a map of the world with a route

I’m going to Oceania, but I don’t know what to do. Help!

I just booked an award trip to Sydney, flying: Air Canada Business from Toronto YYZ to Los Angeles LAX, then United First Class LAX to Sydney SYD. I have 10 days in the region, then I fly back SYD to Seoul ICN on Asiana Business, and ICN to Montreal YUL via Istanbul IST on Turkish Business. I paid around ~$400 for this ticket, and 190,000 Aeroplan points.

world map

I’ve already been to Sydney, and don’t really want to see it again (although it’s an amazing city). I’m looking for an adventure, so not interested in pricey and boring resort places like Fiji, Bora Bora, or Rarotonga. I’m leaning to Tonga, which is relatively easy to get to using Aeroplan points on Air New Zealand (NZ). Also thinking the South Island of New Zealand. I did the North Island a couple years ago, and really enjoyed it. I would probably fly on NZ to Queenstown via Auckland.

Also thinking of doing a short hop to see Ayer’s rock, but it’s prohibitively expensive, even while using points.

I’ve always wanted to go to the Solomon Islands, which is a PITA to get to. The only award program that gets you there is Qantas, and I don’t have any Qantas points. The most realistic way of getting to Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, is to fly to Brisbane on one of the numerous low cost carries in Australia from Sydney, and then hop on a stupidly expensive flight to Honiara. Virgin Australia also flies to Honiara, but they’re far more expensive than Solomon Airlines.

I would also love to go to Vanuatu, which is a sinking island. This will be one of my last opportunities to visit it. Although NZ flies there, they don’t release any award inventory on their flight from Auckland to Port Vila.

I need your help readers. Any suggestions on exciting South Pacific islands? Cheap ways of getting to the Solomon Islands? How to get award inventory to Vanuatu?

I’m usually pretty good about finding my own way with award inventory etc., but the South Pacific is a whole different ball game.


  1. First of all- great site and great posts. I always look forward to a blog entry. I have learned a lot already.
    My question is about this trip you just booked. What is your method for obtaining so many aeroplan points – 180K? With regular spending and a huge sign-up bonuses, I would not come up close to this amount over 5-10 years.

    Once again – Really like the blog…Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    1. Thank you Neil! I really appreciate your kind words, and am delighted to have you as a regular reader!

      I made a mistake, and I spent 190,000. I have edited the post accordingly. I actually booked this trip for two passengers, so I spent a total of 380,000 AP points on this itinerary.

      I generate points through two primary methods: churning of credit cards, and referral. I am lucky to have enough readers who trust me to sign up for credit cards through my referral links. In doing so, with some cards, I get a kickback. These kickbacks are typically in points. I only talk about the best cards out there. In fact, the Aeroplan Amex Gold, where I got the most kickback points from, I had to take off my ‘Credit Cards’ list. They added a fee and decreased the amount of points the reader would get, so I could no longer recommend it.

      If you read my blog and learn all the tips and tricks I give, you’ll be able to generate enough points quickly to take a trip basically anywhere you want.

      Thanks again for reading!

  2. Ayers Rock really is a place you need to tick off the bucket list, although agreed that it’s crazy expensive to stay there since there are only a few resorts all owned by the same company.

    I’m not sure off hand the distance, but look into using BA Avios for a QF flight. As you well know, they are an easy transfer from Amex points.

    1. Thanks for both your kind words and the suggestion! I’m booked to Tonga, but I love Oceania and am there with some frequency, and the LH redemption looks really cool. The only issue I see is that though you could theoretically book it, NZ releases very little award space on many of their island flights, and on some, I’ve never seen inventory.

  3. And..wow this is an old post that just showed up in my RSS reader as new. Feel free to delete all 3 of these comments heh.

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