Friday, November 17, 2017

Yes it is official - say good bye to the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ World Elite Mastercard®

Amazon, Marriott and now this, the best Travel Points Credit Card with an annual fee and our 2nd place card overall in Canada is no longer available to new customers. You may have noticed that as of a few days ago we pulled all references of this card off our site and as of yesterday it was taken off the Capital One site as it has been officially discontinued!

Citing economics due to the change in interchange rates (see our 2015 death knell post) Capital One has decided to pull this card from the market.

What if I already have the card?
For now you are OK. Capital One has told us that all existing Aspire Travel World Elite card holders will continue to enjoy this amazing card!

It is just for anyone who has not got the card that you have now lost out if you were considering it. We asked Capital One if there is a replacement product in the works and unfortunately there is not.

All other Capital One products like the Capital One® Aspire Travel™ Platinum Mastercard® and the Capital One® Aspire Cash™ Platinum Mastercard® are still available.

Thoughts everyone?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

November 16 Update: Papeete now bookable with WestJet dollars plus their Black Friday offers start today with flights as low as $99

Several people have asked us about using WestJet dollars for the Air France's flight Papeete out of Los Angeles as when we posted yesterday it wasn't showing up on WestJet's site. As of today Papeete is on the drop down list now and it is proving hard to find availabilty and that is mainly due to Air France only flying the route 3x per week and being only one of two routes between mainland North America and Tahiti you can gather why availability is sparce.

I did find availability between Calgary (any Canadian city should work) and Papeete on December 7th, the price is 729WSD + 91.24 in taxes. The only other date we found was March 8. Both said 4 seats available and that is only one way. We did not check return flights but then again who would want to return!


If you are having difficulty finding availability on any routes for Member Exclusive Fares we have had several tips have come in from readers and WestJet alike to help out:

From Hyacinthe in the comments of our blog post yesterday:
Member exclusive fares options online are somehow limited but I've been told that the rewards department over the phone can book any origin-destination, including from outside Canada

From WestJet via email:
Here’s what you need to book:
  • Your WestJet Rewards ID and password. You’ll need to sign in to book.
  • Enough WestJet dollars to cover the entire base fare. If you don’t have enough, you can buy more.
  • The Member Exclusive checkbox. International destinations and fares are only displayed when booking a Member Exclusive fare so be sure to always check this option on the book a flight search tool before selecting your dates and destination.
  • Flexibility with your travel dates. These destinations are made available by our airline partners through a restricted supply of seats reserved for frequent flyer program redemption. For best availability try booking at least two months in advance and if you can’t immediately find the date you’re looking for, search for other dates. You’ll find best availability during non-peak days of week and travel periods. 
  • Flexibility with your destination. In many cases, multiple cities are offered within the same country. Can’t get to Frankfurt? Consider Berlin, Dusseldorf or Munich.
FYI Air France KLM Flying Blue is still not showing WestJet flights on their award booking engine. As soon as they do we'll make sure to let you know about it!

Pacific Coastal Airlines is launching a new route between Vancouver and Tofino in April of 2018. Pacific Coastal does not have their own frequent flyer program which means it is an ideal airline to use proprietary credit card points for flights with them! (Source Routes Online)

We're going to keep this reminder going in each update until Christmas:
Check out the Give A Mile Flight Hero campaign! The charity can really use donations of miles to help provide flights to those who otherwise would be unable to travel to visit terminally ill or critically sick family and friends. Rewards Canada has pledged to raise 100,000 miles and we are half way there! We are putting the call out to all of our fans, readers and even new visitors, if you can give please do so. It can be as little as 1,000 miles! You can find out more and donate here.



Posts since our last update:
Travel Deals

WestJet has launched a one day only Black Friday sale - Fares start as low as $99 one way between major Canadian cities however fares are limited at the lowest prices (some have already sold out at time of posting) Find out more here


Remember to visit Rewards Canada's Travel Booking site to book travel directly with many of your favourite airlines, hotels and more!

Canadian Bonus Offers
British Airways Executive Club
- 30% Bonus Avios when you convert RBC Rewards Points (Avion Cardholders only) to British Airways Executive Club. More... For residents of Canada only. Until Dec 31, 17


Other Bonus Offers
Etihad Guest
- Triple Guest Miles for stays at Anantara Hotels in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. More... Until Dec 31, 17

Hyatt World of Hyatt
- Double World of Hyatt Points on all Hyatt stays Worldwide More... Register by Nov 30 for stays until Dec 31, 17

Iberia Plus
- Double Avios for stays at Derby Hotels in Barcelona, Madrid, London and Paris. More... Until Dec 31, 17

Marriott Rewards
- 3,000 Bonus Rewards Points for stays Thursday to Sunday (Friday or Saturday required) at the Nanki-Shirahama Marriott Hotel. More... Until Dec 26, 17

Miles & More
- 500 Bonus Miles & More Miles for stays at participating Novotel Hotels & Suites and Mercure hotels Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 17


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Hyatt Hotels: Double World of Hyatt Points on all stays through to the end of 2017

If we can recall correctly this is only the second system wide bonus to be offered by Hyatt since launching the revamped World of Hyatt program. With this offer you earn double the base points (5 bonus points/$ essentially) on all stays booked online via Hyatt.com or the app.

Offer details:
Double World of Hyatt Points on all Hyatt stays Worldwide that are booked online at Hyatt.com or on the World of Hyatt app.  Register Online (Registration is required) Register by Nov 30 for stays until Dec 31, 17

Stays booked through other channels (including other Hyatt channels) are not eligible.

Find other World of Hyatt bonus offers here

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Simply unprecedented - SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express offers up to 10% cash back

Continuing on with our tweet from Monday:


This is the definite good news for Wednesday on top of all the other good news we already posted!


A Canadian first, perhaps a worldwide first, but as of today you can get a 10% return on credit card spending. Yes it is limited to specific category spending but all we can say is wow! We have never seen a published 10% offer before. Has it been possible to pull value of 10% or more out of credit cards? Yes with frequent flyer and frequent guest cards like The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express but those are not published returns. Here we have a card that is marketing and publishing a 10% return!

As of today if you apply for and are approved for the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express you will earn 10% cash back on eligible gas, grocery and restaurant purchases in Canada for the first 6 months of Cardmembership (up to $300 cash back). The previous offer was 5% up to to $300. So your total value doesn't change but you can now reach that limit twice as fast with only $3,000 in category spending versus $6,000 of overall spending!


SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express


Card Name: SimplyCashTM Preferred Card from American Express
Card Type: Credit   
Annual Fee: $99
Product Details:
New SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express Cardmembers can earn 10% cash back on eligible gas, grocery and restaurant purchases in Canada for the first 6 months of Cardmembership (up to $300 cash back)
Earn 2% cash back on all other purchases and when your welcome rate ends.
No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn
Access to memorable experiences with American Express Invites®
Extensive insurance coverage and 24/7 Customer Service
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. Offer subject to change without notice.

Conditions apply

Apply Now

November 15 Update: WestJet Rewards becoming a real contender, YYC to YYZ via AMS on Air France KLM & 2 new Canadian Marriott stay bonuses


This is just me thinking out loud here..... WestJet Rewards and Air France KLM Flying Blue finally announced reciprocal redemption from their respective reward programs today. We covered using WestJet dollars on AF KLM earlier today and this is great news that I wanted to talk about more. The ever expanding capacity of WestJet Rewards is making the program that much stronger and a contender. It is one to watch out for and to consider joining. With redemption possibilities on WestJet, Delta, Air France, KLM and soon Qantas, there isn't much of the world left that you won't be able to get to. Yes it is only in economy class (for the time being ) but the reality is that is what most Canadians redeem for. Even Aeroplan let us know that redeeming for business class isn't a major award goal. When they raised the amount of miles required for business class flights to Europe and several other award categories a few years ago, they themselves stated that this affected only about 2% of their members. As someone living in Calgary it really has me starting to reconsider my strategies for some of my family's travel patterns. Yes we have the WestJet cards for the companion fares but now I need to crunch the numbers on regular spending as well for all these member exclusive fare options. I would love to hear what others are contemplating!


On the flip side, Air France KLM Flying Blue lists that you can spend miles on WestJet now however the flights don't show up online so chances are you will have to redeem via the phone if you wanted to redeem today! We tried a booking between Calgary and Toronto and this is what we got - not that we would mind going through Amsterdam on a 787 and 747 to get to Toronto but not really practical!

We're going to keep this reminder going in each update until Christmas:
Check out the Give A Mile Flight Hero campaign! The charity can really use donations of miles to help provide flights to those who otherwise would be unable to travel to visit terminally ill or critically sick family and friends. Rewards Canada has pledged to raise 100,000 miles and we are half way there! We are putting the call out to all of our fans, readers and even new visitors, if you can give please do so. It can be as little as 1,000 miles! You can find out more and donate here.



Posts since our last update:
Travel Deals


Remember to visit Rewards Canada's Travel Booking site to book travel directly with many of your favourite airlines, hotels and more!

Canadian Bonus Offers
Marriott Rewards
- Earn up to 7,500 Bonus Rewards Points for stays at the TownePlace Suites London. More... Until Jan 31, 18
- 5,000 Bonus Rewards Points for stays at the Courtyard Waterloo St. Jacobs. More... Until Jan 31, 18

RBC Rewards
2 Bonus RBC Rewards Points per dollar spent when you rent with Thrifty Car Rental in Canada. Must use an RBC Rewards earning credit card for payment. More... Ongoing


Other Bonus Offers
American AAdvantage
- 5,000 Bonus AAdvantage Miles when you spend $200 or more on your first booking with Rocketmiles More... Until Dec 31, 17

Avianca LifeMiles
- Quadruple LifeMiles on your first rental with Sixt that is 3 or more days. More... Until Jan 31, 19

SAS EuroBonus
- 6,000 Bonus EuroBonus Points on Avis rentals of 2 or more days in Europe, The Middle East, Africa, Asia, USA and Canada. More... Book by Nov 30 for rentals until Dec 31, 17
- 4,000 Bonus EuroBonus Points when you rent with Sixt Worldwide for 2 or more days. More... Book by Dec 22 for rentals until Jan 15, 18

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
-Triple Flying Club Miles on Sixt rentals of 3 or more days Worldwide. More... Book by Dec 15 for rentals until Dec 31, 17

Voila Hotel Rewards
- 30% VHR Points Discount when you redeem for award nights participating VOILĂ€ network hotels Worldwide. More... Until Jan 31, 18

Follow Rewards Canada:
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30% Transfer Bonus for RBC Rewards (Avion only) to British Airways Executive Club is back


Some of you asked when this bonus would return and we guessed it would be today and it was! We are happy to let you know the much loved transfer bonus from RBC Rewards to British Airways Executive Club is back.  Once again the bad news is the bonus is lower just like we saw last May, only 30% versus the 50% we were accustomed to. The bonus is harder to find after RBC changed their website and the only  indication of it is the BA banner stating '30% More'. We would greatly appreciate if any of readers who are Avion cardholders could let us know what the end date of the offer is! Thanks to Jovi for the end date details!

The offer is for all of you RBC Avion cardholders (Infinite and Platinum) and runs until December 31. Despite the BA devaluations and only being 30%, this promotion is still a decent deal as BA Avios are a great option for flights to Asia (via Cathay Pacific), short to medium haul within North America  (short haul offer is great on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines see this post here) and even though huge surcharges are added to their UK/Europe redemptions they can still be an alright value because of this bonus based on your spend with the credit card (see my post about Earn & Burn for an explanation). As always though with any frequent flyer program you will have to be flexible in your options when redeeming due to seat availability issues (ie it may be hard to get tickets to Europe in Summer etc.) so take this into consideration before transferring. Another to take into consideration is Executive Club will be introducing dynamic award pricing next year (think Aeroplan Market fare awards) we just don't know all the details yet.

Also consider reading our post on  How you can easily get a free flight between Toronto and Dublin, Ireland (pre taxes/fees) or 4 flights for $240+fees as this transfer bonus will work well with it. With the 30% you only have to transfer 20,000 RBC Rewards points to get to the 26,000 Avios level to redeem for these Dublin flights. Compare this to the 65,000 RBC Rewards points it would take to get the same flight and you can quickly see why there is value in the BA program. Heck if you have 65,000 RBC Rewards Points that's three flights to Dublin and back!

Full details on the transfer bonus can be found here

You can now redeem WestJet Rewards dollars for flights on Air France and KLM!

Always hinting and putting out teasers where we can, today's news is that where we implied potential good news from our Monday tweet:



You will now be able to redeem WestJet Rewards dollars for flights on Air France and KLM! These European airlines serve many major Canadian cities with direct flights to Amsterdam and Paris with worldwide connections beyond that. We all know that at the end of August the partnership expanded with WestJet Rewards members being able to earn on Air France and KLM flights and vice versa for Flying Blue members. It was stated at the time the redemption would come later in 2017 and  that time is now! On the flip side you can now also redeem Delta SkyMiles and Flying Blue Miles for flights on WestJet (info on that will come in a separate post)

Unlike your standard redemption on Econo, Flex or Plus fares, where WestJet dollars act like cash towards the base fare;  WestJet dollar redemption for travel on Air France and KLM are a flat rate known as Member Exclusive fares, which require you to redeem the full amount (100%) in WestJet dollars. And, similar to Delta you will only be able to redeem WestJet dollars for economy class at this time.

Air France and KLM cover key cities Canada in Canada, each with strong WestJet presence:
  • Vancouver (Air France & KLM)
  • Calgary (KLM)
  • Edmonton (KLM)
  • Toronto (Air France & KLM)
  • Ottawa (Air France via bus service to YUL or WestJet connections)
  • Montreal (Air France & KLM)
Here are the WestJet dollar requirements for flights on Air France or KLM to areas they fly to:

  • Canada to Europe: from 349 WestJet dollars each way (698 round trip)
  • Canada to Asia: from 599 each way (1198 round trip)
  • Canada to Africa: from 499 each way (998 round trip)
  • Canada to Papeete: from 729 each way (1458 round trip)

    All the above do not include taxes or fees
    Above rates are subject to change when this new redemption feature is fully rolled out
The above rates are valid from any Canadian city that WestJet serves which can make this very valuable in those cities where fares tend to be high like Whitehorse or Deer Lake!

The rates are slightly higher than those we see on Delta (Europe is 299WSD vs the 349 here) but you have the trade off - Delta you have to connect via the U.S. whereas the flights on Air France or KLM are direct from their Canadian departure points. For example flying from Calgary to Amsterdam on Delta will put you through New York City or other connection points where as the KLM flight is direct. That's where you'll have to make the decision, save 50WSD and go through the U.S. (more flying time, connections, U.S. Customs etc.) or spend the extra 50WSD and fly direct with a lot less hassle. Really it is up to you and your travel style and habits.

Here is are some examples of Air France and KLM redemption options we found on WestJet's site:





Overall this is great news for WestJet Rewards members. Now you have more options to use your WestJet dollars with. Earlier in the year it was limited Delta flights but that got expanded this fall to all Delta flights, now Air France and KLM and soon Qantas! WestJet Rewards continues to become that all around Frequent Flyer Program that members have been asking for. All that remains is redemption for Business or First Class (which we hope will  come when WestJet adds their own Business Class), more non-airline partners likes hotels and car rental companies and we'll have a full fledged program on our hands!

Let us know what you think about this latest addition to the WestJet Rewards program! Will you make use of it? Does it make you want to consider the program more so now then ever? Simply comment below!

WestJet


WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard

$250 welcome WestJet dollars (bonus) + Annual $99/$299/$399 Companion Flight when you sign up for and receive the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard.
- Earn 1.5% back in WestJet dollars on every purchase you make with your card
- Earn 2% back in WestJet dollars when you purchase WestJet flights or WestJet Vacations packages with your card
- Companion flight vouchers are an annual benefit.
- First bag free for the primary cardholder up to 8 people traveling on the same reservation to anywhere WestJet flies!

Apply Now

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

November 14 Update: Podcast Episode 35 is here with Give A Mile, first Air Canada 737 MAX routes, 8 new bonus offers

Podcast Episode 35 is here! You can listen to or download it on Apple iTunes, Google Play, our website and Soundcloud. In this episode we welcome back Kevin Crowe of giveamile.org. Give A Mile should be well known to many of our readers now and it's great to have him back on the show. Kevin discusses what Give A Mile is all about and tells us about their Christmas Campaign where they want to raise enough miles or cash to donate 50 flights of support!


About a month ago we brought you details of WestJet's first Boeing 737 MAX 8 flight but they aren't the only airline in Canada to order the plane. Air Canada is also bringing them in and their first revenue flight with their new 737 MAX 8 will be from Montreal to Calgary on December 11. It is kind of interesting that Air Canada is putting the plane onto the Calgary route first - almost seems like a jab at WestJet and saying "Hey we've got the plane too and we're going to fly it into your territory" The planes will also fly between Montreal and Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto as well as Toronto to Ottawa. (Source Routes Online)

We're going to keep this reminder going in each update until Christmas:
Check out the Give A Mile Flight Hero campaign! The charity can really use donations of miles to help provide flights to those who otherwise would be unable to travel to visit terminally ill or critically sick family and friends. Rewards Canada has pledged to raise 100,000 miles and we are half way there! We are putting the call out to all of our fans, readers and even new visitors, if you can give please do so. It can be as little as 1,000 miles! You can find out more and donate here.


Posts since our last update:
Travel Deals


Remember to visit Rewards Canada's Travel Booking site to book travel directly with many of your favourite airlines, hotels and more!

Canadian Bonus Offers

N/A


Other Bonus Offers
Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Quadruple Flying Blue Miles for stays at any participating Accorhotels worldwide. More... Booking Book by Nov 30 for stays until Dec 31, 17

American AAdvantage
- Earn up to 8x AAdvantage Miles when you rent at participating Hertz locations in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom. More... Until Mar 31, 18
- Earn up to 50,000 AAdvantage Miles when you earn miles from 10 select AAdvantage partners. More... Until Dec 31, 17
- Earn up to 100,000 Bonus AAdvantage Miles when you buy or gift 10,000 or more miles. More... Until Nov 27, 17

Copa ConnectMiles
- Earn up to 2,000 Bonus ConnectMiles for stays at Marriott Hotels & Resorts in the Caribbean and Latin America. More... Until Jan 15, 18

IHG Rewards Club
- Earn up to 100% Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points when you buy points online. More... Until Dec 8, 17

Le Club AccorHotels
- Earn up to 800 Bonus Le Club Accorhotels Points for stays at participating Accor hotels in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine. More... Book by Jan 10 for stays until Jan 31, 18

Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle
- Double GC Award Points for stays in a suite at Shangri-La Hotel, at The Shard, London. More... Until Dec 25, 17

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