Every year we get away a couple of weeks in November. The reason is very simple: we want to get away from the November grey weather and seasonal “depression”. In a travel hack perspective, mixing Aeroplan & other programs allows us to maximize savings.

Therefore, we wanted to fly to sunnier, warmer and family-friendly destinations. We set our eyes on Doha, Qatar and Muscat, Oman. Now as Canadian readers you must wondering why we chose these places.

Why we chose Doha and Muscat

First of all here are the common things the two cities have in common:

  1. Family-friendly wherever you go: malls, souks, hotels, public places and even airports;
  2. Great food offering wherever you may end up. You can choose to pay $5 for a biryani or $200 for a gourmet dinner in a luxury hotel restaurant. The choice is available;
  3. Great shopping in both souks and modern malls;
  4. Convenient and modern airports;
  5. A big choice of modern hotels for all budgets.

Finally, each of Doha and Muscat have their own personalities. While Doha features some great museums free of charge, Muscat offers a beautiful nature within its urban spread.

The trip

The journey itinerary is a follow:

Turkish Airlines part:

TK36    –  YUL-IST  –  (Y) Class
TK780  –  IST-DOH –  (Y) Class

Montreal-Doha via Istanbul - Turkish Airlines using Aeroplan miles
Montreal-Doha via Istanbul – Turkish Airlines using Aeroplan miles

Followed by the Qatar Airways itinerary. I used Privilege miles I had leftover from our honeymoon more than 5 years ago. They were to expire December 31, 2018 and the airline had a reward discount of 50% on flights from Doha to Muscat. Great timing! No miles wasted and I didn’t have to touch my British Airways Avios. I love that:

QR1162 – DOH-MCT –  (Y) Class

Doha to Muscat - Qatar Airways using Qatar Airways Privilege miles
Doha to Muscat – Qatar Airways using Qatar Airways Privilege miles

Finally the return leg with Swiss Airlines:

LX243 – MCT-ZRH  –  (Y) Class
LX86   – ZRH-YUL  –  (Y) Class

Muscat to Montreal via Dubai/Zurich - Swiss Airlines using Aeroplan miles
Muscat to Montreal via Dubai/Zurich – Swiss Airlines using Aeroplan miles

The numbers

I will compare what the cash value of each booking versus the miles or points we used.

Reward flights

Montreal – Doha

Had we paid cash for the itinerary [TK36 YUL-IST (Y) Class & TK780 IST-DOH (Y) Class] it would’ve cost close to $2,050 for 2 adults, 1 child and 1 infant.As show in the table, you can see how many Aeroplan miles it cost and the low fees.
These low fees are possible with Turkish Airlines which allowed us to fly to Doha.
 
JourneyPaid bookingAeroplan reward bookingAeroplan reward booking fees Savings
Montreal-Doha$2,050120,000$275-$1,775

Doha – Muscat

A one-way fare for the entire family hovers at $1,295. A steep price for a short 1h30 flight. I had Qatar Airways Privilege miles leftover from a trip I took 5 years ago.

Flight QR1136 itinerary details
Flight QR1136 itinerary details


Therefore I took my 21,000 Qatar miles and dumped them on the reward flight. We paid $202 in fees and charges. A bit high indeed as Qatar Airways recently upped its processing fees. But no limits on luggage and God knows we had 8 pieces with us!

Muscat – Montreal

Finally, we flew Swiss Airlines for the return leg. We could’ve flown Turkish Airlines however Aeroplan didn’t show availabilities.

The return part is also worth $2,050. With Aeroplan the reward flights cost 120,000 miles and $280 in fees. A great value as Swiss and Turkish are the two airlines that allow Canadian travelers to cross the pond for a small fee.

JourneyPaid bookingAeroplan reward bookingAeroplan reward booking fees Savings
Muscat-Montreal$2,050120,000$275-$1,775

In conclusion, we paid $752 for airfares that are valued at $5,395!
That’s $188 per person (nevermind adult or child) to cross the Atlantic and land into the Arabian peninsula.

Conslusion

This shows the strength of Aeroplan reward flights with respect to long haul flights with low fees and charges. If it weren’t for Swiss Airlines (LX) and Turkish Airlines (TK), Canadian travellers flying out of Montreal Trudeau (YUL) would be forced to transit to Toronto Pearson (YYZ) or the US (JFK, BOS or ORD).

Both airlines showcase good availabilities, even in Business class.
Next post on this trip. why we paid for some hotels stays in Doha and Muscat and how we got the luxury stays for 0$!

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