Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30 Update: Last day of 15th Anniversary Celebration, mbna World Elite loses first year free & Xiamen Airlines now on Rewards Canada

News, Tips & Tricks
This is the last day of the Rewards Canada 15th Anniversary Celebration! You have a chance to win 30,000 Starpoints in the final contest! Also remember that you until the end of today you can earn double MileagePlus Miles on all hotel bookings made via Kaligo! Check it all out on the 15th Anniversary site!

One of the better cards in Canada just lost its first year free status. the mbna Rewards World Elite MasterCard is no longer waiving the $89 annual fee in the first year. You can read our review of the card here.


We added yet another new program that we are now tracking on Rewards Canada. Xiamen Air Egret Club has been added to our bonus offers section. Xiamen Air flies out of Vancouver to Xiamen China so this may be useful to those of utilizing the airline out of YVR. Xiamen Air is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. You can find that bonus offer page here.


Posts since our last update:
Travel Deals
Save up to 30% off on IHG Hotels stays at over 600 locations in Europe  Full details and online booking Book by Feb 24 for stays until Feb 27, 17


Canadian Bonus Offers

N/A

Other Bonus Offers
Alitalia MilleMiglia
- 50% Bonus MilleMiglia Miles for stays at the Grand Hotel Majestic, formerly the Baglioni, in Bologna, Due Torri Hotel in Verona, Hotel Bernini Palace in Florence, Hotel Bristol Palace in Genoa, and Hotel Santa Barbara and Hotel Alga in Milan. More... Until Feb 28, 17

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Earn up to Triple Asia Miles for stays at Mandarin Oriental Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Feb 10, 17

JAL Mileage Bank
- Earn up to 10,000 Bonus Mileage Bank Miles when you book hotels via Kaligo. More... Book by Feb 28, 17

Le Club accorhotels
-200 Bonus Le Club Accorhotels Points for every THB 1,000 you spend at the VoilĂ ! Restaurant or L’Appart Rooftop Bar and Restaurant at Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. More... Until Dec 31, 16

Xiamen Air Egret Club
- 50% Bonus Egret Miles on all your hotel stays booked via Kaligo. More... Book by Feb 15, 17 for stays until Dec 31, 17


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5 great Marriott Hotels in Canada to use your anniversary free night benefit at from the Marriott Rewards Visa (Updated Apr 20, 17)


The Marriott Rewards Premier Visa Card comes with a whole bunch of great sign up bonuses when you get the card but it also has a decent offer for holding on to the card beyond your first year with it. Upon your card's anniversary you'll receive a free Marriott Rewards Category 1-5 certificate. This certificate can be redeemed for a free night stay at any Marriott Hotels Worldwide that fall under the Category 1 to 5 levels. For many hotels, especially Category 5 hotels, this means saving more money than the $120 annual fee the card carries when you hit that anniversary date. In Canada you have quite a few choices that you can use the certificate, namely 106 hotels. (19 Category 5, 27 Category 4, 37 Category 3,  and 19 Category 2,  there are 4 Category 1 hotels in Canada)

April 20, 2017 Update: The Marriott Rewards category changes in March saw the Delta Kingston move to Category 6 so we had to replace that option. Based on the comments and other input we have replaced it with the Ottawa Marriott Hotel.

From those 106 hotels these are our top picks to use your certificate at for travels within Canada:


Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel

Category 5
One of Marriott's newest hotels in Canada  the Calgary Airport Marriott In-Terminal Hotel is their flagship Marriott Hotel in terms of design and services. Rewards Canada was able to try out the hotel just after it opened. Check out our review here. With rates easily running over $200 per night not only does the certificate save you a good chunk of change you are staying at a great new hotel!














Category 5
Close to all the action in downtown Ottawa and for visiting Parliament and the Rideau Canal is great hotel choice to use your certificate at. This hotel can run up to the $300 and $400 range so using your certificate here can generate a huge return for you.


The Algonquin Resort St. Andrews by-the-Sea, Autograph Collection 

Category 5
Over 100 years old the Algonquin Resort is one of Canada's most iconic seadside hotels! Use the certificate to have a night of elegance or in the case of the Rewards Canada family, maybe some ghost hunting!

The Hotel Saskatchewan, Autograph Collection

Category 5 
Another opulent hotel in Marriott's Autograph Collection in Canada, Regina's The Hotel Saskatchewan makes for that great staycation or if you require to overnight in downtown Regina for business and you need to cover the hotel room cost yourself you may want to use your certificate here!

Delta Hotels Ottawa City Centre

Category 5 
A beautiful hotel in downtown Ottawa that regularly runs over $150 per night is an ideal spot for that stay in YOW. Less than a kilometer from Parliament Hill this another good hotel to use your certificate at. 



What about you? What are some of your favourite Marriott Hotels in Canada to use your certificate at?

----
Chase Marriott Premier Visa
Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa

30,000 Bonus Rewards Points when you apply for and receive the Premier card. Points are awarded after your first purchase.
Annual Fee: $120 (waived in the first year)
Supplementary cards: free
5 Marriott Rewards points per $ spent Marriott Rewards® and SPG® Hotels worldwide
2 Marriott Rewards points per $ spent on Airline Tickets, Car Rental agencies and restaurants
1 Marriott Rewards point on all other spending
15 Night credit towards elite status, which translates to automatic Silver status
Anniversary bonus of 1 free night at a Category 1 - 5 location
Apply online.

New bill in Ontario could make points & miles expiry illegal


The CBC ran another piece on the whole AIR MILES expiry issue today about Bill 47 in Ontario. The bill wants to make it illegal for programs to expire miles. While it would only be in effect for Ontario residents if it passes chances are it would spread across Canada just like the issue of Gift Card expiry many years ago. We were interviewed by CBC for this article yesterday and some of our comments made it into the article.

The fact of the matter is very few programs in Canada actually have Expiry rules when it comes to their loyalty currencies. In our guide to Expiry and Inactivity Rules of Canadian Loyalty Programs, you'll see that only 4 out 16 programs we examined have expiry rules. AIR MILES, WestJet, MyHusky Rewards and Starbucks. The rest don't expire your miles if you are active in the program. We are opponents of expiry but are supporters of inactivity rules. Of course, Canada's largest loyalty program, AIR MILES, just happens to be one that will expire miles and that kicks in on January 1st, hence all the media surrounding it this year. There are differences between Expiry Rules and Inactivity Rules and we hope that if this bill is introduced it takes these into account and only locks in the Expiry Rule portion. Dec 1 Update: Aeroplan reached out to us to let us know that this bill will not touch inactivity rules, so it is only Expiry that is on the table

Inactivity

Inactivity expiration happens when you have not been active with a loyalty program for a set amount of time. If you are not active with a program you stand to lose all your miles and points and have your account closed.

Expiry

Mile/Point Expiry differs from the inactivity rule in that it affects the points and miles in your account even if your active with that program. Effectively Mile/Point expiry is a date stamp on those you have earned and they will expire after the time set out by the program if you don't redeem them.

(Source: Rewards Canada's Guide to Expiry and Inactivity Rules of Canadian Loyalty Programs)
If you are not active in a program, outside of extenuating circumstances like a medical issue, we are fine with a program closing your account and pulling your miles and points. If you haven't earned or redeemed a point or mile in a 12 to 24 month period then there is a reason why you aren't using that program and yes the program should do that house cleaning. However if you are active in a program, even just on the earning side, you are helping that program's bottom line. Many of you have been collecting AIR MILES since they launched in 1992 and some of you have not redeemed. You are adding to LoyaltyOne's pockets by earning those miles since AIR MILES are sold to their sponsors (and this is on top of those sponsors paying an initiation fee and marketing fees) but those miles are a liability on their books albeit one that on a per mile basis is less than than what those sponsors paid for it. Although not public, we have heard that sponsors pay somewhere in the neighbourhood of 20 cents or more per mile and we value AIR MILES at 11 to 15 cents each when you redeem them for travel. Of course big sponsors like Safeway/Sobeys probably pay less but even large financial institutions have come back to me jokingly that they wish they could get our valuation of AIR MILES as their purchase price!


There are stories of couples who are planning to retire in a couple of years and have been banking on using their collected miles as a retirement travel fund but stand to lose tens of thousands of miles because of the expiry rule. These are loyal customers and collectors. They are not as AIR MILES states: 
"absentee collectors who've been sitting on their miles for years."
 They are collectors just waiting for the right time and the right opportunity to use their miles.

AIR MILES also mentions
"that international rewards programs might opt out of Ontario due to the province's different regulations."
This may not be the case entirely as the contract signed by you when you join a program would be governed in the state or country that the program runs out of. Most U.S. based programs only have Inactivity rules as well however lots of European and Asian airline programs do have Expiry rules on their miles and points so those could come into question.

If this bill passes but AIR MILES chooses to only exercise the option of keeping miles for Ontario residents we may see a mass migration of people moving from other provinces to Ontario. Online that is. There is nothing stopping members from making their AIR MILES account Ontario based via their online profile on the Air Miles website since most communication is electronic anyways. This is a well known 'hack' in the loyalty industry where people have 'moved' to Australia, Hong Kong etc.  within their loyalty programs just to take advantage of great bonuses, elite status offers or other promotions that are regional based.

Remember to check our Guide to AIR MILES Expiry for articles, tips and more around this hot topic!
 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

November 29 Update: Episode 9 of the RC Podcast, Updates to main site and more!

News, Tips & Tricks
We are only about 36 hours away from the end of the Rewards Canada 15th Anniversary Celebration! You have a chance to win 30,000 Starpoints in the final week contest! Also remember that you until the end of tomorrow to earn double MileagePlus Miles on all hotel bookings made via Kaligo! Check it all out on the 15th Anniversary site!

Episode 9 of the Rewards Canada podcast came out yesterday! We talk 15th Anniversary, Amex Fixed Point redemptions, WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard and more!  Find the details and download links here.

In the final contest mentioned above we have been asking our readers on what they would like to see on Rewards Canada in the future and we have begun implementing some of those ideas already! Some are easy to do and so have been done while others will be in the pipeline to be implemented. Lots of you have asked for more travel deals so we have started posting more of those as witnessed in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday posts. More will come in the future. Some readers asked for more integration between the website and blog so we have done that on the home page of the main website and will be further expanded across the main Rewards Canada website.

There is now a direct feed of the latest blog posts on the home page:

and the 'Most Popular Topics' has now been moved to just below that on the home page:


Posts since our last update:
Travel Deals
Save up to 30% off on IHG Hotels stays at over 600 locations in Europe  Full details and online booking Book by Feb 24 for stays until Feb 27, 17



Canadian Bonus Offers

N/A

Other Bonus Offers
Air China Phoenix Miles
- Triple Phoenix Miles Kilometers for stays at participating Accor hotels Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 16

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Triple Mileage Plan Miles when you rent any size car at participating Alamo locations Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 17
- Triple Mileage Plan Miles on rentals of 1 or more consecutive days at participating Avis airport locations in the U.S. and Canada. More... Until Mar 31, 17
- Triple Mileage Plan Miles on qualifying rentals of 3 days or more at participating Budget airport locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. More... Until May 31, 17
- Triple Mileage Plan Miles on all rentals of three days or longer at any Dollar location Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 17
- Quadruple Mileage Plan Miles on all Hertz rentals at participating airport and off airport locations in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico More... Until Jun 30, 17
- Triple Mileage Plan Miles when you rent any size car at participating National locations in the United States or Canada. More... Until Dec 31, 17
- Triple Mileage Plan Miles on all rentals of three days or longer at any Thrifty location Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 17

Copa ConnectMiles
- 2,000 Bonus ConnectMiles when you complete your first hotel stay booked via Rocketmiles. More... Book by Jan 31, 17

Le Club accorhotels
- 150 Bonus Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays of 2 or more nights at participating Accor hotels in France. More... Book by Dec 10 for stays until Dec 31, 16

Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Triple Frequent Flyer Points for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. More... Until Jan 31, 17

Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Up to 50% QMiles Discount on Qatar Airways Privilege Club Award ticket redemptions for various routes via their "Easy Deals" offer. More... Until Dec 15, 16

Turkish Miles&Smiles
- Quadruple Miles&Smiles Miles starting with your second stay at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 16


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Earn thousands of bonus airline miles on all your Hilton stays

Rather than offering up a systemwide mileage bonus that is tied into their current HHonors bonus of up to Triple Points, Hilton has decided to offer up various individual bonus offers for many of their airline partners. Below you'll find the most current and up to date list of these offers! Plus as HHonors provides Points+Miles you can still take advantage of Hilton HHonors' Triple Points for stays until the end of this year.

Highlighted offers:




The complete list of offers:

All Airline Partners Earn up to 500 Bonus Miles PER NIGHT for stays at participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio throughout Europe, Latin America, Canada and Hawaii. Full details and online booking
  • 500 miles per stay at select recently opened Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton hotels
  • 500 miles per night at select recently opened Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton hotels
Until ?
All Airline Partners Earn up to 500 Bonus Miles PER NIGHT for stays at select newly opened hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Full details and online booking
  • 500 miles per stay at select recently opened Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton hotels
  • 500 miles per night at select recently opened Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Curio – A Collection by Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton hotels
Until ?
AeroMexico Club Premier Triple Club Premier Points when you stay at participating Hilton hotels in Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Mar 31, 17
Air Canada / Aeroplan Triple Aeroplan Miles when you stay at participating Hilton hotels in Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Mar 31, 17
Air China Phoenix Miles Earn up to Phoenix Miles Kilometers for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn double miles when you stay at any participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio globally, and triple miles in Asia Pacific. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Dec 31, 16
AIR MILES (Canada) Triple AIR MILES Reward Miles when you stay at at participating Hilton hotels in Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Mar 31, 17
Air New Zealand Airpoints Triple Airpoints Dollars for stays of 4 or more nights at the Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort, DoubleTree by Hilton™ Alana Waikiki Beach or the Hilton Waikoloa Village Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Book by Dec 15 for stays until Feb 28, 17
Double Airpoints Dollars + $50 Bonus Dollars for stays at participating Hilton hotels and resorts Worldwide.
Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required)

Earn Double Airpoints Dollars on all eligible and qualifying stays plus an additional 50 Airpoints Dollars can be earned for a qualifying weekend stay (any stay that includes a Friday, Saturday and/or a Sunday notwithstanding the check-in day) at participating properties within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio globally
Until Jan 31, 17
AirAsia BIG Earn up to Triple Big Points for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn double miles when you stay at any participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio globally, and triple miles in Asia Pacific. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Jan 31, 17
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Triple Mileage Plan Miles when you stay at participating Hilton hotels in Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Mar 31, 17
American AAdvantage Triple AAdvantage Miles when you stay at participating Hilton hotels in Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Mar 31, 17
ANA Mileage Club Earn up to Triple Mileage Club Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn double miles when you stay at any participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio globally, and triple miles in Asia Pacific. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Jan 31, 17
Asiana Club Earn up to Triple Club Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn double miles when you stay at any participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio globally, and triple miles in Asia Pacific. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Jan 31, 17
Avianca LifeMiles Triple LifeMiles when you stay at participating Hilton hotels in Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Mar 31, 17
British Airways Executive Club Triple Avios on all eligible stays at Hilton Hotels Worldwide  Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Dec 31, 16
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Earn up to 5x Asia Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels and resorts Worldwide. Earn 5X Asia Miles for stays at any participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio in Greater China, 4X Asia Miles in the Asia Pacific and 3X Asia Miles elsewhere. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Dec 31, 16
China Eastern Eastern Miles Earn up to Triple Eastern Miles Points for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn double miles when you stay at any participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio globally, and triple miles in Asia Pacific. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Dec 31, 16
Delta SkyMiles 250 Medallion Qualification Miles and Double Miles when you complete a qualifying stay of two nights or more at any Hilton Hotel Worldwide. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Dec 31, 16
Triple SkyMiles when you stay at participating Hilton hotels in Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Mar 31, 17
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands Earn up to Triple Infinity MileageLands for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn double miles when you stay at any participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio globally, and triple miles in Asia Pacific. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Dec 31, 16
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Earn up to Triple Mileage Bank Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn double miles when you stay at any participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio globally, and triple miles in Asia Pacific. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Jan 31, 17
Jet Airways JetPrivilege Earn up to Triple JPMiles for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn double miles when you stay at any participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio globally, and triple miles in Asia Pacific. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Jan 31, 17
JetBlue TrueBlue Triple TrueBlue Points when you stay at participating Hilton hotels in Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Mar 31, 17
Malaysia Airlines Enrich Earn up to Triple Enrich Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn Triple miles in Asia Pacific and double miles everywhere else. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Jan 31, 17
Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Earn up to Triple Mabuhay Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn triple miles at hotels and resorts within the Hilton portfolio in Asia Pacific, and double Mabuhay Miles anywhere else around the world. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Jan 31, 17
Qantas Frequent Flyer Triple Frequent Flyer Points for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Jan 31, 17
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Earn up to Triple KrisFlyer Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Earn double miles when you stay at any participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio globally, and triple miles in Asia Pacific. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Jan 31, 17
Turkish Miles&Smiles Quadruple Miles&Smiles Miles starting with your second stay at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Dec 31, 16
United MileagePlus 1,500 Bonus MileagePlus Miles for every night you stay at one of more than 50 participating Waldorf Astoria and Conrad Hotels & Resorts locations Worldwide. Maximum of 7,500 bonus miles per stay. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Dec 31, 16
Triple MileagePlus Miles when you stay at participating Hilton hotels in Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Mar 31, 17
Virgin America Elevate Earn up to 6,000 Bonus Elevate Points for stays at participating Hilton hotels & resorts in Hawaii. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required)
2 night stay – 2,000 elevate points 5 night stay -- 5,000 elevate points 
3 night stay -- 3,000 elevate points  6 night stay -- 6,000 elevate points
4 night stay -- 4,000 elevate points 
Sep 1 - Jan 31, 17

