Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July 25 Update: New TD Cash Back cards added to comparison chart, WestJet pulls purchase discount, AIR MILES hotel bonuses

News, Tips & Tricks

The new TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card (which we covered on the blog last week) and the new TD Cash Back Visa Card have both been added to our Cash Back Credit Card Comparison chart. See how they compare here.
When TD released these cards they pulled the following cards off the market:
· TD Cash Back Mastercard® Card
· TD Gold Elite Visa Card
· TD Classic Travel Visa Card
· TD Green Visa Card

We received an email from WestJet Rewards that they have pulled their offer of a 15% discount on buying WestJet dollars. There was no explanation as to why.

Onto better news from WestJet. Yesterday they revealed details on the winter flying schedule which includes new routes between Calgary & Belize, Edmonton & Huatulco and Vancouver & Huatiulco. On top of that there are increased frequencies on many routes within Canada, to the U.S. and sun destinations. Routes like Calgary-Toronto, Toronto-Montreal, Toronto-Ottawa and Calgary-Kelowna see significant increases. Find out more here.

Posts since our last update:

Canadian Bonus Offers
AIR MILES (Canada)
- 40 Bonus AIR MILES Reward Miles for each stay you complete at Best Western Hotels in Canada, the U.S. or Caribbean.  More... Until Aug 31, 17
- Double AIR MILES Reward Miles for stays at all IHG Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Aug 31, 17

Other Bonus Offers
Air New Zealand Airpoints
- Earn up to Triple Airpoints Dollars for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. More... Until Oct 31, 17

Choice Privileges
- Receive up to a 30% discount when you buy Choice Privileges points. More... Until Aug 17, 17

Etihad Guest
- Triple Guest Miles for all stays of 3 or more nights at Accor Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Sep 30, 17

Hilton Honors
- 500 Bonus Honors bonus points for every 1,000 ThankYou points you convert to Honors. More... US Residents Only Until Sep 20, 17

Hyatt World Of Hyatt
- Up to 40% Bonus World of Hyatt Points when you buy points online. More... Until Aug 9, 17

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
- Earn up to Triple Mileage Bank Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. More... Until Sep 30, 17

Jet Airways JetPrivilege
- Double JPMIles for stays at nearly 8,000 participating Wyndham Rewards hotels globally. More... Until Oct 13, 17
- Earn up to 30% Bonus JPMIles when you convert points from other loyalty programs (Hotel, credit card etc.) into Jet Privilege JPMiles. More... Until Aug 27, 17
- Triple JP Miles for all stays at Accor Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Sep 5, 17

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- 500 Flying Club Miles when you join IHG Rewards Club and complete 1 stay plus Fast track to Gold Elite status when you stay 3 nights at any of the 5,000+ IHG properties worldwide. More... Join by Jul 31, 17

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Amazing Race Canada payment card: The no fee BMO CashBack Mastercard - is it any good?

If you are The Amazing Race Canada fans like the Rewards Canada family are, you'll have seen on the newest season of the Amazing Race Canada the teams have new payment cards. As we have seen in past seasons when Interac, Scotiabank and BMO sponsored the race, this season we see BMO return as the payment card sponsor. This year they gave the teams the BMO no fee cash back credit card for all their purchases. For many Rewards Canada readers you probably know about the card but for many fans of the show who may not be rewards savvy they may not, so this post will provide you some details on the card and whether it is good or not.

First off lets look and see what the BMO CashBack Mastercard offers:

·  Welcome Offer: Get 4% cash back on every purchase (up to $125 cash back) in your first 4 months*.
· Earn 1% CashBack on ALL card purchases* without restrictions!*!
· No Annual fee*
· Receive a discount on car rentals*
· Extended Warranty*
· Purchase Protection*

So is this card good? When you take into account the initial sign up bonus, yes it is. To get 4% back on a no annual fee card is a great deal. When you look at its competitors, the other no annual fee cash back cards, most of them save for one or two have no sign up offer at all. Even against a lot of the fee based cash back cards this sign up bonus is pretty good. Then when you look at the day to day earn rate of 1%, the card is towards the top of the pack as well for no fee cash back cards. A quite of few of them do offer 1% back as well but a whole bunch are below that at 0.5 to 0.75%. You can get a return higher than 1% by moving to a no fee travel rewards card like the American Express Blue Sky Credit Card or the Scotiabank More Rewards Visa but then you are limited to travel rewards.

