Testimonial: A luxurious trip to Kenya and Oman with points

To the point Find out how Mano saved $83,942 on a luxury trip to Kenya and Oman thanks to reward points.

Through a series of testimonials from our readers, Milesopedia presents what you can achieve with credit cards and loyalty programs.

This is Mano and his partner’s luxury travel plan for Kenya and Oman.

Mano's testimonial - Who are you?

I’m 65 and my partner is 72. I’ve been a Milesopedia reader for about four years now.

In Europe, we always travel on our own, never in organized groups. We prefer freedom of movement. Usually, we rent Airbnb or stay in hotels. We sometimes rent a car, but we prefer the train.

In Africa, we prefer all-inclusive, customized packages. For this trip to Kenya, we’re opting for luxury and ease: we’ll be staying in the same accommodation for seven nights. In Oman, we’ll be moving around a bit. It’s important for us to get a feel for the local culture and people.

Mano's testimonial - Your travel project with points : Kenya and Oman

Our trip will be less than 21 days. My husband and I are leaving as a couple to celebrate our retirement. We wanted to create a unique experience to mark this special occasion.

We had two main destinations in mind. First, we wanted to discover Marriott Bonvoy ‘s JW Masai Mara Lodge in Kenya. We’d heard about its tranquil safaris, luxurious accommodation and safe surroundings. What’s more, we were reassured by the fact that we would be taken care of as soon as we arrived in Kenya.


Next, we planned to travel to Muscat, Oman, for around 10 days. We wanted to explore the city, but also experience the unique desert. Our full itinerary is still in preparation.

Finally, we had a very specific goal in mind: to travel in Qatar Airways’ Qsuites.


We booked our flights for two with Qatar Airways and Avios. Our itinerary is as follows:

Flight Carrier and cabin Number of points used Money saved
Montreal-Doha-Nairobi Qatar Airways in Qsuite 410,000 Avios $33,360
Doha-Muscat-Doha Qatar Airways in First Class
Doha-Montreal Qatar Airways in Qsuite


For accommodation, we will only use Marriott Bonvoy points. Here is a summary of our planned bookings:

Accomodation name Number of nights Number and type of points used Money saved
Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport 1 Annual one-night free certificate $337
JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge 7 812,000 Marriott Bonvoy $46,990
Al Bustan Palace – A Ritz-Carlton Hotel 6 212,000 Marriott Bonvoy + an annual certificate from an US card $3,255

Savings on accommodation

So far, we’ve saved a whopping $50,582 on lodging using our Marriott Bonvoy points. We have chosen hotels that are both luxurious and accessible with points. In Oman, we plan to stay three nights in the desert, but we haven’t made our reservations yet.

Mano's testimonial - Credit cards used

We needed a lot of points for this luxury trip. My partner and I form a team to collect points. Here are the credit cards that helped us finance this trip:

Credit card Accumulation period Number of points used Points redemption method
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® 2 years 310,000 HSBC Rewards Transfer to Avios
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card 1 year 100,000 RBC Avion Rewards Transfer to Avios
American Express Cobalt® Card 8 months 80,000 Membership Rewards points Transfer to Marriott Bonvoy
Marriott BonvoyMD American ExpressMD* Card and Marriott BonvoyMD Business American ExpressMD* Card (6 cards in all, 3 Canadian and 3 American). 3 years 700,000 Marriott Bonvoy Hotel reservations

The HSBC World EliteMD Mastercard® is now discontinued. For another no-FX-fee travel card with flexible points, take a look at the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card.

The benefits

With our Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, we earn an annual certificate for a free night’s stay anywhere in the world, worth up to 35,000 points.

Tips for collecting more points

We focus on what’s expensive: long-haul business-class airfare and hotel nights. We earn Marriott Bonvoy points, not those of other hotel chains, to enjoy the benefits of Platinum status and free nights.

We plan our trips in advance, which gives us time to select the right cards and points based on the airlines that will get us to our destination. This also gives us time to wait for transfer bonuses. We love bonuses!

Shopping portals such as Aeroplan’s eStore, Rakuten and those of the airlines are interesting. We particularly like Marriott Bonvoy’s Eat Around Town in the United States. This platform allows us to earn bonus Marriott Bonvoy points on our restaurant meals.

For this trip, we will have to pay park entrance fees and transport from Nairobi airport to our accommodation and back. These and any other expenses we incur during the trip will be charged to our room.

We’ll earn 21 Marriott Bonvoy points for every US dollar spent with our Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card and Platinum status.

We estimate we’ll easily spend $5,000, which will add about 105,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to our account for our next trip to Australia and Bali in the summer of 2025.


Combining all our bookings, we achieved absolutely incredible savings of $83,942! Here are the details of the amounts per category for our luxury safari in Kenya and our visit to Oman for two people:

Grand total $83,942
Type of expense Savings
Transportation $33,360
Accommodation $50,582

The final word

If I could only keep one card, it would definitely be the American Express CobaltMD Card for its excellent accumulation rate. What’s more, I appreciate its flexibility thanks to numerous transfer partners and the speed with which points can be transferred.

It really is our joker card: if we run out of points for a booking, we can quickly dip into our Amex account to make up the shortfall. What’s more, it offers double points for travel and transportation, including cruises, all-inclusive packages and more.

Thanks Milesopedia!

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