Through a series of testimonials from our readers, Milesopedia presents what you can achieve with credit cards and loyalty programs.
Here’s Kim and her partner’s (now fiancé!) plan for a trip to Greece, and the savings they’ve made thanks to their points.
Kim's testimonial - Who are you?
I’m 43 and have been a Milesopedia reader for about a year and a half.
I’m a pretty versatile traveler. I’ve walked the Camino de Compostela with a backpack, slept in 100-person dormitories, stayed in a 5-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, visited all-inclusives in the South… I don’t have a specific style, as long as I travel!
Kim's testimonial - Your travel project with points : Greece
I took this trip to Greece with my partner, who proposed to me on the island of Naxos!
Our 10-day trip to Greece took place in the spring of 2023. Among others, we visited :
- The island of Paros
- The island of Naxos
With three different types of points, we saved on flights, car rental and ferries in Greece. In summary, we used :
In total, points saved us $1,070 on transportation.
|Accomodation name||Number of nights||Number and type of points used||Money saved|
|Moxy Athens City||1||30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points||269$|
|Paros Bay Hotel||2||2,850 AIR MILES||388$|
|Naxos Island Escape||3||6,290 AIR MILES||858$|
|Hotel Amalia||1||1,420 AIR MILES||140$|
|Guesthouse Monastiri||1||1,370 AIR MILES||173$|
|New Hotel Athens||1||39,000 Marriott Bonvoy points||600$|
Savings on accommodation
The money saved on lodging totalled $2,200 for nine nights.
Activities and other
As for activities and meals, we paid these expenses in cash.
Testimonial - Credit cards used
I was the only one earning points for this trip. I made 4 card rounds in one year. In the end, I took out a total of 6 different credit cards during this period.
|Credit card||Accumulation period||Number of points used||Points redemption method|
|National Bank World Elite Mastercard||1 year||74,000 NBC Rewards points||Flight booked on À la carte travel|
|HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®||6 months||45,000 HSBC Rewards points||Statement credit|
|CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card||4 months||11,840 CIBC Aventura points||Statement credit|
|Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card and Marriott Bonvoy® Business American Express®* Card.||6 months||69,000 Marriott Bonvoy points||Hotel reservations|
|BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card||1 year||70,000 BMO Rewards points||Statement credit|
|BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®*||4 years old||11,930 AIR MILES||Booking hotels with Dreams miles|
With our credit cards, we have obtained some additional travel benefits such as:
- Two accesses to the National Bank lounge at the Montreal airport, complete travel insurance for two people and a $150 travel credit to pay for parking at YUL with the National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard®
- Two accesses to the Athens airport VIP lounge with the CIBC Aventura® Visa Infinite* Card.
- A $100 travel credit for seat selection and no conversion fees for euro transactions with the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
We were also entitled to checked baggage with Air Canada with our TDMD AeroplanMD Visa Infinite* Card, but since we were traveling in a carry-on suitcase we didn’t take advantage of it. We also had a 25% discount on meals purchased on board, as well as the new free Wi-Fi service!
Tips to help you save more
To save even more on my trip,I’ve been tracking airfares in Google Flights for 2-3 weeks. I love this tool for finding the cheapest options and was flexible on dates and duration (between 8 and 11 days).
All in all, our $8,635 trip to Greece only cost us $3,908, a savings of $4,727! Here’s a breakdown of the amounts saved in each category:
|Type of expense||Savings|
|Other (baggage, parking at YUL, choice of seats, lounges, miscellaneous)||$1,457|
Diversifying the type of reward points is the key to spend less on travel. In all, we used 6 different programs:
The final word
For this trip, the National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard® was the most lucrative. Although my AIR MILES saved me a lot, I’ve pretty much given up on this rewards program now.
Since my return, I’ve moved on to another stage: I FINALLY applied for the American Express Cobalt® Card. It’s as if I didn’t believe it… my only regret is that I didn’t take it before!
After a year, I’m at the stage of closing cards and ordering new ones. I’m beginning to understand the principle more and more. My next goal is to learn the Aeroplan program and start using my points.
Finally, my next trip will be my honeymoon in Western Canada in the summer of 2024. Thanks Milesopedia!
Read on for more testimonials from members of the Milesopedia community: