The goal: try Emirates business class with Aeroplan points
The purpose of this trip was mainly to try out Emirates’ business class, now that it is possible to use Aeroplan points (and even book First Class).
So when I left Montreal for Nice just before the holidays, it was actually my first flight segment. The second one was in direction of Singapore, a little more than 30 days later.
To book a one-way flight from Montreal to Nice via Munich (a distance of 4,224 miles) would cost me 70,000 Aeroplan points ( North America-Atlantic Flight Reward Cahrt):
It made more sense for me to make the most of the Aeroplan Flight Reward Chart by taking advantage of the Aeroplan North America – Pacific Flight Reward Chart (maximizing the 11,000-mile band) AND adding an Aeroplan stopover in Europe for up to 45 days for only 5,000 Aeroplan points:
Thus, my trip Montreal – Munich – Nice – Dubai – Singapore has a total distance of 10,833 miles as indicated by GC Map:
The itinerary booked in this way, including the Aeroplan Stopover, allowed me to make “2 trips in 1” while costing me only 97,500 Aeroplan points:
- 87,500 points for flights between North America and Pacific (up to 11,000 miles)
- 5,000 points for the Aeroplan Stopover
This means that my flight from Nice to Singapore via Dubai with Emirates only cost me 27,500 Aeroplan points, including the stopover in Nice!
What’s more, it fulfilled my goal of reviewing on two different Emirates business class experiences:
- Nice – Dubai: Boeing B777-300ER
- Dubai – Singapore: Airbus A380-800
Other flights: Using Aeroplan points and a pricing error
Then, to leave Asia, I looked for points fares with Aeroplan, Alaska Mileage Plan, British Airways Executive Club and Asia Miles.
However, my attention was drawn to an unbeatable fare from Jakarta (Indonesia) to New York (USA): $760 US in business class with All Nippon Airways (ANA). This would allow me to test the ANA experience in its relatively new business class, The Room. The requirement is that I had to make the booking with United Airlines.
It was perfect timing: for the past 3 years, I had been using my $250 annual credit from my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card to fund my United Travel Bank. So I was able to use $750 US from this travel bank to book this flight!
The same flight would have cost 87,500 Aeroplan points had it been available on my travel dates.
For the rest, knowing that Thailand is becoming more and more accessible for Canadians (thanks to the new Air Canada flight from Vancouver), Bangkok was a destination of choice in my eyes to “create content”.
So I used Aeroplan points for my flights with Thai Airways between Singapore and Bangkok, then Bangkok and Jakarta. Again, mixing business and economy to relate the different experiences.
Finally, from New York JFK, I chose to book a cash flight with Delta Airlines to Montreal, which will be credited to Flying Blue to eventually allow me to reach Platinum status more easily (allowing me to use Flying Blue Miles to book Air France La Première).
It would have cost me more (and wasted time) to take a cab to La Guardia or Newark to fly with Air Canada or United with Aeroplan points.
Finally, after a week of business meetings in Montreal, I will fly back to Nice on Swiss in business class for 60,000 Aeroplan points.
Here is a summary of the flights made during this trip around the world:
|Montreal – Munich – Nice||Lufthansa – A350 – Business||92,500 Aeroplan points||Review|
|Nice – Dubai||Emirates – B777 – Business||Review|
|Dubai – Singapore||Emirates – A380 – Business||Review|
|Singapore – Bangkok||Thai Airways – B789 – Business||20,000 Aeroplan points||Coming soon|
|Bangkok – Jakarta||Thai Airways – A350 – Eco||12,500 Aeroplan points||Coming soon|
|Jakarta – Tokyo NRT||All Nippon Airways – B789 – Business||760 US$||Coming soon|
|Tokyo HND – New York JFK||All Nippon Airways – B777 – Business||Coming soon|
|New York – Montreal||Delta Airlines – Business||150 US$||Coming soon|
|Montreal – Zurich – Nice||Swiss – Business||60,000 Aeroplan points||Review|
How to earn Aeroplan Points
One of the best ways to earn Aeroplan points is through Aeroplan credit cards. There are more than a dozen co-branded with the Aeroplan program, issued by American Express, CIBC or TD. Here are some of the offers currently available:
Also, be aware that you can earn Aeroplan points with points transfer partners. This is the case with American Express Membership Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy.