Back to our initial question then, is it good? Yes this a pretty decent no fee cash back card. If you aren't looking for a lot of bells and whistles, don't want to pay an annual fee and want a flat cash back return, then yes this card is good. If you need insurance benefits outside of Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection, want to have a higher return on your spending and such then the card isn't really for you. But then again if you want those perks you either have to move to a travel rewards card or a cash back card with an annual fee.

Click here to find out more and/or apply for the BMO CashBack MasterCard

Monday, July 24, 2017

AIR MILES: 40 Bonus Reward Miles for Best Western stays

If the current Best Western Rewards bonuses of $10 to $20 travel cards per night don't make sense for you then perhaps this an offer that might work for you if you have any Best Western stays to complete by the end of August.

Offer details
40 Bonus AIR MILES Reward Miles for each stay you complete at Best Western Hotels in Canada, the U.S. or Caribbean.  Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Aug 31, 17

Miles & More Award Ticket Sale - Save up to 50% on Economy & Business Class award tickets to Europe

As we do each month we bring you the latest set Miles & More "Meilenschnaeppchen" discounted mileage awards!  This month we see another good offering of economy and business class award tickets! The economy class offers are for departures on Lufthansa from Montreal or Toronto while the business class offer is good for Lufthansa departures from Montreal.

These are good for travel between Nov 1 and Dec 15 and must be booked by July 31.

You can redeem Miles & More miles for round trip economy class tickets on Lufthansa from Montreal or Toronto to Europe for only 30,000 miles. This is a 50% discount off the normal Economy Class award ticket price of 60,000 miles.  Granted the Lufthansa tickets will 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.

Some of the economy class offers:

For business class between Montreal and Europe, the discount is a bit below 50% as you need to redeem 55,000 miles for round trip flights that normally cost 105,000 miles.

Some of the business class options:

As we mention every time they have the 50% off economy offer is that you could in theory get the  tickets with grabbing a couple of credit cards and a $120 annual fee! But that's not the case right now! Right now you only need to grab one card with the $120 fee as its sign up bonus been increased. 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 25,000 Starpoints sign up bonus. When you convert those 25,000 Starpoints to Miles & More SPG will award you an additional 5,000 miles. Which gives you 30,000 miles. That's enough miles to redeem for one of the economy class tickets in this offer. Bad news is you have only a week left to book these offers so you won't get the points from the credit cards in time. That being said, the 50% off business class tickets at 30,000 miles is offered frequently throughout the year so you can grab the card now and use the points for the next time the offer comes up.

Simply book the offers seen here by July  31, 2017 

Full details on this offer can be found here

Friday, July 21, 2017

Earn 2.25 Membership Rewards Points (2.25 Aeroplan Miles or BA Avios) on dining this summer with The Platinum Card from American Express

Most of Canada's premium and high end cards have great benefits beyond earning points and providing extensive insurance packages. One type of benefit that many of the cards touch upon is dining and a card that has put a lot of focus into dining recently is The Platinum Card from American Express.

They have partnered with a host of amazing restaurants across Canada that when you dine at participating locations you'll typically get a nice little bonus on top of your meal. It could be a glass of wine or champagne, an amuse-bouche or even a dessert. As long as you reserve via the Platinum Concierge you'll receive the benefit as outlined in the Amex Platinum Dining Program Guide.

What's even better is that until the end of September, not only will you get the dining amenity at any of the Platinum Dining Programs restaurants, you'll also get 1 additional Membership Rewards point per dollar spent at these restaurants. That's means you'll be earning 2.25 Membership Rewards points in total for every dollar spent. That equates to a 2.25% return if you redeem for travel via points for purchases or if you convert to Aeroplan or British Airways you're looking at a minimum of a 3.3% return but more than likely closer to a 4 to 4.5% return. AND you get your dining amenity. (Hopefully you can get my intonation there)

Remember to take advantage of the benefits of the Platinum Dining Program you must make reservations for the restaurant(s) of your choice via the Platinum Concierge.

A snippet of the terms from the email:
You can earn 1 Membership Rewards point (“point”), in addition to your standard earn rate of 1.25 points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases made between July 10, 2017 and September 30, 2017 at restaurants participating in the Taste from Platinum Dining Program. An eligible purchase is any purchase over $1 charged to the Platinum Card at participating restaurants between July 10, 2017 and September 30, 2017. Restaurants eligible for the offer are those listed in the enclosed 2017 Taste from Platinum Dining Guide, current as of June 6, 2017. Participating restaurants can change at any time.

