Friday, June 30, 2017

June 30 Update: Redeem Aeroplan miles on Juneyao Airlines, WestJet expands Delta redemption & Drop Rewards review

News, Tips & Tricks
Members can now redeem Aeroplan Miles for travel with Star Alliance Connecting Partner, Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines. Juneyao Airlines provides flights on more than 80 domestic routes between Shanghai and Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Tianjin and more. (Source Aeroplan)

Also on the Aeroplan news front, COPA Airlines are once again bookable with Aeroplan miles. Aeroplan announced difficulties with several airlines in terms being able to book award tickets and have made great strides in getting those issues fixed. (Source DCTA)

You may not find the information on their website or seen an email yet, but we can confirm that our breaking news of WestJet expanding the redemption options on Delta Airlines international flights is valid. To find them you have to go to the flight booking section of the WestJet website and ensure you click the 'WestJet Dollars' option otherwise the Delta cities won't show in your search.

Posts since our last update:
Travel Deals
Save 10% on Marriott Hotel stays in Europe by using promo code BRW and showing your British Airways Executive Club membership card. Valid for stays until Dec 31.  Find out more here.

Canadian Bonus Offers

Other Bonus Offers

Carlson Hotels Club Carlson
- Receive 10,000 Bonus Gold Points or a Free Friday Night stay certificate when you complete 2 stays at Carlson Rezidor Hotels Worldwide. More... Jul 1 - Sep 30, 17

Iberia Plus
- Earn up Triple Avios for stays of 5 or more nights at select Melia Hotels in Spain and France. More... Until Sep 15, 17

Melia Hotels MeliaRewards
- Double MeliaRewards Points and up to 35% off all Melia Hotel stays booked online. More... Until ?

Royal Jordanian Royal Plus
- 50% Bonus Royal Plus Miles on all your hotel stays booked via Kaligo. New members will also receive 1,000 bonus miles on their first booking.  More... Book by Aug 31 for stays until Dec 31, 17

Saudia Alfursan
- Triple Alfursan Miles for Hertz rentals of 4 or more days in UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain, US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands. More... Book by Aug 31 for rentals until Sep 30, 17

Wyndham Rewards
- Earn up to 7,500 Bonus Wyndham Rewards Points for stays at select Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico & South Carolina. More... Until Sep 30, 17

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Drop Rewards - Reward yourself with a new take on a coalition loyalty program

In 2016, Drop Rewards (also known as Drop Loyalty or the Drop App or simply Drop) launched here in Canada with a new take on how they wanted to reward you for your loyalty. Drop approached us to see if we would cover the program and since our mission is to educate and provide details on as many reward programs to Canadians how could we say no?

Drop markets itself as a new type of coalition program whereby you collect points on purchases at a variety of merchants and then can redeem points to save on purchases at a variety of merchants. Targeted towards the millennial generation who tend to be less loyal to one merchant or program Drop has grown to over 150,000 users in less than a year. That's pretty impressive.  So how does Drop work? It works differently than other programs in that you don't have a set loyalty card. Basically you link your debit and credit cards to the Drop app and they monitor your transactions from the merchants you select and reward you for those purchases.

You get to pick 5 merchants that when you use your credit or debit cards at their locations you'll earn points for those purchases. You must pick carefully as once you choose you can't change them. When I signed up earlier this week these were the merchants offered:
I'm a little surprised they only limit you to 5 merchants. The whole point of a coalition program is that you have many places to earn and many places to redeem. At least on the latter option Drop doesn't disappoint.  Back to earning however, Drop's marketing doesn't really let you know that you can only select 5 merchants beforehand nor do they list what merchants are available until you sign up and get the app. You are going in blind not knowing where you can earn points, so for some you'll go through the process only to find out it may not make sense for you. I'll admit that when I downloaded the app and was asked to select only 5 merchants I was a bit surprised. I thought you'd be able to earn points at all their partners. Maybe this is something Drop should consider to make the program even more worthwhile.

