Hello from London!
I’ve embarked on one last whirlwind trip to wrap up my travels in 2022, which will take me across Europe and South East Asia for a mix of catching up with friends, attending some business meetings, and reviewing some brand-new Aeroplan redemption possibilities that have been recently introduced.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the thought process behind booking my flights for this end-of-year trip, and the particular Aeroplan sweet spot that I’ll be taking advantage of – not once, but twice.
To finish up what has been a very busy travel year, I’ll be trying out a handful of products that I haven’t had the opportunity to fly before.
On the outbound journey, I flew from Newark to London in United Polaris 767 business class. This would be my first time flying long-haul business class with the airline, and I was curious to see if the onboard product matched the high standard the United Polaris lounges have set.
I’m currently spending a few days in the UK on a weekend stopover, touching base with friends and revisiting my old stomping grounds at University College London.
When it comes time to leave, I’ll make my way from London Gatwick to Singapore via Hanoi with Bamboo Airways 787 business class.
The Vietnam-based airline is one of Aeroplan’s newest partners, and their 1-2-1 product indeed looks quite attractive – similar to Air Canada’s 787 business class, but hopefully with more delicious Vietnamese cuisine served onboard.
My outbound flights priced out at 92,500 Aeroplan points – which includes the 5,000 points required for a stopover in London.
This “Asia 3” sweet spot represents one of the most attractive price points within the Aeroplan reward chart as a whole, as you can fly up to 11,000 miles in distance between North America and the Pacific zone.
After spending some time in South East Asia, I’ll make my way back to North America by flying with Aeroplan’s newest partner airline: Emirates.
I’ve enjoyed many flights in Emirates First Class over the years, but this time I won’t be able to have a shower in the sky, as I’ll be flying in business class.
On my flight from Bangkok to Dubai, I’ll make a triumphant return to the Airbus A380 to see how Emirates business class compares to the ostentatious First Class – and of course, take a sip of Champagne from the onboard bar.
After a layover in the Emirates business class lounge, I’ll continue back to Seattle on Emirates 777 business class, before making the last hop back to Vancouver.
My return flights cost a total of 87,500 Aeroplan points, once again clocking in under 11,000 miles in distance and falling nicely in the “Asia 3” sweet spot on the Aeroplan Flight Reward Chart.
In both cases, I changed an existing placeholder booking I’d made during the Amex 25% back promotion from earlier this year. This effectively reduces the cost of my flights to 65,625 and 69,375 Aeroplan points, respectively, which is a paltry sum to pay for four long-haul business class flights.
Contrary to my recent trips to Japan and the Middle East, where I embarked on a mad dash to review as many luxury hotels as possible, my lodgings on this stay will be slightly more modest.I’ll be staying with friends a fair bit along the way, taking a break from the “suite life” for the time being.
However, I couldn’t help but book a few nights at the Andaz London Liverpool Street, in a late bid to re-qualify for Hyatt Globalist status, for 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night.
This is the original Andaz property that opened back in 2007, and I’ve heard many great things about it from fellow travellers over the years.
Since I’ve long since re-quailfied for Marriott Titanium status and I get Hilton Diamond status through my Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Hyatt Globalist would be the last (and the most labour-intensive) hotel top-tier status to secure for 2023.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my stays at Hyatt hotels since attaining Globalist status, and this year, I’ve deemed it to be worth a bit of extra effort to maintain through another cycle.
After much quieter travel years in 2020 and 2021, I’m quite pleased with the amount of travel I’ve squeezed into this year, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to take to the skies one more time before the time runs out on 2022.
While my flights on United, Bamboo Airways, and Emirates won’t quite contend with some of the most luxurious First Class products that I’ve flown this year, I’m still very intrigued to see what Aeroplan’s newest airline partnerships bring to the table.
Look out for the reviews and videos to come on Prince of Travel as we head towards the new year.
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