Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fairmont Hotels Choose Your Moment - Receive a $150 credit & 2x Aeroplan or MileagePlus Miles on spend of over $850 on your Visa card

You know how we always tell our readers to carry one card from each major card issuer? Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Well here is one of those offers we always refer to. This one requires that you use a Visa card to pay for your stay Choose Your Moment stay at Fairmont Hotels in North America.  Choose Your Moment offers are exciting hotel packages, for example the package at  The Plaza Hotel in New York includes:
  • Enjoy a private, customized tour of legendary Central Park—focus on wildlife, history, film, architecture, romance, family attractions, and more
  • Soar over the bustling metropolis on an exhilarating helicopter tour, with a bird’s eye view of NYC’s iconic landmarks

Here are the main offer details as taken from Fairmont Hotels:

Discover some of North America’s most unique experiences with us! Book our Choose Your Moment with Visa ® offer at participating Americas properties and pay with your Visa card – when you spend a minimum of $850, you’ll receive a $150 credit at check-out*. And, you can also earn double miles with Aeroplan and United MileagePlus®!

Click here to learn more about this offer or to go ahead and book it.

May 5 Update: Donate Canalta Rewards points for Ft. McMurray, WestJet inaugurates London tomorrow and why you should get the SPG Amex

News, Tips & Tricks
More loyalty programs are stepping up with options to redeem points for donations to help out the Ft. McMurray wildfire victims. The latest is Canalta Rewards as they will let you redeem points for Red Cross donations. Find out more here.

inaugural flights to London Gatwick take off tomorrow! Any Rewards Canada readers going to be on one of the flights from Calgary, Toronto or Vancouver? Or on Saturday from Edmonton, Winnipeg or St. John's? Let us know by commenting below!

The current offer for the TD First Class Visa Infinite Card of up to 40,000 bonus points and first year free has been extended to June 30th. Find out more here.

Posts since our last update:

Bonus Offers
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- 1,000 Bonus Mileage Plan Miles for each qualifying global partner you fly internationally. More... Register by Sep 1 for travel until Sep 15, 16

American AAdvantage
- Earn up to 700 FREE AAdvantage Miles for registering for the Miles for Milestones promotion. More... Until Jun 1, 16

Best Western Rewards
- Double Rewards Points for stays at the Best Western Yuvraj Surat. More... Until Dec 31, 16
- Double Rewards Points for stays at the Best Western JFK Airport Hotel. More... Until Dec 31, 16

Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Earn up to 6,000 Bonus QMiles when you fly between Yerevan and Doha. More... Until Aug 15, 16
- Save up to 14,000 QMiles when you redeem for an award ticket to or from Yerevan. More... Book by Jun 30 for travel until Jul 15, 16

TAP Portugal Victoria
- Up to a 50% Victoria Miles discount on TAP Portugal award flights between Madeira, Amsterdam, Zurich, Dusseldorf, Lyon, Milan, Munich, Moscow, New York, Miami, Cape Verde or Luanda and Lisbon or Porto. More... Book by May 20 for travel until Jun 30, 16
- Earn up to 3,000 Victoria Miles when you join the TAP Portugal Victoria program.  Receive 1,000 miles just for joining and 2,000 miles on your first earn activity. More... Until ?

United MileagePlus
- Earn up to 5,000 Bonus MileagePlus Miles when you fly on United-operated flights between Singapore and San Francisco. More... Register and book by Jun 30 for travel Jun 3 - Dec 31, 16

Voila Hotel Rewards
- 7,500 Bonus VHR Points when you stay at any participating Voila Hotel Rewards hotels Worldwide. More... Until Jul 31, 16

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Why you should still consider getting the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

From the latter part of 2015 we've brought you all the details and drama surrounding the sale of Starwood Hotels. Marriott and China's Anbang were going head to head for Starwood with Marriott eventually coming out on top. This worried a lot of Starwood Preferred Guest members (SPG) as SPG tends to be more rewarding than Marriott especially in how they treat their elite members. To appease SPG members early on and let Marriott elite members start getting used to some SPG benefits Marriott Rewards updated some benefits recently (read about those here). Ultimately it seems though that SPG and Marriott Rewards will be merged into a new program but that won't happen until sometime in 2018. Which means that gives nearly two years for someone to make use and take advantage of SPG since it is one of the most awarding hotel programs out there and provides tremendous value with their currency, Starpoints. In fact if you look at our Top 5 Travel Rewards Currencies for Canadians you'll see that SPG ranks 4th overall!

That brings us to the topic of this post. I was recently asked whether applying for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is still worthwhile. And the simple answer is yes! Seeing that you have nearly two years to use the points before an integration or amalgamation there is more than enough time to make use of the very valuable currency.

Here are the details of the card:

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

Card Type: Credit
Annual Fee: $120 Annual Fee ($50 annual fee for Supp Cards)
Product Details:
• New Starwood Preferred Guest®* Credit Card from American Express Cardmembers, earn 20,000 bonus Starpoints® after you charge $500 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership.
• Earn 1 Starpoint for every $1 in purchases charged to the Card
• Enjoy a Free Weekend Night Award when you reach $40,000 in purchases each year
• Experience Starwood Gold Preferred Guest status when you reach $30,000 in purchases each year
• Redeem Starpoints for Free Nights with no blackout dates at over 1,200 of the world's most desired hotels in nearly 100 countries
• Use Starpoints for flights on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates with SPG Flights
• Experience once-in-a-lifetime events with SPG Moments
• American Express Invites™ opens the door to great music, theatre, dining, film, fashion and shopping experiences. Be among the first to know, and among the first to go!
· You can use Apple Pay on your eligible device to pay for goods and services at participating American Express contactless merchants
• Annual interest rate 19.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances
• American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link.
• Conditions apply

Apply Online
And here are just some examples of why this card still represents a great value and why you should still consider grabbing it for the next few years:

Use the points for Starwood stays of course! We value Starpoints at over 2 cents each so the sign up bonus is worth $400 at a minimum. If you apply for the card and put your $500 spending on it as soon as you can you'll get the 20,000 Starpoints on your first statement date and those will post to SPG within a day or two after that. Now the questions is what can those 20,000 Starpoints get you? Here are some ideas:

How about a night at The St. Regis Mauritius Resort in June:

Only 20,000 Starpoints for a Junior Suite with ocean view. If you pay cash, the non-refundable, prepaid rate is EUR395 or about $579CDN!! That's almost a 2.9% return on your points. Go for two night with points + cash for 20,000 Starpoints and $360 USD (C$463) versus C$1,158 in outright costs. That's a savings of C$695 or a value of 3.475% per point!!

How about a little closer to home? The Westin Prince Toronto in July:

Only 10,000 Starpoints per night for a traditional room. If you pay cash, the non-refundable rate is C$256 so you are getting 2.56% per point in value. Of course you have 20,000 points so you can get two nights here saving you over $500.

Another amazing benefit from SPG is the ability to transfer the Starpoints to well over 30 airlines from around the globe including Aeroplan. What is even better is that SPG will bonus you 5,000 miles each time you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to any of their airline partners. This means the sign up bonus with the card is actually the equivalent of 25,000 miles with all but a couple of partners. Aeroplan is one those that you would get 25,000 miles. For most of us Aeroplan is the obvious choice but some other front runners are British Airways, Alaska Airlines, American AAdvantage, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles or Air France KLM Flying Blue.

Finally you could just hold onto the points and keep collecting as you spend on the card and redeem for higher end hotels before 2018 or keep going for multiples of 20,000 Starpoints to transfer to an airline partner. Ultimately if you don't do any of that the points that you are holding onto will transfer into the newly merged Marriott program sometime in 2018. While we don't know the exact value everyone including us at Rewards Canada are speculating there will be some loss of value seeing that Starpoints are worth over 2 cents each and Marriott Rewards Points are around a penny (in C$)

Clich here to find out more or to apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card!

