Friday, February 28, 2014

Feb 28 Update: Earn Petro-Points (Asia Miles!) for Discount Car Rentals, Last day to register for SPG Bring on the Nights

Last day of updates for February!

News, Tips & Tricks
We have added a dedicated Rocketmiles page to the Rewards Canada bonus offer section. If you use or ever plan on using Rocketmiles for your hotel bookings make sure you check this page first to ensure you are not missing out on any potential bonus offers. You can view the page at www.rewardscanada.ca/rocketmiles.html

ICYMI:   Is Delta Airlines alienating the average high yield traveler?
 

Today is the last day to register for Starwood Preferred Guest's Bring on the Nights promotion. If you haven't registered yet be sure to do so today so that you can potentially earn the bonus for your Starwood stays until April 30th!

Discount Car & Truck rental has partnered with Petro Canada's Petro Points. Members can now earn 10 Petro Points per dollar spent on vehicle rentals with Discount. Since Petro Points can be converted at a rate 10,000 points to 1,000 Asia Miles, this technically mean Asia Miles members can earn 1 Asia Mile per dollar spent with Discount. Find more about this new partnership here.



Rona is offering 4x Air Miles Reward Miles on any purchase over $60 before taxes until Mar 5. Find out more here.



Bonus Offers

Air Canada Aeroplan
- Earn up to 10,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles per couple when you book a getaway at Sandals and Beaches resorts. More... Book by Mar 31, 14

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Double Mileage Plan Miles when you shop at participating Carrs/Safeway locations in Alaska.More... Until Mar 25, 14

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
- Double Mileage Bank Miles for stays of 2 nights or more at participating Preferred Hotel Group Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 14

Malaysia Airines Enrich (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Triple Enrich Miles for stays of 2 or more nights at the Danna Langkawi More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Double Enrich Miles for stays at the Dorsett Grand Subang. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Double Enrich Miles for stays of 2 or more nights at the G Tower Hotel Kuala Lumpur. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Double Enrich Miles for stays of 2 or more nights at the G Hotel Penang. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Double Enrich Miles for stays in Suites and Kings Club rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Double Enrich Miles for every qualifying stay at participating InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express Hotels & Resorts in Asia, Australasia, Middle East and Africa. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Earn up to Triple Enrich Miles on stays of 2 or more nights at participating Mandarin Oriental Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Earn up Triple Enrich Miles for stays in London, Paris, Germany, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg and Dubai. More... Book by Mar 31 for stays until Apr 15, 14
- Double Enrich Miles for stays of 2 or more nights at the Seri Pacific Kuala Lumpur. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Double Enrich Miles for stays of 2 or more nights at the Pangkor Laut Resort, Perak Tanjong Jara Resort, Terengganu Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali · Gaya Island Resort, Sabah. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Earn up to Quadruple Enrich Miles when renting with Avis for 3+ days in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Double Enrich Miles when you rent a car on an Affordable Rate for 3 or more days from a participating HERTZ location in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia or New Zealand. More... Until Apr 30, 14

Marriott Rewards
- 1,000 Bonus Rewards Points and 10% off when you stay two consecutive nights Thursday to Sunday at more than 50 Marriott locations across the UK. More... Until Apr 28, 14
- 2,500 Bonus Points when you stay on Thursday-Sunday nights (Friday or Saturday required) at the Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel, Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel or the Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel. More... Until Apr 27, 14
- 3,000 Bonus Rewards Points when you stay two consecutive nights Thursday - Sunday at the Renaissance Malmo Hotel or Courtyard by Marriott Stockholm Kungsholmen. More... Until May 4, 14
- 10,000 Bonus Rewards Points when you stay two nights Thursday-Sunday at the Threadneedles London. More... May 22 - Jul 22, 14

Shangri-La Golden Circle
- Double GC Award Points for stays in a Horizon Club Suite or One Bedroom Suite at the Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai. More... Until May 31, 14

Starwood Preferred Guest
- Earn 1,000 Bonus Starpoints when you tell your LinkedIn connections about SPG. Plus, when you stay by 15 May 2014, you’ll earn 1,000 bonus Starpoints per stay, up to 5,000 bonus Starpoints.More... Refer connections by Mar 25, 14 Valid only for SPG members in India

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Is Delta Airlines alienating the average high yield traveler?


Rewards Canada contributor Sol Zia gives us a quick commentary on the Delta SkyMiles changes that were announced yesterday. See our post here for more details.

By biasing SkyMiles earning towards high price, high yield, tickets I think Delta is overestimating business travelers preponderance for a last minute ticket purchase. If you talk to the average 100,000 plus mile flyer they will admit to a mix of ticket classes. I'd estimate at least 1/3rd of business travel is project-able and is made up of consistently scheduled monthly management meetings, conferences, training and other easy to forecast trip reasons. Even with more immediate trips, like client meetings, most travelers, and certainly their corporate travel desks, book the lowest flexible fare. I think Delta is running a big risk over-applying the Pareto rule and that many of their loyal FFP members may move up on the miles based FFPs. Time and analysis will tell.

Sol Zia, a loyalty consultant, has been an Air Canada Super Elite (100K) member since he first fast-tracked out of Elite in 2003.

Feb 27 Update: Free Turkish Airlines Miles&Smile Miles, Aeroplan bonus for Costco sign up & shopping, 25 new bonuses

Here is the Thursday update for you!

News, Tips & Tricks
Today is all about the bonus offer. No news to pass along after the big news from Delta yesterday.

We did post our latest credit card review, this time its on the new TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card. Read all about here.

In the bonus offer section check out the Turkish Airlines offer for up to 1,000 free miles for updating your information with them. Most of our readers will only be able to achieve 750 of those miles since they don't live or have resident status in Turkey but those are still better than nothing!


Also in the bonus offers is the return of the Aeroplan sign up bonus for new Costco members and also the return of 2x Aeroplan miles for purchases made online at Costco.ca (perfect timing for me as we are planning to order a vanity for a home reno from Costco.ca!)



Travel Deals
IHG Hotels: Save between 10 to 30% on your spring getaway when you book early!.


Bonus Offers

Air Canada Aeroplan
- Double Aeroplan Miles for every $1 you spend on Costco.ca. More... Until Mar 30, 14
- Earn up to 1,500 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you buy a Costco membership. More... Until Mar 30, 14

Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Double Flying Blue Miles for stays at participating Novotel Hotels Worldwide that are booked at least 21 days in advance. More... Book by Apr 13 for stays until May 4, 14
- 1,000 Bonus Flying Blue Miles when you stay for three or more consecutive nights at any Meliá Hotels International property worldwide. More... Book by May 31 for stays until Jun 30, 14
- 2,000 Bonus Flying Blue Miles on rentals of 7 or more days at all participating Avis locations Worldwide. More... Until Apr 10, 14
- Triple Flying Blue Miles on rentals of three days or more at all participating Hertz locations Worldwide. More... Book by Mar 30 for rentals until Aug 31, 14
- Double Flying Blue Miles for all your spending at any of the 9 Chic Outlet Shopping Villages in Europe. More... Mar 1 - Apr 6, 14

Marriott Rewards
- 3,000 Bonus Rewards Points per night on Thursday - Sunday nights at the Courtyard Baltimore Downtown/Inner Harbor. More... Until Mar 30, 14
- 5,000 Bonus Rewards Points when you stay two or more nights at the The Hotel Minneapolis, Autograph Collection. More... Until Mar 29, 14
- 5,000 Bonus Rewards Points when you stay any night in a studio suite at the TownePlace Suites Minneapolis Eden Prairie. More... Until Mar 29, 14
- 3,000 Bonus Rewards Points when you stay at least two consecutive nights Monday - Friday at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel. More... Until Mar 27, 14
- 2,000 Bonus Rewards Points per stays at the SpringHill Suites Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. More... Until Mar 27, 14

Miles & More
- Double Miles & More Miles for stays at participating Accor hotels Worldwide. More... Mar 1 - Apr 30, 14
- Double Miles & More Miles for stays at Steigenberger Hotels and Resorts in Europe, China and Egypt. More... Mar 1 - Apr 30, 14
- Double Miles & More Miles for stays at participating Swissotel Hotels in Europe. More... Apr 4 - May 4, 14
- Double Miles & More Miles for Hertz rentals of five days or more in Germany. More... Book between Mar 1 and 31 for rentals Apr 5 - 26, 14

Saudia Alfursan
- Double Alfursan Miles when you fly Saudia between Los Angeles and Jeddah. More... Mar 31 - May 31, 14
- Double Alfursan Miles when you fly Saudia between Madrid and Jeddah or Paris and Riyadh. More... Apr 2 - May 31, 14
- Double Alfursan Miles when you fly Saudia between Manchester and Jeddah. More... Apr 1 - May 31, 14
- Double Alfursan Miles when you fly Saudia between Casablanca and Jeddah or Riyadh. More... Apr 1 - May 31, 14
- Double Alfursan Miles when you fly Saudia between Medina and Al Ula. More... Mar 1 - May 31, 14
- 1,000 Bonus Alfursan Miles for stays at Worsley Park, A Marriott Hotel & Country Club. Manchester Airport Marriott Hotel or the Renaissance Manchester City Centre. More... Apr 1 - May 31, 14
- 2,014 Bonus Alfursan Miles on Hertz rentals of 1 of more days in Los Angeles or Manchester. More... Until Sep 30, 14

Shangri-La Golden Circle
- Double GC Award Points for stays in a Deluxe Room at the Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa. More... Apr 17 - Jun 30, 14

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Earn up to 1,000 Bonus Miles&Smiles Miles when you update your information with Turkish Airlines. More... Until Apr 30, 14


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Review

Below you will find the complete review of the card as seen on the main Rewards Canada site.

If you have paid any attention to loyalty programs in the news since June of 2013 then you most definitely have heard of the whole Aeroplan (Aimia) - TD - CIBC debacle or as some have called it Love Triangle. We won't go into the details of that story here, you can read about it on our blog but ultimately in the end we have TD Canada Trust issuing four new Aeroplan co-brand Visa cards. Of which, the most popular or common one is the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite hence the review of that card. The others are the Platinum (lower fee version with less rewards and benefits), the Visa infinite Privilege (higher annual fee, more rewards, more benefits) and a small business/corporate card.

Overview

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card hit the market on January 1st, 2014 although details were leaked a few weeks prior to date. Prior to that there was lots of hype surrounding the card and how it would be a much stronger Aeroplan card offering than the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite it was essentially replacing. Unfortunately there is not much difference between the two with the TD only adding a few select benefits that Aeroplan members may not even make use of on a yearly basis. That being said, the card will do well and is probably the best airline co-brand credit card on the market, not because of the strength of the card but rather because of the strength of the Aeroplan program as a whole.

Sign up Features
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card comes with a 15,000 Aeroplan Miles sign up bonus that is awarded upon approval. They are also offering a 2 for 1 Short Haul Flight benefit if you apply for the card by May 9, 2014. The sign up bonus also counts towards Aeroplan Distinction status.

Costs
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card comes with a $120 Annual fee which is the same as most cards that offer a similar level of rewards and benefits. Supplementary cards run $50 which is the same for the majority of the Infinite/Platinum/Gold travel credit card offerings from other banks. The interest rate on the card is 19.99% which is also in line with most of the cards at this level. Income requirements for the card are $60,000 Personal or $100,000 Household.

Earning
The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card earns 1 Aeroplan Mile for every dollar spent on the card for purchases with an increased earning of 1.5 miles at gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores (On your first $80,000 in total annual account spending). You can take advantage of more Aeroplan mile earning by Double Dipping which is done
by using the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card in conjunction with your Aeroplan membership card when purchasing products or services from Aeroplan partners. This is the first point where the strength of the Aeroplan coalition program helps this card out in becoming one of the better airline cards on the market. The miles earn on the card also count towards Aeroplan Distinction status. For comparison the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card ups your base earning to 1.25 miles per dollar and keeps the 1.5 miles at gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores.


Related: Which credit card earns the most Aeroplan Miles? 

Redeeming
Being a co-brand card redemption is actually done via Aeroplan not TD Travel Rewards. This is where the strength of the Aeroplan program comes through again and makes the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card shine. Aeroplan offers numerous redemption options but of course having routes from being a frequent flyer program, the primary redemption option which most people look at are award flights on Air Canada and Aeroplan partner airlines In total there are 25 major partner airlines outside of Air Canada ranging from Adria Airways to United Airlines, most of whom comprise the Star Alliance of which Air Canada was founding member. Air Creebec, Bearskin Airlines,Calm Air, Canadian North and First Air make up the minor Canadian airline partners that you can also redeem Aeroplan miles with. Overall you can redeem Aeroplan miles to over 1,000 destinations Worldwide which is one of the reasons Aeroplan is so popular. 



For redemptions on Air Canada and most of the other partners there are numerous options depending on availability. Much like many other frequent flyer programs, award seats are limited at the lower redemption level (Aeroplan calls this level ClassicFlight) but you can use more miles to get an ‘any seat any time’ award ticket (Aeroplan calls this Market Fare Awards) as long as the flight still has seats available. Flight redemptions start as low as 7,500 miles for a short haul one way economy class ClassicFlight Award and go as high as 290,000 Miles for a round trip flight in First Class to Asia on a Aeroplan partner airline. With the new half price awards in place you can see that redemptions can come quite easily. Even for round trip flights you are only looking at 15,000 to 25,000 miles for travel in North America. These levels are easily achieved with credit card spend alone. For a complete listing of ClassicFlight award levels see Aeroplan's latest Reward Flight Chart

In some rare cases when flights are relatively empty or are available as a seat sale you may see the Market Fare Price be lower than the ClassicFlight amount. This is especially holds true for those Aeroplan member who hold Distinction status and get a discount on Market Fare awards. One recent search for a dBlack member showed the ClassicFlight level at 60,000 miles for a flight between Toronto and Paris while the Market Fare price was only 55,000 miles.

Related: To learn more about Aeroplan flight awards see this helpful page on Aeroplan.com.


Other flight reward options with Aeroplan include Around the World rewards which run 200,000 miles in Economy, 300,000 for Business or 400,000 for First Class.
You can also use Aeroplan miles to upgrade flights on Air Canada and its Star Alliance partners to Business or First Class when you travel on an eligible fare.

Overall Aeroplan has been well known for their flight awards as the mileage requirements on ClassicFlights tend to be competitive despite recent devaluations in certain categories and the fuel surcharge issue on some carriers like Air Canada themselves. The "Mini Round The World" award (AKA Mini-RTW) is an example of a well-known and good value flight award by maximizing the two stopover or one stopover and open jaw feature.

Finally Aeroplan miles can also be used for many non-flight award options as the Aeroplan reward catalog has expanded greatly over the years. Most of these other redemption options tend to represent a poor value when compared to redeeming for flights however they are a good option for those who may not have enough miles for the flights they want or for those people who more miles than what they know what to do with them! These other options include using miles for hotel stays, car rentals, gift cards and merchandise. You can also transfer miles to another Aeroplan member (at a cost), donate them to charity, even use them for exclusive 'Money Can't Buy' awards like autographed photos, activities and events.

