May 15, 2024

[Ep. 401] How to Travel Better with Aeroplan Points with T.J. Dunn

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I’m Jessica and I’m a money expert, speaker, Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada®, host of the More Money Podcast, and am currently writing my first book with HarperCollins Canada (2025).
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We talked about how to use AIR MILES to travel better in episode 393 with President Shawn Stewart, and since getting so much great feedback from that episode, I thought why not do an episode talking about another great loyalty program for travel — Aeroplan. And since one of the best online sources for information about Aeroplan is Prince of Travel, I invited Editor-in-Chief T.J. Dunn on the show to find out all his tips, tricks, and secrets.

As someone who has been travel-hacking with Aeroplan points for years, T.J. now helps others learn how to use points to get free (or almost free trips), how to fly business class for a fraction of the cost, and when are the best times to book travel with points to get the best value.

All I can say is I’ve never been more excited about my future trip to Italy now that I know my flights are basically already paid for!


  • 00:00 Introduction and
  • 04:05 Guest Background
  • 10:25 Setting Goals and Maximizing Points
  • 17:03 Trends in Credit Card Welcome Bonuses
  • 32:34 Booking Flights with Different Airlines Using Points
  • 40:42 Long-Term Approach and Setting Goals


  • Set goals and work backwards to determine the number of points needed
  • Stay organized by using spreadsheets or weekly summaries to track credit card bonuses and spending
  • Audit your spending to identify areas where you can earn more points
  • Consider booking business class or first class flights for higher value per point
  • Stay informed about credit card offers and bonuses through newsletters and websites Maximize the value of loyalty points by setting goals and using them rather than hoarding them.
  • Consider booking flights with partner airlines to access more options and potentially better deals
  • Be strategic when redeeming points, taking into account the value you’re getting and the potential for future changes in redemption rates
  • Monitor your credit score and be mindful of the potential impact of credit card churning
  • Consulting services can provide personalized guidance and assistance in navigating loyalty programs
  • American Express cards in Canada often offer the best welcome bonuses and the ability to transfer points to multiple loyalty programs

Things I Mentioned in the Episode

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Welcome TJ to the More Money Podcast.

I’m so excited to have you on the show.

Thanks very much for having me.

I’m excited to be here too.

So I reached out because I get questions all the time and also just personally interested in learning how we can optimize rewards and points and get the most out of that.

Because most of us are using credit cards or participating in these programs every single day.

And we’re probably, we don’t have a strategy, we don’t have a plan, we don’t know what we’re doing.

And so we go to websites like Prince of Travel to find out, am I doing this right?

Should I consider getting a different card?

Should I, am I optimizing my points?

And of course, one thing that I always want to know is how on earth do I get one of those first class seats or business class and how do I afford that, not pay any money?

You see people online all the time being like, oh, look at me, I’m in this like pod and it’s free.

Or I paid $100.

You’re like, how, how did you do that?

So I’m excited to have you on the show to kind of dive deep into all of these things.

But before we get started, you want to tell me a little bit about yourself and how you started working with Prince of Travel and really what Prince of Travel is all about.

Yeah, for sure.

So my name is TJ.

I’m officially the Editor-in-Chief at Prince of Travel.

I started my journey with Prince of Travel five years ago when I was in grad school.

And so I started out with writing articles.

And then just about two years ago, I left my full-time job as a speech language pathologist and I came onto Prince of Travel in a full-time capacity.

So I’ve been, yeah, I’ve been around for a while.

It’s been really exciting to see it grow.

It’s great to work with my friends.

Prince of Travel, everything to do with credit cards, loyalty programs, airline industry.

We’ve got our website.

We have an in-house travel agency, concierge service.

We have an event that we run smaller events and larger events like the Travel Summit in Toronto, which we host every year.

And we love to help people maximize their credit cards and get on those first class flights, business class flights, economy flights, whatever your goals are.


I didn’t actually know you did events.

Is there one coming up?

I didn’t know it was in Toronto too.

That’s really interesting.

Yeah, so we have the second edition of the Travel Summit.

We’re expecting around 500 people this year.

It’s happening at the end of April 26th, 27th in Toronto.

Yeah, it’s going to be great.

It’s a two day event, we have 26 or 28 breakout sessions or even more probably ranging from everything from credit card points, miles and points for beginners all the way to advanced.

We have content creators coming as well and then a lifestyle track.

So people who integrate work with travel.

So yeah, this is the second time we’ve done it.

The first one was in October, 2022.

And we’ve run a bunch of smaller events as well ranging from pub meetups with our community to events for around 100, 150 people, which we call the Prince of Travel Signature Events.

Oh, nice.

How would people find out about that?

Do you have like an email list or like how to stay, how to find out when the next event is gonna happen?

Yeah, we have an email list.

People can sign up for our newsletter.

We broadcast it on our website, on our social media channels.

We broadcast it all over the place because we think it’s a great event and we want people to come.

Yeah, let’s talk about some of these loyalty programs.

Recently this season had someone from Air Miles on, so we talked about that program specifically.

And I know some of the questions I got was, what about Aeroplan or what about other programs and which one’s better?

So do you wanna kind of lay out what are some of the loyalty programs that Prince of Travel kind of focuses on and sees the most value for consumers?

