Calgary is the biggest city in Western Canada and the largest in the province of Alberta. Known for its booming oil industry, the city is a hub for business, growing tourism, and of course, its world-famous Calgary Stampede rodeo event each year.
The city has a vibrant dining and shopping scene, plus an entertaining zoo. Many visitors also use Calgary as a gateway to other nearby attractions such as the stunning scenery of Lake Louise and popular skiing in Banff.
So if you want to get in on the fun up north, here’s how to travel to Calgary on points and miles.
Getting to Calgary
Calgary International Airport (YYC) is about 11 miles north of downtown. There are multiple options for getting from the airport to where you need to go, including taxis, hotel shuttles, rideshare services and rental cars.
Major airlines flying to Calgary
Thirteen airlines fly to Calgary International Airport, with WestJet and Air Canada dominating the departure boards. Other airlines include:
Flying to Calgary on points and miles
Calgary has several nonstop flights to Europe on airlines like KLM and WestJet. Most travelers coming from the U.S. will turn to major network carriers like Air Canada, Alaska, American, Delta and United.
Many airlines now rely on a dynamic pricing model to determine the number of miles needed for a flight, with amounts varying according to date and time, making it difficult to plan in advance for how many miles you need. Because of this, it is wise to consider multiple mileage currencies when planning a trip to Calgary to avoid overspending miles.
Delta and WestJet
Delta and WestJet have a codeshare agreement that allows earning and redeeming miles on each other’s flights. This helps to make it easier when planning a flight. Elite status members of either airline can also take advantage of special perks when flying with the other airline like:
Priority boarding and seat selection.
Additional baggage allowance.
You can book WestJet award flights on Delta.com.
American and Alaska
Now that Alaska has joined the oneworld alliance, American and Alaska frequent flyer members have more flight options to reach Calgary. Previously, neither had a huge number of flights to the city, but now oneworld flyers have another option.
United and Air Canada
Both airlines are founding members of Star Alliance, which means there are seamless perks for eligible elite members like:
Lounge access (Star Alliance Gold level).
Priority boarding and check-in.
Dedicated Gold Track security lane.
Additional baggage allowance.
United.com includes easy access to Air Canada award flights. Another unique amenity for United Club members, even those without elite status, is that they can use Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounges making it a good option for some travelers.
Like with United, when using Aeroplan, Air Canada’s loyalty program, to fly to Calgary, you can redeem on United or Air Canada, and there are minimal surcharges. If redeeming United miles, remember that MileagePlus co-branded credit cardholders get upgraded access to certain award flights that non-cardholders do not get.
Other tips for flying to Calgary
Inside the airport, there are separate areas for international flights, domestic flights and transborder flights to the United States. When flying to the U.S., you will clear customs and immigration in Canada before your flight leaves and you arrive in the U.S. just like a domestic passenger. This will save notable time when you land.
The airport has several lounges including an Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, two Aspire lounges and a WestJet Elevation Lounge. All except the Air Canada lounge are accessible via Priority Pass cardholders departing from that terminal.
Hotels on points in Calgary
If you’re looking to earn or redeem loyalty points in Calgary, you’re just as lucky as those who struck oil in the region years ago. That is to say, there are quite a few hotel options.
Marriott Bonvoy – 19 Hotels
Marriott Bonvoy dominates the city with its hotel brands including everything from Fairfield Inn to Westin.
The Westin Calgary
Smack in the middle of town, The Westin Calgary is convenient for both business and leisure travelers. It is most known for its famous Caesar cocktail, which was created at the hotel in 1969 and is enjoyed all over Canada.
Cost to book in points: Marriott Bonvoy is removing award charts in 2022, but for now rooms at this Category 4 hotel start at 25,000 points per night for standard rates, 20,000 during off-peak nights and 30,000 during peak nights.
Delta Hotels Calgary Downtown
Delta Hotels, a Canadian brand acquired by Marriott, has a downtown property convenient to business offices and shopping. The Delta Hotels Calgary Downtown has rooms overlooking the city and the river valley.
Cost to book in points: As a Category 4, rooms start at 25,000 points per night for standard rates, 20,00 during off-peak nights and 30,000 during peak nights.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points
If you need more Marriott Bonvoy points and don’t have much travel planned, turn to a Marriott co-branded credit card. Among the options are the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, which comes with a Free Night Award valued up to 35,000 points, meaning you can get a night in a Category 1 through 5 hotel. Another option is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which comes with its own free anniversary night valued up to 50,000 points redeemable at Category 1 through 6 hotels. Both would be valid at The Westin Calgary, and using these cards on any Marriott stay in town would earn bonus Bonvoy points. Terms apply.
NerdWallet values Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cent per point.
Hilton – 9 hotels
Most Hilton Honors hotels in the city are in the mid and upscale category. Expect brands like Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites among others.
The Westley Calgary Downtown, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
Cost to book in points: Hilton doesn’t have a set award chart, but rooms at this property tend to cost between 30,000 and 35,000 points. A handy calendar on the Hilton website shows multiple dates at once to help you decide which night and price works best since the program relies on dynamic pricing.
How to earn Hilton Honors points
Using Hilton Honors points in Calgary is easier if you have a Hilton Honors-branded credit card. Many come with large welcome bonuses as well as bonus points for using a Hilton card when staying with a Hilton hotel. If you are looking for Hilton elite status, the The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with complimentary Hilton Gold Status. Enrollment required. Those points can typically be transferred to the Hilton Honors program at a 1:1 ratio. Terms apply.
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card adds a free weekend night every year plus the ability to earn another weekend night by charging $60,000 to the card in a year. When you sign up, you also earn top-level Hilton Honors Diamond status, which is a valuable perk. Terms apply.
Hyatt – 2 hotels
There are only two World of Hyatt hotels in Calgary, which limits the choice for those who only use this program.
Hyatt Regency Calgary
The Hyatt Regency Calgary is a modern downtown hotel with contemporary decor and a Regency Club. The lounge access perk is popular with business travelers and World of Hyatt top-tier Globalist members who get access to this concierge lounge for breakfast and evening snacks and cocktails.
Cost to book in points: As a Category 3 hotel in World of Hyatt, this Hyatt Regency offers standard rooms starting at 12,000 points per night.
How to earn Hyatt points: The World of Hyatt Credit Card can amplify your points balance in a jiffy. You’ll earn 9 points per dollar spent at Hyatt properties and 2 points per dollar spent on transit services, airfare purchased directly from the airlines, while dining out and for gym memberships. You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio.
The points and miles path to Calgary
Credit cards can bulk up your mileage and points balances quickly, which can be helpful if you are planning a trip. If you’re wondering how to travel to Calgary on points of miles, your favorite loyalty programs can lead the way.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for: