Friday, July 31, 2020

July 31 Update: The 2% return on travel Envision World Mastercard now on Rewards Canada, hotel occupancy rates in Canada continue to rise slowly and seven new bonus offers

Sometime ago our Facebook follower Jeremy B. introduced us to the Envision World Mastercard and I'm finally getting around to putting the card's details on the Rewards Canada site and will begin to consider it for any potential rankings, portfolios and so on that I publish. This is credit union card that offers a straight 2 points per dollar spent on the card which translates to a 2% return when you redeem towards travel so it could be considered a replacement for the Capital One Aspire World Elite Mastercard however there are some pros and cons to it. From what I can tell you must have the full amount points in your account to redeem for travel (no partial redemptions) and you have to book via their travel portal. I did a quick one time search for flights on their portal between Toronto and Montreal in late August and the price on Envision's site for the Air Transat flight was 19,135 points ($191.35) while Air Transat was selling the same flight for only $160. This is something that may need more research as it reminds of the BMO Rewards travel portal where many of readers tell us the pricing found there is typically higher than booking direct with the airline.


The card also provides a cash back option however the reward site won't let me see what that redemption rate is but if it is anything like their gift card rates then it should be pretty good!

I have added the card to the Rewards Canada All Travel Credit Cards and Travel Points Credit Cards comparison charts. I do plan on providing more coverage of the card in the near future but here are some quick takeaways on the card if you want to check it out right away:

  • To apply for the card you have to be a member of the credit union which you can join for $5
  • It has a 2% return for travel but note that you have to have the full amount of points required for that travel. No partial redemptions are allowed.
  • From what I can tell you have to book the travel via their travel portal
  • The gift card redemption rates actually look pretty decent. For example a $100 gift card is 10,495 points which would take just over $5,200 in spending or about a 1.9% return. A $25 gift card however drops down to about 1.6% which is still quite good.
  • It has a pretty good insurance package with travel medical, trip cancellation, price protection and more. The only insurance it seems to be missing is flight delay insurance.

Learn more about the Envision World Elite Mastercard here


Hotel occupancy rates in Canada continue to rise slowly. For the week of July 19-25 the number rose to 35.4% from ~33% the week before. (Source HNN)


Airline Schedule Updates
A summary 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!

TAP Air Portugal will be  increasing their flights between Toronto and Lisbon to 5x weekly as of September 1. Meanwhile the Toronto - Ponta Delgada route launch appears to have been pushed back to September 3 while Montreal to Lisbon will operate 3x weekly in August. (Source RoutesOnline)


Posts since our last update:

Deals:

Hilton Whislter Lodge has a deal via Travelzoo where you can stay for as little as $149 per night including parking and resort fee. Find out more here.

If you aren't using the Ampli Cash Back app yet you can get $5 when you download the app and join today with promo code AMPLI5 Find out more here

Enterprise: Enjoy a free rental upgrade on rentals until August 28, 2020 Find out more here.

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

Air Canada Aeroplan
- 5x Aeroplan Miles when you shop online at select retailers via the Aeroplan eStore. More... Until Aug 9, 20

Other Bonus Offers

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Earn up to 1,500 Bonus Mileage Plan miles when you shop online via the Mileage Plan Shopping portal. More... Until Aug 9, 20

American AAdvantage
- Earn up to 2,000 Bonus AAdvantage miles when you shop online via the AAdvantage Shopping portal. More... Until Aug 17, 20

British Airways Executive Club
- Earn Double Avios on all British Airways flights Worldwide as well as British Airways flights operated by American Airlines, Iberia and Finnair when travelling between Europe and North America. More... Book by Aug 31 for travel Until Dec 31, 20

Etihad Guest
- Earn 1 tier mile for every mile transferred from participating Etihad Guest partners. Minimum threshold of 5,000 miles transfer and the Tier Miles will be capped at 20,000 tier miles. More... Until Aug 30, 20

GHA Discovery
- Receive Discovery Platinum Elite status when you complete a 2 night stay at GHA Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Aug 31, 20

Hilton Honors
- 100% Bonus when you buy 10,000 or more Hilton Honors points online. More... Until Sep 20, 20



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Thursday, July 30, 2020

Enroll or renew an InterContinental Ambassador membership and receive a free night stay when you stay once at any InterContinental, Kimpton or Regent Hotel


If you are unfamiliar with InterContinental Ambassador it is a separate 'elite' program within the IHG Hotels umbrella. It is a paid membership program that costs US$200 or 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points per year and it provides extra benefits at InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and for a limited also brings you benefits at Kimpton and Regent Hotels.
 
