Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mar 4 Update: Initial WestJet 767 schedule released, VIA Rail award ticket sale, SPG Hot Escapes includes 12 Canadian Hotels

Here is your update for Wednesday March 4th!

News, Tips & Tricks
WestJet has released the initial schedule for their new widebody 767 service which starts this December. As mentioned previously by WestJet, the 767's will be deployed on select Hawaii routes and thanks to Airlineroute.net we have the first look at the schedule:
eff 11DEC15 Calgary – Honolulu 2 weekly
eff 11DEC15 Calgary – Kahului 4 weekly
eff 12DEC15 Edmonton – Kahului 3 weekly

Aeroplan posted news on March 1st about Altitude members and their new benefit of having fuel surcharges removed on award tickets. This is just a reminder since these changes were announced back in October (see our post here). Air Canada Altitude members are no longer paying the fuel surchrage on Aeroplan award tickets within Canada and between Canada and the U.S. as of March 1st. Super Elite 100K's of course now get the fees waived on International destinations.

Be sure to check out the new reward ticket discount listed below from VIA Rail Preference. You can now save 40% on reward tickets for travel on the Canadian or Ocean.

Travel Deals
Starwood Preferred Guest runs a special called SPG Hot Escapes whereby members receive pretty decent discounts as select hotels around the World. This week's Hot Escapes includes 12 Canadian locations! These great rates need to be booked within 3 days for stays over the next 6 weeks (HT Loyalty Traveler) Book online here!




Bonus Offers

Air Canada / Aeroplan
- 1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you book hotel stays of 2+ nights via Aircanada.com. More... Book by Mar 14 for stays until Apr 30, 15

Best Western Rewards
- 800 Bonus Rewards Points and up to 35% off for stays of 2 or more nights at participating Best Western Hotels in Asia. More... Until Dec 31, 15

Le Club accorhotels
- 500 Bonus Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at Mercure Hotels in Sweden. More... Mar 30 - Apr 12, 15
- 500 Bonus Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at Accor Hotels in the U.K. More... Valid for residents of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg only Book by May 10 for stays Mar 30 - Jun 30, 15

Marriott Rewards
- 1,000 Bonus Rewards Points for stays at Courtyard Hotels Worldwide when you check in on March 31. More... Mar 31 only

Orbtiz Rewards (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Quadruple Orbucks when you book qualifying flights with Turkish Airlines. More... Book by Mar 25, 15

Shangri-La Golden Circle
- Triple GC Award Points for stays in a Suite at the Shangri-La Hotel, Ningbo. More... Until Apr 30, 15
- Double GC Award Points for stays in a Horizon Club Room at the Shangri-La Hotel, Ningbo. More... Until Apr 30, 15
- Double GC Award Points for stays on the Horizon Club Experience at the Shangri-La Hotel, Chengdu. More... Until May 31, 15
- Triple GC Award Points for stays of 2+ nights in an Executive Room or above at the Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur. More... Apr 1 - May 31, 15

Starwood Preferred Guest
- Various Bonus Starpoints or Free Nights when you complete eligible stay(s) at Starwood Hotels Worldwide. More... Targeted Offer for new members only. Until ?

VIA Rail Preference
- 40% Preference Points Discount when you book and travel a reward trip on the Ocean or the Canadian in any class of service. More... Until May 31, 15



Today's Daily Update has been brought to you by
Advertisement

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mar 3 Update: Double Flying Blue Miles on KLM's new Edmonton-Amsterdam route and Hilton to offer free Wi-Fi to all HHonors members

Here is our first update for March!

News, Tips & Tricks
Air France and KLM are sure pushing their Western Canadian flights! First they offered up Double Flying Blue Miles on Air France's new YVR-CDG flight and now you can earn Double Flying Blue Miles on KLM's new Edmonton-Amsterdam flight! This is a great bonus to take advantage of in the first month of operation if you can't make use of their current Promo Awards offering 50% off Award Ticktes in Business Class. Find out more about the YEG-AMS double miles offer here.


Hilton Hotels are following in the footsteps of other hotel chains by offering free Wi-Fi to all guests who are HHonors members. Similar to the other chains new free Wi-Fi policy, you have to book via Hilton (online, by phone, or their corporate travel partners) to avail of the free internet service. This new feature will start sometime in August of this year according to Hilton's post on FlyerTalk:

  • Our most loyal guests, Diamond members, will receive complimentary premium Wi-Fi beginning in the second quarter this year at all of our properties when they book directly through a proprietary Hilton channel or via one of our corporate travel partners.
  • Starting in August, we will extend complimentary standard Wi-Fi access to Blue and Silver members when they book their stays directly through a proprietary Hilton channel or one of our corporate travel partners.
  • Complimentary standard Wi-Fi will continue to be a benefit for HHonors Gold members who also book directly through our proprietary Hilton channels or one of our corporate travel partners.
  • Booking directly through a proprietary Hilton channel one of our corporate travel partners:
    • The Hilton HHonors mobile app
    • Online from hilton.com, HHonors.com, or any of our brand/hotel websites
    • Calling Hilton Reservations Customer Care: 1-800-HHonors or your local Hilton reservations office
    • Calling an individual hotel (plus walk-ins and physical on-property too)
    • Via corporate travel agencies and travel professionals that book via a Hilton proprietary channel
  • This update doesn’t apply to hotels where there is a resort charge.

Here are our blog posts since the last update just in case you missed them
:


Bonus Offers

Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Double Flying Blue Miles when KLM between Edmonton and Amsterdam. More... May 15 - Jun 18, 15

American AAdvantage
- Quadruple AAdvantage Miles on rentals of 1 or more consecutive days at participating Avis airport locations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. More... Until Apr 30, 15
- Triple AAdvantage Miles on rentals at participating Budget airport locations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. More... Until Apr 30, 15
- 1,000 Bonus AAdvantage Miles when you rent any car from National for 2 or more days in the U.S. or Canada. More... Until Jun 30, 15

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- 50% Bonus Asia Miles when you fly round-trip on Cathay Pacific between Doha and Hong Kong. More... Until Mar 31, 15
- Triple Asia Miles when you fly round-trip on Cathay Pacific and Dragonair in select Economy classes from China to Southeast Asia. More... Valid for residents of Mainland China only Until Apr 30, 15
- Double Asia Miles when you fly round-trip on Cathay Pacific in Business or Premium Economy Class from Colombo to Hong Kong. More... Valid for residents of Sri Lanka only Until Mar 31, 15
- Double Miles when you shop at Chic Outlet Shopping® Villages in Europe and China. More... Until Apr 7, 15

China Southern Sky Pearl
- Earn up to Triple Sky Pearl Kilometers for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. More... Until May 31, 15

Hilton HHonors
- Double HHonors Points or Double Airline MIles for eligible stays at participating Hilton Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. More... Mar 1 - May 31, 15

Virgin Australia Velocity Rewards (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Double Velocity Points on all Virgin Australia flights Worldwide. More... Register and book by Mar 9 for travel Apr 1 - Sep 30, 15



Today's Daily Update has been brought to you by
Advertisement

Top 5 Credit Card Sign Up offers for March

Here are the Rewards Canada's  Top 5 Credit Card Sign Up offers for the month of March! This is not a 'best' credit card list like our Top Travel Rewards Credit Card rankings but instead a look at cards that have very good acquisition offers. As always when choosing a card you should always take other factors into account other than the sign up bonus, but when most of these cards are first year free, they can and do pay off even when not taking into account insurance packages and other non-reward benefits. In fact 4 of 5 cards on this list for March are first year free so you can try them out at no cost and decide later on if the card is right for you. All the while earning the sign up bonus which can be used to subsidize your travels! The only card that isn't first year free is the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. It has an annual of $120 but the new sign up bonus of 20,000 Starpoints is worth no less than $400 depending on what you value Starpoints at.  This will be your last month to get the SPG card with the 20,000 point offer after which it will drop to 10,000 as of April 1.

The only change in this list from February was the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa being added after the first year free and 20,000 point offer for the Scotiabank Gold American Express was changed.

So here are our top 5 credit card sign up offers for March (in alphabetical order)


American Express Gold Rewards Card - 25,000 Points (Apply here)
A mainstay offer here on Rewards Canada, the American Express Gold Rewards card has its first year fee of $150 waived and will award you 25,000 Membership Rewards points when you complete $500 in spending in the first three months. That 25,000 points is worth a $250 travel credit via Amex's TripFlex feature or can be converted to 25,000 Aeroplan Miles (1 Round trip Economy Award ticket within North America) or 25,000 British Airways Executive Club Avios (as much a 5 one way Economy Award tickets in North America, see this post for details.)

