Friday, July 3, 2020

July 3 Update: 2x Coast Rewards Points + up to 40% off Coast Hotel Stays and 20x PC Optimum points for Shoppers Drug Mart online purchases


Coast Hotels is offering double Coast Rewards points and up to 40% off stays at their hotels in Canada until August 15. Find out more here.


You can earn 20x PC Optimum points when you spend $75 or more with Shoppers Drug Mart online between today and July 5. Find out more here.


Airline Schedule Updates
This will now be a standard feature in our daily update posts as we summarize Canadian operations based on data from RoutesOnline and other sources. Remember that many of these route plans are subject to change and right now they are changing frequently!

LOT Polish Airlines is planning to fly twice weekly between Toronto and Warsaw for the first part of this month (Source RoutesOnline)


Remember to visit and bookmark our COVID-19 resource page where we are keeping you up to date with all the latest airline, hotel, lounges and loyalty program news, policies, closures and more.

Posts since our last update:

Deals:

Fairmont Hotels Stay Close - Buy Night 1 Get 1 Night free at select hotels in Canada, U.S. and Mexico. Find out more here

Instacart: Get $10 when you place your first order with Instacart! Register here.

SkipTheDishes - Sign up with this link to get $5 off your first order over $15. Find out more here

WealthSimple Trade:  Receive $5 when you deposit and trade at least $100 worth of stock with WealthSimple Trade. Find out more here (We will also receive $5 when you receive $5)

Rewards Canada receives a small commission when you use any of the above offers. You don't have to chose to use our links but we thank you in advance if you do.


Canadian Bonus Offers

Best Western Rewards
- 3,000 Bonus Rewards Points for stays at Best Western Hotels in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. More... Targeted offer – may not work for everyone Book by Jul 5 for stays until Aug 31, 20

Coast Hotels Coast Rewards
- Double Coast Rewards Points on all stays at Coast Hotels in Canada and the U.S.. More... Until Aug 15, 20

Radisson Rewards
- Earn 5,000 Bonus Radisson Rewards points on each stay at all Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson hotels worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 20

Other Bonus Offers

N/A


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Qatar Airways launching new flights between Toronto and Doha tomorrow!



Qatar Airways came out with a surprising announcement earlier this week - they are launching flights between Toronto and Doha, Qatar. It isn't the route itself that is surprising - it's when it starts. Tomorrow is the first flight on this new route. That's right, they are starting it during the pandemic when travel is at an all time low and technically Canadians can't even travel to Qatar right now! However Canadians and other nationals are allowed to transit via Qatar to other countries and that is where Qatar Airways makes their living anyways - its not travel to Qatar, its connecting via Doha to other destinations beyond.


The new flights will operate 3x per week between Toronto and Doha and this is on top of the airline's 4x weekly flights between Montreal and Doha. This route comes about from an expansion in the agreement between Canada and Qatar allowing more flights. The Toronto flight will be operated with an Airbus A350-900 on the following schedule (Source RoutesOnline)
QR767 DOH0830 – 1500YYZ 359 246
QR768 YYZ2050 – 1615+1DOH 359 246
On the miles side you can earn and redeem Qatar Airways Privilege Club Qmiles on these flights and recently Qatar lowered their carrier surcharges for their redemption which is good news for those who do utilized Privilege Club. However in Canada the only way to earn QMiles outside of your standard travel providers (flights/hotels) is via the Marriott Bonvoy program which means you can access those miles via American Express (see here: Complete list of Airline & Hotel loyalty programs that you can earn miles or points in with Canadian Credit Cards). However the actual number of miles Privilege Club requires is a lot more than other programs. These means the best option for Qatar Airways flights is utilizing their oneworld partner airline programs and in Canada that primarily means British Airways Executive Club, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and American AAdvantage. All three programs have lower mileage requirements for flying on Qatar Airways than Qatar's own Privilege Club so earning via credit cards like the Amex suite of Membership Rewards cardsRBC Visa Infinite Avion or HSBC World Elite Mastercard and converting to something like Avios makes more sense than trying to convert from Marriott to Qatar's Privilege Club. You can still choose to convert Marriott to British Airways, Cathay Pacific etc. and that's totally fine and doable!

It's great to see an airline launching new flights during this downturn and while the flight may not make Qatar any money right now you can bet it will once travel opens up again in the next few years. So one can hope Qatar will keep the flight going and if their past history is any indication I feel like they will keep this route going for a long time.

You can book Qatar Airways flights here. (This link earns RC a commission - you don't have to choose to use it but thank you in advance if you do so!)


Title Image via Qatar Airways

Earn 5,000 bonus points on every Radisson stay until the end of the year



Over the past few weeks as travel has slowly started to trickle back into people’s lives we’ve started to see hotel chains respond with new systemwide bonus offers. This is not lost on any of those chains and they know to encourage bookings and actual stays they will need to put out some attractive incentives. Step in Radissson Hotels Group and their Radisson Rewards program who this week revealed one of the best hotel promotions for this new era of travel.

The bonus is a flat 5,000 Radisson Rewards points per stay. Simply register for it before your first stay and you will earn that bonus on each and every stay until the end of the year. The promotion is capped at 30 stays for a potential of 150,000 bonus points and with the way travel is right now I don’t think many people need to be concerned about reaching that cap. Other than that no other restrictions are really in place as even award nights will earn the 5,000 bonus points! Since it is a flat rate bonus the biggest value comes from one night stays preferably at cheaper hotels but no matter what getting that 5,000 extra points per stay is something you want to make sure you take advantage of. Most people value Radisson Rewards points between C$ 0.5 and 0.7 cents which translates to those bonus points being worth around $25 to $35.

Offer details:
Earn 5,000 Bonus Radisson Rewards points on each stay at all Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson hotels worldwide. Full details, online registration & booking (Registration is required) Until Dec 31, 20

Here's an example of one those lower rate one night stays at the Country Inns Saskatoon in the midle of August:


A one night stay here would earn around 1,100 base points + the 5,000 bonus points for a total of 6,100 points. If you take the low end value of 0.5 cents per point you are getting a $30 return on that $80 stay. That's a pretty good return! Plus if you have elite status in the Radisson Rewards program you'll earn even more points. (Gold Elite comes free with the Platinum Card from American Express)

Thursday, July 2, 2020

RBC Points For Canada - Earn 2x points at restaurants and save 30% in points on dining and shopping redemption options


On July 1st RBC launched their big initiative that closely follows what many of the other major card issuers have done and that is to provide incentives to use credit cards for dining and shopping purchases. The campaign is called Points for Canada and runs for the entire month of July and comprises of six incentives from earning bonus points to being able to redeem less points.

Those six incentives are as follows:
  1. Earn 2x points at restaurants - eligible cards will earn double the points on restaurant purchases (dine in, take out) and also on most third party food delivery services. This first incentive is the only that requires cardholders to register to be able to take part in the promotion. You can register your RBC card here. 
  2. Save 30% on dining cards - When you redeem RBC Rewards points for select gift cards for restaurants across Canada they will cost you 30% less in points
  3. Dine with points for 30% more value - You'll get 30% more value when you choose to Pay In-Store with Points at restaurants across Canada
  4. Shop Canada with 30% off gift cards - When you redeem RBC Rewards points for gift cards for select Canadian retailers or a RBC Visa Prepaid card they will cost you 30% less in points
  5. Save more with Petro-Canada - Save 30% when you redeem for a Petro-Canada gift card and get 30% more value when you Pay In-Store with RBC Rewards points through your RBC Wallet app at a Petro-Canada location
  6. Shop with points for 30% more value - You'll get 30% more value when you choose to Pay In-Store with Points at retailers across Canada where tap payment is accepted.
With this campaign and their WestJet campaign launched on June 30th RBC has now joined the ranks of American Express, TD and CIBC who are or have provided incentives to pull out your credit card and use it more. This offer is especially appealing to RBC Avion cardholders (all versions) as they are the best RBC Rewards earning cards and will earn 2 to 2.5 points per dollar spent at restaurants with this promotion. My only gripe with the promotion would be the month long window for taking part. Most of RBC's competitors have their incentives running with a longer duration which make them that much more appealing. No matter what though if you hold an eligible RBC Rewards points earning card* and it is a primary card for you where you aren't interested in the incentives from other issuers then do your best to make the most of the promotion for this month!