Monday, November 28, 2016

Considering the BMO Rewards World Elite MasterCard? - Apply by Nov 30 to lock in the best offer

Not so good news from the folks at BMO. The BMO Rewards World Elite MasterCard is undergoing some more changes! Earlier this year it was the addition of a $50 supplementary card fee (meaning you are looking at $200 per year for a primary and supplementary card) and as of December 1st we'll see the sign up bonus lowered and the income requirement RAISED! So that gives you three days to grab this card right now if it is on your radar.  It does still provide the nice Priority Pass access with 4 free lounge access vouchers (Value of US$207) and pretty decent travel medical insurance and other benefits. That being said this card, which was our #1 Travel Points Card with Annual fee only 2 years ago is really starting to drop down the rankings as we just can't see it holding on to the #2 position in 2017.

Anyways if you are considering the card and do want it apply for it by November 30th!

BMO
BMO World Elite MasterCard

  • 2.0% return on all purchases that can be used towards any travel that is booked through BMO Rewards
  • 30,000 point sign up bonus that is worth $300 of travel
  • An annual standard Priority Pass lounge access membership is included plus 4 free lounge visits which saves the cardholder over $200 each year 
  • An excellent suite of insurance and benefits including out of province medical coverage
Apply online

IHG Cyber Week Sale - Save 15% on Points+Cash (today only), up to 25% off 3 night stays in Canada and more


IHG's website has finally stopped being finicky this morning and now we can let you know about their full Cyber Week sale offers. We already told you about the 100% bonus on buying points (see post here) but there are other offers to take advantage of:

First off, today only you can save 15% on Points+Cash bookings (unless you hold an IHG Credit Card then you have all week:
Remember that Points+Cash stays can be cancelled and then the cash portion is refunded as points. With this offer you can technically buy 15,000 points for US$84.15 or 0.561 cents each (versus 0.575 with the buy points offer) so if you only need 15,000 points this is the way to go!!

Then there is discount offer for stays at IHG Hotels in Canada like Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites and more:

Save up to 25% by booking 3 or more nights at any participating Canadian properties for stays until March 31, 2017. Full details and booking can be found here.

Here are the other notable offers in this week's Cyber Sale from IHG:

IHG Rewards Club Buy Points Cyber Sale! 100% Bonus until December 2 - use it to save some $$$



This is now the fourth time this year that IHG Rewards Club is offering a 100% bonus on buying points and this is by far one of the best to take advantage of as you can use it save some serious coin on stays at Holiday Inns, InterContinental Hotels and more!

This offer brings the price of a point down to US$ 0.575 of a cent when you buy between 1,000 and 60,000 points! 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 24 nights at IHG hotels if redeeming via the PointBreaks option which works out to only $28.75 per night!

Offer Details
100% Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points when you buy points online.  Minimum purchase of 1,000 points. Full details. Until Dec 2, 16

Here is an example of how this can be utilized:

Holiday Inn Express North Bay with the PointBreaks option:
You only need 5,000 points, which you can buy 3,000 points to get 6,000 total with this bonus. The cost is US$40.50+GST or about $55 Canadian all in. We checked January 14-15th and the 5,000 points was available while the best available (non-refundable rate) was $139. Right away you are saving nearly $85! That's a huge discount!


Using your American Express Gold Rewards Card for Holiday Travel

Holiday Travel. Everyone is excited to visit family and friends for the holidays. Drinking hot chocolate, singing Christmas carols, opening presents are just some of what we look forward to. What many people aren't excited about is the travel part and the booking of it. You can't get the flights you want because your loyalty program has sold all their seats or they want much higher than usual redemption amounts. Or flights are available but getting from Vancouver to Montreal includes stops in Edmonton and Toronto. Or maybe its the week before Christmas and you decide last minute that you and your family want to up and go the day after Christmas to somewhere warm and sunny, the likelihood of finding award tickets is not ideal.  So what can you do about it?

