Thursday, October 30, 2014

Oct 30 Update: Aeroplan Award Ticket Routing Rule changes, Via Rail 50% off sale, Hilton's winter bonus offer

More changes at Aeroplan, nice to highlight a non air travel deal and more today!

News, Tips & Tricks
Aeroplan has apparently put into place a new MPM routing rules. These changes are unpublished but MPM, the Maximum Permitted Mileage between city pairs had some generous allotments for award travel (ie Canada to Asia via Europe aka the infamous Aeroplan mini-RTW) along with Aeroplan allowing the MPM to be exceeded by 5% previously. Now they are moving to a more centralized mileage validation process which means they will price routings based directly on the city pair not some of the convoluted routings that the IATA publishes. Overall this can be viewed as good thing on some routings while not very good for others. Read this post on FlyerTalk for all the details and what routings are working or not working!

Pacific Coastal Airlines is launching a new route betwen Victoria and Prince George. The flight will operate 6x per week. Pacific Coastal does not have a frequent flyer program but you can use proprietary credt card reward programs like BMO Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards etc. to redeem for this flight or other Pacific Coastal flights. (Source: Airlineroute.net)

Today is the last day to earn Aeroplan miles at Rexall. As of tomorrow Air Miles kicks in and they have a promo to celebrate. Earn 100 Bonus Air Miles when you spend $50 or more between Oct 31 and Nov 2. No coupon is needed.

Second last day to vote for your favourite Travel Rewards Credit Card. If you haven't voted yet be sure to do so by Friday night! Vote here.


Travel Deals
Via Rail
has a 50% off fall sale on rail travel across Canada! Simply book by November 2nd for travel November 6 - Februaury 28. Book online here.


Bonus Offers

AeroMexico Club Premier
- Triple Club Premier Kilometers on all Accor Hotels stays Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- Triple Club Premier Kilometers for stays at new City Express Hotels in Mexico. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- Double Club Premier Kilometers when you convert City Express Premier Club points into AeroMexico. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- Triple Club Premier Kilometers for stays at participating Melia Hotels in Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and Playa del Carmen. More... Book by Nov 30 for stays until Dec 31, 14

Air Canada Aeroplan

- Earn 30,000 Aeroplan Miles with the TD Aeroplan Visa Business Card. More... Until Nov 11, 14

Asiana Club
- Triple Club Miles on all stays at participating Hilton Hotels Worlwide. More...  Until Nov 30, 14

Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Double GarudaMiles on all Garuda Indonesia flights in Economy Class (Y/B/M/K/N). More... Until Dec 15, 14
- 25% GarudaMiles Discount on all Garuda Indonesia award tickets in Economy Class.
More...  Until Dec 15, 14

Hilton HHonors
- Double HHonors Points starting with your second stay at any participating hotel or resort in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. More...   Nov 1 - Jan 31, 15

La Quinta Returns
- 20% Discount when you buy La Quinta Returns points online. More... Until Nov 23, 14

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Earn up to 1,000 Bonus Miles&Smile Miles when you rent a car with Garenta in Turkey. More... Until Nov 30, 14


Remember to follow RC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest or subscribe to our Newsletter and RSS feed to ensure you don't miss out on any news, bonuses and more!

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Double HHonors Points on Hilton stays Worldwide starting with your 2nd stay


You may recall that a few weeks ago Hilton asked its members to vote for the next HHonors systemwide promotion and the results are out. It appears that the most votes went to the Double Points starting on your second stay option! As is almost always the case with these HHonors systemwide promos there are hotels that have chosen not to participate, the vast majority of which are in the U.S..

Offer Details
Double HHonors Points starting with your second stay at any participating hotel or resort in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio. Full Details, Online Registration and Booking  (Registration is required) 
For a list of hotels that are not participating please click here. Nov 1 - Jan 31, 15

These are the Canadian properties that have chosen not to participate:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WestJet Rewards Elite Status Match and Fast Track offers


Today marks the kick off of the expansion of the WestJet Rewards program as their new Elite Tiers come into effect. We covered the details of the new Elite Status portion of WestJet Rewards back in September.

To encourage participation and grow the new Elite program WestJet is running two Elite promotions. The first is a status match and the second is a fast track to status offer.



