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Sylvie's Testimonial - Who are you?
I’m 65 and I’ve been reading Milesopedia for four years now.
When traveling with my partner, we like Airbnb accommodation for the comfort and proximity to more local neighborhoods. We like to walk and use public transport. Since we’re quite active during the day, in the evening we relax over a home-cooked supper.
The Marriot Bonvoy hotel option is new to us. Honestly, it allowed us to take short breaks in these very comfortable hotels during our stay in Vietnam. The other days were spent in hotels with basic comforts, so these short breaks were worthwhile.
For the past three years, we’ve been traveling with just one carry-on and a small 30-liter backpack.
Sylvie's Testimonial - Your travel project with points : 2 months around the world
Our original idea was to go skiing in Japan. Eventually, given the winter there and all the sightseeing we wanted to do, the trip turned into a mini round the world in the fall. Then we decided that if we were going to go to Japan, we might as well take a trip to Vietnam!
In planning our itinerary, we had the option of retracing our steps with a flight from Vietnam across the Pacific to Montreal. However, we decided to end this trip by circling the globe, heading back west and stopping off in Portugal. Our mini round-the-world was taking shape!
The very attractive option of Aeroplan stopovers for just 5,000 extra points made this itinerary much easier.
Our final itinerary was :
- Western Canada – Visiting our friends that live in Vancouver, and we explored Jasper, the Icefields, Banff, Kelowna and Vancouver with them.
- Japan (29 days) – Osaka, Kyoto, Fuji, Izu Peninsula, Tokyo, Okinawa, return to the mainland via the Shimanami Kaido bike tour (Onomichi – Oomishima – Imabari) and Naoshima.
- Vietnam (23 days) – Hanoi, Ha Giang, Dong Van, Cao Bang, Ha Long Bay, Hué, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City.
- Lisbon (5 days)
All our flights have been booked with Aeroplan points on Air Canada and partners. We took full advantage of the 5,000 points Aeroplan stopovers, both on the outbound and inbound legs. In this way, we were able to make a 29-day “stopover” in Japan on our way to Vietnam. On the way back, we made this stopover in Lisbon for five days.
Here is a summary of our reservations for two people:
|Carrier and cabin
|Number of points used
|Air Canada in Economy Comfort
|Aeroplan Buddy Pass
|Air Canada business class
|130,800 Aeroplan + 22 eUpgrades credits
|EVA Air in economy class
|Ho Chi Minh-Dubai-Lisbon
|Emirates business class
|TAP in business class
With a total of 306,400 Aeroplan points, a Buddy Pass and 22 eUpgrade credits, we saved a very impressive $22,926 on flights for our mini round-the-world! Points can be used to pay for business-class flights, which are very expensive when paying cash.
|Number of nights
|Number and type of points used
|Sheraton Hanoi Hotel
|56,000 Marriott Bonvoy
|Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon
|52,000 Marriott Bonvoy
|Best Western Hotel Fino Osaka
|20,000 Best Western
|Golden Art Hotel Hanoi
|4,500 AIR MILES
Savings on accommodation
By paying with points for 10 nights at the hotel, we saved a total of $2,572.
Activities and other
The Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon offered half-board for US$15 per day per person to Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite members. Breakfasts, dinners and alcoholic beverages were included in the package. Our status allowed us to save $180 on meals.
Then we used flexible reward points to reimburse various travel expenses:
Savings on activities and other expenses
In the end, we saved $1,130 on meals and miscellaneous expenses with our points.
Sylvie's Testimonial - Credit cards used
I accumulated the points with my partner over a period of about two years. We alternate card applications according to our expenses and the promotions on offer. As is often written on Milesopedia, this is a marathon, not a sprint!
|Number of points used
|Points redemption method
|CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Business Card
|Buddy Pass + 100,000 Aeroplan
|TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card (x2)
|American Express Cobalt® Card (x2)
|112,500 Membership Rewards points
|Transfer to Aeroplan
|HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
|50,000 HSBC Rewards
|National Bank World Elite Mastercard
|99,000 NBC Rewards
|Best Western Rewards® Mastercard®
|20,000 Best Western Rewards
With our credit cards, we will enjoy additional benefits such as :
- Free checked baggage with the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card on flights operated by Air Canada.
- A $100 annual travel credit of $100 and no conversion fees on foreign currency transactions with the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®.
- A $150 annual travel credit of $150 with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard®, which we used to pre-select seats for our economy flights and access to the National Bank lounge at Montreal airport.
Tips for collecting more points
I use a few strategies that allow me to accumulate more points on a daily basis:
- I regularly buy gift cards at my local IGA and Super C, which accept AMEX cards. I get 5x the points with the American Express Cobalt® Card. I plan my spending for SAQ, Simons, Canadian Tire, Airbnb, etc. Since I regularly do my grocery shopping at these locations, I have no problem adding cards from time to time ;
- When I have electronic purchases to make (e-reader, external phone battery), I wait for 5x or 10x the points offers on the Aeroplan eStore to maximize my points;
- I keep up to date with the welcome offers from the various credit cards by regularly reading Milesopedia, and I check whether these offers match my usual spending habits.
All told, we’ve saved a whopping $26,628! Here is a breakdown of the amounts saved by category during our two-month mini round-the-world:
|Type of expense
|Meals, activities and more
The final word
The best card in my wallet is undoubtedly the American Express Cobalt® Card. However, as it is not accepted everywhere, I supplement with the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card and the National Bank World Elite Mastercard®.
In addition, I think it’s imperative for frequent travelers to have a card with no foreign currency conversion fees (like the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card) to save 2.5% on all transactions.
I’m now planning my next trips. Thanks Milesopedia!
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