After a whirlwind weekend, I’d like to share a recap of our Prince of Travel Signature Event Vancouver 2023, along with some photos taken throughout the day.
Welcome to the Event
Registration and check-in began at 8:15 in the morning at the Versante Hotel, with priority check-in offered to our top-tier Prince of Travel Royal Platinum members, HSBC cardholders, and VIP Experience guests.
Of the roughly 100 attendees, around a third were already cardholders, and even more applied for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard during the event. This earned them an entry in a special prize draw for a $500 travel enhancement credit card, courtesy of HSBC Bank Canada.
Our MC-extraordinaire, T.J. Dunn, welcomed our capacity crowd at 9am sharp. T.J. delivered some opening remarks and made a coronation-related dig at my expense, before I took to the stage to offer my own words of welcome.
Panel Discussion: Travel Tricks of the Modern Era
The event began with a panel discussion entitled “Travel Tricks of the Modern Era”.
Prince of Travel team members Kirin Tsang, Amy Tung, and Josh Greenberg joined me on stage to share our thoughts on everything from choosing a destination to getting money abroad, from optimally searching for awards to maximizing the airport experience, and everything in between.
Our 45-minute discussion gave the audience insight into how we navigate the entire travel process, and the crowd had the opportunity to ask us questions at the end of the panel.
Networking, Round 1
At 10am, we headed to the HSBC Lounge, which was set up in an adjoining room, to enjoy some light snacks and beverages during our first networking session for the day.
There were also representatives from our presenting sponsor, HSBC Bank Canada, available to discuss products with guests and assist with on-site applications.
As is always the case, I had the opportunity to speak with a number of our guests, and did my best to connect with as many attendees as possible. It was nice to see some familiar faces in the crowd, and also to meet many first-time attendees from a variety of backgrounds.
There was certainly quite the buzz in the room, and I couldn’t help but smile to see so many connections being made around me.
Indeed, networking opportunities such as this are when everyone gets to share their perspectives and tricks with others, and I think I speak for everyone by saying that we all learned something new during the event.
Maximizing Oneworld Redemptions
As we all headed back to our seats, I was joined by our in-house travel maestra Rachel Yuan to do a deep-dive into Oneworld redemptions.
Over the course of just under an hour, Rachel shared her expertise on the best programs for earning and burning points for flights with Oneworld airlines.
As someone who has made many aspirational Oneworld redemptions in the past, Rachel delivered a detailed analysis of how to access the alliance’s best airline products, including Japan Airlines First Class, Cathay Pacific First Class, and Qatar Airways Qsuites.
After Rachel wrapped up her part of the presentation, I once again took the stage to explain the ins-and-outs of one of the best uses of any Oneworld program’s points: the British Airways Avios Multi-Carrier Award Chart.
This lesser-known sweet spot, which is buried in the depths of the British Airways website, can offer travellers outstanding value, as long as you know how to use it.
I offered our attendees a thorough walkthrough of how to make the chart work in their favour and construct complex around-the-world itineraries at an incredible value.
Lunch at Bruno
Following the presentation, we all made our way down to the ground floor of the hotel to gather for lunch at one of the Versante Hotel’s four dining venues, Bruno.
Attendees gathered and continued to network as they enjoyed a lunch service. The restaurant staff took orders for drinks, for which attendees could redeem their complimentary tickets, and started the three-course meal service.
I was joined by our VIP guests, as well as our special guests Sebastian Fung of Ask Sebby and Mandy Hong of Mandy Roams, in the private dining room for an enhanced lunch service, where we carried out an intimate discussion of all things related to travel and Miles & Points.
I took a moment during the lunch to peek outside and take in the many conversations that were going on around me, which once again brought a big smile to my face.
With full bellies and perhaps a slight buzz, we all headed back up to the presentation room to begin our afternoon sessions.
Advanced US Credit Cards
To kick off the afternoon, I began with a primer on how and why Canadians can access credit cards in the United States. After becoming familiar with and maximizing the Canadian credit card scene, the next logical step is to look south of the border, and I was pleased to share my experience and expertise on how to expedite the process.
Our special guests Sebby and Mandy then delivered an analysis of the best approaches to the US credit card scene. Our attendees were treated to a step-by-step guide on which credit cards to apply for first, as well as how to maximize the lucrative US credit card market.