Status Match Offer
WestJet will give you Gold Elite status if you hold Top Tier status (2014 or 2015) in another Canadian frequent flyer program. That really only gives you two options, Air Canada Altitude and Canadian North Aurora Rewards. Even though they state Top Tier, the terms and conditions state:
"is defined as having achieved status through the equivalent of a minimum 25,000 qualifying miles or a minimum of 25 qualifying flight segments in that program during a calendar year. "
Which means that anyone holding Air Canada Altitude status should receive Gold Status with WestJet Rewards. Also if you hold Canadian North Aurora Rewards Diamond Status you should be matched to Gold as well. To get the status match you have to email your credentials to WestJet by January 31, 2015. You can find all the details here.




Fast Track Offer
If you don't hold status with Air Canada or Canadian North you can Fast Track to Gold status by simply achieving $1,500 in qualifying spend on WestJet flights by January 31, 2015. To participate in the Fast Track offer you have to register your WestJet Rewards number which you can do so here.


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Oct 29 Update: Qatar Airways 2 for 1 Biz Class sale, 3 days left to vote for your favourite credit card, United MileagePlus transfer bonus

Wednesday was quiet in this neck of the woods!

News, Tips & Tricks
More of a review here in this section of two posts we put up since the last update:

Only a few more days to vote for your favourite Travel Rewards Credit Card. If you haven't voted yet be sure to do so by Friday night! Vote here.


Bonus Offers

Aeroflot Bonus
- Earn up to 3,500 extra Bonus Miles for stays at Hilton Hotels Worlwide. More... Until Dec 31, 14

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Receive the next elite status level and 2,500 Elite Qualifying Mileage Plan Miles on your next Alaska Airlines roundtrip flight. More... Targeted Offer - May not work for everyone Until Dec 31, 14

Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Earn up to 1,000 Bonus MilleMiglia Miles when you fly round trip on Alitalia between Rome and Marseille. More... Nov 1 - Dec 31, 14

American AAdvantage
- 1,500 Bonus AAdvantage Miles on your first Best Western stay Worldwide after you register for the promotion. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- 1,000 Bonus AAdvantage Miles on each qualifying Best Western stay Worldwide. More... Until Nov 30, 14
- Triple AAdvantage Miles on rentals at participating Budget airport locations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- Earn up to 28,000 Bonus AAdvantage Miles when you buy or gift AAdvantage miles. More... Until Nov 12, 14
- Earn up to 15,000 Bonus Miles & More Miles when you refer friends to a 1 year subscription to Focus. More... Residents of Germany only Until Nov 30, 14

Emirates Skywards
- Triple Skywards miles on Avis rentals of 3 or more days in Europe, the Middle East, Africa or the US. More... Until Dec 31, 14

JetBlue TrueBlue (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- 5x TrueBlue Points on a rentals of 3 days or more at participating Budget airport locations in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More... Until Dec 31, 14

Miles & More
- Triple Miles & More Miles for stays at the VI Hotel Loipersdorf Spa & Conference. More... Nov 1 - Dec 5, 14

United MileagePlus
- 20% Bonus MileagePlus miles on all Hotel Points conversions worth 5,000 miles or more. More... Until Dec 5, 14


Remember to follow RC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest or subscribe to our Newsletter and RSS feed to ensure you don't miss out on any news, bonuses and more!



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Qatar Airways 2 for 1 Business Class Sale out of Montreal (includes 50% bonus miles) - Book by Oct 31


Qatar Airways has a launched a global 2 for 1 business class sale and it includes their flights out of Montreal to various destinations Worldwide. Fares start as low as $3,252 all in and must be booked by October 31st for travel between November 1 and March 31. The offer also includes 50% bonus QMiles if you are a member of Qatar Airways Privilege Club. You must register for the bonus miles by logging into your account, clicking on 'My Offers' and selecting the promotion at least 24 hours prior to flying. We checked fares and it does not appear that Qatar Airways' home city of Doha is included but definitely found some of the fares available as listed below such as Dhaka. Don't you love airline pricing? You fly Montreal-Doha-Dhaka for only $3,252 per person yet if you book Montreal-Doha only it is over $8,000 per person!

Full details and online booking

Sample fares:



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Credit Card Showdown: mbna SmartCash World MasterCard vs. American Express SimplyCash Card

Welcome to Rewards Canada's second ever credit card showdown. We tested this concept a little over a year ago in this type of showdown but haven't done one since. Now we hope to make it a more frequent feature here on Rewards Canada. With Cash Back credit cards becoming more popular and more of our readers asking us about them we figured we would compare two of the top no fee based cash back cards, the mbna SmartCash World MasterCard and the American Express SimplyCash Card. (Don't worry, we'll have a fee card showdown coming soon as well!) Like the previous showdown I am writing this piece with the intent that the reader has at least some knowledge of the cash back process and credit card reward programs. You don't have to be an expert but if you are new to the rewards game some of this may not make sense to you. Also know that there are other cash back cards that may work better for you but we have set up this feature like a boxing match so we only compare two cards but those two are typically very popular or at the top end of the offerings in the Canadian market.