These are the benefits associated with InterContinental Ambassador
  • Guaranteed one category room upgrade
  • Extended 4pm check-out
  • Complimentary weekend night (Complimentary Weekend Night is also valid at Kimpton and Regent hotels globally--any day of the week-- from July 30, 2020 – December 31, 2021 (*excluding Greater China))
  • Platinum Elite status in IHG® Rewards Club
  • Restaurant & bar credit of up to USD20 for every stay
  • Ambassador on-property benefits honored at Regent hotels from July 30, 2020 – December 31, 2021 (*excluding Greater China)
  • And more perks to enhance your travels

When you look at it those are pretty good benefits for that US$200 or 40,000 points as the complimentary weekend night that you receive can be worth more than that price alone. Then add in the extra benefits like room upgrades, restaurant/bar credit and IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status and you quickly get way more out of the paid membership. The key to this program however is where you can receive these benefits and those are for stays only at 200 or so InterContinental Hotels Worldwide and for a limited time at Kimpton and Regent Hotels as well.

So to encourage uptake to the Ambassador membership base IHG has come out with a limited time promotion whereby you can earn a free night stay when you enroll in or renew an Ambassador membership and complete one stay at any InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Resort, or Regent Hotels & Resorts by November 15, 2020. The free night reward can be used to redeem for a stay worth up to 40,000 IHG Rewards Club points and must be used by April 30, 2021.

Now the question for many Canadians will be, is it worth it to join and try to get the free night if I'm not planning on travelling outside of Canada for the foreseeable future. This is where you need to decide as the footprint of InterContinental, Kimpton and Regent Hotels in Canada is not large by any means:
As you can see you have a full four hotels to achieve this promotion with if you are only planning on travelling in Canada - in reality if your planning on travelling to Toronto or Montreal.

Offer details
Receive a free night (worth up to 40,000 points) when you enroll in or renew an InterContinental Ambassador membership and stay once at an InterContinental, Kimpton or Regent Hotel. Enroll or renew IHG Ambassador membership here.  Enroll/join/stay by Nov 15, 20

Find many more IHG Rewards Club Bonus Points offers here.

Images via IHG

Terms and conditions:

InterContinental® Ambassadors who enrol in the programme or renew their programme membership between 30 July 2020 – 15 November 2020 and then complete one Qualifying Stay at InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants, or Regent ® Hotels by 31 January 2021 will be awarded a Reward Night redeemable for a Reward Night priced at 40,000 points or less. The Reward Night will be deposited into the Free Nights section of the member’s account within 72 hours after check-out from the qualifying, paid stay and will be valid until 30 April 2021. This Reward Night is in addition to the complimentary weekend night that is already included as an InterContinental Ambassador member benefit. Ambassador benefits are not honored at Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants globally or at Regent® Hotels & Resorts in Greater China. 

 

The Reward Night must be consumed by 30 April 2021 and cannot be extended or transferred. The number of points required for a Reward Night at IHG hotels varies by date, brand and individual hotel and is subject to availability. Taxes and fees apply and the member may be required to pay such taxes and fees even for a Reward Night. IHG® Army Hotels, Mr & Mrs Smith properties, and Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas are excluded from this Offer. 

 

This Offer is not valid for InterContinental® Ambassador membership enrolments or renewals obtained on a complimentary basis or using the IHG Employee discount. Ambassador members must be within their standard renewal window in order to take advantage of this Offer. A Qualifying Stay is defined as a paid, minimum 1-night stay booked under a Qualifying Rate, with total spend exceeding US $30 per night. Reward Nights do not count as Qualifying Stays. A Stay is defined per IHG Rewards Club Membership Terms and Conditions as one night or consecutive nights at the same hotel, regardless of frequency of check-in/out. Only one room per member per Qualifying Stay will be eligible to earn the member a Reward Night under this Offer. If more than one member checks into the same room, only one member may use it as his or her Qualifying Stay for this Offer.  No credit will be awarded for Stays completed prior to the member’s enrollment or renewal. 

 

This Offer is subject to standard IHG Rewards Club Membership Terms and Conditions and earning structure, which can be obtained here, as well as the InterContinental Ambassador Membership Terms and Conditions, found here. IHG reserves the right to remove a member's free night award or cancel a member’s account if fraudulent use of this Offer is detected. To the extent permitted by applicable law, IHG reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify this Offer at any time with or without notice, and IHG reserves the right of final interpretation of this Offer. Members must make any inquiries relating to this Offer by 60 days from the last date on which the Reward Night can be consumed (30 April 2021). 

Receive a 100% bonus for buying Hilton Honors points until September 20

Once again Hilton hasn’t waited long to bring back their 100% bonus on buying their points. The last round just ended on July 15 and now we see the offer return for purchases until September 20. It is a flat rate bonus of 100% when you buy 10,000 or more points. This means you are paying US$ 0.5 cents per point which can be easily redeemed at values of 0.8 cents or more!


Remember reward nights start out at only 5,000 points so you could potentially get a lot of nights out of this offer.

Also with travel curtailed we don’t say you should buy points speculatively right now but some of you are still needing to travel and could very well make use of this bonus. Or if you do want to speculate…..

Offer details:
100% Bonus when you buy 10,000 or more Hilton Honors points online. Buy points here  Until Sep 20, 20

Remember as well that Hilton has extended their Points Unlimited promotion of earning 2,000 bonus points per stay until Sep 7.

Find our complete list of Hilton Honors offers right here

British Airways Executive Club: Double Avios on all BA flights Worldwide + Transatlantic flights on select partners

The British Airways Executive Club Double Avios on all flights offer is back for the fall.  Just like the previous iterations the double Avios is limited to 10 sectors or flights however this time the registration and booking window is shorter. BA are definitely trying to spur future bookings right now with this promotion. Simply register and book by August 31 for travel to be completed by December 31, 2020. While this promotion is open to everyone I don't think it will be utilized much by most Canadians seeing the uncertainty with travel and having to self-isolate for 14 days if you go to the UK. Add in the fact that BA's flight schedule in Canada is quite sparse but still it won't hurt to register for it now especially if you do know you will be travelling to the UK or beyond on BA sometime this year.

Offer details
Earn Double Avios on all British Airways flights Worldwide as well as British Airways flights operated by American Airlines, Iberia and Finnair when travelling between Europe and North America. Full details, online registration & booking (Registration is required) Register and Book by Aug 31 for travel Until Dec 31, 20

Bonus will be awarded for up to 10 flights (one way sectors, round trip counts as two)

Find many more bonus Avios offers here

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

July 29 Update: Earn 5x miles at select retailers via the Aeroplan eStore, Autograph Collection Hotel coming to Halifax and W Toronto opening delayed to 2021


You can earn 5x Aeroplan Miles when you shop online via the Aeroplan eStore for back to school. The extra miles are at select retailers like Gap, Indigo, New Balance and more. The bonus miles event runs until August 9. Find out more here.
Image via Aeroplan

Marriott will be opening up an Autograph Collection Hotel in Halifax in spring of 2021. The Muir Queens Marque is part of a mixed use development on the waterfront in Halifax and will offer 110 rooms, a wellness centre and more. (Source Canadian Lodging News)
Image via Canadian Lodging News


Staying with Marriott news, the first Canadian W Hotel, the opening of the W Toronto that we detailed in our post back in February Marriott New Hotel Openings in Canada for 2020 - 14 hotels in the works including the W Toronto has been delayed. Originally planned to open sometime between June and September the hotel will not open now until February of 2021.
Image via Marriott


Rexall is offering $20 back in Be Well points when you spend $75 or more on beauty products this Thursday July 30.
Image via Rexall


Airline Schedule Updates
A summary 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!

AeroMexico will be reducing flights between Vancouver and Mexico from 3 to 2 per week as of August 5. (Source RoutesOnline)

China Southern Airlines will be running 2 flights per week between Guangzhou and Vancouver for August through to October (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:

Hilton Whistler Lodge has a deal via Travelzoo where you can stay for as little as $149 per night including parking and resort fee. Find out more here.

If you aren't using the Ampli Cash Back app yet you can get $5 when you download the app and join today with promo code AMPLI5 Find out more here

Enterprise: Enjoy a free rental upgrade on rentals until August 28, 2020 Find out more here.

Fairmont Hotels Stay Close - Buy Night 1 Get 1 Night free at select hotels in Canada, U.S. and Mexico. Find out more 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
- 2,000 Bonus Reward Points and up to 30% off on rentals 3 days or longer at participating Budget locations in the U.S and Canada. More... Until Sep 15, 20

Other Bonus Offers

Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Up to a 100% bonus when you buy Air France KLM Flying Blue Miles. More... Until Dec 31, 20

Turkish Miles&Smiles
- 3x Miles&Smiles Miles for stays at Titanic Hotels in Turkey. More... Until Sep 15, 20



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This week's Marriott Bonvoy Escapes provide up to a 25% discount at 56 hotels across Canada until August 23

This week's Marriott Bonvoy Escapes  see 56 locations in Canada participating where members can save up to 25% on stays until August 23.These rates have to be booked by this Sunday. 


If you are unfamiliar with Marriott Escapes, they are last minute deals for the next four weekends (Thursday - Sunday) from the date they are launched at non-resort hotels while resort hotels are available for stays on any day of the week during the same time period.  The rates are prepaid however right now with Marriott's current COVID-19 policy they can be cancelled for a full refund up to 24 hours before the stay.

Here is just one example of the savings from this offer. This is for the Courtyard Niagara from August 8 to 9.



Learn more about and book this offer here. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

July 28 Update: Best Western Hotels makes face coverings mandatory, SCENE will donate to Boys & Girls Club for every point earned or redeemed and more!


Another follow up to our post last week detailing the move that most major hotel chains made requiring mandatory face coverings. Now Best Western is also making face coverings mandatory in indoor public places as of today at all their locations in Canada and the U.S. Find out more here.
Image via Best Western




A great move from SCENE for this month and next - they will make a donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Canada for every SCENE point that is earned or redeemed at Cineplex theatres, RECIPE Unlimited restaurants, The Rec Room, or Playdium. This move runs until August 27 and the donation from SCENE will be capped up to a maximum donation value of $210,000 ($50,000 and 16,000,000 SCENE points). Learn more here.
Image via SCENE 

As of late last week you can now earn and redeem PC Optimum points on purchases made at the Real Canadian Liquor store. Learn more here.
Image via Real Canadian Superstore

AIR MILES reached out to me to clarify entries into their Summer Stay-Cay Giveaway are doubled if you choose to subscribe to emails even if you were already subscribed before. You'll recall in my post last week I got an email saying I already subscribe so no to the 25 bonus miles but no mention of entries. AIR MILES let me know that if you are already an email subscriber you automatically receive double entries and if you are not a subscriber when you do choose to do so via the contest you'll get the double entries and the 25 bonus AIR MILES.
Image via AIR MILES


Airline Schedule Updates
A summary 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!

ANA All Nippon Airways will be flying three flights per week between Vancouver and Tokyo Haneda for the month of August. (Source RoutesOnline)

China Eastern Airlines will be running 1 flight per week between Nanjing and Toronto during the month of August as well as one flight per week between Shanghai and Toronto. (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:

Hilton Whislter Lodge has a deal via Travelzoo where you can stay for as little as $149 per night including parking and resort fee. Find out more here.

If you aren't using the Ampli Cash Back app yet you can get $5 when you download the app and join today with promo code AMPLI5 Find out more here

Enterprise: Enjoy a free rental upgrade on rentals until August 28, 2020 Find out more here.

