Thursday, September 30, 2010

Extravelganza: Earn bonus Aeroplan Miles for flying this fall

Air Canada has released their 4th quarter systemwide flight bonus promo as follows:
Earn up to 30,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you register and fly Air Canada on select routes within North America, to the Caribbean, Europe or Asia. For every eligible roundtrip or twoone-way flight segments, you’ll earn:
* Up to 3,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles on select routes within Canada or between Canada and the U.S.
* Up to 5,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles on select routes between Canada and Bermuda or the Caribbean
* Up to 10,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles on select routes between Canada and Europe or Isreal
* Up to 15,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles on select routes between Canada and Asia
plus Fly 3 eligible one-way flight segments in Latitude or Executive First between Canada and Europe or Asia, and you’ll receive an additional one-time 15,000 mile bonus!

The promotion is open to all Aeroplan members who register for the offer and is valid for flights until December 15.

Click here for full details and registration

Shanghai Airlines to no longer be an Aeroplan partner

Air Canada's Aeroplan will no longer be partnered with China's Shanghai Airlines as of October 31. That is the last day Aeroplan members will be able to earn miles on Shanghai Airlines while October 28 will be the last day members can redeem Aeroplan miles for Shanghai Airlines flights. Redemptions can be made for travel that is completed by October 31, 11. If you do redeem for flights on Shanghai Airlines be warned that no changes can be made to those reward tickets after October 28, 10.

Source: Aeroplan

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rewards Canada is 9 years old!

Rewards Canada quietly turned 9 years old this month! In some ways I cannot believe that Rewards Canada and our other websites have grown into what they have become today. When Rewards Canada was launched in 2001 it started off as a hobby and today it is part a full fledged global business providing travel rewards knowledge, consulting and promotion to consumers and corporations alike. Without our readers, visitors and clients we would not be where we are today, so I want to thank all of you for your continued support over the last 9 years and look forward to providing you with the latest on travel rewards for the next 9!
- Patrick Sojka, CEO/Founder The Frequent Flyer Bonuses Group

Friday, September 24, 2010

American Express launches new Gold Travel Rewards Card

This past Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending a dinner event in Toronto to introduce the new American Express Gold Rewards Card. Held at the Canadian Air & Space museum with American Express brass, their PR team and influential social media players, the card was introduced to us in detail and will officially launch to the public on October 1st

This new version of the Gold Rewards Card basically takes some of the best features of many of its competitors and puts them into one complete package. It falls into our Hybrid Credit Card category as it allows you to either transfer points to frequent flyer and guest programs or allows you to book travel however you want and redeem the points against the charge. First impressions of the card make it a top contender in this category and will more then likely shake up the ranks.

I have been asked by American Express to "test-drive" this new Gold Rewards for the next month or so and will provide some progress reports on how the card stacks up. We will provide our complete Rewards Canada review of the card in the coming weeks much like we have done so for other new cards that came out this year.

For more details see the release below from American Express, plus stayed tuned to our blog and website for all the updates and reviews.

"Welcome to the Gold Life:
Introducing the American Express Gold Rewards Card

Life’s just golden when the answer is ‘yes.’ With the new American Express® Gold Rewards Card – an entirely new concept in rewards designed with the consumer in mind – Cardmembers earn double Membership Rewards® points on eligible gas, grocery and drugstore purchases, as well as on eligible travel purchases charged to the Card, including flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and packages. They also earn one point for every dollar in purchases everywhere else – no matter where in the world their journeys take them. What’s more, there’s no cap on the number of points Cardmembers can earn, and points never expire.

What are Membership Rewards® points?
With the American Express Gold Rewards Card, the points Cardmembers earn are called Membership Rewards points. These points can be redeemed for travel, top-brand merchandise and entertainment rewards from over 500 major brands.

Where? How? When?
Points can be redeemed to pay for any travel Cardmembers book, whether it be online or through a travel agent or tour provider. Once travel has been charged to the Card, Cardmembers can pay with points and will not be subject to blackouts. There is also the option to transfer points into other programs.