For example, with the American Express Cobalt® Card, you can earn the equivalent of 5 Aeroplan points for purchases at grocery stores, restaurants and bars (and many others retailers through the gift card technique).
Here are the best offers from credit cards that allow you to earn Aeroplan points via a points transfer:
Other flight options in Asia
As mentioned in the introduction, the objective of this trip is to “create content”. My interest was to experiment with the airlines accessible with Aeroplan points. However, I would like to remind you that for a person wishing to travel in economy class, it may be more interesting to use low-cost airlines, very common in Asia, such as Air Asia.
In this case, you can also use travel points like :
- American Express Membership Rewards
- BMO Rewards
- NBC Rewards
- CIBC Aventura
- Desjardins Bonidollars
- HSBC Rewards
- MBNA Rewards
- TD Rewards
- RBC Avion Rewards
- Scotia Scene+
In most cases, all you have to do is book your flight on your credit card and then apply the points to your airline ticket purchase. Here are the best credit card offers from these different programs:
Hotels: all ranges of Marriott Bonvoy properties
More and more of you are reading Milesopedia. Whether in Canada, the United States, France or elsewhere in the world! Our hotel reviews – including Marriott Bonvoy – are particularly popular. Yes, we’ll always tell you that it’s best to use points at high-end properties to get the best possible value. However, your needs are different when you travel with your family or are only looking for a classic room.
Thus, via our hotel reviews, we try to answer as well as possible to each need! This trip is a perfect illustration of this with a mix of inexpensive hotels, upscale properties or accommodations suitable for long stays or families:
|Element Dubai Airport||United Arab Emirates||$75||Coming soon|
|The Westin Singapore||Singapore||30,000 points||Review|
|Aloft Bangkok Sukkhumvit 11||Thailand||$70||Coming soon|
|Le Méridien Bangkok||Thailand||20,000 points||Coming soon|
|W Bangkok||Thailand||24,000 points||Coming soon|
|Sathorn Vista, Bangkok – Marriott Executive Apartments||Thailand||$135||Coming soon|
|The St Regis Jakarta||Indonesia||$187||Coming soon|
|Aloft Jakarta Wahid Hasyim||Indonesia||$56||Coming soon|
|Sanco Inn Grande Tokyo Hamamatsucho||Japan||$85||Coming soon|
How to get Marriott Bonvoy points
In Canada, there are two Marriott Bonvoy credit cards issued by American Express. With these credit cards, you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points as a welcome bonus and then on every purchase you make.
Also, each year, after renewing the Marriott Bonvoy credit card, you get a free night award certificate worth 35,000 points. You can combine this certificate with points (up to 15,000 points) to earn yourself a free night at many Marriott Bonvoy properties worldwide.
Also, be aware that you can earn Marriott Bonvoy points with points transfer partners. This is the case with American Express Membership Rewards.
For example, with the American Express Cobalt® Card, you can earn the equivalent of 6 Marriott Bonvoy points for purchases at grocery stores, restaurants and bars (and many other retailers through the gift card technique).
Here are the best credit card offers for earning Marriott Bonvoy points via points transfer:
No foreign currency conversion fees
When I travel abroad like this, and even more so in different countries with different currencies over a very short period of time, I make no – or very few – cash purchases. I prefer to use a credit card with no foreign currency conversion fees.
In Canada, the options available at major institutions are few and far between:
The credit card that goes everywhere with me is the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®. Not only does it not charge conversion fees for foreign currency transactions, but it also offers a $100 annual travel credit, excellent insurance and an excellent earning rate (especially for travel purchases).
If you don’t have the income required for these credit cards, there is another option: the KOHO Premium Mastercard. This prepaid card does not charge any conversion fees for foreign currency transactions.
5 points per dollar for restaurants
In some situations, it may be worthwhile to pay a 2.5% conversion fee. This is the case with the American Express Cobalt® Card. With this credit card, you can earn 5 points per dollar for purchases made at grocery stores, restaurants and bars.
Although American Express states that purchases must be made in Canada, in reality, the 5 points per dollar earning rate also apply to foreign purchases.
So, knowing that my valuation of Membership Rewards points is around 2 cents per point, 5 points per dollar equals, in my eyes, a return of 10 cents, or 10%. In this case, I agree to be charged a conversion fee of 2.5%!
My first big trip of 2023: a “world tour” in 2 weeks! I hope that the content produced will help you plan your trip to this region or choose a particular property or airline!