Testimonial: A family trip to Asia with points

To the point Find out how Marie-Josée saved $9,455 on her trip for three to Asia with credit card rewards and loyalty programs.

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

Here’s Marie-Josée and her family’s trip to Japan, South Korea and Thailand, and the savings she’s made with her reward points.


Marie-Josée's Testimonial - Who are you?

I’m 43 and I’ve been reading Milesopedia for about a year.

I love all kinds of travel! Every year, I stay in an all-inclusive and take at least two other trips (e.g. roadtrip to Iceland, ski trip in Western Canada, backpacking trip to Asia, semi-organized trip to New York).

However, I take far fewer luxury trips, as I prefer to do more.


Marie-Josée's Testimonial - Your travel project with the points : Asia

Our big trip to Asia will be a family affair with my partner and my 16-year-old son. In autumn 2023, we’ll be away for a total of 10 weeks, visiting Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

Here is our planned itinerary:

  • Japan:Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka
  • South Korea : Haeinsa, Jeonju, Gyeongju, Andong, Seoul
  • Thailand: Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Koh Lanta, Phuket, Koh Samui

To put together this itinerary and to guide me through my accumulation of points, I used Milesopedia’s mentoring service.


Most of my strategy with points was aimed at saving on transportation. All flights were paid for with points from 4 different loyalty programs (Aeroplan, CIBC Aventura, HSBC Rewards and Scene+).

I booked 8 different flights for 3 people. The following table summarizes my reservations:

Flight Number and type of points used Money saved
Montreal – Tokyo with Air Canada in Economy class 128,000 Aeroplan $5,495
Fukuoka – Busan 23,265 CIBC Aventura 290$
Seoul – Bangkok 115,000 HSBC Rewards 575$
Bangkok – Chiang Rai 13,176 CIBC Aventura 165$
Chiang Mai – Krabi 100$ HSBC Annual Credit $100
Phuket – Koh Samui 31 340 Scene+ 175$
Koh Samui – Bangkok 25,000 HSBC Rewards 125$
Bangkok – Montreal with Air Canada in Economy class 146,400 Aeroplan $2,530

Transportation savings

All in all,

  • 274,400 Aeroplan points
  • 140,000 HSBC Rewards points
  • 36,441 CIBC Aventura points
  • 31,340 Scene+ points

helped me save $9,455 on transportation for my family trip to Asia.

Accommodation, activities and more

Accommodation, meals and activities will be paid for in cash.

Testimonial - Credit cards used

For this project, I was the only one to sign up for credit cards. My partner doesn’t have the same discipline as me… but he’s trying his best!

Credit card Accumulation period Number of points used Points redemption method
American Express Cobalt® Card 1 year 46 200 Membership Rewards points Transfer to Aeroplan
American Express® Gold Rewards Card 3 months 70,000 Membership Rewards points
American Express®* Aeroplan® Reserve Card 6 months 150,000 Aeroplan points Flight booking
TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card 1 year 50,000 Aeroplan points
HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® 6 months 140,000 HSBC Rewards points Statement credit
CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card 4 months 36,441 CIBC Aventura points Statement credit
Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card 3 months 31,340 Scene+ points Book on Scene+ by Expedia

The benefits

With our credit cards, we have several additional travel benefits such as:

We can check baggage free of charge with Air Canada thanks to our TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card. However, as we have chosen to travel with carry-on only, we won’t be using this option.

In addition, we are entitled to a 25% discount on meals purchased on board and free access to the new Wi-Fi service.

Tips to help you save more

My biggest piece of advice is planning.

I pay all my expenses with my credit cards and always pay the full balance each month. I plan signing up for new cards according to my actual future expenses.

To maximize point accumulation, I always buy gift cards at the grocery store with my American Express Cobalt® Card for stores such as Amazon, SAQ, Decathlon, SAIL, Canadian Tire, etc.

I always try to pay with the most cost-effective credit card for the type of expense I’m making. I choose the credit card with the best accumulation rate for an expense category like restaurants and groceries.

To save more on my plane tickets, I shop more than a year in advance so that I know the market prices and when to buy. Even once my accommodations and car rentals are booked, I keep an eye on the prices and don’t hesitate to cancel and book again if the new price is lower.

Finally, my last piece of advice is to travel light, even if you’re going to an all-inclusive resort!


All in all, my savings for my trip to Japan, South Korea and Thailand for 3 people came to $9,455. In order to reach the amount of spending required to unlock the welcome bonuses, I estimate that I have put nearly $31,500 on my credit cards. The points accumulation phase lasted around 2 years. With all my efforts, I got a 30% return on my expenses!

To save so much money, the key is to diversify the type of reward points. It would have been more difficult to accumulate points and book our 8 flights in the same loyalty program. In total, I used 5 different programs:

The final word

I have an array of cards in my wallet for the many benefits they bring me… but if I had to keep just one, it would be the American Express Cobalt® Card.

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

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!

Suggested Reading