TripFlexTM Rewards
With TripFlex rewards, Cardmembers have ultimate travel flexibility with their points, allowing them to fulfill their travel dreams. They can charge ANY travel on their Card, including last-minute fares and seat sales – with any provider. After the charge has been posted to their account, Cardmembers simply call American Express at the number on the back of their Card to use their points to cover the charge – including fees and taxes too. They can redeem their points starting at 1,000 points for a $10 statement credit, up to the full amount of the travel purchase – the choice is theirs. The amazing part of TripFlex rewards is that you don’t need to have enough points for your reward at the time of booking - as you have up to 12 months to redeem your points for your trip. That means that you can purchase your travel on your Card, enjoy your vacation, earn more points, and then up to 12 months from the date the travel purchases was posted to your account, redeem your points for that vacation.

Transfer Your Points
Cardmembers can also choose to transfer points instantly one-to-one to Aeroplan or to frequent flyer and hotel programs, including: Alitalia, British Airways, Delta, Cathay Pacific, Hilton Honors, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Priority Club. Transfers from Membership Rewards allow Cardmembers to take advantage of another program to get the reward they want.

Earn Points “Double-Time” Fast
Points will add up quickly with the rich earning formula on the American Express Gold Rewards Card. Cardmembers will earn double points on eligible travel purchases and also on eligible gas, grocery and drugstore purchases. Additionally, they will earn one point for every $1 in Card purchases everywhere else.

See the world, on your terms.
Enjoy Financial Flexibility, Maximize Membership Rewards
The American Express Gold Rewards Card is also a smart financial management tool for consumers. As a Charge Card, it offers the convenience of paying with plastic but without carrying a balance and paying interest. This gives Cardmembers the flexibility and spending power they need, as well as a rich rewards program and a robust set of benefits.

Additional Features and Benefits
• 24/7 Worldwide Personal Service
• Emergency Card Replacement
• Online account management
• Front Of The Line (gives Cardmembers access to some of Canada’s hottest concerts, theatre productions and special events before the general public).
• Travel Insurance coverage
o 15-day Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance
o Trip Interruption Insurance
o Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
o $500,000 Travel Accident Insurance
o Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
o Baggage Delay Insurance
o Flight Delay Insurance
o Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
o Travel Emergency Assistance

• Retail Insurance
o Purchase Protection Plan
o Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan

A new era in rewards is just around the corner with the upcoming launch of the American Express Gold Rewards Card! If you have questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We hope you enjoyed this sneak peak at the new American Express Gold Rewards Card. A full breakdown of the Card and all its details are soon to come!"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ritz-Carlton launches reward program

It finally became official a little over a week ago, Ritz-Carlton has succumbed to the pressures of the industry by launching their own frequent guest program: Ritz-Carlton Rewards. It is closely tied to Ritz's parent company's Marriott Rewards program with both programs having reciprocating earning and burning benefits at each others hotels.

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards program will give members 10 Rewards points or 2 airline miles for every US$1 spent on your room rate at Ritz-Carlton locations Worldwide. Unfortunately they will not award points at this time on other spending that is put onto your room bill. Members will also earn points or miles for stays at the 11 brands in the Marriott hotel family. Points can also be earned on hosting events at Ritz-Carlton locations, on Abercrombie & Kent packages that include a Ritz-Carlton stay and on cruise bookings made through LuxuryOnly.

On the redemption side, Ritz-Carlton Rewards members can use their points for stays at Ritz-Carlton and the Marriott family of hotels worldwide. Free nights at Ritz-Carlton locations start at 30,000 points. Points Saver nights are available as well starting at 20,000 points for select locations at select times. If members redeem for five nights at once, the fifth night is free. The points can also be used for room upgrades at select Ritz-Carlton hotels starting at 5,000 points per night. Other redemption options include points to frequent flyer miles, travel packages, luxury cruises and retail partners like Neiman Marcus.

Much like most frequent travel programs, the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program offer elite tier levels. The Silver elite level is awarded after 10 eligible nights, Gold after 50 and Platinum after 75 nights. Depending on the level, the benefits from the tier programs range from bonus points and late check out all the way to complimentary room upgrades and arrival gifts.

For complete details and to join the program please visit Ritz-Carlton Rewards

As well, watch for a dedicated page on Rewards Canada for Ritz-Carlton Rewards Bonus Point Opportunities to be launched within the next week or so!

American to provide free Alcohol at domestic Admirals Club lounges

Not exactly a mileage offer but some might consider this a "Frequent Flyer Bonus" as American Airlines moves to stop charging for most alcoholic beverages in their domestic Admiral Club lounges. The new policy starts on October 1st and covers well brand liquors, beer and house wines. There will however remain a charge for premium liquors and wines as well as the variety of food options that tend to be available.

Source: American Airlines

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Marriott Rewards announces more places to earn points

On the same day that Ritz-Carlton launched their new rewards program (this will be covered in another post) that is closely tied to Marriott, members of the Marriott Rewards program can now earn and redeem Marriott Rewards points at Ritz-Carlton, Autograph Collection and EDITION Hotels. This new opportunity for Marriott Rewards members is obviously part of the reciprocity of the two hotel loyalty programs working together.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hainan Airlines to launch Toronto-Beijing Service

Per Airline Route Updates, China's Hainan Airlines will launch three times weekly service between Toronto and Beijing on Nov 27. The route will be operated with an Airbus A340-600. Frequent travellers can earn miles for the flight in Hainan's Fortune Wings Club or on their partner airlines like Air Berlin's Top Bonus and Malev's Duna Club to name a few.

Flight Timings
Toronto-Beijing Dep 1540 Arr 1855+1
Beijing-Toronto Dep 1300 Arr 1340

Aeroplan to match donations to its Beyond Miles partners on mile matching days

Montreal, QC, September 9, 2010 – Aeroplan today announced that it will match all miles donated by members to each of the nine Beyond Miles charitable partners as part of “Aeroplan Match Days.” Miles will be matched on a 1-for1 basis up to 1.5 million Aeroplan Miles for each partner organization. Each organization has chosen its own match day and Aeroplan will match miles for a 24 hour period.

To donate miles, members simply visit where they can choose to donate to any of the Beyond Miles partners including: Air Canada’s Kids Horizons, Athletes for Africa, Earth Day Canada, Engineers Without Borders, Médecins Sans Frontières, Schools Without Borders, The Stephen Lewis Foundation, Veterinarians Without Borders and War Child Canada. Each of the nine Canadian organizations are committed to improving lives and enriching communities across Canada and abroad.

“Thanks to the generosity of our members, more than 12 million miles were donated to our Beyond Miles partners last year during Aeroplan Mile Matching Days,” said Vince Timpano, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aeroplan. “We hope to surpass this impressive number by encouraging our members to continue to support these incredible organizations and their projects across the world.” Mile Matching Days will be held on:

· War Child Canada – September 13, 2010;

· Veterinarians Without Borders – October 4, 2010

· Engineers Without Borders – October 15, 2010

· Médecins Sans Frontières – November 4, 2010

· Earth Day Canada – November 7, 2010

· Schools Without Borders – November 9, 2010

· Athletes for Africa – November 17, 2010

· Stephen Lewis Foundation – December 10, 2010

· Air Canada Kids Horizons – December 15, 2010

“War Child Canada is excited about our “Aeroplan Match Day” and will use the donated miles to help support children whose lives have been affected by war,” said War Child Canada’s Founder and Executive Director, Dr. Samantha Nutt. “Whether used to visit schools that are being rebuilt in wartorn Democratic Republic of Congo, our program that helps lift families out of poverty in Afghanistan,or children who have lost both parents to HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia, the miles will go a long way to supporting children and their families in war affected communities around the world. We are incredibly grateful to Aeroplan and to their members for their generosity.”