Don't have The Platinum Card from American Express? You still have lots of time to grab it and start taking advantage of it at any of the restaurants in the guide to earn the extra points. Not to mention you'll get all of the other benefits that come along with the card! Lounge access, hotel elite status, Fine Hotels & Resorts and much more.

Have you gone out to eat at any of the restaurants in the Dining Program? Have you enjoyed the amenities and have you seen any of the bonus points post yet? Let us know in the comments below!

The Platinum Card from American Express

New Platinum Card® Cardmembers, earn 50,000 Bonus Membership Rewards® points by spending $3,000 in purchases in the first three months of Cardmembership.
• Platinum members are automatically enrolled in the Membership Rewards First™ Tier and earn 1.25 points for every dollar in purchases charged to the Card
• The Platinum Card gives you access to exceptional lounge benefits such as the Canadian Platinum Lounge Benefit, Airport Club Program and access to the Cathay Pacific Business Class lounges and oneworld® alliance airlines Business Class lounges.
• You will also have access to elevated status with many Hotel & Car Rental loyalty programs, $200 Annual Travel Credit for Travel Bookings through Platinum Card Travel Service, lodging benefits at a collection of over 900 Fine Hotels & Resorts around the world, access to special events and unique opportunities and a dedicated concierge team
• You can use Apple Pay on your eligible device to pay for goods and services at participating American Express contactless merchants
• 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.
• *As a Charge Card, the balance must always be paid in full each month. 30% annual interest rate applies to balances not paid in full.
Conditions apply
 Apply Now

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20 Update: Frontier to return to Calgary, new enhanced screening measures on flights to the U.S., great VHR bonus!

News, Tips & Tricks
Frontier Airlines
announced their plan to return to Calgary after about a decade after leaving the city. Flights should commence in Spring of 2018 between Calgary and Denver with connections to many cities across the U.S. and to Mexico. Frontier does have their own frequent flyer program called Early Returns and their return to Calgary will see us resurrect the Early Returns bonus offer page on our site. Right now we do cover the program however only on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com. (Source Frontier Airlines)

Similar to what Air Canada is offering, Cathay Pacific has announced the ability to bid for upgrades on select flights. Here is an excerpt from the email I received today:
Customers who have purchased Premium Economy or Economy Class tickets1 on selected routes2 have the opportunity to upgrade to the next cabin class via Upgrade Bid.

How it works
If your flight and fare class are eligible to make an Upgrade Bid, and you have opted in to receive offers from Cathay Pacific, you will receive an email invitation seven days before the first sector of your booking. You can also check your flight’s eligibility by entering your booking reference number and family name on the Upgrade Bid welcome page.
To enter the auction, simply visit our Upgrade Bid page to place your starting bid. If your offer is accepted as the winning bid, you’ll receive an email notification confirming your upgrade 48 hours before the departure.
Unfortunately Toronto and Vancouver are not on the initial list of cities where this is being offered however they may come at a future date.

Just as Canada is about to allow merchants to charge an extra fee for credit card transactions, the U.K. has gone in the other direction by banning the extra fees as of January 2018. I have yet to encounter a merchant that charges an extra fee when you use a credit card. (Source Head for Points) Here is what the Government of Canada says:
According to Visa, MasterCard and American Express merchant rules, merchants generally cannot charge you a service fee when consumers use their credit card. However, Visa, MasterCard and American Express permit eligible merchants to charge a service fee (also known as a convenience fee) for certain types of transactions.
Visa, MasterCard and American Express all require that the fee be clearly disclosed to cardholders before the transaction is completed and that cardholders are able to cancel the transaction without penalty.
Note that under the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada, merchants may choose to offer discounts for different payment methods, but they are not required to do so.
Apparently its only certain types of transactions which we believe are premium card transactions. I have a feeling merchants who choose to do this (it's still over a year away) will lose business to those merchants who choose not to add any surcharges.

