Hello! A warm welcome to Maple Miles. Let’s do a quick introduction, my name is Moli, and I serendipitously discovered the world of points over 12 years ago, after spending four months researching a single question: how do I fly in Business Class on international long-haul flights, between Singapore and Vancouver, without breaking the bank?

12 years ago, the answer was through a little known airline in Asia, US Airways (now more famously known as American Airlines). But as the US Dollar became stronger, it was no longer a budget travel alternative, and I had to pivot my way and start maximizing credit card rewards instead.

Who Am I?

I will start off with the basics:

  • I’m Moli, based out of Vancouver BC (the one in Canada, not Washington state USA).
  • I have lived in Singapore, England, and Canada.
  • I have a full-time job, and no, it’s not writing this blog. I’m a tech professional and travel is my passion and, indeed, my purpose in life.
  • I love Indian food. I’m vegetarian and there is never a bad occasion for Bhature Choley (for those of you uninitiated into Indian food, Bhature Choley is chickpea curry with fried Indian bread, a delicacy of North India).
  • Finally, the biggest sin of them all: I do not drink alcohol. For someone who is surrounded by alcohol, during work and during my travels, it’s always with great regret when I refuse a pour of bubbly.
Bhature Choley at the St Regis Maldives

Bhature Choley at the St Regis Maldives

It’s a crowded space

I am aware that there are countless blogs focused on similar content. However, this blog stands out because of its unique features:

Budget Family Travel

While my parents live with me, my brother lives halfway across the world in India, and continues to have a false belief that Canadians are wealthier than Indians. That means I support the traveling budget for my entire family, handling three different types of travels:

  1. Solo trips to India to meet my brother and explore the world.
  2. Small trips with my parents around North America.
  3. Annual marquee vacation, for the entire family.
Six bags for a family of four - we do not travel light

We do not travel light as a family. A checked-bag (sometimes more) is always a requirement.

All on a Canadian Dollar salary. What does that mean? When we see an epic US$3,500 deal from Singapore to New York in First Class, that’s out of my affordability. US$3,500 is nearly C$5,000, well above the means of most Canadian professionals.

Working Professional

I am a working professional. That means I do not have the flexibility of seeing some last-minute Lufthansa First Class seat open and traveling to Frankfurt on a whim. Like most full-time employees, including those who are not that senior in their careers, getting vacation approved is a process, and one that is usually a continuous negotiation.

Canadian Traveler

While the BoardingArea network continues its broad appeal across the globe, my perspective of points and miles will have a focus on Canada based travelers.

Up north in Canada we have quite a few perks that do not really exist in the USA, but there are also a lot of consequences. The biggest consequence? There are not many First Class opportunities for Canadian travelers. That means, if a Vancouver based traveler wants to travel in First Class, it requires a connecting flight, forgoing any opportunity to travel non-stop to their final destination. 

As a working professional, time is absolutely critical with limited vacation, so I always prefer a 9h non-stop flight in Business Class.

Lufthansa Business Class from Frankfurt to Vancouver

Lufthansa Business Class to Europe any day instead of First Class via New York

Indian Culture

I love Indian food, more importantly, Indian Vegetarian food. I cannot imagine a world where I am going to the remote corners of the earth, and not have the availability and accessibility of Indian food. It does not matter if I am in Egypt, Thailand, Maldives or Scotland, all my food choices will be influenced by India.

I am also a vegetarian, so special meals are very important to me during my travels. While my peers are used to caviar 35,000 feet up in the sky, my best meals have actually been in Economy Class where airlines emphasize the basics.

Indian Vegetarian Entree on a flight from Singapore to Mumbai

There is something special about ordering an entrée of the menu, that only an Indian Vegetarian can appreciate

Singaporean Efficiency

I grew up in Singapore, so I have high standards. There will always be a bit of disappointment when I have to make my own bed in the sky. I also get frustrated when I see long lines at airport immigration and customs. Ultimately, I am used to the Singaporean approach to efficiency, and always wondered why countries cannot match the bar set by a tiny island nation.

Welcome Once Again

In conclusion, welcome once again to Maple Miles.