BMO Rewards World Elite MasterCard - 30,000 Points (Apply here)
Quite possibly the best Travel Points card now available in the market, the BMO Rewards World Elite MasterCard also has a $150 annual fee but that is waived in the first year too! The sign up bonus is 30,000 BMO Rewards Points which is worth $300 toward travel booked via BMO Rewards.  There is no minimum spend so as soon as you are approved you should have access to that travel credit!

Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa - 30,000 Points  (Apply here)
The best no foreign transaction fee card in Canada makes it to this list due to a very strong acquisition offer. I mean who can complain with 30,000 points awarded on approval and a certificate for a free night stay at a Category 1-4 hotel for a potential of 5 free nights, all at no cost as the card has the annual fee waived in the first year! They also give you  a 15 night credit into the mix which automatically provides you with Marriott Rewards Silver Elite status.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express - 20,000 Starpoints (Apply here)
Recently the sign up bonus for this card was increased from 10,000 Starpoints to 20,000 Starpoints and this is the only card in this list that doesn't have the first year fee waived. That doesn't matter. This is by far the best hotel points card in Canada and Starpoints have huge value. The 20,000 Starpoint bonus when you spend $500 on the card is worth at least $400 when redeeming them for Starwood Hotel stays or you can convert them to airline miles in over 30+ programs and Starwood will kick in an additional 5,000 miles when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints at a time.

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card - 25,000 Miles (Apply here)
Also seeing an increased sign up bonus and the first year fee waived, the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card had a tough start trying to break into a market saturated with so many cards and competing against its CIBC equivalent. The card now seems to be gaining some traction and with offers like the current 25,000 Aeroplan Miles sign up bonus (15,000 upon approval, 10,000 when you spend $1,000) and the first years $120  fee waived, I'm sure you can see you why.

Other than the Starwood card, you ultimately could end up with at least $1,000 in travel credits and hotel free nights with these cards but even if you only take on one or two you are helping your travel budget significantly at no cost other than regular credit card spend.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Feb 26 Update: New Marriott Rewards points expiration policy, KLM extends Business Class sale, 15 bonuses left in our exclusive promo on FFB!

Here is our final update of the week and for February!

News, Tips & Tricks
More bad news from Marriott Rewards. They have now announced that they will enforce their point expiry policy. All points will now be forfitted if you don't have at least qualifying activity action within a 24 month period. What qualifies? Paid stays, Award stays, Marriott Credit Card purchases, earning with program parnters, purchasing points or holding a meeting or event that qualifies. What doesn't qualify are gifting or transferring points, receiving points as a gift or transfer, earning points through social media actions. This change kicks in on February 1st, 2016 so you have nearly a year to save your points if you haven't had a qualifying action since January 31, 2014. Is this huge? Not really, most hotel programs do have some sort of account inactivity period as do most airlines but still for those of you who don't use Marriott Rewards very often your points may disappear if you don't do anything about it. You can find all the details here.


Don't forget about our Exclusive Offer with Kaligo offer: 2,000 Bonus AAdvantage/MileagePlus Miles or 3,000 Bonus Avios! Only 15 bonuses were left as of last evening!

Here are our blog posts since the last update just in case you missed them
. Of course the 50% off biz class between Edmonton and Europe is amazing!

Travel Deals
KLM has extended their great World Businesss Class sale to March 2nd! You can fly to Europe and beyond from only $2899 all in from the East or $3299 from the West! Find all the details here



Bonus Offers

Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Save up to 50% with Promo Awards Save 25% to 50% on the Award Miles usually required for award ticket. Destinations vary by each promotional period. More... Book Mar 1 - 31 for travel between Mar 1 - Jun 30, 15

American AAdvantage
- Minimum 5,000 AAdvantage Miles on your first Rocketmiles booking More... Book by Apr 15, 15

Etihad Guest
- Double Guest Miles for stays at the Art Rotana – Amwaj Islands in Bahrain. More... Until Jul 10, 15

Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- 50% Bonus GarudaMiles on flights between Kupang and Denpasar, Jakarata or Surabaya. More... Until Mar 31, 15
- Double GarudaMiles on flights in Business Class between Semarang and Denpasar, Jakarata or Surabaya. More... Until Mar 31, 15
- Double GarudaMiles on flights between Medan and Meulaboh, Lhoksemauwe or Sabang. More... Until Mar 31, 15

Le Club accorhotels
- Triple Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at anyone of 6 participating Accor hotels in Hong Kong. More... Mar 1 - 31, 15

Petro-Points
- 3x Petro Points on all rentals with Discount Car and Truck Rental. More... Mar 10 - May 11, 15

Sears Club
- Earn up to 3x Bonus Sears Club Points when you book a Walt Disney World Hotel or Vacation package. More... Book by Mar 15 for travel Mar 29 - Jun 15, 15

US Airways Dividend Miles
- Minimum 5,000 Dividend Miles on your first Rocketmiles booking More... Book by Apr 15, 15
- Save up to 30% when you share Dividend miles online. More... Until Mar 25, 15

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Double Flying Club Miles for stays of two or more nights at Preferred Hotel Group Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 15




Today's Daily Update has been brought to you by
Advertisement

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Air France KLM Flying Blue - Save up to 50% on Business Class award tickets between Edmonton/Montreal/Toronto & Europe for May/Jun Travel

Another good month awaits us in March with Air France KLM's Promo Awards!  These award ticket deals are bookable as of Sunday and are good for award travel for May and June of 2015 (Edmonton flight doesn't start until May 8th).  The offer once again has 50% off Business Class on KLM's new route out of Edmonton to anywhere in Europe! This is a great deal for those in Alberta and you can't complain by flying to Europe in style for only 62,500 miles round trip! The other offer is 25% off World Business Class for KLM between Toronto or Vancouver and Europe. While not great, taking 25% off if you are a Flying Blue member it is a good deal if you were planning on redeeming at full price! Don't have the miles? We have two options for you to get more miles. You could always consider transferring Starpoints earned via the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express to Flying Blue. The card has a 20,000 Starpoint bonus right now which translates to 25,000 Flying Blue miles, which gets you close to at least one way in biz class between Edmonton and Europe!

You can also top off your account by buying Flying Blue miles with their current up to 50% miles bonus: Earn up to 50% Bonus Flying Blue Miles when you buy Flying Blue miles online. Full details Until Mar 15, 15

  • 2,000 to 8,000 Award Miles – 20% Bonus
  • 10,000 to 30,000 Award Miles – 30% Bonus
  • 32,000 to 38,000 Award Miles – 40% Bonus
  • 40,000+ Award Miles – 50% Bonus*

Promotion Conditions

  • Ivory members can buy up to 75,000 Award Miles each year.
  • Elite members can buy unlimited Award Miles.
  • Award Miles are sold in units of 2,000 Miles.
  • Promotion valid until 15 March 2015.
* For the promotional period, Elite members can receive a maximum bonus of 50,000 Award Miles on purchases of up to 100,000 Award Miles.
 
What are the promo awards? The promo awards are a discount of 25-50% off the regular Flying Blue mileage requirement for select Air France, KLM, Air Europa and Kenya Airways award tickets in select cabins.  To take advantage of this deal you must book your promo award ticket between Mar  1 and  31  for travel between May 1st and June 30 2015. More details can be found here.





American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card Review

(This post is a duplicate of the one found on our main Rewards Canada site)


For well over a year now we've known about a new Air Canada / Aeroplan co-brand card that was to be launched by American Express. When the press release from Amex came out in 2013 about the renewal of the co-brand contract it briefly mentioned that it was to be a new high end product. Taking the same branding as their higher end AIR MILES card, the new card is called the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card. Details of the card were revealed via a soft launch in December 2014 and the card itself was officially launched on January 27 at an event in Toronto.

Overview

The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card is now the most expensive publicly available payment card in Canada, taking the title from American Express' The Platinum Card. It falls into the AeroplanPlus portfolio from American Express which also has a basic card, a Gold card and a Platinum card. One major difference with the Reserve Card over the other AeroplanPlus cards is that it is a credit card versus a charge card. The card falls into our Airline Card category and is targeted to Air Canada travelers who can enjoy the rewards, benefits and insurances that come with the card.

