How to Travel to Vancouver on Points and Miles

by Ann deBruyn

The busy port of Vancouver, British Columbia, is a popular Canadian destination for outdoor junkies no matter the season. Take a stroll in the roughly 1,000-acre (400-hectare) Stanley Park, experience the Sails of Light display at Canada Place or hit the slopes at one of the ski resorts outside of the city. If you’re on a budget, here’s your points and miles guide to visiting Vancouver with little out-of-pocket cost.

Getting to Vancouver

Nearest airports

When it comes to flights, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is your gateway to British Columbia. To connect with the city by public transport, take a Canada Line train and arrive downtown in less than 30 minutes. Trains are accessible from a platform between the airport's domestic and international terminals.

Major airlines flying to Vancouver

Vancouver International Airport represents one of Air Canada’s three major hubs — the others are Toronto Pearson International Airport and Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.

Other than that, more than 50 domestic and international carriers fly to Vancouver.

The South Terminal Building, also known as Airport South, is where you’ll find a hub for regional and coastal air services, such as charter planes, seaplanes and helicopters.

Airport South serves the following airlines and seaplane companies:

  • Air North.

  • Cascadia Air.

  • Central Mountain Air.

  • Gulf Island Seaplanes.

  • Iskwew Air.

  • North Cariboo Air.

  • Pacific Coastal Airlines Ltd.

  • Pacific Seaplanes.

  • Seair Seaplanes.

  • Sunshine Coast Air.

Flying to Vancouver on points and miles

Because Vancouver is an Air Canada hub and there’s a chance it flies nonstop to your departure city, let’s start there.

Air Canada Aeroplan

Air Canada’s program divides the world into four zones and prices its award flights based on distance between two cities and demand. Aeroplan also has different redemption rates for its own flights and partner flights, so let’s just say that the rate you find for your specific city pair on your specific dates can vary.

An award flight within North America ranges from 6,000 Aeroplan points for an economy ticket shorter than 501 miles to 25,000 Aeroplan points for a flight longer than 2,751 miles in distance. The final redemption rate is also tied to how much a ticket costs in cash.

How to earn Aeroplan points: It’s easy to obtain Air Canada miles if you collect:

  • American Express Membership Rewards.

  • Capital One Venture Miles.

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just transfer any of these currencies to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio. Marriott Bonvoy points also convert to Aeroplan points but at a less lucrative ratio of 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points converted.

Aeroplan is also a member of the Star Alliance , so if you have points stashed away in programs like United MileagePlus, you can easily book partner awards.

Hotels on points in Vancouver

Numerous hotel chains have set up shop in downtown Vancouver. Let’s take a quick look at what the big players — Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott — have to offer travelers looking to redeem points for a stay.

Vancouver Hilton hotels

Hilton Vancouver Downtown

Only a couple of lodging options in the city center are available to Hilton Honors members, one of which is the Hilton Vancouver Downtown .

Located on the iconic Robson Street, Hilton Vancouver Downtown is in the thick of it all: restaurants, bars and high-end shopping boutiques. Also, a great choice for sports enthusiasts, this Hilton property is near BC Place. The home of the Vancouver Whitecaps and BC Lions is just a five-minute walk away.

Cost to book in points:  Hilton no longer uses an award chart and prices out its award nights based on demand. Standard room rewards at Hilton Vancouver Downtown go for anywhere between 37,000 to 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night, depending on your preferred travel dates.

Vancouver Hyatt hotels

Hyatt Regency Vancouver

Photo courtesy of Hyatt

Hyatt loyalists don’t have many options for an award stay in Vancouver. In fact, just one Hyatt property is available.

Located in the heart of the city center, Hyatt Regency Vancouver is just around the corner from Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art and the Vancouver Art Gallery. The hotel is also close to Robson Street, a must for those who like to shop and people-watch.

Cost to book in points: Hyatt Regency Vancouver is a Category 3 hotel and will set you back 9,000 to 15,000 World of Hyatt points per night for a standard room. The rates vary based on seasonality — off-peak dates require fewer points than peak dates.

Vancouver Marriott hotels

Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre

With six hotels downtown, Marriott Bonvoy provides the most options for lodging in the downtown Vancouver area on points.

Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre is the only Category 5 Marriott property you’ll find in the area. It’s conveniently located downtown near Robson Square and is also an easy walk to BC Place as well as Canada Place, an iconic waterfront landmark and venue.

Cost to book in points: As a Category 5 property, Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre will set you back 30,000 to 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, depending on whether you book off-peak, standard or peak dates. It’s also a great hotel for making use of your free night certificates that come with a number of co-branded Marriott credit cards .

Use points and miles to book an inexpensive trip to Vancouver

If Vancouver is on your list, it’s doable to travel there with the help of points and miles. Using credit card rewards to plan a trip to British Columbia leaves more money in your pocket for other expenses, such as shopping, entertainment, sporting events and skiing.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021 , including those best for: