San Francisco is an American city that we love for its mild temperatures all year round and its family activities. As you know, flexibility is essential when travelling with points and miles so let’s see how to visit this beautiful city of “SF” with points, especially if you choose to go there on Labor Day weekend.
For a second time, we will reveal the must-see places in San Francisco: thanks to our resident friends who shared their favourite addresses with us!
Getting to San Francisco
Reservation of the airfare to SF
To check flights to San Francisco, use the Google Flights search engine and Flight Connections. These tools will tell you what flights are available and the ticket cost for the period; prices to San Francisco vary greatly.
I used the example of the Thanksgiving long weekend.
On Aeroplan’s side, you can get return tickets for 30,400 Aeroplan points + CAD 83 in economy class. The same ticket costs CAD 1,079 at the public rate simultaneously. Points can be a great way to save money when cash tickets are costly.
Quick valuation assessment shows at $3.28 per point, utilization, in this case, is higher than the Milesopedia estimate of $0.02 per point.
WhileAir Canada flight pricing is dynamic when using points, it is not always correlated to the cash cost (which is also dynamic). In my experience, points are often a good option for travelling to San Francisco during busy periods, and it is not difficult to find better prices with Aeroplan.
Earn Aeroplan points
Aeroplan points are one of the most accessible currencies to earn in Canada, as many credit cards are offering these points or points that are transferable.
Some credit cards offer a welcome bonus of up to 110,000 Aeroplan points, such as the American Express® Aeroplan® Prestige Card*; you could fly to San Francisco with your family of 4 with this massive boost to your points balance!
This card will also give you several other attractive travel advantages, such as access to the Maple Leaf Lounges, free luggage for your tribe and priority boarding!
Otherwise, with everyday expenses, it is also effortless to pick up some. For example, the American Express Cobalt® Card will earn you 30,000 Membership Rewards points after $6,000 at the grocery store (or for gas and Amazon – think gift cards).
As demonstrated above, airfare to San Francisco is over $1,000; getting a $1,000 flight out of $6,000 daily is an excellent return on your purchase!
Hotel reservations with Marriott Bonvoy in SF
If you have been following us for some time, you should know our preference for the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program over other programs like Hilton Honors.
Simply because the points’ value is so high, it’s easy to get them with American Express.
Here is available hotels for these dates in San Francisco:
There are 17 Marriott Bonvoy hotels in downtown San Francisco such as:
- Hotel Adagio – Autograph Collection from 62,000 points per night;
- San Francisco Marriott Marquis hotel from 45,000 points per night;
The advantage of a reservation with Marriott Bonvoy points is that it can be changed/cancelled up to the day before the stay!
Here are reports on some of the hotels in San Francisco:
Get Marriott Bonvoy points
The best way to earn Marriott Bonvoy points for free stays at more than 7,000 hotels around the world is with the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card (and/or the Marriott Bonvoy® Business American Express®* Card).
In addition to the great welcome bonus on both cards, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on all purchases and 5 points per dollar at Marriott locations. And each year, you’ll earn a certificate for one free hotel stay (35,000 point value) and 15 Elite nights toward your Marriott Bonvoy status.
Our list of must-sees in San Francisco
Things to do in San Francisco
When visiting San Francisco, it would be a shame not to see its iconic places! Here are the must-haves:
- Stroll through the oldest part of the harbour, Fisherman’s Warf, and visit the Bay Aquarium if you’re with kids, meet the sea lions at Pier 39, or eat and shop.
- For science lovers and children, there are interactive exhibits and activities at the Exploratorium at Pier 15.
- Take a ferry from Pier 33 to Alcatraz Prison, on an island in San Francisco Bay. It is an amazing place, full of history and will allow you to understand the daily life of prisoners and learn more about the three prisoners who escaped in 1962.
- Head to the Golden Gate Bridge and cross it by foot, bike or car for a panoramic view of the bay on your way to Fort Point or Vista Point.
- Once in Sausalito, take the opportunity to visit Muir Woods National Park and discover its giant sequoias or the Bay Area Discovery Museum for a great family day out. It is possible to have a picnic.
- Take a cable car to Golden Gate Park, the city’s largest park, and visit the California Academy of Sciences, one of the largest natural history museums in the world.
- Watch the cars drive down Lombard Street, San Francisco’s steepest and most winding road (zigzag).
- Check out the colourful Victorian row houses on Steiner Street known as the “Painted Ladies”. Some of you will recognize these houses from the TV series “La fête à la maison”.
- Finally, take the pulse in the Union Square area, where you will find major shopping centers, museums and art exhibitions.
The North is famous for its Napa Valley wine regions for wine lovers. Some establishments offer tastings in sublime locations.
Restaurants to try in San Francisco
The best bakery in San Francisco, Arsicault Bakery, is run by French people and attracts a lot of people, so you’d better get up early to make sure you get in!
For a delicious brunch, we go to Tartine Manufacture, a trendy young professional place with an atmosphere.
Fancy some dumplings in SF? The best are at dumpling time. The best part is that they are affordable, so you order and treat yourself!
Another little treasure to try is Pallette Tea house if you love dim sum.
When it comes to burgers, Roam Artisan offers the best! Our friends recommend you take the small fried zucchini and onions with it.
Niku Steakhouse is a restaurant that can cost you a lot of money but the American meats are quality. The trick to reducing the bill and still enjoying it is to order from the butcher’s section to go.
Other activity ideas
As always, we recommend that you use the Ulysses Guides as a guide for planning your activities and travel itinerary:
For excursions in SF, Viator offers reputable tours in the city of San Francisco that might interest you:
How to get around San Francisco?
In addition to the classic means of transportation such as cabs, buses, subways, rental cars, or even bicycles, the most authentic way to get around San Francisco is by streetcar or cable car.
It is therefore easy to use public transport thanks to the clipper card. Several packages exist.
Thus, going to San Francisco and paying with your rewards points is possible. It’s up to you to evaluate and optimize their use now!