Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sep 2 Update: New Amex cash back cards, four new Aeroplan bonuses and Avianca/US Airways Buy Miles bonuses!

Crazy start to September, watch for lots of news, promos and more to come your way this week!

News, Tips & Tricks
We were hoping it would be the new Aeroplan Cards from American Express that were announced today but it was not. Not to be outdone however Amex did reveal two new cash back credit cards today that are quite strong compared to others in this segment. Read more about the new SimplyCash cards here.

As with the start of any month and especially now that summer holidays are over we will see an onslaught of new promotions for earning miles, burning miles and more! Here are some of the posts from earlier today on Rewards Canada covering some of these major promos:


Bonus Offers

Air Canada Aeroplan
- Triple Aeroplan Miles for every qualifying stay at any participating Comfort Inn®, Comfort Suites®, Quality®, Sleep Inn®, Clarion®, Cambria Suites®, MainStay Suites®, Suburban Extended Stay®, Econo Lodge®, Rodeway Inn® or Ascend Hotel Collection® location. More... Sep 1 - Nov 30, 14
- 1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you book Fairmont Hotel stays on Aircanada.com. More... Book by Sep 30 for stays until Nov 15, 14
- Earn up to 5,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you book an Air Canada Vacation package at participating Preferred Resorts.More... Book by Nov 30, 14

airberlin topbonus
- Earn up to 5,000 Top Bonus Miles when you earn topbonus miles from at least two different partners. More... Until Oct 31, 14

ANA Mileage Club
- Double Mileage Club Miles when you stay at any participating IHG hotel in Australasia, Southeast & Southwest Asia, Japan & Korea, and the Middle East & Africa.More... Until Oct 31, 14

Avianca LifeMiles
- 100% Bonus LifeMiles when you buy LifeMiles online. You must be a LifeMiles member as of Sep 2 to purchase. More... Until Sep 30, 14

Choice Privileges
- Earn 8,000 Privileges Points when you complete two qualifying stays at any Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, Ascend Hotel Collection, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn hotel in the Choice Privileges program. More... Sep 4 - Nov 12, 14

Rocketmiles
- OFFER EXTENDED 3,000 Bonus Miles/Points in the Rocketmiles partner program of your choice when you make your first booking. More... Book by Oct 10, 14 for stays until ?

SAS EuroBonus
- 700 Bonus EuroBonus points for stays at all Elite Hotels in Sweden. More... Until Oct 31, 14
- Double EuroBonus points for stays in a Club Room at the Sheraton Stockholm Hotel. More... Oct 1 - Dec 31, 14
- Double EuroBonus Points and save up to 33% on rentals of 3 or more days at participating Hertz locations in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Czech Republic, mainland France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovakia, mainland Spain or the UK. More... Book by Sep 30 for rentals until Dec 31, 14

US Airways Dividend Miles
- Up to 100% Bonus Dividend Miles when you buy Dividend Miles online. More... Until Sep 30, 14

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Double Flying Cliub Miles for stays of 3 nights or more at participating Millennium & Copthorne Hotels in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East. More... Until Oct 31, 14


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Avianca: 100% Bonus LifeMiles when buying miles - last chance at current prices!


For quite a few years now Avianca LifeMiles has been famous for selling their miles with a 100% bonus every few months. If you have followed us for sometime you'll know this is a great option to get Star Alliance flights on the cheap especially in business class. However Avianca recently announced that on September 30th the price to buy miles will go up 10% (which still isn't too bad) and changes to their award chart as of October 15th which are a devaluation. So what should you do? If you know that you can make your travel work and get the LifeMiles redemption(s) of your choice, buy the miles before September 30th and ensure you redeem for that travel by October 14th!

As we mentioned Avianca is a member of the Star Alliance. So while before I used to tout this offer as a way to get Lufthansa business class from North America to Europe for $1800, you can now use the miles on any Star Alliance airline. The program also offers one way rewards at exactly half the round trip cost and does not charge fuel surcharges on award tickets.