Sign up Features
The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card comes with a 50,000 Aeroplan Mile welcome bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of Cardmembership. The 50,000 Miles are enough for two economy class or one business class ClassicFlight award ticket within North America.

Costs
As we already stated, the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card has the honour of now being the most expensive card in Canada because of its $899 annual fee. Supplementary cards also run a hefty $299 each. The interest rate on the card is19.99% which is in line with the majority of cards in Canada.

Earning
The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card earns 1.25 Aeroplan Miles for every dollar spent on the card outside of Air Canada purchases. For Air Canada purchases the earn rate is bumped up to 2 Aeroplan Miles per eligible dollar spent.


Redeeming
Being a co-brand card redemption is actually done via Aeroplan not American Express Membership Rewards. This is where the strength of the Aeroplan program comes through again and makes any Aeroplan co-brand card shine. Aeroplan offers numerous redemption options but of course having routes from being a frequent flyer program, the primary redemption option which most people look at are award flights on Air Canada and Aeroplan partner airlines In total there are 25 major partner airlines outside of Air Canada ranging from Adria Airways to United Airlines, most of whom comprise the Star Alliance of which Air Canada was founding member. Air Creebec, Bearskin Airlines,Calm Air, Canadian North and First Air make up the minor Canadian airline partners that you can also redeem Aeroplan miles with. Overall you can redeem Aeroplan miles to over 1,000 destinations Worldwide which is one of the reasons Aeroplan is so popular. 



For redemptions on Air Canada and most of the other partners there are numerous options depending on availability. Much like many other frequent flyer programs, award seats are limited at the lower redemption level (Aeroplan calls this level ClassicFlight) but you can use more miles to get an ‘any seat any time’ award ticket (Aeroplan calls this Market Fare Awards) as long as the flight still has seats available. Flight redemptions start as low as 7,500 miles for a short haul one way economy class ClassicFlight Award and go as high as 290,000 Miles for a round trip flight in First Class to Asia on a Aeroplan partner airline. With the new half price awards in place you can see that redemptions can come quite easily. Even for round trip flights you are only looking at 15,000 to 25,000 miles for travel in North America. These levels are easily achieved with credit card spend alone. For a complete listing of ClassicFlight award levels see Aeroplan's latest Reward Flight Chart

In some rare cases when flights are relatively empty or are available as a seat sale you may see the Market Fare Price be lower than the ClassicFlight amount. This is especially holds true for those Aeroplan member who hold Distinction status and get a discount on Market Fare awards. One recent search for a dBlack member showed the ClassicFlight level at 60,000 miles for a flight between Toronto and Paris while the Market Fare price was only 55,000 miles.

Related: To learn more about Aeroplan flight awards see this helpful page on Aeroplan.com.


Other flight reward options with Aeroplan include Around the World rewards which run 200,000 miles in Economy, 300,000 for Business or 400,000 for First Class. You can also use Aeroplan miles to upgrade flights on Air Canada and its Star Alliance partners to Business or First Class when you travel on an eligible fare.

Overall Aeroplan has been well known for their flight awards as the mileage requirements on ClassicFlights tend to be competitive despite recent devaluations in certain categories and the fuel surcharge issue on some carriers like Air Canada themselves. The "Mini Round The World" award (AKA Mini-RTW) is an example of a well-known and good value flight award by maximizing the two stopover or one stopover and open jaw feature.

Finally Aeroplan miles can also be used for many non-flight award options as the Aeroplan reward catalog has expanded greatly over the years. Most of these other redemption options tend to represent a poor value when compared to redeeming for flights however they are a good option for those who may not have enough miles for the flights they want or for those people who more miles than what they know what to do with them! These other options include using miles for hotel stays, car rentals, gift cards and merchandise. You can also transfer miles to another Aeroplan member (at a cost), donate them to charity, even use them for exclusive 'Money Can't Buy' awards like autographed photos, activities and events. 


Features and Benefits
The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card comes with a very strong insurance package and a big bag of benefits. On the insurance side the card comes with wide range of coverage as including emergency medical, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation, trip interruption, flight delay, baggage delay/lost or stolen baggage insurance, car rental CDW coverage, purchase protection and more. Pretty much every type of insurance is provided except for Price Protection. The insurance package is definitely built for the traveller and is very similar to those we seen on Visa Infinite/Infinite Privilege and MasterCard World/World Elite cards.

The card comes with a whole bag of traveller benefits over and above the insurance package!

  • Receive one annual $200 Annual Travel Credit that can be used towards any flights, car rentals, hotels and more charged to your Card when you book travel online or call American Express Travel Services.
  • Bring along a friend on us with the Partner Ticket Benefit. Once per year, you can redeem up to 25,000 Aeroplan Miles for a short-haul or long-haul round-trip ClassicFlight reward seat in economy class and receive a second Partner Ticket for the same itinerary.
  • The Air Canada Privilege Flight Pass lets you experience ultimate convenience and flexibility with eight prepaid, one-way flight credits within Air Canada’s North American network. This feature offers approximately a 5 to 8% discount on regular flight pass prices and not only that you have only eight credits to worry about using up instead of the 10 seen when you buy passes without this card
  • Enjoy the benefit of an eligible complimentary first checked bag on flights operated by Air Canada, up to 5 bags annually .
  • Enjoy maximum comfort and a calm atmosphere in state-of-the-art lounges worldwide, including unlimited access to the Air Canada Maple Leaf LoungeTM* where available, in airports across Canada, in London and in Paris, and around the globe.
    In addition, receive unlimited access to a world of first class service and tranquillity with Priority Pass Membership. Escape the chaos of airports and relax in over 700 executive lounges around the world. Regardless of which class or which airline you fly, these luxury lounges offer amenities designed with comfort in mind.
  • And if you are flying from Toronto Pearson you get whole bunch of benefits that are like those seen on The Platinum Card from American Express like Valet Service, Parking Discounts and Pearson Priority Security Lane.
What is good about this card
There are some really good things about this card that only a select few of people will agree with based on the price of this card. Those are the Air Canada frequent flyers who can't reach higher status with the Air Canada Altitude programs as this card will bridge the gap on benefits they don't get. These benefits are primarily the Maple Leaf Lounge access and the discounted less credit requirement of the Air Canada Privilege Flight Pass.

The annual Complimentary Short Haul/Long haul flight benefit could bring a value of $500 or more when taking advantage of it so it is definitely a good feature of this card. Not to mention the $200 annual travel credit to save some money on your travels.

Of course the insurance package is superb but doesn't stand out as a game changer since many cards offer the same or similar benefits

What is not so good about this card
The price! This is the number one sticking point we have heard about this card! For $899 it is and will be a very tough sell. Even with the $200 annual credit you are still looking at $699 for the card. However there is that niche market where the $899 will be more than worth it!

Although at 50,000 Aeroplan Miles, the sign up bonus is low for a card that costs this much. Yes the price of the card is not based solely on the sign up bonus but it isn't much higher than the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card and is the same as The Platinum Card from American Express (or lower if you take into account the referral sign up bonus of 60K). A higher sign up bonus in the 65,000 - 80,000 miles range could just be the tipping point that would make someone grab this card instead of some other card or no card at all.

The checked baggage credit of only 5 bags annually is not so good. While you'll save $125 each year if you max out the benefit it could be better as most other cards in Canada and the U.S. that have this benefit offer it with no limitation.. I can see where Amex is coming from however as the majority of people who will get this card are Altitude Prestige 25K or Elite 35K which means they already get some sort of complimentary bag perk and this card will just cover them when travelling with friends or family.


Who should get this card
  • Air Canada frequent flyers who won't or can't achieve Altitude 50K, 75K or 100K status as the card bridges the gap for benefits that 25K or 35K (or no status) don't see. We know this is common for many who fly frequently on short routes in Air Canada's network (i.e. Sudbury-Toronto) who while loyal just don't get the miles or segments in to get the benefits this card offers in the Altitude program
  • Air Canada frequent flyers who even though they have higher Altitude status can find value in the complimentary short haul/long haul Aeroplan Ticket and/or the Flight Pass privilege to cover the $899 annual fee.
Conclusion
This card was definitely made for a niche market. The American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card will appeal to a select few and what we mean by select few are primarily Air Canada Altitude Prestige 25K and Elite 35K members who lack the benefits of the higher Altitude Elite tiers and travel enough to warrant them by getting them with this card. This isn't to say that non Altitude members shouldn't get this card. If you can get value out of what this card offers like the annual companion redemption, the $200 travel credit, lounge access and potentially the flight pass option then it may just be worth paying the $899 for the card.

