As a travel blogger I am always working on every trip I take. Whether it is a trip I planned out myself or in collaboration with a destination or travel company I’m always working. From taking pictures, to making videos, tweeting, instagraming, and posting on Facebook, I don’t mind this kind of work, I actually quite love it. However every once in a while I need to disconnect and drink some cocktails and just enjoy myself even more on a trip.
I recently did just that by using my Air Miles and American Express Credit card to book a trip on my first cruise ever! I had always been intrigued by cruising and aside from going on a river cruise on the Chobe River between Botswana and Namibia in 2013 on a small 22 person houseboat I had never previously gone on one.
I had enough miles to not only book the trip for myself but for a friend as well. Candice! We hadn’t seen each other since the summer because we live in separate parts of Canada, so I was able to use my miles to get flights for each of us to Miami, where we met and stayed for one night to then board our 5 day cruise the next day to Grand Turk and the Bahamas onboard the Carnival Victory. It was the perfect escape that we both needed especially with the winter quickly creeping in on Canada.
One thing I also learned while booking this trip was that once you earn 6,000 Air Miles in one year you become Onyx level and not only do Onyx members get better deals when using their miles but you are also guaranteed to not have to stay on hold for longer than 5 minutes when calling to bok your trips or if you have any related inquiries. It was nice to know that they go the extra mile for the big earners and it made me feel like an elite!
To book my whole trip which included, 6 flights, 1 night at a hotel and a 5 day cruise I was able to just make one call to Air Miles and they were able to arrange everything for me. I was also able to use my Amex Air Miles Card to pay for the taxes so literally by booking with Air Miles, I made some Air Miles back by using that card to cover the taxes. I almost feel sneaky about that, as if it shouldn’t be allowed. However doing that and also using that card with my Air Miles card when I’m shopping and buying gas as I head to the airport gets me on my next trip to my next destination even faster!
I am contemplating a trip to Vegas for my next Air Miles trip, stay tuned for that.
Are you an air miles collector? What kind of things do you do or what tips do you have for earning more miles?
This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.
GailJanuary 17, 2016 at 11:08 am
For a cruise does the airmiles required act the same way as booking a flight. I have enough for $1000 off an all inclusive package south.
CailinJanuary 23, 2016 at 5:58 pm
Thats a good question! I think it might be a different system, but I’m not sure. Your best bet is to call them :)
JayJanuary 9, 2015 at 6:26 pm
So what redemption rate did you get on your airmiles for the cruise?
In other words, for every $100 cost of the cruise, how many miles were you dinged?
CailinJanuary 9, 2015 at 6:34 pm
Hey Jay! The cruise only cost me about 335 Air Miles. I got a really great last minute deal on the cruise as I booked Wednesday and left that Sunday. Taxes on cruises however are huge and so I was then out of pocket about $500 after the miles. However $500 for two people ($250 each) on a 5 day cruise is pretty sweet if you ask me. The flights of course cost me the most miles. :)
JayJanuary 9, 2015 at 6:44 pm
Wow Cailin, that is crazy. 335 Air Miles is worth less than $40 and you got your 5 day cruise for that… and for both passengers? (I’m aware the taxes can’t be avoided and it’s last minute but still..)
Great deal, congrats.
Was this done by calling 188-airmiles?
I will start looking into last minute cruises with my air miles instead of getting $10 at Safeway using 95 miles.
Thanks for the info!
CailinJanuary 9, 2015 at 6:47 pm
Yep! It was an insane deal! haha
I booked it on the phone with Air Miles yes :)
Not a problem! :)
Also note our room was an inside room so no windows which made it cheaper but we didn’t mind at all and the room was on one of the main decks so lack of windows was made up for by great location on the ship :)
ReneeAugust 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm
WOW! When I checked I was told it’s approx. 7500 air miles for $1000 worth of travel… did booking last minute make it significantly that much cheaper or does it have anything to do with your ONXY status as well?
CailinSeptember 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm
It really depends on the time of year that you book and how close or not to the date :)
ArianwenJanuary 6, 2015 at 11:15 am
For the amount I’ve travelled lately, it’s ridiculous that I’ve never collected air miles. Pretty sure I’d have paid for a cruise too by now!
CailinJanuary 6, 2015 at 4:29 pm
Wow! Well you need to start saving up!! :)
PennyDecember 26, 2014 at 4:43 pm
I belong to Air Miles, but I haven’t been travel hacking them like many people do … that will change in 2015!
CailinJanuary 6, 2015 at 4:29 pm
That is an excellent New Years resolution to have! :)
This is what a real vacation looks like - Candice Does The WorldDecember 11, 2014 at 10:18 am
[…] Sometimes you just gotta unwind, let loose, put away that damned smartphone, and relax your freaking face off. Give the world the middle finger! Indulge! That’s why Cailin booked a cruise for us with her Airmiles. […]
LinDecember 9, 2014 at 7:07 pm
This is great to know! I personally have not tried to use my miles to book a cruise before. I do use them for booking flights, upgrading my seats. I recently learned that with certain mile programs, you can book cars and hotels. I use miles with Delta Airlines frequently. In order to earn miles (in addition to flying), I also make sure I book hotels and cars through their partners so that I can earn the miles. I am sure there are even easier and complicated ways others earn tons of miles. But this is how I earn.
CailinJanuary 6, 2015 at 4:31 pm
You can book flights, hotels, car rentals and so much more with Air Miles! You can even book tickets to a show or to the movies, or to Disney and you can even use them to buy a new camera to capture your travels! :)