With business class tickets to Europe going for 105,000 miles and Asia for 125 - 130,000 miles you can travel 'luxuriously' for a lot less with this deal. What used to be a decent feature of LifeMiles is their Cash + Part Points option but that was devalued nearly a year ago. This option only requires that you have 40% of the points for a reward (so buy 40% during this 100% bonus period) and then you can buy the rest of the miles (the other 60%) at about 1.56 cents per mile (used to be 1.25 cents!).

Some things to consider with the buy miles option before you pull the trigger is that their call center tends to be on the less helpful side so you are better off booking award tickets online which also means you are limited to the powers of that source, mixed class awards are not allowed unless you book each award ticket as separate one way flights and they have devalued the program without notice in the past so only buy these miles if you think you will use them in the next short while

Offer details
100% Bonus LifeMiles when you buy LifeMiles online. You must be a LifeMiles member as of Sep 2 to purchase. Full details Until Sep 30, 14

Preview of IHG Rewards Club's 'Into the Nights' Fall Systemwide Promotion

Although it doesn't officially start until September 4th, IHG has given us a preview of their Fall Systemwide promotion. It is not called the Big Win but Into the Nights will offer at least two free nights, 50,000 IHG® Rewards Club bonus points or 10,000 bonus miles with additional personalized offers of bonus points and more:

The promotion offers members at least two free hotel nights at any IHG®-branded hotel anywhere in the world including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo® Hotels, Holiday Inn® Hotels, Holiday Inn Resort® Hotels, Holiday Inn Club Vacations®, Holiday Inn Express® Hotels, Staybridge Suites® Hotels, Candlewood Suites® Hotels and EVEN™ Hotels once a tailored set of offers is complete.

Registration for the “Into the Nights” promotion begins on Sept. 4 at www.ihg.com/freenights. Once registered, members will receive their tailored set of offers and begin earning
IHG® Rewards Club bonus points or bonus airline miles when they stay at any IHG®-branded hotel between Sept. 4 and Dec. 31, 2014.

How it works:
Current IHG® Rewards Club members and new members can register for the
“Into the Nights” hotel rewards promotion at www.ihg.com/freenights.
Members will receive custom offers to earn bonus points or bonus miles such as: stay more and earn more or stay on the weekend
Stay period begins Sept. 4 and ends Dec. 31; members can stay to start earning
Members can track their offers and rewards via a customized Rewards Tracker at www.ihg.com/freenights.

Air Canada: 50% Bonus Aeroplan Miles on all Air Canada flights Worldwide


It has been sometime since we have seen a non-targeted systemwide bonus mile offer from Air Canada and that all changes today! If you are an Aeroplan member you should see this offer in your inbox, if not it should be there soon or you can register via the link below. The offer is simple, earn 50% Bonus Aeroplan Miles on all eligible scheduled non-stop flights operated by Air Canada (including flights operated under the Air Canada Express brand) and Air Canada rouge. Like all Air Canada flight promotions this offer unfortunately does not count towards bookings made before today but counts for any bookings made between September 2nd and October 31st for travel that takes place between October 1st, 2014 and April 30th, 2015

Offer details
50% Bonus Aeroplan Miles on all eligible scheduled non-stop flights operated by Air Canada (including flights operated under the Air Canada Express brand) and Air Canada rouge. Register Online (Registration is required) Register and book between Sep 2 and Oct 31 for travel between Oct 1 and Apr 30, 15

Can't make use of this offer? Be sure to visit our Aeroplan Bonus Miles page for many more bonuses!

Introducing the American Express SimplyCash Credit Cards - Stong Competitors in the Cash Back Market

What is the one category of reward credit cards making inroads on Travel Reward cards? Cash back. Over the past few years we have seen an explosion in the cash back cards being offered by card issuers in Canada and two more are now in the market.

Today American Express officially launches the SimplyCash and SimplyCash Preferred Credit Cards. American Express already has had a cash back card in their portfolio, the American Express Gold Cash Back card but that was a charge card in which you can't run a balance and technically have no spending limit but it does appear that card has once again been pulled for new applications. They alos offer the True Earnings Card from Costco which is technically a cash back card as well.

