Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mar 5 Update: Popular Travel Hacking method shut down, Icelandair check in bonus, great LifeMiles transfer bonus

Death of a travel hacking method, great new bonuses and more are on tap today!

News, Tips & Tricks

Yesterday we lost a dear friend in the travel hacking world. The American Express Business Gold Rewards Card was 'refreshed' but in other terms went through a sort of devaluation for those who work the system, albeit without breaking any rules. This card used to offer 25,000 Bonus Membership Rewards Points as a sign up bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months but what made it a travel hacking favourite was the first year free option, which meant that other than regular card spend you would get those 25,000 Membership Rewards Points for free (translates to $250 travel credit, 25,000 Aeroplan Miles or 25,000 Avios). Well the first year free is gone which and the actual annual has been increased to $250 essentially wiping out the value of the sign up bonus which remains at 25,000 but which now requires $5,000 in spend in three months. The only added bonus in the card refresh is the ability to earn 1 bonus point (double points) for spending at select American Express merchants. There is a small list of participating merchants of which the cardholder chooses 3 to earn the double points at. Looks like they are taking a page out of the now defucnt conusmer Choice and ChoicePlus cards where you got to select 5 merchants for double points. This bonus on the Business Gold is capped at $250,000 in spend with those select merchants.

To see how this card compares with other business cards in Canada see our updated Business Card comparison chart. We have also updated our Travel Hacking 101 post to mark the loss of this card and bring the total amount of miles you can earn for free down to 65,000+ from 90,000+.

As we see too often with these travel hacks, they almost always come to an end and such is the case here as Amex has closed the door on this one. 

The 100% bonus on transferring LifeMiles is back. It is kind of like buying miles except you have to have the miles to start with and be able to transfer them to someone else. This works really well for family members who would redeem miles on behalf of their family anyways or if a friend is willing to have you transfer miles to their account and then back to you so you can ultimately buy miles twice. With the offer you are essentially buying the miles 1.5 cents per mile as the cost to transfer is US$15 per 1,000 miles. If you don't have LifeMiles you'll just have to wait for the next buy miles bonus that offers the miles at the same price. See the bonus offer section below for more details

Garuda Indonesia joins the Skyteam Alliance today. The national airline of Indonesia becomes the 20th member of the alliance.

Icelandair has launched a check in bonus of 500 Saga Club points for mobile, web or kiosk check ins. This is perfect timing for those flying on Icelandair's new route out of Edmonton (inaugural flight is today!)  See the bonus offer section below for more details

WestJet is expanding their code share services with Delta as part of their change of airports in New York for their flights out of Calgary. As of April 12th WestJet' Calgary to Big Apple service moves to JFK from Newark and they will code share with Delta on the following routes out of JFK:
New York JFK – Atlanta
New York JFK – Baltimore
New York JFK – Boston
New York JFK – Buffalo
New York JFK – Charlotte
New York JFK – Cincinnati
New York JFK – Cleveland
New York JFK – Indianapolis
New York JFK – Orlando
New York JFK – Philadelphia
New York JFK – Pittsburgh
New York JFK – San Juan
New York JFK – Washington Dulles
New York JFK – Washington Reagan
Westjet will also codeshare on Delta's upcoming Vancouver-Seattle route while Delta will add their code to on the following WestJet routes:
Calgary – New York JFK
Calgary – Prince George
Vancouver – Edmonton
Vancouver – Whitehorse

Bonus Offers

Air Canada Aeroplan
- 150 Bonus Aeroplan Miles every time you spend a minimum of $50 at The UPS Store. More... Until Mar 31, 14

Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Earn 3,000 Bonus Flying Blue Miles when you join the Flying Blue program and complete your first Air France, KLM or any SkyTeam partner flight by June 15, 2014. More... Join by March  31, 14 Residents of Canada only

American AAdvantage
- Up to a 30% discount when you transfer AAdvantage Miles to another AAdvantage member. More... Until Mar 31, 14

Avianca LifeMiles
- Double LifeMiles when you transfer your LifeMiles to another members account. More... Until Mar 17, 14

Best Western Rewards
- Double Rewards Points on all qualifying stays at the Best Western Hotel Gap. More... Until May 31, 14

Icelandair Saga Club

- 500 Bonus Saga Club Award Points every time you check in for your Icelandiar flight using mobile, web or kiosk services. More... Until Jun 1, 14

Taj Hotels InnerCircle
- Earn up to 2,200 Bonus InnerCircle points when you subscribe to The Economist. More... Until ?

Wyndham Rewards
- Earn up to 20% Bonus Wyndham Rewards Points when you buy or gift Wyndham Rewards points. More... Until Mar 31, 14

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