Thursday, August 9, 2018

Edmonton to Europe in Business Class for as little as 53,000 miles round trip with the latest Flying Blue Promo Rewards



It has been a few months since we have predominantly featured the Air France KLM Flying Blue Promo Rewards here on Rewards Canada. This has been due to a couple of reasons - two months ago it was because there were no Canadian cities included and for July... well, I kind of forgot about it!

Since the last time we covered this promotion, Flying Blue introduced their new award pricing that has done away with the traditional award chart and moved to dynamic pricing. There are both pros and cons to this when it comes to Flying Blue's Promo Rewards. The pro is that there are routes/times the miles required will actually be less than they used to be with the old Promo Awards - yes the used to be Promo Awards and are now called Promo Rewards 🤷.  While the con is that there are routes/times that may be higher than they used to price at. Also the dynamic or variable pricing doesn't always make sense on as you'll find out below.

Now onto the actual newest set of Air France KLM's Promo Rewards!  This time we only see three Canadian cities included. With promo awards the discount ranges from 25 to 50% off the regular amount of miles required to redeem for these flights. As you can see just by the discount this can be a very good offer if you get 50% off for Business Class! This set does see one half off business class offer from Edmonton to Europe,  25% off business class out of Calgary and 25% off both business or economy class out of Vancouver. While 25% isn't as good as 50% of course, it still is something to look at if you were planning travel to Europe in the fall.

Offer details
August Promo Rewards - Save 20% to 50% on the Award Miles usually required for an award ticket. Destinations vary by each promotional period. Full Details Book by Aug 30 for travel Sep 30 - Nov 29, 18
This month sees:
Calgary to Europe: 25% off Business Class on KLM
Edmonton to Europe: 50% off Business Class on KLM
Vancouver to Europe: 25% off Economy or Business Class on Air France or KLM

Here are the mileage requirements for flying from any of the cities to Amsterdam as well as Paris from Vancouver

And an example of some of the availability from Edmonton to Amsterdam:
Definitely a lot more availability going out than coming back but again this is only a one month spotlight of the two month travel window. You could easily go for a week late in October:
Not bad at all - 60,500 miles and $635.12 in fees and taxes for business class. Under the old promo awards this flight would have been 62,500 miles plus the same fees. Yes the fees are on the high side but most other programs who may have lower fees would be costing you at least 50% more miles.






Next I was going to give an example of how routes are variable and where you would have to connect via Amsterdam or Paris would become more expensive then the direct flight. However in my search I randomly selected Milan Italy and it screwed everything up. Have a look:
Only 58,000 miles and close to the same amount of taxes. People have said that the new Air France KLM award rates make no sense and here is an example of that!

And an even cheaper route (can you tell I had fun last night searching for the cheapest biz class offers from YEG to Europe?)
That's unheard of! Only 53,000 miles to fly Business Class round trip?!?




Even the 25% off Economy Class between Vancouver and Amsterdam or Milan is a good deal


Don't have enough miles to redeem? You could look to pad your Flying Blue account to get these award flights by taking advantage of Marriott's Travel Packages where you can get 7 nights and miles as follows (although these packages are less valuable than Package #1 options):


However you would need to redeem by August 17th because as of August 18 they are being massively devalued. Of course you have to have enough Starpoints/Marriott Rewards Points to do this in the first place. Your other option is to also do a straight conversion from SPG to Air France KLM where you can get 25,000 Flying Blue Miles for every 20,000 Starpoints so that Edmonton-Brussels flight could be had for 43,000 Starpoints! As of August 18th, you will be able to convert from Marriott to Flying Blue at this same ratio, albeit 60,000 Marriott Rewards points will net you 25,000 miles.

All in all there are quite a few good deals to be had with this latest Promo Rewards from Air France KLM's Flying Blue program, especially so if you can take advantage of the 50% off business class flights from Edmonton!



Wednesday, August 8, 2018

BMO World Elite Mastercards switch from Priority Pass to Mastercard Airport Experiences by LoungeKey

As of today, BMO's three World Elite Mastercard products will no longer offer Priority Pass memberships and lounge visits as a benefit. Instead they are moving in sync with most World Elite products that are using the Mastercard Airport Experiences by LoungeKey.