Yeah, for sure, I think the biggest one that we write about and I think what we’re known best for is covering Aeroplan.

So Aeroplan last went through a big revision, a relaunch back in fall of 2020.

And since then, it’s really gained not only attention across Canada, but also in the United States and worldwide as well.

It’s fortunately in Canada, it’s a really accessible program through flying with Air Canada, obviously, but through credit card partnerships, through transferable points like American Express Points, which you can convert one to one into Aeroplan Points and also other programs.

And then they’ve made it really easy to earn points for everyday spending in a variety of ways.

So you can earn points with Starbucks, LCBO in Ontario, Journey Rewards, lots of different ways.

So, and for online shopping as well through the Aeroplan eStore.

So it’s a great program.

I think what a lot of people don’t realize is yes, you can book flights with Air Canada, but you can also book flights with 45 partner airlines as well, Star Alliance Airlines and independent airlines as well.

So it’s a fantastic program for people who want to fly economy, people who want to fly business class and people who even want to fly first class.

Now, yeah, one of the things, cause I started, you know, also like, it’s only been a few years that I think I’ve been part of Aeroplan and really seeing how I can accumulate points for future travel.

You know, what are some key things that if you’re just getting started with this particular loyalty program that is key to make sure you’re getting those points?

Like, is it like, okay, the first thing is to look at which credit cards are offering the best bonuses right now.

I think what I usually recommend people do is to kind of set a goal and to think about what you want to get out of it.

Because once you know what your goal is, you can kind of work backwards from there and think, you know, let’s say you want to fly from Toronto to Europe in business class.

And so you read up a little bit about the different programs, you see what’s out there, and then you realize, okay, well, I need to earn around 60,000 aeroplan points to do that 60,000, 70,000, depending on your destination and where you’re flying from.

And then once you have that level at 60,000, 70,000, you could get that with a single welcome bonus on a credit card, which is, you know, crazy to think that you can get a flight that costs $3,000 or $4,000 with a single welcome bonus from a credit card.

If you want to use your daily spending to help you get there, you can think, okay, well, I need 60,000 points.

I earn five points per dollar on my credit card at grocery stores.

I need to spend $12,000 at grocery stores or restaurants and bars over the course of the year.

And then I’ll have unlocked my goal of flying in business class.

So yeah, I really recommend that everybody kind of sets a goal and researches what’s out there.

And also it helps you realize what it should cost.

You can book the same flights through different programs.

And so by spending a little bit of time on the front end, you realize, you know, you’ll make sure that you’re earning the right kind of points to reach your goal.

You make sure that you’re on track, you know, if you’re planning a year or two in advance.

And then, yeah, it’s fun watching the, watching, keeping track and seeing yourself get to the finish line and then clicking the book button is the second best feeling because the best feeling is actually getting on the plane and experiencing it for the first time.

Now, you mentioned track, and I think that’s part of the reason that for many years, I was not into kind of the loyalty or the credit card charting or that kind of whole thing, because I’m like, that sounds like a lot of work, and I just don’t have time to track another thing.

If you do want to really like, okay, let’s do this, let’s play the points game.

What are some methods to keep organized, such as if you’re applying for lots of different credit cards, or not lots, but a few, how to make sure, because I think one thing I honestly started was a spreadsheet, because I’m like, okay, I’m applying for two different credit cards, they offer these bonuses, this is what it says.

But in order to get those bonuses, which most people forget about, it’s like you have to hit certain spending targets.

You have to spend this amount, you have to activate your card, you have to do all these things.

So in your mind, what is the best way to really organize everything so you don’t like, oh, shoot, I was supposed to spend like $1,000 on my credit card this month in order to get the full amount and I didn’t shoot?

Yeah, a lot of people use spreadsheets, especially once, you know, as you become more into, integrated with Miles and Points.

If you have a few different things on the go, if you have a few different credit cards to make sure that you’re getting the most out of every dollar that you spend, you might buy groceries on one card, you might buy gas on another card.

And so you kind of have your effort spread across different areas, different cards, and that’s when being organized comes into play.

So some people use spreadsheets and find it really helpful.

You can keep track of things like when your next annual fee is due, what the minimum spending requirement for a credit card is and how, when you have to meet that by.

So you can make sure that you’re, oh, I need to put some money on this card this month because it’s a one-time opportunity.

And if you don’t hit it, you don’t really get a second chance.

Then you lose those.

Yeah, staying organized, using spreadsheets.

Some people like to do a weekly summary.

So every, usually on the weekend on Saturday or Sunday morning, I’ll wake up and make myself a nice cappuccino and just open my laptop and just go through my loyalty accounts, go through my credit cards, make sure all the bills are paid, make sure all the points are where they’re supposed to be.

And then, yeah, just make sure that I’m on track for any goals, any trips that I’m planning.

And if I’m planning far ahead, I can start looking to see what’s out there.

Maybe I need to add another credit card to my rotation or maybe I need to adjust, redirect some of my spending on my existing cards.

Oh, well, that’s a great question too.

Is I found for me, the best way to accumulate those points is sometimes getting those bonuses because sometimes they are just massive.

And the annoying thing too is they change all the time.