Annual Fees / Sign Up Bonus

Both cards match up here as they are no fee for the primary and supplementary cards. Both have a sign up bonus of 5% cash back in select categories for the first 6 months you have the card. The mbna SmartCash World MasterCard is for Gas and Grocery only while the SimplyCash card is for Gas, Grocery and Restaurants. Since the mbna maxes this bonus out $400 in spend per month the American Express SimplyCash is the winner in this category since it maxes the bonus at $250 of bonuses ($833.33 in spend per month). The SmartCash World MasterCard does require $60,000 personal annual income or $100,000 household. You can always look at the Platinum version of the SmartCash card which requires $35,000 annual income, still $20,000 above the SimplyCash. The Platinum also caps all spending $1,250 per month that you can earn a cash back return on.

Interest Rate:
Once again American Express is the leader here but barely, a 0.24% difference over the mbna SmartCash World MasterCard. Either way this shouldn't matter as if you have one of these cards you shouldn't run a balance for more than a couple of months otherwise your screwing yourself. If you do you should look at a low interest card or no card at all.


Cash Back Earning
I'll tell you one thing, Cash Back earning is easier to compare than travel rewards but it isn't as easy as you think. Many of the cash back cards out there offer category bonuses and tiered spending cash back percentage increases which can make side by side comparisons difficult. There are some cards however that make it easy by having a flat cash back rate on spending . Outside of the first 6 months bonus, the SimplyCash makes it easy by being 1.25% on all spending versus the SmartCash's 2% on Gas and Grocery up to $400 per month spending then followed by a 1% return.

The basic earn rates for the cards are 1.25% on the SimplyCash while the SmartCash is 1% outside of the Gas and Grocery bonus.

Spend Comparison
Here are our spend comparisons of these two cards. We take into account the first 6 month sign up bonuses and the SmartCash's 2% on $400 at Gas and Grocery stores. As you can see the SimplyCash is the clear leader between these two cards.

$20,000 per year - Year 1
mbna SmartCash World MasterCard SimplyCash™ from American Express®
Cash Back Cash back
Gas 10% $2,000 $135.96 in the first six months based upon half of the spend completed

$63.96 on the remainder of spend
$50 in the first six months based upon half of the spend completed

$12.50 on the remainder of spend
Grocery 30% $6,000 $150 in the first six months based upon half of the spend completed

$37.50 on the remainder of spend
Restaurant 10% $1,000 $10 $25 in the first six months based upon half of the spend completed

$6.25 on the remainder of spend
All other spending 50% $7,000 $70 $87.50
Total Cash Back $279.92 $368.75
$20,000 per year - Year 2 and beyond
mbna SmartCash World MasterCard SimplyCash™ from American Express®
Cash Back Cash back
Gas 10% $2,000 $96 based on the 2% for the first $400 per month

$31.92 on the remainder of spend
$250
Grocery 30% $6,000
All other spending 60% $12,000 $120
Total Cash Back $247.92 $250
$40,000 per year - Year 1
mbna SmartCash World MasterCard SimplyCash™ from American Express®
Cash Back Cash back
Gas 8% $3,200 $172.02 in the first six months based upon half of the spend completed

$100.01 on the remainder of spend
$80 in the first six months based upon half of the spend completed

$20 on the remainder of spend
Grocery 30% $12,000 $170 in the first six months based upon half of the spend completed

$107.50 on the remainder of spend
Restaurant 10% $3,200 $32 $40
All other spending 52% $17,600 $176 $220
Total Cash Back $480.03 $637.50
$40,000 per year - Year 2 and beyond
mbna SmartCash World MasterCard SimplyCash™ from American Express®
Cash Back Cash back
Gas 8% $3,200 $96 based on the 2% for the first $400 per month

$104 on the remainder of spend
$500
Grocery 30% $12,000
All other spending 62% $24,800 $248
Total Cash Back $448 $500
$60,000 per year - Year 1
mbna SmartCash World MasterCard SimplyCash™ Card from American Express®
Cash Back Cash back
Gas 8% $4,800 $195 in the first six months based upon half of the spend completed

$246 on the remainder of spend
$250 in the first six months based upon half of the spend completed

$185 on the remainder of spend
Grocery 25% $15,000
Restaurant 10% $6,000 $60 $75
All other spending 57% $34,200 $342 $427.50
Total Cash Back $843 $937.50
$60,000 per year - Year 2 and beyond
mbna SmartCash World MasterCard SimplyCash™ Card from American Express®
Cash Back Cash back
Gas 8% $4,800 $96 based on the 2% for the first $400 per month

$150 on the remainder of spend
$750
Grocery 25% $15,000
All other spending 67% $40,200 $402
Total Cash Back $648 $750

Of course your spending may be different, if you don't spend very much overall the SmartCash may be better for you because of the 2% cash back on Gas and Groceries up to $400 per month. If your card isn't going to be used for Gas or Groceries because you have another card you primarily use at those places then the SimplyCash would be the better bet as it earns the 1.25% versus the SmartCash's 1%. Also you'll want to look at where you plan on using your card since the SmartCash is a MasterCard which has a higher acceptance rate over the SimplyCash card. However when you look at the numbers above we have to say the clear winner is the American Express SimplyCash card in terms of cash back earning.

Benefits
The last factor to look at when comparing these cards are the benefits that come with the cards. This section is easy as the mbna SmartCash World MasterCard offers more benefits than the SimplyCash card.. It provides a higher travel accident insurance amount, has trip interruption insurance, offers price protection and concierge service. The mbna SmartCash is the clear winner in this category.

Conclusion
Based on the spend comparison above, our comparison chart below and what we believe to be general spending habits of Canadians, the American Express SimplyCash is the winner in this Credit Card showdown. Many no fee Cash Back cards tend to be secondary or tertiary cards for Canadian's who tend to hold Travel Rewards cards as their primary cards so they usually don't need the insurance benefits provided with these card. However for those who don't have Travel Rewards cards but do some travelling they may want to look at the mbna SmartCash World MasterCard because of its benefits but should take into account the loss of cash back by perhaps looking at third party travel insurance combined with the SimplyCash card to see which card or card+travel insurance combination will give them the best return.

Chart Notes: Yellow highlighting signifies a clear winner in that category


Feature / Card
mbna SmartCash World MasterCard
SimplyCash™ Card from American Express®
Fees etc.
Annual Fee
$0
$0
Supp. Card Fee
$0
$0
Interest Rate
19.99%
19.75%
Foregn Exchange Transaction Fee
2.5%
2.5%
Minimum Income
$60,000 Personal or $100,000 Household
$15,000
Cash Back
Card

mbna SmartCash World MasterCard
SimplyCash™ Card from American Express®
Earning Ratio
1% Cash back on all purchases
1.25% Cash back on all purchases
Maximum Annual Cash back limt
Unlimited
Unlimited
Category Bonuses
Card

mbna SmartCash World MasterCard
SimplyCash™ Card from American Express®
Grocery
5% for the first 6 months, 2% thereafter*
5% for the first 6 months, 1.25% thereafter*
Gas
5% for the first 6 months, 2% thereafter*
5% for the first 6 months, 1.25% thereafter*
Restaurant
N/A
5% for the first 6 months, 1.25% thereafter*
Benefits
Card

mbna SmartCash World MasterCard
SimplyCash™ Card from American Express®
Travel Accident Insurance
$1,000,000
$100,000
Trip Interuption Insurance
Yes
No
Auto Rental/Loss Damage Insurance
Yes
Yes
Price Protection
Yes
No
Purchase Protection
Yes
Yes
Extended Warranty Plan
Yes
Yes
Concierge Service
Yes
No
Link to Apply
Apply Online 
Notes:
* On the first $400 spend in each month, anything above is at 1%
Up to $250 total


Do you have a suggestion at a credit card showdown? Comment below on what two cards you'd like to duke it out!

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Oct 28 Update: American AAdvantage 2015 program, 500 bonus Aeroplan Miles with Marriott in the U.S., another Delta SkyMiles devaluation?

A relatively quiet start to the week!

News, Tips & Tricks
Several blogs and people FlyerTalk are stating the you can no longer book stopovers on Delta Airlines SkyMiles award tickets. It may be too early to tell if this a permanent change or a technical glitch. We'll keep you in the loop on this potential devaluation if it sticks.

We highlighted the 2015 American AAdvantage program which includes the integration of US Airways Dividend Miles. Read all about it here.


Only a few more days to vote for your favourite Travel Rewards Credit Card. If you haven't voted yet be sure to do so by Friday night! Vote here.

