5 small Canadian cities you can use points and miles to visit this year

Jul 28, 2022

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


Canada is one of my favorite places to vacation. It’s nearby and full of culture, great food, amazing cities and plenty of places to experience the great outdoors. I spent quite a bit of time in Canada in 2019 and visited recently when the Canadian border reopened. Plus, I have plans for an extended visit later this year.

However, my Canadian travel plans this year are vastly different than my previous trips. In the past, I mainly focused on the big cities, visiting Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, British Columbia. Now, I plan to visit a handful of smaller cities — starting with visiting my cousin in Victoria, British Columbia and eventually making my way to other places like Quebec City, Jasper, Alberta, and Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.

In this article, I’ll show you the best small Canadian cities you should visit in 2022 and how to book flights and hotels in these cities using points and miles.

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In This Post

Visiting small Canadian cities with points and miles

View of the inner harbor in Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia. (Photo by canadastock/Shutterstock)

When writing this article, I focused on finding off-the-beaten-path destinations in Canada ripe for tourism in 2022. I made a point to find destinations you may not already know about, so you’ll see many small cities and nature-focused destinations on this list.

I’ll give you a quick overview of each destination as well as tips for using points and miles to book flights and hotels.

Related: 11 reasons to visit Canada this year

Victoria, British Columbia

House Boats at Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria BC
(Photo by David Gn Photography/Getty Images)

Let’s start with my first (tentative) Canadian destination: Victoria, British Columbia. My cousin lived in Victoria for about a year, and from what he has told me about the city, it’s a vibrant area with a strong (and unique) local culture.

What to see in Victoria

Victoria is a city on Vancouver Island, located off the western coast of Canada. The city is known for its beautiful parks and nature preserves, such as Beacon Hill Park and Fisherman’s Wharf Park. You can also take in stunning architecture when you visit the Craigdarroch Castle and the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, all of which are centrally located in downtown Victoria.

Victoria also has a bustling craft beer and food scene. Some breweries on the island include Hoyne Brewing and Vancouver Island Brewing, both of which put out an excellent mix of IPAs, stouts and other fantastic craft brews. You can also find an excellent blend of seafood, farm-to-table gastropub fare and other excellent culinary delights on the island, so make sure to come hungry.

Outside the city, you can visit other islands like North Pender Island. These can be accessed via ferry, giving you plenty of easy day trips from Victoria.

Getting to Victoria with points and miles

Americans have four airline options for flying to Victoria: Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Swoop and WestJet. Three of these airlines are part of a major alliance or have partnerships with major American carriers, so you can easily use points and miles to fly from the U.S. to Victoria International Airport (YYJ).

Using Aeroplan to book Air Canada flights

You can typically route to Victoria through Calgary, Alberta; Montreal; Toronto; or Vancouver, giving you one-stop access to Victoria from most large and mid-sized American cities.

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards to Air Canada Aeroplan to book these tickets. Pricing may vary as Air Canada offers dynamically priced tickets on its own metal, but sometimes they start at under 6,000 miles one way.

Air Canada Seattle to Victoria award ticket
(Screenshot from aircanada.com)

Using British Airways Avios

Your best bet for booking Alaska Airlines flights to Victoria is British Airways Avios. This program also employs a distance-based award chart and prices out awards by segment. So, we only recommend using Avios to book Alaska Airlines flights to Victoria if you live in Seattle and take a nonstop flight.

If you fall into this camp, you’ll pay just 7,500 Avios one way from Seattle to Victoria in economy class with minimal taxes and fees. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points, American Express Membership Rewards points and Capital One miles to British Airways.

Using American Airlines miles

Booking a connecting ticket through Seattle? Book your Alaska Airlines award ticket with American AAdvantage miles and you’ll pay 12,500 miles one way in economy. There are many ways to earn American Airlines miles, including transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy and Bilt Rewards.

Using Delta SkyMiles

Delta has a limited presence in Canada, so it partners with Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet. WestJet flies to Victoria from several different Canadian cities, with the most notable being Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta, and Vancouver, as well as seasonal service from Toronto.