Features and Benefits

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card comes with the usual slate of Visa Infinite insurance and benefits plus some benefits only afforded to the TD Aeroplan cards. On the insurance side the card comes with wide range of coverage as seen with most Infinite cards including travel accident insurance, flight delay, trip interruption and cancellation insurance, travel medical insurance, lost/damaged baggage insurance, car rental CDW coverage, hotel burglary insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty.

Non-insurance benefits include an Annual Maple Leaf Lounge One Time Guest Pass when travelling on an Aeroplan flight reward operated by Air Canada, priority check-in and boarding when travelling on an Aeroplan flight reward, concierge service and enhanced hotel/dining privileges.

For comparison the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege Card includes Airport Angel business class lounge membership with 6 free visits and 4 annual Maple Leaf Lounge One-Time Guest Passes when travelling on an Aeroplan flight reward operated by Air Canada along with priority check in and boarding on all Air Canada operated flights.


What is good about this card
Being the primary co-brand credit card for the Aeroplan program is what makes this card good. Essentially Aeroplan is what is the best about the card. The ability to redeem for Aeroplan one way awards, a great return when you redeem for flights in business or first class when compared to redeeming a comparable travel points card's points, a great variety of short haul awards that don't take long to achieve with credit card spend and a great selection of airline partners to redeem on are all good benefits of the card. The ability to Double Dip with Aeroplan partners to further accelerate your balance is also a key determining factor for many. Tie this in with the category bonuses on earning Aeroplan miles at gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores and you can see why it is now one of the top airline co-brand cards in Canada.

The insurance package that comes with the card is also very strong although it is pretty much standard these days for a premium card like this. The Aeroplan reward flight benefits are nice perk if and when they can be utilized by the cardholder.

The sign up bonus along with limited time 2 for 1 short haul flight award are another good feature of the card.

What is not so good about this card
What makes this card good (Aeroplan) is also what can make this card not so good. As with any credit card tied into a frequent flyer program comes the dreaded availability issues and any extra taxes and fees on award tickets. Aeroplan is notorious on all of these aspects especially for flights on our home grown airline Air Canada. However the new Market Fare awards do seem to be promising in some cases especially when you have Aeroplan Distinction status. The issue of availability is always a consideration that needs to taken into account when choosing a card like this. If you can be flexible in your dates, airlines and routing (ie making connections vs. direct) then this is less of an issue.

When the 2 for 1 bonus is removed the low 15,000 mile sign up bonus is mediocre in today's competitive market when you consider other cards that award or can transfer into Aeroplan have offers ranging from 25,000 to 60,000 miles.

The card also lacks the CreditSmart feature that is seen on its CIBC equivalent. While some people may consider a small negative to this card when being switched over from CIBC to TD some like the reader of ours who alerted us to this makes the TD card seriously deficient for them.

Conclusion
Unfortunately the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card does not live up to the hype that was being touted before being launched. Don't get us wrong, if Aeroplan is your primary loyalty program, or are a frequent Air Canada traveller then this is best mid-level premium credit card out there for you. It takes over from the CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite card as the primary Aeroplan co-branded card in Canada even though the CIBC card is still available to the public.

We have to stress that this card is strong because of the Aeroplan program not so much what the card itself offers. If Aeroplan is not a program of your choice or flights in business class are not your cup of tea and you bank at TD and want to keep your credit card with TD you are better off with the TD Visa First Class Infinite card for the utmost in flexibility for travel.

Related: Options outside of Aeroplan

However if you want flights in business or first class at the best possible return on your credit card spending (business and first class redemptions made via a frequent flyer program represent the best possible value out of any loyalty program), you collect a lot of Aeroplan miles from sources other than credit card spend getting this card is a good choice and even better if you pair it with an Aeroplan card from American Express' suite of cards that offer Aeroplan miles.

Overall this card will become the mainstay Aeroplan credit card for the foreseeable future as nearly half a million Canadians have been transferred to it automatically from CIBC. The question is will the card break the one million mark like its CIBC predecessor? Not likely for a few years but there is no doubt that a certain percentage of cardholders who were kept by CIBC have or will get this card as well for their credit card portfolio and then determine sometime down the road which one works better for them.

Care to comment? Do you agree or disagree with us? Tell us what think about the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card by commenting below!

Related Links:
TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card on tdcanadatrust.com
Rewards Canada's All Travel Rewards Credit Card Comparison including the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card
Rewards Canada's Airline Only Credit Card Comparison including the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card

Other cards to consider would come from the Airline Card category, Hotel Card category or the Hybrid Card category:
American Express AeroplanPlus Gold Card
American Express Gold Rewards Card
Capital One® Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard®
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite
Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard
RBC British Airways Visa Infinite
RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum
RBC Visa Infinite Avion
Marriott Rewards Premier Visa
mbna Alaska Airlines World Elite MasterCard
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard  

Feb 26 Update: Buy Miles & More miles for 1.65 cents (Economist subscription), Delta SkyMiles changes, 14 new bonuses

We said the loyalty programs would wait until the Olympics were over to release any significant news and boy were we right!

News, Tips & Tricks
The news we refer to in our intro is of course the announcement of the 2015 Delta SkyMiles program. And what is big about it is the move to revenue based mileage earning model on Delta flights. Rather than rehashing it you can read our post about the changes here.

In the bonus offers section check out the Miles & More offer for subscribing to The Economist. Based on the landing page you are essentially buying the Miles & More miles for only 1.65 cents. That's a really good deal as usually any offer where you can get miles for under 2 cents is worth taking advantage of! Not to mention this offer is actually available to Canadians! Most bonus mile offers for the Economist are limited to Europe or Asia.





Bonus Offers

Carlson Hotels Club Carlson
- 2,000 Bonus Gold Points when you book a Romance Package at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Murfreesboro, TN. More... Until Dec 31, 14

JetBlue TrueBlue (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- 3,000 Bonus TrueBlue Points on your very first Rockemiles booking. More... Book by Apr 13 for stays until Oct 31, 14

Le Club accorhotels
- 250 Bonus Le Club accorhotels points on your next stay at any participating Accor Hotel Worldwide made within 3 months of registering. More... Until Dec 31, 14 Targeted Offer - may not work for everyone

Miles & More
- 10,000 Bonus Miles & More Miles when you subscribe to the Economist. More... Until ?

Shangri-La Golden Circle
- 30% GC Award Points Discount when you redeem for award nights in a Club Room at all participating Shangi-La Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- 50% GC Award Points Discount when you redeem for an upgrade to a Club Room at all participating Shangi-La Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Apr 30, 14

Stash Hotel Rewards
- Triple Stash Rewards Points for stays at the SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel, Pismo Beach. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Double Stash Rewards Points for stays at the Inn at Table Mountain Inn Golden. More... Until Mar 31, 14
- Triple Stash Rewards Points for stays at the Caribe Royale Orlando. More... Book by Mar 15 for stays until Jun 30, 14
- Triple Stash Rewards Points for stays at the Inn at Saint Mary's South Bend. More... Mar 1 - 31, 14
- Triple Stash Rewards Points and 15% off Best Available Rate for Sun-Thu stays of 3+ nights at the Hotel Mazarin New Orleans. More... Until May 31, 14
- Triple Stash Rewards Points for stays at the Westford Regency Inn and Conf Center. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- Triple Stash Rewards Points for stays at the The Priory Hotel Pittsburgh. More... Until Mar 31, 14
- Double Stash Rewards Points for stays at The Lodge at Woodloch, A Destination Spa Hawley. More... Until Mar 27, 14

Delta SkyMiles moving to a revenue based mileage earning model in 2015 + other smaller changes


The big news making the rounds in the loyalty world today is the announcement from Delta Airlines SkyMiles that the program will be moving to a revenue based model for mileage earning on flights. Delta is not the first program to do so but is definitely the largest program to date to use this model. Other airlines running a revenue based model include WestJet Rewards, Virgin America Elevate, Southwest Rapid Rewards, JetBlue TrueBlue and a handful of smaller European and Asian programs.

Revenue Based Mileage Earning
In a nutshell if you don't feel like reading this entire post, the changes starting on January 1st, 2015 will provide a handsome reward those that spend a lot on their airline tickets with Delta while seriously devaluing the program for those who don't and tend to buy less expensive tickets. Overall from what we have read on other blogs and news sites the changes in a whole are not good for most SkyMiles members as it appears they will earn less miles with their travels and when you consider the massive devaluations the program has seen over the past few years this is not a good thing.

Delta SkyMiles members will earn the following as of January 1st (miles are per US$ spent on the actual fare and any carrier surcharges. Taxes do not count towards mileage earning)
  • General Non-Elite members will earn 5 SkyMiles per dollar
  • Silver Medallion members will earn 7 SkyMiles per dollar
  • Gold Medallion members will earn 8 SkyMiles per dollar
  • Platinum Medallion members will earn 9 SkyMiles per dollar
  • Diamond Medallion members will earn 11 SkyMiles per dollar
  • Plus U.S. and select international Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card Members will continue to earn up to an additional 2 miles per dollar (or corresponding earning rate) on Delta purchases with the Card. (Which means this should 3 miles per dollar for Canadian SkyMiles credit card holders)
What does this mean for the actual miles earned compared to the current SkyMiles earning structure? Depending on the route and the fare you may be better off the new system (ie shorter routes) while other who buy lower end longer haul routes may come up short with the new system. Here is an example using Delta's calculator showing the miles earned on Delta between Toronto and New York and then Toronto and Paris. As you can see the new rates are good for the JFK flights while the Paris flight takes a significant hit


But to put it in perspective, if you are a last minute buyer of tickets, say in business class and hold status with Delta then you stand to reap some huge mileage earning rewards:

As you can see a Platinum Medallion member flying on a $4,000 Business Class fare Toronto to Paris will earn more than double the miles they currently do.

What about mileage earning on Delta's partner airlines?
Flights marketed and ticketed by Delta’s partner airlines will earn mileage based on a percentage of distance fl own and fare class paid. More details will be announced later in 2014

Does this affect how Canadian's earn Medallion status?
No, unlike the changes for U.S. based members where they need MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles) and MQDs (Medallion Qualifying Dollards) Canadians only require the MQM portion of elite status qualifying. MQM's will still be awarded on a 1:1 basis on your actual flight mileage.

What other changes are happening?
Delta has also announced some other changes on the redemption side of things although all details are still not out yet:
  • No Black Out dates - Already offered but not sure how this will be priced
  • There will be more Award Seats available at the lowest redemption levels and more redemption levels overall. All we know is they are moving to 5 redemption tiers from 3.
  • One way awards will be offered at half the cost of round trip awards. (The same feature Aeroplan put in place earlier this year)
  • Miles + Cash option - Similar to other airline who have introduced this feature (SAS, Alitalia to name a few) you will be to pay for flights with part cash and part miles. It appears however it won't be the 'slider' option we see in some cases that let you set the amount of miles and cash. The miles and cash will be set on Delta's side.
  • A new award calendar. Delta has taken tons of flack for their current online system. We can only hope it does get better.
Want more details on the new SkyMiles program?  Click here to visit Delta's page for the 2015 SkyMiles program

What are your thoughts on the changes? Will they be a devaluation for you or will they be a boon? Are you going to stick with SkyMiles or move to another program? Who do think will follow suit and be the next to introduce a revenue based program? Let us know by commenting below!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feb 25 Update: Aeroplan Facebook Game - chance to win 150K Miles, 30% Bonus on buying Flying Blue miles, more 10K Club Carlson bonuses

Tuesday offers up the following:

News, Tips & Tricks
 
Aeroplan has a launched a new game on their Facebook page where you can win 150,000 Aeroplan Miles. The game tests your knowledge on Aeroplan's partners and boy would have been embarrassed if I got some wrong. Luckily I didn't! You can enter the contest at https://www.facebook.com/aeroplan/app_414200698725287
Got through with a perfect score!

Air Transat will be offering service between Montreal and Las Vegas this fall. Flights will operate twice weekly and while Air Transat doesn't have a frequent flyer program you can always use a travel points or Hybrid card to redeem points for these type flights. Source: Airlineroute.net

If you have any upcoming Best Western stays in Italy and have elite status with BW (easily achieved for some due to their Status Match No Catch offer!) you will now be able to earn points on your entire hotel bill. Full details



Travel Deals
Southern B.C. residents who like to head south of the border to shop in the Bellevue area can take advantage of the Bellevue Shopping Package deal at the Westin Bellevue. The pacakge offers One $100 Bellevue Collection gift certificate per night you stay for use at Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square, and Bellevue Place featuring great stores like Nordstrom, Apple, Microsoft and more! Complimentary self-parking ($25 value) is included and is available for Friday and Saturday arrivals and stays through Sunday. The package seems to be about $57 more than the AAA rate and $37 more than the best flexible rate. Seeing that you get $125 in add ons the rate is actually a pretty good deal. Full details can be found here
http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-921118-10422413?sid=bellevue&url=http://deals.westin.com/Westin-Bellevue-Hotel-1555/special-offers
 


Bonus Offers

Air France KLM Flying Blue
- 30% Bonus Flying Blue Miles when you buy Flying Blue miles online. More... Until Mar 3, 14

Carlson Hotels Club Carlson
- 10,000 Bonus Gold Points per night for stays at the Radisson Hotel Fisherman's Wharf. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- 10,000 Bonus Gold Points per night for stays at the Radisson Hotel Orlando - Lake Buena Vista. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- 10,000 Bonus Gold Points per night for stays at the Radisson Resort Orlando-Celebration. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- 10,000 Bonus Gold Points per night for stays at the Radisson Hotel Orlando - UCF Area More... Until Dec 31, 14
- 10,000 Bonus Gold Points per night for stays at the Radisson Hotel JFK Airport. More... Until Dec 31, 14

Frontier EarlyReturns (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Double EarlyReturns Miles when you fly between Chicago-Midway and Knoxville. More... Jun 15 - Jul 15, 14
- Double EarlyReturns Miles when you fly between Chicago-Midway and Harrisburg. More... Jun 13 - Jul 13, 14
- Double EarlyReturns Miles when you fly between Denver and Sioux City. More... Jun 12 - Jul 12, 14
- Double EarlyReturns Miles when you fly between Denver and Missoula. More... Jun 13 - Jul 13, 14
- Double EarlyReturns Miles when you fly between Denver and Idaho Falls. More... Jun 12 - Jul 12, 14
- Double EarlyReturns Miles when you fly between Denver and Bakersfield. More... May 16 - Jun 16, 14

SAS EuroBonus
- Double EuroBonus Points for stays at the Rica Hotel No. 25 in Gothenburg. More... Until Mar 31, 14
- Triple EuroBonus Points on Hertz rentals of 7+ days in Europe, USA, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Middle East or Africa. More... Book by Mar 31 for rentals until May 31, 14
- Double EuroBonus Points with Flygtaxi on shared taxi (in Sweden) and Aretransfer (Östersund/Åre) More... Until Mar 23, 14

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- 50% Bonus Miles&Smiles Miles or 25% Miles&Smiles Discount on select Turkish Airlines International Routes. More... Mar 1 -31, 14

United MileagePlus (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- 5,000 Bonus MileagePlus miles and Premier Silver status when you fly six Copa Airlines segments. More... Until Mar 31, 14 Targeted offer - may not work for everyone

Virgin America Elevate (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Earn up to 60% Bonus Elevate Points when you buy or gift Elevate points. More... Until Mar 14, 14

Monday, February 24, 2014

Feb 24 Update: WestJet selects IFE provider including inflight Wifi, Aer Lingus seat sale YYZ-DUB, Choice Privileges next bonus point promo

Welcome to another week here on Rewards Canada. Now that the Olympics are over (yay Canada! Way to go!) we can expect the travel providers and loyalty companies will bring their news reporting back up to speed and we'll have that all covered for you right here on the RC blog.

News, Tips & Tricks
WestJet announced a little over a week that they have selected Panasonic Avionics to supply their next generation inflight entertainment system which will include on-board Wifi (so no gogo as we and others were hypothesizing after gogo's announcement of coverage over Canada).  Source: WestJet
CALGARY, Feb. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - WestJet announced today it has signed a multi-year agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation to provide the airline with a new inflight entertainment system with the ability to feature wireless satellite internet connectivity, live streaming television, on-demand movies, magazines and more.

Guests will be able to use their own personal electronic device (PED) or laptop computer to receive live and stored content streamed wirelessly from a server on board each WestJet Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. Airtime packages will also be available to surf the internet, access email or plan a vacation on westjet.com. Tablets will be available for those guests not travelling with a device.


Also on the WestJet newsfront they are going to be moving some of their seasonal flights to year round service (YQR/YXE/YYJ-LAS; YEG-PHX; YVR-PSP) and many other routes will be receiving increased frequency. One route goes from year round service to seasonal and that is Toronto to Miami. (Source Airlineroute.net)

 
Some readers have asked whether the Aeroplan Star Challenge will return this year. All we can tell is yes it will but we do not have the time period yet.

Travel Deals
Aer Lingus is offering Toronto to Dublin flights for only $689 all in for travel between Apr 14 and May 6! Simply book by Feb 27 at Aerlingus.com.  These fares are eligible for mileage accrual so you can earn in Aer Lingus' own Gold Circle Club but I would assume most Rewards Canada readers would credit it to other oneworld airlines like American AAdvantage or British Airways Executive Club.




Bonus Offers

Air Canada Aeroplan
- Double Aeroplan Miles when you fly Canadian North between Yellowknife and Iqaluit or Rankin Inlet; Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit. More... Mar 17 - May 31, 14

Choice Hotels Privileges
- Earn up to 8,000 Bonus Privileges Points when you complete two qualifying stays at any Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, Ascend Hotel Collection, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn hotel in the Choice Privileges program. More... Feb 27 - May 14, 14

Emirates Skywards
- Triple Skywards Miles on all stays at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. More... Book by May 31 for stays untll Dec 19, 14

Hyatt Gold Passport
- 3,000 Bonus Gold Passport Points for stays of 2 or more nights at the Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport. More... Until May 18, 14

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
- 1,000 Bonus Mileage Bank Miles + 1,000 HHonors Points when you join the HHonors program and complete 2 stays at any participating hotel in the Hilton HHonors portfolio Worldwide. More... Until Mar 31, 14

Southwest Rapid Rewards (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Triple Rapid Rewards points for stays at participating Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotels in the United States. More... Until Apr 30 , 14

Starwood Preferred Guest
- 1,000 Bonus Starpoints for stays at the The Westin Portland Harborview. More... Until Mar 31, 14

United MileagePlus
- Double MileagePlus Miles for every qualifying stay at any Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, Ascend Hotel Collection, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn hotel in the Choice Privileges program Worldwide. More... Until Apr 4, 14

Friday, February 21, 2014

Feb 21 Update: Air France KLM Flying Blue Promo Awards out (no Canadian cities this time), American Express Air Miles card bonuses, 5,000 Bonus Points at select Wyndham locations

A quiet end to the week with mainly only bonuses added to the Rewards Canada site.

News, Tips & Tricks
In the bonus offers section you'll notice the latest Air France KLM Flying Blue promo awards are out but unfortunately no Canadian cities served by Air France or KLM are included in the latest set of offers for flights in May and June.



Bonus Offers

Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Save up to 50% with Promo Awards Save 25% to 50% on the Award Miles usually required for award ticket. Destinations vary by each promotional period. More... Book between Mar 1 & 31 for travel between May 1 and Jun 30, 14

Air Miles
- 2,500 Bonus Air Miles with the American Express® Air Miles® Reserve Card when you charge a total of $3,000 in purchases to your Card within your first three months of Cardmembership. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- 1,200 Bonus Air Miles with the American Express® Air Miles® Business Card when you charge a total of $5,000 in purchases to your Card within your first three months of Cardmembership. More... Ongoing

British Airways Executive Club
- Double Avios when you rent a group C car or higher for 3 days or more with Avis Worldwide. More... Until Mar 16, 14

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Earn up to 750 Bonus Asia Miles when you connect to CSL’s mobile network for roaming calls in Hong Kong during the promotion period. More...Until Apr 17, 14

IHG Rewards Club
- 1,500 Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points on your next stay at IHG Hotels Worldwide. Stay must be made within 90 days of registering. More... Until ? Targeted Offer - May not work for everyone
- 1,500 Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points on your next stay at IHG Hotels Worldwide. Stay must be made within 90 days of registering. More... Until ? Targeted Offer - May not work for everyone
- 1,000 Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points on your next stay at IHG Hotels Worldwide. Stay must be made within 60 days of registering. More... Until ? Targeted Offer - May not work for everyone

Marriott Rewards
- 1,000 Bonus Rewards Points per stay at the TownePlace Suites Detroit Livonia. More... Until Mar 22, 14
- 500 Bonus Rewards Points per stay at the Courtyard Hampton. More... Until Mar 24, 14
- 2,000 Bonus Rewards Points per stay when you stay any night Sunday-Thursday at the Courtyard Charlottesville North. More... Until Mar 24, 14
- 1,000 Bonus Rewards Points per night at the Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Autograph Collection®. More... Until Mar 25, 14
- 1,500 Bonus Rewards Points when you stay three nights Monday-Wednesday at the Renaissance Chicago O'Hare Suites Hotel. More... Until Mar 30, 14
- 2,000 Bonus Rewards Points per stay at one of four participating Gaylord Hotels in the U.S. More... Until Apr 27, 14

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- 25% Miles&Smiles Discount on Turkish Airlines or AnadoluJet flights from Sabiha Gökçen to other cities in Turkey, Europe and the Middle East. More... Until Apr 3, 14

Wyndham Rewards
- 5,000 Bonus Wyndham Rewards Points per stay on all eligible stays at participating Wyndham Hotels in the U.S., Canada & Puerto Rico. More...  Until May 14, 14

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Feb 20 Update: Starwood Preferred Guest annual hotel category changes (20% of hotels changing), Club Carlson devaluation update, 28 new bonuses

With the Olympics now in full swing and Canada at ten medals of the time of writing this its no wonder there isn't much news in the loyalty world right now.

News, Tips & Tricks
The annual Starwood Preferred Guest category changes are out. Every year around this time SPG has hotels shuffling around their free night award chart with hotels either moving up or down in categories. The thing to note here is that the Starpoint requirements for redemptions do not change but rather hotels may become more expensive or less expensive depending on which way they move in the categories. The announcement came on FlyerTalk earlier today stating that 250 hotels will be changing categories with 56% of those moving down a category (139 properties) and 44% (111 properties) moving up. Here in Canada we see the Four Points by Sheraton Kelowna Airport, Four Points by Sheraton Kingston and Four Points by Sheraton Toronto Airport move down in categories and only the Four Points by Sheraton Winnipeg International Airport moving up. The complete list of hotels changing can be found here.


