Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Options outside of Aeroplan and Air Miles. Part 2: Credit Card Programs

The majority of Canada's loyalty program market share is held by two programs, Aeroplan and Air Miles. While both programs have strong roots in travel they have grown into what the industry calls coalition loyalty programs, which in layman's terms means many earning partners and a varied rewards catalog. Its hard not to be a member of at least one of these two programs since you would miss out on some potential rewards because of their vast coverage within Canada. With that being said, I receive numerous emails from my readers on how they are fed up with Aeroplan or Air Miles or both and they want to know what other options they have, particularly for travel rewards. This piece will look at the other options Canadians have for travel reward loyalty programs and while you can take any of these routes as your primary program I would recommend keeping Aeroplan and/or Air Miles as a secondary program. One thing you will notice is that to make one of these other programs your primary one, it will require the use of a credit card to maximize your reward potential. For travel reward programs, credit card use is the easiest way to rack up points and miles outside of actual travel. I've broken out the choices into four parts and will focus on the pros and cons of making one of these choices as your primary program.

Part 1: Frequent Flyer Programs
Part 2: Credit Card Programs

Part 3: Hotel Programs



CREDIT CARD PROGRAMS

If you have followed Rewards Canada for at least sometime you’ll know that I like to split travel credit cards into 5 categories. Part 2 of my feature on your other options outside of Aeroplan and Air Miles focuses on three of those credit card categories: Travel Points (with annual fee), Travel Points (no fee) and Hybrid credit cards. The other two categories of credit cards, airline and hotel are covered in Part 1 and Part 3 respectively.

Flexibility, Flexibility, Flexibility, that is the key to Travel Point and Hybrid credit cards. Despite varying degrees of flexibility (see Infographic below) the premise behind these cards is to give you the flexibility to book any flight at anytime with any airline and not be bound by the sometimes very restricting rules of a Frequent Flyer Program.

Some of the credit cards go even further by allowing point redemptions for hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, train tickets and more. What essentially happens here is that you book travel either on your own and redeem points for that travel or redeem your points for a booking made via the credit card issuer’s travel agency. How you book depends on the credit card, cards like the Capital One Aspire MasterCards, TD Infinite & Platinum Visas, American Express Gold Rewards & Blue Sky Cards and the Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard all allow you to book your travel yourself via any method (online, travel agency etc) with any travel provider and then redeem the points against the charge on your statement. While the remainder of the cards have you book via the card’s reward center or their dedicated travel agency. So as long as there is availability for the travel you want there shouldn’t be any issues in booking it. This is where these cards stand out over Frequent Flyer programs as FFPs tend to have a limited amount of seats at the lowest redemption levels and may not have the exact dates you want unless you redeem at the ‘higher’ any seat anytime redemption levels. With the travel point/hybrid cards you are technically ‘buying’ a revenue airline ticket, hotel stay etc so the beauty of these bookings is that in most cases you can earn frequent flyer miles on the flights and/or frequent guest points on the hotel stays whereas reward tickets from Frequent Flyer programs do not.

The majority of the travel points and hybrid cards offer a rate of return between 1 – 2.33% on your credit card spending which is very comparable to credit cards that earn frequent flyer miles when redeeming for economy class tickets. Where the travel points and hybrid cards lose value is in redeeming for First or Business Class tickets as the rate of return remains at the 1 - 2.33% while frequent flyer program credit cards can achieve rate of returns upwards of 10% or more. 



If your travel rewards goal is to travel in First or Business Class you will be better off with an airline (frequent flyer) credit card or hybrid card but if your travel rewards goal requires any of the following: flexibility, economy class flights, multiple airline options, hotels, car rentals and virtually any other travel then a travel points or hybrid credit card is more than like the better option for you.



Some of the more popular Travel Points and Hybrid credit cards in Canada are:
American Express Gold Rewards Card
American Express Blue Sky Credit Card
BMO World Elite MasterCard
Capital One Aspire Travel™ World MasterCard®
CIBC Aventura World MasterCard

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite
CUETS Platinum Class MasterCard

Desjardins Odyssey Gold
Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard
RBC Visa Infinite Avion
RBC Visa Platinum Avion

TD First Class Visa
 Infinite
TD Platinum Travel Visa

There are nearly 40 more cards that fall into this category from other banks and credit unions in Canada.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Additional Free Night Voucher with the Best Western MasterCard

158549_Best Western MasterCard? credit cardFor a limited time (apply by June 17) MBNA is adding an extra Free Night Voucher to the Best Western MasterCard if you spend $1,000 on the card before July 31. Much like the current Choice Privileges MasterCard promo if you don't mind an inquiry on your credit rating this is a card to consider since there is no annual fee and  you'll get one free night voucher and the 20,000 bonus points which can you a free night(s) in Best Western hotels that fall into the 8,000-20,000 point range. Apply today for the Best Western MasterCard

  • Earn 1.5 Best Western Rewards points for every $1 in net retail purchases†
  • Receive 20,000 bonus Best Western Rewards points after your first qualifying purchase††
  • Spend an additional $1,000 before July 31, 2012 on your new card and get an additional Free Night voucher†††
  • No Annual Fee
  • 19.99% Annual Interest Rate on Purchases and 19.99% Annual Interest Rate on Cash Advances
  • Around-the-clock fraud protection
  • Online access to your credit card account
  • Unparalleled 24-hour Customer service

50% Bonus Aeroplan Miles on Canada, US, & Mexico/Caribbean flights

For a limited time you can earn 50% Bonus Aeroplan Miles on all Air Canada flights within Canada, between Canada and the U.S. as well as to/from Mexico and the Caribbean if you book your flights online at AirCanada.com. The offer is valid for bookings until June 4 for travel until September 3.

Full details can be found here.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Etihad Airways now serving Vancouver (well sort of... via a codeshare)

I thought I would bring this Etihad news to our readers since they were one of the big sponsors of our 10th Anniversary contest last year and some of you won Etihad Guest miles in that contest that perhaps you can use on this route if you have earned even more Guest miles!

Recently, Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways began a full code share agreement with Germany's airBerlin, you may have seen some of the bonus offers announced by us when the partnership launched and as some of you may or may not know, airBerlin serves Vancouver during the summer months. With the full partnership between airBerlin and Etihad that means you can earn and redeem Guest Rewards miles for this flight.

   Flight No FROM TO DEP ARR DAYS
   EY 1013 Vancouver Dusseldorf 12:30 07:10+1 Wed & Sun
   EY 024 Dusseldorf Abu Dhabi 11:50+1 20:20+1 Wed & Sun
   EY 023 Abu Dhabi Dusseldorf 02:00 07:00 Wed & Sun
   EY 1016 Dusseldorf Vancouver 09:45 10:45 Wed & Sun

Service started on May 13th, 2012 with flights every Sunday. Frequency increases to twice a week from June 13th, 2012 every Wednesday and Sunday up until October 21st, 2012.

For those of you down east, Etihad serves Toronto directly from Abu Dhabi as well.

For more details on the Vancouver connection please see here or to book flights visit Etihadairways.com

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Transfer points to Aeroplan to earn up to 40,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles

Aeroplan is going full tilt this spring with the bonus mileage promotions! From the Star Challenge to using multiple travel partners to buying a Maple Leaf Lounge membership, you pretty much name it and you can get bonus Aeroplan miles for it. The latest in their slew of offers is the return of their partner transfer bonus. Basically what it entails is transferring points out of other loyalty programs into your Aeroplan account. In the past the bonus was based on per transaction basis so the promotion wasn't as attractive as it is now since this time around it is cumulative across all participating partners. That is, you can transfer from partners like American Express, Starwood, Hertz and more and as long as the total Aeroplan miles deposited from all of them reaches one of the bonus target levels you will be awarded the respective bonus miles. What is even better is that if you complete some of these transfers before May 28 they should also count as 'stars' for the Aeroplan Star Challenge. The offer as pulled from our Aeroplan Bonus Mile Promotions page is as follows:

Earn up to 40,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you convert points from a wide selection of Aeroplan partner loyalty programs (hotel, car rental, credit card and points.com). Bonuses are as follows and are awarded on a cumulative basis (not per transaction like previous promotions)
Convert Points to
5,000 Aeroplan Miles to earn a 1,000 Mile bonus
10,000 Aeroplan Miles to earn a 2,000 Mile bonus
20,000 Aeroplan Miles to earn 4,000 Mile bonus
50,000 Aeroplan Miles to earn a 10,000 Mile bonus
100,000 Aeroplan Miles to earn a 25,000 Mile bonus
150,000 Aeroplan Miles to earn a 40,000 Mile bonus
Full details
Valid until June 18, 12

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Virgin Atlantic Business Class Vancouver-London for $1774 ALL IN!

Many airlines are starting to match British Airways' Jubilee Business Class sale in the U.S. and here in Canada Virgin Atlantic has gone even further by beating BA's Business Class price (see the post below this one for the BA offer) out of Vancouver

The Virgin Atlantic offer needs to be booked by May 18th like the BA offer and is good for travel from May 24th (the first day VS starts serving YVR) to June 10th. The total price for non-limousine Upper Class fares comes in as low as $1774 for round trip flights all taxes and fees included.

For complete details and/or online booking visit Virgin Atlantic

British Airways Business Class sale from Canada $1952 ALL IN!

To celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, British Airways is having a sale on Business Class flights to the U.K. from Canada. The price believe it or not is the same as the year that the Queen was inaugurated, 1952. Yes C$1952 including all fees and taxes for a round trip Business Class flight from any Canadian city that British Airways flies from (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal) to London or Manchester.

The sale only runs until May 18 and is good for travel between May 26 and June 9, 2012

For complete details and/or to book please visit British Airways


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Rewards Canada now has its own co-branded page on the Priority Club website

Rewards Canada has expanded its relationship with InterContinental Hotels Group with the launch of a co-branded page on the Priorityclub.com website. The landing page welcomes visitors from our two primary websites, FrequentFlyerBonuses.com and RewardsCanada.ca.


The page can be considered your one stop starting point for everything IHG and Priority Club with information on the Priority Club program and it also provides online booking with IHG. The page may also cover various promotions in the near future. Unless you are looking for a specific promo where own Priority Club Bonus Points page is required, this page can be used for all your general IHG & Priority Club needs.

Feel free to visit the page at anytime or better yet bookmark it so you don't have to come back to this post!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Registration for Radisson Big Night Giveaway & Country Inns SOGO now Open

Per last week's FFB post about the latest version of Radisson's Big Night Giveaway, the promotion to earn 50,000 Club Carlson Gold Points for one qualifying stay is now open! The offer of 50,000 points is open to the first 100,000 registrants after which the bonus drops to 15,000 for anyone after the 100K mark. To be awarded the bonus points you must complete your qualifying Radisson or Radisson Blu stay between May 15 and  July 15. Last fall it took a couple of weeks for the first 100,000 spots to fill up and I am guessing that it will go much quicker this time round as more blogs pick up on the promo and the shear success of the first one. So your best bet is to not leave registration to the last minute but rather do it right now at

Radisson Big Night Giveaway

And thanks to Ric Garrido, the Loyalty Traveler, we have learned that this time around Club Carlson is not only running one promotion but three in total. The second is for stays at Country Inns & Suites that awards the first 35,000 registrants a 44,000 Gold Points for a qualifying Country Inns & Suites stays. To be awarded the bonus points you must complete your qualifying Country Inns & Suites stay between May 15 and  July 15.Just like the promo above once the registration limit is reached anyone registering after will receive a 15,000 Gold Points bonus. Once again register now to get in on the promotion at:

Country Inns & Suites SOGO

Once you have registered for these two promos you can book online at Radisson or at Country Inns & Suites. You will still earn your online booking bonuses on top of the big bonuses awarded with these promos.

