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The Hardest Locations for Travelling on Factors

The Hardest Locations for Travelling on Factors

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Versus the best locations for travelling on factors, some components of the world are rather more tough to guide with factors. This might be attributable to geographic location, reputation, a scarcity of award availability, or a bunch of different components.

In comparison with the “straightforward” locations like Asia, Europe, and the Center East, what are some locations all over the world the place you’d must work a good bit tougher to guide your dream journey on factors?

1. Hawaii

This is perhaps shocking, or perhaps a bit controversial, however Hawaii may be very a lot one of many more difficult locations on the planet for maximizing the worth of your factors.

Now, there are many choices for reserving journey to Hawaii whereas leveraging loyalty applications, and a few of them might even seem like very engaging candy spots on paper.

Take, for instance, the flexibility to guide Vancouver–Hawaii flights for under 12,500 or 25,000 Aeroplan factors in economic system or enterprise class, respectively, which could strike you as an superior candy spot on condition that it falls slightly below the two,750-mile distance threshold.

The issue lies in Hawaii’s sheer reputation amongst North American travellers.

Any candy spots that exist on paper are very a lot hotly contested, and also you’d be hard-pressed to seek out Air Canada enterprise class seats which can be really bookable within the area of 12,500 or 25,000 factors one-way beneath the dynamic pricing mannequin (to not point out a equally low-priced seat on the direct Dreamliner companies from the Jap Canada).

You’ll encounter the identical challenges on the resort aspect: Hawaii is dwelling to a lot of properties with the key chains, however they’re invariably priced extraordinarily expensively, each in factors and money. That is very true throughout busy journey intervals, as costs can undergo the roof.

For instance, the Courtyard by Marriott Oahu North Shore has costs that vary from 54,000 – 66,000 Marriott Bonvoy factors per evening over the summer season months. In lots of different components of the world, that very same variety of factors will get you a a lot nicer resort.

Lodges in Hawaii could be very costly with money or factors

On the finish of the day, the key resort chains know that they will cost an enormous premium for his or her Hawaii resorts. In any case, there’s all the time a gentle provide of travellers from the North American mainland who’re in search of an “straightforward” seaside trip through which they don’t must trouble with lengthy flights and language boundaries, and who’re greater than keen to pay the $500+/evening money charges for every little thing that Hawaii has to supply.

That very same reasoning additionally performs into the downright poor elite therapy that you simply’ll usually encounter at Hawaii resorts.

As a Titanium member on the Wailea Seashore Marriott Resort Maui, you is perhaps stunned to be taught that your complimentary breakfast is proscribed to a pastry, fruit cup, and occasional from Starbucks – all whereas the resort fees a $35/evening resort charge for the privilege of utilizing seaside chairs!

“Elite breakfast profit” on the Wailea Seashore Marriott Resort Maui

Maui is a superb place for whale watching and spectacular sunsets, however maybe not for excellent worth from factors redemptions or nice elite therapy.

Think about using Air Canada eUpgrades to snag a enterprise class seat to get to Hawaii. Then, think about renting a villa or Airbnb whenever you’re there, and save your hard-earned resort factors and free evening certificates for locations the place they’ll go quite a bit additional.

2. South America

When you assume again to our dialogue on the “best” locations to guide on factors, you would possibly recall that they’re usually organized alongside a tough round-the-world path inside the northern hemisphere, with a slight dip beneath the equator into South East Asia.

The more difficult components of the world for extracting worth out of your factors, then, largely lie within the southern hemisphere – all for barely totally different causes, beginning with South America.

From a North American perspective, the largest hindrance to an “superb factors journey” within the conventional sense is a lack of high-quality airline merchandise that serve the trans-Americas market.

Copa Airways 737 MAX 9 enterprise class

In any case, when you’re headed to Europe or Asia, or certainly Africa or Australia, you can select amongst lots of the world’s main airways to get you there.

