Hiking Europe’s Tour du Mont Blanc was a completely different part of European culture for me: serving wonderful lunches in a distant farm-turned-thriving cafe… nicely sprinkled with flowers and cows (including classic bells)… and an Esprit de Corps where everyone is like family.

Before returning to our starting point in France, we trailed through three countries – France, Italy and Switzerland. This cow is completely Swiss.
One of TMB’s joys is coming to an old farmhouse on a hillside (or pasture) that, nowadays, is a rich little restaurant for hungry and thirsty hikers. The prices are reasonable, the service is friendly, the food is great and the vibe is a delight.

Since almost everyone hikes in the same direction (counterclockwise), you make friends with fellow travelers. Half of the people on the trail seemed to be from the United States, and I’ve met a lot of Seattleites.

It was easy to cross the long road immersed in deep conversations with those we met along the way.
I enjoyed meeting this fan of my book and TV show, who is celebrating his 60th birthday by hiking TMB with his son.

And for the sake of the hiking lights, the lunches were very simple – just a sandwich from the hotel, probably a carrot, a piece of fruit and water. But after arriving at the Mid-Day Summit, lunch was Marmot’s Feast. (Speaking of marmots, we didn’t see any wildlife on the trail except for a few rats trapped under the hiking boots.)

RBC has again increased the welcome bonus on their Avion Personal Card trilogy: Visa Infinite, Visa Platinum and Visa Infinite Privilege.

Until September 16, 2022, With each of these three products you can earn a staggering 55,000 avian points, which easily surpasses all previous highs.

RBC Avion Visa Unlimited: Up to 55,000 Avion Points!

Historically, the standard offer on RBC Avion Visa Infinite was only 15,000 avion points after the first purchase.

However, as of September 16, 2022, RBC has raised the welcome bonus to a total of 55,000 avion points:

  • 35,000 avian points after approval
  • 20,000 Avion Points for spending $ 5,000 in the first six months

You don’t even have to make a purchase to earn the first part of 35,000 avian points. Just apply for the card, and 35,000 points should be posted to your account via the first monthly statement.

Meanwhile, 20,000 Avian Points is a healthy return on 5,000 costs, especially considering that you have six months longer than the traditional three months to meet your spending needs.

We price RBC Avion Points 2 cents because of their flexibility and frequent transfer bonuses, making 55,000 Avion Points very valuable. $ 1,100 Subtract the $ 120 annual fee from this and the total value of the offer is $ 980, And that’s certainly the highest we’ve ever seen this card go.

In addition, although there is no free first year offer here, you can avail of RBC VIP Banking Account to waive your annual fee on this card.

RBC Avion Visa Platinum: 55,000 Avion Points Without Minimum Income

RBC Avion Visa Platinum is an entry-level product of the Avion family and is similar to the flagship Visa Infinite in many ways.

As of September 16, 2022, it has also increased its welcome bonus 55,000 aircraft points With the same breakdown as Visa Infinite, this is a wonderful time to apply.

There are a few minor differences between Avon Visa Platinum and Avin Visa Infinite:

  • Visa earns Infinite The aircraft cost 1.25 points per dollar Travel, where Visa Platinum earns a flat 1 aircraft point cost per dollar On all purchases
  • Visa Platinum offers a weak insurance package; Compared to Visa Infinite, emergency medical insurance and mobile device insurance are not included
  • Visa Platinum does not offer unique dining, hotel and event facilities that are exclusive to Visa Infinite cards.

The most important difference is the RBC Avion Visa Platinum No minimum income required, So it would be the right choice for you if you do not meet the personal or family annual income of $ 60,000 or $ 100,000, respectively, required for Visa Infinite.

And even if you meet these requirements, you can retain both Visa Infinite and Visa Platinum at the same time – total earnings 70,000 aircraft points Not for the minimum cost, or 110,000 avian points if you spend $ 10,000 across both cards – since they are two separate products.

RBC Avion Visa Unlimited Privilege: 55,000 Avion Points + VIP Facility

The high-end premium product of the Avion family, RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege, is also joining the action.

You will earn 55,000 aircraft points After signing up, with the same breakdown as Visa Infinite and Visa Platinum products.

The welcome bonus of 55,000 avian points certainly exceeds the $ 399 annual fee on this card, although it is obviously not as good as a deal like paying $ 120 annual fee on low-end Visa Infinite or Visa Platinum cards.

