Thursday, February 27, 2020

February 27 Update: Shangri-La Hotels extending Golden Circle Elite status due to Coronavirus, Lufthansa to fly Calgary-Frankfurt with their Eurowings subsidiary & 5x More Rewards Points for Coast Hotels stays

If you listened to the latest Rewards Canada Podcast episode you'll have heard us discussing hotel loyalty programs extending elite status for members in China or those who travel to China frequently. Shangri-La Hotels is the latest to do so and they are going beyond just residents of or frequent travellers to China and giving all their elite members an extension of status. We received our status via the Platinum Card from American Express so it would automatically renew anyways but this still a great move by the hotel chain in just extending it for everyone!

Looks like the with the sale of Condor Airlines to Poland's LOT, Lufthansa will be bringing in their charter carrier Eurowings to the Calgary-Frankfurt route for the 2020 Summer season. It will operate 4x weekly for most of the season and can be booked directly with Lufthansa (great for Miles & More, Aeroplan and other Star Alliance members). Details aren't out yet if you can book direct with Eurowings and choose to credit to Eurowings' own loyalty program - the cool named Boomerang Club. We cover Boomerang Club on our global site (see that page here) and will add it shortly to the Rewards Canada site if it does become available. If I'm not mistaken this will be first city served in Canada by Eurowings. The flight will operate with an A330-200. (Source RoutesOnline)

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals

Fairmont Chateau Whistler 96 Hour Sale - Save up to 30% on stays until the end of April

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 per night and 15% off for stays on Thursday-Sunday nights (Friday or Saturday required) at the Residence Inn Montreal Airport. More... Until Apr 18, 20

More Rewards
- 5x More Rewards when you book direct and stay at any Coast Hotel in Canada or the U.S. More... Book now for stays Mar 1 - Apr 30, 20

Other Bonus Offers

China Airlines Dynasty Flyer
- Double Dynasty Flyer Miles when you fly between Taipei and Cebu More... Until Sep 30, 20
- Double Dynasty Flyer Miles when you fly between Taipei and Chiang Mai. More... Until Dec 15, 20
- Earn up to 2,000 Bonus Dynasty Flyer Miles when you fly between Taipei and Penang. More... Until Jun 14, 20
- Receive a Dynasty Flyer Miles Discount when you book award tickets for flights between Taipei and Penang. More... Until Jun 14, 20

- Double Miles/Points in the program of your choice on all hotel bookings made via Kaligo. More... Book by Mar 3 for stays until Aug 31, 20

Stash Hotel Rewards
- 500 Bonus Stash Rewards Points for stays at the El Cordova Hotel Coronado More... Until May 31, 20

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WestJet Seat Sale - $350 off Business fares to Europe, today only ($700 savings on round trip)

WestJet released a promo code that is only available for use today and that code offers $350 off business class fares to Europe. The code is good for travel until May 19 which means you can use on the following routes and dates:

Calgary or Toronto to London: Now - May 19, 2020
Vancouver to London: April 26 - May 19, 2020
Calgary to Paris: March 12 - May 19, 2020
Calgary to Dublin: May 3-19, 2020

It looks like the code works in both directions so the savings is actually $700. Here is Calgary to Paris from March 22 to 31:

Use P62ST42 when you book online at WestJet or simply visit this page on WestJet and the code will be automatically filled in for you.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Earn 1,000 Bonus Points per night + 15% off for weekend stays at the Residence Inn Montreal Airport

Offer details:
1,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points per night and 15% off for stays on Thursday-Sunday nights (Friday or Saturday required) at the Residence Inn Montreal Airport. Full details & online booking Until Apr 18, 20

And is this a good deal? You bet it is - we priced checked the offer and it does price out cheaper than the member rate or flexible rate and it has the standard cancellation policy!

On the one night we checked it is $18 cheaper and you get the 1,000 points that worth about $10 on top of that. Of course we recommend you pay for the stay with the Marriott Bonvoy American Express card as it earns 5 points per dollar spent on Marriott stays.

Here are some more Marriott bonus offers to check out:

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

February 25 Update: Wyndham Rewards Stay Twice Earn A Free Night offer, 99% of retailers in the U.S. accept Amex now & 15 new bonus offers

Wyndham Rewards has released their first systemwide promotion of 2020. The offer is being promoted as a stay twice earn a free night promotion. In reality they are offering bonus points that will net you enough points to redeem for that free night. The bonus is 5,500 points after two stays and with a minimum earn of 1,000 points on each stay you'll end up with no less than 7,500 points which can be redeemed for a free night at their lower end hotels. You have to register for and book the offer by April 26 for stays until May 21, 20. Learn more here!

American Express U.S. sent out a press release about some news that was revealed several weeks back and also noted by some of our readers. According to Amex 99% of places in the United States that accept credit cards accept American Express. This pretty much puts them on par with Visa and Mastercard south of the border. If the past few years of increased acceptance of Amex in Canada we may be heading there as well up north here! Let's hope it happens! (Source American Express)

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals

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

Canadian Bonus Offers

Air Canada Aeroplan
- Earn up to 10 x Aeroplan Miles when you shop online via the Aeroplan eStore. More... Until Mar 8, 20

Best Western Rewards
- Earn Triple Points on all stays at Best Western® branded hotels in the United States, Canada or Caribbean PLUS Earn a Free Night when you complete 2 eligible nights at a Best Western® branded hotel in the United States, Canada or Caribbean. More... Until Apr 30, 20

Other Bonus Offers

Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Earn up to 5,000 bonus MilleMiglia miles when you fly on Alitalia’s new route between Rome and San Francisco. More...Book by Mar 10 for travel Jun 1 - Jul 31, 20
- Earn up to 2,000 Bonus MilleMiglia miles for stays of 2+ nights at Marriott Hotels in San Francisco. More... Book by Apr 10 for stays between Jun 1 - Aug 31, 20
- Earn up to 2,000 Bonus MilleMiglia miles for stays of 2+ nights at Marriott Hotels in Rome. More... Book by Mar 31 for stays between Jun 1 - Aug 31, 20
- Up to 50% Bonus MilleMiglia Miles when you buy or gift miles online. More... Until Mar 31, 20

Best Western Rewards
- 1,000 Bonus Points for stays at the Best Western Plus Airport Hotel Copenhagen. More... Until Mar 31, 20

Hilton Honors
- Earn up to 5,000 Bonus Honors Points when you join Hilton Honors and complete Hilton hotel stays within 6 months of joining. More... Join by Dec 31, 20
- 1,000 Bonus Honors Points per night for stays at the Canopy by Hilton Cancun La Isla. More... Until Jul 15, 20
- 5,000 Bonus Honors Points when you stay 3+ nights at theKoi Resort Saint Kitts, Curio Collection by Hilton. More... Until Jun 26, 20

Marriott Bonvoy
- Earn 2,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points PER NIGHT and up to 20% off for stays on Thursday-Sunday nights (Friday or Saturday required) at any of 21 Marriott Hotels in the Boston area. More... Until Apr 30, 20
- Earn 1,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points PER NIGHT for stays at any one of 12 participating Marriott Hotels in Spain More... Until Apr 30, 20

Red Lion Hello Rewards
- 29 Bonus Hello Bucks when you book and stay at any Red Lion property. More... Book by Mar 5 for stays until Apr 30, 20
- 30 Bonus Hello Bucks when you join the Red Lion Hotels Hello Rewards program. More... Until Feb 29, 20

Wyndham Rewards
- Earn 5,500 Bonus Wyndham Rewards Points when you complete 2 separate stays at Wyndham Hotels Worldwide. More... Register and book by Apr 26 for stays until May 21, 20

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Fairmont Chateau Whistler 96 Hour Sale - Save up to 30% on stays until the end of April

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler released a 96 hour sale today that offers up to 30% off stays at the iconic hotel. Simply book by February 28 for stays until April 30 and enjoy rates as low as C$181 per night.

The sale rate requires non-refundable prepayment is required at time of booking and has Blackout dates of  April 10 and 11, 2020. This means you should only book your stays if you know you will keep them since you can't cancel them.

You can learn more about and book the sale here. 

Here is a comparison of the rates - as you can see the sale does provide significant savings:


Don't forget that Fairmont Hotels is owned by Accor Hotels which means they are part of ALL Accor Live Limitless - the frequent guest program for Accor Hotels. They currently have two bonus points offers that can be combined with this sale so you will want to register for each one! The first one is Triple Points for stays in North America when you book by February 29 so that fits in with this sale as long as the stay is completed by March 31. The other bonus offer is Accor's systemwide bonus of up to 6,000 bonus points on multiple night stays. So if you book two or more nights for this sale at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler you can earn this second bonus as well. You'll want to register for these offers before you complete the Whistler booking.

Triple Rewards points for stays at participating Accor Hotels in North and Central America Full details, online registration & booking (Registration is required) Book by Feb 29 for stays until Mar 31, 20

Earn up to 6,000 bonus Rewards points for stays of 2+ nights at participating Accor Hotels Worldwide. Full details, online registration & booking. (Registration is required) Register and book by Mar 6 for stays Feb 14 – Jun 7, 20
Bonuses as follows:
– 500 Rewards points on your first stay (minimum two nights)
– 2,500 Rewards points on your second stay (minimum two nights)
– 3,000 Rewards points on your third stay (minimum two nights)

The Platinum Card from American Express receives a limited time increased welcome bonus of 60,000 points

American Express released a new welcome bonus offer for The Platinum Card from American Express today. This new offer provides the same 50,000 welcome point bonus when you spend $3,000 on the card in the first three months of having it but now they have added in an additional 10,000 bonus points after six months of cardmembership.  At a minimum this new sign up bonus if worth $600 towards to any travel booked on the card but in most cases is worth more than that if you redeem via American Express' Fixed Points for Travel program or convert the points to Aeroplan Miles or British Airways Executive Club Avios.

Not only does the card offer this new welcome bonus it still has all of its standard features and benefits as follows:
This is the card to have if you want to truly experience higher end travel and yes it has $699 annual fee but when you take into account the welcome bonus, the annual travel credit and all the other benefit that annual fee seems like peanuts. We have had the card in our family for years and have utilized the benefits that it has provided time and time again - from accessing lounges (see our latest review from Phoenix thanks to the card) to saving big time money on last minute flights (see our article on Saving $3,800 on last minute flights with the Platinum Card from American Express)

Remember as well the Membership Rewards points earned on the Platinum Card convert to Aeroplan or British Airways on a 1:1 basis as well as a 1:1.2 ratio to Marriott. These conversion options are very popular with this card and if you play your cards right can make that 60,000 point sign up bonus worth well over $1,000.

This is a limited time offer on the card so it can end before we know it so you may want to move on it sooner than later - albeit it should be around for at least a few months but we will reach out to Amex to see if they can provide a concrete end date and give you an update when we do get it.

There is also a 70,000 point welcome bonus offer with $5,000 when you use a referral link. Both offers are good options - really depends on if you can spend $5,000 - if not you may want to opt for the 60K for $3,000 spend.

Learn more about and apply for the Platinum Card here.

Here are the complete details of the card:

Monday, February 24, 2020

Podcast Episode 65 - Coronavirus Update, Rogers Mastercard devaluation & Marriott Bonvoy Category Changes

Episode 65 - February 24, 2020
Coronavirus Update, Rogers Mastercard devaluation & Marriott Bonvoy Category Changes

This week we cover a range of topis. We discuss the Coronavirus and how it is affecting travel, what travel and credit card insurance covers or does not cover, airline and hotel waivers, hotels extending status and more. We then jump into the recently announced negative changes coming to the three Rogers/Fido Mastercards, the big hotel category changes from Marriott and also talk about their new hotels in Canada.

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Links relating to this week's topics:


How to score 700 WestJet dollars for only $240

Right now if you grab yourself two RBC credit cards you can come out with at least 700 WestJet dollars for as little as $240 in annual fees and purchases. The two cards are the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard and the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card.

The WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard currently has a 350 WestJet dollar welcome bonus until the end of March. That bonus is awarded on your first purchase which means you could choose to only spend $1 on the card in addition to the $119 annual fee to score the 350 WestJet dollars. This offer is set to end on March 31.

Next up is the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card - it has a 35,000 RBC Rewards Point welcome bonus that is awarded upon approval. That's right - no spend required. You do however have to pay the $120 annual fee on the card and you must apply be February 28. RBC Rewards Points convert to WestJet dollars at a rate of 100 points to 1 dollar which means this sign up bonus is worth 350 WestJet dollars. And if you don't need the dollars right away you can await one of RBC's twice annual transfer bonuses to WestJet. As of late it has only been 10% but that could mean you would actually get 385 WestJet dollars for the 35,000 points.

Let's quickly recap the spend - $1 purchase and $119 annual fee on the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard and $120 annual fee for the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card. All told that is $240 you dole out to get 700 WestJet dollars. Not a bad deal at all!

WestJet dollars work just like cash - that is 700 WestJet dollars equals 700 towards flights you purchase with WestJet. You could buy two $350 tickets (before taxes and fees as WestJet dollars don't cover those) or one $700 or even buy a business class ticket on the Dreamliner for several thousand dollars and redeem 700 towards it so you aren't spending as much.

You could also look at WestJet Rewards Member Exclusive fares where you can fly for as little as 99 WestJet dollars one way in Canada or 629 one way to Australia! There are lots of options to choose from and use your WestJet dollars for and to get 700 of them for only $240 is one of the better reward options in our market right now.

Recommended Reading: WestJet Rewards lowers, that's right, lowers redemption rates for Member Exclusive award travel on WestJet & Delta Airlines

Just a reminder that come April 1 there are some changes coming to the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard as the annual companion voucher will be bumped up to $119 for North America flights and $399 for Hawaii and Sun destination. Read our complete post on the changes here.

