Friday, November 16, 2018

Lounge Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge - Saskatoon Airport

Another Bill W lounge review for you! Bill is a true road warrior, his work has him driving and flying across Western and Central Canada every week while staying in a variety hotels from a variety of chains.  Bill has been reading, following and even giving Rewards Canada tips and updates for a very long time so let's welcome him back with this contribution!  

Air Canada opened a new Maple Leaf lounge on September 14th, 2018 in Saskatoon (YXE). The lounge is a welcome addition to the airport and it is nice to see Air Canada expanding the number of lounges. This brings the total of lounges in Canada to 17. The lounge is located across from Gate 5, next to Tim Hortons. It is well marked with strong signage showing its location and is easy to find.

The entrance is lined with a very simply designed wood panelling, which extends from the gate area down the hall and into the reception area of the lounge. The Air Canada logo is displayed prominently on the wall behind the desk. The front of the desk has a very cool covering consisting of 100’s of maple leaves in an overlapping pattern. It is quite exquisite and adds a touch of class to the entrance area.

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


 


This 1,475 square foot lounge is long, but very open.  The seating total seating capacity of the lounge is 40. It has large windows which surround the entire seating area allowing in lots of natural light.  These windows face the tarmac which gives you the opportunity to do some aircraft watching if desired. It has high ceilings which also accentuate the open feeling in the lounge. The d├ęcor is in various shades of brown and very nicely done. Lighting is strong, but not overpowering. The atmosphere is very relaxing, with soft music in the background. Not loud enough to be disruptive; it is still very easy to carry on a conversation.


There is one television located at the far end of the lounge. It was tuned to the news and quite conveniently had the closed captioning activated so you would be able to follow along from anywhere in the lounge. A Flight Departures screen is located at the front of the lounge enabling you to check on your flight status.

Two computers are available for guest use along with a counter area to utilize your personal computers with seating for 10 (included in total seating capacity number). You are also able to print documents with the lounge printer if needed, both in black & white and colour.

Wi-Fi is available and is very easy to connect to. Just opening your browser takes you to the sign in page and you are on line instantly.  I found the signal strength to be very strong and had no issues with speed.

Washrooms are located outside the lounge, but conveniently placed right next to it on the left as you exit.




The food offerings are consistent with other Maple Leaf lounges.  For breakfast they have assorted fruits, scones, cereal, oatmeal, toast along with a choice of juice. Lunch consisted of 2 salads (Maple Broccoli, String Pea & Herb Orzo) along with Salted Edamame Beans. Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal cookies were available all day. Cucumber and Citrus infused water is also offered. There is an Expresso machine (self-serve) that offers all manners of coffee drinks. Various assorted teas are available as well as a full selection of soft drinks.




The bar area is full-serve with a good assortment of wine & Spirits. There are also 3 beers on tap; Molson Canadian, Coors Light & Guinness. (One thing that I did find interesting was a sign on the front of the beer taps indicating that gratuities were not necessary). I believe they are going for a minimalist and uncluttered/streamlined appearance at the back of the bar area, but I just can’t help thinking that there is something missing. There is a lot of shelving to fill, but it seems to be quite bare. In fact, during the morning, there is absolutely nothing on the shelves at all, the bottles have all been removed and put away.


The staff are very friendly, attentive and personable. You are greeted warmly at the door and made to feel welcome as soon as you arrive. Staffing was at an acceptable level with all guests being well looked after. The team was very much out in the lounge (not just standing behind the food & drink area); they were even offering to freshen up drinks for people who were already seated. A very nice touch and speaks well of the customer service level and demonstrates a guest first philosophy in this lounge.

The lounge was approximately half-full during my visits, but it still felt very comfortable and relaxing. All in all, I would recommend this lounge for anyone flying through YXE. It is quiet, very comfortable and a great place to relax before taking to the skies once more.

Learn more about the new Saskatoon Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge here

November 16 Update: 20 Bonus AIR MILES for buying gift cards at Shell, China Southern leaving SkyTeam alliance and more!