The third promo is for stays at Park Inns. Just like the above two offers it provides enough bonus points for one free night within the same brand (although the points can be used for other brands, just wording it like they do :-) ) This offer also awards 44,000 Bonus Gold Points however it is only for the first 20,000 registrants after which...you guessed it....people will be awarded 15,000 Bonus Gold Points. To be awarded the bonus points you must complete your qualifying Park Inn stay between May 22 and  July 22. You don't have to worry about me registering for this one as my travels during the promo period does not have me going near a Park Inn. Registration for this offer starts on May 22.

Star Alliance 15th Anniversary Frequent Flyer Bonus

As you may or may not recall, on my Daily Bonus Offer Highlight for April 25 one of the offers highlighted was Miles & More's 15,000 mile bonus to whomever flies the most with Star Alliance to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Star Alliance. Well it looks like that bonus offer is being made available to every Star Alliance airline. So the top 15 people in each individual frequent flyer program that flies the most Star Alliance airlines during the promotional period will earn 15,000 bonus miles in that program.

Over and above this some airlines are offering even more miles. For example, Air Canada will award an additional 50,000 Aeroplan miles to all members who fly on 10 or more Star Alliance airlines during the promotional period.

Complete details on Star Alliance's 15th Anniversary promo can be found here. The promotion runs from today (May 14) to November 14, 2012.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

WestJet makes further enhancements to its WestJet Rewards Program

This past Wednesday saw WestJet make further positive enhancements to their WestJet Rewards frequent flyer program. This newest enhancement shows WestJet’s push make to their FFP more competitive and attractive not only to semi frequent leisure traveler but to frequently flying business travelers. The change further rewards members with tier spending bonuses over and above existing tier bonuses and jetaway bonuses.



What is the newest enhancement? It is a $25 WestJet dollar bonus that is awarded after every $1,500 in WestJet spending that is not capped like the other bonuses. The program retains the $35 bonus at the first $1,500 in spending but every $1,500 after that will see the $25 bonus with no limit on how many times that can be earned in your 12 month earning period. To see how much you can now earn with the program I have attached the following graph from WestJet’s website:






The past 8 months have seen WestJet make real strides to turn their program into a true frequent flyer program and not one that was almost solely reliant on their credit card relationship with RBC. I believe WestJet has figured out that running a loyalty program is not a marketing expense but rather a profit center. When I first met with WestJet upon the launch of their program back in 2010 I was told they did not want to spend much on the program (hence the implication they originally thought of it as a cost center), they wanted it to be revenue neutral (which is still should be) and my impression was that they wanted RBC to pay for most of the WestJet dollars doled out.. But as WestJet grows and their partnerships grow with airlines like Delta, American, and more recently Korean Air they seem to be realizing the potential of having a full fledged reward program and with this latest enhancement they are starting to reward their frequent flyers handsomely.

What else is in store for WestJet’s rewards program? We’ll have to wait and see but I predict some hotel partners will come onboard soon (I would think IHG first), more airline earning partnerships outside of Delta Airlines and perhaps, just perhaps, the ability to redeem those hard earned WestJet dollars for business class flights on their partners that offer premium cabins.

For more details on this change visit WestJet Rewards

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

LifeMiles: 100% Bonus on buying miles (translates to $1800 for Business Class to Europe

Avianca TACA LifeMiles is once again offering a 100% Bonuses to existing members who buy miles. The last time we saw this offer was back in December and  September of 2011

LifeMiles is the FFP of Latin America's joint venture airline Avianca TACA and until May 31st they are offering double miles (ie 100% bonus) on miles purchased in the program. The program allows you to purchase up to 75,000 miles for a total of 150,000 miles if you include the bonus. Now, here is where we get to the business class for $1,800: LifeMiles is partnered with Lufthansa and to redeem for a business class ticket from North America to Europe on LH you need 120,000 LifeMiles, which means you need to buy 60,000 (+60,000 bonus) at $30 per 1,000 plus tax or $1,800+tax for the total amount.