The airline also flies from several different U.S. cities to its Canadian hubs, including New York, Los Angeles and Orlando, among others. This gives Americans yet another great option for getting to Victoria.

New York to Victoria award ticket on Delta's website
(Screenshot from delta.com)

We’ve found that all WestJet tickets price at 12,500 SkyMiles one way when booking from the U.S. to Victoria through the end of the year. There are many ways to earn Delta SkyMiles, but the easiest way is to transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards.

Related: How to redeem miles with the Delta SkyMiles program

Where to stay in Victoria with points

There are a handful of points hotels located near downtown Victoria. These are your best options:

Delta Hotels by Marriott Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort

Delta Hotels is one of Marriott’s newest brands. While the Delta brand typically focuses on business travelers, the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort also caters to leisure travelers. The hotel is in a beautiful building that blends modern architecture and classic British Columbia style. It has a restaurant and pool on site as well as newly renovated rooms. You can redeem between 30,000 and 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Victoria

Hilton loyalists can stay at the DoubleTree Hotel & Suites in downtown Victoria. This hotel is just steps away from the Victoria ferry docks, so you can avoid Uber or taxi fare if you arrive by boat. Beyond that, the hotel is pretty standard for a DoubleTree: It has nice rooms, an on-site restaurant and a fitness center.

You can use Hilton Honors points or weekend night certificates from select Hilton credit cards. Hilton uses dynamic pricing for award nights, but most nights toward the end of 2022 cost between 55,000 and 100,000 points per night.

Days Inn by Wyndham Victoria On The Harbour

Don’t let the Days Inn brand scare you — the Days Inn Victoria On The Harbour is a surprisingly nice budget property in downtown Victoria. It’s right next to the ferry docks and has beautiful waterfront views.

The property is well-priced, too — you can book a one-night weekend stay in November 2022 for around $97 per night, including taxes. Alternatively, you can use 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points to book the same stay, although this isn’t a great value as you’d only get 0.65 cents per point in value (less than TPG’s current 1.1 cents per point valuation of Wyndham points).

Best Western Plus Inner Harbour

Best Western operates several properties in Victoria, one being the Best Western Plus Inner Harbour. This hotel is centrally located and has pretty standard rooms, all of which have a balcony. Plus, you can enjoy a continental breakfast regardless of the room you book.

A weekend night in late 2022 costs just under $120 after taxes, or you can use 24,000 Best Western Rewards points for a free stay.

Related: 5 ways to get your hotel breakfast for free

Quebec City, Quebec

Autumn in Quebec City
Autumn in Quebec City. (Photo by DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images)

Quebec City has been on my list of places to visit since I returned from Montreal last year. Friends have told me that the city is the most European place in North America, even more so than Montreal. Plus, it’s a quick flight from my home in New York City, so it’s an intriguing weekend destination.

What to see in Quebec City

As you might expect, Quebec City is known for its European architecture. The city has many French-inspired castles and districts filled with cafes, French restaurants and independent shops. The city’s must-see districts include Old Quebec and Quartier Petit Champlain.

Looking for a little nature in your trip to Quebec City? Head over to Montmorency Falls. You can hike around waterfalls that feed into the Montmorency River, which runs through the city center. You can get to the falls by walking or taking a quick public bus ride from Quebec City center.

Getting to Quebec City with points and miles

Being the capital of Quebec, Quebec City has nonstop flights from several major U.S. airports. Air Canada, Air Transat and American Airlines offer seasonal service from the U.S., while United offers year-round service from Newark. American Airlines typically also operates seasonal nonstop service. So, here are my favorite ways to book flights operated by American Airlines or United Airlines to Quebec City.

Using American Airlines miles

American Airlines usually operates seasonal nonstop service from its hubs in Chicago and Philadelphia to Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB), giving U.S.-based travelers on the East Coast and in the Midwest easy connections to the capital city. Note that Chicago flights run over the summer season and are slated to end on Oct. 6, 2022.

If you’re booking a nonstop flight, your best bet is to book using British Airways Avios. Flights from Philadelphia and Chicago cost just 7,500 Avios and have low taxes and fees attached. You can transfer points in from Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One and Ultimate Rewards. Just remember, British Airways charges by segment, so connecting flights will cost significantly more points.