And so I remember signing up for two credit cards back in I think the summer of 2022.

And at the time that was like, it was just luck.

There were some really good bonuses for those.

And then two years later, they’ve kind of depreciated.

So I mean, yeah, what is the best way to keep track of which credit cards are offering, which bonuses and how to know when, oh, this is a good time to get in or maybe wait to see if they up it in the future?

Yeah, I mean, on our website, we cover that in detail.

Lots of other websites do as well.

So I think if you’re really interested in this and you really wanna sink your teeth into it, make sure that you’ve got a good newsfeed coming in and make sure that you’re staying on top of things.

For something, if it’s a record high welcome bonus on a credit card, it’s gonna generate a lot of interest from the Miles and Points community.

And so if we’re writing an article about the latest credit card offers, and if it’s a record high welcome bonus, we’ll put right in there that it’s never been better than this and now is a perfect time to apply.

And if there’s not a record high welcome bonus out there as well, it should be pretty easy to find.

We certainly list on our website a list of historical offers.

So you can go in and say, this is low compared to the highest that it’s ever been.

Maybe I’ll hold out and I’ll put my efforts elsewhere for now.

So yeah, there’s lots of information out there.

And I think it’s best to work it into your weekly rotation, sign up for newsletters, get alerts from your favorite websites like Prince of Travel whenever new blog posts go out.

And yeah, the more you keep your finger on the pulse, the more you stand to gain from it.

Well, speaking of a kind of historical trends, what have you seen in the past couple of years?

Have you seen a decline or just a shift, or is it really dependent on the credit card or the institution that’s offering?

I think during the pandemic, we saw some blockbuster, never before seen welcome bonuses in Canada that we’d only ever seen in the United States before.

So there was a good period of time where there were really, really good welcome bonuses on a lot of credit cards out there, which was super exciting and it was great.

Lots of people came out of the pandemic with a nice healthy points balance.

And once the world started opening up again, they had a massive amount of points to use.

And so lots of people booked really cool trips, which was fantastic.

And since then, there’s still been a good trend in Canada, in particular, with card issuers putting out big welcome bonuses to attract people into their ecosystem.

So it’s nice to see some competition, one bank one upping the other with the size of a welcome bonus.

But I think one thing that I’ve noticed, especially over the last year, if not the last couple of years, is that the way that the welcome bonus is structured is shifting.

So before it might be spend $6,000 in three months, then you get all of the points.

But now we’re kind of seeing a trend where the welcome bonus is either spread out over the course of the first year.

So you have to spend $500 every month, and then each month you get a smaller welcome bonus, which is difficult to keep track of for some people.

And from the bank side, they want people spending on their card on the long term.

So that makes total sense.

So we’re seeing that, and we’re also seeing welcome bonuses split up into the first and the second year.

So you might get 50% of the welcome bonus in the first year.

And then after you renew the card for the second year, sometimes you have to make a purchase on it, sometimes you don’t.

You get the second allotment of points.

So it’s changing a bit.

I think that’s become more of a trend than the sky high record high welcome bonuses and the 100, 150,000 point range.

But there’s still lots of value to be found there.

And I think you just really have to crunch the numbers and make sure that you’re getting that value from your credit card to justify whatever cost you’ll be incurring.

Yeah, I’ve definitely seen that with a lot of cards is that you’ll get a certain amount, like it’ll promote it.

You’ll get 100,000 points.

And then you look at the small print, you’re like, well, you’ll get like 50% on card renewal.

And you’re like, well, that’s when you’re gonna charge me my annual fee.

And I was planning on not keeping you for that time because they give me your first year free.

So I guess, like you said, it’s really important to make those calculations.

And again, like that is a lot of work, but I guess when you’re in it, it can kind of become a fun hobby to track all of those kinds of numbers.

I guess the one thing too, I think the reason that for a long time, I just like wasn’t really into the loyalty that the points accumulation was.

Part of it is, the reason points exist is to encourage you to spend.

So you don’t wanna just get into it unless you know, like for example, the reason I got into it is, oh, I have a lot of business expenses and I’m really not using maybe the best card to get the best points.

I should really shift that kind of strategy or I have a couple big home expenses coming out.

If I put that on a credit card, I’m gonna pay for it anyway, I have to, I can get some points.

So not that you’re a personal finance expert or anything, but do you have any kind of insight or even just a personal experience, how to kind of manage your budget while also kind of getting on this track of accumulating points?

You don’t wanna spend money for no reason exactly.

Yeah, for sure.

I think just very briefly, I got into Miles and Points because I was planning a wedding seven years ago.

And I thought, we’re spending a ton of money here.

Before that, it had taken me four years to earn enough points for a one-way flight in economy.

And I thought, somebody’s doing this better than I am.

So yeah, I started reading up about points and the goal that we had was to fly business class, one way in business class on our honeymoon.

And so we set the goal, we said we need this many points, and then we started working backwards from there.

And then we quickly realized that goal and then thought, okay, well maybe we still got lots of money to spend for the wedding.

Maybe we can get our return flights booked in business class as well.

And then we did that.

And then we still had some spending to do.

So we thought, all right, let’s stay in some fancy hotels.

So we got into the hotel side of things.