Miles & More Award Ticket Sale - Save up to 50% on Economy Class award tickets to Austria from Toronto

As we do each month we bring you the latest set Miles & More "Meilenschnaeppchen" discounted mileage awards!  This month we see only a 50% discount on economy class travel on Austrian Airlines between Toronto and Austria. These Austrian offers are good for booking and travel until Jun 30, 16

You can redeem Miles & More miles for round trip tickets on Austria from Toronto to Austria for only 30,000 miles. This is a 50% discount off the normal Economy Class award ticket price of 60,000 miles. Granted all these tickets will also have fuel surcharges but this is still a pretty good deal when you look at it as a whole in terms of miles+cash outlay.
The crazy thing is that you can actually get the round trip economy class tickets for only $5,000 in credit card spend (and a $120 annual fee). How so? As we usually mention in this post you can boost your Miles & More account with the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. Currently the card comes with a 20,000 Starpoint sign up bonus. When you convert those 20,000 Starpoints to Miles & More SPG will award you an additional 5,000 miles. Which gives you 25,000 miles but if you spend $5,000 on the card you'll have 25,000 Starpoints and the 5,000 Miles bonus giving you the 30,000 miles required for this flight. Of course fuel surcharges and taxes are extra.

Simply book the offers seen here by June 30th.  
Full details on this offer can be found here

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Any other family travellers frustrated with hotel suites?

As much as I love having elite status with hotel programs it seems that we run into an issue a lot of times on our stays. Typically we travel as a family of four and unfortunately when you go to many hotels the upgrades that you are offered aren't conducive to more than two people. As many of you can attest when you get upgraded to a suite it will only have one king bed and maybe a pullout sofa. My kids are getting older and aren't pint sized anymore so pullout sofas don't cut it. Even if you don't have status a lot of times hotels have some pretty decent deals on their suites but do you want to pay a bit more to get that darn pullout instead of an actual bed?

Two recent stays are good examples of this. The family stayed at the Sheraton Cavalier in Saskatoon and we were offered a suite however it was a king with a pullout. We'd rather have two actual beds so we stuck with our original booking of two queens but we were placed on the Club Floor. The second example is one where I was travelling by myself and was upgraded to a Junior Suite at the Sheraton Centre Toronto. The room was beautiful and great for myself (in fact I didn't need that much space for the 16 or so hours I had the room) however had I been with the family we would have ran into the same predicament. A king bed with a pull out sofa. Not ideal.
Junior Suite at the Sheraton Centre Toronto

Of course there are places where the suites do have two Kings or two Queens or some other set up with actual comfortable beds but it seems percentage wise in terms of all the hotels around the world that very few do it.

Where we have been able to get suites conducive to families?

The Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim is an obvious one, no problem getting a suite with multiple beds. In fact we had a larger two bedroom suite with four queen beds and a pullout. My guess is that many hotels around the Disneyland area and Disney World in Florida have suites that appeal to families.

We love the Fairmont Banff Springs and their suites don't accommodate families very well unless you have them convert their single king bed Spa/Terrace suite into a larger suite by booking it along with the queen standard room next to it. Luckily both rooms have a single 'outer' door that you can close and use as your main entrance. Still this isn't technically getting just the suite as you are booking two rooms. If you don't mind staying in the Stanley Thompson wing (the non castle part of the Hotel) they do have some family suites there but it just isn't the same as staying in the castle part.
Fairmont Banff Springs Spa/Terrace Suite

The Hyatt Calgary does have Regency Club suites with two queens which are two rooms that have been made into a suite. Room one remains a standard 2 queens while the connecting room gets a bar, table with chairs and couch to make it the suite.

The Loews Hollywood Hotel gave us a 2 King suite but I wouldn't qualify it as a true suite. Just a larger room which could accommodate 2 kings as all their standard rooms only have 2 double beds. It was a great room but one I wouldn't qualify as a true suite.