Here's a good bonus that ties into our Holiday Shopping tips. Right now when you buy a $50 gift card at Shell you'll earn 20 bonus AIR MILES. Add in a card that has a multplier for gas station purchases (TD Aeroplan, Amex Gold Rewards etc.) and you're doing well. Find out more here

China Southern Airlines is leaving the SkyTeam alliance. The airline which does serve Toronto and Vancouver will leave the alliance at the end of the year. (Source One Mile at a Time)

 It's the season of giving! Help support Rewards Canada's Flight Here campaign for Give A Mile. Help us reach 100,000 miles to provide up to 4 flights of compassion. Find out more here!
Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals
Hilton Winter Sale - Save up to 25% on weekend stays in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa

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
N/A

Other Bonus Offers
ANA Mileage Club
- Earn up to Triple Mileage Club Miles for stays at participating Dusit Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 18

Le Club AccorHotels
- Triple Le Club AccorHotels Points for stays at participating AccorHotels in Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Ecuador and Paraguay. More... Until Dec 23, 18

Marriott Rewards
- 2,500 Bonus Rewards Points for stays of 2 or more nights at the Courtyard Bridgetown. More... Until Dec 31, 18
- 2,000 Bonus Rewards Points per stay at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club. More... Until Dec 31, 18

Preferred Hotel Group iPrefer
- 5,000 Bonus iPrefer Points per night, for up to 10 nights for stays at Preferred Residences Worldwide. More...Book by Dec 31 for stays until Mar 31, 19

Radisson Rewards
- Earn Double Radisson Rewards Elite Credit and Points when you stay in a premium room at all Radisson Collection™, Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Radisson RED®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson, and Country Inn & Suites® by Radisson hotels worldwide. More... Until Dec 28, 18

Turkish Miles&Smiles
- 5x Miles&Smiles Status Miles when you fly Turkish Airlines to or from the new Istanbul Airport. More... Until Dec 31, 18

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100% Bonus when you buy IHG Rewards Club Points until November 30


IHG is once again offering a flat 100% bonus when you buy 5,000 or more points. This sale runs until November 30.

The best price for buying points comes when you buy 30,000 or more points in one transaction. For example, buying 60,000 points (120,000 total with bonus) costs US$600 which means each point will only cost you 0.5 cents. That's up to 24 nights at IHG hotels if redeeming via the PointBreaks 5,000 point level, 12 nights at 10,000 and 8 nights at the 15,000 point level. Even at that highest level it is like you are buying each night for only US$75.  And remember a new set of PointBreaks should be coming out in less than two weeks so this can be a perfect time to buy some points.


 

Offer Details
100% Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points when you buy points online.  Minimum purchase of 5,000 points. Buy Points here Until Nov 30, 18


Find many more IHG Rewards Club bonus point offers here!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

WestJet Black Friday Sale - $99 each way between Toronto and Calgary, Edmonton or Halifax


WestJet has launched their annual Black Friday sale that will feature different deals each day until November 23. Today is the first day and you book travel between Toronto and Calgary, Edmonton or Halifax for as little as $99 each way! These fares at this price are very limited.  You can book these flights for travel until June 25, 2019
(Blackout dates: February 14-16, 18, March 8-9, 15-18, 21-24, 28-31, April 18-20, 22, May 16-18, 20, 2019)

Find out more and/or book this deal here!



If these routes aren't for you there are other featured deals that can be booked during the entire Black Friday sale period (or you can wait to see what specials come each day!)

November 15 Update: New Rewards Canada booking partners, contest to win a $50 gift card and more!

We've added a bunch of new partners to Rewards Canada's Travel Booking page! You can help support Rewards Canada by booking travel directly with these new partners of ours. Visit the Travel Booking page here


Centro Hotels
Falkensteiner
Falkensteiner Hotels
Logo
Oman Air

Plaza Premium


Want a chance to win a $50 gift card for MEC or REI? Check out this contest from Rewards Canada's friends Matt and Heather of the Reason 2 Roam blog. You have until December 3 to enter the contest and you can do so here.

 It's the season of giving! Help support Rewards Canada's Flight Here campaign for Give A Mile. Help us reach 100,000 miles to provide up to 4 flights of compassion. Find out more here!

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals
Hilton Winter Sale - Save up to 25% on weekend stays in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa


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 MILES
- Earn up to 2,000 Bonus AIR MILES Reward Miles for earning miles from various AIR MILES partners. More... Until Dec 27, 18

Other Bonus Offers
Copa ConnectMiles
- Earn up to 750 Bonus ConnectMiles on qualifying rentals of 3 or more days at participating Budget locations worldwide. More... Until Jan 31, 19

IHG Rewards Club
- 100% Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points when you buy 5,000 or more points online. More... Until Nov 30, 18

Le Club AccorHotels
- Triple Le Club AccorHotels Points for stays at participating AccorHotels in Africa and the Indian Ocean. More... Book by Dec 24 for stays Jan 12, 19

Marriott Rewards
- Earn up to 2,000 Bonus Rewards Points PER NIGHT for stays at all participating Marriott Hotels in Arizona California Florida Georgia Illinois Kentucky Louisiana Maryland Michigan North Carolina Ohio Rhode Island Tennessee Texas Virginia Washington. More... Until Jan 4, 19
- 5,000 Bonus Rewards Points for stays of 2 or more nights at the Marriott Orlando Downtown. More... Until Dec 31, 18

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AIR MILES Shop the Block is back - earn up to 2,000 Bonus Reward Miles when earning from multiple partners


The annual AIR MILES Shop the Block event launched today and presents a really nice bonus mile earning opportunity. If you meet the requirement of using Shop the Block coupons at 3 or more sponsors you'll be awarded with up to 2,000 Rewards Miles over and above the base miles and coupon bonus miles awarded.

