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Update 2019-02-26: Please note that the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) American Express Card Canada is no longer available. It has been replaced by the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card. Get the details here!
I love to fly. So much so, that sometimes I travel just to fly. While I still consider the destination (I do end up staying a day or two after all), I’m more motivated by choosing the best combination of flights for a unique in-flight experience. While I will be staying a couple of nights abroad (one night in Germany and one night in Singapore), I’m really most excited about the flights on this trip!
So where am I going exactly?
Using Aeroplan, this round-the-world itinerary cost a total of 215,000 miles and $485CAD in taxes and fees. I did consider booking two one ways to save a few miles (since technically Singapore is my turnaround point and I’m only flying business class home), but the taxes and fees were pricing out much higher on two one ways.
This particular routing was picked for a couple of reasons. First, the United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt is operated by the ‘queen of the skies’, the Boeing 747. I’ve never actually flown on a 747 (hard to believe), and this will be a great opportunity to fly it before United retires their fleet in less than a couple of months. Furthermore, I managed to get a set in United Polaris First Class, which while not industry leading, is a perfectly acceptable way to cross the Atlantic (and also being phased out while United refurbishes all long-haul aircraft).
Second, I found some award availability on Lufthansa in first class from Frankfurt to Singapore on the Airbus A380. While I’ve flown Lufthansa first class a couple times in the past, it’s never been on the A380, and never out of Frankfurt, which is an experience all in it’s own with the Frankfurt First Class Terminal!
As a bit of a bonus, I found some award space on EVA Air from Singapore to Vancouver via Taipei, which is widely considered to have the best business class product in the world, and an airline Brad recently flew and loved.
With such an early flight out of Vancouver, I decided to book an airport hotel to be right next door to YVR. Unfortunately my favourite airport hotel, The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, was priced well out of my budget, so I settled on the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel located just a short shuttle ride from the airport.
This ended up being a really good points redemption, as the hotel charges only 7,000 SPG points per night inclusive of taxes. With paid rates in the $400/night range, this was a phenomenal use of Starwood points – especially considering I just earned 50,000 American Express points by signing up for The American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card!
I arrive into Frankfurt at about 10am and don’t leave for Singapore until the following evening. I plan to check-out of the hotel early to maximize my time in the First Class Terminal, so I decided to book the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel (notice a trend?) and take the train into the city on my arrival day if I feel like exploring. Much like Vancouver, this airport hotel prices out at 7,000 SPG points for a free night redemption, but with paid rates at $130CAD inclusive of taxes, it was a no brainer to just pay for the stay and save my points for a higher value redemption in the future.
Singapore is one of my favourite destinations in the world, so I decided to venture away from the airport and book something in the city. Brad and I stayed at The Fairmont Singapore hotel last time and received a very generous upgrade thanks to our platinum status in the Fairmont President’s Club. Unfortunately, the Fairmont was sold out on my night, so I went for a points redemption at the recently opened JW Marriott Singapore South Beach Hotel.
With paid rates hovering around $400CAD/night, it was easy to spend 40,000 Marriott points (or 13,333 SPG points) for my one night stay. Best of all, because of my Starwood/Marriott Gold status from my American Express Platinum Card, I’ll be guaranteed access to the executive club lounge with breakfast, evening snacks, and complimentary cocktails.
Aeroplan continues to be one of my favourite travel reward programs for Canadians due to the generous routing rules and access to Star Alliance partner reward seats. While not everyone will appreciate (or even understand) taking a trip like this, it’s fun to highlight what’s possible when redeeming travel rewards by using extreme examples like this!