Josh’s Summer of Travel

amsterdam evening canal

As everyone gears up for a summer of travel, I have a few conservative trips that I will be taking over the next month involving one international destination and two brief trips to the United States.

I wanted to post a brief article to give you an insight into some of my recent miles and points redemptions, in addition to any reviews that you might expect to see on Frugal Flyer in the coming weeks.

Anyways, on to my vacations that I will be taking in the next month: Amsterdam, Orlando, and Las Vegas.

Amsterdam for 6 Nights

I’ve been meaning to take a vacation with a close friend for the past two years. After we had multiple Japan trips canceled due to COVID and as such, we decided we would head to Amsterdam to do some exploring. We plan on spending a good chunk of time in Amsterdam, in addition to Rotterdam, the Hague, and exploring a bit of Germany.

We are also in town during Liquicity, a massive drum and bass festival 40 minutes outside of Amsterdam. We will be taking one day of our trip to attend and vibe out to some good music.

Today, we are leaving from Edmonton and flying through Calgary, onward to Frankfurt, and then Amsterdam. The entire itinerary was booked by redeeming Aeroplan points. The YEG-YYC-FRA legs are on Air Canada business, while the FRA-AMS flight is on Lufthansa business. This itinerary was easy to piece together thanks to Flight Connections and the AC Reward Searcher tool.

While the Air Canada signature class flight from YYC-FRA is nothing special for the average reward travel enthusiast, it will be my friend’s first time flying in a lie-flat seat since he started on his miles and points adventure in late 2020.

edmonton yeg to amsterdam ams aeroplan redemption

For this stay, I used four Hilton Honors free night certificates (thanks to my glitched Hilton Aspire cards) that were close to expiring, in addition to 120,000 Hilton Honors points (split between my friend and I). Hotels in Amsterdam are crazy expensive and the Hilton Doubletree is around $500/night so I am more than satisfied with the value I was able to extract out of the free night certificates.

If you have friends you travel with and you haven’t gotten them into miles and points yet, you are missing out on making your travels that much cheaper.

What To Expect on Frugal Flyer

I plan on doing a comprehensive review of the Doubletree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station as a Diamond member. The property is nothing too special from what I have read, but it is in a perfect location and has a pretty neat rooftop bar.

doubletree amsterdam centraal station hilton hotel

I might do a review of the Air Canada signature class flights or the intra-europe Lufthansa business class flight. To be determined on both of those reviews, especially since the Air Canada business class is far from noteworthy.

Orlando for 4 Nights

About a week and a half after I return from Amsterdam, I will be heading to Orlando with my significant other and mom for a brief trip to Universal Studios and Disneyworld. 

Visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been high up on my partner’s list for many years, as she is a massive Harry Potter fan. I had the opportunity to visit Universal back in 2018 and it was a fun time, so I am more than happy to return. We will be spending two days at Universal Studios, followed by one day at Animal Kingdom at Disneyworld.

wizarding world of harry potter universal studios orlando

I booked all three of us on WestJet premium class with a routing of YEG-YYZ-MCO on the outbound and MCO-YYC-YEG on the inbound. We will be staying at the Hilton Doubletree at the Entrance to Universal Orlando (what a name) as it is very close to both theme parks making it easy to take a quick Uber to get going in the morning.

What To Expect on Frugal Flyer

Not much for this trip. I don’t know if I could justify doing a review of the Hilton Doubletree at the Entrance to Universal Orlando without enjoying any diamond benefits to give you the full review since I booked the stay on gift cards. To be determined, I will see how the property is and go from there. I don’t expect it to be much more than a place to crash at the end of a long day of theme parks.

You definitely won’t see a WestJet premium review on this blog; the product is a “fine” redemption when using a companion pass, but frankly, the most value that comes from it is the open bar and additional legroom. Those who have flown it know that it definitely isn’t worth writing about.

Las Vegas for 2 Nights

Vegas is one of my favorite places to visit in North America. With it being only a three-hour direct flight from Edmonton, it makes for an easy and brief trip just to get some gambling, drinking, and relaxing in.

Taking advantage of one of my less-used rewards currencies, I’ve redeemed around $1,500 WestJet Dollars for a vacation package. My partner and I are flying round trip from Edmonton to Las Vegas in economy class, coupled with two nights in a one-bedroom terrace suite with a fountain view at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. 

Utilizing WestJet Dollars for a vacation package was a no-brainer since we could also cover the cost of the hotel (sans resort fee) instead of having to use points, paying cash, or using gift cards obtained through RBC Rewards. Alternatively, I could have taken advantage of many of the comped room offers I have available if we weren’t being picky about what property to stay at. 

We both have an absolute love for the Cosmopolitan as a result of their excellent cocktails, strong gaming floor, and varied food options. Frankly, we will probably stay on property for the whole weekend.

We will be flying in on a Saturday morning and leaving on a Monday afternoon, so it is a quick trip. While brief, this will get us our fill of Vegas for a few months to come.

What To Expect on Frugal Flyer

I’d love to do a review of not only the suite that I am staying in but also a review of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas as a whole. The Las Vegas strip is rife with places to stay, so I think it is important to look not only at the accommodations, but also at some of the dining options, bars, gaming, and so on.

cosmopolitan las vegas terrace onebedroom suite fountain view soaking tub

I’ve stayed at the Cosmopolitan many times before (even prior to my miles and points years), but I am looking forward to sharing the experience with my significant other for the first time.


It’s been around 4 months since my last true vacation when Reed and I got away to Vegas, so needless to say I am looking forward to getting back out there over the next month. Kicking off with a brief work trip to Vancouver, and then Amsterdam, Orlando, and Las Vegas, I am excited for what the next month brings.

While this summer will be great for travel, the real gem for me comes in early October with stellar Marriott Bonvoy and Alaska Mileage Plan redemptions: Qatar Airways QSuites to the W Maldives. Keep an eye out for many reviews in mid to late October as I will have a few unique ones on the way related to that vacation.

Josh Bandura

Josh Bandura

Co-Founder at Frugal Flyer
Josh has been involved in the miles and points game since 2015 but has scaled up his knowledge and points earning potential in recent years. With a consistent attitude of "min-maxing" in many aspects of his life, Josh has transferred this mindset over to the miles and points game. Always looking for the next big opportunity, he aims to share content on a variety of topics including his travels, miles and points, and most importantly, how to get the most out of your credit cards


Refreshed Scotiabank Amex & Scotiabank Platinum Amex Cards

Top 5 Things to Do in Reykjavík, Iceland


Leave a Comment

All comments are moderated according to our comment policy. Your email address will NOT be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.