Considerations before this trip
Today I am writing this editorial to share with you different realities of my daily life as a business owner, as a member of an “international family” and as a frequent traveller.
Both governments and businesses have adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic. And various measures have been put in place to maintain public health, economic health and social peace. Life must go on.
milesopedia is a company that I founded in 2015, and it’s designed to educate Canadians about loyalty programs, credit cards, and how to travel better and save by using points.
- Credit cards: American Express, BMO, NBC, CIBC, HSBC, MBNA, Scotia, and so on.
- Hotels: Booking, Best Western, Hilton, Marriott, and so on.
- Airlines: Air France, Air Transat, and so on.
- Other partners: Plastiq, Rakuten, Ulysse, etc.
The content published daily and shared on our various networks is therefore a major source of SEO content. Even during a pandemic, it is important to continue to support the company’s revenue and to do this, new content must be constantly added to the website.
This is a first reason to continue to travel in full compliance with the established rules, in order to keep milesopedia in business.
I am also a French who immigrated to Canada almost 10 years ago, and today I am proud to be a citizen of both countries. So I still have deep ties in France, particularly with my circle of close friends, but of course with my parents.
Life goes onand some important situations require me to be physically close to my loved ones, whether for a key event in life or to accompany a family member during a major medical operation.
This is a second reason to continue to travel in accordance with the agreed rules, in order to support and support those who are most dear to us and who live outside Canada.
Travel is my life.
To the point where I even moved to another country. Openness to the world remains vital to keep the horizons open, the borders open, and to continue to be charmed by what is outside our neighbourhood, our city, our country.
An entire industry is playing for its survival right now and is deploying considerable resources to keep us moving.
Our members are asking questions on a very regular basis, and the best way to answer them is by travelling to check it out for ourselves. Both to support the titanic efforts of the industry and to answer questions from the community.
Not all readers will agree witj my editorial, and that’s okay.
Know that I travel in full compliance with all government directives, both to keep my business alive and to be with those who are dear to me.
And if my reporting and various articles help both industry and the community to move forward in a safe environment, then so much the better! Now that “the table is set,” here’s my itinerary for the next few weeks.
The mask and other measures
It goes without saying that during this trip to Vancouver, Paris and Nice, I will scrupulously respect all hygiene measures:
- Wearing the mask in airports, lounges, airplanes, hotels, public transport
- Very frequent hand washing
- Disinfectant bottle attached to the belt
- No handshaking, no peck on the cheek
- Respect for social distancing
Milesopedia and this trip
Of course, as a traveler, points user and blogger, I will share with you my experience of “traveling in a new era”. Like my friend Ricky from Prince Of Travel, I feel I have to contribute in order to show what the traveller experience is now like during COVID-19.
Therefore, I will prepare a lot of photo reports:
- experience in Canadian airports
- open lounges and actions taken by airlines
- Air Canada’s in-flight experience and its CleanCare+ service
- Lufthansa flight experience and its WeCare service
- experience in international airports
- flight experience on board Easyjet
- Marriott Bonvoy hotels visited
- life in France today, in Paris and Nice
- COVID-19 tests
- organizing a quarantine upon return
I’m essentially going to travel business class, thanks to my points.
In addition to the comfort I gained, this will help me reassure my loved ones about the social distancing on board airplanes (even though occupancy rates are currently extremely low in economy class).
First of all, I will be taking my first flight with Air Canada since the end of 2019. This will be an opportunity to test the new CleanCare+ process.
During the recent Aeroplan promotion offering 50% discount on award tickets, I booked a trip between Montreal and Vancouver to try out Air Canada’s new business class on board the Airbus A330. I couldn’t wait to see it for myself after the glowing comments from Jonathan, one of our authors.
A bargain for only 12,500 Aeroplan miles one-way instead of 25,000.
I was really annoyed at the idea of booking two one-way flights (Montreal – Vancouver / Vancouver – Montreal) instead of one return flight (Montreal – Vancouver – Montreal). Indeed, I wouldn’t take the return flight to Montreal!
So I was able to cancel it free of charge thanks to the extension of the free cancellation period until October 16, 2020.
I chose to book a business class flight to Europe from Vancouver (it was still the same cost as from Montreal until the new program was introduced on November 8, 2020).
By choosing to travel on Swiss, I avoided paying a carrier surcharge: it cost me 55,000 Aeroplan miles and $75.
This itinerary would have allowed me to test Swiss’s new business cabin in its Airbus A340-300s (whereas the A330-300s are usually positioned in Montreal).
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, itineraries are never static for long! 24 hours after my reservation, Aeroplan sent me new tickets for a flight with Lufthansa: Vancouver – Frankfurt – Paris.
This flight was available for booking on Aeroplan: but with a surcharge of more than $600, I naturally avoided it!
In this case, since the change was made by Aeroplan, I don’t have to pay any surcharge!
This change allows me to test the Lufthansa Airbus A330-300 on a flight lasting more than 10 hours (unlike the red-eye flights between Montreal and Europe).
I think the experience was similar to the one I had on the Lufthansa A350. Surgical masks were provided, too.
And as of November 8, 2020, many Aeroplan members will be able to travel on companies like Lufthansa because carrier surcharges will disappear!
At this moment, I haven’t bought a return ticket yet. I’ll update the article once it’s booked! I think I will eventually fly on Air France to try their Air France Protect process.
For hotels, I focused my stays in Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
The Marriott Bonvoy™ American Express® Card is one of the preferred card for milesopedia members.
I chose to stay at the Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel which offered both an attractive rate and several services, even during COVID-19 (I was able to make sure of that thanks to this new feature offered by Marriott Bonvoy).
For my short stay in Paris, I chose to stay in two category 5 hotels. First of all, the AC Hotel Paris Porte Maillot.
Then at Le Méridien Étoile.
Are you looking for a Marriott Bonvoy hotel? Check out my complete map of the 7,000 Marriott Bonvoy hotels, divided into 8 categories!
Their advantage, besides being category 5 hotels, which is rare for Paris, is that they are within walking distance of each other and in the immediate vicinity of the metro / RER.
The return: protecting those around me
Of course, after a trip like this one, the question of returning to Canada arises.
Until September 30, 2020 (or later), the Government of Canada is imposing a mandatory 14-day quarantine on all international travellers. In the milesopedia community, the announcement of the renewal of this quarantine has generated a big, but respectful debate. The arguments are valid for both opponents and defenders of this measure.
Whatever happens, the law is the law. If you want to travel at the moment, you have to take this into account. And it is only natural that I will comply with this requirement by respecting this 14-day quarantine.
And it is not only to respect the law:it is mostly to protect my family and those around me. So I made arrangements to isolate myself for 14 days upon my return in an apartment in Montreal.
You can watch this video clip about Sonder and the efforts being made in this time of pandemic:
This implies not getting in contact with anyone, even Audrey and our children: 2 weeks of travel + 2 weeks of quarantine = 1 month without seeing each other. I’m lucky enough to be able to work from anywhere on milesopedia!
I did not write this article to encourage you to travel internationally.
But I wanted to be 100% transparent with you, readers and members of the community, about my thought process and why I decided to do it. But I also want to show my audience the actions taken by an industry deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, that of tourism.
Airlines, hotels, apartment rental services, airports: all these sectors of activity have taken considerable steps in recent months to try to reassure their customers. When travel can truly resume – that is, when the Government of Canada relaxes its rules – these companies will be ready to welcome travellers.
And as you can see: there is more than just leisure travel. There is also business travel, but, and above all, travel to get closer to one’s family in good times, but also in more difficult times.
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