Does this card upset the balance in the entire Canadian credit card space? No, it doesn't . Is it the card everyone was hoping for when American Express announced a new high end Aeroplan card in 2013? No I don't believe so. While the benefits do fit a niche, there wasn't really anything excitingly new offered on this card when it was released. In todays market it is those new and exciting differentiator that will make a card stand out and get it noticed.

Care to comment? Do you agree or disagree with us? Tell us what think about the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card by commenting below!


Related Links:
American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card on americanexpress.com
Rewards Canada's All Travel Rewards Credit Card Comparison including the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card
Rewards Canada's Airline Only Credit Card Comparison including the American Express AeroplanPlus Reserve Card

Other cards to consider if you are looking at this card:
The Platinum Card from American Express
American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card
American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege

Feb 26 Update: TD Aeroplan $100 credit back to being targeted, Marriott Rewards Hotel Category Changes, Answers to reader questions!

Lots of items to pass along to you today!

News, Tips & Tricks
More confusion the whole the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite $100 credit for Air Canada purchases. First it wasn't targeted, then it was, then it wasn't and now it is again. The latest has an update that it is once again for select customers only. They do now say to call to see if you are applicable to earn the bonus. We didn't want to get your hopes up too much after yesterday's latest update. Loyalty programs, credit cards companies etc. really need to get a promotional expert consulting to them before doing such promotions, hey wait a minute, that's what we do (The FFB Group) on the B2B side of our business ! Just a hint to all of the loyalty companies and credit card issuers reading this right now. Think about what paying us for a couple of hours will save you in customer service headaches and nightmares!! :-)

Marriott Rewards has announced their hotel category changes for 2015. The list of changes is huge, apparently over 25% of their hotels are moving up a category, that's a huge change. The PDF list of hotel changes is painful to read but from first glance it appears that 9 hotels in Canada are moving down a category while 10 are moving up. You can read the PDF list of changes here.

Reader question on a topic we have covered many times before!
What my wife and I are looking for is avoiding the 2.5% surcharge made on top of the exchange rate for transactions made in a foreign currency. Do you know of a card that will waive this fee?
"There are only a few cards that don't have the 2.5% fee charged and all are from Chase. Our favourite is the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa (https://www.marriottpremier.ca/?JOBNUM=VMR1207095) as it has very strong rewards and the lack of the foreign transaction fee! The other Chase options that don't have the fee are the Sears Voyage MasterCard (https://www.chase.com/online/canada/voyage-en.htm) or the Amazon.ca Rewards Visa (https://www.chase.com/online/canada/amazon-ca-home.htm)"

Another reader question:
Do you have a comparable subscription newsletter for the USA?  

"We sure do, our global website FrequentFlyerBonuses.com has a weekly newsletter which you can subscribe to at http://frequentflyerbonuses.com/mailinglist/?p=subscribe"

If you haven't joined Etihad Guest yet you can get 1,000 miles for doing so when you complete a mileage earning action before March 31st. One of those actions could simply be transferring American Express Membership Rewards Points to Etihad Guest (and they have 25% bonus on those transfers!) See details on the transfer bonus here and for the joining bonus see the link below in the bonus offers section.




Bonus Offers

Air France KLM Flying Blue
- 1,000 Bonus Flying Blue Miles for stays at participating Thalassa Hotels in France, Italy, Morocco and Bahrain. FMore... Book by Apr 6 for stays Mar 1 - Jul 10, 15
- Triple Flying Blue Miles for stays at the new Meliá Paris La Défense. More... Book by Apr 30 for stays until Jun 30, 15
- Double Flying Blue Miles for stays of 2 or more nights at Shangri-La Hotels Worldwide. More... Mar 1 - May 31, 15
- 4,000 Flying Blue Miles on Avis rentals of 4 our more days in the US, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. More... Book by Mar 31 for rentals Mar 15 - Sep 30, 15
- Triple Flying Blue Miles for Sixt Car Rentals in the U.S. More... Until Apr 30, 15
- Earn up to 50% Bonus Flying Blue Miles when you buy Flying Blue miles online. More... Until Mar 15, 15
- Double Flying Blue Miles when you shop at any of the nine Chic Outlet Shopping villages in Europe. More... Mar 9 - Apr 30, 15
- Double Flying Blue Miles when you book private ground transportation in any country where Driving Blue operates. More... Until May 10, 15