LoungeKey works in a similar fashion to Priority Pass so existing cardholders who have become accustomed to PP shouldn't fear. In fact both companies are owned by the same parent company so it's no wonder they are very similar to each other. LoungeKey offers access to over 1,000 airport lounges Worldwide so the coverage is very similar. The major difference between Priority Pass and LoungeKey, which isn't of significance to World Elite Mastercard holders is that unlike Priority Pass, LoungeKey membership cannot be purchased by anyone rather it is only supplied to Mastercard cardholders around the world. The good news is you don't need the separate membership card like the one that is provided by Priority Pass, your Mastercard card acts as your membership card.

Related: Rewards Canada's Guide to Business Class Lounge Access


You may be asking, "OK so the membership is now LoungeKey but the old Priority Pass option gave me some free lounge visits with my card" Well that is still the case for the BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard and the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard which get 4 and 2 annual complimentary passes respectively. The BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard gets you the Mastercard Airport Experiences by LoungeKey membership but no complimentary passes. Once you use up those passes or in the case of the Cash Back card have no passes each lounge visit is US$27. This is a familiar number as it the same price charged by Priority Pass.

You can find the details of the three cards listed above and other cards offered BMO on our BMO Credit Card - Bonus Mile & Point Offers page

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Miles & More - 2,500 Bonus Miles for Hilton stays that can be stacked with the Honors Double Points promotion


A very generous offer for Hilton stays is out now where you can earn 2,500 Miles & More for every Hilton stay until the end of October. The great thing about this offer is that you can still earn Hilton Honors points on all those stays which means you can take advantage of the current global double points offer that runs until September 9. If you don't think you may have a use for the Miles & More miles right now I would register anyway to collect them over and above your Honors points.

Offer details
2,500 Bonus Miles & More Miles per stay at any Hilton family of hotels locations Worldwide. Full details, online registration & booking (Registration is required) Until Oct 31, 18
You must ensure you add your Miles & More member number to your Hilton Honors profile to earn the bonus miles

Aeroplan adds Ultra Low Cost Carrier Flair Airlines as a preferred partner


Just as I hit 'post' for the Aeroplan Air Transat announcement an email notification popped up with another press release from Aeroplan - "Aeroplan and Flair Airlines Announce Preferred Partnership"

Now we have another leisure airline being added and this one is an Ultra Low Cost Carrier. Part of me was hoping we wouldn't see this sort of partnership, I mean Air Transat is one thing, but Flair Airlines is bare bones where you have to pay for everything (carry on bag fees, airport counter fees etc), it's no Air Canada, it's no WestJet but again it is an airline the average Canadian who travels less than once a year would fly to visit friends or family across Canada. It once again makes sense for a  portion of Aeroplan members who only collect a few miles here and there - they aren't going to earn enough miles to fly to Australia and need some closer in options.
Starting July 2020, Aeroplan Members will be able to both earn Aeroplan Miles when booking flights on Flair routes and redeem for flights at fixed-rate fares.

"The addition of Flair Airlines as a preferred partner airline further strengthens our air offering in Canada for Aeroplan Members come July 2020," said Jeremy Rabe, Chief Executive Officer, Aimia. "In addition to providing members with the ability to fly any airline, anywhere, this relationship with Flair will give our members exceptional value for popular Western Canada routes."
When flying with Flair Airlines, a Canadian low-fare airline, Aeroplan Members will earn Aeroplan Miles for their flight and ancillary product purchases and have the ability to redeem for Flair flights at fixed-rate fares.  The relationship with Flair Airlines will give Aeroplan Members new redemption options, particularly those travelling out of Flair's Edmonton hub, extending from coast to coast and upcoming southern destinations.
 Flair Airlines is a young airline that used to be known as newleaf who have been expanding their service across Canada - however with WestJet launching Swoop earlier this year and our already existing airlines Air Canada and WestJet also competing for traffic across Canada we don't know if Flair will be around in two years, these airlines don't have a good track record in Canada (think JetsGo, Greyhound Air, Canjet). I hope they are so that there is this option for Aeroplan members but this is perhaps one bit of news I would have maybe kept under wraps just to see how the airline does over the next couple of years.