In addition, the ব্যক্তিগত 200,000 minimum personal or family income requirement may also be prohibited for most applicants.

Still, if you want to earn 1.25x airplane points Try using the ability to redeem points directly on all purchases and against the premium fare of 2 cents per point, now is the right time to apply for RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege with this higher bonus.

The best way to redeem 55,000 RBC avian points

RBC Avion is a transferable point currency that allows you to transfer the 35,000 points you earn from any of these Avion cards to the wide frequency flyer program:

  • 1,000 Avion Points = 1,000 British Airways Avios

  • 1,000 Avian Points = 1,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

  • 1,000 Avian Points = 700 American Airlines Advantage Miles

  • 1,000 air points = 10 WestJet dollars

So, you have the option to convert your 55,000 avian points into one of the following:

  • 55,000 British Airways Avios
  • 55,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • 38,500 American Airlines Advantage Miles
  • 50 550 WestJet
RBC Conversion Airline Pint Graphic

Above the normal transfer ratio, RBC is known to offer its transfer partners occasionally a transfer bonus of 20%, 30% or even 50%.

You can take advantage of such a transfer bonus and combine it with another sweet spot in the Avios program, such as booking Qatar Airways Quesuit flights from North America to the Middle East, starting from or outside points. 70,000 Avios.

With a 30% bonus per game, this booking will only cost 53,846 aircraft points, So the current signup bonus of 55,000 Avion Points will be enough to get you to Qsuites!

Qatar Airways Qsuites

Also, RBC’s own travel redemption chart works similar to the Amex fixed points travel program, so you can redeem a certain number of points for a flight to a specific region with the maximum cash ticket cost allowance.

Graphic 7 with a demonstration of how you can use your airline points for vacation

With this chart, the value is limited due to the maximum ticket price, so I would generally recommend maximizing your chances with RBC’s Frequent Flyer Partners instead.

This is where the lion’s share of the Avion program lies, since you can transfer them to any of your partners for a preferred booking and are not locked into a single loyalty program.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where you want to book a round-trip flight to North America, And If you do not find a satisfactory alternative through Avios or WestJet Rewards, then the RBC Travel Redemption Chart can serve as a fallback option.

This will allow you to “cover” your 55,000 points base on any flight in North America, up to a maximum of $ 1,100, from one of the RBC Avion cards, so you don’t have to worry. Availability Limitations – Although overall uptake may be limited.


Welcome bonuses are bumped up on RBC’s flagship Avian credit cards. 55,000 aircraft points Until September 16, 2022.

Keep in mind that RBC will only approve you for one credit card every 90 days, I recommend choosing two Avion products to apply between now and September to maximize your earnings.

Combine these generous offers with potential transfer bonuses to one of RBC’s Frequent Flyer Partners and you’re ready to book some spectacular trips in 2022 and beyond.

Although the Tour du Mont Blanc claims, it is not a particularly difficult hike. It’s just long, with lots of height gain and loss, and always pleasant. On my recent trek around the hill with three friends, it seemed like each of us had a weak spot: the knee, the toes or the lungs. For some, the challenge was uphill, and for others (including weak knees), it was downhill. We took it easy, with very short breaks.

David, Sue, Shelley and I shared the whole hike in Mont Blanc. But in order to be free to run at our own pace, we usually think it is best to hike as a couple instead of four. It is really important to be able to stop and rest without any worries about what others want or need. Our motto was, “We came here to hike – to enjoy the moment, the path, the mountains – not to run to the hotel.”

For long climbs, steady, short steps are best. The trail can be really rocky, and I can’t imagine doing it without hiking poles. The road signs were great, and the apps made it easy to stay on the trail: just follow the blue dot. And I’ve got good use of a high-quality printed map. (I would spend the night before hiking and familiarize myself with the trail on the map.)

Although the weather forecast seemed awful, we hiked for six days (in September, the last week of the season) and fortunately, it rained for only an hour. Still, every day we packed rain gear, and we would add and close layers as we increased and lost altitude. Four days later, we sorted it out, and it came to us in the ranks of the newcomers, “We’re getting better at it.”

As we hiked in a large circle around a large mound of mountains and slept in the charming town every night, each day seemed to be on top of a terrifying mountain pass. One night treat was the stars walking under a milky blanket.

