Mont Fuji

Testimonial: A 2-month mini round-the-world on points

To the point Discover how Sylvie and her husband saved $26,628 on a mini round-the-world trip.

This post is also available in: FR

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

Here’s Sylvie and her partner Louis’ plan for a two-month mini round-the-world trip. In a single trip, they visited Western Canada, Japan, Vietnam and Portugal!

Temple bouddhiste Byodo-in à Uji_Japon

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.

Sylvie_citrouille jaune_Yayoi Kushuma_ile Naoshima_Japon
Louis et Sylvie_Baie d’Halong

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!

Jeune femme ethnie Lolos_ Vietnam du nord
Marchande de rue_Hanoi_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)
temoignage-sylvie-mtm

In Lisbon, we chose an Airbnb in the Belém district to take a break before making our way back. We took the opportunity to visit several museums. Everything is within walking distance in this neighborhood, which we loved!

Transportation

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:

Flight Carrier and cabin Number of points used Money saved
Montreal-Edmonton Air Canada in Economy Comfort Aeroplan Buddy Pass $423
Vancouver-Osaka Air Canada business class 130,800 Aeroplan + 22 eUpgrades credits $6 434
Osaka-Hanoi EVA Air in economy class
Ho Chi Minh-Dubai-Lisbon Emirates business class 175,600 Aeroplan $16 069
Lisbon-Montreal TAP in business class

It is no longer possible to obtain a Buddy Pass with a credit card. Aeroplan co-branded cards now offer Aeroplan points as a welcome bonus. Find the best Aeroplan cards here.

To travel business class on the Vancouver-Osaka segment, we used a total of 22 eUpgrade credits for the two of us. These credits were earned through Aeroplan Elite 25K status.

Transportation savings

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.

Accommodation

For accommodations, we used a combination of Marriott Bonvoy, Best Western and AIR MILES points for our reservations:

Accomodation name Number of nights Number and type of points used Money saved
Sheraton Hanoi Hotel 3 56,000 Marriott Bonvoy $1,128
Renaissance Riverside Hotel Saigon 3 52,000 Marriott Bonvoy $1,152
Best Western Hotel Fino Osaka 1 20,000 Best Western $88
Golden Art Hotel Hanoi 3 4,500 AIR MILES $204

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:

Repas tempura_Uji_Japon

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!

Credit card Accumulation period Number of points used Points redemption method
CIBC Aeroplan® Visa* Business Card 2 years Buddy Pass + 100,000 Aeroplan Flight booking
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card (x2) 1.5 years 100,000 Aeroplan
American Express Cobalt® Card (x2) 1.5 years 112,500 Membership Rewards points Transfer to Aeroplan
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® 1 year 50,000 HSBC Rewards Statement credit
National Bank World Elite Mastercard 1 year 99,000 NBC Rewards Statement credit
Best Western Rewards® Mastercard® 1 year 20,000 Best Western Rewards Hotel booking

The HSBC World Elite® 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 credit cards, we will enjoy additional benefits such as :

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.

Summary

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:

Grand total $26,628
Type of expense Savings
Transportation $22,926
Accommodation $2,572
Meals, activities and more $1,130
temoignage-sylvie14
Maiko_Geiko_ (Geisha)_Kyoto

Our points portfolio is diversified and we used six different loyalty programs for this big trip:

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!

Pavillon d’argent _Kyoto
Fushimi Inari (Tori rouge) Kyoto

Read on for more testimonials from members of the Milesopedia community:

This post is also available in: FR

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