Testimonial: Seoul and Sydney on points

To the point Find out how Aurélie visited Seoul and Sydney on a trip worth $6,295 for just $170.

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

Here’s Aurélie’s solo trip to Seoul and Sydney, and the savings she’s made with points.


Aurélie's Testimonial - Who are you?

I’m 32 and have been a Milesopedia reader since 2020.

I love outdoor travel: being able to enjoy nature, hiking, visiting and discovering. I also like trips where I can enjoy the comforts of a more renowned hotel.

Aurélie's Testimonial - Your travel project with points : Seoul and Sydney

In the summer of 2023, I traveled alone for 12 days in Australia and Korea.

Initially, I wanted to discover Seoul and immerse myself in Korean culture. As this was my first long-distance trip on my own, I wanted to leave for a maximum of two weeks. I also wanted to combine another destination within the same trip.

I started to look at countries close to Korea and eventually expanded my possibilities a little. So I decided to spend six days in Seoul and six days in Sydney. I really liked the idea of discovering two such different cities in one trip.



To book my plane tickets, I used the Aeroplan program. I took advantage of the Aeroplan stopover to design my route. For an additional 5,000 points, the program allows you to add a stopover in a city for up to 45 days.

So for my return ticket from Seoul, I branched out to Australia and added a six-day stopover in Sydney.

Here are my booking details:

Flight Carrier and cabin Number and type of points used Money saved
Montreal-Vancouver-Seoul Air Canada economy class 44,200 Aeroplan $1,191
Seoul-Sydney (Aeroplan stopover) Asiana Airlines in economy class 73,300 Aeroplan $1,002
Sydney-Los Angeles-Montreal Air Canada and United in economy class $1,598

Transportation savings

For a round trip from Montreal to Asia, with a stopover in Australia, I used a total of 117,500 Aeroplan points. These tickets had a value of $3,916 at the time of booking. In the end, I only paid $155!



I was able to cover almost all my accommodation expenses with points. First, I applied my annual $100 HSBC travel credit for a night at the Moxy Seoul Insadong, which cost $116. Then I used my Marriott Bonvoy points for the next five nights. I was able to take advantage of the program’s fifth free night when you book four nights with points.

In Sydney, I stayed in an independent hotel and applied my CIBC Aventura points against an statement credit. Finally, I had accumulated a free night with the Hotels.com loyalty program.

Accomodation name Number of nights Number and type of points used Money saved
Moxy Seoul Insadong 1 $100 Travel Credit from HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® $100
5 74,500 Marriott Bonvoy points $663
Little National Hotel Sydney 6 105,000 CIBC Aventura points + 1 Hotels.com free night $1,467

Savings on accommodation

For 12 nights in hotels, I paid only $16 and saved $2,130!


Activities and other

I booked a tour to visit the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Korea for $80.49. I reimbursed these charges by applying 8,049 Scene+ points as a statement credit.

Testimonial - Credit cards used

For this travel project, I was the only one collecting points. In total, I used rewards from six different credit cards.

Credit card Accumulation period Points used Points redemption method
Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card 3 months 74,500 Marriott Bonvoy points Hotel reservations
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card 1 year 118,700 Aeroplan points Flight booking
CIBC Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card 1 year
CIBC AventuraMD Gold Visa* Card (x 2) 4 months 105,000 Aventura points
Statement credit
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card 4 months

The benefits

Thanks to my credit cards, I enjoyed additional travel benefits, including:

Tips to help you save more

The main rule I set myself is to optimize each and every one of my expenses. For example, when I know I have a major expense coming up, I anticipate and find out what cards are available and what bonuses I could unlock.

I also leave nothing to chance when it comes to my day-to-day expenses. And that’s what’s so satisfying: knowing that it’s daily, obligatory expenses that allow me to accumulate so much and travel.


In the end, I saved $6,125 on my nearly two-week trip to Seoul and Sydney! Here’s a breakdown of the savings in each category:

Grand total $6,125
Type of expense Savings
Transportation $3,916
Accommodation $2,129
Activities $80

The trick to reducing travel costs lies in diversifying reward programs. Overall, I used five different programs:


The final word

If I had to choose just one card to keep in my wallet, it would definitely be the American Express Cobalt® Card. The referral offer, the generosity of the points accumulated in certain categories, and the flexibility of points transfer possibilities make it an indispensable card in my wallet today.

Thank you Milesopedia!


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