Earlier today, I wrote about how I converted 90K Starpoints to 150K Aeroplan miles and 7 nights at Marriott and got some interesting questions from readers about what I would (they could) do with my miles and Marriott certificate. I figured the discussion deserved its own post.

Using 7-night Marriott Certificate

Reader, Skaner asked “…I have absolutely no use for the 7 nights certificate. Any way to sell/refund it?

I find it hard to believe that Skaner has NO USE for ‘free’ hotel nights at hand. But I assume they are worried about the constraints around the certificate. My suggestions;

  • You don’t have to use the certificate for 7 nights, it can be used on 1-2-3-4-5 night stays as well.
  • The certificate posts to the individual Marriott Rewards account, so “selling” it is tough. However, you can book friend/family through your account (add their name to the reservation).
  • You can request to cancel the certificate and get points in return. The success rate for a points refund is low but it can be done. Also, if one year is not enough, call Marriott and request an extension on the certificate expiry.
  • Last but not least, if you end up not using the certificate – no biggie, miles (from travel package) alone are great redemption.

Personally, I intend to use my certificate for a stay in Hawaii later in the year. I redeemed for Cat 1-5 certificate but will happily pay the difference to upgrade to a higher category property. Its a perfect excuse for me to use it towards a Cat 9 property, which will cost an additional 120K points (390K – 270K).

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I love maps and my travel-brain functions best with pictorial information. To browse my Marriott options based on categories, I love using Drew’s Complete Map of Marriott Rewards Hotel. A quick look suggests that there are no Cat 9 Marriott properties in Hawaii, my high-end options are Cat-8 or Ritz Carlton Tier-4 redemption. Such a great resource!!

Award booking is another hurdle altogether. Award availability for 5 or 7 nights is tough but not impossible. For this, I lean on Seth’s Hotel Hustle tool which not only lets you browse award/cash availability, but also has a notification system to let you know once award space opens at the selected property.

In a perfect world, once Marriott/SPG loyalty programs integrate completely, the certificate could be used at SPG properties as well. **This is my dream**

Using 150K Aeroplan Miles

Reader, S P asked “Which airline using Aeroplan miles would you use for India and how many miles?

In my post I had suggested that I would use the 150K Aeroplan for an upcoming trip to India. My thoughts and suggestions to the question;

  • Like everyone else, I detest paying fuel surcharges (YQ) charges passed on award tickets. Unfortunately, Air Canada does exactly that! I like to redeem my miles on airlines that do not charge the “taxes” on award tickets.
  • Aeroplan does not charge YQ on these airlines: Air China, Air India, Brussels, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, EVA, SAS, Singapore, Swiss, Turkish and United.
  • My preferred routing from Canada to India is on Swiss or Turkish YUL/YYZ – ZRH/IST – BOM/DEL . Business class redemption on Aeroplan from NA to India is 75K each way or 150K RT.
Marriott Certificate

One way Business Class RT on Swiss YUL – BOM

Personally, I like to travel in relative comfort and look for shortest duration point-to-point. Depending on your origin and destination, the scenarios of using 150K Aeroplan miles are endless. If you are new to building award itineraries, I find Flight Connections to be a great resource.

Departing from Canada/USA, 150K Aeroplan miles can get you a RT ticket in Economy or Premium Economy to anywhere in the world . OR Business Class RT ticket to ‘almost anywhere’ the world – as indicated in the chart below. A complete chart of Aeroplan Flight Rewards is available here.

Marriott Certificate

 

Another pertinent question came from a work colleague who asked “Aeroplan allows us to pay for taxes with miles, is that good?” My thoughts;

This question comes up more often than I would like it to. There are only 2 reasons when paying taxes suing Aeroplan miles makes sense:

  1. The only thing standing between your vacation and you are the taxes, and you absolutely cannot spend cash!
  2. Never.

I hope this helps readers who had similar questions after reading my previous post. Always happy to hear your thoughts and opinions. Cheers!