Etihad Airways Guest
- Double Guest Miles when you Economy Class or Business Class to any destination on the Etihad network. More... Register and book by Mar 3 for travel Mar 3 - Dec 12, 15
- 1,000 Bonus Guest Miles for joining the Etihad Guest program and completing your first mileage earning action. More... Until Mar 31, 15

IHG Rewards Club
-5,000 Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points for stays on the “Canton Fair All-in-1” package for two consecutive nights or more at any participating IHG hotels in Guangzhou or Foshan More... Apr 14 - May 5, 15

Le Club accorhotels
- 500 Bonus Le Club Accorhotels Points when you book the Time for Business rate at participating Pullman Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 15


Sri Lankan FlySmiles
- Triple FlySmiles Miles on weekend stays at participating Hilton hotels and resorts in South East Asia and India. More... Until Apr 30, 15

United MileagePlus
- Up to 10,000 Bonus MileagePlus miles when you book a United Vacations package to Hawaii. More... Book by Mar 5 for travel until Oct 31, 15

Virgin America Elevate (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- 1,000 Bonus Elevate Points for 3+ night HOTEL STAYS in spring break destinations booked via PointsHound. More... Until Mar 31, 15






Today's Daily Update has been brought to you by
Advertisement

Introducing the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ World Elite MasterCard®

As many of you are aware now, the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ World MasterCard® has been replaced by the new Capital One® Aspire Travel™ World Elite MasterCard®. The card has been out for a few weeks and this is our introduction of it to you, the readers of Rewards Canada.

There was a lot of concern surrounding the end of its predecessor and if or what it would be replaced by. The good news is the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ World Elite MasterCard® is not much different. On the good news side it gets World Elite MasterCard® benefits instead of World MasterCard® benefits which ultimately means stronger Concierge services. On the not so good news side the new card does not offer the 10,000 miles Anniversary Bonus we used to see on the old World version and the hefty sign up bonus of 35,000 miles is brought down to 10,000 miles on the World Elite version. Although the new version of the card remains very strong, the change in the sign up bonus and anniversary bonus are definitely weak points now as the sign up bonus is lower than many of this card's competitors and the anniversary bonus was one thing that made the previous card stand out above the competition.

I am glad they kept the 2 reward miles for every $1 spent on all purchases as this keeps the card on the higher end of the rate of return spectrum when compared to similar cards and it also retains an extremely strong insurance and benefits package.

The card has already been added to the following Rewards Canada Credit Card comparison charts so that you can see how it stacks up against the rest of the cards in Canada:
Here are the complete details of the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ World Elite MasterCard®:

• Earn more reward miles – on everything you buy!
• Earn 2 reward miles for every $1 – on all purchases
• Get 10,000 bonus reward miles with your first purchase – a value of up to $100

Please Note: A requirement of this card is a minimum personal income of $70,000 or household income of $120,000.

• Redeem for travel, cash, and gift cards
• World Elite MasterCard benefits, including Travel Emergency Medical Insurance and Trip Cancellation Insurance
• Add an authorized user for $0
• MasterCard PayPass

World Elite MasterCard Travel Benefits
• Travel Emergency Medical
• Trip Cancellation
• Trip Interruption
• Flight Delay
• Baggage Loss
• Baggage Delay
• Travel Accident Insurance
• Travel Assistance
• Car Rental Collision/Loss Damage Waiver

World Elite MasterCard Everyday Benefits
• Price Protection Service
• Extended Warranty
• Purchase Assurance
• World Elite MasterCard Concierge Services

MasterCard Benefits
• MasterCard Global Service™
• Zero Liability

Apply Now

“The interest rates, fees, rewards details, benefits and other details of the Capital One product(s) described in the article may have changed since the time of publication. Please consult the product information pages on the Capital One website for accurate product details. In the event of any conflict between the product details in this article and the Capital One website, the details on the Capital One website shall prevail.”