Through a series of testimonials from our readers, Milesopedia presents what you can achieve with credit cards and loyalty programs.
Here’s Viviane and her family’s plan for a trip to Curaçao, and the savings she’s made with her reward points.
Viviane's testimonial - Who are you?
I’m 35 and have been a loyal Milesopedia reader since 2018.
With my partner and my child, I like to travel in many different ways. We are open to opportunities with points and follow our family’s wishes. We’re interested in the whole world!
Viviane - Your travel project with points : Curaçao
We traveled as a family with my partner, our toddler and a baby on the way. I was pregnant on that trip.
During the 2021-2022 holiday season, we visited the island of Curaçao for 15 days. We did a combination of hiking, gastronomy and a very intense tour to explore more than twenty of Curaçao‘s thirty beaches.
Our three round-trip plane tickets were paid for entirely with Aeroplan points. We paid 77,000 points and $387 in taxes for these Montreal-Curaçao flights on Air Canada.
The market value of the tickets when I bought them was about $1,000 each. So we saved over $2,600 on our flights by booking with Aeroplan points.
By using three different types of points, we were able to fully cover the cost of accommodation. We used points:
Here’s a summary of our reservations and savings:
|Accomodation name||Number of nights||Number and type of points used||Money saved|
|Bed & Bike Hostel Jan Thiel||2||40,000 RBC Avion Rewards||$400|
|Airbnb||7||125,000 HSBC Rewards||$615|
|Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort||5||160,000 Marriott Bonvoy||$1,800|
Savings on accommodation
In total, our savings on the hotel and our Airbnb came to $2,815.
Testimonial - Credit cards used
In order to accumulate all these points, my partner lent me a hand. We have each signed up for the following credit cards:
|Credit card||Accumulation period||Number of points used||Points redemption method|
|TD Visa Infinite* CardMD AeroplanMD x2||3 months||77,000 Aeroplan points||Flight booking|
|RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card x2||3 months||40,000 RBC Avion Rewards points||Statement credit|
|American Express Cobalt® Card x2||12 months||134,000 Membership Rewards points||Transfer to Marriott Bonvoy|
|HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® x2||6 months||125,000 HSBC Rewards points||Statement credit|
With our credit cards, we offer many additional travel benefits, such as
- A $100 travel credit and no conversion fees for foreign currency transactions with the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®. We used this credit to pay for access to the VIP Lounge at Curaçao Airport.
- Free checked baggage on Air Canada flights, a 25% discount on in-flight meals and free access to the new Wi-Fi service with the TDMD AeroplanMD Visa Infinite* Card.
Tips to help you save more
The hunt for points may seem complex, but I didn’t use any special tricks.
Organization and patience alone can work wonders.
The Milesopedia beginner’s guide is also a goldmine of information for familiarizing yourself with the accumulation and use of reward points:
The portion of our trip where we saved the most money was lodging, with 14 free nights valued at $2,815. Here is a breakdown of the amounts saved in each category:
|Grand total||5 630 $|
|Type of expense||Savings|
|Accommodation||2 815 $|
To save big on travel, you need to be flexible and diversify your rewards programs. In total, we used five different programs:
The final word
Since that trip, I’ve continued the hunt for points and signed up for other credit cards. If I could keep only one card in my wallet right now, it would be the National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard®.
Read on for more testimonials from members of the Milesopedia community: