Friday, April 29, 2011

Expanded Travel Rewards Credit Card Comparisons now on

We are pleased to announce that we have expanded our travel reward credit card comparison charts on the website. You are probably familiar with our mainstay and often referenced "Most Popular Card" comparison chart that has been around since September 2004. Since the launch of that chart we added a few cards to it but it still only covers less then half of all the travel rewards credit cards available to Canadians. That has led us to create a chart to cover all the travel rewards credit cards in the Canadian market and we have also added broken down charts that cover the main reward types: Travel Points, Airline, Hotel and Hybrid. You can view each of the charts via the following links:

1. Most Popular Travel Rewards Credit Cards
A comparison of some of the more popular travel rewards credit cards

2. All Canadian Travel Rewards Credit Cards
A comparison of ALL the travel rewards credit cards in Canada.

3. Travel Points Credit Cards Only
A comparison of all the Travel Points travel rewards credit cards in Canada

4. Hybrid Credit Cards Only
comparison of all the Hybrid travel rewards credit cards in Canada

5. Airline (Frequent Flyer) Credit Cards Only
A comparison of all the Airline travel rewards credit cards in Canada.

6. Hotel (Frequent Guest) Credit Cards Only
A comparison of all the Hotel travel rewards credit cards in Canada.
We hope you enjoy these new additions to the Rewards Canada site and look forward to your feedback on them. They will be updated on a regular basis as has been the case for our "Most Popular" chart for the past 6-1/2 years.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lufthansa's Toronto - Dusseldorf route moves to year round service

According to Airline Route Updates, Lufthansa's seasonal service between Toronto and Dusseldorf will become a year round flight. The flight operates 3 times weekly with an Airbus A330-300. This is good news for Miles and More members (and Star Alliance flyers) out of Canada as it keeps open additional flight options to Germany outside of the busier Frankfurt and Munich hubs.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Aeroplan set to increase reward ticket levels and improve online booking tool

An interesting press release from Aeroplan today which tries to promote the good over the bad. The good is that they are once again enhancing the online booking tool for Aeroplan reward tickets to offer more flight options, flexibility and more self service functionality.

Quoted enhancements from the press release:

- An improved flight reward booking tool that augments the search
capability and results visibility on both and in
Aeroplan's Contact Centre, optimizing Aeroplan's use of the Star
Alliance network and providing its members with more route options,
more destinations, more flexible flying times and fewer connections;

- Access to last minute seats through the Last-Minute Travel Tool
showcasing available destinations for travel within the next 14 days
(displaying outbound availability within the next 14 days and inbound
availability within the next 28 days) on some of its members' most
popular routes at Classic mileage levels, making it easier to travel on
a whim;

- A new online calendar functionality that helps members easily view all
their flight reward availability at a glance including all economy and
business class options for both Air Canada and Star Alliance carriers.

Now to the bad, citing increasing costs of providing reward tickets to its members, Aeroplan will be increasing base reward ticket mileage levels. Overall, Aeroplan states the average increase will be under 5% for all Classic Awards and Star Alliance flight rewards. Looking at the revised chart, the majority of the increases for Air Canada flights are in business class tickets originating in Canada and the majority of tickets between other regions (eg Europe to Central America). On the Star Alliance reward side, there many more increases to bring these rewards in line with the rewards for Air Canada only flights. One of the biggest increases, takes away one the best Aeroplan redemptions, a first class ticket from Canada to Asia. Previously this Star Alliance Award ticket was only 120,000 Aeroplan miles and as of July 15 it will jump roughly 46% to 175,000 miles! So if this was a reward you were looking for you best redeem for it soon! This was a reward I had just looked at when figuring out the rate of return on the various Aeroplan credit cards and it was one of the best as on occasion it was well over 10% but that will quickly drop with this change.

Without fully penalizing Aeroplan, they did lower a few Star Alliance reward levels namely those for flights from North America to the Middle East, Africa, and India.

To see the new reward mileage requirements please visit's Reward Chart

To read the entire press release see here.

I'd love to hear what all of our readers think of these changes, good or bad by leaving a comment below!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Changes to IHG's Priority Club announced

We had mentioned that changes were forthcoming to InterContinental Hotels Group Priority and those were officially announced on March 29. Usually when news starts trickling out about changes, it means the change is going to be big, whether it be good or bad (think Hilton HHonors early in 2010). However in this case the majority of the changes are not very significant but do represent some industry firsts. The new benefits/changes to the program are as follows:

Last Minute Reward Nights:
A hotel industry first, “Last Minute Reward Nights” will allow Priority Club members globally to redeem Reward Nights at a 50% discount off the regular point price, for selected properties. Members will receive an e-mail on Monday providing a list of hotels where this offer will be available the following weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Initially, this program will be offered on the first full weekend of every month, starting with May 6, 7 and 8, 2011.

This is the best enhancement to the program, it is always nice to get discounted reward nights especially for last minute travel/getaways. The one big concern that may come up here is whether IHG will keep their Priority Club Point Breaks feature where reward nights at select hotels ranging from lower end HI Express to luxury InterContinenal Hotels can be had for 5,000 points. I think we will find out about this at the end of April as the current selection of Point Breaks hotel offers expire on April 30 with the following weekend being the first "Last Minute Rewards Nights".

The other changes/enhancements are not that exciting but are technically additional benefits:
Points & Cash for Merchandise Rewards: Also a hotel industry first, Priority Club members in the U.S. will be able to redeem a combination of Priority Club points and cash for brand name retail merchandise rewards. Priority Club Rewards currently offers points and cash capability on Reward Nights, but this will expand that functionality to merchandise rewards, a feature not offered anywhere in the industry. The program will roll out globally beginning late 2011.

“Lucky Points” Sweepstakes: This feature will give members based in the US, Canada, and UK the chance to turn their extra points into great rewards. Members will be able to redeem a very small quantity of Priority Club points (e.g., 100 or 200 points per entry) in exchange for a chance to win the prize or prizes that are most appealing to them. Typically, members will have 6-8 different prize draws to select from, ranging from terrific hotel packages (e.g. 4 nights at the InterContinental Times Square- New York) to popular merchandise (e.g., iPads), and even 1 million Priority Club points! Priority Club Rewards will be the only travel loyalty program to offer members this chance to turn a single stay into a huge prize! The program will roll out in China and Japan beginning fall 2011.

Downloadable Media Rewards: Priority Club Rewards will be the first travel loyalty program to give members the flexibility to redeem their points directly for downloadable media, including the latest music hits and millions of other songs, plus eBooks, mobile games and applications, and computer software. This will open up a terrific opportunity for members to turn relatively small quantities of points into tangible rewards. The program will initially rollout online in English globally and in several European languages beginning late 2011.

Source (and a good examination of the changes): Loyalty Traveler

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Air Canada cancels Toronto - Dayton service

Air Canada has announced that they will no longer fly their route between Toronto and Dayton Ohio as of May 1.

Source: Flyertalk

Friday, April 1, 2011

Club Carlson Officially launched

Yesterday marked the official launch of Carlson Hotel's Club Carlson frequent guest program. The new program replaces the Goldpointsplus program and promises to be more rewarding for those who frequent the brands under the Carlson Hotels umbrella. The currency of the program remains the same however as members will continue to earn Gold Points for their hotel stays.

Reiterating our previous post on the new program, the Club Carlson program will "introduce a new elite tier called "Concierge" which will offer complimentary upgrades, continental breakfast, early check-in/late check-out and 75% bonus points. And following in Marriott's footsteps, Carlson will offer rollover nights which allows Elite members to roll over extra nights for the following year's elite re-qualification"

Members will continue to earn 20 Gold Points per eligible dollar spent and free award nights will start at 9,000 points for Category 1 hotels and cap out at 50,000 points for Category 6 hotels. They are also going with no black out dates on award night redemptions which should mean that if a standard room is available you can redeem for it. If you don't have enough points the program also offers a points+cash option which will require between 5,000 -15,000 points depending on the category and certain amount of cash which is determined at time of booking.

Status is awarded as follows:
* Silver Status – 15 nights/10 stays per year
* Gold Status – 35 nights/20 stays per year
* Concierge Status – 75 nights/30 stays per year

Benefits for each level of the program are as follows:
Points: Room Revenue
Points: Food and Beverage
Hotel Redemption Offers
(Standard, Points + Cash)
Partner Redemption Offers
(Airlines, Prepaid Cards)
Free High-Speed Internet*
Online Booking Points Bonus1000 points2000 points2000 points3000 points
Complimentary Room Upgrade
Point Bonus25%50%75%
Elite Roll Over Nights
Early Check In/Late Check Out
Elite Customer Service Line
In-Room Welcome Gift
Room Availability Guarantee72 hrs48 hrs
Free Continental Breakfast
Concierge Service (starting mid-2011)

To celebrate the launch of the new program, Club Carlson's first system-wide promotion will reward members with a free award night after the completion of 2 qualifying paid stays at participating Radisson, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Park Inn and Park Plaza hotels worldwide. You can register and book now for qualifying stays between Apr 15 and Jun 15, 11 at

We have also launched a new Club Carlson bonus opportunities page which will replace the old Goldpointsplus page on

Complete details on the program can be found at