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

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- Receive up to 50% Bonus Mileage Plan Miles when you buy or gift miles. More... Until Aug 26, 20

Bangkok Airways FlyerBonus
- 3x FlyerBonus Points for stays at Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas Worldwide. More... Until Mar 31, 21

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- 1,000 Bonus Asia Miles when you spend US$300 or more in a single transaction shopping online via the Asia Miles iShop shopping portal. More... Until Aug 10, 20

Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles
- 50% Bonus GarudaMiles when you buy GarudaMiles. More... Until Jul 31, 20

Kaligo
- 50% Bonus Miles/Points in the program of your choice on all hotel bookings made via Kaligo. More... Book by Jul 31 for stays until Dec 31, 20



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Up to a 100% bonus when you buy Air France KLM Flying Blue Miles


If I’m not mistaken this is the best ever bonus for buying Flying Blue Miles from Air France KLM. Previous offers have seen 60 to 75% bonuses but never 100%. At least that’s the case from going through our archive of posts. When you buy at the 100% level each Flying Blue will cost you 1.375 Euro Cents or about 2.15 C$ cents each.


This is a pretty good deal for these miles but can be potentially a even bigger deal if and I mean if and when Flying Blue brings back their monthly Promo Rewards promotion that offer up to 50% off award tickets. Combining a 100% bonus on buying miles and then receiving 50% off business class tickets between Canada and Europe is huge! However I'm only dreaming right now as the Promo Rewards have been paused and its entirely possibly they won't return until next year when the buy miles bonus is over. Good thing is this buy miles bonus is not a short term promotion like most other buy miles promos - this one actually runs until December 31 so you have a long time to decide on buying miles.

Offer details:
Up to a 100% bonus when you buy Air France KLM Flying Blue Miles. Buy miles here.  Until Dec 31, 20
– 50% bonus when you buy 2,000 to 10,000 miles
– 75% bonus when you buy 12,000 to 28,000 miles
– 100% when you buy 30,000 or more miles.
Elite members can buy up to 100,000 miles annually, all other members can buy 75,000 miles annually.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Earn rate changes coming to the no fee BMO AIR MILES Mastercard this November


Back in May BMO announced changes to their no fee BMO CashBack Mastercard and now they have announced similar changes to their no fee BMO AIR MILES Mastercard. There is quite a bit of advance notice for these changes as they won't take place until November 2020. These changes do only affect the no fee version of BMO's AIR MILES Mastercard as the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard will remain unchanged.


The only changes happening to the card are on the everyday earn rates and they actually get better for shopping at AIR MILES partners and slightly worse everywhere else.

These are the current earn rates for the card that will be in place until November:
- Get 2x the Miles for every $20 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners
- Get 1 Mile for every $20 spent everywhere else


The new earn rates that will kick in in November and be reflected on your December statement are as follows:
- Get 3x the Miles for every $25 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners
- Get 1 Mile for every $25 spent everywhere else

As you can see the new earn rates are 3x miles for every $25 at participating AIR MILES partners and this is something to note. It is not all AIR MILES partners that you get this earn rates it is strictly those listed on the AIR MILES site as those participating. The partners at the time of posting are as follows:

Then all your spending outside of the above listed partners will earn 1 miles for every $25 spent.

So how does this compare to the card's current rates? Well the 3 miles for $25 at participating partners is a boost to your earning but to get that boost you have to now spend $25 instead of $20. The old earn rates of 2 miles for $20 essentially gave you 0.1 miles per dollar spent and the new rate is 0.12 miles per dollar so that is effectively a 20% boost in earning but I do stress that you now have to spend $25 but that is cumulative. So if you have two Shell purchases of $12.50 in one month you'll earn the 3 miles however anything less and you won't earn the 3x miles. For all other spending the math is quite simple here, you only earn 1 mile for every $25 spent instead of the current $20 which translates to a 20% devaluation. That's a pretty big drop considering most spending on this card probably doesn't happen at the 13 partners listed above.

Overall I would have to consider this a devaluation to the no fee BMO AIR MILES Mastercard. Sure the 20% boost at the participating partners is great but not everyone needs office supplies or home reno items on a regular basis nor do some people have pets so that drops four partners off the list - and car rentals - not much of that happening now and even for the foreseeable future so really the boost is good for 6 partners in total. Which leaves most spending on this card not being at partners with the 3x accelerator and that spending will net you 20% less miles come this November.

Learn more about and apply for the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard here.

Below is the most current offer for the card. It may not reflect the discussion above.