British Airways Award Philadelphia to Quebec City
(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

Chicago flights are a bit longer and cost 9,000 Avios plus taxes and fees one-way in economy.

British Airways Award Chicago to Quebec City
(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

As such, connecting passengers will want to book with AAdvantage miles. Saver awards cost 12,500 American miles with minimal taxes and fees, but you may be able to score a better deal if you find discounted Web Special award space.

Related: How to earn American Airlines miles

Using United miles or Avianca LifeMiles

United typically flies to Quebec City from Newark. You could book a one-way award through Avianca LifeMiles for 12,500 miles. You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points, Capital One miles, Citi ThankYou points and Marriott Bonvoy points to LifeMiles if you don’t have enough miles in your account.

Alternatively, travelers with Chase Ultimate Rewards points can transfer points to United MileagePlus to book these flights. United prices its awards dynamically, but I’ve found prices as low as 10,400 miles one way in late 2022.

United Newark to Quebec City award
(Screenshot from united.com)

Where to stay in Quebec City with points

While most hotels in Quebec City are independent boutique hotels, there are some points properties to be found. Here’s a quick look at some of my favorites:

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac

With its imposing, castle-like architecture, The Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac is one of the premier hotels in Quebec City. It’s located downtown near the St. Lawrence River, giving sweeping views of the city and the river. Inside, you can expect luxurious rooms, five restaurants and even an on-site florist.

A weekend night at the property costs around $200 in November 2022. Alternatively, you can book with Accor Live Limitless points (2,000 points gives you a 40 euro, or roughly $40.48, discount on your stay), so you’d need around 10,000 points for an award night. You can transfer points from Capital One to Accor Live Limitless at a 2:1 transfer ratio.

Quebec City Marriott Downtown

The Quebec City Marriott Downtown is Marriott’s premier hotel in Quebec City. The recently-renovated hotel is in the heart of downtown Quebec City, with breathtaking city views and an on-site restaurant that serves traditional Canadian fare and cocktails. The rooms are nice but pretty bare-bones, so the hotel is a good option if you plan on spending your time exploring the city.

A one-night weekend stay at the property costs between $165 and $255 through the end of 2022, or between 40,000 and 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.

Related: Why I booked 6 upcoming Marriott stays with cash instead of points

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Northern Lights in Yellowknife
A view of the northern lights in Yellowknife. (Photo by Ken Phung/Shutterstock)

Yellowknife is the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories. The city is located on the edge of the Arctic Circle, making it a premier North American location for seeing the northern lights. In the winter, the city experiences high snowfall, transforming it into a true winter wonderland.

What to see in Yellowknife

Given its location, most travelers go to Yellowknife for easy access to the surrounding nature. You can get in touch with local guides to take you on dog-sledding adventures, take a drive to the Dettah Ice Road and hike on one of the surrounding trails.

Better yet, you can see the northern lights from the city from mid-November to early April. Keep an eye out for Northern Lighthouses placed around the city — these miniature lighthouses light up green when the northern lights are expected to be visible later in the day.

Want to take a break from the outdoors? There are a handful of museums in Yellowknife, with the most popular being the Prince of Wales Heritage Center.

Getting to Yellowknife with points and miles

No U.S.-based airlines serve Yellowknife, so you’ll need to make a quick stop in a larger Canadian city when you fly in. You can fly either Air Canada or WestJet to Yellowknife Airport (YZF) using points and miles.

Using Air Canada points or Avianca LifeMiles

Air Canada flies to Yellowknife from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Use the Air Canada Aeroplan methods we discussed earlier to book these tickets using your points and miles — this is especially important since flights to Yellowknife are expensive during the northern lights season.

San Francisco to Yellowknife Air Canada award ticket
(Screenshot from aircanada.com)

Using Delta SkyMiles

You can fly WestJet to Yellowknife through its hubs in Calgary and Edmonton. As discussed earlier, you can use 12,500 Delta SkyMiles to book award tickets on one of these flights. WestJet flights to Yellowknife are bookable on Delta’s website.