The only catch to this promo? You had to be a member of the LifeMiles program as of May 1, 2012.

For complete details or to partake in this offer please visit LifeMiles

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Radisson Big Night Giveaway is coming back

You may recall Club Carlson's awesome 1 night stay offer of 50,000 bonus Gold Points for a one night stay at a Radisson or Radisson Blu hotel from late last year (see our post). Well the good news for those who did and didn't take advantage of it, its coming back!

The promo landing page which has a countdown timer to when registration opens states that if you stay one night in a Radisson or Radisson Blu hotel you will get one night free. We can guess from the hidden T&C's of the promo that it is pretty much the same as they state the first 100,000 members to register will receive 50,000 bonus points when completing a qualifying Radisson or Radisson Blu stay worldwide by July 15. If you are outside of the 100,000 registrants you will receive 15,000 bonus points.  We will confirm the bonus once the promo is live. So be sure to register for the promo when it goes live on May 15! Full details can be found at Radisson Big Night Giveaway

May 11 Update: There will also be big offers from Country Inns and Park Inn this time round. Watch the blog on Tuesday for more info!

(HT: One Mile at a time)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

First Canadian Credit with no foreign transaction fees?

You may recall our post from August 2011 asking whether Canadian Credit Card Foreign Exchange Fees would begin to disappear like they have in the U.S.. To the best of our knowledge no cards were offering zero foreign transaction fees other than a private contract that American Express signed with the Government nor was this feature on the card issuers radars until now.

Thanks to an anonymous comment on our post on Foreign Exchange fees we are pleased to let all of our readers know that there is now one card in Canada that has no foreign transaction fees. The Amazon.ca Rewards Visa from Chase has broken the mold and I am predicting it won't be too long until we start seeing some other cards do away with these expensive fees. The card itself may not be that appealing to our travel rewards crowd and outside of the no forex fee the card is quite weak but do I think the significance of this news warrants this post to let all of you know

Friday, May 4, 2012

50% Bonus British Airways Avios Points for Amex Membership Rewards transfers

Up here in the Great White North we don't see many American Express Membership Rewards transfer bonuses like they do in the U.S. or even places like Australia. So when one comes along it is newsworthy and in this case the deal is pretty good as well!

Normally when you convert 1,000 Membership Reward Points into the British Airways Executive Club program you receive 1,000 Avios points, with this promotion you will receive 1,500 Avios points. On a normal spend with your Amex card to get 1.5 BA Avios points is pretty amazing but if you take into account multipliers from The Platinum Card from American Express or even more so the American Express Gold Rewards card this a really great conversion promo! If you are one of those cardholders who has used your Gold Rewards Card to earn 2x points for Gas, Grocery, Drug Store and Travel purchases this transfer bonus actually turns into 3 Avios per dollar spent! What does this mean? Well you only need to transfer 6,000 Membership Reward points (as little as $3000 in spending on the Gold Rewards Card) to redeem for a British Airways short haul partner round trip flight between Toronto and New York.  Some other options for Avios points use include
- Canada to London for 40-50,000 Avios depending on which city you leave from
- Use Avios to upgrade fares to the next fare class, ie purchase Economy to London and redeem miles to upgrade to Economy Plus for 20-25,000 Avios depending on which city you leave from

This offer runs until May 31, 2012. For complete details visit American Express Membership Rewards

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Aeroplan Star Challenge: 16,500 Bonus Aeroplan Miles for as little as $35

On May 1st Aeroplan launched a new promotion called the Aeroplan Star Challenge. Perhaps you saw our tweets about it on the 1st and how it is similar the U.S. Airways Grand Slam promotion seen south of the border although I did state it wasn't as Grand. While the U.S. Airways promo is grander in terms of the amount of bonus miles you could earn (100K) it also required a bit more spending and partner use than this Aeroplan offer.