As to linking credit cards, I had no issues getting a set of cards from one issuer set up but kept getting errors on another. To be honest I was a little reluctant to link any of them and will explain more below.

The good news is that the points you earn via Drop at the 5 merchants you pick does not negate any rewards you earn with your credit card or even loyalty cards like AIR MILES, Plum Rewards or Starbucks rewards. If the merchants you choose have their own program it essentially means you are triple dipping on your purchases. Take Starbucks for example. You pay with a reward earning credit card so you'll earn whatever points or miles that card offers, you show your Starbucks Rewards card so you'll earn Stars and if the payment card you used is tied into your Drop account you'll earn the Drop points as well.

Points earning varies by merchant, the five I selected are as follows:

On the redemption side, 1,000 points equals $1 in rewards at many Drop partners, with the list of redemption partners being much larger than the list of partners you can earn at! You can see the return for the 5 partners I chose is in the 0.3% to 0.8% range. Not huge, but when you place that on top of the credit card rewards and the merchant's own program you are just increasing your return.

For some it may take sometime to get to a redemption level but they do offer bonus points offers like this Tim Hortons offer that was on the app for me to build your balance up:

The biggest sticking point people may have with Drop is how they get the information on your purchases. Unlike the big U.S. based dining rewards program that tracks you credit card number (just the number, no expiry, no security code) Drop requires you to submit your login information for your financial institution or your credit or debit card issuer. This can be going against the fraud protection that banks and issuers provide on their products as most have the clause in their T&C's that you must not divulge your login information to anyone. As I mentioned before I was reluctant to do so when I signed up but went ahead so I could try it out and actually write this post. I asked drop about this security concern along with some other questions:

1. By providing the credit card login credentials I am essentially breaking most banks rules about not providing that information to anyone hence it could nullify the fraud protection provided by them correct?

Drop: This is a bit of a grey area. When launched, the banks could see the value of opening up their data through these third party APIs Since then the banks have been more open to fintechs with their data. We are in fact in discussions with all the top Canadian banks. 

2. Is drop accessing the spend on my cards via my personal account with cards like Amex etc. or is spend data being provided to you based on the credit card number directly from your third party provider (the latter is how the U.S. based dining rewards programs work, as you don’t provide log in details)

Drop: We access your account directly, whether through our third party provider APIs, or direct integration with APIs provided by the banks... it is the same technology used by Mint, Acorns and Robinhood. Plaid is backed by very credible investors with Goldman Sachs as the lead. 

I won't post the third question but it revolved around some research I did that one Canadian bank was blocking Drop and Drop did tell us that bank is not fully integrated with Drop yet however it is in the works.

Now Drop does not store your login credentials after your initial linking. Here is an excerpt from their Security page:

How are you able to access my transaction data without storing my account credentials?

To access your transaction data, our system transforms your credentials into a key that is meaningless out of context, even to us. No one will be able to tell from our system which account is yours once linked.
I do recommend reading their Security page if you do have concerns.

Overall I really like the concept of Drop but am torn on whether I will use it or not. Of course I want to be rewarded as much as possible but I have to say I am not fond of how the data is accessed.  I don't know, maybe it's because I'm old and not a millennial that I have these security concerns. I know when I was younger I didn't care as much about things like credit card security and such.  I'd love to hear what our readers think. Have you been using Drop and are you loving it? If you haven't heard of Drop are you going to consider joining or do you have the same concerns that I do?

WestJet Rewards further expands redemption opportunities on Delta Airlines - 35 more International destinations added

Back in April WestJet Rewards took a big step in the evolution of their frequent flyer program by adding Delta Airlines as a redemption partner. When that option launched (read all about it in our post from April) the Delta cities you could redeem your WestJet dollars for was limited to 7 cities in Europe, Asia and Australia.

As of today the partnership has been expanded to allow WestJet Rewards members redeem dollars to fly on Delta to more cities in Europe, Africa, and Asia. This means an additional 35 cities that you can now use your WestJet dollars to get to including Johannesburg, Accra, Zurich, Seoul and more. In total that brings the redemption options on Delta to 42 of their international destinations. The only areas missing are Central and South America. Those are due to be added soon!