I will share more photos, stories and tips from Mont Blanc in the November 29 edition of Monday Night Travel. Want to come up with? Register now for this fun – and free! – Incidents.

American Express and Oxford Properties are back with another Amex offer, and this is a new twist on an idea we’ve seen before them.

You’ll earn one $ 70 statement credit When you spend Oxford Properties Gift Card 350 +, Whether purchased at Oxford Properties Guest Service Locations or online.

This is one of the easiest Amex offers to make the most of the last few years, offering a nice discount of up to 20% on upcoming purchases, hotel or flight bookings.

Oxford Properties Gift Card: Spend $ 350, Get $ 70

Oxford Properties is a Canadian property management company with a wide variety of holdings across the country. The company also sells Oxford Gift Cards plus gift cards at oxfordgiftcardplus.ca, which can be redeemed in eligible Oxford Properties retail and travel businesses.

As part of this Amex offer, you will earn a lump sum $ 70 (CAD) statement credit If you participate online at the Oxford Properties Guest Service Desk in Canada or at Oxford Properties Guest Service Desk through oxfordgiftcardplus.ca, spend $ 350 (CAD) to purchase a gift card.

Offer ends July 18, 2022, So you have to buy your $ 350 before that. Be sure to register early for the offer to secure your eligibility, as the first 20,000 cardholders have a limited registration cap.

There’s no need to pay a minimum of 350 for a single purchase, as the offer also works for incremental purchases totaling 350 or more. However, it is usually easiest to buy a কার্ড 350 gift card online to complete the terms of the offer as smoothly as possible.

We’ve seen this Amex offer on a wide range of American Express products, such as business platinum cards, airplane reserve cards and more.

This will usually appear on one card for each cardholder, so if you have multiple Amex cardholders in your family, be sure to check each account to see if the offer pops up and register accordingly.

Save up to 20% on shopping, hotel stays or flights

By purchasing and redeeming a $ 350 Oxford Properties gift card and earning a 70 statement credit, you can make an effective unlock 20% discount Whatever you use the gift card eventually.

Oxford Properties gift cards can be used at more than a dozen shopping malls and retail centers across Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia Canada:

  • Yorkdale Mall (Toronto, Ongoing)
  • Square One Shopping Center (Mississauga, Launched)
  • Scarborough Town Center (Scarborough, Ongoing)
  • Hillcrest Mall (Richmond Hill, Ongoing)
  • Upper Canada Mall (Newmarket, Launched)
  • Waterpark Place (Toronto, on)
  • Richmond-Adelaide Center (Toronto, ON)
  • Metro Center (Toronto, Launched)
  • Gatineau Prominades (Gatineau, QC)
  • Quartier Dix30 (Brossard, QC)
  • Gallery de la Capitale (Quebec City, QC)
  • South Center Mall (Calgary, AB)
  • Kingsway Mall (Edmonton, AB)
  • Bow Valley Square (Calgary, AB)
  • Centennial Place (Calgary, AB)
  • Oxford Place (Vancouver, BC)
  • MNP Tower (Vancouver, BC)

In addition, gift cards can be used to stay at Oxford Properties hotels across Alberta, British Columbia and Toronto, which may be of interest to travelers considering staying in one of these properties in the near future.

Eligible properties include the Banff, Jasper, Lake Lewis, and Whistler, the Intercontinental Toronto Center, and the Fairmont Hotel in Park Hyatt Toronto.

If you plan to stay at one of these hotels, the Oxford Properties Gift Card can stack up to 20% discount with other ongoing deals, such as the Fairmont Amex Offer or the Ontario Station Tax Credit.

In addition, Oxford Properties gift cards can be used with Porter Airlines, so travelers planning to travel to Canada and the United States outside of Toronto Billy Bishop this summer can save up to 20% on a Porter flight.

If you plan to fly with Porter, stay at one or two Downtown Toronto properties in Fairmont, Western Canada, or shop at one of the Oxford Properties Retail Centers on the list, it is not wise to register for the offer, buy a $ 350 online gift card. And save $ 70 for your last purchase.

However, even if you do not see yourself using the gift card (say, you live outside of a province with Oxford Properties location and do not plan to redeem the gift card for eligible travel), it is still possible to use the Amex offer to buy a gift card. Feelings.

This is because your $ 350 Oxford Properties gift card still has a value, if not equal to $ 350, for which you only have to pay $ 280.