American Express has obviously watched this space closely and done their research to ensure that when they introduced these new cash back cards to the market they would challenge the mainstays in this space the mbna Smart Cash MasterCards and Scotia Momentum Visas.  Both the Amex cards have stronger base earning rates than any other cash back cards on the market although at certain spend rates some other cards do match or exceed these cards (see our Cash Back comparison chart for more details but overall these cards should earn more cash back on overall spending in the category. If you are heavy purchaser at Grocery, Gas and Drug Store the mbna and Scotia cards do have higher earn rates but you'll have to evaluate you overall spend to see which cards can earn you the most cash back.

When applying for and receiving the cards, the  SimplyCash Preferred Card's introductory offer of 5% cash back on all spending for the first six months matches the MBNA SmartCash card for Grocery and Gas but exceeds it since that bonus is for all spending. The no fee SimplyCash also matches that 5% on Gas and Grocery but also adds in the restaurant category.

The majority of cash back cards in Canada do not carry an annual but there are several that do including the Scotia Momentum cards and as such the higher end SimplyCash Preferred does as well but at $79 per year Amex has priced it lower than the Infinite version of the Momentum card. The basic SimplyCash card matches the majority of cards with no annual fee.

Both cards come with decent insurance benefits especially the Preferred Card. The insurance/benefits offering on the Preferred Card is stronger than both the Scotiabank Momentum Visa Infinite Card and the mbna Smart Cash World MasterCard while pretty much matching the similarly priced CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite. Despite having no fee, the SimplyCash card also offers several insurance benefits that keep it equal to or better than other top no fee cash back cards.

In terms of benefits here is an overview of what each of the cards offers:

The SimplyCash Preferred Card
  • Welcome rate of 5% cash back on all purchases in the first 6 months (up to $400 cash back)
  •  1.50% cash back on purchases up to $100k when the welcome rate ends (1.25%  cash back over $100k) 
  • $79 annual fee
  • Insurance coverage, including Travel Accident, Buyers Assurance, Purchase Protection, Car Rental & Theft Damage Insurance , Emergency Medical, Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance, Lost or Stolen Baggage, Flight Delay, Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Front of the Line access to the hottest entertainment

The SimplyCash Card
  • Welcome rate of 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in Canada at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants in the first 6 months (up to $250 cash back)
  • 1.25% cash back on all other purchases and when the welcome rate ends
  • No annual fee
  • Insurance coverage, including Buyers Assurance, Purchase Protection, Travel Accident, Car Rental & Theft Damage Insurance
  • Front of the Line access to the hottest entertainment
In a nutshell it is nice to see American Express come out with competitive cards in the fastest growing segment of the rewards credit card industry. In some ways I believe their relaunch of the Gold Cash back card may have floundered and spawned or at least spurred greater attention to these new cards and how they could be more competitive in this market segment.  Both cards deserve a serious look if you are in the market for a new card. If travel rewards aren't your thing then the SimplyCash Preferred makes a great option to be a primary card since it does have many travel related benefits for when you do travel. For those of you who are travel rewards oriented but are considering a cash back card as your secondary or tertiary card either of these new Amex cards could fit the bill.

To learn more about the SimplyCash or SimplyCash Preferred Cards please visits www.amex.ca/simplycash.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this latest offering from American Express! Leave us a comment below or connect with us Facebook or Twitter!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Earn Triple Aeroplan Miles for Choice Hotels stays this Fall


The Triple Aeroplan Miles offer for Choice Hotel stays that we saw this past Spring has returned for the fall! Remember to earn the bonus miles you must be a Choice Privileges member and set your earning preference to Aeroplan

Offer details
Triple Aeroplan Miles for every qualifying stay at any participating Comfort Inn®, Comfort Suites®, Quality®, Sleep Inn®, Clarion®, Cambria Suites®, MainStay Suites®, Suburban Extended Stay®, Econo Lodge®, Rodeway Inn® or Ascend Hotel Collection® location.** . Full Details and online Booking Sep 1 - Nov 30, 14

**Points cannot be earned in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden and including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. 

