Testimony: Mariame & Florent in Asia with points & miles

This post is also available in: FR

Since 2015, we’ve written a lot of articles on milesopedia about points & miles: how to earn them and most importantly… how to use them the best way! We are always happy when readers take a few minutes to tell us about their experience!

A trip to Asia with points & miles

Mariame shared in the facebook group her testimony about her trip to Asia with her husband Florent and their 22 month old daughter thanks to points & miles. And she sent us more details and pictures!

Foreword: Mariame, Florent and their little girl

Here is her “postcard” that she sent us:

Thank you for all the work you do, Jean-Maximilien! milesopedia is a great resource!
My partner and I collect points & miles as a couple, especially for hotel stays.

As is often the case, our readers find us after having browsed many English-speaking sites – mostly American – and are very happy to discover the only serious French-speaking source of information on loyalty programs, adapted to Canadians!

Mariame & Florent’s goal: hotel nights

Mariame and Florent decided to focus on Marriott Bonvoy’s hotel points, enhancing their stay with their different statuses.

12 nights were paid for at Marriott hotels in Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia with 145,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. For 3 other nights in hotels, we used 3,170 AIR MILES miles. And for the last 2, we decided to pay cash directly in order to benefit from our Hilton Honors Gold status.

In all, this is 15 nights of hotels fully paid for with points & miles and 2 nights with status benefits! A great saving for a stay in Asia!

le meridien chiang rai thailand 1
Le Meridien – Chiang Rai – Thailand – Credit: Mariame

Also, Mariame and Florent used Avios miles to book one of their plane tickets:

We enjoyed our first experience in business class with Cathay Pacific on a beautiful A350-1000 for a flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok. So we could enjoy one of their lounges (The Wing) at their base in Hong Kong + a priority passage more than appreciated for the immigration (crowded) of Bangkok. For 2 adults and a baby on our lap, it cost us 31,500 avios + $204.41 in fees and taxes.

Excellent decision on the part of this couple: strategically use air miles from Hong Kong. This is one of the best uses of air miles!

cathay pacific a350 1000 2
Cathay Pacific – A350-1000 with air miles – Credit: Mariame

Credit cards: Mariame and Florent’s game plan

marriott bonvoy logo

Marriott Bonvoy

To earn their Marriott Bonvoy points, Mariame and Florent signed up for American Express Marriott Bonvoy cards:

For one person, it is possible to apply for both cards on the same day: consumer card and small business card.

Anyone can get a business card from American Express: any individual can have income and business expenses,American Express will not require any proof.

But it is of course possible to spread out the application over time, in order to carry the required purchases ($1500) during the first 3 months after application in order to unlock the welcome bonus of 50,000 points.

In a couple’s game plan, as for Mariame and Florent, each one will subscribe to the 2 cards (for individual and for company), which allows to accumulate each one:

  • 50,000 points for application the Marriott BonvoyMC American ExpressMD Card
  • 50,000 points for application to Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card
  • 6,000 points for minimum purchases on the 2 cards (2 x $1,500)
  • That’s 106,000 points per person!

A couple can therefore accumulate 212,000 Marriott Bonvoy points by subscribing to the 4 cards, for only $540 in contributions!

N.B.: you could also refer each other to earn more points (10,000 points / referral). However, this will require the referred person to spend $3,000 instead of $1,500 for the same welcome bonus.

air miles amex bmo


The easiest way to earn AIR MILES miles is to take advantage of one of the 14 credit card offers in Canada from American Express and BMO.

Some cards like the BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®* will earn 3,000 AIR MILES miles quickly with welcome bonuses!

Status via the Platinum Card

Finally, in order to benefit:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Elite Gold status
  • Hilton Honors Gold status
  • unlimited access to over 1,200 airport lounges
  • and numerous Membership Rewards points that can be transferred to airline miles

It helps to have a Platinum Card® from American Express on hand!

new american express platinum card

Or, for hotels, to “match” an existing status with another banner, as Mariame and Florent did with Hilton Honors.

To find out about all the unique benefits of the Platinum Card® it is this way!

Destinations visited by Mariame, Florent and their little girl

Let’s get to the interesting part: the trip to Asia of Mariame, Florent and their little girl!

