Thursday, September 28, 2017

September 28 Update: Air Canada adds more flights to Europe, 5x Plum Points for online book purchases & more

Air Canada continues their International expansion with more new routes coming in 2018. Direct flights to Bucharest, Porto and Zagrab are now on the schedule! (Source Air Canada)
  • Non-stop Air Canada Rouge seasonal services start in June to Bucharest from Toronto and Montreal; to Zagreb and Porto from Toronto; and to Lisbon from Montreal
  • Non-stop service between Casablanca and Montreal transfers to Air Canada mainline, beginning June 1, 2018
  • Non-stop, Air Canada year-round Toronto-Buenos Aires service begins May 2, 2018, and a Montreal-Lima seasonal service starting in December has been upgraded to year-round

Maybe it's time for some early Christmas shopping but you could take advantage of Indigo's 5X Plum Points on Online Book purchases (Sept 28 - Oct 1)
5X Plum Points on Online Book Purchases
Looks like the Alterna Credit Union Credit Cards that were issued by mbna have been discontinued. The Alterna website still shows them but when you click through to apply for the cards the application is not available.

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals
Condor Fall Sale is on now! Fly from Canada to Germany for as little as C$259.99 Find out more here

Canadian Bonus Offers
Air Canada / Aeroplan
- Earn up to 3,250 Bonus Aeroplan Miles on Avis rentals of 3 or more days Worldwide. More... Oct 1 - Feb 28, 18

Marriott Rewards
- Earn 1,000 Bonus Marriott Rewards Points PER NIGHT for stays at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Dartmouth. More... Oct 16 - Dec 31, 17

Other Bonus Offers
Air New Zealand Airpoints
- OFFER EXTENDED Earn up to Triple Airpoints Dollars for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. More... Until Dec 31, 17
- Double Airpoints Dollars for hotel stays booked via Expedia. More... Book by Oct 13, 17

American AAdvantage
- Quadruple AAdvantage Miles for rentals at participating Alamo locations in U.S & Canada. More... Until Nov 30, 17

Copa ConnectMiles
- Earn up to 50% Bonus ConnectMiles when you buy or gift miles. More... Until Oct 31, 17

Scandic Hotels Scandic Friends
- 2,000 Bonus Scandic Friends Points PER NIGHT for stays at the Downtown Camper by Scandic Stockholm. More... Until Oct 31, 17

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Earn 1,000 Bonus Rewards Points per night at the new Delta Hotels by Marriott Dartmouth

A week ago today the newest Delta Hotel opened up here in Canada in Dartmouth Nova Scotia. The Delta Hotels by Marriott Dartmouth with 174 rooms took used to be a Ramada but has been completed renovated to the latest Delta standards and is a Category 6 hotel in the Marriott Rewards program. To celebrate the opening of this new hotel Marriott Rewards members can earn 1,000 bonus points per night for up to three nights for stays from the middle of October right through to the end of the year.

Offer details
Earn 1,000 Bonus Marriott Rewards Points PER NIGHT for stays at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Dartmouth. Bonus awarded for up to three nights per stay.  Full Details and online Booking Oct 16 - Dec 31, 17

Find many more Marriott Rewards bonus points offers here!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

September 27 Update: Meet Swoop, WestJet's Ultra Low Cost Carrier, Diners Club redemption to BA with a 50% bonus & more

WestJet revealed more details on their Ultra Low Cost Carrier today. The big news is the name, the new ULCC airline will be called Swoop. Takes me back to the days of Zip and Tango! The airline is set to start selling tickets in early 2018 and will take on Flair Airlines, Canada Jetlines and potentially FlyToo. (Source WestJet or should we say Swoop?)
"The name Swoop denotes exactly what we plan to do," said Bob Cummings WestJet Executive Vice-President, Strategy and the executive member responsible for the launch of Swoop. "It's a powerful verb that demonstrates we plan to swoop in to the Canadian market with a new business model that will provide lower fares and greater opportunity for more Canadians to travel." 

It’s too early to tell whether Swoop will be participating in the WestJet Rewards program. Stay tuned as more news comes out on Swoop I’m sure we’ll learn what if any participation the airline will have in the program. Either way you can always look at a proprietary credit card rewards program that allows you to book travel with whomever you want and then redeem the points against that charge. Think about, you have a Swoop ticket that costs $100, with a card like the new American Express Cobalt card that's only $2,000 in food and drink purchases to get that flight.....

A little over a month ago we brought you the details of the Diners Club to British Airways conversion bonus of 50%. Normally it costs 1,250 Club Rewards Points to get 1,000 Avios but with the bonus it is 1,250 points to get 1,500 Avios.  I bit the bullet today and converted 50,000 Club Rewards points to BA which means I'll get 60,000 Avios. The online redemption process was painless and while it says it can take a few weeks for the Avios to show up in my account it should only be a few days based on past experiences with Diners. If you are still one of those who holds onto the card like we do (it has the best CDW out of all cards and that's the main reason I keep it now) you have 3 days left to take advantage of this bonus. Read more about the bonus here.

Posts since our last update:

Canadian Bonus Offers

Other Bonus Offers
American AAdvantage
- Quadruple AAdvantage Miles when you rent at participating Hertz locations in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and United Kingdom. More... Until Dec 31, 17

Avianca LifeMiles
- Double LifeMiles on all your Marriott stays when you join Marriott Rewards. More... Until Dec 31, 17

Etihad Guest
- Triple Guest Miles for all stays at Accor Hotels Worldwide. More,.. Sep 30 - Nov 30, 17

Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings
- Double Fortune Wings Points when you fly on select Virgin Australia flights. More... Until Dec 15, 17

Iberia Plus
- 450 Bonus Avios for stays of 4 or more nights at Hoteles Andaluces con Encanto. More... Until Oct 31, 17

Le Club AccorHotels
- Earn up to 6,000 Bonus Le Club AccorHotels Points for stays of 2 or more nights at participating Accor hotels Worldwide. More... Book by Oct 22 for stays Oct 3 - Dec 31, 17

Voila Hotel Rewards
- Double VHR Points and Double Elite Status Credit for stays of 2 or more nights at participating at select Swiss International Hotels & Resorts. More... Until Oct 31, 17

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Bid on a VIP Weekend at the David Foster Foundation 30th Anniversary Miracle Gala in Vancouver with your Marriott Rewards points

The Marriott Canada team reached out to us to let us know and pass along a very cool Marriott Rewards Moments offer that is tailored to us Canadians and more so those living on the West Coast.