However flying right down to the Americas leaves you with reasonably slim pickings, as you basically have two choices at your disposal, neither of that are essentially superb:

  • You possibly can purpose for a easy and handy direct journey on Air Canada, United, or American enterprise class, though it could actually usually be powerful to seek out well-priced award availability.
  • Alternatively, you can select a extra fascinating routing on Copa Airways or Avianca, maybe with a stopover alongside the way in which; nonetheless, each of those airways’ onboard merchandise are common at finest.

However on the brilliant aspect, flights between totally different South American nations are sometimes disproportionately costly, making it a fantastic deal to redeem factors for intra-continental hops.

There are additionally many first rate resort redemptions to choose from, even when the standard isn’t going to blow you away like South East Asia or the Center East – resembling Tambo del Inka close to Cusco, the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, or the JW Marriott Rio de Janeiro simply to call a couple of.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Total, South America has loads going for it when it comes to maximizing your factors, with the key caveat that the northbound and southbound flights don’t fairly provide the identical aspirational fruits of labour as different components of the world.

Then once more, whether or not you resolve to maximise your sleep on a direct in a single day flight and hit the bottom operating the following day, or to interrupt up the journey and see extra of the Hispanosphere in Panama or Colombia, it’s honest to say that each choices can solely add to, reasonably than detract from, the general expertise of a South America journey.

3. South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa

Just like South America, Sub-Saharan Africa is a area the place award journey tends to be of at the least a reasonably, if not fairly overwhelmingly, tough. And as probably the most well-liked and well-served locations inside this area, South Africa shall be a pure focus for a lot of the dialogue.

There’s usually the identical trade-off between availability and high quality that you simply would possibly encounter with travelling to South America: airways like Swiss, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airways, and Singapore Airways will provide a greater onboard product, however shall be trickier to guide, whereas Egyptair and Ethiopian Airways are inclined to have ample availability and a handy routing on the expense of the aspirational contact.

Ethiopian Airways 787 enterprise class

When you look outdoors of South Africa and in the direction of another Sub-Saharan African nation, the flight choices proceed to dwindle in quantity, with Ethiopian Airways basically performing as a mainline service for the whole area.

There are a handful of fifth-freedom routes by TAP Air Portugal, Brussels Airways, or Turkish Airways that you can guide utilizing Aeroplan short-haul awards, however these are the exception reasonably than the norm.

Then, there’s additionally the frustration that the whole Atlantic zone is pretty costly beneath the Aeroplan program – you may anticipate to pay 90,000–110,000 Aeroplan factors for a one-way enterprise class flight on most journeys to a Sub-Saharan African vacation spot from an North American origin.

When you’re headed to this a part of the world, there are a couple of Oneworld candy spots price listening to as an alternative, resembling 75,000 American Airways AAdvantage miles or 95,000 Avios for Qatar Airways Qsuites through Doha.

Resort redemptions are one other redeeming issue: Sub-Saharan Africa is peppered with low-priced lodges throughout a lot of the main chains, which nonetheless proceed to cost greater costs when you have been to pay with money.

Accra Marriott Resort

Subsequently, it is best to be capable to discover good worth in your resort loyalty factors wherever you go, whether or not that’s in one of many nationwide capitals or on the doorstep of a desert safari – though it is best to nonetheless anticipate to pay prime greenback for Africa’s “true” luxurious safari experiences.

That brings us to a closing consideration: the journey prices apart from your flight and resort are typically fairly vital in Africa, too.

This isn’t Paris or Bangkok, the place you may roll into city for per week and spend each minute exploring a brand new a part of city. As a substitute, a lot of what Africa has to supply lies past its metropolitan areas, ready to be found with the assistance of organized excursions and educated guides – usually at a big expense.

That’s yet one more issue to contemplate in case your main aim with Miles & Factors is to guide a memorable journey with minimal out-of-pocket spending.

4. Oceania

Lastly, Oceania stays probably the most difficult components of the world to go to on factors. It’s under no circumstances inconceivable, however to make it occur, there are fairly a couple of geese that you simply’d must get in a row first.

Specifically, the true ugly duckling is flight availability, which has traditionally been fairly tough to trace down on this far-flung, but extremely popular nook of the globe. 

In idea, it’s doable to snag moderately priced direct transpacific Air Canada enterprise class flights from Vancouver to Sydney, Brisbane, or Auckland – however it could require reserving for the very finish of the schedule a few yr upfront or inside a couple of days of departure. 

It’s no totally different for companion airways. United enterprise class awards from the West Coast to Australia are very a lot a uncommon incidence, and also you’re most probably to come across award area inside per week of departure.

When you’d like to go to French Polynesia, make sure you maintain an eye fixed out for flights through San Francisco with United. Whereas the provision usually doesn’t get launched till near departure, you would possibly be capable to rating a seat in enterprise class for simply 55,000 Aeroplan factors.

Air New Zealand is infamous for being among the many stingiest airways in all of Star Alliance when it comes to releasing any economic system or enterprise awards. When you see a transpacific Air New Zealand enterprise class award, guide it now and ask questions later. 

Air New Zealand enterprise class

As for Fiji Airways with Alaska miles, it’s a strong candy spot on paper at 55,000 Alaska miles for a one-way enterprise class journey with a stopover in Fiji. Nonetheless, in apply, you’d be very fortunate to seek out enterprise class awards on the Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Vancouver routes.

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Oceania-bound travellers who need to fly on factors might want to route via Asia or the Center East a technique or one other.

Right here, award availability has historically been a bit of simpler to seek out, and also you’ll additionally get pleasure from a number of the higher airways on the market to make the journey very comfy. Hold an eye fixed out for flights with ANA, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airways, and likewise think about flying right into a smaller market like Brisbane or Perth after which hop round on Qantas or Virgin Australia awards.

However having stated that, connecting via Asia signifies that you’re a 24-hour journey from North America, so that you would possibly nicely be tempted to interrupt issues up with a stopover alongside the way in which – which might then introduce an entire different dimension into your journey. You may see how reserving a visit to Australia or New Zealand on factors can get very advanced in a short time.

Taking a look at lodging, higher-end lodges in Australia and New Zealand have a tendency to come back with an inexpensive worth level and pretty robust high quality. There are some gems on the market, such because the Westin Perth, the W Brisbane, and The Tasman Hobart, and a few world-class properties, such because the Park Hyatt Sydney. 

The Tasman Hobart, Marriott Luxurious Assortment

Within the massive image, whenever you mix the geographic isolation of Australia and New Zealand with their reputation amongst North American travellers as pleasant English-speaking upside-down nations, you find yourself with a big problem when you’re seeking to guide a visit on factors.

A little bit of advance planning can go a really good distance when you’re planning a visit to this a part of the world, however you additionally may need to depend on last-minute award availability, which could be a bit daunting.

Nonetheless, it’s nicely well worth the effort, and Oceania as an entire has quite a bit to supply to many various kinds of travellers. 


Some locations all over the world get the quick finish of the stick in the case of award journey candy spots, whether or not they’re a bit too near dwelling (like Hawaii) or a bit too distant (like varied components of the southern hemisphere). 

Travellers heading to those areas should cope with a narrower collection of airways, hard-fought battles for award availability, and – within the case of Hawaii, and to some extent the remainder of North America too – a depressing stage of elite therapy that’ll make you marvel what on earth your mattress runs have been all for. 

However don’t neglect: on the finish of the day, the true “worth” of a visit is subjective to you as a person traveller.

If South Africa and Oceania are the locations that tug at your heartstrings, then that’s the place your factors will go furthest for you despite the challenges alongside the way in which; there’s no level visiting Dubai’s desert resorts or East Asian metropolises as an alternative simply because they may fetch worth on paper extra simply. 


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