Here are the WestJet dollar requirements for each area:
  • Canada to Europe: 400 WestJet dollars each way (800 round trip)
  • Canada to Africa: 560 each way (1,120 round trip)
  • Canada to Asia: 640 each way (1,280 round trip)
  • Canada to Australia: 750 each way (1,500 round trip)
    All the above do not include taxes or fees
An example of a WestJet dollar booking option for flights between Toronto and Accra, Ghana:

 Back in April we stated the following
Overall this is great news for WestJet Rewards members. The more options you have to use your dollars the better. It will be nice to see if more Delta flights are added for cities within the U.S., South America and even Africa. Also don't expect this to be the only redemption partner added this year, as we already know Qantas is coming down the line but there is at least one more very exciting partner that will be also be added!
So this makes the deal with Delta even better even though you still can't use your dollars for flights within the U.S. but with WestJet code sharing on many Delta routes in the U.S. you do have the regular WestJet Rewards option for redeeming for those flight as a connection from a Canadian flight.

Click here for more details on this latest development from WestJet and to search or book reward flights with Delta!


WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard
$250 WestJet dollars Bonus + Annual $99/$299/$399 Companion Flight when you sign up for and receive the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard.
- Earn 1.5% back in WestJet dollars on every purchase you make with your card
- Earn 2% back in WestJet dollars when you purchase WestJet flights or WestJet Vacations packages with your card
- Companion flight vouchers are an annual benefit.
- First bag free for the primary cardholder up to 8 people traveling on the same reservation to anywhere WestJet flies!

Apply Now

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Club Carlson Summer Promotion: 10,000 Bonus Gold Points or a Friday Night stay certificate after 2 stays

With the end in sight for Club Carlson's Triple Points offer that concludes on Friday, they have released the details of their summer promotion. Entitled Free Fridays, the offer awards Club Carlson members with a certificate for a free Friday night stay at any of their hotels Worldwide when you complete 2 stays during the promotion period. Now if the certificate doesn't appeal to you, you can choose to be awarded 10,000 points after you complete 2 stays. For both options, you can earn the bonus up to three times for a total of 3 Friday night certificates or 30,000 points. Of course the Friday night certificates can provide huge value since you can use them at any hotel however the limits of only a Friday night and a limited time period of redemption between October 6 and January 26 can really put a damper on that reward. For most the better option is points since they won't expire and you can use them towards a reward you really want. I will be picking the points option and unless you really know you can use the certs I would recommend going for the points as well. 

Offer details
Receive 10,000 Bonus Gold Points or a Free Friday Night stay certificate when you complete 2 stays at Carlson Rezidor Hotels Worldwide. Register Online (Registration is required) then book online at at Radisson, Park Plaza, Country Inns & Suites, Radisson Blu, Radisson Red or Park Inn Jul 1 - Sep 30, 17

Friday E-Certs are valid for reservations on a single Friday night at any Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu®, Radisson RED, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM hotels worldwide for stays between October 6, 2017 and January 26, 2018.

Find more Club Carlson bonus offers here!

June 27 Update: 100 free miles for joining TAP Portugal's Victoria program, WestJet Canada Day Sale, 11 new bonuses

News, Tips & Tricks
There have been a few mentions over the past few months on the blog that TAP Portugal recently started service between Toronto and Lisbon including the double Victoria miles availbable on the route until Friday which leads us to this news. Right now if you are not a member of TAP Portugal's Victoria program you can earn 100 bonus miles just for joining it! You have until the end of the year to do so and is an easy way for you to start growing your Victoria balance if the program is going to become a mainstay in your loyalty portfolio. Find out more and join the program here.

Posts since our last update:
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Travel Deals
WestJet is celebrating Canada Day with a new seat sale for travel across their entire network! Book by June 29 for travel July 27 - December 12. Find out more here.