Since the program was launched in 2006, more than 145 million Aeroplan Miles have been donated by members. Beyond Miles partners use Aeroplan Miles to offset costs related to travel by air as well as hotel accommodations and car rentals. Aeroplan offsets 100 per cent of all carbon emissions from flights taken by Beyond Miles partners using donated miles. In 2010, Aeroplan has donated 1.25 million miles to each of the partner organizations. Aeroplan also announced recently that members can now automatically donate 2 per cent of all miles accumulated to any Beyond Miles partner of the member’s choice. Members interested in donating 2 per cent of their Aeroplan Miles simply visit their profile page on, select the donation opt-in and the Beyond Miles partner they would like their miles to go to. More information is available at

In addition, Aeroplan also has a Charitable Pooling program that allows members to use miles to support individuals, families or local grass roots charities in need. 100 per cent of the donated miles go directly to these individuals and groups. Members have pooled more than 45 million miles into over 400 pooling accounts across the country.

Aeroplan’s Beyond Miles program and other community investment initiatives can now be found on Twitter. Follow us at:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One Review

This is the review in full as it appears on the main Rewards Canada site.
This post was amended on April 18, 2013 to reflect changes Capital One has made to the product
The latest travel rewards credit card to be released in Canada is the Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One. Delta has been looking to release a credit card in Canada over the past couple years, initial reports had BMO being the card partner but now we all know that Capital One is the banking partner for Delta. This card is the first airline card for the SkyTeam alliance in Canada and Delta is only the fourth US airline to have a dedicated card in Canada after Alaska, American and United. It is primarily targeted to existing SkyMiles members in Canada but Capital One and Delta are also looking to potentially move some people away from other frequent flyer programs in Canada to their offering.

Seeing that the Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One comes with MasterCard's 'World' branding, therefore it provides an excellent insurance and benefit package that is similar to Capital One's Aspire World MasterCard. The card features a good earning ratio that eclipses other airline cards like RBC's British Airways and Cathay Pacific Visas in that you technically get triple miles when you book with the airline. It has a decent sign up bonus, and allows you to add an authorized user for $0.

The Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One comes with a standard $120 primary card annual fee that you will find on most premium cards that offer similar rewards and benefits. Get a welcome bonus of up to 25,000 Delta miles. Depending on time, season and availability, the sign up offer could be worth upwards of $500-$600 in equivalent flight costs.  The interest rate on the card is 19.8% placing it right in the middle of the pack of competitors. Please Note: A requirement of this card is a minimum personal income of $60,000 or household income of $100,000.

The Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One earns 3 Delta miles for every $1 you spend on Delta purchases. Earn 2 Delta miles per $1 on all other net purchases. The card features a 10,000 bonus Delta miles on your account anniversary if you spend at least $25,000 in net purchases each membership year.

See Application for Details

Features and Benefits
As stated above the Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One comes with an insurance package that competes with all the other high end cards. The card features Trip Cancellation Insurance which is only offered as a standard feature on five other travel rewards cards and Travel Medical insurance which only comes standard on about 50% of the cards in the market.

What is good about this card
For the loyal Delta/SkyMiles traveler or frequent flyer, this card is a perfect fit to add many more miles to their SkyMiles account. The sign up bonus of 25,000 miles is higher then most other airline cards in Canada. The ability to redeem for business or first class seats at a good rate of return (these premium class redemptions can sometimes give as high as a 10% return on your spending) is always a plus feature to card like this. The airlines partnered with Delta, in particular the SkyTeam airlines, means you don't always have to transit the U.S. on your reward flights as some partners fly directly from Canada to Asia and Europe. Add the whole host of insurance and benefits including the trip cancellation and Travel Emergency Medical and you have a decent offering for an airline credit card.

What is not so good about this card
As with virtually every frequent flyer program, the biggest drawback continues to be award availability, particularly at the lowest redemption levels that a program has. Delta SkyMiles is not immune to this as we mentioned above although unlike some frequent flyer programs you at least have access to all seats and not select few per flight even if it may cost you more miles. The additional taxes and fees on reward flights can also be seen as a drawback compared to the many travel points cards in Canada that allow you to use points towards the taxes and fees. Finally, flight redemptions via SkyMiles cannot be used for flights within Canada as Delta does not have a domestic partner, all flights would have to go via the U.S. and have to be booked as separate one way or multi-segment trips.

