Friday, May 27, 2011

4 Days Only: Air France Business Class Sale from $1990!

Save up to 40% on l'Espace Affaires
Book online at
Book by May 30th 2011
Departure from Toronto and Winnipeg to:
(Round trip fares, taxes and surcharges included)

PARIS 24 June - 31 Aug starting from $1,990 R/T 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NICE 24 June - 31 Aug starting from $2,045 R/T
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
MARSEILLE 24 June - 31 Aug starting from $2,045 R/T
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
BORDEAUX 24 June - 31 Aug starting from $2,045 R/T
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
LYON 24 June - 31 Aug starting from $2,045 R/T
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
TOULOUSE 24 June - 31 Aug starting from $2,045 R/T

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Changes to Qantas Frequent Flyer Program

Qantas is the latest airline to make changes to their FFP, rather then rehash everything, I will quote this post from that summarizes the changes:

Classic award flights cost more points
Qantas is imposing a 50% price increase on the number of points required to pay for surcharges and taxes on classic award flights. It will increase from 3,000 points to 4,500 points per segment, which Qantas blames on increased jet fuel prices.

Increased cabin class point-earning bonuses
on Qantas and eligible Jetstar tickets

•Premium Economy: from 10% to 25%
•Business: from 25% to 50%
•First: from 50% to 100%
Increased status point-earning bonuses
on Qantas and eligible Jetstar tickets

•Silver: 25% to 50%
•Gold: 50% to 75%
More points and status with Jetstar
A new fare structure for Jetstar will see Frequent Flyer members able to earn both points and status credits in Economy and Business on any fare purchase with a “Plus or Max Bundle”.

The new “bundles” can be included on top of any fare and will provide customers with flexibility and extras depending on their needs.

Among the added benefits are making free changes to their flight, seat selection or earning Qantas Frequent Flyer points and Status credits.

Better upgrade process
While most airlines allow points-based upgrades to be locked in as surely as if you'd bought a ticket, Qantas only gives you the chance of getting an upgrade when you apply for one.

There's no guarantee of the upgrade, and even if you are upgraded you'll be notified only shortly before boarding.

Qantas says it will have an improved upgrade request and notification process planned for late 2011, including SMS confirmation prior to the day of travel.

A new "super platinum" membership level
Qantas new Platinum One tier is for travellers who have accrued 3,600 status credits in a year -- three times the number of status credits required for 'ordinary' platinum status.

The airline hasn't yet released many details on what benefits this new status level will bring, except that it will include a "dedicated team to look after your travel needs every step of the way."

Changed Loyalty bonus
Qantas is raising the 'loyalty bonus' bar, making it harder to receive those extra points while also increasing the number of points you receive.

Under the current scheme members who accrue 450 status credits will receive an extra 5,000 frequent flyer points.

From December this year the qualification limit will be 500 status credits but the bonus will be 8,000 points. Loyalty bonuses can be issued up to four times a year.

You can also find a lengthy discussion on these changes on

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SPG Amex member get a member offer, lots of Starpoints to go around!

Holders of the Canadian Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express can earn up to 25,000 bonus Starpoints for referring new applicants to the card and those applicants can earn 20,000 bonus Starpoints with the card.

Here's how it works, existing members will earn 5,000 bonus Starpoints for each successful applicant they refer to the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. That is, they must apply and be approved for the card. The existing card members can refer up to 5 people each for a maximum 25,000 bonus Starpoints.

For the new card members who have been referred by their friends or family, they will earn 20,000 bonus Starpoints if they spend $1,000 within the first three months of membership.

This offer runs until July 31, 2011

For full details and the online referral form please visit here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Air Canada cancels Montreal to Mexico City service

According to Airline Route Updates, Air Canada will stop flying their direct non-stop service between Montreal and Mexico City as of Jul 1, 2011.

Monday, May 16, 2011

WestJet's Frequent Guest Program turns one and we ask them 15 questions about the program

The WestJet Frequent Guest program recently celebrated its first birthday and I had the chance to talk to WestJet about the program, how the first year went and what the future of the program may hold. Many thanks to Richard B. and Lauri F. over at WestJet for taking the time to answer these questions.

1. Did WestJet do anything special for the launch of the FGP? (Internally and/or Externally)
Absolutely. We had a big celebration internally to kick off the program. This was celebrated not only in our head office in Calgary but at all Canadian bases across our network. Each employee was presented with a passport wallet to commemorate the launch of the program. At WestJet, we celebrate many momentous occasions and the launch of our own frequent guest program was cause for celebration.

Externally, we launched a campaign to raise awareness of the new program through our Jet Mail program, the travel agent community and through the travel trade media and traditional media. We also made extensive use of our social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to promote FGP.

2. What has been the response in the first year for the WestJet RBC MasterCards?
The response has been positive. Many of our guests have told us how much they appreciate the simplicity of reward dollars that can be earned on everything they purchase. This is further evidenced by the fact that we have cardholders and FGP members who have redeemed not only once but several times since the launch of the program.

3. What has been the response in the first year for the FGP program itself?
The response has been very good. The idea that you can begin to use your WestJet dollars once a threshold has been reached has been positive. Our guests also appreciate that there are bonuses as you reach each subsequent milestone.

The program is unique – once our guests understand it and realize the value it offers compared to other programs they are engaged, using it and we are seeing strong redemption.

4. Has enrolment in the program met or exceeded your first year targets?
We don’t disclose information regarding targets.

5. Have credit card sign up met or exceeded your first year targets?
We don’t disclose information regarding targets.

6. Have many members who are not WestJet credit card holders succeeded in reaching the set spend levels?
These are thresholds that we do not disclose.

7. Do you see a trend of members redeeming their balances each time they book or are more members hoarding for that big trip?
It’s still a bit early to determine any sort of trending as it relates to their dollars. I believe the notion of hoarding came from other programs where it took awhile before you could reach a level. We’ve heard from guests on both sides; those who are still saving and those who began to use their dollars as soon as they were eligible.

8. Looking back on your launch and the first year of operation, is there anything you would have changed before the launching of the program?
There are a few things such as the ability to use the guest-generated user name as the login ID rather than the 9 digit ID which is generated by the system. We are working on that now and look forward to introducing this initiative. The whole program is rooted in simplicity and it would be much simpler for the guest to be able to login with a username they have chosen.

9. Your first FGP partner outside of RBC and WestJet Vacations is American Airlines, do you have more planned in the immediate future (ie 6-12 months) In particular any hotel or car partners that you will be able to earn WestJet dollars at?
Nothing that we can discuss at this point. As part of our strategic planning cycle each year, we look at a variety of initiatives across the airline so we have certainly taken the time to review the program and prepare several scenarios of what we might do in the future.

10. Will the relationship between WestJet's FGP and American AAdvantage program be expanded beyond earning on code share routes? ie earning WestJet $$ for American Airlines flights only (not code share) or vice versa?
This is something we can not provide information on at this time.

11. Will you eventually be able to redeem WestJet $ for American AAirlines flights (code share and/or non code-share) and vice versa for AAdvantage members? If so, do you see any issues arising in direct competition for the WestJet RBC MasterCard from the TD Canada Trust AAdvantage card?

We are at the very early stages of our discussions as it relates to redemption with code share partners. Nothing we can say at this point.

12. I noticed that WestJet is starting to offer FGP bonuses outside of the CC and set spend levels. Do you foresee this as continuing or are they experiments at this time (ie Eastern triangle $25 bonus)
They are promotional bonuses to help support our strategic expansion into the eastern triangle. It reflects the flexibility and the power of the program. From time to time, we will leverage it tactically where we see a benefit.

13. Do you see any benefit in offering a bonus like that above when you launch a new route?
It’s certainly something we could look at but no plans at this point for new route launches to include FGP. FGP will become a promotional tool that we can leverage for future initiatives.

14. Do you ever see the WestJet FGP moving to a coalition model like Air Miles or Aeroplan?
Not at this point. Our first priority is on our program and to ensure that we are working on the airline partnerships we have in place. That will provide the greatest value for our guests while ensuring that those who fly with us are being rewarded for their patronage.

15. Anything else you would like to add about the WestJet FGP?
Sign up!

For more details on the WestJet FGP or to sign up for the program please visit the Rewards section of the WestJet website.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

All Marriott Rewards members now entitled to free Internet at Asia Pacific properties

Marriott has recently enhanced their program by giving their members free Internet access at their properties in the Asia Pacific region. Previously free Internet was only available to Gold  &Platinum elite members (as is the case for stays outside the region).

The free internet access is available for stays at any JW Marriott, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Courtyard by Marriott in the Asia Pacific region.

The Asia Pacific region includes Australia, China (and Hong Kong), Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.

The free internet access is also extended to Ritz-Carlton Rewards members choosing to stay at the above participating brands in Asia Pacific.

Full details

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Aeroplan lowers minimum mileage accumulation

In what can be regarded as another downgrade to the Aeroplan program, as of August 1, 2011 the minimum number of Aeroplan Miles accumulated based on distance flown on Air Canada and Star Alliance member airline flights will change from 500 to 250 miles. The program that used to be called a Frequent Flyer program continues to devalue what was once its core business, the people who travel on Air Canada. Instead the program, which in the industry is now considered a coalition loyalty program is more focused on selling miles to retailers, credit card companies and the like. Why do I say this? Well the Frequent Flyer industry in the past six months has seen many programs start to give back to its loyal members rather than take away. Some  examples include Delta SkyMiles removing mileage expiry rules, British Airways increasing the mileage earned on discounted flights from 25% to 100% (plus their minimum is still 500 miles for BA flights) and Saudi Arabian's Alfursan also increasing the minimum mileage earned in all classes. From an outsiders point of view it seems that all the negative press about the recent increased redemption rates for reward tickets, upgrade devaluations for tier members and the ongoing negativity for expiring miles just isn't enough for Aeroplan.

The new earning structure for minimum miles will be as follows:
* For distance flown up to 249 miles, Aeroplan members will earn 250 Aeroplan Miles.
* For distance flown of 250 miles and more, Aeroplan members will earn miles according to the actual miles flown

What Air Canada does not mention is how this affects the lowest fare level called Tango. As of now, Tango only earns a minimum of 125 miles (ie 25% of the 500 for Tango Plus or higher fare classes), does that mean Tango fares will only earn 62.5 miles for flights up to 249 miles in length?

Now, if you are a status member with Air Canada (Prestige, Elite, Super Elite) this change will not affect you as you will continue to earn a minimum of 500 miles for flights. This is also the case on the very competitive eastern triangle where any Aeroplan member travelling on Rapidair flights between Toronto Pearson International Airport and Montreal or Ottawa, or between Toronto City Airport and Montreal will continue to earn a minimum number of 500 Aeroplan Miles (I assume once again on Tango Plus or higher fares only)

You can find the minimum details on the change to minimum mileage accumulation here

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Aeroplan announces Facebook initiative for Beyond Miles Program.

"Aeroplan today announced a new Facebook initiative in celebration of the fifth anniversary of its Beyond Miles Program.  Starting today until May 31st, Aeroplan will donate 50 Aeroplan Miles to its nine Beyond Miles Program charitable partners for each 'Like' that Aeroplan receives on Facebook up to a total of 1.5 million Aeroplan Miles.  To 'Like' Aeroplan on Facebook, please visit:"

Source Aeroplan