Skip to content

How to get to Montreal using points and miles

Aug. 21, 2021
10 min read
Montreal
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.


Canada's borders are officially open again to vaccinated Americans for tourism and other nonessential purposes. So, if you've been considering a long-overdue trip to the nation's second-largest city, Montreal, you may want to book your tickets now before award availability dries up.

Montreal is a major travel hub with nonstop flights arriving from across North America and as far away as Asia and the Middle East. In this guide, I'll discuss your best options for getting to Montreal on points and miles, as well as a few of the best points hotels in the city.

Want more tips and tricks for planning a trip to Montreal? Visit our Montreal destination hub and sign up for our daily newsletter.

Book an award flight to Montreal

All three major U.S. airlines serve Montréal–Trudeau International Airport (YUL) from most of their hub cities. While some flights are still suspended until later this year, American usually flies from Philadelphia (PHL), Miami (MIA), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Charlotte (CLT) and New York (both JFK and LGA). And Delta flies from Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW) and New York-LGA.

United also flies from a few cities, including Chicago, Newark (EWR) and Washington, D.C. (IAD). But United mostly lets its Star Alliance partner and Canadian flag carrier Air Canada cover U.S. routes. Air Canada even flies to some of United’s hubs, including Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO), and funnels connecting traffic onto United-operated flights.

Related: Fly to a reopened Canada with wide-open award space on many airlines

(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

Best Star Alliance award options

Depending on which airline(s) serve your home city, you might be able to consider several possibilities for booking travel. I'll start with United and Air Canada, as these Star Alliance partners operate most of the flights.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Aeroplan — Air Canada’s loyalty program — offers extra-low rates for short-haul routes under 500 miles. You'll pay between 6,000 and 10,000 points each way in economy (or between 15,000 and 25,000 points in business class) when flying from Montreal to Northeastern cities, such as:

  • Pittsburgh (PIT)
  • Boston Logan (BOS)
  • Newark Liberty (EWR)
  • New York-LGA
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Washington Dulles (IAD)
  • Washington National (DCA)
  • Baltimore (BWI)

Meanwhile, flights from 501 to 1,500 miles long cost 10,000 to 15,000 points each way in economy or 20,000 to 35,000 points in business class, which is fairly consistent with what most other airlines charge. However, longer flights are a bit pricier. Flights 1,501 to 2,750 miles long cost 12,500 to 17,500 points in economy or 25,000 to 60,000 points in business class.

Related: The best ways to maximize Air Canada’s Aeroplan program

For these longer flights, especially if you’re flying from Canada to the U.S. (as opposed to the other way around), you might want to book through Avianca LifeMiles instead as it caps economy flights at 13,000 miles. Unfortunately, booking through United isn't as attractive anymore now that the carrier shifted to dynamic pricing for partner awards.

(Screenshot courtesy of lifemiles.com)

Best American Airlines award options

When it comes to American Airlines, the biggest question is whether your flight is under 500 miles (like a trip from Philadelphia to Montreal). If it is, you can enjoy awards starting at just 7,500 miles each way in economy. Otherwise, saver awards will cost you 12,500 miles. That said, you might be able to save some miles by booking a Web Special award.

(Screenshot courtesy of aa.com)

If your flight is over 500 miles but under 2,000 miles in distance, you might come out ahead booking through British Airways instead. Flights up to 1,151 miles in distance cost 9,000 Avios, while flights between 1,152 and 2,000 miles cost 11,000 Avios. Avios are incredibly easy to earn thanks to frequent transfer bonuses from Chase, Amex and Capital One, potentially making this an even better deal.

Best Delta Air Lines award options

Delta has been using dynamic award pricing for its own flights for years now, leading to huge variations in the cost of awards from one day to the next. As you can see in the screenshot below, one-way economy awards range from a low as 12,500 miles to as high as 39,000 miles for flights from Atlanta to Montreal next spring. You should also keep an eye out for Delta’s frequent award sales, which might help you drop the cost even further.

(Screenshot courtesy of delta.com)

Booking flights through a travel portal

Flight prices into Montreal are usually pretty reasonable if you’re booking far enough in advance, with most routes staying consistently under $200. So, you might come out ahead paying with Chase Ultimate Rewards points or American Express Membership Rewards points for your ticket instead of transferring to a partner program to book.

Not only can you end up with a lower point cost, but you’ll even earn award miles and elite qualifying miles from flights booked this way. For example, since I have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, I get a 50% bonus when using my Ultimate Rewards points to pay for airfare through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. As such, I can book this $82 ticket for only 5,468 Ultimate Rewards points.

(Screenshot courtesy of chase.com)

Related: When should I transfer points to airline and hotel partners?

Travel by train to Montreal

If none of the above flight options work for you or you’re looking for a more scenic (albeit much slower) mode of travel, it might be worth taking the train.

In 2022, Amtrak will resume its daily Adirondack train service between Moynihan Train Hall in New York City and Montreal. This 11-hour journey takes you through Albany, Saratoga Springs and Westport. And with tickets well under $100, this is an incredibly budget-friendly way to get to Montreal if you have the time.

(Screenshot courtesy of amtrak.com)

Alternatively, if you have a stash of Amtrak Guest Rewards points, a one-way ticket on the Adirondack will set you back 2,415 points or more, depending on availability. You can easily earn those points by applying for the Amtrak Guest Rewards® World Mastercard®, which currently offers a limited-time bonus of 50,000 points when you spend $2,500 on purchases within 90 days of your account opening. For reference, that’s more than 20 one-way trips from New York to Montreal.

The information for the Amtrak Guest Rewards card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: When you should book a train ticket instead of flying or driving

Redeem points to stay in Montreal

Free flights (or train tickets) are a great start. But if you’re trying to spend as little money as possible on your trip, you’ll need lodging, too. Thankfully, Montreal is home to several great points hotels.

For example, you can redeem 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to book standard award nights at the W Montreal. It's conveniently located in downtown Montreal and the decor is as eclectic as you'd expect from a W. This could also be an excellent opportunity to redeem an up to 50,000-point free night award, which is an annual perk of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card.

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Or, if you want more classic luxury, you could splurge on the nearby Ritz-Carlton Montreal. Since it opened in 1912, the elegant property has been a fixture of the city’s culinary and social scenes. As a Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property, standard award nights here cost 60,000 points.

Related: Our favorite points hotels in Canada

Additionally, at 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points a night under standard award pricing, the Category 5 Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain is in a desirable location and is a solid use of up to 35,000-point free night awards. Located near McGill University and the Bell Centre, the Marriott is an excellent choice for business and leisure travelers.

(Screenshot courtesy of marriott.com)

Just down the street from the Marriott, you’ll find the InterContinental Montreal. I found award nights at this hotel for as little as 29,000 IHG points per night. This property offers direct access to the convention center and stunning views overlooking Old Montreal and the port.

(Screenshot courtesy of ihg.com)

Hilton offers members 15 different properties in and around the city at which to spend their points. I found award nights ranged from 28,000 points on the low end to 60,000 points for the Vogue Hotel Montreal Downtown.

(Screenshot courtesy of hilton.com)

World of Hyatt doesn't operate any properties in Montreal yet, but will soon open a Hyatt Centric and a Hyatt Place.

Related: 12 things no one tells you about Montreal

Bottom line

Your trip to Montreal can take many different forms depending on where in the U.S. your trip originates. But with service to dozens of cities from all three major U.S. airlines and Air Canada, you have plenty of options to consider. Add in the possibility of a scenic train trip and some great hotels you can book with points, and Montreal ends up being an incredibly friendly city for award travelers.

Additional reporting by Ethan Steinberg.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023