The Easiest Destinations for Travelling on Points

When earning points, it’s always important to have an eventual redemption goal in mind. Many of us spend plenty of time daydreaming about our future travels, and to help narrow down the list of options, it can be helpful to talk about the differences in how far our points will go in different parts of the world.

After all, due to many underlying factors, like cost, popularity, and flight availability, some regions around the world are fundamentally easier to book with points than others.

In this article, let’s take a tour around the globe and identify which destinations are the easiest to access with points, as well as some strategies for booking a highly optimized trip.

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1. South East Asia

South East Asia is commonly regarded as a backpacker’s paradise because of the cheap cost of travel and living. At the same time, it’s also a top choice for a more luxurious trip using points that doesn’t break the bank.

Whether you’re headed to Bali or Bangkok, Langkawi or Cambodia, there’s a wide range of choices to make along every step of the trip planning process.

For long-haul flights, you can aim for EVA Air, ANA, or Singapore Airlines with Aeroplan points, or Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines using Alaska miles or Asia Miles, if you’re able to find award space.

If you want to experience a higher level of luxury, First Class redemptions with ANA, Cathay Pacific, or Japan Airlines can also give you a dream start and end to your South East Asia trip. Of these, Japan Airlines has the most consistent award availability, while the other two can be quite difficult to find.

Japan Airlines First Class

In addition, you have the possibility of flying the “long way around” through Europe or the Middle East, perhaps by linking together one of the other points-friendly destinations on this list.

Indeed, recall that one of the best sweet spots with Aeroplan is to fly to the “Asia 3” region – ideally optimized for South East Asia trips – for 87,500 Aeroplan points in business class. This could get you from North America to South East Asia via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways, or via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines, potentially with a stopover added for just 5,000 extra points.

Using Avios, you can also fly from North America to South East Asia via Doha in the world-class Qatar Airways Qsuites for just 95,000 Avios. To take things up a notch, if you’re heading to Thailand, you can also add a flight in Qatar Airways First Class between Doha and Bangkok at no extra cost.

For short-haul flying, Avios redemptions on Cathay Pacific or Malaysia Airlines will shuttle you from place to place, as will Aeroplan bookings on Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, or Bamboo Airways. And the region’s cheap travel infrastructure always gives us the ability to fall back on a laundry list of ultra-low-cost carriers, such as AirAsia, Scoot, or Lion Air.

On the accommodations side, hotel loyalty programs tend to give you outsized value in South East Asia compared to other parts of the world, especially if you have elite status.

This is true on both ends of the spectrum: luxurious resorts like The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi can be booked for as few as 55,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, whereas the same quality elsewhere in the world might run you much higher prices.

Junior Rainforest Suite, The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi

Meanwhile, even a lower-tiered hotel in South East Asia will most likely provide you with comfortable rooms, a picturesque pool scene, and a killer elite breakfast in the mornings.

Throw in the fact that non-hotel accommodations, like villa rentals and Airbnbs, can also be booked at bargain prices – and you’ve got all the ingredients for a very memorable, yet affordable adventure.

2. Middle East

Home to three of the world’s leading airlines in Emirates, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways, it’s no wonder that many Miles & Points enthusiasts end up developing a very close familiarity with the Middle East throughout their points-collecting careers.

Whether you spend time in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, or surrounding tourist hotspots like Egypt or Jordan, you’ll have no shortage of ways to put your points to good use.

For most travellers, an Aeroplan redemption on Etihad Airways is probably the most accessible route to the Gulf, and you can add a stopover for 5,000 points to take in the sights of the UAE’s capital if you’re headed onward from there.

If you’re up for a bit of a splurge, and an ostentatious experience to match, you could also use Aeroplan points to book an Emirates flight in business class or First Class.

Alternatively, consider collecting Alaska miles, Asia Miles, American Airlines AAdvantage miles, or British Airways Avios to use for Qatar Airways Qsuites, widely considered the world’s best business class.

Qatar Airways Qsuites business class

Within the region, Avios redemptions on Qatar Airways will be your short-haul transportation of choice. Consider looking at regional flights in Qatar Airways First Class to score access to the decadent Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha, complete with a jacuzzi, fine dining, and a museum.

For hotels, the Middle East has one of the greatest concentrations of high-end chain hotels in the world, and they represent fantastic deployments of the Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and World of Hyatt points that you’ve stockpiled.

