Air Canada enRoute X Aeroplan Insider

Matthew Huotari is Globetrotting on a Budget with Aeroplan Points



Panago Pizza franchisee

Home Base

Duncan, B.C.


99 000

Member since


enRoute How did Aeroplan help you take your recent sabbatical?

Matthew Huotari I’d been focused on my pizza shop for so long that my brain was bogged down. I needed something fresh, so I started looking to see if my partner and I could get away for a while. We knew we wanted to go to Portugal, so I started there and let Aeroplan points dictate when, where and how we travelled for the next six months.

ER Tell us how you booked around–the–world business class flights for $361.72.

MH I used points and eUpgrades credits to get Air Canada Signature Class flight rewards from Vancouver to Lisbon. While there, a good deal for a flight from Dublin to Vancouver popped up. So, we spent a week in Dublin and flew business class home before starting the next part of our trip. While in Ireland, I found a life–changing deal on business class seats from Vancouver to Auckland. From there, I booked a flight from Queenstown to Bali with an extended layover in Brisbane. The best option to fly home was from Tokyo. It was a fluke that we ended up in Japan, but it was one of our favourite stops of the trip.

November 1, 2023
A rice terrace in Bali, Indonesia.
Bali, Indonesia.    Photo: Niklas Weiss/Unsplash

ER Why does Aeroplan work for you?

MH The biggest value for me has been booking business class flights, but it’s also great that I can book economy for free. My partner and I literally travelled to both sides of the world together. Even when we couldn’t fly Air Canada, we could use our Aeroplan points to fly with Star Alliance partners.

ER What is your go–to Aeroplan tip?

MH I always tell people that if they see an amazing credit card sign–up bonus, go for it. You can always change if it no longer suits you down the road. I use specific credit cards for different business and personal expenses to maximize point values. I can be next–level nerdy about it.

My other tip, if you can be flexible, is to go on an open–ended trip and take a couple of minutes each day to look for deals. That’s where you’re going to find the good stuff.

Matthew Huotari stands on a cliff in the distance looking out at a sunset.
Photo: courtesy of Matthew Huotari
Matthew Huotari smiles while sitting in a kayak in a lake with mountains in the background.
Photo: courtesy of Matthew Huotari

ER How do you earn most of your Aeroplan points?

MH My Aeroplan credit cards. I also earn rewards with an American Express card, and I end up transferring them to Aeroplan because that’s where I find that they have the best redemption value. I look out for bonus promotions and make sure to transfer my points or plan eStore purchases, like my Apple laptop, around when I can earn the most.

ER Do you have a dream destination?

MH My partner and I want to go on a full culinary adventure across Italy. The dream is to make our way from one side to the other, stopping at wineries and eating disgusting amounts of food along the way.

ER What is your secret travel talent?

MH Finding restaurants and speakeasies off the beaten path. I spend quite a bit of time looking into it or I’ll even just ask random people for recommendations. Some of my favourite memories from trips are from those unexpected places. In Porto, there was a little restaurant called Chama where the whole staff gets to know you. They were serving something like their grandma’s homemade peach schnapps and an eight–course meal for only $60.

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