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3 Surprise Upgrades on a Trip to Asia

3 Surprise Upgrades on a Trip to Asia

Despite loyalty programs’ intended purpose of providing enhanced services and rewards to their most loyal members, the reality is that they often fall short.

Additionally, the programs usually experience devaluations over time, leading us as points collectors to question the value of maintaining status and loyalty to a particular brand.

On my recent trip to Asia, however, I was pleasantly surprised when a few loyalty programs went above and beyond my expectations; ultimately, renewing my faith in their value.

Read on to find out what happened and how you can potentially maximize your loyalty experience in the future.

How We Booked a Family Trip to Asia on Points

Earlier this year, my grandmother was turning 90, and so my whole family made plans to go back to Hong Kong to celebrate with her.

Having been to Hong Kong several times before, there wasn’t much we wanted to do there outside of visiting family, so we decided to only stay in the city for five nights and then visit another destination in Asia.

Since the kids love Japan, and we had only had limited time to explore Osaka on our last trip to Japan, we opted to venture back there for four nights.

Osaka, Japan

Notably, we were able to book this trip almost entirely on reward points and free night certificates with Asia Miles, Aeroplan, Marriott Bonvoy, and Hilton Honors – a feat that isn’t always possible.

I had initially booked our flights from Toronto to Taipei with EVA Air, which at the time of my booking last year still released two business class seats (they currently only release one seat) at 75,000 Aeroplan points each in business class, which we booked in addition to three economy seats at 50,000 Aeroplan points.

However, we didn’t end up flying this itinerary.

When my sister’s family decided that they wanted to travel together, my family ended up changing our flights to a direct flight from Toronto to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific.

The two families together booked several seats in premium economy for 75,000 Asia Miles each and several in economy for 38,000 Asia Miles each.

We stayed five nights in Hong Kong at the JW Marriott Hong Kong on a combination of three Marriott Bonvoy Free Night Awards worth 50,000 points apiece, acquired as part of the welcome bonus on the US-issued Chase Bonvoy Boundless, and two nights booked for 53,000–56,000 Bonvoy points per night.

From Hong Kong, we flew to Osaka on Peach…

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