All three chains have impressive portfolios in the region, with some top-notch properties like the Waldorf Astoria DIFC, the Waldorf Astoria Lusail Doha, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, the St. Regis Dubai The Palm, the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi, or the St. Regis Abu Dhabi.

Compared to South East Asia, the Middle East also has the advantage of not being quite as popular of a tourist hotspot, giving you very good chances of securing a stunning suite upgrade as a member with elite status.

St. Regis Abu Dhabi – Al Hosn Suite living room

In terms of the value of your points, it’s worth noting that the aforementioned properties tend to be relatively affordable if booked with cash, too, given the highly competitive nature of these local hotel markets.

But there are always pockets of exceptional value to be found, and for that, we can look no further than the Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai. A $2,000+/night Bedouin Suite with a private pool and all-inclusive meals and activities for as little as 92,000 Bonvoy points per night at the off-peak rates is indeed one of the most aspirational Marriott Bonvoy redemptions worldwide.

3. East Asia

Compared to South East Asia, the East Asian metropolises in Japan, South Korea, and Greater China can be slightly more expensive as tourist destinations, but remain ripe hunting grounds for Miles & Points bargains.

You’ll still enjoy an abundance of options for the long-haul flight, whether that’s the aforementioned premium carriers across the Pacific, or enjoying a stopover in Europe along the way.

Again, some of the best names in luxury travel are on the table, between ANA and Japan Airlines’s First Class cabins and the enticing possibility of Lufthansa or Etihad Airways First Class for the long way around.

Fly ANA First Class to Japan

You can also consider flying into Osaka (KIX) instead of Tokyo, for greater award availability.

Regionally, there’s no shortage of airlines to shuttle you around on short-haul Aeroplan or Avios bookings either.

In particular, it’s worth pointing out that international flights between China, South Korea, and Japan can often get disproportionately expensive to the distance flown – a problem easily resolved by Aeroplan’s distance-based charts within the Pacific region and the one-way stopover allowance.

Why pay $742 (CAD) for a journey through the trio of East Asian nations, when you could instead pay 13,000 or 25,000 Aeroplan points in economy class or business class (including a stopover), respectively?

In terms of the hotel experience in East Asia, there’s a nice mix of highly aspirational properties, such as The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, the Conrad Osaka, or The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, as well as very affordable options that are more commonplace throughout China.

Overall, the value for your hotel points might not be quite as spectacular as you’ll find in South East Asia, both in terms of dollar value (due to the higher cost base) and the hotel experience itself (since you’re more likely to be staying in a city hotel, where you won’t spend much time on the property, rather than a sunny resort with beaches and pools).

Having said that, the elite recognition remains excellent and the breakfast buffets tend to be just as impressive, so it’s hard to go wrong if you’re looking to redeem points at a good value in this part of the world.

Fantastic Suite, W Shanghai The Bund

4. Indian Subcontinent

At the confluence of all the regions we’ve discussed so far lies the Indian Subcontinent, so it’s only natural that your loyalty points can be applied to good use for travelling throughout this region as well.

From the west, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Swiss, Lufthansa, and Turkish Airlines all serve multiple destinations in India and its environs. To the east, connections are similarly plentiful on ANA, JAL, Thai Airways, and Singapore Airlines.

In terms of other airlines, consider looking for a long-haul flight with Vistara to India, or route via Bahrain or Oman with Gulf Air or Oman Air, respectively.

Oman Air 787 business class

And if you’re looking for a simpler itinerary for this relatively long journey, you might go with Air Canada’s direct flights from Toronto or Montreal to Delhi, or from Toronto to Mumbai via London.

Consider redeeming 87,500 Aeroplan points in business class if you’re lucky enough to find seats at the lower end of the dynamic range with Air Canada. Alternatively, try booking an Economy (Latitude) or Premium Economy (Flexible) fare and applying your eUpgrades.

On the ground, if you have elite status with a hotel loyalty program, you can expect to be treated like royalty in this part of the world.

Cost-wise, many high-end hotels are very reasonably priced with either cash or points. What’s more, vice-presidential and presidential suite upgrades aren’t necessarily uncommon, which could make for a very memorable stay.

Sri Lanka

One part of the subcontinent where the outstanding value of Miles & Points has been well-documented over the years is the Maldives, although some travellers may find the upfront costs prohibitive.