Where to stay in Yellowknife with points

Yellowknife is home to only a few points hotels, none of which are overly luxurious. But that’s OK — you’re likely visiting Yellowknife to see the nature surrounding the city. So these hotels provide a modest place to rest your head in between your adventures.

Quality Inn & Suites Yellowknife

The Quality Inn & Suites Yellowknife is a basic hotel located in downtown Yellowknife. Reviews note that the rooms are clean and the location is great, and the hotel’s website says it offers complimentary breakfast and an airport shuttle for all guests.

You can book a weekend night this August for around $135. Travelers with Choice Privileges points can use 20,000 points for a free night, but you can’t book award nights more than 100 days from your arrival date. Choice Privileges points transfer from Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio.

Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Yellowknife

Wyndham operates two hotels in the Yellowknife area, with the most centrally located property being the Days Inn & Suites Yellowknife. Like the Quality Inn discussed earlier, this hotel is bare-bones. It does have two key amenities, though: free parking and a free airport shuttle. Parking is a particularly great perk for people who are renting a car.

A weekend night in December 2022 costs $140, or you can use 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points to cover your stay. I recommend paying cash for this stay — at less than 1 cent per point in value, you’re better off saving your points for another use.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dock in Halifax with boats
Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Photo by Darryl Brooks/Shutterstock)

Halifax is a maritime city located on Canada’s East Coast. The city has a sizeable population of just over 315,000 people, and it’s known for its seafood, parks and boat life. Plus, it’s just a quick flight away from major U.S. East Coast cities.

What to see in Halifax

Halifax is a vibrant city with a bustling downtown and a waterfront area that transforms into a nightlife hub in the summertime. Make sure to take a walk on the waterfront boardwalk when you first get to town — you’ll be greeted with classic buildings and tons of restaurants and shopping.

For food and drinks, check out the city’s various seafood restaurants, breweries and gastropubs during your visit. The city also has several craft coffee shops, like the Weird Harbour Espresso Bar, which will help you start your maritime adventure off right.

The city is home to a handful of interesting museums, with Pier 21 being a favorite for many. Here, you can learn all about early immigration to Canada. Those with Canadian heritage can trace family history and build a family tree.

Related: How to visit Halifax, Nova Scotia on points and miles

Getting to Halifax with points and miles

Halifax typically has seasonal nonstop service from several U.S. cities on the big three U.S. airlines, but United’s flights are currently suspended. Here’s a look at all your flight options and how to book them with miles.

Using Aeroplan points to fly via an Air Canada hub

Air Canada flies to Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) from most hub airports, including those with service to the U.S. such as Montreal and Toronto. Like the other examples discussed, these are dynamically priced, but you can often find a good deal.

Air Canada award ticket to Halifax
(Screenshot from aircanada.com)

Using American Airlines miles or British Airways Avios

American Airlines usually operates seasonal service to Halifax from Boston, New York City and Philadelphia. Like other American flights noted in this article, those flying direct are best off booking with British Airways Avios. Meanwhile, those booking connecting flights should book with American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

British Airways award PHL to YHZ
(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

Using Delta SkyMiles

Delta used to operate summer seasonal service from its LaGuardia Airport (LGA) hub in New York City to Halifax. This has since ceased, so your best bet is booking WestJet connecting flights for 12,500 SkyMiles plus taxes and fees. You can also book nonstop flights from Halifax to Orlando with WestJet.

Where to stay in Halifax with points

Halifax is one of the larger cities on this list, so it has a few points options. Here are some of the best points properties.

The Hollis Halifax, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel

Hilton operates a few properties in Halifax, with the most centrally located property being The Hollis Halifax. This hotel operates under the DoubleTree brand but is unique in that it has an all-suite room plan. This makes the property a good choice for families or remote workers who want a larger room.