Aug 29 Update: Amex Air Miles Platinum sign up bonus increased, VIA Rail Preference Bonuses, Fall Best Western promo released

http://www.americanexpress.com/canada/en/am_dual_RTP_515_en.shtml?&cpid=100148755Here is our last update for August!

News, Tips & Tricks
Two of the American Express Air Miles cards were updated today. The American Express Air Miles Platinum has had its sign up bonus increased to 1,500 miles while the Air Miles Reserve has dropped from 2,500 to 1,700. Both cards still have the same spend requirements to earn those bonuses. Of course the Air Miles Platinum comes first year free so those 1,500 Miles are essentially 'free miles' as long as you use the card on spend that you were going to complete anyways. See the bonus offer section for more details.


The latest set of Air France KLM Flying Blue Promo Awards are out but once again there are no offerings from Canada. Their are options out of Detroit and New York which are possibilites for those of you in Ontario/Quebec. You could drive to Detroit or fly to NYC on a 9,000 Avios British Airways Executive Club ticket (see here for more details on that latter option)


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 by Sep 30 for travel between Nov 1 and Dec 31, 14
- 1,000 Bonus Flying Blue Miles per stay starting from your second stay at any participating Accor Hotel Worldwide. Maximum of 40,000 Bonus Miles awarded. More... Book by Oct 12 for stays until Oct 31, 14

Air Miles
- 5x AIR MILES reward miles when you shop online at over 175 stores via airmilesshops.ca. More... Until Sep 8, 14
- 1,700 Bonus AIR MILES reward miles when you charge a total of $3,000 in purchases to your Card within your first three months of Cardmembership with the American Express® Air Miles® Reserve Card. More... Until ?
- 1,500 Bonus AIR MILES reward miles when you charge a total of $500 in purchases to your Card within your first three months of Cardmembership with the The American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card More... Until ?

Best Western Rewards
- 1,000 Bonus Rewards Points and up to 20% off when you book the Best Value or Web Special Rate at Best Western Hotels Worldwide. Best Western Rewards elite members get 1,500 bonus points. More... Sep 2 - Nov 23, 14

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Double Asia Miles and save up to 33% on rentals of 3 or more days at participating Hertz locations in Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, the Czech Republic, mainland France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovakia, mainland Spain or the UK. More...Book by Sep 30 for rentals until Dec 31, 14

Malaysia Airlines Enrich (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- 3,000 Bonus Enrich Miles on your next Rocketmiles booking More... Book by Oct 31 for stays until Apr 30, 15

United MileagePlus
- Earn up to 2,000 Bonus MileagePlus Miles for rentals participating Avis airport locations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.More... Until Sep 30, 14

VIA Rail Preference
- Double Preference Points on all VIA Rail travel in Economy class. More... Until Sep 30, 14
- Triple Preference Points when you travel on the Ocean or the Canadian. More... Register by Sep 15 for travel until Sep 30, 14
- 25% Preference Points Discount for reward travel on the Ocean or the Canadian. More... Until Nov 30, 14

Virgin America Elevate (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- 500 Bonus Elevate Points on your first purchase made at the Virgin America Elevate Fly Store. More... Until Sep 30, 14

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VIA Rail: Double Preference Points for travel in Economy Class in September

VIA Rail Preference is one of those programs we try to track here on Rewards Canada and haven't doesn't so well with doing so! We are trying to change that and that starts with this new offer of Double Points in their Preference program for travel in Economy Class during the month of September. With that said however there are also two promotions of Triple Points for travel on the Ocean or the Canadian until the end of September. So if you travels on VIA take you on either of those two be sure to register for them by September 15th.

This offer for Double Points also requires registration and when you click through the link below you may not actually see the offer until you log in upon which the offer should appear and have a registration button.

Offer Details
- Earn Double Preference Points on all VIA Rail travel in Economy class. Full Details Until Sep 30, 14

- Triple Preference Points when you travel on the Ocean or the Canadian. This applies whether you travel in Economy or Sleeper class. Full Details Register by Sep 15 for travel until Sep 30, 14