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Amazing new welcome offer for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard - Up to 100,000 points with first year free! (Quebec gets 130,000 points with fee)

HSBC has just come out with their biggest and best offer yet for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard and in fact the bonus for Quebec resident...

Monday, October 31, 2016

Now live! IHG Rewards Club Point Breaks - Over 120 hotels available for only 5,000 points! Including 4 in Canada


The participating hotels in this set of offers are now bookable as of Oct 31 for stays Oct 31 - Jan 31, 16 (subject to availability)!

Each Reward Night at these participating hotels will be only 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points during the above mentioned dates. Remember the new PointBreaks rules that a member can only book up to 2 reward reservations per hotel participating in the individual offer (ie 2 at Pointbreaks hotels and 2 at Last Minute Reward Night hotels).  My tip to get around this would be to book 2 reservations with one IHG Rewards Club account and then have your spouse book 2 more etc. Of course this is dependent on both accounts having enough points to redeem for these awards. Also be sure to book these ASAP as once the allotted nights are booked at certain locations those hotels will fall off the list.

Why are IHG Rewards Club Point Breaks such a great deal? Because they offer reward nights at participating IHG hotels Worldwide for only 5,000 Rewards Club points. For those of you not to familiar with IHG Rewards Club , normal redemption rates for Rewards Club reward nights run from as low as 10,000 points for some Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express locations to 50,000 points for ultra-luxurious InterContinental locations and even these locations can participate in Point Breaks. So as you can see you can receive a discount of 50 to 88% off the regular redemption rates. You may be thinking that the high end hotels won't participate but they do depending on the time of year! Please note that like most loyalty promotions these offers are capacity controlled so I advise to book sooner than later to ensure you get the PointBreaks rate. These offers are now bookable via the primary Points Breaks page.


What is even crazier is IHG is currently running a 100% bonus on buying IHG Rewards Club Points. With this bonus you can buy points at 0.575 cents each or $28.75 for 5,000 points. That means you can stay at any of the hotels listed below for only US$28.75! Including the one InterContinental hotel that is participating in Cali Colombia! You can take advantage of the 100% bonus on buying points here.

Once again the numbers in Canada are low with only 4 hotels participating.  Of note in the group of Canadian hotels is the brand new Candlewood Suites Calgary Airport North. Might be a good option for anyone needing a hotel night before an early flight out of YYC or for an overnight layover.

Here is the list of  hotels (pulled from the IHG blog)

Canada

Alberta

Ontario

Hotels in Asia and Australia:

China
India
Indonesia
Japan
Kuwait
Malaysia
Nepal

Hotels in Africa and Middle East:

South Africa

Hotels in South America:

Chile
Colombia
Uruguay

Hotels in Latin America and Mexico:

Honduras
Mexico
Panama

Hotels in North America:

Canada
Alberta

Ontario
United States
Alabama
Arkansas
Arizona
California
Connecticut
Florida
Georgia
Iowa
Illinois
Indiana
Kansas
Louisiana
Maryland
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Mississippi
Montana
North Carolina
North Dakota
Nebraska
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Hotels in Europe:

France
Germany
Italy
Kazakhstan
Russia
Serbia
Spain
Turkey
United Kingdom

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hyatt revamps their frequent guest program - RIP Gold Passport, Hello to World of Hyatt as of March 1, 2017


Hyatt Gold Passport has been an amazing program over the years and it kind of had to be seeing the chain's size compared to other programs. We never made it past Platinum level in our household but even as Platinum's our few and far between Hyatt stays saw several room upgrades even though it wasn't an actual published benefit of being Platinum. We know a lot of you who travel frequently to major cities in the U.S. and Worldwide use it but for a lot of Canadian's it isn't that well known. The main reason why has been the very small footprint that Hyatt has in Canada. Up until this year they only had 5 properties in 4 cities in Canada. In the last few months that has been bumped up to 7 with an 8th property coming online soon. Still that is a very small portfolio and hence the relative nature of the Gold Passport program not having a lot of traction in Canada. But Hyatt's growth here and the amount of readers we have who are Hyatt Gold Passport members utilizing the program (we've received several emails asking if and when a Hyatt credit card will launch here which is likely never seeing that IHG & Choice couldn't make a go of it) garners this post as the changes to the program are newsworthy for those of us Canadians who do use the program.

Launching on March 1st, 2017, World of Hyatt will replace the current Hyatt Gold Passport program. The changes primarily affect the elite status tiers and elite status qualification. Earning and burning of points does not change. So in reality the changes are affecting those of you who do stay at Hyatt's frequently enough and you should be concerned! Hyatt Gold Passport has two elite levels above their base level, Platinum and Diamond. Right now Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond status is one of the best elite levels out in the industry. Currently the requirement to earn Diamond status is 25 stays or 50 nights (so you can see how that might be hard to achieve if you only travel within Canada!) but those of you who have achieved it will need to up your game if you want to hold onto those benefits.  The new program adds a third elite level along with all the levels receiving new monikers. Probably the biggest change however is the qualification requirements. You can no longer qualify on stays, so up until Feb 28th you could qualify for Diamond with 25 separate stays (25 nights) but in the new program you'll have to have 60 nights to get the top level status. You do have another route for qualification now, World of Hyatt will also allow you to earn status by the number of base points you earn on your stays. So if you end up spending $20,000 on Hyatt stays that earn 5 points per dollar then you'll hit 100,000 point requirement for the top Globalist level. Right now the only good news is that if you have or will qualify for Diamond with your stays in 2016 then you'll be given the top level in the new program for 2017.

The new World of Hyatt membership tiers and qualification requirements (starting March 1, 2017)


Benefits of the new World of Hyatt membership tiers:


They have also introduced some incentives to try out their various brands as you'll get a free night at a Category 1-4  hotel when you stay at 5 different brands within the Hyatt portfolio. Stay at another 5 different brands (so trying out 10 of their 11 brands) nets you another Cat 1-4 free night.

What your current membership will translate to:

Overall there are lots of pros and cons to the changes! The biggest downfall is for those qualified for Diamond based on stays not nights. The biggest pro is the potential to earn a lot of free night certificates when you hit the various levels of elite status.

What are everybody's thoughts? Do like the new program that Hyatt is launching? Or do you not and will you switch brands because of it? Let us know in the comments section below.

Find our more about all the changes and details of the World of Hyatt Program here.

Friday, October 28, 2016

IHG Rewards Club Point Breaks - Full list of hotels that will be available for booking on Monday (4 in Canada)


Yesterday on FrequentFlyerBonuses.com we gave a sneak peak of the newest IHG Point Break offers that will start on Monday. Well only a few hours after that sneak peak, IHG released the whole list of hotels which we are pleased provide to you here.  The participating hotels in this set of offers will be bookable as of Oct 31 for stays Oct 31 - Jan 31, 16 (subject to availability).

Each Reward Night at these participating hotels will be only 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points during the above mentioned dates. Remember the new PointBreaks rules that a member can only book up to 2 reward reservations per hotel participating in the individual offer (ie 2 at Pointbreaks hotels and 2 at Last Minute Reward Night hotels).  My tip to get around this would be to book 2 reservations with one IHG Rewards Club account and then have your spouse book 2 more etc. Of course this is dependent on both accounts having enough points to redeem for these awards. Also be sure to book these ASAP as once the allotted nights are booked at certain locations those hotels will fall off the list.

Why are IHG Rewards Club Point Breaks such a great deal? Because they offer reward nights at participating IHG hotels Worldwide for only 5,000 Rewards Club points. For those of you not to familiar with IHG Rewards Club , normal redemption rates for Rewards Club reward nights run from as low as 10,000 points for some Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express locations to 50,000 points for ultra-luxurious InterContinental locations and even these locations can participate in Point Breaks. So as you can see you can receive a discount of 50 to 88% off the regular redemption rates. You may be thinking that the high end hotels won't participate but they do depending on the time of year! Please note that like most loyalty promotions these offers are capacity controlled so I advise to book sooner than later to ensure you get the Point Breaks rate. These offers will be bookable via the primary Points Breaks page as of Oct 31st.

What is even crazier is IHG is currently running a 100% bonus on buying IHG Rewards Club Points. With this bonus you can buy points at 0.575 cents each or US$28.75 for 5,000 points. That means you can stay at any of the hotels listed below for only US$28.75! Including the one InterContinental hotel that is participating in Cali Colombia! You can take advantage of the 100% bonus on buying points here.

Once again the numbers in Canada are low with only 4 hotels participating.  Of note in the group of Canadian hotels is the brand new Candlewood Suites Calgary Airport North. Might be a good option for anyone needing a hotel night before an early flight out of YYC or for an overnight layover.

Here is the list of  hotels (pulled from the IHG blog)

Canada

Alberta

Ontario

Hotels in Asia and Australia:

China
India
Indonesia
Japan
Kuwait
Malaysia
Nepal

Hotels in Africa and Middle East:

South Africa

Hotels in South America:

Chile
Colombia
Uruguay

Hotels in Latin America and Mexico:

Honduras
Mexico
Panama

Hotels in North America:

Canada
Alberta

Ontario
United States
Alabama
Arkansas
Arizona
California
Connecticut
Florida
Georgia
Iowa
Illinois
Indiana
Kansas
Louisiana
Maryland
Michigan
Minnesota
Missouri
Mississippi
Montana
North Carolina
North Dakota
Nebraska
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rewards Canada's 15th Anniversary Celebration! Week 1: Enter to win 15,000 Aeroplan Miles + Free Marriott Rewards Points


Wow! 15 years! A big thank you to all of our readers and supporters who have helped us reach this amazing milestone! Without you we would not be celebrating this achievement and to show our appreciation we have lots of great contests, points offers and more!

Be sure to enter the contests, take part in our social media initiative for some free points and take advantage of our special booking offers! Over the past 15 years Rewards Canada has built up some great relationships with various travel and loyalty partners and we have teamed up with some of our longest standing partners to help celebrate!



This week you can enter to win one of three prizes of 15,000 Aeroplan Miles and you can take part in our social media campaign to earn free Marriott Rewards points!

Find all the details on our 15th Anniversary page

 

American Express Use Points for Purchases explained

Back in July we let our readers know about the American Express Use Points for Purchases program. The big news is that this earlier this month it was officially launched with a press release from American Express.

What is Use Points for Purchases

Per American Express it is "a dynamic new capability that allows eligible Cardmembers to use Membership Rewards points towards a wide range of eligible everyday purchases charged to their Card. Eligible Cardmembers enrolled in the Membership Rewards program can access and redeem against eligible spending on purchases they love such as retail, dining and entertainment including tickets to select events/ concerts through Ticketmaster straight from the Amex App with a few easy taps.

In other words you can now redeem points for any purchases made on a Membership Rewards enrolled Card. The only exception would be fees like annual fees, interest fees etc.  The Use Points for Purchases program is a new capability that is an expansion of American Express’ existing Membership Rewards programs. Now you are probably wondering, what is the redemption rate?

Points redeemed against travel charges in the new Use Points for Purchases program are at a rate of 1,000 points for a $10 credit.

The new feature to redeem points against everyday purchases is at 1,000 points for a $7 credit.


What return does this actually represent?

American Express Gold Rewards Card:
Gas, Grocery, Drug Store & Travel purchases: 1.4% (versus 2% for travel redemptions, 2%-5%+ when converting to frequent flyer/guest programs)

All other purchases: 0.7% (versus 1% for travel redemptions, 1%-2.5%+ when converting to frequent flyer/guest programs)

The Platinum Card from American Express:
All purchases: 0.875% (versus 1.25% for travel redemptions, 1.25%-3.13%+ when converting to frequent flyer/guest programs)


Ease of Use

This new redemption isn't for everyone, as I know some of you prefer to accumulate points over time, but I would think that many of you will want to consider using it, especially since it is so easy to use via the American Express App. Once you open the app and login, you'll see the latest transactions on the card:

Simply click on any one of the transactions and you'll be presented with the following screen:

Extremely simple and easy to use - this is such a great option on the app to be able to go in and quickly redeem for essentially any purchase. Through the app, you can redeem for the whole purchase made on your American Express Card, and if you login to the main American Express website you get the option of redeeming some or all of the points.


What's the verdict?

The redemption rate is good if you have the Amex Gold Rewards Card and make purchases at merchants that collect two Membership Rewards points per dollar as your return is 1.4%. Don’t forget – new Cardmembers also earn a welcome bonus of 25,000 points.

At non-bonus category spend levels it is on the lower end of the return spectrum but the option from Amex is not about being the top rate out there (they already have really great cash back cards like the SimplyCash and SimplyCash Preferred cards) but in providing the utmost in options and flexibility for their Cardmembers – making it one of the most valuable programs out there. The difference here as well with Use Points for Purchases is quick access to redeeming rewards. You don't have to wait until you accumulate a lot of points (Cardmembers with point balances as low as 1,000 are able to redeem for purchases), or the case of the majority of cash back cards, until the anniversary date of your card! You simply have to wait about 24-48 hours when the transaction appears. I know some of you would consider trading higher rates of return for speedy access to redemption.

With that being said, those of you (including us here at Rewards Canada) who hold one or even two of the Amex Cards listed above can consider this a welcome addition that gives you an extra redemption option. Or if you are one of those Cardmembers who has more points than they know what to do with so that after the statement credit you have more cash in your pocket. In any case it is a very good option to have and being able to quickly access it via the app makes it that much more attractive.

What do you think of this new option of being able to redeem Membership Rewards points for any purchase? Will you make use of it?

This is proudly sponsored by our friends at Amex Bank of Canada. This post reflects the blogger's personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsor

IHG Rewards Club: Up to a 100% Bonus when you buy or gift points


It is time for another IHG Rewards Club Buy Points offer! It comes just in advance of the next set of PointBreaks which should be released by next week. The offer varies by member, we received an offer of 80% bonus points while others are seeing as high as 100%

If you get 100% that brings the price of a point down to 0.575 of a cent. If you choose to buy the maximum number of points, 60,000, it will cost you US$690 but of course you'll end up getting 120,000 points. That's up to 24 nights at IHG hotels if redeeming via the PointBreaks option which works out to  only $28.75 per night!

Offer Details
Up to 100% Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points when you buy or gift points online.  Full details. Until Nov 16, 16