You can sell the $ 350 gift card to another buyer, perhaps for a small discount, and still have a 70 statement credit thanks.

Scotiabank American Express cardholders can also register

As we have seen in many recent Amex offers, primary and supplementary cardholders of Scotiabank American Express products can also register and take advantage of promotions.

Eligible cards include Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, Scotiabank American Express Card, and Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card.

The registration portal is accessible through this link.

Whether you plan to use or resell your Oxford Properties gift card, you can sign up for this Amex offer on both your Amex- and Scotiabank-issued Amex products to maximize your earnings.


With this new Amex offer, eligible cardholders can earn a $ 70 statement credit by spending a minimum of $ 350 to purchase a gift card online at Oxford Properties Canada or through oxfordgiftcardplus.ca.

Oxford Properties gift cards can be used to save up to 20% on eligible shopping locations, hotels or Porter Airlines flights, so there is a fairly wide range of uses for your discount gift cards.

Remember that the registration cap is limited to the first 20,000 cardholders, so be sure to press the register and then pick up your Oxford Properties gift card as soon as possible, and July 18, 2022 At the latest.

At age 66, I felt like the father of the hiking community while hiking around Mont Blanc earlier this fall. But the Tour du Mont Blanc is possible for any reasonably fit hiker, and there were plenty of people on the trail who were older than me.

For newcomers like Shelley and me, it’s wise to be proactive about health and safety. Here are some tips I learned along the way:

Good boots, liner socks, slippery powder and moleskin are essential for soft skin. We became a kind of gear geek – investing in good day bags (aspray), woolen clothes (socks, underwear, shirts) and great hiking shoes. I was not so grateful for wool hats in Europe.

I was skeptical of many “good ideas”, but the two things I finally appreciated were a daily bag of trail mix and my metal water bottle. (I complained about its steep ট্যাগ 40 price tag … but soon realized it was a great price).

I must say, if the weather gets bad and it rains hard, I don’t think most trails will be fun at all. In fact, it would be dangerous. Hiking poles are essential, and even in perfect weather, I would worry about stumbling without my own faithful set.

Eat a solid breakfast. One day we had breakfast without any protein, the climb was hard.

Apply sunscreen even if the weather is bad.

After learning my lessons about other long climbs, I decided from the start to be religious about expanding the Tour du Mont Blanc. I had a routine of six stretches and spent time all day to make sure I wasn’t tight. Very important!

Don’t be a hero. When the skin is hot, wrap it. I did a complete TMB hike without a blister – and then purposely got one in the last two hours.

Good gear, smart and active ways to stay healthy, stretch, and take it easy… it all worked great.

I will share more photos, stories and tips from Mont Blanc in the November 29 edition of Monday Night Travel. Want to come up with? Register now for this fun – and free! – Incidents.

Today is a day of deep sorrow. Russia’s offensive is heartbreaking in Ukraine and, at least indirectly, for death, suffering and economic unrest. Here in Rick Steve’s Europe, we hope that a diplomatic solution will be found and that peace will return to that fragile and long-violent part of our world.

Our goal at RSE is to help Americans get to know and understand our neighbors better through travel. But when we bring travelers to other countries, we also bring their dollars – dollars that will support Putin’s aggression. Therefore, to date, we have canceled all 2022 tours, including one stop in Russia.

Of course, we will keep a close eye on the unfolding events and observe the effects of travel in the rest of Europe. But it is important to keep in mind the geographical reality and remember that the war in Ukraine will be as far from our European vacation dream as the war in Guatemala will be from Texas or Florida. For over 40 years now, we’ve lived, worked, and traveled through many periods of tragic war in countries far away from our tour (and some nearby). And at this point, we see no reason to change the rest of our travel and travel plans.

The tragic reality unfolding in Ukraine only reminds me that for Americans to continue traveling and do things that make our world better and more employed citizens. I’m flying to Europe next month for a 40-day trip through a dozen great cities from London to Athens – and I’m proud that thousands of my traveling companions will experience the European journey of their dreams while having a long distance learning experience. A 2022 Rick Steves tour home.

In this time, let us be grateful for our blessings, support the leaders of our nation as they do their best to navigate this crisis and keep the turbulent corners of our world (Ukraine, Russia, Afghanistan and more) in our thoughts and prayers.

– Rick