And then, yeah, seven years later, here I am and it’s my day-to-day life.

I live and breathe this stuff and it’s great.

We’ve had some fantastic experiences too.

You brought up a really good point around both business expenses and planning in advance around large purchases.

So tax season is right here.

You can pay taxes with a credit card.

If you have a large tax bill, that’s a great opportunity to work towards a welcome bonus on a credit card.

You have to pay for it because you can’t just pay without a credit card processing fee, unfortunately.

But oftentimes, depending on the type of points that you’re earning and what you stand to unlock by paying a little bit, you might get a big welcome bonus out of it that’s totally, that you can justify the fee for.

Another thing that we recommend that people do is to audit your spending.

And so you think, where do I spend all my money?

Okay, well, everybody spends money on groceries.

And fortunately, lots of credit cards have really good earning multipliers for grocery stores.

So that’s great.

You look for a card that earns five or six points per dollar at a grocery store, and you’re getting a minimum of five to 6% back on every dollar that you spend at a grocery store, which is great.

If you spend a lot of money on gas, you wanna make sure that you’re getting more than the baseline one point per dollar spent at gas stations.

You look for two, maybe even three, maybe even four points or cash back, whatever people are into.

We send to recommend points for better value, but yeah, so we recommend audit your spending and think about where you spend money and then look to pair that with a credit card that has an earning multiplier on all of the stuff that you spend money on.

And that’s when building up a small portfolio of credit cards comes in handy.

So you might use one, you might have your grocery credit card, and then you might have your gas credit card.

You might have your credit card for everything else that has a high baseline earning rate.

So you’re earning a little bit more with every dollar that you spend.

And then you’re getting yourself in a business class and first class seats a lot faster that way.

Yeah, no, that’s actually something that whenever I work with a financial counseling client and we look at, how are you spending your money?

And even in my budget spreadsheets, I have a section where it’s like, put your payment, like what you’re paying rent, are you doing it with your checking account, or can you do it with a credit card or your groceries?

Put that specific payment method in there so you know what your habits are.

And I think most of us don’t do that, but just thinking a lot of our expenses are actually those recurring expenses, the phone bill, the subscriptions, things like that.

And often we’re using some card that, I don’t know, it was one of our first cards and we never really think about it, but just thinking about things differently.

If I just like change the payment method to maybe this card it is signed up for, I have to hit those kind of payment targets to get the bonuses, then you can just get there that much quicker.

But I think that’s a great idea to audit, like how am I paying for things?

And can I optimize that?

Because most of us are just, there was no thought when we set that up, we just started doing it and then didn’t really think about what the best way of doing that.

You mentioned, and this was again, a big dream of mine to eventually do like first class or even business class I’ve never even done.

And part of it is just like, I’m just too damn cheap, but I do want to have that experience and I would love to do that on point so I can feel like I didn’t really pay for all of it.

So when it comes to especially booking flights, and sometimes I’m on those different calculators, you can use, and I know, I think Prince of Travel has a lot of great info on looking at the dollar per and things like that.

Do you get more value and does it depend on the program, but do you get more value out of like booking economy or business class?

I’ve heard sometimes, oh no, you get better value with the business class bookings, even though it’s a more expensive ticket.

Do you have kind of some thoughts on that?

Yeah, definitely.

I think this is a really good example that illustrates the magic of miles and points.

To use an example of, if you’re earning cash back on a credit card and you want to book a flight that costs $5,000 to pay cash for a business class flight, you’re gonna have to spend a lot of money on that cash back card, hundreds of thousands of dollars before you earn enough cash back to get yourself on that flight.

However, if you’re earning things like Aeroplan points, you don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to unlock this really cool experience that’s out of reach for a lot of people who won’t pay $5,000 out of pocket for a business class flight.

I can’t do that.

But would you pay $100 out of pocket for that same flight?

You get the same lounge access, you get the same meals on board, you’re not treated any differently because you booked it on points.

But you got there and you paid a fraction of the price because you unlocked the magic of miles and points that way.

So yeah, generally speaking, premium cabin redemption, so anything other than economy, tends to yield the highest, if you think about it in cents per point value.

We have our points valuations on our website, so we kind of have, we use those as a target baseline redemption value.

You can get more, you can get less, but generally speaking, you know, you should get at least this amount from your points.

You can still get great value from economy flights as well.

It just doesn’t tend to fall into that outsized value category where, you know, if you’re getting two cents per point on an economy flight, that’s pretty good.

If you’re booking business class or first class, you know, you’re probably hitting at least four or five cents per point, if not up into the 10, 15, if you’re booking a really crazy expensive flight that, you know, probably hardly anybody actually pays cash for, but you’re getting the same experience.

And it comes literally at a fraction of the price.

I guess the other kind of complicated thing, when you’re at that point, you’re like, okay, I’m ready to book my flight, and I’m ready to get this trip going, is do we do Air Canada?

Do we do, like you said, all the 40 partner airlines that can possibly also get us there, and how do I decide?

And then also, at what time of year?

Or, you know, it’s like, everyone’s just like, how do I get the perfect flight for the perfect price?

Are there kind of some tips you have for figuring out, oh, you want to, you know, I feel like it’s probably not anymore, but the rule was like, oh, book on a Tuesday.

Tuesdays are good.

I don’t know if that’s any, I don’t think that matters anymore, but it used to be back in the day.

Yeah, so that’s the other side of the thing.

So once you’ve earned enough points, you know, rare are the occasions where you just flip open your laptop, you make your search in your loyalty program of choice, and you get exactly what you want.

Sometimes that happens, and when it does, it feels really good.

But the work’s not finished just because you’ve earned enough points to do things.

So if every single seat on every single business class seat for on a plane was available for booking with points at the same price, this hobby wouldn’t exist.

People would book those up right away.

So airlines, you know, they do tend to release, it could be a handful of seats, it could be a couple, it could be a bunch depending on the airline.

And so if you’re planning in advance, you know, thinking about a year ahead, as soon as the airline releases its schedule, that’s usually a really good time to book the business class premium, any premium flight.

But as soon as those get booked up, then there’s kind of this period of time where you might find it, but you probably won’t.

And so you have to start searching around even more.

And all of that kind of comes to a head within about a month prior to a flight’s departure.

And when you’re looking at a month before you intend to fly or even a couple of weeks or sometimes even a couple of days, that’s when basically you can pick and choose any product.

The world’s best business class, the world’s best first class flights, the best time to book is literally right before you go to fly.


It’s scary.

But you’re saying even a month is considered kind of last minute, but or is it better know like if you’re the weeks before or the days before or like where you really get the opportunities?

I think within a month is pretty good.

As you approach the actual flight date, that’s when things really start opening up.

And that’s when you see all of the prices that you want to see for booking flights on points.

You know, throughout the year, you might have been watching a flight from Vancouver to Australia.

And every day you see 300,000 points and you think, well, I don’t have 300,000 points.

I have 85,000 or 80,000, 90,000 points.

And then in the month, weeks leading up to the flight, all of a sudden you see that magical number and you can go to book it.

That sounds so stressful, though.

It’s like making me sweat just thinking about, we booked all of our accommodations and all of our activities, but we haven’t booked the flight.

Oh, I’ve never done that in my life.

I’m way too…

But I like the idea of it.

Well, I always recommend…

One of the great things about points as well is that unlike cash flights, you can get your points back.

It’ll cost you whatever the cancellation fee is.

But for some loyalty programs, it’s $50, $25, $100.

So I always…

If you’re not comfortable waiting till the last minute, which most people aren’t, I always recommend book a backup option.

Book something that you’d be happy to fly.

You can book all of your hotels, all of your activities.

And that way, you know that you have something.

And then if something better comes along, the point you pay whatever the cancellation fee is, the points get back in your account right away, and then you can book the better flights.

So there’s a cost that comes with that, but on the other side of the coin, you get what you want.

But you mentioned the flight schedule.

I’ve never thought of that or even heard of that in my life.

When does these airlines release their flight schedule?

Is it just once per year, or how often does that happen, and how do you get in on the ground floor to find out when this happens?

This is a bit of a complex answer.

So if you’re booking Air Canada flights with Air Canada’s loyalty program, you can start booking them typically 360 days in advance.

So just about a year out.

If you’re booking Air Canada flights with another loyalty program from another Star Alliance airline, you can probably only start booking those around 330 days in advance.

But some airlines release award seats to other loyalty programs close to a year in advance.

Others don’t release them until literally two weeks before the flights due to depart.

So it’s really all over the place.

Gosh, and I don’t know if we covered this yet, but say I have a bunch of Aeroplan points, and I’m curious about just trying out a different airline.

How do I go about, like I actually don’t even know how to book that.

It’s very clear on the Aeroplan website to book through Air Canada, but what if I want to do Lufthansa or one of the other cool airlines?

How do I do that with my Aeroplan?

Yeah, you just book it right on the Aeroplan website.

You don’t need to do anything special.

One of the things that’s really helpful to do is to play around with the filters that are available on Aeroplan or on any loyalty program website.

For example, if you wanted to fly Toronto to Frankfurt with Lufthansa and you have Aeroplan points and you really want to fly with Lufthansa, all you need to do is use the filters that Aeroplan has on there and then deselect other airlines.

You can deselect Air Canada, you can deselect United Airlines, you can deselect Tap Air Portugal.

It’s only showing Lufthansa flights.

If you don’t see anything, even though you know that the flight is operating on that day, that just means that there isn’t any award availability at that time.

But if you do see something, then great, you can go ahead and book it.

Definitely make use of filters.

It’ll help you find what you want.

And then there are award search tools, different websites that help you really get down, filter down so you’re only seeing results for what you want to see.

And like you mentioned too, when you’re comparing what this would cost in cash compared to points, there are calculators and things like that that show you, listen, if you’re going to book it with points, this is how much it should probably cost if you’re getting value.

And then I guess that would help you determine whether it makes more sense just to pay cash.

Because I noticed on Aeroplan also you have the option of paying it fully in points or partially.

And what are your thoughts on that?

Is that ever a good idea or does it make more sense just to do points instead of partial?

Yeah, I think if you’re looking at it from a pure value standpoint, Aeroplan usually gives you four options for booking flights.

One is to pay, you pay nothing in cash and you pay everything in points.

The tricky thing there is that let’s say you had $250 in taxes and fees that you’d need to pay.

The rate that Aeroplan gives you for that $250 is one cent per point, I think.

I haven’t looked at this in a while, but when we crunched the numbers a while ago, it was one cent per point.

And we value Aeroplan points at 2.1 cents per point.

So I’d look at that and I’d say, well, I’m not getting very good value for my points this way.

So I’m happy to pay that $250 because I’d like to save those points for another redemption.

And Aeroplan and lots of other loyalty programs increasingly, they allows you to have a sliding scale where you say, okay, well, I don’t have 90,000 points, but I have 70,000 points.

So I can still book the flight that costs 85,000 points, but I’m going to pay more in taxes and fees.

And essentially, you’re buying points back from yourself for whatever the going rate is.

And with Aeroplan, this actually doesn’t work out to be a bad deal.

I think they sell them for around, or you wind up paying around 2.1 or 2 cents per point, which really isn’t that bad of a deal.

So if you’re just short, you know, it’s the easiest way to get what you want, and you’re actually getting a pretty fair price.

But again, depending on the loyalty program, depending on what you’re comfortable with, just always crunch the numbers to make sure that you’re, you know, happy with the redemption value that you’re getting.

Yeah, that was one thing I wondered.

I never really hear anyone talk about buying more points.

It’s always about how to accumulate them through credit cards or just purchases.

So do you think it can be a good idea to buy points, or is it just like depends on if you need them during that moment?

Yeah, lots of our loyalty programs put on sales where they just sell points.

All loyalty programs, most loyalty programs will sell you points at any time throughout the year.

But during the sales, you might get a 50% bonus, 50% discount, 100% bonus.

Those happen quite often.

And what we suggest is that it’s not really a good idea to speculatively buy points without a redemption in mind.

So if you pay attention to the sales and you see a good price for points, if you buy those points and then all of a sudden a month from now, the loyalty program changes the prices of what it costs to redeem, then you’ve just lost a whole bunch of the value that you’ve put into it.

On the other hand, if you buy points for a specific use that you had in mind, let’s say a one-way business class flight to Europe, for example, it’s going to cost you more than what it would otherwise cost to earn those points with the credit cards through a welcome bonus or through spending on your card every day, but it’s going to cost you probably a lot less than the actual cash price.

In a lot of cases, it winds up being a really great deal, but that one is a much more difficult one for people to wrap their heads around.

But there is outstanding value to be found there for sure.

Just be strategic about it.

I know with Airplan specifically, you can also, if you have family, you can do a family account or join it with a partner.

I don’t actually know, and I don’t know if you know the answer to this, but if you have an account and your partner has an account, they already have points, can you combine them or do you have to start something from scratch?

Yeah, lots of programs have family pooling or household accounts.

They all have different rules and what’s allowed and what’s not allowed and who can join your account and who can’t, what frequency people can join and so on and so forth.

But Aeroplan’s family sharing feature has been temporarily disabled since I think August of last year.

I think they were aware of some fraud issues or something was going on.

So they’ve temporarily disabled it for new family sharing accounts.

It’ll come back online at some point in the near future.

We don’t know when.

Other programs like Air France KLM Flying Blue, another popular program that’s really great for Canadians.

They allow family pooling, British Airways Executive Club, another really good program for Canadians and for people all over the world.

They have a household account feature.

So if you have 50,000 points in one account, 50,000 points in another, the total balance available to people within that account is 100,000 points.

And talking a little bit more about the total balance, I’m just even thinking for me, I started this points journey a few years ago now, and I have not actually redeemed anything.

And that’s part of just human behavior, I have a tendency to hoard.

And especially when it comes to points, because I’m just like, oh, I just want to make sure I have enough, but then they’re just accumulating.

I’ve seen conversations about, there’s even like this term like earn and burn.

Do you think the best way to get the value out of your points is to make sure you’re setting that goal and you’re earning it and you’re spending it?

Because I think people tend to have a, it’s hard to let go and to actually spend the points because they know how much effort it took to accumulate them.


We have the mantra of earn and burn.

Unfortunately, points don’t appreciate when they sit in your accounts for years.

They don’t earn interest.

They don’t grow in value.

If anything, they tend to decrease in value if a program decides to up the prices for awards or go through changes where they lose partners or anything could happen.

You’re only ever guaranteed to get the value you can get from your points by what you can redeem them for today.

I am certainly a very firm believer in earning points with a goal in mind.

And then once you reach that goal, you burn them.

And then you set a new goal, and you start earning back towards meeting that next goal.

And then once you’ve reached it, burn those again, and so on and so forth.

You’ve probably seen it all, heard it all.

Are there some mistakes that you see people do, especially like new people that are just getting started into this loyalty, kind of participation?

What are some things that people should not do or avoid?

Because it could be a costly mistake.

I mean, one thing that comes to mind is, if you get really into the credit card charting, just be aware it can impact your credit score.

Yeah, that’s a really good point as well.

I think my number one pointer that I give to people who are starting out is that it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint.

So think long-term in mind, think long-term financial health, credit health.

You know, make sure that you’re staying on top of that, monitor your credit score, make sure that if you need to get a mortgage coming up, you want to make sure that your credit score is in tip top shape.

