Bonjour! In this next installment of the Trip Framework series, we’re off to the beautiful city of Montréal! This trip outlines a 5-day/4-night trip with flights from New York City. These write-ups should act as guidelines, and are not a promise that you can find these exact trips; however, I hope they are close enough to show that you can really do “expensive” trips for much less than you think!
So first things first, the getting there! I’ve outlined two options: taking the train from Penn Station or flying from LaGuardia Airport. If you choose to take the train, you’ll use fewer points, however, you’ll lose ~13 hours of exploring time in Montréal.
Let’s look at Amtrak first. You’ll leave Penn Station at 8:15am and arrive in Montréal at 7:11pm, for a total trip length of 10 hours and 56 minutes. On the way back, you’ll leave at 10:20am and get back to New York around 8:50pm, again roughly 11 hours of travel time.
Taking the train will set you back 5,038 points per person, so for two people, the total points needed is 10,076. NOTE: If you have the Amtrak credit card, you’ll save 5% of your points, bringing your net points used to 9,572. Using points also saves you $131 per person, or $262 total. I’m a big fan of Amtrak, especially along the Northeast Corridor, but I’m not sure I could endure ~11 hours each way on the way to Montréal.
The next option is to fly. I’ve selected a set of Delta flights from LaGuardia, as it’s my preferred airport in New York. You’ll leave mid-morning on the 21st and arrive in Montréal just after noon. On the way back, you’ll (or should I say YUL–haha #avgeek joke) leave Montréal at 1:00pm and be back in New York before 3:00pm.
In this case, you’ll use 19,000 points per person and pay $53.06 in taxes and fees, so for two people, you’d user 38,000 points and pay $106.12 in taxes and fees. If you were to pay outright for these tickets, you’d spend $567.58 in total, so using points represents a savings of $461.46. Not bad either!
Next, the staying! I’ve chosen the Le Méridien Versailles, which is not directly in the city center, but a very close walk and very close to the Métro. The room is a standard non-smoking queen-sized room.
In this case, you’ll be using 7,000 SPG Starpoints a night, for a total of 28,000 points used. This represents a savings of $952.56 CAD, or $712.02 USD.
All in all, here’s how the points breakdown, based on your mode of transportation:
Type of Points | Train + Hotel | Plane + Hotel |
---|---|---|
Amtrak | 10,076 (9,572 if you hold an Amtrak credit card) | — |
Delta | — | 38,000 + $106.12 |
Starwood | 28,000 | 28,000 |
TOTAL | 38,076 + $0.00
37,572 + $0.00 (if you have an Amtrak credit card) |
76,000 + $106.12 |
In the case of Amtrak + SPG, you’re saving $974.02, which 100% of the cost saved! Woo! Free trip! In the case of Delta + SPG, you’re saving $1,173.48, which is a savings of 91%! Woo! Almost free trip!
All that being said, what credit cards do you need to accomplish this trip? In either case, you’ll only need to sign-up for two (the Delta sign-up bonus is at it’s low level again, so I’d wait until it goes back up to 50,000 points).
Amtrak World Mastercard | Delta Gold SkyMiles | Starwood SPG | |
---|---|---|---|
Image | |||
Annual Fee | $79 | $0, then $95 a year | $0, then $95 a year |
Bonus | 30,000 points | 30,000 points | 25,000 points |
Spend Requirement | $1,000 in 90 days | $1,000 in 90 days | $3,000 in 90 days |
Point Earning Structure | 3 points per dollar on Amtrak
2 points per dollar on other travel 1 point per dollar on everything else |
2 points per dollar on Delta flights
1 point per dollar on everything else |
4-5 points per dollar at Starwood
2 points per dollar at Marriott 1 point per dollar on everything else |
Other Benefits | 5% redemption
Upgrade and companion passes |
Discounted lounge access
Statement credit after first Delta purchase |
So there you have it–Montréal for 90%-100% off, that’s hard to take!