What is the Aeroplan Star Challenge?
The challenge is a bonus miles promotions that rewards Aeroplan members for using participating Aeroplan partners. Partners range from financial and shopping to flights and travel. Not all Aeroplan partners are participating but a good proportion of them are. The premise of the promotion is that you earn 'Stars' for each qualifying Aeroplan transaction, that is a transaction that earns at least 1 Aeroplan mile. The stars are awarded as follows:
- 5 Instant Stars for financial card holders (CIBC Aerogold, American Express AeroplanPlus)
- 2 Stars for each shopping transaction at participating retailers and the Aeroplan eStore
- 3 Stars for travel transactions such as hotel stays and car rentals as well as American Express Membership Rewards trasnfers
- 5 Stars per flight segment flown with Air Canada or any Air Canada airline partner including the Star Alliance.

Bonus miles are awarded as follows:
Reach 35 Stars during the promotion and receive 1,500 Aeroplan miles
Reach 70 Stars during the promotion and receive 16,500 Aeroplan (15,000 plus the 1,500 at 35 Stars)

The promotion runs from May 1st to May 28th. Complete details of the promo can be found here

So how can you get the 16,500 bonus miles for only $35? Easy, find an Aeroplan partner that offers 1 Aeroplan Mile per dollar and complete 35 separate transactions at $1 each with each transaction earning 2 stars for a total of 70. For me, being out West the easiest place is Rexall. My plan is to complete as many separate $1 transactions for my wife, my kids and myself so that we all come out with the 16,500 mile bonus. Overall I will probably spend more than $35 as I will have other transactions that count (Club Sobeys, Esso etc) but I would be doing those transactions anyways. If you do take the lowest route possible at $35+tax or even a bit less as apparently $0.99 Kobo e-book purchases made via the Aeroplan E-Store count, you can enjoy a short haul flight that could be worth $150-$250 before taxes.

I have confirmed with Aeroplan that multiple transaction at the same retailer do count as long as each transaction posts separately (so multiple Sobeys purchases in one day would only count as 1)  and that they earn at least 1 Aeroplan mile.

I would love to hear all of our readers strategies for earning Stars during this promotion and updates as to how many Stars you are at! I will also keep all of you updated on my family's trek to earning 70 Stars each (280 in total)

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Options outside of Aeroplan and Air Miles. Part 1: Frequent Flyer Programs

The majority of Canada's loyalty program market share is held by two programs, Aeroplan and Air Miles. While both programs have strong roots in travel they have grown into what the industry calls coalition loyalty programs, which in layman's terms means many earning partners and a varied rewards catalog. Its hard not to be a member of at least one of these two programs since you would miss out on some potential rewards because of their vast coverage within Canada. With that being said, I receive numerous emails from my readers on how they are fed up with Aeroplan or Air Miles or both and they want to know what other options they have, particularly for travel rewards. This piece will look at the other options Canadians have for travel reward loyalty programs and while you can take any of these routes as your primary program I would recommend keeping Aeroplan and/or Air Miles as a secondary program. One thing you will notice is that to make one of these other programs your primary one, it will require the use of a credit card to maximize your reward potential. For travel reward programs, credit card use is the easiest way to rack up points and miles outside of actual travel. I've broken out the choices into four parts and will focus on the pros and cons of making one of these choices as your primary program.