The presentation was followed by a fruitful round of questions from our audience, who had the opportunity to grill some of the best minds in the game on the intricacies of US credit cards.
I’m grateful to Sebby and Mandy for flying in from San Francisco for the event, and I’ve also received plenty of positive feedback from attendees who were drawn to the event to meet the two in person.
Networking, Round 2
Our second official round of networking began, and attendees gathered in the HSBC Lounge and in Alaïa, the Versante Hotel’s Champagne and caviar bar on the 12th floor.
Once again, I had the welcome opportunity to engage in many discussions with a host of people, while sipping on a delicious beverage. The energy in the room only became more electric as we continued to share our tips and tricks with our fellow travel enthusiasts.
Upon returning to the presentation room for our last session of the day, T.J. whipped the crowd into a frenzy for our prize draws. My partner Jessy drew the lucky tickets at centre stage, and the attendees waited anxiously as each number was read out.
All attendees were entered in the draw for some fantastic prizes, which included:
- A one-night stay in the Signature Suite at the Versante Hotel
- Two seats on the VIP experience following the event
- A$250 voucher for a luxury hotel booking through our in-house travel agency
- A complimentary night at the Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel with a $50 food and beverage credit
- A complimentary night at the Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel with a $50 food and beverage credit
Following the main draw, Jessy drew a separate ticket that was reserved exclusively for current HSBC cardholders or anyone who applied for a card during the event. The lucky winner scored a $500 travel enhancement prepaid credit card, which came courtesy of our generous sponsor HSBC Bank Canada.
Congratulations to all of our winners, who returned to their seats with an even bigger smile on their faces.
How to Use Buying Groups
Our last presentation of the day was hosted by the brains behind the event, Prince of Travel team member Rohin Jain. Our audience was intrigued to learn about how buying groups can help you pad your points balance through organic spending.
Rohin walked the crowd through the intricacies of buying groups, including how they work, what to be mindful of, and the various stages of engagement and opportunity.
Upon concluding his presentation, he had some time to take questions from the crowd, which helped to explain some of the finer points of what’s possible.
To wrap up the event, our MC took the stage to thank everyone for attending, and I then had the chance to share my gratitude to everyone before being whisked away to our VIP Experience.
As the official event came to a close and the unofficial networking events continued, the VIP guests and I gathered in the Versante Hotel’s lobby before we headed over to Vancouver International Airport for our exclusive experience.
We were dropped off at the Harbour Air terminal and boarded a seaplane that took us on a scenic flight over Downtown Vancouver and along the coast to the gorgeous Bowen Island. Luckily, the weather held out, and we were treated to spectacular views of one of the most beautiful cities in the world and its environs.
As we made a quick hop off the plane and onto the shore, we headed over to Barcelona Tapas & Wine Bar to enjoy some more delicious food and drinks in an intimate setting.
Following dinner, we encountered an unexpected closure of our next venue – which, at first, was a tad disappointing. However, we made our way to a scenic picnic area and enjoyed a more casual beverage or two, which wound up being quite a delightful time.
After a beautiful ferry ride back to Horseshoe Bay, we were picked up in a limousine and made our way back into Vancouver to wrap up the experience. We made a quick stop in Downtown Vancouver before heading back to the Versante Hotel, which is when the event officially came to a close.
I certainly had a most wonderful time with our VIP attendees, who emerged from the experience with new friends, contented bellies, and a few new tricks in their arsenal.
The Prince of Travel Signature Event Vancouver 2023 was a yet another day to remember for all involved.
Our presentations afforded attendees with deep dives into some of the finer aspects of the modern Miles & Points experience. The main goal of the sessions was to elevate everyone’s travel game, and there’s doubt that they delivered just that.
As is always the case, the networking sessions forged new bonds and strengthened old ones. Gatherings such as this are no doubt the best way to fast track your learning and change your perspective on maximizing travel.
After the dust has settled on the day and I’ve had a chance to reflect, there’s no doubt that I had an absolutely fulfilling time, especially with our VIP attendees throughout the day and into the night.
All of us at Prince of Travel are looking forward to hosting more events in the future, and I look forward to sharing the details as they take shape.