Finally a reminder to everyone travelling to the U.S., new enhanced security measures have been enacted. It is suggested that you arrive at least 2 hours before your transborder flight if not sooner as security lines are expected to be longer due to the extra measures (Source CATSA)

Posts since our last update:

Canadian Bonus Offers

Other Bonus Offers
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Triple Asia Miles for stays of 2 or more nights at all Accor Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Oct 31, 17

La Quinta Returns
- Up to a 25% Discount when you buy La Quinta Returns points. More... Until Aug 18, 17

Le Club AccorHotels
- 4X Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at new Accor Hotels Worldwide. More... Book by Sep 3 for stays until Sep 30, 17

SAS EuroBonus
- Double EuroBonus Points for stays at all First Hotels in Sweden, Norway, Denmark or Spain. More... Until Aug 20, 17

Voila Hotel Rewards
- Triple VHR Bonus Points and Double Elite Status Credit for stays at participating VOILĂ€ network hotels Worldwide. More... Until Nov 30, 17

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TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card - 6% Cash Back on select categories for the first 3 months + first year free

 In the middle of June TD Canada Trust released a new set of cash back credit cards to our market. The high end version, TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card is what we look at in this post.

TD came out strong with their new high end offering for the Cash Back market with a never seen before return of 6%, albeit it is a time limited sign up bonus. Once you eat up the 6% the card isn't even a contender. Right now when you apply for and receive the card you'll earn 6% cash back in the first free months on gas, grocery and recurring bill payments. The 6% maxes out after $3,500 in spending in those categories for a maximum return of $210. Also as part of the introductory sign up offer the card is being offered with an annual fee waiver for the first year so the card does not cost you anything for the first 12 months.

Once the first three months are complete the earn rate on gas, grocery and recurring bill payments drops to 3% up to annual caps of $15,000 on gas and grocery and another $15,000 on bill payments. Any other purchases on the card sees only a 1% cash back rate. The category bonus earn rate of 3% is decent however 1% back on the rest is pretty weak compared to its competitors like the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express or the mbna Rewards World Elite Mastercard which both offer a straight 2% on all purchases.

TD is also following the trend of the mbna card and several other cash back cards in allowing cardholders to redeem their cash back at anytime rather than once a year like the majority of cards in the cash back category so this is a bonus.

On the benefits side, the card has one of the weaker packages out there for an Infinite Card with only Travel Medical Insurance (up to 10 days up to 64 years old, 4 days if older) and Delayed/Lost Baggage. No flight delay, no common carrier insurance, no trip interruption.

All of this with an annual fee of $120 for the primary card (of course its waived right now) and $50 for supplementary cards

My final thoughts on this card is that it was developed to target the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card yet the latter card ends up being stronger, at least on the first $25,000 of spending and it also has a better insurance package attached to it and lower annual fees on primary and secondary cards. I really don't think TD did their homework on this one. Outside of the 6% initial bonus for the first three months there is nothing that stands out about this card.  The 2% on all purchases from other cards, the higher returns from the Scotia Momentum and so forth in the cash back category are all better than this new offering. We would recommend checking out our Top Cashback Credit Card rankings and would pick any of those cards over and above this new TD card.

Click here to learn more about the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite Card

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

July 18 Update: Higher sign up bonus for the SPG Amex, Aeroplan Hotel Transfer Bonus & buy WestJet Dollars bonus

News, Tips & Tricks
All of the news up to today has been covered in our other blog posts. Check them out in the next section!

Posts since our last update:

Canadian Bonus Offers
Air Canada / Aeroplan
- 35% Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you convert Hotel loyalty programs points to Aeroplan Miles. More... Until Aug 21, 17

Starwood Preferred Guest
- 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you charge $1,500 in purchases to your Card in your first three months of Cardmembership with the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. Residents of Canada only. More... Until Oct 18, 17

Other Bonus Offers
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Triple Asia Miles for stays on the “Rise & Shine” bed & breakfast package at participating Raffles Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. More... Book by Sep 15 for stays until Sep 30, 17
- Double Asia Miles when you book and stay on the Double Bonus Package at IHG Hotels in Greater China. More... Until Sep 30, 17

IHG Rewards Club
- Earn up to Triple IHG Rewards Club Points for stays of 3+ nights at Holiday Inn Express Hotels in the Americas. More... Aug 1 - Sep 30, 17

Le Club AccorHotels
- 500 Bonus Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at participating Accor hotels in Zurich and Lausanne. More... Book by Aug 31 for stays until Sep 30, 17

Marriott Rewards
- 3,000 Bonus Rewards Points for stays at Gaylord Hotels in the U.S.. More... For Marriott Elite members only. Until Sep 23, 17

Starwood Preferred Guest
- 35% Discount when you redeem Starpoints for stays at any one of 11 Starwood Resorts Worldwide. More... Until Mar 5, 18

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