A quick update to our Club Carlson devaluation post yesterday, it appears Club Carlson has made a further change albeit quietly in the time period of when you can book at the old redemption rates. As of yesterday that date was April 30 but that has now been changed to the same date as the rest of the program changes on March 15. If you need to redeem do so now for those hotels that are moving up! (HT Gary L)

Travel Deals

Part of Air Canada's celebration when Canada wins gold is to offer discounts on certain flights.  Thanks to our bobsled and curling golds you can enjoy 20% off flights to China (book by Feb 22) or Hong Kong (book by Feb 23) Full details

Bonus Offers

Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Triple MilleMiglia Miles for stays at over 70 Accor hotels throughout Italy. More... Book by Apr 14 for stays Feb 28 - Apr 30, 14

- Double MilleMiglia Miles when you use a Samarcanda taxi from Fiumicino Airport. More... Mar 1 - 31, 14

American AAdvantage
- 25% Bonus AAdvantage Miles when you convert points from participating AAdvantage Hotel partners into AAdvantage miles. More... Until Mar 31, 14

- 1,000 AAdvantage Miles with a three day minimum rental on any size vehicle at participating Alamo locations in the United States and Canada. More... Until Dec 31, 14
- Earn up to 2,500 Bonus AAdvantage Miles at participating Avis airport locations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. More... Until Jun 15, 14
- Earn up to 1,500 Bonus AAdvantage Miles at participating Budget airport locations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and Caribbean. More... Until Jun 15, 14
- 1,000 AAdvantage Miles with a three day minimum rental on any size vehicle at participating National locations in the United States. More... Until Dec 31, 14 


Frontier Airlines Early Returns (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Double EarlyReturns Miles when you fly between St. Louis and Portland. More... Jun 15 - Jul 15, 14
- Double EarlyReturns Miles when you fly between St. Louis and San Francisco. More... un 13 - Jul 13, 14

Germanwings Boomerang Club (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Double Boomerang Miles on all Germanwings flights to/from Budapest. More... Until Apr 15, 14


IHG Rewards Club
- 25,000 Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points per stay on the 25,000 Bonus Points package at the Holiday Inn New York City Midtown-31st St . More... Until ?

Le Club accorhotels
- Triple Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at participating Sofitel Hotels in the Northern Hemisphere. More... Mar 14 - May 20, 14
- Triple Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at participating Sofitel Hotels in the Southern Hemisphere. More... Mar 14 - May 20, 14
- Double Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays on the "Cultural Getaway" package at any participating Accor Hotel in Canberra. More... Until Apr 21, 14
- Double Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at any participating Accor Hotel in Australia.More... Book by Apr 30 for stays Apr 14 -30 , 14
- Double Le Club Accorhotels Points and up to 30% off for stays fo 2 or more nightsat any participating Accor Hotel in Australia. More... Book by Apr 14 for stays Apr 1 - May 1, 14
- Double Le Club Accorhotels Points and up to 30% off for stays at any participating Accor Hotel in Australia. More... Book by Apr 14 for stays Apr 1 - May 1, 14
- Double Le Club Accorhotels Points and free breakfast for stays at any participating Accor Hotel in Australia.More... Book by Apr 14 for stays Apr 1 - May 1, 14
- Earn up to Triple Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at any participating Accor Hotel in Brussels.More... Book between Mar 3 - 16 for stays Mar 24 - Apr 30 , 14
- 300 Bonus Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays on the “Visit Valencia and the City of Arts and Sciences” offer at participating Accor Hotels in Alicante or Valencia. More... Mar 1 - May 18, 14
- Double Le Club Accorhotels Points for weekend stays at any participating Accor Hotel in Sweden. More... Book between Mar 3 and May 1 for stays between Mar 3 and Jun 2
- Triple Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at participating Ibis Hotels in Thailand. More... Book by Mar 31 for stays Feb 22 - Apr 15, 14
- 200 Bonus Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at the Mercure Montevideo Punta Carretas. More... Book between Mar 1 - 31 for stays Mar 1 - Apr 30 , 14

Marriott Rewards
- 5,000 Bonus Rewards Points per stay at the Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel. More... Until Mar 22, 14
- 500 Bonus Rewards Points per stay at any participating AC Hotels by Marriott locatoin in Spain. More... Feb 26 - May 20, 14
- OFFER EXTENDED 2,500 Bonus Rewards Points per stay when you stay two weekend nights or more Thursday - Sunday at anyone of 5 participating Marriott locations in Chicago. More... Until Mar 30, 14
- 2,000 Bonus Rewards Points per stay at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Jeffersonville I-71. More... Until Mar 21, 14

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- 1,000 Bonus Flying Club Miles when you join Heathrow Rewards and spend £10 or more. Awarded as 1,000 Heathrow Rewards points which converts to 1,000 Flying Club Miles. More... Until May 31, 14

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Feb 19 Update: Icelandair succeeds in Edmonton, Lufthansa Business Class sale, Aeroplan bonus returns for the UPS Store

With the Olympics now in full swing and Canada at ten medals of the time of writing this its no wonder there isn't much news in the loyalty world right now.

News, Tips & Tricks
Icelandair's Edmonton service doesn't start until early next month but the sheer success of bookings has led Icelandair to move the service from summer seasonal to year round along with additional flights which means that service will be as much as 5x weekly between YEG and KEF. (Source Icelandair). Icelandair does have their own frequent flyer program called Saga Club but outside of travel (flights, hotels, car rental) the only way to earn Icelandair Saga Club points in Canada is via Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard or via points.com transfers.


In the bonus offer section be sure to check out the Aeroplan bonus for flights to Europe (just in case you missed it on the RC blog earlier today) but also the return of an Aeroplan bonus for joining UPS' Get More program and making your first purchase. This is an easy way to earn 700 Aeroplan miles (regular 500 mile sign up bonus + this 200 mile bonus) when you complete your first purchase and that first purchase needs only to be $1 before taxes. It's pretty rare to earn that many miles on such a little spend. Be sure that the UPS Store properly inputs your Get More and Aeroplan numbers as people have reported that it has not been done correctly by some of their employees!

Also check out the discounted award requirements for several VIA Rail routes!

Travel Deals
Lufthansa is offering a Business Class special until 6th March 2014with special prices for flights on selected routes. Departure airports in CA are Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.

 Algiers from CAD 3,009*
 Amsterdam from CAD 3,349*
 Malaga from CAD 3,399*
 Barcelona from CAD 3,409*
 Beirut from CAD 5,749*
* Round-trip including all taxes and fees.

The departure period is between 5th March 2014 and 13th January  2015.
The return period is between 5th March 2014 and 3rd February  2015.

Book online at Lufthansa Canada

Bonus Offers

Air Canada Aeroplan
- Earn up to 10,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you fly between Canada and Europe on Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge. More... Register and book between Feb 18 - Apr 1, 2014 for travel Apr 22 - Dec 14, 14
- 1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you redeem for a Hertz car rental. More... Until Apr 30, 14
- 1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you redeem your miles for a $500 Expedia CruiseShipCenters gift certificate. More... Until Mar 31, 14
- 200 Bonus Aeroplan Miles on your first transaction as a Get More member at The UPS Store. More... Until Feb 28, 14

British Airways Executive Club
- Up to 25% Bonus Avios when you buy Avios online. More... Until Mar 23, 14

Garuda Frequent Flyer (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- 50% GFF Miles when you fly Garuda Indonesia between Jakarta or Denpasar and Sydney. More... Until Mar 31, 14
- Triple GFF Miles when you fly Garuda Indonesia between Balikpapan and Singapore. More... Until Mar 31, 14

Gulfair FalconFlyer (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Double Falconflyer Miles when you fly on Gulf Air between Bahrain and Tehran. More... Mar 3 - May 3, 14
- Double Falconflyer Miles when you fly on Gulf Air between Bahrain and Sialkot. More... Until Mar 17, 14
- Earn up to Triple Falconflyer Miles for Budget rentals in Kuwait or Lebanon. More... Until Mar 31, 14
- Earn up to Quadruple Falconflyer Miles for Hertz rentals in Europe and North America. More... Until Mar 31, 14.