Learn more about Points for Canada here!

*Eligible cards:
RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege for Private Banking, RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege, RBC Avion Visa Infinite, RBC Avion Visa Platinum, RBC Rewards Visa Preferred, Signature RBC Rewards Visa, RBC Rewards+ Visa, RBC Rewards Visa Gold, RBC U.S. Dollar Visa Gold, RBC Avion Visa Infinite Business, and RBC Avion Visa Business.


July 2 Update: Canada makes the EU's shortlist for approved visitors, Alaska Airlines will issue Yellow Cards for not wearing masks & Air Canada cuts 30 routes and 8 cities in Canada


Last week we let you know that the EU was getting ready to release a list stating which countries they were planning on allowing visitors from and Canada was rumored to be on that list. Confirmation came out earlier this week that indeed Canada is on the approved list of countries that meets the European Union's criteria for being consider safe. That being said it is still up to each individual country in the European Union as to whether or not they will allow Canadians to visit and pretty much all of them are still closed to travellers from Canada. (Source National Post)

If you do end up travelling outside of Canada you do have to keep in mind that when you return you will have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. That rule was recently extended to August 31 along with the extension of the Canadian border being closed to most non-essential foreign travellers until July 31. (Source CBC)


And on the travelling front Alaska Airlines is taking an interesting step in safety on their planes. They have announced heightened enforcement of mask wearing on their flights by having flight attendants issues Yellow Cards to those who repeatedly refuse to wear a face mask or covering.
With that warning – in the form of a yellow card handed to them – the guest's travel will be reviewed and could be suspended for a period. It's a decision that would not be made lightly."
 The yellow card is the final warning that will be issued to the traveller at which point if they don't comply they could face a suspension from being able to fly on Alaska Airlines. (Source Alaska Airlines)


Airline Schedule Updates
This will now be a standard feature in our daily update posts as we summarize Canadian operations based on data from RoutesOnline and other sources. Remember that many of these route plans are subject to change and right now they are changing frequently!

Air Canada announced on Tuesday that will discontinue service on 30 routes within Canada and stop serving 8 smaller Canadian cities as part of a cost reduction program. The cities they will no longer serve are Bathurst (New Brunswick) Wabush (Newfoundland and Labrador) Gaspé (Quebec) Baie Comeau (Quebec) Mont Joli (Quebec) Val d'Or (Quebec) Kingston (Ontario) and North Bay (Ontario). The 30 discontinued routes are seen in provinces from Saskatchewan eastward to the Maritimes. (Source Air Canada)



Remember to visit and bookmark our COVID-19 resource page where we are keeping you up to date with all the latest airline, hotel, lounges and loyalty program news, policies, closures and more.

Posts since our last update:

Deals:

Fairmont Hotels Stay Close - Buy Night 1 Get 1 Night free at select hotels in Canada, U.S. and Mexico. Find out more here

Instacart: Get $10 when you place your first order with Instacart! Register here.

SkipTheDishes - Sign up with this link to get $5 off your first order over $15. Find out more here

WealthSimple Trade:  Receive $5 when you deposit and trade at least $100 worth of stock with WealthSimple Trade. Find out more here (We will also receive $5 when you receive $5)
Rewards Canada receives a small commission when you use any of the above offers. You don't have to chose to use our links but we thank you in advance if you do.


Canadian Bonus Offers

N/A

Other Bonus Offers

Icelandair Saga Club
- Double Saga Club Elite Tier Credits for all flights on Icelandair that are booked in July and flown between September 1 and December 31. More... Book by Jul 31 for travel Sep 1 - Dec 31, 20

Marriott Bonvoy
- OFFER EXTENDED Receive a 60% Bonus when you buy 2,000 or more Marriott Bonvoy Points. More... Until Jul 15, 20
- 1,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points per night for up to five nights at the Element Toronto Airport. More... Jun 30 - Sep 7, 20

Preferred Hotel Group iPrefer
- Earn up to 5,000 Bonus iPrefer Points + Automatic Elite Status for stays of 2 or more nights at participating Preferred Hotels in Canada More... Book by Jul 31 for stays until Dec 31, 20

TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go
- OFFER EXTENDED Earn up to 4x Miles&Go miles when you buy miles online. More... Until Jul 7, 20


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Earn 3,000 Bonus Rewards Points on all Best Western stays until the end of August (Targeted offer – book by July 5)



Select Best Western Rewards members including ourselves received this email today offering 3,000 Bonus Best Western Rewards points on all stays in July and August so long as they are booked by July 5. This offer can be stacked with both of the $25 Gift Card offers which means you can earn $50 in Gift Cards, 3,000 bonus points, your base points and credit card points/miles all with just one Best Western stay.  Read more in our post about earning $50 in one stay: Confirmed! You can earn $50 in Best Western Gift Cards with just one stay this summer While it is targeted you can always try to register for it and hope for the best!

Offer details:
3,000 Bonus Rewards Points for stays at Best Western Hotels in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Full details, online registration & booking  (Registration is required) Book by Jul 5 for stays until Aug 31, 20
Targeted offer – may not work for everyone

You can stack this offer with the following two offers:

Receive a $25 Best Western Gift Card when you complete one stay at a Best Western Hotel in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Full details, online registration & booking  (Registration is required) Until Sep 7, 20
THIS OFFER CAN BE COMBINED WITH THE OTHER $25 Travel Card offer below!
For residents of the U.S. and Canada only

Receive a $25 Best Western Travel Card when you complete 1 stay at a Best Western Hotel and submit a gas receipt or electric vehicle charging receipt within 10 days of your stay. Full details & online booking 
Until Aug 31, 20
For residents of the U.S. and Canada only



Preferred Hotel Group offering bonus iPrefer points and automatic Elite status with a single two night stay in Canada


Preferred Hotel Group brings to us a new promotion for stays at any of their 4 hotels in Canada. The offer provides 2,500 bonus iPrefer Points and automatic elite status in the iPrefer program for a single 2 night stay at one of those four hotels. If you happen to already have iPrefer Elite status (they only have one elite status level called "Elite") they will award you with 5,000 bonus points instead.

 The four hotels in Canada that are part of the Preferred Hotel Group are:


Offer details
Earn up to 5,000 Bonus iPrefer Points + Automatic Elite Status for stays of 2 or more nights at participating Preferred Hotels in Canada. Full details & online booking Book by Jul 31 for stays until Dec 31, 20

  • 2,500 bonus points for Insider Members and new I Prefer Members
  • 5,000 bonus points for already-qualified Elite I Prefer Members
Once you complete that stay you'll get iPrefer Elite Status for one year - here is what Elite gets you:


As you can see Elite provides a 50% bonus on points earned per US$1 spent on stays as well as a welcome amenity when compared to the base level Insider level. That being said I would tend to think that Elites have better odds with the Room Upgrade and priority early check/late check out benefits - at least I would hope they do!

OFFER EXTENDED – Receive a 60% bonus when you buy Marriott Bonvoy points until July 15


The best ever bonus for buying Marriott Rewards points was supposed to end on June 30th but the offer has now been extended to July 15th. The bonus is 60% when you buy 2,000 or more points in one transaction. Marriott has also increased the annual limit for buying points to 100,000 for the duration of the promotion. To buy 100,000 you’ll have to make two transactions of 50,000 points each as that is the maximum Marriott allows for each purchase. Those amounts do not include the bonus so if you buy 100,000 points you’ll end up with 160,000 points in your account.

Here is an example of the cost of buying 50,000 points:

As you can see you’ll be buying points at 0.78 US cents each. Most valuations of Marriott Bonvoy points has them valued at 0.7 cents each however that is the minimum value. There are many redemption options for award nights where you can get much more value out of each point so buying them right now for future travel can make a lot of sense.

Offer details:
Receive a 60% Bonus when you buy 2,000 or more Marriott Bonvoy Points. The annual limit of points that can be bought per member. has been increased to 100,000 during this promotion. Buy Marriott Bonvoy Points here. Until Jul 15, 20

Image via Marriott

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

WestJet RBC Mastercards will earn 2x rewards on grocery and restaurant purchases until August 31


Sometimes it can be a good thing to take a wait and see approach to get a feel of what the market and your competitors are doing. That's exactly what WestJet and RBC have done for their WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard and WestJet RBC Mastercard cardholders. For the next two months those who have a card or apply for and get one of the cards will earn 2x rewards on grocery and restaurant purchases once they register for the offer. For these type of purchases this translates to a 3% return for the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard and a 2% return on the WestJet RBC Mastercard.



We've seen accelerator offers from a handful of Canada's credit card issuers which have revolved around dining, groceries and/or food delivery and WestJet and RBC have followed suit. Where their offer differs from some of the others is that they are giving you three options to choose from on how you want to receive your double rewards.  Those options are double your WestJet dollars (the regular type of earn for these cards), a statement credit (cash back) or a donate those rewards to help support your community.


When you go to the offer registration page you will be asked which reward you want and you'll need to  input your 16 digit card number as well as your WestJet Rewards ID.

This is a smart move by WestJet and RBC to offer the various reward options due to the uncertainty of travel for many Canadians right now and have been holding back on using their WestJet cards for purchases. By providing the additional reward options outside of just earning WestJet dollars it will definitely encourage cardholders to shift their spend back to these cards. I have a feeling there will be a lot of those cardholders who will be choosing the statement credit option to help keep finances in check. The good news about the  statement credits is that they will post within 3-5 days after each transaction, you don't actually have to wait until your statement date to receive them. Then there will be some who are planning for future travel who will obviously be choosing to earn the extra WestJet dollars while a smaller percentage will say I don't need more WestJet dollars, I don't need statement credits, I'm going to donate those double rewards which by the way will be going to Food Banks Canada.

The double rewards will be awarded on all eligible grocery, restaurant and fast food purchases until August 31 with Mastercard's Merchant Category Codes: 5411, 5812 and 5814. Popular food delivery services likes UberEats and DoorDash are included in those. However some like Costco are not but I do recall some readers of ours letting us know that Walmart Supercentres do code as grocery so it should count towards double rewards.

The double rewards will be offered on all eligible purchases up to $10,000 per primary and secondary card. That means if you have one WestJet card and have a supplementary user on your account you can each earn the double rewards for $10,000 spend on each card ($20,000 in total). For example in our household both of our kids are supplementary cardholders on my wife's account which means each cardholder gets that $10,000 cap or the potential to earn double rewards on up to $30,000 in spending. Add in my separate WestJet card (my wife and I each have our own accounts: Why my wife and I each grabbed our own WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercards) and we have $40,000 total in our household that we can earn double rewards on. I don't think we'll be spending $40,000 over the next two months in those categories but it's nice to know we're not capped like some other issuers who have done so at amounts as low as $1,000.

Click here to learn more and to register your card to take part in the 2x rewards on grocery and restaurant purchases on WestJet Mastercards

If you don't have a WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard or WestJet RBC Mastercard the great news is that you can also get in on this offer. As soon as you apply and are approved for the cards be sure to register for the offer and you'll start earning those double rewards. I would recommend applying sooner than later so that you can maximize the time period you have for earning the double rewards. Ideally you'd want to go for the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard as it has a boosted welcome bonus of 350 WestJet dollars (which has now been extended until October 31) and the ever famous companion flight vouchers and first bag free benefits for when you are ready to travel again but if you don't need those extra benefits or don't meet the eligibility criteria for it the WestJet RBC Mastercard is also a great option.


Images via WestJet/RBC

Grandfathered Capital One Aspire World Elite Mastercard will be devalued this August


Once upon a time there was a credit card that ruled the land. The Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard was king. There was almost no matching it, it ranked as the number one travel points card in our annual rankings for years on end (even its predecessor the Miles Plus card won our rankings in 2009!) as it offered a nice simple 2% back towards travel, had an amazing insurance package and provided an annual anniversary bonus worth $100 towards travel. In the end the card aspired to be too much (no pun intended) and proved to be too expensive for Capital One to maintain. They stopped issuing the card several years ago but original cardholders were grandfathered the anniversary bonus and all cardholders were able to keep earning that 2%.


Thanks to our Twitter follower Dan Donovan we now know that all changes on August 5th. Grandfather Capital One Aspire World Elite Mastercard holders will no longer get the anniversary bonus but even worse the earn rate is dropping to 1.5% from that trend setting 2%.  Why Capital One is doing this. I believe it is still an expensive card for them to offer as Capital One has shifted their focus in the market to new credit (Students, newcomers to Canada, etc) and secured credit. Those type of card offerings bring down the average interchange rate fees they are collecting and would eat away at what is earned on the World Elite card. We know the card wasn't making the company money when it was an active card in the market so one has to assume it's not making it any money now. By making these changes the reward rate of 1.5% will closely match what Capital One is earning but not only that I'm pretty sure they know that by making this change people will cancel the card which means the company will have less cardmembers carrying a card that doesn't make them any money.

So that brings us to the question for those of you who still have the card - should you keep it or switch to another card? For the most part, I'd say switch, I mean 1.5% isn't a bad earn rate but there are a lot of cards that also earn that much but also have accelerated rates in certain spend categories where you can earn more. For example, if you want to keep earning and redeeming for travel at 2% the MBNA Rewards World Elite Mastercard is a good alternative option since it provides that straight 2% towards travel and 1.67% towards cash back rewards. Both of those rates are higher than the Capital One card but know that the MBNA card doesn't have as strong of an insurance package. You have the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard which earns 1.5% on all spending, so the same as the new Cap One earn rates but then it earns 2% on WestJet purchases, has the first bag free benefit and of course the companion vouchers. Another really good card to consider would be the HSBC World Elite Mastercard. It earns 1.5% on all spending except travel which is 3% but then the card also has No Foreign Transaction fees, annual travel credits and you can choose to convert those points to several airlines including British Airways and Cathay Pacific. The list goes on from there with cards like the BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard, the Rogers World Elite Mastercard and so on. There are lots of options out there and in my mind the front runners are the first three I mentioned.


Monday, June 29, 2020

New tool shows you where you can travel within Canada and what countries are open to Canadians

Many of Canada's travel providers, agencies and tourism boards joined forces in May to create the Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable. What is the Roundtable? It's best described by them as follow:
The Canadian Tourism Roundtable is a cross-Canadian coalition of leaders in the tourism and travel sector – including representatives from airports, airlines, hotels, and chambers of commerce across the country – committed to working together to restart the sector smoothly and safely. Travel and Tourism is a $102 billion sector, employing millions of Canadians across the country and accounting for 2.1% of the country's gross domestic product. It advocates for a safe and prosperous tourism and travel sector across Canada.  
One of the first big initiatives they have launched for the Canadian consumer is their website Time-To-Travel.ca and its primary feature is showing you where you can travel to within Canada and also abroad. For travel within Canada you can select what province you live in and the site will display a map of which provinces you can and cannot travel to. For example, here is the map set for my home province of Alberta:


You can click on each province for more details, for example here is Newfoundland:


Green shows where travel is possible, light purple allows travel with restrictions while the darker purple shows where I am not able to travel to right now. This is a very handy tool for today's market seeing that the majority of Canadians who are going to travel are going to do so within our own borders. You will want to note the map is for current rules and regulations and does not provide information for future travel. It would be nice if that function was integrated into the site where you can put your travel dates in and the map show you that yes or no you can travel for so and so time (so long as that information is available). Having that feature would make it useful for promotions such as Aeroplan's 50% miles back offer on right now so you could see if it is worthwhile to redeem at this time. Yes, Aeroplan's refund policy is amazing and negates pre-planning until August 31 however you're still subject to go through the booking and refund process and knowing beforehand simply saves you the time and effort.

The site also provides details on which countries are also open to Canadian travellers:


It does seem like the list of countries isn't complete as we know of more countries allowing Canadians in however the website does show the last update was June 26 so perhaps those other countries will show up in the next update.

You can try the page out for yourself here and we will also provide a link to it (and reference it) on our COVID-19 Resource page.

All images courtesy of Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable.

Earn 10x miles when you shop online at select retailers via the Aeroplan eStore from June 29 to July 5


It's time to earn extra miles again for your online shopping! This time Aeroplan is providing 10x the miles when you shop online with specific retailers on specific days. Those days and retailers are as follows:


If you do have any shopping in mind with the above retailers make you shop via the eStore on the specific day so that you can earn those extra miles to boost your balances.

Learn more about the Aeroplan 7 Days of Summer Event here.




Earn 1,000 bonus points per night at the newly opened Element Toronto Airport



Before the pandemic hit Marriott Hotels was planning on opening 14 new hotels in Canada in 2020 but of course COVID-19 has delayed some of those openings. One such hotel was the Element Toronto Airport which originally had a slated opening date of April 5. That was pushed back to last week when the hotel officially opened on June 24. Like many new hotels they are celebrating the opening with a bonus points offer. For stays between June 30 and September 7 you can earn 1,000 bonus points per night for up to five nights per stay.

Offer details:
1,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points per night for up to five nights at the Element Toronto Airport. Full details & online booking. Jun 30 - Sep 7, 20

The offer not only provides bonus points but it actually prices out cheaper than the best available rate. However the prepaid rate does come out $7 cheaper (the points are worth anywhere from $8 to $10 or more for compariso) and can be cancelled one day in advance per Marriott's COVID-19 global cancellation policy. However that policy will change on July 6 and will revert back to each individual hotel's cancellation policies and as we all know for most hotels that means the prepaid rate is not cancellable.

Here's a comparison of the rates for a night stay in the middle of July:




Air Canada and WestJet to stop blocking middle seats on flights as of July 1, Air Canada will let you rebook if your flight is close to capacity

 News came out over the weekend that Canada's two major airlines will stop blocking middle seats on their flights as of July 1. Following guidance from the International Air Transport Association which both airlines are members of they will be not providing this one step in physical distancing measures.

Here is what WestJet provided to the media late last week on IATA's guidance
 IATA’s guidance supports the removal of seat distancing as the following protections are provided in the cabin:
  • The installation of HEPA filters to help clean recirculated air (all WestJet aircraft are equipped with HEPA filters);
  • The direction of airflow from ceiling to floor reduces forward and aft movement of air;
  • The physical barrier of seat backs.
Basically for the past few months Air Canada and WestJet have blocked the middle seat on flights to help provide distance between passengers and that will end in a couple of days here. South of the border American Airlines will be doing the same however other airlines like Southwest Airlines have committed to keeping their middle seats blocked until the end of September. Both Air Canada and WestJet will continue to provide all of their other published safety measures such as temperature checks, the requirement to wear face masks and increased cleaning and disinfection of cabin interiors.

WestJet Economy Class seating

This morning Air Canada released news that with the change in the policy of not blocking middle seats the have revised their re-booking policy for flights for those who feel uncomfortable flying on a plane that will at or near capacity:
Starting July 1, Air Canada will replace its policy of guaranteeing adjacent seats in Economy Class are empty with a new transparent process offering flexible rebooking options for customers. On flights where Economy Class is booked close to capacity, notification emails will be sent to Economy Class customers in advance of check-in and announcements will be made at the departure gate. Customers will have the option to change to another flight operating within three days or to the next available flight without additional fees. 
If you have flexibility in your travels and you get that notification you can at least take a little bit of control but you still have the unknown if the flight you are rebooking to will be less full or not. Basically you'll be playing roulette with the hopes of getting on a flight that will be less full.

Although these changes from Air Canada and WestJet don't affect me directly right now as the Rewards Canada family has no flights planned in the near future I know that if I was to fly soon I'd be in the worried camp. Seeing photos of some flights in the U.S. on social media with people using their face masks as eye masks and not covering their mouths is concerning. It's tough when you can't control things like that - we as individuals can control we what we do ourselves however we have no control of those around us and that's the scariest part - not just traveling on planes but in everything we do everyday in our lives. If I was to fly now I'd probably stick to the front end of the plane, emergency exit rows or choose the very back - I know it's not scientific but I'd try to minimize the amount of people I'm around and/or maximize the space between and of course wear a mask, not touch my face and sanitize like crazy.

How do you feel about Air Canada and WestJet opening up the middle seats? Will it make you rethink any planned travel you have? Let us know below in the comments.

Friday, June 26, 2020

June 26 Update: Choice Hotels earn a free night promo won't start until July 10 for Canadians, 2 new RBC offers & Canadians could possibly visit Europe soon


Early in June we passed along the details of Choice Hotels new where you book 2 stays and earn enough bonus points for a free night. Well it turns out the promotion launched at that time was for the U.S. only even though it did state it was open to Canadian residents. Choice has decided that for Canada the promotion will launch on July 10th instead. The promotion registration page has been updated to reflect this. Thanks to long time Rewards Canada follower Kevin A. for catching this development!


We added two new RBC offers to our Guide to RBC Royal Bank 'RBC Offers'. There is a 15% statement credit offer for Pet Value that works on purchases of $30 or more (up to $100 in total) and a a 15% discount code for shopping at State & Liberty. See these and all other RBC offers here.


Thanks to Rewards Canada Facebook follower Aaron R. for passing along info that shows what countries the EU is planning to allow visitors from when they reopen. It is currently in draft stage and being debated in Brussels and it does appear most countries, including Canada will be allowed. However countries like The U.S., Brazil and Russia will not be. The opening date is also being debated as to whether it will be July 1 or later. If and when they do open you still need to check each individual country's rules and regulations for mask wearing, whether you need to submit test results et. (Source EuroNews)

Airline Schedule Updates
This will now be a standard feature in our daily update posts as we summarize Canadian operations based on data from RoutesOnline and other sources. Remember that many of these route plans are subject to change and right now they are changing frequently!

China Airlines will be offering one flight per week during the month July between Vancouver and Taipei. (Source RoutesOnline)

Remember to visit and bookmark our COVID-19 resource page where we are keeping you up to date with all the latest airline, hotel, lounges and loyalty program news, policies, closures and more.

Posts since our last update:

Deals:

Fairmont Hotels Stay Close - Buy Night 1 Get 1 Night free at select hotels in Canada, U.S. and Mexico. Find out more here

Instacart: Get $10 when you place your first order with Instacart! Register here.

SkipTheDishes - Sign up with this link to get $5 off your first order over $15. Find out more here

WealthSimple Trade:  Receive $5 when you deposit and trade at least $100 worth of stock with WealthSimple Trade. Find out more here (We will also receive $5 when you receive $5)

Rewards Canada receives a small commission when you use any of the above offers. You don't have to chose to use our links but we thank you in advance if you do.


Canadian Bonus Offers

N/A

Other Bonus Offers

Avianca LifeMiles
- 20% Bonus LifeMiles when you book hotel stays via the dedicated LifeMiles Hotels website. More... Book by Aug 15 for stays until Dec 31, 20

Best Western Rewards
- 2,000 Bonus Reward Points and up to 30% off on rentals 3 days or longer at participating Avis locations in the U.S and Canada. More... Until Sep 15, 20

Turkish Miles&Smiles
- 750 Miles&Smiles Miles and a 20% discount for stays at NG Hotels. More... Until Jul 29, 20

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