Here is Flair's route network as of August 2018:


Aeroplan has now added two new chapters to ongoing Aeroplan Air Canada saga today and we'll add it to our summary that we always remind our readers of where you can keep track of it all this news. on our

Air Transat becomes the next Aeroplan preferred airline partner


Aeroplan is on a tear right and are showing Air Canada they don't need the airline or the Star Alliance to succeed. Last week they rejected the bid for Air Canada et al to buy Aeroplan and added Porter Airlines as a preferred airline partner. Now today it has been announced that Air Transat will become a preferred partner as well.

As of July 2020 Aeroplan members will be able to earn and redeem Aeroplan miles on Air Transat flights and vacation packages.
"We are thrilled about this agreement in principle and look forward to Air Transat, recently recognized by Skytrax as the World`s Best Leisure Airline, partnering with Aeroplan for its members' leisure travel needs to some 60 destinations in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East," said Joseph Adamo, Chief Distribution Officer, Transat"
Key word here is Leisure Airline, Air Transat as most if not all of our readers show know is a charter/leisure airline for vacationing Canadian traveller with flights primarily to Europe and Sun destinations. However they do also offer flights between some major Canadian cities typically on their 737 aircraft.
Areas served by Air Transat
 
This is not an airline for the business traveller or frequent flyer but that's where Porter and hopefully a partnership with the oneworld alliance come in.
"Aeroplan continues to expand and enhance its member offering to provide Canadians with the best travel loyalty program experience come July 2020 including the flexibility to fly any airline, anywhere at any time. Preferred agreements, like the one announced today, coupled with bulk and block purchasing and stand-alone charters, unlock meaningful discounts supporting the delivery of great value to members on flight redemptions"
You could consider Air Transat as Aeroplan's replacement to Air Canada Rouge as these two airlines compete for the leisure traveller and currently many Canadians are redeeming miles on Rouge flights. So this announcement will fill the gap for this market, which makes up a large portion of Aeroplan's membership base. Hopefully they will have better availability on Air Transat's flights as we have always heard the gripes of trying to redeem for flights to places like Florida during busy times of the year!

There you have it, the next chapter in this ongoing saga has been revealed and we'll add it to our summary that we always remind our readers of where you can keep track of it all this news. on our

Monday, August 6, 2018

Hilton Honors extends global double points promotion to September 9, 2018

Hilton Honors has decided to provide a small extension to their global double points promotion. Originally advertised as ending on August 31 the promotion has now been extended to September 9.

Offer details:
Earn Double Points on all Hilton family of hotels stays Worldwide. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required)  Until Sep 9, 18

  • For every $1 spent on stays, you’ll earn 10 Base Points, plus an additional 10 Bonus Points (5 Base Points plus 5 Bonus Points at Home2 Suite by Hilton and Tru by Hilton). Silver, Gold & Diamond members will earn their Elite Tier Bonus on top of that. 
  • Excludes Hampton by Hilton Hotels in Mainland China.
Find many more Honors Bonus Points offers here

Friday, August 3, 2018

Aeroplan rejects Air Canada's bid, partners with Porter Airlines and is in talks with oneworld

 
Yesterday was the deadline for Aimia (the parent company of Aeroplan) to make a decision on the proposed takeover of Aeroplan by Air Canada, CIBC, TD & Visa. For the most part of the day it was quiet on the front of whether the bid would be accepted or rejected by Aimia. We finally got news just before 9pm Eastern that the bid was rejected. According to the press release from the Air Canada consortium they had been in talks with Aeroplan and actually sweetened the pot but in the end Aimia said no.


There were hints this would be the case as the day prior, on August 1st, it was revealed that Aimia was in talks with the oneworld alliance which consists of 13 airlines and several other partner airlines included American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific.  This potential partnership actually makes a lot of sense for both parties - Aeroplan would get access earn and burn access that its members would be accustomed to albeit with a different alliance and oneworld would get access to more Canadian consumers which they need as they are behind Star Alliance and SkyTeam in terms of presence in Canada.