Canadian Bonus Offers

Other Bonus Offers
Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Double Flying Blue Miles when you stay 2 or more nights at the art'otel Amsterdam. More... Book by Aug 6 for stays until Sep 12, 17
- Earn up to 1,000 Bonus Flying Blue Miles for stays at Marriott Hotels in Europe. More... Until Sep 6, 17
- Earn up to Quadruple Flying Miles for stays of 2 or more nights at Shangri-La hotels Worldwide. More... Until Aug 31, 17

Avianca LifeMiles
- Earn up to 6x LifeMiles on Dollar rentals at participating locations in the Americas and Europe. More... Until Sep 30, 17

Hilton Honors
- 1,000 Bonus Honors Points PER NIGHT for stays at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Syracuse. More... Until Dec 15, 17

Le Club AccorHotels
- Earn up to 1,500 Bonus Le Club Accorhotels Points per stay at participating hotels in Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala or Panama. More... Jul 1 - Sep 30, 17

Marriott Rewards
- 1,000 Bonus Rewards Points PER NIGHT for stays at the Courtyard by Marriott Hyderabad. More... Until Aug 3, 17
- Earn up to 5,000 Rewards Points on rentals at participating Hertz locations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia and New Zealand. More... Until Dec 31, 17

TAP Portugal Victoria
- Double Victoria Miles for stays at Altis Hotels. More... Until Sep 11, 17
- Earn up to 1,000 Bonus Victoria Miles for stays at Marriott Hotels in Europe. More... Until Sep 6, 17
- 100 Bonus Victoria Miles when you join the Victoria program. More... Until Dec 31, 17

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Monday, June 26, 2017

June 26 Update: Podcast Episode 32 is available for download, 2x Aurora Rewards points for Northern Festival Flights + Priority Pass sale

News, Tips & Tricks
episode 32 is here! In this episode we discuss a trio of hotel offers that are ripe for stays across Canada this summer and even globally if your travels take you outside our country! We talk about Aeroplan's enhancement to their online services for your Star Alliance partner award travel and SkyTeam picking Vancouver for their first North American business class lounge. Finally we look at our very popular Case Study that was released earlier this month as well as the latest Rewards Canada Ultimate Credit Card portfolio. You can download the current podcast here. After today the podcast is taking a break for the summer! Be sure to check out all the past episodes if you haven't listened to them yet and are looking for some summer listening.

Canadian North is once again offering up double Aurora Rewards points on flights to select Northern festivals! Book by June 30 to earn the double points (and remember you can earn Aeroplan miles as well! Find out more here.
Simply choose your festival and book:
Alianait Arts Festival: round-trip travel between June 27 and July 6, 2017
Folk on the Rocks: round-trip travel between July 11 and 19, 2017
Great Northern Arts Festival: round-trip travel between July 11 and 26, 2017

Posts since our last update:
Travel Deals
There are only four days left to take advantage of Priority Pass' anniversary sale. You can save up to 25% on the annual membership fees of the world's largest business class lounge access programs. Find out more here

Canadian Bonus Offers

Other Bonus Offers
Aeroflot Bonus
- Earn up to 4,000 Bonus Miles when you rent with Avis in Europe, The Middle East, Africa, Asia and USA. More... Jul 22, 17 - Mar 31, 18

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- 1,000 Bonus Asia Miles on rentals of 2 or more days with Avis in Asia, USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands. More... Book by Aug 31 for rentals until Sep 20, 17

Starwood Preferred Guest
-Earn up to 1,000 Bonus Starpoints for stays on the Celebrate Summer offer at the Westin Dallas Downtown. More... Until Dec 31, 17

TAP Portugal Victoria
- Double Victoria Miles when you fly between Lisbon and Bucharest or Budapest. More... Jul 2 - 31, 17
- Double Victoria Miles when you fly between Lisbon and Cologne. More... Jul 15 - 31, 17
- Double Victoria Miles when you fly between Lisbon and Lomé or Abidjan. More... Jul 17 - 31, 17

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