Hong Kong: Courtyard by Marriott Hong Kong Sha Tin

The Courtyard Hong Kong Sha Tin found by Mariame and Florent is a real sweetspot!

courtyard sha tin marriott bonvoy

It is rated as a Marriott Bonvoy Category 2, which means it costs only 12,500 points per night!

For their 2 nights, Mariame and Florent used only 25,000 points, saving nearly CA$400 taxes included compared to the public price!

Chian Rai – Thailand: Le Méridien Chiang Rai Resort, Thailand

Then, our couple stayed for 5 nights at Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort, Thailand.

meridien chiang rai resort marriott bonvoy

It’s rated as a Marriott Bonvoy Category 3, which means it costs only 17,500 points per night! And since Mariame and Florent stayed there for 5 nights, they could enjoy the 5th night for free!

Here are their pictures:


So the 5 nights cost them 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (instead of 87,500 thanks to the fifth night free). This made them save about 850 CA$ taxes included compared to the public price!

Borneo – Malaysia: Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel

Then, the small family spent 5 nights at the Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel.

At the time, it was rated as a Marriott Bonvoy Category 2, which means it only cost them 12,500 points per night! And since Mariame and Florent stayed there for 5 nights, they were able to take advantage of the 5th night for free!

It is now rated as a Category 3, and costs 17,500 Marriott points per night.

kota kinabalu marriott hotel marriott bonvoy

Here are their pictures (the room had the sea view):

So the 5 nights only cost them 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (instead of 60,000 thanks to the free fifth night). This saved them about CA$1,000 including taxes compared to the public price!

Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Afterwards, they decided to use AIR MILES miles to book the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

double tree by hilton hotel kuala lumpur air miles

They used 3,170 miles and about CA$60 in taxes for 3 nights. This allowed them to save about CA$550 compared to the public rate!

The problem here is that they were not able to enjoy the benefits of Hilton Honors Gold status offered by the American Express Platinum Card®. Indeed, by booking through a travel agency (like AIR MILES), and not directly on the Hilton website, it is “normally” not possible to claim your status.

However, Mariame was a good negotiator and obtained an upgrade and breakfast!

If Mariame didn’t take pictures of the room, here are some pictures of the hotel’s restaurant which offers buffets for all meals with a large choice of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and Western dishes.

Kota Kinabalu – Malaysia: Hilton Kota Kinabalu

Finally, Mariame and Florent decided to spend 2 nights at the Hilton Kota Kinabalu.

Unlike the previous hotel, since they booked directly through the Hilton website, they were able to claim their Hilton Honors Gold status!

The status allowed them to obtain:

  • room upgrade
  • access to the hotel’s Executive Lounge
  • breakfast

Here are their pictures:

Hong Kong – Bangkok: Cathay Pacific with air miles

Finally, Mariame and Florent had a little treat: they used their Avios miles to travel in business class between Hong Kong and Bangkok on one of the best airlines in the world, Cathay Pacific.

And what’s more… on a brand new aircraft: the A350-1000!

It cost them 31,500 Avios and $204.41 in fees and taxes for 2 adults and a baby on their lap!

Bottom Line

Mariame and Florent were thus able to offer themselves a superb trip to Southeast Asia thanks to points & miles!

Our next goal is to achieve Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status. We are at 31 nights of accumulated… so there are “only 19” left!

<a class=”thirstylink” title=“the Marriott BonvoyTM American ExpressMD Card” href=”https://milesopedia.com/go/amex-marriott”>The Marriott BonvoyTM American ExpressMD Card offers 15 elite nights each year that allow for faster advancement to higher statuses (Gold Elite = 25 nights / Platinum Elite = 50 nights).

Otherwise, the Platinum Card® from American Express directly offers Marriott Bonvoy Elite Gold status (but does not prevent you from having to accumulate 50 nights to go up to Platinum 🙁 )

If you too have a travel project and would like help, go to the facebook group “Travel for free (or almost…!) with your points & miles – milesopedia”!

This post is also available in: FR

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Mother of two young children, pharmacist, travel hacker's wife and frequent traveller, Audrey shares her advices and destinations recommendations on milesopedia.

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