Meet the Team: Colin Sham

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What is your favourite credit card?

american-express-cobalt

The Cobalt Card from American Express. With the ability to earn points that don’t expire and bonus miles when spending on groceries, dining, travel, transit, and gas, it has all my bases covered. As a Marriott loyalist, the ability to transfer the points into Marriott Bonvoy or use them towards statement credit is another added bonus. A close second place would be the Platinum Card from American Express for similar reasons.

What has been your favourite flight you've taken using miles?

Sleeping under the stars on EVA’s Boeing 777

Sleeping under the stars on EVA’s Boeing 777

I always like to make the most of my miles and compare value for redemption. With first class service in business class, a wide assortment of drink selections, along with the ability to pre-select your meals, my vote goes to EVA Air on a flight from Taipei to Vancouver. Service from check-in to landing was fantastic with attentive cabin crew who would routinely check up to see how they could make your experience better. I don’t often like to sleep during flights to make the most of the experience but the bedding and comforter were quite comfortable and resulted in the longest I have ever slept undisturbed on a flight. 

What has been your favourite hotel you've stayed at on points?

Mystique in Santorini. Prior to Marriott acquiring SPG, this property was bookable for a pricy 60,000 Starpoints points per night, which is equivalent to 180,000 Marriott Bonvoy points today. After Marriott took over, Mystique dropped down to 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, which was an absolute steal. There is nothing quite like waking up to sunny skies and crystal blue water from a private balcony.

Waking up each morning to sunny skies and a private patio to walk onto was an absolute dream!

Waking up each morning to sunny skies and a private patio to walk onto was an absolute dream!

What has been your worst hotel or flight experience?

Gloomy Hong Kong skies during typhoon season.

Gloomy Hong Kong skies during typhoon season.

I thankfully haven’t had too many bad hotel or flight experiences but this incident was one to remember. After arriving at the airport for our scheduled YVR-HKG flight on Cathay Pacific, we learned that the plane originally scheduled to fly had been grounded at HKG due to the summer tropical storms and never made the trip over. With the staff scrambling to make alternative arrangements for all passengers, we waited for hours until we were notified that a diverted flight from LAX would be picking us up. As we were approaching HKG, it was the most turbulent flight I had ever been on and almost every passenger had a hand ready with the airsickness bag.

What is your biggest regret since starting this hobby?

Besides not starting sooner, my biggest regret would be not jumping on the 9000 Iberia Avios deal of June 2018. What happened was that Iberia had a promotion where they awarded 9000 Iberia Avios per flight booked (up to 90,000 miles) and it didn’t matter whether you actually took the flight. With tickets as low as $40 or so, it was an outstanding deal, especially since you could transfer the miles into British Airways Avios. As this promotion happened while I was already on a trip, I was on vacation mode and neglected to have the foresight that those miles would have been extremely beneficial for a future inter-Asia trip. 

What is your best piece of advice for those who are interested but haven't started in this hobby yet?

Get started as soon as you can after doing your process of due diligence on whether this hobby is for you. You will not regret it! Another piece of advice would be to constantly monitor your credit card balances. If your balance starts to get too high, pre-pay part of the balance so that your statement doesn’t show too high of a credit utilization or it will negatively harm your credit score. The best way to check your credit score for free is to use Credit Karma (TransUnion) or Borrowell/Mogo (Equifax).

What is your favourite Vancouver hotel?

Not too much to go off of as I pretty much never stay at hotels in Vancouver. Why use my hard-earned miles and cash when I already have a place to stay? However, one that I have stayed at was the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, which had quite a nice view of the downtown area.

What upcoming trip are you most looking forward to?

The St. Regis Bali. This was booked prior to Marriott Bonvoy introducing Category 8 and booked at the lower rate of 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night versus the current 85,000. With standard rates going for $850 per night, a lagoon that flows through the property, and hopefully a room upgrade to the pool suites, I’m definitely looking forward to this stay. 

Photo courtesy of Marriott

Photo courtesy of Marriott

colin-sham

Colin Sham

From a young age, Colin’s family travelled together from Japan to Thailand as well as take the occasional family road trip. This lead to an interest in global affairs and an international exchange to the United States where he made friends from all around the world. When walking down the airplane aisle to the back of the plane, he always dreamed of a day where he would be able to sit at the front in the premium seats. After stumbling upon the points and miles community, he is now proud to be seated among those he marvelled at as a child.