Friday, January 24, 2020

January 24 Update: What you actually have to spend to get some of the best credit card welcome bonus offers and 5 new bonus offers

Our feature on What you actually have to spend to get some of the best credit card welcome bonus offers has been updated with the new RBC And HSBC card offers. The RBC Avion Visa Infinite card takes the top spot away from the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard by only $1! See the feature here.


EQ Bank Savings Plus Account

Wanted to pass along news from our current Podcast sponsor, EQ Bank - who saw Wealthsimple come out with a 2.4% rate on their savings account so they boosted their own EQ Bank Savings Plus Account to 2.45%. Not only is there a fight between banks for gaining new credit card members but the savings account world is heating up as well! Find out more here.

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals

KLM's Dream Deals seat sale is offering some great economy class and business class fares between Canada and Europe and beyond. Book by Feb 10 for travel May 7 to Oct 15. 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

IHG Rewards Club
- Earn up to 75% Bonus IHG Rewards Club points when you buy points. More... Until Feb 27, 20

JAL Mileage Bank
- Earn up to 500 Bonus Mileage Bank Miles for stays at participating Tokyu Hotels in Japan. More... Until Mar 31, 20

Norwegian Reward
- 500 Bonus CashPoints when you make your first booking at select properties Worldwide with Rocketmiles. More... Book by Jan 31, 20

Rocketmiles
- 1,000 Bonus Miles / Points with most Rocketmiles partners when you make your first booing at select properties Worldwide. . More... Book by Jan 28, 20

Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer
- Double Safar Flyer Miles when fly on Royal Air Maroc between Casablanca and Beijing. More... Until Mar 16, 20


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Rare sign up bonus for PC Financial Mastercards - 75,000 points if you apply by January 26


As part of the PC Optimum Points Days promotion (see this post for more details) the loyalty program is offering a rare sign bonus on their PC Financial Mastercards. From now until January 26 when you apply for any one of their three Mastercards, the PC Financial Mastercard, PC Financial World Mastercard or PC Financial World Elite Mastercard you'll receive 75,000 PC Optimum points when you receive your card and make your first purchase at Shoppers Drug Mart, Pharmaprix or a participating Loblaw banner store.

Those 75,000 points are worth $75 and since you only have to redeem 10,000 points to start, once the bonus posts to your account you'll be able to use those points right away for a redemption.

Learn more about this offer and apply for any of the cards here
(According to their terms and conditions you must start the application from the page that this link goes to)

HSBC World Elite Mastercard - Up to 40,000 bonus points + first year annual fee waived (70,000 points + annual fee for Quebec)


HSBC's latest offer for their World Elite Mastercard is now out. This offer is better than their standard offer of course but not as good as the one we saw prior to Christmas or the initial launch offer with the card. Nonetheless it is an offer to look into if this card has been on your radar. Remember the card is our choice for the Mastercard category in our Ultimate No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Card Portfolio.

A little background on this card - this is not their 'Premier World Elite' which is meant for people who bank at HSBC but rather this card is for any Canadian and it is essentially the same as the Premier version. When HSBC launched this card in 2018 it became obvious they didn't want to only market their credit cards to those who bank with them, rather they wanted to get into the entire lucrative Canadian credit card market.  To learn more about this card outside of this bonus offer I would recommend reading our review of the card

From now until March 9, 2020 you can apply for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard and get up to 40,000 bonus HSBC Rewards Points along with having the first year $149 annual fee waived on the primary card.  The bonus is awarded as follows:
  • 20,000 Points upon approval (worth $100 towards travel)
  • 20,000 Points when you spend $3,000 on the card in the first 90 days (worth $100 in travel rewards)
The 64,000 points once achieved are worth $200 in travel rewards but this card isn't just a travel points card, it is actually a Hybrid Card. This means points can also be converted to partners outside of HSBC Rewards. In this card's case, they can be transferred to British Airways Executive Club, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. The points convert as follows:
  • 2.5 points to 1 Avios
  • 3 points to 1.35 KrisFlyer Miles 
  • 3 points to 1.2 Asia Miles 
This means the sign up bonus is worth 16,000 Avios in British Airways' Executive Club which can be used to boost your account should you need. For example, you'd want to tie this offer in with the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card offer. Between the two you would have no less than 51,000 Avios.

Here are some options to check out
The sign up bonus isn't the only good feature about this card however. It is one of less than a dozen cards in Canada that has No Foreign Transaction fees, it also comes with a $100 annual travel enhancement credit (to use on bag fees, seat selection etc) and like most World Elite Mastercards in Canada it has airport lounge access membership via LoungeKey.

Recommended Reading: No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards for Canadians

Also note the first year free waiver option is not available for Quebec residents so instead they offer up to 70,000 bonus points for getting the card and simple holding on to it:


Now we have heard from a handful of our readers who have applied for this card in the past that the credit limits HSBC gives new customers tends to be on the low side which for some can make it difficult to be able to spend enough on the card to max out the spend portion.

Find out more and apply for the card here.

Great new offer for the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card - 35,000 points upon approval, no minimum spend requirement


The credit card market here in Canada continues to heat up with great acquisition offers. The latest that launched yesterday  is RBC's new offer for their flagship card the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card. The new offer is a flat 35,000 RBC Rewards Points that get this - are awarded on approval - no minimum spend, no spend this much each month over this many months. You simply have to be approved for the card and the bonus is yours. Yes you do have to pay the annual fee of $120 but it is more than worth with the value of the bonus and the fact you get the points in your first billing period. No waiting 3 months, 6 months or longer. You can travel a lot sooner with this bonus.

Here is what the 35,000 points will get you:

  • One economy class flight anywhere in Canada or the U.S. (Hawaii and Alaska excluded) or two economy class flights to a neighbouring province or state when redeeming via the RBC Avion Air Travel Redemption schedule. Taxes and fees are not included but you can redeem points towards them at 100 points to $1 rate or just pay for them with your credit card
  • $350 credit towards any other travel booked via RBC Rewards (100 points = $1)
  • Convert the 35,000 points to WestJet Rewards at a 100 to 1 ratio. This means the offer provides 350 WestJet dollars. Several times per year RBC also offers a bonus when you transfer to WestJet. That bonus tends to be 10% so these 35,000 points could be converted to 385 WestJet dollars or more if the bonus is higher
  • Convert the 35,000 points to British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 ratio. 35,000 Avios will get you an economy class flight between Toronto and Dublin (as little as 26,000 Avios required) or a whole slew of other flight options. RBC also offers transfer bonuses several times per year (which should see the next one around May or so) and those range from 30% to 50% meaning you could potentially have 52,500 Avios. 
Recommended reading: Utilizing British Airways' Executive Club for flights in North America
This is a pretty amazing offer considering there is no spending required at all other than paying your $120 annual fee. I expect a lot of uptake on this offer and if you are considering it you have until February 28 to apply for the card and get this bonus offer. Note the excerpt from the terms that I have listed below - there are restrictions for those who hold existing RBC products.

Find out more and apply for the card here.


T&C's Excerpt:
Additional cardholder(s), as well as existing RBC Avion Visa Infinite or RBC Avion Visa Platinum, Cathay Pacific‡ Visa Platinum, British Airways‡ Visa Infinite, RBC Rewards Visa Preferred, RBC Rewards+ Visa, RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege and RBC Avion Visa Infinite Privilege for Private Banking cardholders, applying for or transferring to an RBC Avion Visa Infinite card or RBC Avion Visa Platinum as of the offer eligibility period, are not eligible for this offer.


Thursday, January 23, 2020

January 23 Update: PC Optimum Points Days returns - earn thousands of extra points until January 26, Air Canada partners with Cirque du Soleil & KLM's Seat Sale from Canada

One of PC Optimum's biggest promotions of the year launched today! Points Days runs from today until January 26 and offers up thousands of bonus points for shopping at all of Loblaw's various grocery store brands, Shoppers Drug Mart and Esso Mobil. The one that really sticks out for me is the 15,000 points for buying $100 in Apple, Cara Restaurants, Google Play or Roots gifts cards! To receive any of the bonuses you do have to register your PC Optimum account online if you haven't done so yet (ie you just picked up a card at Shoppers to join the program) or simply log in to your account on the app. Find out more here.

Here are screen shots of some of the offers!
Images courtesy of PC Optimum

Air Canada has announced a new partnership with Cirque du Soleil. The partnership makes Air Canada the "Official Airline for Big Top and Arena shows for Canada, the U.S., Europe, and select countries around the world." and "provides for the creation of an exclusive Air Canada lounge for Cirque du Soleil, accessible to eligible guests at European and Australian Big Top shows, in addition to a robust hospitality package, onsite brand presence across all territories, and a branded experience at select Big Top shows in North America." I'm really curious to find out what the branded experience may entail for the North American shows. As part of the agreement you can also redeem Aeroplan Miles for Cirque gift cards. Find out more here.

Image courtesy of Air Canada

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals


KLM's Dream Deals seat sale is back and is offering some great economy class and business class fares between Canada and Europe and beyond. Book by Feb 10 for travel May 7 to Oct 15. 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 Canada Aeroplan
- Earn up to 7,500 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you fly on eligible scheduled direct flights within Canada, and between Canada and the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and sun destinations. More... Register and book by Feb 4 for travel until Jun 30, 20
- 1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you join the program and complete your first mileage earning transaction by January 31, 2020. More... Until Jan 31, 20

Other Bonus Offers

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- 40% Bonus Mileage Plan Miles when you buy or gift 15,000 or more miles. More... Until Feb 16, 20

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Earn up to Triple Asia Miles for stays at participating Accor Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Mar 23, 20

SriLankan FlySmiles
- Double FlySmiles when you fly SriLankan from Bangkok to Male , London , Gan Islands, Dubai, Doha, Melbourne or China via Colombo . More... Book by Jan 31 for travel until Mar 31, 20

Turkish Miles&Smiles
- Double Miles&Smiles Miles for stays at all Serena Hotels in Asia. More... Until Feb 29, 20

World of Hyatt
- 2,000 Bonus World of Hyatt Points for stays at participating Hyatt Hotels Worldwide. More... Targeted for Google Employees but it may work for anyone (YMMV) Until Mar 31, 20


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Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Receive a 40% bonus when you buy 15,000 or miles by February 16


Alaska Airlines has launched another buy miles bonus! Though not as good as the 50% we sometimes see, some of you may be able to make great use of buying the miles with just a 40% bonus! With the 40% offer you are buying Mileage Plan Miles at roughly US 2.15 cents each:


Remember Alaska has set in place a maximum amount of miles you can buy in a year if you don’t hold MVP status.  Non-Elite members can only buy 150,000 miles per year now.  MVP, MVP Gold, and MVP Gold 75K member are not subjected to this limitation. Seeing that Alaska does have 50% bonuses at times I wouldn’t buy at 40% unless you have a need for these miles to be redeemed over the next 60-90 days at which time we may see their next bonus offer.

If you do buy right now remember you can redeem miles for premium class flights on British Airways, JAL, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and more, there are lots of options for you to use these miles. It only takes 70,000 Mileage Plan miles to fly Cathay Pacific First Class one way from North America to Asia and those 70K will cost you US$1507.69  – and to pay for that first class will cost you a lot more than that!

Offer details
40% Bonus Mileage Plan Miles when you buy or gift 15,000 or more miles. Buy Alaska Miles Here Until Feb 16, 20

Here's an example of how you can use this promotion to fly JAL Business Class from Vancouver to Tokyo:
To buy that many miles will cost you just under $1300 US:
All told when you add in taxes and also the fees on the award ticket you are looking as spending around C$1,850. The same flight bought straight with cash will be just over $2,800 - almost a $1,000 savings by buying the miles!

Find many more Mileage Plan bonus miles offers here!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Receive 1,000 bonus Aeroplan Miles when you join the program and complete your first earning transaction - ends soon



Aeroplan has a member acquisition offer out that is essentially the same one we saw for most of the last half of 2019.  However this one appears to have an end date of January 31, 2020 so there isn't much time to take advantage of it! Best bet is to join right away and then make an online purchase via the Aeroplan eStore by January 31 unless of course you can utilize another partner by that time.

Offer details:
1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you join the program and complete your first mileage earning transaction by January 31, 2020. Join here!Advertisement

Find many more Aeroplan Bonus Miles offers here!

 

200 FREE JAL Mileage Bank Miles when you join the Okura Nikko Hotels One Harmony Program


JAL Mileage Bank is not a program we typically see free miles offers from so when one comes around you take advantage of it! They are offering  200 free Mileage Bank miles when you join the Okura Nikko Hotels One Harmony program and register your JMB membership to that your newly made account. If you already member of One Harmony you can still score 100 free miles for updating your JMB account number in your One Harmony account.

Offer details:
200 Free Mileage Bank Miles when you join the Okura Nikko Hotels One Harmony program.  Full details Until Mar 29, 20
Existing One Harmony members can earn 100 miles for updating their JMB account number in their One Harmony account.

Here are some other Mileage Bank bonus miles offers to check out:

Earn up to 7,500 Bonus Aeroplan Miles on all Air Canada flights Worldwide


Air Canada revealed a decent systemwide flight bonus offer yesterday! The new promotion covers all flights flown by Air Canada (including Rouge, Express, etc.) to all destinations Worldwide. It is a tiered promotion that offers bonuses from 1,000 miles to 7,500 miles depending on where you fly and what fare class you fly in. As is the case with all Air Canada Aeroplan flight promotions, only new bookings as of the launch date of the promotion count towards earning the bonus, in this case that means January 21. You have until February 4 to register for the promotion and book your flights but have until June 30 to actually complete them.

Bonuses are awarded as follows:


Good news is the bonus is open to everyone on a reservation unlike most Aeroplan flight promotions prior to December that only awarded it to the first person on the reservation.

I really hope that this promotion is Air Canada and Aeroplan wanting to be generous as we are starting to see more flight bonuses from various airlines and more systemwide offers. In the past this has been indicative of an upcoming slump in the economy and the airlines use the promotions to encourage people to try to fly. Case in point - during the last major economic slump quite a few years ago we listed upwards of 700 flight bonuses on our site at any one time. However for the past two or so years we have only been seeing 100-200 flight bonuses at one time. And based on our tracking of offers on Rewards Canada and Frequent Flyer Bonuses we have definitely seen an uptick in flight bonuses over the past 4 months. Let's hope I'm just reading into too much!

Offer details:
Earn up to 7,500 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you fly on eligible scheduled direct flights within Canada, and between Canada and the U.S., Europe, Middle East, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and sun destinations. Full details, online registration and booking (Registration is required) Register and book by Feb 4 for travel until Jun 30, 20

Bonuses as follows (for one round trip or two one way segments):
  • 1,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles North America & Sun -Economy Standard, Economy Flex, comfort; or Economy Latitude.
  • 3,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles North America & Sun –Premium Economy lowest, Premium Economy flexible, Premium Rouge, Business Class lowest, or Business Class flexible.
  • 3,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles International – Economy Standard; Economy Flex; comfort; or Economy Latitude.
  • 7,500 Bonus Aeroplan Miles International - Premium Economy flexible, Premium Rouge, Business Class lowest, or Business Class flexible.
Here are some other Aeroplan bonus miles offers to check out:
  • Earn 500 Bonus Aeroplan Miles for stays at Best Western Hotels in Canada, the United States, or the Caribbean Islands Full details, online registration & booking (Registration is required)
  • 1,500 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you rent with Avis at participating locations in the U.S. and Canada. Full details.  
  • Earn up to 30,000 Aeroplan Miles (equivalent to 2 economy short-haul roundtrip flight rewards) and first year no Annual Fee with the TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card 
Find our complete listing of Aeroplan Bonus Miles offers here

Podcast Episode 63 - The 2020 Outlook and Trends Episode with special guest Gary Leff of View from the Wing

 

Episode 63 - January 22, 2020
The 2020 Outlook and Trends Episode with special guest Gary Leff of View from the Wing 

 

In this the first episode for 2020 Jeff and Patrick are joined by special guest Gary Leff of View from the Wing. Gary is one of the world's foremost experts on loyalty programs and Rewards Canada is excited to have him as a guest. This is our annual outlook and trends episode for the upcoming year. Gary, Patrick and Jeff discuss the marriage of Air Canada and Aeroplan, the future of coalition programs in Canada, the U.S. and international programs for Canadians to look out for and what we should expect for the Canadian credit card market!

 

Click Here to download the podcast (mp3)


This episode is proudly sponsored by EQ Bank
EQ Bank, the digital arm of Equitable Bank, recently partnered with TransferWise in a first of its kind collaboration in Canada that offers customers a better way to send money abroad. Translation -- fast international money transfers that are up to 8x cheaper
‡. For more details, please visit eqbank.ca
 

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Plaza Premium Lounges revamps loyalty program - download the new Smart Traveller App by March 31 to receive 200 points + a 1st visit bonus


Late last year Plaza Premium - the Asia based business class lounge provided with airport lounges in 21 countries including Canada - decided to revamp their Arrture loyalty program. See our coverage of the old program here. The big change with the program is the name, gone is Arrture as it has been replaced with Smart Traveller. Much better in my opinion!

The points earning has been modified and is as follows now:

 The old program had a simple 2,000 points gets you one lounge visit. Now they have a few more redemption options. Ranging from 1,500 points to upgrade your lounge visit in Hong Kong to Plaza Premium First Lounge to 4,000 points for a three hour visit to a Plaza Premium Resting Suite. The main reward that most people will look for is simply a free lounge visit - that now costs 2,500 points, so it has gone up 25% in the new program.

With the launch of the revamped program you can get 200 points for free just by downloading the Smart Traveller app and this includes those who were already members of the Arrture program. Plus you can earn 100 bonus points your first visit until March 31, 2020.

Make sure that you do put your birthday in the app as well as any lounge entries made during the month of your birthday will earn double the points.

What's amazing about this program is that it doesn't matter what you use to access a Plaza Premium lounge - you'll receive the points regardless of your entry method. This means you can access the lounge with Priority Pass, American Express' Canadian Platinum Lounge benefit, LoungeKey, an airline's business/first class ticket, or any other program that has Plaza Premium lounges participating. Or you can just pay for access. Simply put, when you enter the lounge and use whatever method to access it, simply show them your membership via the app and you'll get the points per the chart above.

Here in Canada Plaza Premium has over a dozen lounges in Edmonton (2), Toronto (6 + 1 Spa), Winnipeg (1) and Vancouver (4). Costs for Plaza Premium Lounges in Canada are US$40 for 2 hours, US$48 for 3 hours and US$64 for 6 hours. Children aged 2-11 enjoy a 30%  discount.

Learn more about the Smart Traveller program here.

HT Executive Traveller

January 21 Update: CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege Card added to comparison charts, discount offer for No1 Lounges, new welcome offers for Amex AIR MILES cards


We have added the CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite Privilege Card to our credit card comparison charts. You'll find them on the following charts:
Canadian Travel Credit Card Comparison: All Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Canadian Travel Credit Card Comparison: Travel Points Credit Cards
 


If you are flying to/from/via the UK or Australia there is another business class lounge company you can look at. No1 Lounges, they have 15 of their own locations in the U.K. and Australia. If you are looking to access any of these lounges you can do so with many of the lounge access programs like Diners Club, Dragonpass, Lounge Club, Lounge Pass and Priority Pass. However if you don't have one of those memberships and want to buy one time access you can do so right from No1 Lounges. You can save on those one time entry fees by joining Virgin Australia's Velocity program and then accessing their discount page on No. 1 Lounges. This provides 20% off the fee and you'll also earn 3 Velocity points for every $1 spent. Learn more or take advantage of the discount offer here.

We have also added No.1 Lounges to Rewards Canada's Guide to Business Class Lounge Access feature
 
The limited time welcome bonuses for the American Express AIR MILES Platinum and American Express AIR MILES Reserve cards came to an end yesterday. The new offers, which I believe are the standard welcome bonus offers are now 2,000 miles with $1,500 in spending and 2,400 miles with $3,000 in spending respectively. Find out more here.

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals

N/A

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 Bonvoy
- 1,000 bonus Bonvoy points when you stay 2 nights or longer Thursday-Sunday at The Courtyard Calgary Airport. More... Until Mar 29, 20

Other Bonus Offers

ALL Accor Live Limitless
- Quadruple Rewards points for stays at participating new Accor Hotels Worldwide. More... Book by Mar 3 for stays until Apr 19, 20
- Triple Rewards points for stays at participating Accor Hotels in Austria, Germany or Switzerland More... Book by Jan 31 for stays until Mar 21, 20

American AAdvantage
- Triple AAdvantage Miles for every $1 USD spent with World of Hyatt Hotels. More... Targeted Offer - May not work for everyone Register by Feb 15 for stays until Mar 15, 20

Finnair Plus
- Earn up to Quadruple Plus Points for Europcar rentals of 5 or more days at participating locations Worldwide except USA, Canada, China, Japan and India.. More... Book by Jan 31 for rentals until Jun 30, 20

Hilton Honors
- Earn up to 7,500 Bonus Honors points for stays at participating Hilton Hotels Worldwide. More... Targeted offer - may not work for everyone Until Dec 31, 20

IHG Rewards Club
- 50% Bonus IHG Rewards Club Bonus points for stays at select New IHG hotels in the U .S. and Canada More... Book by Mar 31 for stays until Apr 30, 20

Marriott Bonvoy
- 1,000 bonus Bonvoy points and receive 20% off best available rate, free buffet breakfast daily, Wi-Fi at The St. Regis Mauritius Resort or the Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa. More... Until Apr 30, 20
- 3,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points for stays of 7+ nights at the Sheraton Mallorca Arabella Golf Hotel More... Until Feb 23, 20
- 1,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points + 15% off stays on Thursday-Sunday nights (Friday or Saturday required) at the Bridgewater Marriott. More... Until Apr 12, 20
- 1,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points PER NIGHT for stays at the Denver Airport Marriott at Gateway Park. More... Until Apr 12, 20
- 5,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points PER NIGHT for weekend stays at the Renaissance Boulder Flatiron Hotel. More... Until Mar 21, 20

Millennium Hotels My Millennium
- 2,888 Bonus My Millennium Points + up to 15% off for stays of 2 or more night at participating Millennium Hotels Worldwide. More... Book by Feb 2 for stays until Mar 31, 20

Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- 2,020 ROP Miles on Sixt rentals of 5 or more days Worldwide. More... Until Feb 29, 20

Wyndham Rewards
- Double Wyndham Rewards Points on your next stay at a Wyndham Rewards Hotel worldwide. More... Targeted Offer - May not work for everyone Until Feb 4, 20


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