And now today we get the biggest confirmed Aeroplan news yet that continues to show that Aeroplan wants to remain independent and that is they have officially partnered with Porter Airlines, Canada's third largest airline. Aeroplan will essentially become Porter's currency:
"...a comprehensive partnership designating Porter as a preferred Canadian airline to issue Aeroplan Miles on Porter routes effective July 2020. Porter will also become a redemption partner, as of the effective time of the agreement, offering up to 60% of seat inventory for the purchase of flights with Aeroplan Miles at fixed-rate prices. The arrangement includes an extensive cooperative marketing program targeting existing Aeroplan members, with an emphasis on members who travel on Porter routes."
You may be asking what happens VIPorter points at that time and the answer is also in the press release that VIPorter points will be converted in Aeroplan miles in July of 2020. Porter Airlines however will keep VIPorter running as their elite recognition program (just like Air Canada Altitude runs separate from Aeroplan) and it will continue to offer their elite members benefits such as priority boarding, complimentary seat selection and checked baggage allowances.

This partnership is great news for Aeroplan but it reality it isn't that huge for Aeroplan members as Porter is a relatively small airline flying to 16 cities in Canada (Ontario, Quebec & the Maritimes) and 7 cities in the U.S.. It doesn't mean much for Western Canada unless Porter gets its way to have the runway extended at their home airport (Toronto's Island Airport aka Billy Bishop Toronto City airport) so they can fly Airbus A220 airplanes (nee Bombardier CSeries) on longer routes to cities like Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

It has definitely been another exciting 48 hours in the Air Canada Aeroplan soap opera and as we always remind our readers, you can keep track of it all on our Air Canada Aeroplan resource page.


Thursday, August 2, 2018

August 2 Update: Emirates and Etihad adding more flights between YYZ & U.A.E., World of Hyatt partners with SLH Hotels and more!

On July 27th the Government of Canada announced expanded air agreements with Egypt and United Arab Emirates. Airlines can now fly up to 7x per week between Canada and Egypt and flights to/from UAE can be increased by 68%. It didn't take long for both major UAE airlines to take advantage of this news. Emirates will be increasing their flights between Toronto and Dubai to 5x per week from 3x come August and Etihad Airways will also boost their flight frequencies to 5x weekly this October. (Source Routesonline 1, 2)


Hyatt has announced a new hotel partnership for their World of Hyatt program. The partnership is with Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH Hotels) which is a collection of over 500 independently owned luxury hotels and it will offer World of Hyatt members to ability to earn and redeem points at participating SLH Hotels. The full partnership will be revealed later this year but what we know from the press release is that participating SLH hotels will have to be booked via Hyatt channels. SLH Hotels have one Canadian location, the Trout Point Lodge Nova Scotia in Kemptville. Overall this is great news for World of Hyatt as they have a relatively small portfolio compared to the other major hotel chains and having the ability to earn and burn at more places is always a plus. (Source Hyatt)

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals
Hilton
Summer Sale - Save up to 25% on weekend stays in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Find out more here

Remember to visit Rewards Canada's Travel Booking site to book travel directly with many of your favourite airlines, hotels and more!

Canadian Bonus Offers
Air Canada Aeroplan
- 30% Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you convert Hotel loyalty programs points to Aeroplan Miles.  More... Until Aug 20, 18

Air France KLM Flying Blue
- August Promo Rewards - Save 20% to 50% on the Award Miles usually required for an award ticket. Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton are included this month. More... Book by Aug 30 for travel Sep 30 - Nov 29, 18

AIR MILES
- 50 Bonus AIR MILES Reward Miles for adding your AIR MILES numbers to your account profile on Samsung.ca and then scan your AIR MILES Card through Samsung Pay when you shop at AIR MILES Partners and earn 5 miles each time you do this, up to 5 times per week for 25 miles. More... Until Dec 31, 18

Other Bonus Offers
British Airways Executive Club
- Up to 45% Bonus Avios when you buy or gift Avios. More... Until Aug 6, 18

Hyatt World of Hyatt
- Up to 40% Bonus World of Hyatt Points when you buy 5,000 or more points. Bonus varies by member. More... Until Aug 21, 18

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
- Double Mileage Bank Miles for stays on select packages at participating Langham Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Sep 30, 18

Le Club AccorHotels
- Double Le Club AccorHotels for stays at participating Accor Hotels in the UK and Ireland. Earn an additional 500 bonus points if you book via the Accor app. More... Book by Aug 31 for stays until Sep 30, 1

Shangri-La Golden Circle
- Double GC Award Points for stays at the Futian Shangri-La, Shenzhen. More... Until Aug 31, 18

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Earn up to 4x KrisFlyer Miles when you rent with Hertz Worldwide for three or more days. More... Book by Sep 30 for rentals until Oct 31, 18

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