Part 1: Frequent Flyer Programs
Part 2: Credit Card Programs

Part 3: Hotel Programs



FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMS

Aeroplan is the best known frequent flyer program in Canada but Canadians are not limited to Aeroplan only. If your paid travels and/or reward travel requirements are primarily in Canada then Westjet Rewards is a viable option as they are the only other significant airline offering domestic flights within Canada. The program has a credit card attached to it from RBC so earning WestJet dollars can come faster through your daily spend. One big difference between WestJet's program and most legacy FFPs is that you do not need the full amount of points or miles to redeem. Since WestJet Dollars are treated like money you can redeem them as cash against the price of your ticket or a WestJet vacation whether it is $25 or $300 towards the ticket. Where the program still lacks is in having a suite of partners to earn even more WestJet Dollars. That being said, you can now earn WestJet Dollars on Delta Airlines flights that are booked under a WestJet codeshare flight number. Watch for more airline and possibly hotel/car rental partners to come on board as the program grows. The other major component lacking from WestJet is business class amenities like a business/first class cabin on their planes and no business class lounge access (well, not for free for the latter). Perhaps free lounge access will come to the WestJet program if they choose to create Elite levels in the future. Chances are that you will be able to redeem WestJet dollars for Business/First Class flights on their partner airlines sometime in the future as well (If WestJet is reading this: hint hint)

In terms of other airlines from outside of Canada, most mileage can only be earned via travel (flights, hotels, car rentals) but several do have their own credit cards in the Canadian market like Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Delta Airlines. The amount of airline frequent flyer programs to choose from is further expanded upon with Hybrid and Hotel credit cards that offer conversion options to numerous airlines (see our chart “Which Airlines can you earn miles in with Canadian credit cards”). A good example may be someone who flies to Italy on a regular basis and prefers Alitalia’s direct flight out of Toronto. While Alitalia’s MilleMiglia program does not have their own co-branded credit card in Canada you can convert points to MileMiglia from Hybrid cards like the American Express Gold Rewards Card and Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard. You could also choose a Hotel loyalty program credit card like the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express or the MBNA Best Western Platinum MasterCard to convert points into the Alitalia MilleMiglia program.

If you don’t have a preferred airline but do have a preferred destination(s) certain Frequent Flyer programs may require less miles for a reward ticket than others. Do some research into the programs for their reward mileage requirements for flights between Canada and your preferred destination to see what program may be best for you. A good example of this is flights between Canada and Hawaii. Aeroplan, Star Alliance and most U.S. programs require 45,000 miles for a reward ticket while many European airlines in the SkyTeam alliance only require 30,000 miles. So if you held the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express you would only have to spend $25,000 (includes SPGs 5,000 mile transfer bonus) on the credit card to convert Starpoints to miles and redeem for the ticket to Hawaii.

Some other Frequent Flyer Programs to watch out for:


Delta SkyMiles

- Delta serves more cities in Canada than any other non-Canadian airlines and add in all their Skyteam partners you get great coverage for flights to the U.S., Asia, Europe and Africa.
- They are also partnered with WestJet and you can earn SkyMiles on WestJet flights that are booked under a Delta flight number.
- Add to this Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One and you have a pretty good frequent flyer program option.

United Mileage Plus

- One way flights at exactly half the miles with a very good reward booking engine (Continental’s system). 

- You can earn Miles on Air Canada flights, redeem miles for AC flights and in many cases you don’t pay the fuel surcharge that you would find for the same booking via Aeroplan

British Airways Executive Club
- Executive Club award tickets run on mileage based system which has made their short haul awards in North America very attractive. For example you can redeem for a return flight between Toronto and New York for only 9,000 Avios points (compare this to 15,000 with Aeroplan and 25,000 with most other U.S. programs)
- Lower mileage amounts to London than Aeroplan, 40-50,000 Miles versus 60,000 with Aeroplan
- Can easily use miles to upgrade fares to the next fare class, ie purchase Economy Plus and redeem miles to upgrade to Business Class

There are many other frequent flyer programs that Canadians can join, we track over 60 on Rewards Canada that either fly directly to Canada or offer frequent flyer benefits via code share agreements with the airlines that do serve the Great White North. You can see these listed here. Over and above that you can technically join any program Worldwide even if they don’t serve Canada, do a lot of flying in Southeast Asia? Then AirAsia’s Big program or Bangkok Airways Flyer Bonus program may be of use to you. In the end when you determine you earning potential and also your reward requirements (well, reward wants) then it will be easier to pick a frequent flyer program that works for you.