Bonuses are as follows:

Use 3 different offers Get 300 Bonus Miles
Use 5 different offers Get 1,000 Bonus Miles
Use 7 different offers Get 2,000 Bonus Miles

Now to earn the bonus won't come cheap if you don't have any planned shopping for next month and a half at the participating sponsors but then again it is Christmas shopping season! Also if you can, you could move some shopping you had planned from one retailer to another that is an AIR MILES Sponsor than you can earn those bonus miles for your everyday regular spending.


Here are the basic rules around this promotion:
The cheapest way we found to earn the bonus simply by looking at all the details on the coupons page (Alberta region) would be as follows:

  1. Register to convert Hudson Bay Rewards points to AIR MILES (30 bonus Miles coupon)
  2. Spend $50 at Global Pet Foods (10 bonus Miles coupon)
  3. Spend $10 in-store at Shell (5 Bonus Miles coupon)
  4. Spend $40 at Rexall (20 Bonus Miles Coupon)
  5. Link your AIR MILES account to your Samsung Pay account by November 26 (75 Bonus Miles Coupon)
  6. Spend $75 at Timber Mart (25 bonus miles)
  7. Pick a spend $100 get 25 to 100 bonus miles offers (Safeway, Sobeys, IGA, airmilesshops.ca, etc.)
If you have a BMO or American Express AIR MILES Credit Card achieving the bonus can be easier as it will count as one offer if you make 25 or more in-store purchases on one of the cards (Opt in is required via the Shop the Block site)

That's $275 in spending to earn the 2,000 Bonus Shop the Block Miles but then you have to add in your base amount miles plus add in the non-spend offers and the coupon bonuses for an additional ~265 miles or so for 2,265 bonus miles in total. We value AIR MILES Rewards Miles at an average of 13 cents each for travel, so you are getting back $295 on your $275 in spending so that is a great return! If you strictly earn cash rewards, then you are looking at a return of about $238, still pretty decent for spending $275. For some of you it may take more spending but as we mentioned before if this is shopping you are already planning on doing then jump on the Mega Miles event right away so that you can earn this bonus.

Find out more and print all your coupons here!


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Air France KLM Special Edition Promo Rewards - 3 days only to book discounted award flights out of Toronto & Vancouver to Europe


Each month we bring you the details of Air France KLM's Flying Blue Promo Rewards, well that is each month when Canadian cities are included. While the November edition did not see any Canadian cities the Flying Blue program has released a special 3 day edition of the Promo Rewards and this edition does include Toronto and Vancouver:


This special edition version of the Promo Rewards offer sees a flat rate redemption to anywhere in Europe from YYZ and YVR. This differs a bit from the regular version where there are various rates to various destinations in Europe. (See our last post on Promo Rewards as an example) The flat rates are 35,000 each way in Business Class from Toronto while Vancouver is 15,000 miles each way in Economy Class.

These are some pretty good redemption rates, the Business Class from Toronto is slightly higher than we have seen on occasion with Promo Rewards but all in all is still a great redemption rate and the same goes for the Economy Class rate from Vancouver.

Remember you have to book by November 16 for travel between January 1 and March 31, 19.

Find out more and book this offer here.


Top 6 tips for maximizing miles & points earning on your holiday shopping


With a little over a month left to the big day for gift giving the push is on to start your Christmas shopping for friends, family and maybe even yourself! Whether it is shopping for gifts or for food and drink to entertain there are many ways to maximize the miles and points you earn holiday shopping. Ultimately you can make those reward dreams come closer by following one or more of our tips:

1. Shop via online shopping malls to earn miles & points plus take advantage of their bonuses!
2. Use your mileage/point earning credit card & your loyalty cards to Double or Triple Dip
3. Giving gift cards? Buy gift cards at credit card multiplier locations
4. Buying gifts at retailers without credit card multipliers? Use the gift card trick to earn more miles!
5. Use bonus offers to your advantage when buying groceries for the holiday season


6. Always remember to swipe your Loyalty Card and/or use your miles/points earning credit card

You can learn more about these tips and how to use them in our Top 6 tips for maximizing miles & points earning on your holiday shopping feature here!