Recommended Reading:  Why my wife and I each grabbed our own WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercards

Lounge Review: Phoenix Sky Harbor American Express Centurion Lounge & Escape Lounge

On the latest Rewards Canada family vacation we got to check out the new American Express Centurion and Escape Lounges in Phoenix. The lounges are located in Terminal 4 of Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport and are very new - they just opened up during the second week of January. For most Canadian's this means if you are flying WestJet you will be able to use the lounges if you have The Platinum Card from American Express or the Centurion Card. The Escape Lounge also has pay per use access should you not have either card. Unfortunately Air Canada changed terminals early in February so if you are flying AC you won't be able to access the lounge without changing terminals and going through security multiple times.

Lounge location

For our trip the location of the lounges was perfect - right next to B23 which is where our WestJet flight back to YYC was departing from. We were flying home on President's Day which meant the airport was insane with lots of people flying home from the long weekend but with TSA Pre-Check we cleared security in under 5 minutes.

We arrived at the lounge entrance around 4pm and at check in they have three kiosks - one for the Escape Lounge and two for the Centurion Lounge. There were six of us travelling together which meant my wife and I each had to provide our Platinum Cards as the access rules state each cardholder can bring two guests in with them. Once our credentials were quickly checked we received two invite cards stating three people in total on each to hand to the agent at the top of the stairs to enter the Centurion Lounge.

We handed the cards in and the nice agent detailed the lounge for us along with directions to access the shower suite if we wished to use it. She also gave the WiFi access details and off we went into the new lounge. The lounge itself was quite nice but seeing as it was late afternoon at the end of a long weekend it was packed! This is something that is not new to Centurion Lounges - they are somewhat a victim of their own success and many of them are packed during peak times. This was obviously a peak time. We did find a shared high bar table where the six of us could settle in and did so. It wasn't the most comfortable or private space and after looking at the line up to get drinks for the bar and the number of people hovering over the buffet for food I went off on a mission to see what the Escape Lounge was like. As I was exiting I wasn't the only one with that idea - another gentlemen was there talking to the agent at the entrance of the Centurion Lounge and she explained that entry to that lounge was also complimentary for Platinum or higher cardholders and that the food and drinks were exactly the same - just presented a little differently. I went in and found the lounge to be much quieter and in my opinion actually set up better and more comfortable than the Centurion Lounge. A quick text to the rest of the group and they came over and we settled in to some nice tables and seats in the back corner of the Escape Lounge.

The tables and seats we commandeered
 Some of the other seating options in the Escape lounge

The food was quite good and ranged from some chicken with vegetable dishes, vegetarian cauliflower dishes, salads and some really good desserts. Also the Tortilla soup they had was quite delicious! Finally - and this a big plus - there was no line to get drinks from the bartender in the Escape Lounge. We were able to walk right up and order our beverages without waiting. He did ask to see our Platinum Card as a secondary check but he never did ask again after seeing it the first time. Seeing that the food is the same in both lounges I can tell you that it will be good whichever side you visit!

Salads and Desserts

Veggie dishes

Chicken and Veggie dishes

The Escape Lounge Bar

Both lounges also provide some great views of the tarmac and runways if you enjoy planespotting!

The Escape Lounge also has two single bathrooms for all to use and they are complete with l'occitane products:

All in all these new lounges in Phoenix are great and either one makes a great place to go and relax. Hopefully when you visit it isn't during a peak time and can enjoy the Centurion side more than we did! One of our Twitter followers mentioned she hasn't had any issues in the lounge with crowding so she obviously knows when to travel! I too hope that one day we can enjoy a Centurion Lounge a little more as this also happened to us in San Francisco where we walked into, around and right out of the lounge as it was insane when we went! However if you do visit and it is busy the Escape Lounge is a great place to visit.

Learn more about American Express' Centurion Lounges here and Escape Lounges here. 

Recommended reading: Rewards Canada's Guide to Business Class Lounge Access

Here are the details on The Platinum Card from American Express which we used to access the lounges

Aeroplan eStore Miles Madness - Earn up to 10x miles for your online shopping until March 8

Aeroplan's Miles Madness promotion for online shopping via the Aeroplan eStore has returned. You can earn up to 10x miles for your online shopping until March 8. Some retailers offering 10x miles are Frank & Oak and Indigo while others like Sephora and Old Navy are 5x miles. As always be sure to use a mileage earning credit card for the purchases and also to log in to your account at the retailer to earn that's retailer's points like Indigo's Plum Rewards, Sephora Beauty Insider etc.

Find out more about Miles Madness here!

Image via Aeroplan