While the Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One won't stir up the Canadian market like Capital One's Aspire card did earlier this year it does present a viable option for a dedicated airline credit card in Canada. Having a nice sign up bonus, a good insurance package and being part of the second largest airline alliance serving Canada, the card will be attractive to frequent travelers whose primary travels take them outside of Canada. It will not make a big dent in Aeroplan's or AIR MILES' customer bases but it will definitely keep many of the current SkyMiles members from defecting to another program if they have been considering a move.

We would like to hear your thoughts on the new Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One by commenting below!

Related Links:
Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One on 

“The interest rates, fees, rewards details, benefits and other details of the Capital One product(s) described in the article may have changed since the time of publication. Please consult the product information pages on the Capital One website for accurate product details. In the event of any conflict between the product details in this article and the Capital One website, the details on the Capital One website shall prevail.”

Friday, September 10, 2010

United cancels Ottawa - Denver service and modifies other Canadian routes

According to Airline Route Updates, United Airlines is cutting it's service between Ottawa and Denver and has made modifications to its schedule for service to a few other Canadian cities:

Chicago – Calgary 1 of 3 Daily Service continues to operate by UNITED Mainline in W10
Denver – Calgary 5 Daily UNITED Express Service (compared to Mixed Mainline/Express in W09)
Denver – Ottawa Service canceled, not resuming in Winter 2010
Denver – Vancouver 04NOV10 – 15DEC10 3 Daily service CRJ700 replace Mainline
Los Angeles – Vancouver 31OCT10 – 31DEC10 2 Daily UNITED Express Service (compared to 3 in W09)
Washington Dulles – Halifax 04NOV10 – 17FEB11 Service Temporary Canceled

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rewards Canada to be on 2010 Airline Mega Awards Judging Academy

I am proud to announce that I will be one of the five members of the Judging academy for the 2010 Mega Awards to be held in Montreal on Oct 13, 2010 which is part of the larger Mega Event 2010 (FFP | ARAC | Co-Brand): The Airline Profitability Summit which runs Oct 12-14.

What are the Mega Awards? Well it is easier to post what Airline Information has described it as rather then having me rehash it:

"Airline Information proudly presents The 2010 Mega Awards Gala Dinner, sponsored by Visa and hosted by Freddie Laker
(son of legendary low cost airline innovator Sir Freddie Laker).

Winners of the Mega Award will be recognized during a ceremony held at Mega Event in Montreal on 13 October. An elegant gala evening featuring cocktails, dinner and a special appearance by modern low cost innovator Tony Fernandes, will mark Airline Information’s return to industry accolades since the FFP Innovation Awards.

This is truly an event that you don’t want to miss!

What are the Mega Awards?
Mega Awards can be won by Airlines, Vendors, and Professionals in three categories.

Categories include: Loyalty Marketing, Customer Engagement through Social Media, Merchandising/Ancillary Revenue. For the 2010 awards, both Vendors and Professionals are limited to the Loyalty Marketing and Merchandising categories.

What does it take to win?
The honor of winning a Mega Award requires daring innovation and results-oriented marketing. Campaigns launched or executed in the calendar year 2009 will be up for consideration by the Mega Awards Judging Academy. "

I am excited to be selected to be part of the judging panel and look forward to evaluating all the entries that are received.

If you are attending the summit or the gala or both, feel free to contact me so that we can have chance to meet face to face in Montreal.

For more information on the Mega Awards please see here: Mega Awards Gala Dinner 2010

For more information on the Mega Event Summit please see here: Mega Event 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Air Canada expanding service to Mexico City following Mexicana's collapse

Air Canada announced yesterday that they will restart daily Montreal to Mexico City service and initiate new service between Vancouver and Mexico City this fall. This announcement comes on the heels of Mexicana Airlines demise over the past weekend and also follows Japan Airlines pulling out of the Vancouver-Mexico City market awhile back.

Flight Timings
Montreal-Mexico City Dep 1630 Arr 2120
Mexico City-Montreal Dep 0930 Arr 1520
Service starts Nov. 1

Vancouver-Mexico City Dep 0830 Arr 1545
Mexico City-Vancouver Dep 1645 Arr 2035
Note: Vancouver service will run on Saturday and Sunday only from Nov 6 -30 and will become daily service on Dec 1

Source: Yahoo