Yeah, don’t just apply for five credit cards.

If you know you have to get a mortgage soon, maybe not the best idea.

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

But yeah, so it’s a marathon.

It’s not a sprint.

I always tell people, you know, just get one credit card.

Let’s do a little consultation here.

We’ll tailor one credit card to your needs right now.

And then come back to me in a couple of months and just let me know if this has changed your habits or changed how you think about earning points.

And then from there, you can start setting goals, start working backwards.

And, you know, the best part of what I do is getting a message from somebody on their first business class flight.

You know, they’re flying 35,000 feet in the air.

They got a glass of champagne in their hand.

And they get a thank you message that says, you know, I never thought that I’d be doing this, but here I am flying in the throes of luxury, sipping on champagne, looking out the window.

And it feels absolutely fantastic.

So getting people to that point is one of the most rewarding things that I do in my position.

And it’s really exciting, you know, flying business class, first class, staying in fancy hotels.

So yeah, I always tell people, approach it slowly, make that goal, and start working towards it with, you know, a long-term focus.

I mean, that’s like everything.

I mean, that’s great advice because I do feel like you’ve got to be patient with it.

But too often, whether it’s points or even like investing, people just want it right away.

They want the results.

It’s like, that’s just not how it works.

If you want to do it correctly and avoid some costly mistakes.

So no, I think that’s great advice.

You mentioned just one thing, and I saw this on your website.

I didn’t know you guys did that, consultations.

You have consultants.

So if someone were like, I don’t have the time to figure this out on my own, can someone help me?

Is that something that you guys provide?

Yeah, absolutely.

We have a team of consultants here at Prince of Travel.

We do everything from earning to redeeming.

So if you’re just getting started out, you want to learn how to earn points effectively, you want to skip the learning curve, talk with one of our team members.

They’ll help you get a sense of which credit cards are best tailored to your specific situation and also the goals that you have in mind.

And on the other side of the coin, if you have a whole bunch of points and you want to get the hardest to book flights.

I’m sort of asking for myself because I’m like, I got some points, I want to go to Italy.

Can you help me?

Yeah, 100%.

So this is something that your experts can…

Is that kind of part of the, I guess, the travel agency arm?

It’s like we can help you figure out what’s the right time and what’s the right flight.

Yeah, our travel agency is mostly right now, we’re doing luxury hotel bookings with preferred partner programs.

But kind of adjacent to that is our consulting service that we offer.

Some people want help with actually booking flights.

Some people just want it to be a learning session on, you know, teach me the tips and tricks for this crazy world of miles and points.

They’re a lot of fun.

If you’re on the fence about it, I’d encourage you to give it a read.

I’ve had lots of fun doing consulting for the last few years, and I think we’ve helped a lot of people get to where they want to be.

Yeah, no, I think it’s a really cool idea.

Well, there’s, like you mentioned, so many great resources on the Prince of Travel, hence why I wanted to have you on the show.

I’ve seen your content for a number of years, and I’m like, this is so well organized and so, again, really specific to certain programs and for Canadians, which I really appreciate.

Because a lot of points websites are like, oh, it’s for Americans.

Shoot, I can’t get that credit card with this really great bonus because I’m Canadian.

But I think that’s a really great resource for people to check out if they want to investigate further.

But like you said, there’s a lot of, you know, you’ve got a website, I think there’s a YouTube channel where can people find more information about Prince of Travel and some of the great resources that you have.

We’ve got a whole bunch of stuff on the website, lots of guides to credit cards and loyalty programs, airline products, hotels, we do reviews, lots of stuff on our YouTube channel and our social media channel.

Give us a follow, subscribe to the newsletter, send me some feedback, what you want to see on the website, and we can make it happen.

Before you leave, I should have asked this question long ago, just as we’re talking, are there any credit cards that people should be aware of that right now they have some good offers?

Anything to peak people’s interest?


Generally speaking, American Express cards in Canada have both the best welcome bonuses and also the best kinds of points.

So by earning one type of points, American Express points, you have access to three great loyalty programs in each of the major airline alliances.

So you can transfer them to Air Canada Aeroplan for Star Alliance, British Airways Executive Club for One World, and Air France KLM Flying Blue for Sky Team.

So literally a hundred airlines or something like that just by earning one type of point.

In terms of welcome bonuses, the cards with higher annual fees, the platinum cards always have a really healthy, really interesting welcome bonus.

But if people are looking for one card to just kind of get them into the game to use as a daily driver, the American Express Cobalt Card has been Canada’s, what we think is Canada’s best credit card ever since it came on in 2017, I think.

It’s got a great earning rate on lots of things that people spend lots of money on every month.

So you’ll multiply your earnings.

It’s never really been a great card for a welcome bonus, but it’s a card that you keep year after year after year after year, and you put as much spending on it as you can on it.

Yeah, I’ve been hearing that for so long.

And I think part of the reason I’m like, I don’t know, is because there isn’t really a great welcome bonus.

But I think, yeah, maybe having that long-term strategy is the way to go.

So thank you so much for sharing that and everything.

I think I learned a lot.

I’m sure everyone listening learned a lot.

So thank you so much for coming on the show.

Thanks very much for having me.

