Thursday, August 22, 2013

Aug 22 Update: Reader question on Air Miles/WestJet fees and Hyatt's next systemwide promo

This is the last update for this week as we are off tomorrow. Regular updates will return on Monday!

News, Tips & Tricks

Looks like the BMO World Elite changes we mentioned yesterday are being noticed! We received a few emails of people who are happy about the changes. I just wish BMO would have responded to our requests for upcoming changes to cards back in June as the card would have definitely ranked differently in the 'Travel Points Credit Card with annual fee" category for our 2013 Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Card. Chances are and I am saying this without looking at the full metrics of the change that the card would have ranked second or third. The main thing keeping this card back is the fact that you have to book with BMO Rewards, which means you have to have the points upfront, even if it isn't the full amount where the other cards at the top of the category allow you to book via any method and give you time after that booking to redeem your points which means you can earn more points to make that one travel charge cheaper or that you can redeem for something you may book while you are on vacation like a train ticket. So unless no other cards change (which isn't going to happen given that CIBC will have some new cards) you'll see the BMO World Elite move up in the 2014 rankings!

And as we mentioned this is not the only card to see changes coming this September, another one of Canada's best Travel Rewards cards (we can't mention the name yet) will get even better as of September 3rd! Stay tuned.

Reader Question:
One of our readers posed this question to us via email and asked for us to comment:


"The Taxes and other fees charged by Airmiles on Westjet flights greatly exceed those charged by Westjet for the same flight. This seems wrong. Will you please comment?"

The reason why the taxes and fees charged by Air Miles on WestJet fights are higher than WestJet is due to two reasons. One is Air Miles charges a service fee for their bookings that fall into those fees but the primary reason is that you are paying a fuel surcharge with the Air Miles redemption. Many years ago both Air Canada and WestJet starting charging fuel surcharges on their flights and they showed up as a separate line item but this raised tons of complaints because the cost of a flight ended up being way higher than the advertised base fare. In response, Air Canada and WestJet did built those fuel surcharge into the base fare, so when you book the flight directly you don't see this. However WestJet breaks out the fuel surcharge when charging Air Miles for the ticket and Air Miles passes along that surcharge to person redeeming. So what in fact is happening is you are only redeeming Air Miles for the absolute base fare of flight and have to pay the same taxes and fees seen from WestJet but also the fuel surcharge which you don't see on their bookings. The same happens when you redeem Aeroplan miles for Air Canada flights or many of their partner flights. I hope this explains why there is the difference in taxes and fees for the exact same flight!

Bonus Offers

ANA All Nippon Mileage Club
- Earn up to 100% Bonus Mileage Club miles when you fly on non-stop flights marketed and operated by United Airlines or All Nippon Airways (ANA) between Seattle and Tokyo, Narita. More... Until Nov 30, 13

China Eastern Eastern Miles
- 2,000 Eastern Miles Points for stays at participating Langham properties in China. More... Sep 1 - Dec 31, 13
- Double Eastern Miles Points for stays of 2 or more nights at any Shangri-La hotel, resort, Traders hotel or Kerry hotel Worldwide. More... Sep 1 - Nov 30, 13

Hyatt Gold Passport
- Earn up to 50,000 Bonus Gold Passport Points for eligible stays at any participating Park Hyatt®, Andaz®, Grand Hyatt®, Hyatt®, Hyatt Regency®, Hyatt Place®, Hyatt House®, or Hyatt Residence Club™ hotel and resort worldwide, or any participating M life resort. More... Register between Sep 9 - Oct 31, 13 for stays between Sep 9 - Nov 30, 13

Le Club accorhotels
- Double Le Club Accorhotels for stays at the Novotel Yogyakarta More... Until Oct 31, 13

Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle
- Triple GC Award Points for stays of four or more nights in a signature suite at the Shangri-La Hotel Paris. More... Sep 1 - Nov 30, 13


  1. Darn, now I want to know what CC comes Sept 3 :)

    Let's see what Travel CC I own already (almost all free) = AMEX Gold, Cap1 Aspire, TD Travel, CIBC Aerogold, MBNA Alaska Air (25K miles, $75 fee - $75 GCR cashback till 8/31)

    Yet to apply BMO Elite as I'm waiting for the new changes

    1. Good move to wait for the BMO Elite as the current sign up bonus will only be worth $150 (or $200 with the special sign up link) as of Sep 1.