Via Rail Preference
- 40% Preference Points Discount when you book award travel on the Ocean or the Canadian. More... Book by Mar 13 for travel until Apr 30, 14

Virgin America Elevate (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Double Elevate Points for stays at Virgin Limited Edition hotels Worldwide. More... Book by Mar 31 for stays until Sep 30, 14

Carlson Hotels Club Carlson changes coming on March 15 - another devaluation for the books


The recent spate of airline and hotel program devaluations hasn't stopped as Club Carlson sent out emails to their members today detailing changes coming to the program on March 15. Some of the changes are positive but most are negative hence our titling of this post! For Club Carlson's details on these changes see here

Positive Changes
- You will now be able to redeem for a variety of room types instead of only standard rooms

- Award nights will now count towards elite status qualification

- Food & Beverage purchases will now earn Gold Points if they are charged to your room during a stay

- Enhanced gift card redemption variety - Some of the new cards available for Canadian members include Esso, WINNERS, Cineplex and WaySpa

- (Not a change) Category 1-6 redemption rates stay the same but 115 hotels Worldwide are moving up a category while 67 are going down 1 or 2 categories. In Canada only 2 properties are affected, the Radisson Hotel & Suites, Fort McMurray is going from Category 5 to 6 while the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Calgary-Airport is moving from Category 5 to 4. The Ft. Mac site is obviously due to the immense demand for hotel rooms in the Oilsands city while the Calgary move could possibly be attributed to the changes happening around the Calgary Airport whereby hotels south of the airport have been essentially cut off with a direct route by the construction of the new airport runway. Once the tunnel underneath the runway is complete and the circuitous route eliminated we may see this hotel move back up unless the onslaught of new hotels being built around the airport keeps its occupancy lower. The category changes do not take affect until May 1st. For a complete list of category changes please see here

Negative Changes
- The introduction of a Category 7 for award nights - 70,000 Points will be required for stays at hotels in this top end category:
Radisson Royal Hotel, Dubai
Radisson Blu Le Dokhan’s Hotel, Paris Trocadero
Radisson Blu 1835 Hotel & Thalasso, Cannes
Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Hotel, Paris Eiffel
Radisson Blu Hotel Champs Elysees, Paris
The May Fair
Plaza on the River, London
art’otel, Amsterdam
Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow

- The online booking bonus of 1,000 to 3,000 Gold Points is being removed and will only be offered on a promotional basis. This is a major negative change, this bonus while somewhat antiquated was a huge benefit to Club Carlson members.

- Elite bonuses for Gold and Silver Elite members are being reduced from 50% to 35% and 25% to 15% respectively. Another hit in the points earning department when combined with the online booking bonus removal

With the introduction of a 7th award category, the removal of the online booking bonus and reduction in elite tier bonuses you can tell that Club Carlson's generosity over the past few years with their huge acquisition promotions has hit them dearly in the books. They are obviously looking to cull the number of points they are awarding and making sure more of those points are burned when redeeming at their top end hotels.

If you have any plans of redeeming for those top 9 hotels (or any of the other 115 moving up) you should really look at booking by April 30th to ensure you don't end up using more points for those stays and likewise for the 67 moving down if you can wait to redeem until May 1st you should do so.

What are your thoughts on this latest program change news from Club Carlson. I know for me I am at least happy they are giving a proper heads up when compared to last year when they did not! Are you going to look elsewhere to stay for something as little (or potentially big if you have a lot of Carlson stays) as the removal of the online booking bonus or will you just keep on trucking with Club Carlson despite these changes?



Air Canada: Earn up to 10,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles between Canada and Europe



Air Canada and Aeroplan have launched a new route bonus offer for Air Canada flights between Canada and Europe. If you already have tickets to Europe for the promotion period you unfortunately cannot take advantage of the bonus but if you haven't booked yet then you may want to over the 5 or so weeks to be able to earn the bonus.

Here is offers as they will appear on our Aeroplan Bonus Miles  page later today:

Earn up to 10,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you fly between Canada and Europe on Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge.
- Earn 5,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you have a minimum of 2 one-way flight segments  in the following eligible fare options (booking classes): Tango (W, S, T, L, K); Flex (M, U, H, Q, V); Latitude (Y, B)
- Earn 10,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles, when you have a minimum of 2 one-way flight segments the following eligible fare options (booking classes): Premium rouge/Premium Economy (O, E, N); International Business Class Lowest (C, D, Z, P); International Business Class Flexible (J).

Register Online (Registration is required)
Register and book between February 18 and April 1, 2014 for travel between April 22 and December 14, 2014.


Can't make use of this promotion? Be sure to visit our
Aeroplan Bonus Miles page for other flight,  hotel, car rental and other mileage bonuses!

Are you going to take advantage of this offer? It has quite a large travel window so I would think quite a few of our readers could make use of this offer to pad their Aeroplan accounts with a few more miles!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Feb 18 Update: Aeroplan discount on Air Canada Gift Cards, Starwood Bonus for Asia Pacific stays, SAA Voyager award flight discount

We're back after a 5 day hiatus! Hope everyone that got a Family Day holiday yesterday were able to take advantage of it and spend time with family!

News, Tips & Tricks
Aeroplan is offering up to a 8,500 mile discount on Air Canada Gift Cards. Even with the discount the redemption isn't that great of value (ie you're getting less than 1 cent per mile) but could be an OK option for those who have more miles than they know what to with them. Find all the details here.


Looks like WestJet will be cancelling their Encore route between Vancouver and Kamloops as of March 1st. (Source Airlineroute.net)


Travel Deals
B.C. residents can enjoy special rates for stays in their own backyard at the Westin Resort & Spa Whistler. Rates start at $188 and include complimentary self parking and in room Internet. Full Details and online booking

 
Bonus Offers
Frontier Airlines Early Returns (on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com only)
- Double EarlyReturns Miles when you fly between Cleveland and Seattle. More... Jun 15 - Jul 15, 14
- Double EarlyReturns Miles when you fly between Cleveland and Orlando. More... Jun 13 - Jul 13, 14

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
- Double Mileage Bank Miles for Japan Airlines flights between New York and Tokyo. More... Mar 30 - May 31, 14

SAS EuroBonus
- Double EuroBonus Points on select SAS and Wideroe flights in Europe. More...    Register and book by Feb 24 for travel Feb 25 - Apr 13, 14

South African Airways Voyager
- 20% Voyager Miles Discount on SuperPlus Award redemptions for South African Airways flights worldwide. More...  Redeem by Feb 28, 14
- 20% Bonus Voyager Miles on all South African Airways flights for all SAA Voyager members who are 20 years old. More... Until Mar 31, 14
- Double Voyager Miles for stays at select Taj Hotels Worldwide. More...  Until Mar 31, 14

Starwood Preferred Guest
- 2,000 Bonus Starpoints for every 2 nights stayed at any Starwood hotel or resort in Asia Pacific. More...  Register and book by Mar 31 for stays until May 17, 14
- Double Starpoints when you stay in a Studio Suite at the W Bangkok. More...  Book by Jun 30 for stays until Dec 31, 14

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Triple Miles&Smiles Miles when you stay at any Hilton hotel or resort in Turkey. More...    Until Mar 31, 14

Monday, February 17, 2014

How to get select Canada to U.S. award flights faster by utilizing British Airways' Executive Club