Other than that most other places don't seem to make their suites family friendly. We have stayed at our fair share of hotels with pullouts, in fact we have one coming up this weekend but ultimately I would love to see more hotels make their suites more family friendly.

What are your thoughts? Have we been picking the wrong hotels? Are we travelling to places that are more business related than pleasure? Or do you also find that many suites are just ideal for single or dual travellers? Tell us your stories by commenting below!

May 4 Update: New mbna Rewards MasterCard, donate Aeroplan Miles for Ft. McMurray, Top 5 Credit Card Sign Up offers

News, Tips & Tricks
Recently mbna released a new mbna Rewards MasterCard. Think of it as the entry level version of their popular mbna Rewards World Elite MasterCard. This new card carries no annual fee and comes with a 5,000 point sign up bonus worth $50 towards any travel or cash back. The card earns 1 mbna Rewards point per dollar which equates to a 1% return. Pretty standard for a no fee card! You can find our more about the card here and also check it out on the following Rewards Canada comparison pages: Travel Points & All Travel Credit Cards

You can donate Aeroplan Miles to help with the Ft. McMurray wildfire. Aeroplan themselves started it off with a donation of 1 million miles. Find out more here.

Over on FFB we cover American AAdvantage's 35th Anniversary promotion. Canadians can't enter the contest portion but we should have no problem getting the 350 or 700 FREE AAdvantage miles! Find out more here.

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals
Carlson Hotels
is offering 25% off the Guest Room Retail Rate when you stay from Thursday to Sunday at participating Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu®, Radisson RED, Park Inn® by Radisson and Park Plaza® hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Simply book by June 9 for stays until September 30th. Find out more here


Bonus Offers
Air China Phoenix Miles
- Earn up to Triple Airline Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels and resorts Worldwide. More... Until Jul 31, 16

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Earn up to Triple Airline Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels and resorts Worldwide. More... Until Jul 31, 16

EVA Air Infiniity MileageLands
- Earn up to Triple Airline Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels and resorts Worldwide. More... Until Jul 31, 16

Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings
- Earn up to Triple Airline Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels and resorts Worldwide. More... Until Jul 31, 16

Iberia Plus
- Double Avios when you fly Iberia on select routes Worldwide. More... Register by May 12 for travel until Jun 30, 16
- Double Avios when you fly Iberia Express on select flights in Europe. More... Register by May 12 for travel until Jun 30, 16
- Double Avios when you fly Iberia Regional Air Nostrum on select flights in Europe. More... Register by May 12 for travel until Jun 30, 16
- Triple Avios for stays at Ibis and Ibis Styles hotels around Spain and Portugal. More... Book by Jul 2 for stays until Sep 5, 16
- Triple Avios for stays at the Hotel Banke Paris. More... Until Jun 30, 16
- Double Avios for stays at the Hotel Caesar London. More... Until Jun 30, 16
- Triple Avios for stays of 3 or more nights at the Hotel Playa de La luz. More... Until Jun 30, 16
- Double Avios for stays of 3 or more nights at the Hotel Jerez & Spa, Villa Jerez or the Duque de Nájera. More... Until Jun 30, 16
- Double Avios on stays of 5 or more nights at Meliá and Sol brand Hotels in Spain. More... Book by Jun 30 for stays Jun 15 - Sep 15, 16
- Triple Avios on weekend stays of 2 or more nights at NH Hotels in Spain. More... Until Jun 30, 16
- Triple Avios on stays of 2 or more nights at participating World Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Mar 31, 17
- 750 Bonus Avios on Avis car rentals of 3 or more days Worldwide. More... Book by Jun 30 for rentals until Jul 15, 16
- 3,000 Avios on Avis car rentals of 3 or more days including a Saturday night in Spain. More... Book by Jun 30 for rentals until Jul 15, 16
- Earn up to 8,800 Bonus Avios when you subscribe to the Economist. More... Until Jun 30, 16

Shangri-La Golden Circle
- Save up to 40% when you redeem Golden Circle Points for room awards and upgrades. More... Until Jun 30, 16

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