Early last fall RewardsCanada.ca was featured in an article on Travel Hacking. What is travel hacking? Simply put it is what we have been doing here every day on RewardsCanada.ca for nearly 12 years, but it simply has a name put to it now. The article revolved heavily around a new site that charges people a fee for things that are found for free right here on Rewards Canada, Flyertalk, Milepoint, Boardingarea, Redflagdeals and many other places. To me it boggles the mind that someone would pay $97 per year to get the information you find for free here or those other places I mentioned. They claim they will get you one free flight within 30 days otherwise you can get your money back (or at least 1 free flight per year). I know from feedback of my readers that many of you have enjoyed tons of free flights, hotel nights, car rentals and more due to the information provided on Rewards Canada. Right from the onset of creating RC that was my goal, to help all Canadians get moreMiles, morePoints, moreRewards!
Well folks if you don’t already know these techniques, I am prepared to give you this information for free in this post (I assume veteran RCers won’t need this as you have probably already done it) on how to get that free flight (or flights) excluding taxes and fees. It primarily revolves around credit card sign up bonuses from cards that either have no annual fee or where the first year fee is waived. The only ‘costs’ associated with this method are putting your everyday credit card spend onto these cards to meet the minimum requirements for getting the sign up bonus. Now if you don't think you can hit the minimum spend on the cards you don't have to apply for them all at once, you can take your time and apply for cards once you've hit each spend individually. All this means is that it will take a little longer to earn your fee flights.
* I state free in the title as I assume you would be spending this money anyways on these credit cards so you might as well be rewarded for it with free Aeroplan miles or Avios!
American Express Gold Rewards Card
The number one hybrid credit card in Canada since 2011 this card now comes with a 25,000 Membership Rewards point bonus after hitting a spend of $ 500. The card has a $150 annual fee tied into it but this fee is waived in the first year.
Related: American Express Gold Rewards Card review
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
Although it is a Business card many people have had success applying for and receiving the card simply by making themselves the ‘business entity’. This card comes with a 25,000 Membership Rewards point bonus after hitting a spend of $ 3,000 in the first three months. You can apply for this card here. The card has a $180 annual fee tied into it but this fee is waived in the first year.
Related: Rewards Canada Business/Corporate Travel Rewards Credit Card Comparison
These Membership Rewards points can then be transferred on a 1:1 basis to either Aeroplan or Avios. Which means you should now be at 50,000 Aeroplan Miles or Avios
American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card
As of September 3rd of this year this card was updated with a 20,000 Aeroplan Miles sign up bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months of membership and the first years annual fee of $120 waived. You can apply for this card here.
This offer is for Aeroplan miles only. Which means you should now be at 70,000 Aeroplan Miles or 50,000 Avios
This is the easiest card in the process as there is no minimum spend and This no foreign transaction fee card comes with a 30,000 Marriott Rewards point sign up bonus after your first purchase. You can apply for this card here.
These 30,000 Marriott Rewards Points can then be transferred to Aeroplan or Avios at a 3:1 basis (30,000 Marriott Rewards Points = 10,000 Aeroplan Miles or Avios)
Which means you should now be at 80,000 Aeroplan Miles or 60,000 Avios
Related: Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card Review
There you go just with these three offers you will have earned 80,000 Aeroplan Miles or 60,000 British Airways Avios. That's enough Aeroplan miles for three Aeroplan reward tickets within North America (of course taxes and fees are extra but you could use the extra points earned from your spend on the Amex cards to cover them) or one British Airways Executive Club Reward ticket in Economy Class to Europe (40,000 Miles from the East, 50,000 from the West) although there will be heavy taxes and fuel surcharges on the award, but once again you can use your Membership Rewards points to cover that or if you want to avoid heavy surcharges you can have 6 round trip flights between Toronto and New York if you like (9,000 Avios per round trip) with Avios to spare.
Now do you want to keep any of these cards after the first year free is up? Personally I would keep the American Express Gold Rewards Card as it one of the strongest earning cards for both Aeroplan and Avios and frequently offer bonuses for transferring points to them (see March 2013), the Chase Marriott Visa is good if you do lots of travelling outside of Canada or do lots of online shopping and/or importing for your business as the card has no foreign transaction fees. If not I would probably cancel it as well as cancelling the American Express Business Gold Rewards Card.
Related: Which credit card earns the most Aeroplan Miles?
You do have some other no-fee credit card options to bring your mileage totals even higher such as the Best Western MasterCard which right now carries a sign up bonus of 50,000 Reward Points (or 10,000 Aeroplan Miles)
You can also take advantage of other free Aeroplan mile offers that you can use to add even more miles to your account albeit not that many. I would recommend that you visit my Aeroplan and Avios Bonus opportunities pages regularly and look under the ‘other offers’ section for any and all free mileage offers that may come up. At time of posting these were the only 2 'free' Aeroplan Miles offer
- 50 Bonus Aeroplan miles by registering your Costco and Aeroplan Number online by September 30. Full details
- 500 Bonus Aeroplan miles when you sign up for The UPS Store Get More card by Dec 31. Full details
I do receive a commission or referral bonus for any successful applications for the credit cards above and I would assume the travel hacking site does as well but still charges you for the info!