- UPDATED ON JUN 20, 16 TO FINALLY COVER THE CHANGES TO BA's AWARD CHART
- UPDATED ON JAN 5, 15 TO INCLUDE TAM FLIGHT BETWEEN TORONTO AND NEW YORK
 - UPDATED ON MAY 23, 14 TO INCLUDE US AIRWAYS FLIGHTS

In 2011 British Airways Executive Club went through some drastic changes that primarily revolved around moving to a distance based award flight structure versus a set reward chart. This proved to be both a good and a bad change. The good was that some redemptions became cheaper but others went up drastically. The bad changes were most evident as one of the program changes was that connections were priced separately at their distance based values. That means to make the most of the Executive Club program you'll typically want to redeem for direct non-stop flights where possible (this does not mean there aren't any good values in connecting flights on some long haul routes)

This post looks at one of the best things to come out of the Executive Club award changes and those are some of the amazing redemptions available on award flights out of Canada to the U.S. You've heard us tout the Toronto-New York award of only 9,000 Avios round trip many times but truth is there are a lot more of those 9,000 Avios redemptions available out of Canada and even some decent offers at the 15,000 and 20,000 level where competing programs require 25,000 miles. Unfortunately this changed in 2016 when, only in North America, the 9,000 Avios round trip option was increased to 15,000. Still a good redemption but not the star it used to be! Now the star is the second set of 15,000 mile options listed below!

First let's look at some of the best ways to earn Avios for Canadians. Of course travel is best, flights on British Airways, American Airlines and many other oneworld airlines, hotel stays, car rentals and more but for most Canadians however who aren't frequent travellers the best way is with credit card spend. There are a few cards in Canada that you can earn Avios with:
American Express Gold Rewards Card (C$1 = 1 - 2 Avios)
The Platinum Card from American Express (C$1 = 1.25 Avios)
Diners Club Club Rewards MasterCard (C$1 = 0.80 Avios)
Marriott Rewards Premier Visa (C$1 = 0.20 - 0.35 Avios)
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (C$1 = 1 Avios)
RBC British Airways Visa Infinite (C$1 = 1 Avios)
RBC Visa Platinum Avion/Business Avion/Infinite Avion (C$1 = 1 - 1.25 Avios)
Source: Airlines & Hotels that you can earn miles or points with Canadian Credit Cards
The best of the bunch being the American Express Gold Rewards Card which earns up to 2 Avios per dollar spent (2 points per dollar on Gas, Grocery, Drug Store and Travel purchases. 1 Point per dollar on all other eligible spend and all points convert 1:1 to Avios) and is closely followed by the RBC Visa Infinite Avion (best to convert RBC Rewards points during the twice a year 50% bonus offer) the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite Card and the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express (which is best to convert at 20,000 Starpoints increments to take advantage of the 5,000 bonus Avios awarded at that level)

Finally you can also join Iberia's Plus program whose currency is also Avios. You can transfer Avios between British Airways Executive Club and Iberia Plus as long as you've had both accounts open for at least three months. There are also other Avios earning opportunities via Avios itself (This was Air Miles UK which was rebranded) as it is a coalition program like our own Air Miles but really it is only useful if you travel lots to the UK and can make use of U.K. retailers.

Now let's get on to those great good Avios economy class redemptions from Canada to the U.S. !

15,000 Avios Round Trip Award Flights (30,000 in Business Class) - These are the ones that used to be 9,000 Round Trip (18,000 in Biz Class)
Calgary - Seattle (on Alaska Airlines)
Edmonton - Seattle (on Alaska Airlines)
Kelowna - Seattle (on Alaska Airlines)
Montreal - New York (on American Airlines)
Montreal - Philadelphia (on US Airways)
Montreal - Washington D.C. (on US Airways)
Ottawa - Philadelphia (on US Airways)
Quebec City - Philadelphia (on US Airways)
Toronto - Charlotte (on US Airways)
Toronto - Chicago (on American Airlines)
Toronto - New York (on American Airlines or TAM)
Toronto - Philadelphia (on US Airways)
Toronto - Washington D.C. (on US Airways)
Vancouver - Seattle  (on Alaska Airlines)
Vancouver - Portland (on Alaska Airlines)
Victoria - Seattle (on Alaska Airlines)

Why are these 15,000 Avios Rewards so good? Well looking at it from  a credit card spend stand point you can get any of the above flights for as little as $7,500 in spend (all 2x spend on the Amex Gold) which is the same as Aeroplan which needs $7,500 in spend on the same card (or more on other Aeroplan cards: at least $10,000) and even more spend if you look at some of the US frequent flyer programs.  The same goes for business class on these routes: 30,000 Avios is the same as what Aeroplan offers. Where Aeroplan stands to be better is if you need to connect within a short haul region as Executive Club will price out each leg at 7,500 Avios. A good example is Edmonton to Portland, Aeroplan remains at 15,000 miles even with a connection in Vancouver while the Executive Club amount would be 30,000 Avios. Some things to note, if you want to redeem on Alaska Airlines you have to call Executive Club whereas the American Airlines flights can be booked online.

15,000 Avios Round Trip Award Flights (30,000 in Business Class)
Halifax - Philadelphia (on US Airways)
Halifax - Washington D.C. (on US Airways)
Montreal - Charlotte (on US Airways)
Montreal - Chicago (on American Airlines)
Ottawa - Charlotte (on US Airways)
Vancouver - Los Angeles (on Alaska Airlines)

Why are these 15,000 Avios Rewards so good? Well looking at it once again from a credit card spend stand point you can get any of the above flights for as little as $7,500 in spend (all 2x spend on the Amex Gold) compare this to Aeroplan which needs $12,500 in spend on the same card for the YVR-LAX route and even more spend on other Aeroplan credit cards or when using miles from a U.S. frequent flyer program. For business class on the YVR-LAX route you are looking at 30,000 Avios versus 50,000 Aeroplan Miles. You can even come out ahead on some connections on these routes that are priced at the 9,000 Avios level (ie YVR-LAX-SAN) as that will come in at 24,000 Avios versus 25,000 miles in most other programs.


20,000 Avios Round Trip Award Flights (40,000 in Business Class)
Calgary - Dallas (on American Airlines)
Calgary - Phoenix (on US Airways)
Edmonton - Dallas (on American Airlines)
Edmonton - Phoenix (on US Airways)
Montreal - Dallas (on American Airlines)
Montreal - Miami (on American Airlines)
Toronto - Dallas (on American Airlines)
Toronto - Miami (on American Airlines)
Vancouver - Dallas (on American Airlines)
Vancouver - Phoenix (on US Airways)

Just like the above example these 20,000 Avios Rewards are still a good deal when you look at it from a credit card spend stand point. You can get any of the above flights for as little as $10,000 in spend (all 2x spend on the Amex Gold) Compare this to Aeroplan which needs $12,500 in spend on the same card and even more spend on other Aeroplan credit cards (at least $16,667)  Likewise you are looking at using more miles when redeeming from other US frequent flyer programs. The same goes for business class on these two routes: 40,000 Avios versus 50,000 Aeroplan Miles or other frequent flyer program miles.

In conclusion you can see that for select routes out of Canada to the U.S. your best and fastest way to free* travel is via the British Airways Executive Club program. If using a credit card is your primary way to earn miles and these redemptions appeal to you we recommend jumping on the American Express Gold Rewards Card and the RBC Visa Infinite Avion to get you on these flights as soon as possible. By combining spend via these two cards you are sure to get to an award flight in no time! In fact if you have neither card you'll get 25,000 Welcome Points with the Amex Gold Rewards Card and 15,000 RBC Rewards Points with the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card which means you'll already have enough points to get 2 flights to either Dallas or Miami!

* of course taxes and fees are not included but you could always utilize the TripFlex feature on the American Express Gold Rewards Card to pay for those!