The hotel is pretty nice, too. It has a modern lobby and a cocktail bar that’s perfect for winding down for the day and you can book a weekend night in late 2022 from $145 after tax or between 35,000 and 45,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel

The Halifax Marriott Harbourfront is Marriott’s flagship property in the city. It’s located right on the Halifax waterfront, giving you inspiring views of both the city and oncoming boat traffic. The rooms look a bit dated but are spacious and have everything you need for a comfortable stay. Plus, the hotel has a rooftop bar and an on-site coffee bar.

A weekend night goes for as low as $165 after taxes and fees later this year, or you can use between 30,000 and 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

The Westin Nova Scotian

Marriott also operates a Westin property in Halifax. It has waterfront views similar to the Marriott Harbourfront, but the rooms look a little more modern. Rooms cost as little as $138 per night later this year, or you can book for between 20,000 and 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Related: How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points

Jasper, Alberta

Mountains near Jasper
Jasper, Alberta. (Photo by Ng Wai Chor/Shutterstock)

Jasper is a remote city in Alberta that’s surrounded by the Canadian Rockies. Visitors beware, though: Since this is a town of just 4,500 people, you’ll need to drive from a nearby airport to get there. Here’s everything you need to know.

What to see in Jasper

Located in the Canadian Rockies, Jasper is the perfect jumping-off point for seeing all that the Canadian West has to offer. You can take hikes through the stunning Jasper National Park of Canada, ride the Jasper SkyTram for excellent views of the mountains and walk around Maligne Lake to see some of the most striking blue water on the planet.

Looking to ski too? Go to Jasper in the winter and head to the nearby Marmot Basin ski resort to hit the slopes. The resort boasts the highest base elevation in Canada and has 91 runs that span four mountain faces. Just be sure to go at the right time — Jasper’s ski season runs from mid-November to early May.

But Jasper isn’t all about the outdoors. The town has Canada’s first national park brewery, Jasper Brewing Company, and is filled with unique cafes and restaurants where you can recharge throughout the day.

Getting to Jasper with points and miles

Now for the bad news: Jasper doesn’t have an airport. Instead, you’ll need to fly to Edmonton International Airport (YEG) and either rent a car or take a bus to Jasper. On the bright side, this gives you time to check out Edmonton and there are several ways to get there with points and miles, so let’s assess your options.

Use Air Canada Aeroplan for Star Alliance flights

Star Alliance partners Air Canada and United both offer nonstop service to Edmonton from a handful of U.S. airports. Air Canada typically flies from San Francisco to the city, while United offers flights from Denver and Houston. You can book connecting flights if you don’t live in one of these three cities. You’ll generally get the best deal booking with Aeroplan.

San Francisco to Edmonton Air Canada award
(Screenshot from aircanada.com)

Use British Airways Avios or American miles for Oneworld flights

Alaska Airlines flies from its Seattle hub to Edmonton. You can book award tickets on these flights using the British Airways Avios and American AAdvantage options we discussed earlier, or you can pay using Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

Use Delta SkyMiles

WestJet has a significant presence in Edmonton and typically offers year-round flights to Las Vegas and Los Angeles and seasonal service to Phoenix; Palm Springs, California; and both Honolulu and Kahului in Hawaii.

You can book flights with WestJet or Delta using the Delta SkyMiles options we discussed earlier — expect to pay 12,500 SkyMiles on flights from the Lower 48.

Where to stay in Jasper with points

Jasper is a small city and it doesn’t have many points hotels. Most travelers opt to stay at local boutique properties and pay cash, although there is one option available to you if you have Accor Live Limitless points.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is Jasper’s premier hotel, with amenities like an on-site spa, multiple dining options and beautiful views of the surrounding nature. The log-cabin-inspired rooms are great too, and they’ll be sure to put you in an adventurous mood as you prepare for a long day of hiking.

The hotel isn’t cheap, though. A weekend night at the end of the year costs around $426 a night, though you can use Accor Live Limitless points to drop the price in 40 euro increments.

Bottom line

Canada is a huge country with plenty of hidden gems. These are the five smaller Canadian cities I want to visit now that travel is back and ways to book trips to those cities with points and miles. Use this as inspiration for booking your next big adventure to the Great White North, and consider adding these destinations to trips to larger cities like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.

Featured photo by Marc Guitard/Getty Images.

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

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