I’d love to do it again.

And that was episode 401 of the More Money Podcast with TJ.

Dunn, Editor-in-Chief at Prince of Travel.

You can learn more at and make sure to follow them on Twitter and Instagram at Prince of Travel.

Also, same handle on YouTube and TikTok and LinkedIn, all the places, Prince of Travel.

And they’ve got a lot of great articles and calculators and things like that on their website, but also love their YouTube channel as well if you’re kind of more into the YouTube travel.

And I am, obviously.

So make sure to check them out, once again,

But also, I will include all of these links in the show notes for this episode,

And if you don’t know, if you want to find more information about any episode, like who is that person, you can find all of my podcast episodes on my website,

Or if you do know the number of that specific episode, you can go the number of that particular episode is.

And if you don’t know who, like you listened to something a couple of weeks ago and you’re like, who was that person I can’t remember, I literally don’t mind if you shoot me an email or a DM on Instagram being like, what was that episode you did with something, something, something?

I will know.

I remember everything.

So, you know, hit me up.

I don’t mind at all.

I’m happy to direct you to more information about whatever that episode was.

Okay, so that’s that.

Thank you so much for listening.

A couple really important things.

Number one, the biggest thing is, and I can’t remember if I mentioned this in last week’s episode, but possibly, possibly, I have officially finished updating my investing course.

So if you don’t know, if you’re new to me or if you’ve never heard about this before because I’m terrible at promoting it, and that’s something that I’m going to be working on in the coming months, I have an investing course that I launched in 2021 called Wealth Building Blueprint for Canadians.

It’s currently by Application Only, and that’s really just to ensure that this is a course that I want to make sure the students that enter it, they want to be there, they are keen, they are going to go through the entire course because that is how you find success with the course is by actually going through the entire thing and then implementing what you learn.

It is a course that is all about passive investing, just like I preach all the time on this podcast.

Long-term investing, strategic investing, through having a portfolio of index funds.

Lazy investing, as some people call it.

I don’t care what you call it.

All I know is that is how I like to invest.

I’ve done a ton of research on active versus passive, and passive just in my mind is the best strategy for most investors.

So if you want to learn more, you can find it all on my website,

Very soon, I will be doing a webinar because I have not done a webinar for this course for gosh years, probably since 2021 when I launched it.

So it’s due.

And there’s just a lot of new people to the podcast and on my Instagram and other platforms that aren’t aware of the course.

And I think it’s pretty excellent.

There’s already over 400 students that have found significant success with their wealth building journey in the course.

And there’s so many great freebies and just like great value inside the course that I know probably most other course creators don’t provide.

I definitely over deliver, including having a monthly Q&A group session every single month that you always have access to.

You get lifetime access to the course, which includes any time I update the course and I’m going to be integrating new lessons, and I do that all the time when it’s necessary.

I make new tools specifically for the course.

I mean, recently a student asked, hey, how do I find out my returns if I have five different portfolios?

It’s like that’s a fairly actual simple equation, but who wants to make a spreadsheet calculator that does that?

I do, so I built it, and I do that all the time.

And there’s a Facebook group, you have private access to me through a support email.

You also get a free 30-minute one-on-one with me once you finish the course.

There’s a little incentive to finish the course.

And just kind of unrestricted access to me basically.

So again, you can find more information about that and apply.

And then you also get to have a call with me, which is really cool.

I probably won’t be doing that forever, but currently I’m still offering that.

So if you want to have a one-on-one call with me, this is your time to do it.

Again, go to

That’s where you can find all that information.

And the last thing I’m going to leave you with is just a reminder that because we’re getting close to the end of the season, I am still doing my book giveaway.

So I’m giving away copies of books of all of the authors that were featured on this season of the show, giving away copies of their books.

Go to

That is where you can find that.

I recently got an email being like, where is the page on your website?

Yeah, it’s not listed on my website.

It is a specific link that I just shout out on this podcast because it really is, I don’t want to just have any person who just Googles me and then finds this and then enters the contest and then goes away.

It’s really a contest for you amazing listeners to say, thank you for listening and supporting this show.

I’m going to reward you with a book.

So is where you can find that information.

So to tease who I’ve got on the show next week.

Oh, I love this episode.

I’ve got John Bromley on the show.

He is the CEO of Charitable Impact.

And we’re talking about charitable giving, how to integrate that into your financial plan.

And he has a really interesting organization that allows you to donate in a very different way, but still get that tax receipt, which we all love.

So that is what we got on the show.

And then after next week, we’ve only got two more weeks.

We’re wrapping up this season, June 5th.

And then I’m going to be on summer hiatus, which I’m really looking forward to.

I just need a little bit of a break, you guys.

So yeah, lots of exciting things.

So with that, a big thank you as always to my wonderful podcast team, video edit by Justice Carrar, and produced by


And with that, have a good rest of your day, good rest of your week and weekend.

You know, pamper yourself, take care of yourself.

Are you taking care of yourself?

Take some time for you because you need it and deserve it.

And with that, I will see you back here next Wednesday with a fresh new episode of the More Money Podcast.

Disclosure: Nothing on my website or affiliated channels should be considered advice or an endorsement, and some content may include affiliate links in which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclaimer to learn more.

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