In the bonus offer section we visit the new Aeroplan partner transfer bonus again but if you want more details on it you can read our separate post here. There is also a new Aeroplan bonus for Marriott stays in the U.S. (this seems to be a recurring bonus nowadays) and a new Dividend Miles buy miles bonus which isn't as lucrative as it used to be.



Bonus Offers Air Canada Aeroplan
- Earn up to 25,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you convert points from a wide selection of Aeroplan partner loyalty programs (hotel, car rental, and points.com). More... Valid until Nov 24, 14
- 500 Bonus Aeorplan Miles per night for stays at select JW Marriott, Autograph Collection, Renaissance, Marriott Resorts and Gaylord Hotels in the U.S.. More... Nov 3 - Jan 31, 15

EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- 500 Bonus Infinity MileageLands Miles when you book Avis Taiwan Taoyuan Int’l Airport chauffeur-drive service.More... Until Mar 31, 15
- 500 Bonus Infinity MileageLands Miles on all Hertz rentals in in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia or New Zealand. More... Until Dec 31, 14

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
- Double Mileage Bank Miles when you stay two nights on Regent Hotels & Resorts' Warm Winter package at participating Regent Hotels Worldwide. More... Dec 15 - Feb 28, 14

Malaysia Airlines Enrich (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- 25% Bonus Enrich Miles when you convert GC Award Points into Enrich. More... Until Dec 31, 14

Marriott Rewards
- OFFER EXTENDED Earn Double Airline Miles when you join the Marriott Rewards program and select one of the eight participating airline partners as your earning preference. More...   Until Jan 31, 15
- 2,000 Bonus Rewards Points per night at the Courtyard Mobile. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- 2,500 Bonus Rewards Points per stay when yuo book a room on the concierge level Sunday-Wednesday nights (Sunday arrival required) at the Seattle Marriott Bellevue. More... Feb 1 - Apr 25, 15
- 2,500 Bonus Rewards Points per stay on Thursday-Saturday nights (Friday or Saturday required) at the Seattle Marriott Bellevue. More... Feb 5 - Apr 30, 15
- 1,000 Bonus Rewards Points for stays at the the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa. More... Jan 24 - Apr 11, 15

Miles & More
- Double Miles & More Miles for stays at over 450 participating Global Hotel Alliance hotels Worldwide. More... Nov 1 - 30, 14
- 25% Bonus Miles & More Miles when you convert GC Award Points into Miles & More. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- Double Miles & More Miles on rentals at participating Hertz locations Worldwide. More... Nov 1 - 30, 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 Dec 12, 14 for stays until ?

US Airways Dividend Miles
- Earn up to 50,000 Bonus Dividend Miles when you buy Dividend Miles online. More... Until Nov 12, 14

Virgin Australia Velocity (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- 25% Bonus Velocity Points when you convert GC Award Points into Velocity. More... Until Dec 31, 14

Wyndham Rewards
- 1,000 Bonus Wyndham Rewards Points per night on stays of 2 or more consecutive nights at participating Wyndham Hotels in the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico and Germany. More... Until Jan 13, 15



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American AAdvantage & US Airways to be merged in Q2-2015 - Here are some of the details


Thanks to our long time reader Andrew S. for forwarding the email to us (I assume we'll get the email later today as it takes some time to send out notices to millions of AAdvantage members) outlining the details of the new AAdvantage program for 2015 which includes the integration of US Airways Dividend Miles. You can read all about the new program here. Here are some of the highlights:

US Airways Dividend Miles integration
In the second quarter of 2015 we'll the see the end of US Airways Dividend Miles as it gets absorbed into American AAdvantage. Sometime before that you'll be able to link your Dividend Miles and AAdvantage accounts to make combining them easier when the time comes.  You will not be able to transfer miles between accounts however.

Elite Status/Qualification
US Airways has four elite levels while American AAdvanage has three, here is how they will line up:


The only change for AAdvantage members is the 120 segment requirement for Executive Platinum which is increased to match the Dividend Miles requirement for the top elite level.

In terms of 2015 status, they will look at your combined elite-qualifying activity for 2014, and separately your combined 2015 year-to-date elite-qualifying activity to determine your elite status level.

Mileage Earning
Starting January 1, 2015, you'll earn a 50% bonus for travel on business class tickets on American and US Airways – an increase from the 25% class of service bonus today.

Upgrades
Upgrades will be different on American and US Airways flights until they have a single reservation system towards the end of 2015.



These are the biggest highlights of the changes. If you want the complete details you can visit this page on the AA website.

As always we'd love to hear your comments on this announcement! Are you pleased with changes and integration process? Let us know in the comment section below.


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