurant and bar expenses
The Aeroplan loyalty program allowed us to book our multi-stop airfare.
For 150,000 Aeroplan miles and $250 in taxes,we were initially able to book a airline ticket, in business class between:
- Kuala Lumpur
- Hong Kong
- San Francisco
Thanks to our knowledge of the program, we were able to avoid all carrier surcharge and pay only $250 in taxes!
But as in all travel, unexpected events can happen!
A flight delay from Istanbul influenced a flight change (in our favour): Turkish Airlines placed us on the direct flight between Istanbul and Kuala Lumpur (avoiding a 2-hour stopover in Bangkok).
And as the situation deteriorated in Hong Kong with major protests, we decided to call Aeroplan the day before our flight to that city, to change and be placed on a Singapore-Tokyo-Osaka flight. Thanks to our knowledge of the program, this change was made free of charge!
Thanks to all this, we choose to stay in one of the 7,000+ hotels of the Marriott Bonvoy group in order to:
- use Marriott Bonvoy points for free nights
- earn Marriott Bonvoy points
- benefit from advantages such as late departure, early arrival, breakfasts, access to hotel lounges…
It seems like nothing, but we have benefited from all these advantages on several occasions: it is convenient to get your hotel room from 10 am by arriving in a city at 07:00 in the morning, or on the contrary to keep it until 4 pm for a flight around 8 pm after a day on the run in a city!
And what about free breakfasts or access to lounges to get wine glasses and free meals in the evening!
In addition, by paying our Marriott hotels with the Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card,I enjoyed an accumulation of 5 points per dollar!
And I was even able to use a 35,000 point one-night certificate offered at the renewal of my Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card!
Best Western Rewards
In some cities, the Best Western Rewards program can also be very interesting!
It happened, for example, that Marriott hotels were too expensive in points / money for the need we had. Why spend more when Best Western Rewards offers a more economical solution!
Especially when we also have a very high elite status obtained through the equivalence of statutes!
Priority Pass / LoungeKey
By travelling in business class, we had access to all airline airport lounges, which were known to be of the highest standard than other lounges.
However, on several occasions, we preferred to go to a lounge linked to Priority Pass / LoungeKey!
This was the case, for example, in Copenhagen, where it was much closer to our boarding gate and much less busy than the SAS airline lounge!
A credit card with no foreign currency conversion fees
Having to deal with 6 different currencies during our trip, and having only 15 to 24 hours in each of the cities, it was not appropriate to exchange Canadian dollars for these currencies!
So I used a credit card with no conversion fees for most of our expenses, the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite*. That’s a saving of 2.5% on every foreign currency transaction!
A credit card to earn more points in restaurant bars
Thanks to its accelerated accumulation of 5x points per dollar for restaurants / bars / grocery stores – even abroad – this makes it a card of choice for these specific expenses!
In the space of a week, we visited 7 destinations, which will be the subject of many articles in the coming weeks.
Those who follow us on Instagram,could have a preview via our stories!
Here is a mini-summary of my experience in each of them:
We stayed 15 hours in Boston. We both knew this city and decided to start with a 15-kilometre jog mainly along the Freedom Trail.
In my opinion, it is an ideal city to visit for a weekend,especially with family because of its proximity to Quebec.
In addition, there are many Marriott Bonvoy hotels!
If you stop there, the airport is really very close and easy accessible. From the moment your stopover lasts more than 12 hours, no problem to see the main attractions that the city has to offer!
We spent exactly 23:55 in Copenhagen!
Jean-Francois knew the city well for having been there several times and this destination seems to be “trendy” among Quebecers given the number of tourists from the Belle Province met on the street!
In one day, it is feasible to discover the majority of points of interest. Prefer at least 48 hours if you visit it with children, especially with the famous Tivoli Park on your calendar!
We had a stopover of just under 15 hours in Istanbul and we didn’t know the city.
At first, we chose to be guided by the free tour offered by Turkish Airlines. Unfortunately, this one didn’t take us to visit the points of interest that we absolutely wanted to see!
So we decided to leave the circuit short of the road: during the afternoon and evening we were able to visit the main attractions of Istanbul!
With a direct flight from Istanbul instead of the original connecting flight to Bangkok, we arrived at 5 pm instead of 8 pm, which left us exactly 24 hours there!
The airport is far from the city center (about 1 hour of public transport), it is a city not recommended for short stops.
So allow a minimum of 24 hours to visit it!
Arriving in the evening from Kuala Lumpur, we went directly to the famous Gardens by the Bay to see them at night!
With 24 hours on site, we were able to travel the entire city center, including a 15-kilometre jog! However, it would have taken more time to see, for example, the Singapore Zoo, unique in the world (especially with the night “safari”).
I therefore recommend a minimum of 48 hours on site to enjoy the city.
Surprise stop of our world tour: Osaka.
Coming to replace Hong Kong – which we both already knew – Osaka conquered us.
For me, it was a first time in Japan and I can’t wait to go back with Audrey and the kids next spring.
Airports are far from the city center (count between 45 and 60 minutes of public transport). So I recommend a minimum of 48 hours on site. But who’s left in Japan for less time than that?!
San Francisco, which we both knew, was mainly there to make one more stopover on our return – and cut off the long journey from Japan.
Arriving at 11am and leaving at 11pm, we rented a car to go and re-discover the main points of interest and visit friends!
It’s a city I love and therefore recommends you to devote at least 48 hours, or to integrate it in a circuit from a week to 10 days (in order to discover the surroundings!).
So to answer the question of the article: yes, it is possible to travel around the world in a week! The proof, we did it thanks to the points and miles!
A lot of people will think we’re crazy. maybe!
Still, in a week, we have:
- discovered many destinations
- experienced some highlights
- tasted new dishes
- met new cultures
- experienced new airlines
This has especially given us the desire to go back and visit some of them more deeply with our respective families!