Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Best Western Rewards: Receive a $20 BW Gift Card on your next stay at Best Western Hotels Worldwide


Another travel card offer from Best Western is what we see for their latest global systemwide promotion. This time they have doubled the travel card amount from $10 to $20 but are also limiting members to earning only one card. Still $20 back on a Best Western stay can be a hefty return seeing that many of their locations are available for under $100 per night. You will have 120 days to use the travel card from the date of issue which is why BW likes these types of promotions - they are banking on some people not using them and letting them expire. But for those of you who do stay at BW hotels at least semi-frequently this is a promotion you'll want to take advantage. Be sure to also check your email for this offer as some members are being targeted with an additional bonus of 2,000 points on each additional stay you make during the promotional period.

Offer details
Earn a US$20 Best Western Travel Card on your next Best Western stay Worldwide. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Until Sep 3, 18


Find many more Best Western Rewards bonus points offers here.

Earn 60 Bonus AIR MILES Reward Miles for stays at IHG Hotels until the end of July


If you are a serious AIR MILES collector and have summer travel plans then you can rack up the miles on your hotel stays! Last week we told you about the AIR MILES Best Western offer and now there is this offer to earn bonus miles at IHG Hotels Worldwide. IHG includes brands like InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, EVEN, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites and HUALUXE® hotels.

Offer details
60 Bonus AIR MILES Reward Miles for stays at IHG Hotel stays Worldwide. Max 900 miles awarded. Full details and online booking Until Jul 31, 18

Find more AIR MILES Rewards Miles bonus offers here!

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Ultimate Foodie Credit Card portfolio


Yesterday we released the 14th Ultimate Credit Card Portfolio on Rewards Canada. This one is the Ultimate Foodie Credit Card portfolio!

In this feature of Rewards Canada's Ultimate Credit Card Portfolios we look at the ultimate one for those who like to enjoy food - whether it is cooking your own gourmet meals or going to three Michelin star restaurants. And when it comes to food - you buy it - no matter what so if you a major foodie you'll want to make sure you capitalize on those food purchases by maximizing the rewards you earn. So while this piece is focused on earn we also take into account what those points or cash back can get you. As we have always recommended and is standard with our Ultimate Wallets is that you should carry a Visa, a Mastercard and an American Express card in your wallet. The reason why is that there are benefits, promotions and earning potential unique to each brand of credit card regardless of the version of the card you have. We won't go into detail here as you can read all about it in our feature on how to Maximize your Miles and Points but here we outline one card from each brand that will help you as a foodie get the most bang for your buck. Ultimately there are various options that could be utilized for such a portfolio but we look at one card from each issuing family that we feel are the best fit for foodies. Find out what the ultimate portfolio is here!

Find all our Ultimate Card Portfolios here!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

May 16 Update: Marriott Moments adds expert recommendations and bespoke categories, 40 bonus AIR MILES for Best Western stays + more


Marriott is working hard to bring more light to their Moments experience options. The following is an excerpt from today's Marriott press release:
This summer, Marriott has tapped into the company’s global network of thousands of local-area experts including its hotel associates, as well as global partners and celebrities to recommend their favorite sites to see and must-do activities. Throughout Marriott Moments, expert recommendations from hotel general managers, chefs and mixologists, luminary partners Chefs Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert and Stephanie Izard, as well as actress Lea Michele, freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy and sports broadcaster Michele Tafoya will be featured, with more local area expertise from Marriott hotel associates to be added regularly. As a complement to the recommendations, Marriott Moments will offer bespoke categories based on passion points, types of travel companions, and personality traits including “Pop-Culture Vulture,” “Exhaust Your Kids and Be the Family Hero,” and “Young, Broke & Fabulous.” All recommendations and categories will feature hand-curated lists of the best things to do from around the world, available for purchase with any major credit card.
Currently Marriott Moments features over 100 recommendations from actors, athletes, award-wining Chef’s and others including:
  • Actress Lea Michele recommends her favorite museums, shopping areas, hikes and concert venues in LA and NYC.
  • Freestyle Skier Gus Kenworthy recommends his favorite off-the-beaten-path museums in Paris, Boston and London, as well as his favorite ways to explore the Matterhorn in Switzerland, Lynn Canyon in Vancouver, British Columbia, San Francisco and beyond.
  • Sportscaster Michele Tafoya recommends active experiences including picturesque bike rides along Manhattan Beach, Sydney Harbor or the Loire Valley countryside in France; and thrills like a helicopter ride to a glacier and dog-sledding in Juneau, Alaska.
  • Chef Eric Ripert recommends his favorite food markets, restaurants, jazz clubs, spas and hikes around the world from Puerto Rico and Chicago, to Bhutan and Marrakech.
  • Chef Daniel Boulud recommends his favorite food markets and restaurants in NYC, San Sebastian, Lyon, Singapore and more.
  • Chef Stephanie Izard recommends her sure-fire ways of getting to know the culture and history of cities on three continents.
To help uncover the perfect, personalized ‘moment’ amongst the wealth of experiences, bespoke categories will be featured on the site throughout the year starting with:
  • Young, Fabulous, and Broke: For trendy travelers on a budget
  • Foodies: Culinary experiences for those with a hunger to see & taste the world
  • Exhaust Your Kids & Be the Family Hero: Create lasting memories for you and your family
  • History Buffs: Step back in time with history and heritage tours
  • The Ultimate Tourist: Must see sites and landmarks in top destinations
  • Pop-Culture Vulture: Catch the latest local trends in art, culture and music
  • The Romantic: #couplegoal experiences
  • The Wolfpack: Activities to do as a crew
  • Zen Master: Find inner peace in any time zone
  • Super Fans: Stadium tours, sports museums, and adventures with your favorite team
  • Casting Call: Experience movie & TV locations IRL

Posts since our last update:
Travel Deals
Hertz Save 20% off of the base rate of your next weekend rental. Offer ends June 15, 2018. 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
AIR MILES
- 40 Bonus AIR MILES Reward Miles when you stay at a Best Western branded hotel in Canada, the United States, or the Caribbean Islands. More... Until Aug 31, 18


Other Bonus Offers
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings
- Double Fortune Wings Points on eligible TAP Portugal flights Worldwide. More... Until Aug 21, 18

Hilton Honors
- Double Honors Points for weekend getaway stays at Hilton hotels in Europe, the middle East, Africa, Asia or Australasia. More... Ongoing

Le Club AccorHotels
- Triple Le Club AccorHotels Points for stays at the Mercure Maldives Kooddoo Resort or the Dhevanafushi Maldives Luxury Resort - Managed by AccorHotels. More... Book by May 31 for stays until Jun 30, 18

Marriott Rewards
- OFFER EXTENDED Earn up to 5,000 Rewards Points on rentals of 2 or more days at participating Hertz locations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia and New Zealand. More... Until Jul 31, 18

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Double Flying Club Miles for your first hotel stay booked via Kaligo. More... Book by Jul 14 for stays until Dec 31, 18
- 30% Bonus Flying Club Miles for all hotel stays booked via Kaligo. More... Book by Jul 14 for stays until Dec 31, 18

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BMO improves earn rate on the no fee BMO AIR MILES Mastercard - Earn 2 Reward Miles/$20 at AIR MILES sponsors

Behind the scenes there has been quite bit of fan fare about this enhancement, from NDAs to Embargoes and more and now we can bring it to you. Is it good news? Absolutely! Is it ground breaking news? Not really. But any enhancement made to a product that is actually a true enhancement is welcome news! I can say that after 2016, AIR MILES is really trying hard to gain back some credit and changes likes these sure don't hurt.

The no fee BMO AIR MILES Mastercard is getting a boost on its everyday earn rate at AIR MILES sponsors. New and existing cardholders will now earn 2x the miles at locations likes Sobeys, Safeway, Lowes, Shell, Rexall, Jean Coutu,  Lawtons and more. That means instead of 1 AIR MILES Reward Miles per $20 spent on this Mastercard you'll now earn 2. All other spending on the card will continue to be at the rate one mile for every $20 spent.  Here at Rewards Canada we value AIR MILES Reward Miles at an average of 13 cents each, which means you will now be getting 26 cents in value for those $20 spent at AIR MILES sponsors or about a 1.3% return. Depending on what you redeem for you could get higher value but generally we haven't seen many returns higher than 1.3%. If you redeem only for Cash Rewards that 2x miles will work out to a straight 1% return. Are these good returns? For a no fee card they aren't too bad but you have to remember that all your other spending comes in at an average of 0.65%.  

Here are the card details:

BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
500 AIR MILES Bonus Miles after your first card purchase
LIMITED TIME OFFER: Get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months*
- and there’s No annual fee
- Get 2x the Miles for every $20 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners*
- Get 1 Mile for every $20 spent everywhere else*
- Earn more reward miles when you use your card at Shell, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car
- Extended Warranty
- Purchase Protection
- Interest Rate: Purchases 19.99% Cash Advances 22.99%
Apply Now

The 2x miles multiplier at AIR MILES sponsors is also being extended to these other no fee AIR MILES cards from BMO:
-          SPC AIR MILES Mastercard
-          Shell AIR MILES Mastercard from BMO
-          BMO Sobeys AIR MILES  Mastercard
-          BMO IGA AIR MILES Mastercard

Do you have this card? If so this is good news for you! If you don't and were considering a no fee card does this change the BMO no fee AIR MILES card sway you to considering it? Let us know in the comments below!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May 15 Update: World of Hyatt Elite Status Trial & Fast Track Offer, Aeroplan adds Olympic Air as a partner & more!


World of Hyatt has brought back their elite status trial membership offer that also includes a Fast Track to Explorist or Globalist status! While we normally tell you to register for offers right away this is one we would wait on registering until you know you will be staying at Hyatt locations and being able to take advantage of the benefits and meet the fast track requirements since they have a 90 day window with the promotion. Full details can be found here!

Aeroplan has added Olympic Air as a new earning and redemption partner. Olympic Air is a subsidiary of Aegean Airlines and offers flights within Greece. We reached out to Aeroplan to see if this a partnership with them or via Air Canada/Star Alliance. It is the latter as the flights came online thanks to a new bilateral commercial agreement with Air Canada. What this means is the new partnership for Aeroplan may only last until July 2020 unless Air Canada grants that access to Aeroplan. Still for the short term it is good to have another option on hand especially if you may be planning some island hopping within Greece! (Source: Aeroplan)

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals
Dusit Hotels: Book your stay with Dusit Thani Maldives and get 50% discount plus full Dusit Gold benefits. 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
N/A

Other Bonus Offers
Aeroflot Bonus
- Triple Bonus Miles for stays at participating Kempinski Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Jun 30, 18

Hyatt World of Hyatt
- World of Hyatt Elite Status Trial Membership - Receive Explorist Elite Status to try for 90 days! More... Until Nov 28, 18
- World of Hyatt Elite Fast Track to Globalist Status - Receive Globalist Elite Status with this fast track offer. More... Until Nov 28, 18

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank
- Double Mileage Bank Miles for stays at Meritus Hotels in Singapore and Malaysia. More... Until Dec 19, 18
- Double Mileage Bank Miles for stays at select Hotel Nikko and Hotel JAL City locations Worldwide. More... Until Jul 13, 18

La Quinta Returns
- 350 Bonus Returns Points on qualifying rentals of 3 or more days at participating Budget locations in the U.S. and Canada. More... Until Sep 30, 18

Le Club AccorHotels
- Double Le Club AccorHotels Points for stays at Accor Hotels in Turkey. More... Book by May 31 for stays until Jun 10, 18

Saudia Alfursan
- Triple Alfursan Miles for stays at the Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas or the Pearl Rotana. More... Until ?

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Monday, May 14, 2018

Book Business Class tickets between Toronto and Austria for only 55,000 miles round trip


As we do each month we bring you the latest set Miles & More "Meilenschnaeppchen" discounted mileage awards!  This month we see the Austrian Airlines Business Class offer return. You can save almost half the regular amount of miles when you redeem for travel between Toronto and Austria. Simply book and travel by June 30.

With this offer you can redeem Miles & More miles for round trip business class tickets on Austria from Toronto to Austria  for only 55,000 miles. This is nearly a 50% discount off the normal award ticket price of 105,000 miles. Now Miles & More has some major fees for redeeming on Austrian so be sure you also check what a revenue ticket costs however remember this is for business class so even several hundreds of dollars in fees along with 55,000 miles could be the savings you are looking for.

Here are all six offers for this month:



Short on Miles & More miles? Your best bet is to convert SPG Starpoints to Miles & More on a 1:1 basis plus you'll earn 5,000 bonus miles when you convert 20,000 points at a time. That means 45,000 Starpoints is all it would take to get one of these business class flights if you don't have any Miles & More miles to your name.

Full details on this Miles & More offer can be found here

May 14 Update: Some lifetime SPG Platinums will receive new Platinum Premier status, Top 5 Credit Card sign up offers & more


Good news for some lifetime SPG members (Mark L., I think you may qualify) - As you know the new combined Marriott Rewards-Starwood Preferred Guest program will have a lifetime Platinum Premier level that was only going to be awarded to the top of top Marriott Rewards lifetime members with no option for lifetime SPG Platinum members to achieve this level. There was lots of pressure from those high end SPG members and now Marriott has made a concession whereby lifetime SPG Platinum members will receive the new Platinum Premier level if they have 750 nights and 10 years of Platinum status. Also if you hit lifetime Marriott Platinum by the end of this year you will also be grandfathered into the lifetime Platinum Premier level. Once January hits there will be no way of acheiving Lifetime Platinum Premier. Find all the details here
 

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals
Starwood Hotels: Enjoy 50% off all room upgrades AND get food and drink credit at all of our Australian hotels. Book by Thursday May 31 for stays until Aug 31. 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
N/A

Other Bonus Offers
British Airways Executive Club
- 1,000 Bonus Avios for a 2 night stay at participating Starwood Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Jun 30, 18

Etihad Guest
- Triple Guest Miles for stays at Accor Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Jun 30, 18

La Quinta Returns
- Earn up to Triple Returns Points for stays at participating La Quinta locations in the U.S. More... Until Jun 10, 18

Le Club AccorHotels
- Double Le Club AccorHotels Points when you rent a compact car or larger throughout Europcar’s network except in the USA and Canada. More... Book by May 31 for rentals until Jun 15, 18

Marriott Rewards
- 5,000 Bonus Rewards Points when you stay 2+ nights Thursday-Sunday (Friday or Saturday required) at participating Marriott Hotels in Southern California More... Until Jun 16, 18

Preferred Hotel Group iPrefer
- Double iPrefer Points and up to 35% off for last minute stays at participating Preferred Hotel Group hotels Worldwide.  More... Until Dec 31, 18

Shangri-La Golden Circle
- Save up to 40% GC Awards Points when you redeem for free room nights at Shangri-La hotel, resort, Traders or Kerry hotels. More... Book by May 31 for stays until Dec 31, 18

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Top 5 Credit Card Sign Up offers for May

Here are the Rewards Canada Top 5 Credit Card Sign Up offers for the month of May! This is not a 'best' credit card list like our Top Travel Rewards Credit Card rankings but instead a look at cards that have very good acquisition (sign up) offers. As always when choosing a card you should always take other factors into account other than the just sign up bonus, but when most or all of these cards are first year free, they can and do pay off even when you grab them strictly for the sign up rewards. In fact all of the cards on this list are first year free so you can try them out at no cost and decide later on if the card is right for you. All the while you earn the sign up bonus which can be used to subsidize your travels!

No change once again this month in the cards in this Top 5 list. There does seem to be a bit of a lull right now in the market, just waiting for one of our banks to make the next big move. One offer to look at though, is one we said last month that would end but has been extended to the end of this month is the really good RBC Avion offer. Read more about that offer here.


Here are our top 5 credit card sign up offers for May (in alphabetical order)
 
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard - 3,000 Miles  (Apply here)
The best ever sign up bonus for an AIR MILES co-branded card continues to be in the Top 5 sign up list thanks to its 3,000 miles sign up bonus (worth ~$300 or more) and no annual fee in the first year! Even if you aren't a fan of AIR MILES the fact you can get 3,000 miles and them use them as cash rewards for no cost to you should be enough to go out and get this card.

BMO Rewards Mastercard- 20,000 Points  (Apply here)
Included in the revamped BMO Rewards program that essentially sees the program devalued the BMO Rewards Mastercard has never been on this list before. It now makes the list because it actually has a limited time sign up bonus and the card has no annual fee so these 20,000 points (worth ~$142) come to you at no charge.  10,000 points are awarded after the 1st purchase and then 10,000 more if you can hit $1,000 in spending in the first three months.

BMO BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard- 35,000 Points  (Apply here)
Revamped on January 15th with a reward program that is less rewards on your day to day spend the card still graces this list thanks to its sign bonus and first year free offer. The card now offer a 35,000 point sign up bonus that is worth $250 in travel and since the card is first year free right now (they bill you $150 and then rebate after several months) that means your $250 in travel is free and yes you even get the Priority Pass access and 4 lounge passes included in that first year free. 

CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite - 20,000 Points (Apply Here)
The CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card now offers up to a 20,000 Aventura Points sign up bonus worth up to $400 in travel depending on what type of flight you redeem for and since the annual fee of $120 (and supplementary cards are waived as well) those 20,000 points come at no cost to you.

RBC Visa Infinite Avion Card - 25,000 Points (Apply here)
A card not known for straying too far from its standard sign bonus comes out huge this month with a bonus that's 10,000 points higher than normal and offers the first year free! That means you can get 25,000 RBC Rewards points at literally no cost to use towards flights via the RBC airline redemption program or convert to other programs like WestJet (it's 250 WestJet dollars!), British Airways or Cathay Pacific.

If you went for all these cards you ultimately could end up with $1,300 or so in travel credits but even if you only take on one or two you are helping your travel budget significantly at no cost other than regular credit card spend

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

WestJet reveals their Boeing 787-9 along with a new livery!

Rewards Canada had the pleasure of attending the WestJet 787 Reveal event in Calgary yesterday. This was the event and news that were originally planned for the last day of February but delayed for various reasons.  The actual plane isn’t in WestJet’s hands just yet so the event centered around several videos projected onto the hanger door with renderings of what the plane with the new livery will look like and what the offerings will be on the inside of the aircraft. The event was well planned and primarily attended by WestJet employees as well as the media and partners of WestJet.

Here is our video of the event itself:

Now onto the nitty gritty of the new Boeing 787-9 that should be in WestJet’s hands by January of 2019. At that time the plane won’t fly internationally yet as it will need to get ETOPs certification which means it will most likely be making the rounds for several months between cities like Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. Perfect for those who want to try the product out but may not have any international flights planned in the future. Although not revealed yet one can assume it may do some European routes to begin with and we do know that WestJet is in the regulatory stages of acquiring routes to Japan and China. I wouldn't be surprised (and this is just a guess) if Western Canada to Paris is one of the early routes seeing that they have flights to the French capital that just started from Halifax thus giving WestJet nearly a year to iron out things on that new city. This guess is also barring any regulatory approvals coming in beforehand for Asian routes.

WestJet's 787 Video:

WestJet’s new 787-9, of which there are 10 on order and 10 more as options will be configured with three classes, Business, Premium Economy and Economy.

Business Class is set with a great 1-2-1 layout and as promised when the planes were ordered they will be lie flat business class seats. Each seat will have an 18" touch screen entertainment system, touch screen seat controls and the service will be unlike previous WestJet service with turn down service when you are ready to lie flat and sleep. Dining will also be on demand which is huge deviation from WestJet’s current service. The little airline from Calgary is in the big leagues now and it will be interesting to see where it takes them!


Premium Economy has a 2-3-2 layout and looks similar to older style business class from the pre-pod era. So it looks better than the current Plus product you will find on WestJet's narrowbody aircraft. Premium Economy will have a 38" seat pitch, 13" touch screen entertainment, a self serve social area and enhanced dining options.


Finally Economy Class will be laid out in a 3-3-3 configuration with personal touch screen entertainment and in-seat power.


The new livery looks great and we’ll actually see it sooner than next January as WestJet’s newest 737 Max aircraft that will be delivered in the next month or so will be sporting the new look:

Related: The unveiling of WestJet's 737 Max 8 with photos and flight video


What else do we know after Tuesday's event? We learned that companion vouchers from the WestJet RBC World Mastercard WILL NOT have a business class option added to them. At least not at the start. I know that some within WestJet would like to see that option and were working on it but it's not on the table - at least for now.  However any and all WestJet dollars you earn can be used towards purchasing tickets for any class on the new planes since WestJet dollars work just like cash. No word yet on if there will be Premium Economy or Business Class Member Exclusive Rates. Hopefully in our next meeting with WestJet we can find out more details.

As to the actual 787, flights should go on sale this fall and that is about when we'll find out what routes the plane will be put on. The good news is that WestJet should be receiving full scale mock ups of the business class seats around that time as well so we'll report on what they are like in person!

What do you all think of the new plane and livery? Tell us in the comments below!




All photos were sourced from WestJet