You use a card that lets you book any flight at any time and then pay for it with points after the fact. We look at it in our feature Why proprietary credit card reward programs are the best option for most Canadians and one of the mainstays in our wallet and our top recommendation to many of you is the American Express Gold Rewards Card. And when we say any flight any time, its not like a lot of the commercials you see where you have to call the credit card reward's travel agency. We mean you go to your travel agent, you go online or heck even if you go to the airport and buy the ticket two hours before you fly. That is what we mean by any flight any time.

Going back to the situations discussed in the first paragraph this card will overcome them so long as seats are available for purchase on the flights you want,  or rooms are available at the hotels you want to stay at. 

Here's an example of how it could work:
Its early December and you decide that you're going to go visit Grandma for Christmas. You find your ideal flights on WestJet.com. You go through the booking and pay for the flights with your American Express Gold Card. Two days later the charges show up on your account.

Let’s say the total cost was $2,000 and you have 55,000 points in your Membership Rewards account.
  • 25,000 Points from getting the card and hitting that $1,500 spend threshold within the first 90 days. 
  • You earned another 10,000 by referring 2 friends to card 
  • Another 15,000 comes from spending only $7,500 on eligible gas, grocery, drug store and travel purchases as the card earns 2 Points per dollar on those categories and 1 point per dollar on all other eligible spending
  • 4,000 of those 15,000 points were just earned on the flights you purchased 
  • The other 5,000 is from other everyday spend that earns 1 point per dollar. 
You can now redeem those 55,000 points right away as a $550 statement credit towards the $2,000 in flights.
Examples of utilizing the Use Points for Purchase on the American Express Website
 
Its now January. You did tons of Christmas shopping on the card in November and December, you visited Grandma, had a great time and now have another 10,000 points accumulated in your Membership Rewards account from your use of the American Express Gold Rewards card. Well guess what? You can use those 10,000 points against the WestJet flights! That's right, even though the travel is already complete and you have already redeemed some points against the charges you can keep doing so for up to 12 months after the charge posts! Traditional loyalty programs don't let you do this. Neither do two of the very well known proprietary credit card reward programs that advertise heavily in Canada. All of them only let you redeem if you have the full amount of points or severely devalue your points if you do a partial redemption.

Yet another bonus for you,
Since the flights were considered revenue tickets by WestJet, all of your family members earned WestJet dollars on those flights and they spend counted towards the spend requirements for reaching elite status in the program. Essentially what you just completed is the famous double dip. You earned Membership Rewards points for the purchase of the tickets on the card and you earned the WestJet dollars for the actual flights. Not bad considering you also redeemed points for the flights!

We love using the Gold Rewards Card to help fund our vacations since you don't have to worry about having all the points up front before you travel. For example, if you've budgeted $5,000 for your vacation and you have $1,500 worth of points saved up in your Membership Rewards account, you can choose to save and make that vacation cost only $3,500 or you can still spend your $5,000 and boost your budget to $6,500 using the points. That $1,500 could get you the 5-star hotel with a private beach, versus the 3-star one down the road with a shared beach. See how the Rewards Canada family has saved money with proprietary programs in our Redemption Stories section! 

Final thoughts 
Many people are limited to travelling during the busy times of the year, Christmas, Spring Break, Family Day Break, Summer Break etc. This is also when most of everyone else in Canada is travelling, so of course when it comes to using traditional reward programs most will find it difficult to redeem during those “high season” periods. With a flexible travel card like the Gold Rewards Card, those difficulties are alleviated. As you’ve seen above, you can book any travel you want with anyone you want and you are good to go as you can choose to redeem as many points as you want afterwards.


American Express Gold Rewards Card
American Express Gold Rewards Card

• New American Express® Gold Rewards* Cardmembers can earn a Welcome Bonus of 25,000 Membership Rewards® points just by making $1,500 in purchases in the first three months of Cardmembership.
• No Annual Fee for the first year; $150 Annual Fee thereafter*
• That’s enough to redeem for a round-trip Fixed Mileage Flight Reward TM* to almost anywhere in North America.
• Transfer your points to frequent flyer programs, or 1:1 to Aeroplan®* and Avios
• Earn 2 points for every $1 on eligible travel and everyday purchases
• Charge any travel to your Card then pay for it with points
• 1 Free Supplementary Gold Rewards Card (a $50 value*) to help you earn points faster
• You can use Apple Pay on your eligible device to pay for goods and services at participating American Express contactless merchants
• American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now  link.
• *As a Charge Card, the balance must always be paid in full each month. 30% annual interest rate applies to balances not paid in full.
Conditions apply
Apply Now