Here we go again with another round of Covid cancellations. It has been 5 months since the 'shut down' began in the US, and I don't even know what else to say anymore about how poorly this country has handled the pandemic, as compared to the rest of the world (including many 'third-world' countries).
Back in March, I was almost certain that the there is no way the borders between US and Canada would be close for so long to the extent that it would impact our trip, but boy I was so wrong. Canada's border is still closed to non-essential travels and I don't blame them at all. I've stopped reading or watching any news since April because I'm baffled by how everything is politicized here, instead of really solving any problems, so frustrating and embarrassing. Anyway, rant over. Fortunately, we are able to get all our points and miles redeposited.
Now let me share and self-indulge in this perfectly-planned trip that has officially been cancelled...lol!!
The idea of going on this trip from the US to Canada came about when I stumbled upon an award deal on American Airlines last October, and redeemed a round trip flight between Huntsville and Seattle for only 10,000 miles per person. The normal award would have been at least 25,000 miles per person. Since this deal was only for US destinations, we decided to fly into Seattle, and do a 10-days road trip through Vancouver to Banff National Park, then visit Glacier National Park in Montana on our way back to Seattle. I've never been to Canada and have seen so many beautiful photos of Banff so I was looking forward to visit 1 new country, and 3 new US States on this trip.
If you've been following this blog, you'd know that I plan (and pay for) most of our trips with points and miles. This trip was no different. The biggest difference for this trip was the number of hotels I'd had to book in the various cities we plan to stop along the way. IHG has the best options out of the 3 big hotel chains. We applied for an IHG credit card in March and the sign-up bonus of 140,000 points itself was enough to cover 7 nights of hotel, not bad at all for $89 annual fee. I was able to use my remaining points to redeem another 4 nights of hotel.
Since we knew that we'd need rental car for this trip, I 'hustled' during my work trips in Jan & Feb to earn enough free rental days to cover our rental car cost on this trip. We'd only need to pay $15 for 9 days of rental car.
By using 20,000 AA miles, 192,500 IHG points, and 9 free days for National rental car, our out of pocket cost would have been only $126, for a total of $3,121 worth of flights, hotels, and rental car. =)
A new add-on to my trip planning spreadsheets...calendar view to help the hubby 'visualize' the plan.
It's a big bummer that this 'perfectly-planned' trip couldn't be executed. We'll just have to plan for another trip to Canada in the future. The itinerary that I've already planned out will still be useful, but we will probably fly direct into Calgary unless another great deal pops up for other nearby airports. For now, we will continue to stay home, stay safe, stay healthy, stay optimistic, stay vigilant, and stay away from stupid people. =P
January 2021 December 2019