If you’ve had your eyes set on an aspirational trip to the middle of the Indian Ocean for a stay in an overwater villa, most of the aforementioned airlines can get you there at a fraction of the price. For your resort booking, use points to cover the base cost of the stay, and then strategically leverage your free breakfast benefit (if any) and then be prepared to fork out some cash for your other meals and activities.

5. Europe

As you can tell by now, many of the best destinations for maximizing Miles & Points tend to be straddling the line between the developing and developed worlds.

In these countries, the cost of labour remains lower than in Western countries, but rapid growth and strong demand for travel have led to abundant flight connections and fierce competition in the hotel market.

Now, these places can surely provide excellent experiences, but there’s no denying that they tend to make for “bigger” trips for the average traveller to plan around.

What if you wanted to take an “easier” trip not just in terms of maximizing points, but also in the traditional sense – somewhere a bit closer to home, perhaps without having to deal with any major language or cultural barriers?

Santorini, Greece

Well, a simple transatlantic hop to Europe might be what you’re looking for.

Geographically, Europe’s proximity to North America means that flights are short and sweet: as little as six hours from the East Coast, or eight to nine hours from the West Coast.

Most eastbound flights tend to be overnight, which may be a good thing (if you’re looking to maximize time on the ground) or a bad thing (if you really wanted to maximize the business class experience with your points). In the latter case, aim for one of the “Dayliners” from Toronto or New York to London for the full daytime experience.

With Aeroplan, we have a solid range of business class airlines to choose from, between Swiss, Lufthansa, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, and TAP Air Portugal. You could even opt for a fifth freedom flight from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt with Singapore Airlines, or from Newark (EWR) to Athens (ATH) or New York (JFK) to Milan (MXP) with Emirates.

Of course, Air Canada also offers many direct flights from its hub airports to Europe. If you’re able to find a flight at the lower end of the dynamic spectrum – great! If not, consider looking for eUpgrade availability and then use your eUpgrades to fly in Air Canada business class.

Also note that if you book a Business Class (Flexible) fare with Air Canada, you’ll have access to the Air Canada Signature Suite in Vancouver (YVR) or Toronto (YYZ) prior to your flight. 

Air Canada 777 business class

If you have access to American Express Membership Rewards, then you should strongly consider looking at a redemption to Europe with Air France/KLM Flying Blue. This is especially the case if you can take advantage of a Promo Reward that offers a 25–50% discount on award redemptions. 

In the past, we’ve seen prices as low as 7,500 Flying Blue miles from Montreal to Europe in economy, or 27,500 miles from Montreal to Europe in business class. Not only is this an excellent deal, but Air France and KLM have extensive networks in Europe, and the hard and soft products are better than many other airlines.

Other sweet spots are also worth a mention, such as 13,000 or 50,000 British Airways Avios for an off-peak Toronto–Dublin flight on Aer Lingus in economy or business class, respectively. For such a short flight duration, perhaps an economy class seat would be worth the significant savings here.

Geography also plays into your favour once you’re on the ground. Star Alliance and Oneworld collectively offer a huge array of airlines for short-haul flying through Aeroplan and Avios, respectively. And just like in South East Asia, we can also fall back on the low-cost stalwarts of Ryanair and EasyJet to see many places within a short span of time.

When it comes to hotels, the overall value proposition may admittedly be a step below some of the other destinations on this list. What do you expect from the continent that gave us “continental breakfast”?

But there will always be good deals to hunt for, from the luxurious $600+/night Mystique Resort on Santorini, to scoring a deal in ultra-expensive Switzerland, to basically any city hotel in the height of summertime when the cash prices are much higher than usual.


We spend a lot of time thinking about the best ways to rack up rewards points and earn elite status, so it’s just as important to also think about how we plan to maximize the fruits of our labour.

In general, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe tend to be the best destinations around the world in terms of the feasibility of redeeming your points for the best value.

Conveniently, these regions can be linked with each other in a comprehensive round-the-world trip, and it’s no wonder why such round-the-world trips (whether with Aeroplan, Avios, ANA, etc.) are so popular among the community.

Now, what if you want to travel to places that are not on this list? Well, it’s not that you won’t be able to get good value from your points – rather, you’ll just have to work a little harder for it.