If you are not aware of Marriott Moments, it is a redemption in the Marriott Rewards program where you can use points to bid on one of kind experiences like this one. You only redeem points if you win the package, if you are outbid you keep all your points.

This offer is for the annual David Foster Miracle Gala that is held in different Canadian cities each year to raise money for the foundation. Every year it is attended by big name celebrities and tables are bought up by the who's who of the upper echelons in Canada so this package gives you the opportunity to mix and mingle with those people! There are a total of 5 packages available and they include tickets to the Founders Event Dinner, the Miracle Gala and the concert. The Miracle Gala and Concert tickets go for $2,000 each and then the package also includes 2 nights at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver and a private event the night before. With bids at time of posting at only 50,000 points for only 3 of the 5 packages this is a pretty good deal seeing that it covers 2 people $4,000 of Gala Tickets alone!)

The whole experience includes:

Tickets to attend the intimate Founders Event Private Show & Dinner at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver (October 20, 2017)
Red Carpet Access pre-show (October 21, 2017 at 5:30pm)
Tickets to attend David Fosters 30th Anniversary Miracle Gala & Concert at Rogers Arena (October 21, 2017)
Two-night stay at the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver (Check-in October 20, 2017 – Check-out October 22, 2017)
Must be 19+ years of age
Experience is for two people

Click here to view more details about this Moments offer and/or to bid on it!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

September 26 Update: All the Amex Cobalt resources you need, Air Canada reopens YVR Intl Maple Leaf Lounge & more!

Chefs Gordon Ramsay and Antonio Park with Amex's David Barnes at this morning's Amex Cobalt launch event
As we mentioned yesterday, we said Tuesday would be busy and that was strictly due to the launch of the New American Express Cobalt Card! If you follow us in Twitter and Instagram you'll have seen our photos from the launch event but we also had our earlier blog post and the card has been placed on many of our resource pages. Here is the complete list of pages where you can find the details of this new card on Rewards Canada:
The card will be placed on other pages as well as time allows plus we'll need to update several of our Ultimate Credit Card portfolios now as this card will make those change.

Air Canada reopened its Vancouver International Maple Leaf Lounge following an 18-month renovation and expansion.

Designed by Vancouver-based Gustavson Wylie Architects Inc, Air Canada's International Maple Leaf Lounge at YVR measuring 1,250 square meters with seating capacity for 258 customers offers an elegant space on two levels that showcases contemporary Canadian design and artwork including:
  • Artwork by Canadian artists Kendall Kendrick (Vancouver) whose creation celebrates westcoast nature, Nicolas Ruel (Montreal) showcasing overseas travel, and Danielle Roy (Montreal) from her collection titled "A flower – a human being" creating a powerful imagery of urban portraits by uniting people from all walks of life with beautiful flowers.
  • Furnishings by Canadian designers Brent Comber (North Vancouver), Birchwood Furniture (Calgary), Nienkamper (Toronto) and Mobilier Modern (Montreal).
  • A business zone featuring a custom crafted work table, by Live Edge Design of Duncan, BC created with wood salvaged from a maple tree in the Cowichan Valley which had come to the end of its natural life. The wood slabs have gone through an extensive kiln drying process, followed by hand finishing, ensuring this tree will continue to live on in a new incarnation for several decades.
  • Hot and cold dining options, including a feature salad by celebrated Vancouver Chef David Hawksworth, a chef's station for individually prepared dishes, along with wines from Canada and from around the world.
  • The business zone is equipped with flat screen desktop computers for customers' use, and RICOH colour printing and scanning. Complementary wi-fi and conveniently located power sources are available throughout the lounge.
  • Spa-inspired shower rooms with rain shower heads, a Samsung TV zone, a VIP room and a quiet zone with reclining lounge seating.

Posts since our last update:

Canadian Bonus Offers

Other Bonus Offers
American AAdvantage
- Earn up to 5,000 Bonus AAdvantage Miles on Avis rentals of 3 more days in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Mexico, Latin America, and Caribbean. More... Until Oct 15, 17
- Earn up to 5,000 Bonus AAdvantage Miles on Budget rentals of 3 more days in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Mexico, Latin America, and Caribbean. More... Until Oct 15, 17

British Airways Executive Club
- 35% Bonus Avios when you convert selected hotel loyalty points into Avios. More... Until Oct 31, 17

Iberia Plus
- Double Avios for stays at NH Hotel Group properties in Barcelona, Madrid, A Coruña, Bilbao or Valencia. More... Until Oct 31, 17

Marriott Rewards
- 1,500 Bonus Rewards Points for stays of 2 or more nights at the Berlin Marriott Hotel. More... Sep 29 - Dec 1, 17

SAS EuroBonus
- Earn up to 12,000 EuroBonus Points on Avis rentals of 2 or more days in Europe, The Middle East, Africa, Asia, USA and Canada. More... Book by Oct 31 for rentals Oct 1 - Dec 31, 17

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Introducing the American Express Cobalt Card - this card is simply amazing

Let me start off that, yes,  there was a lot of buzz last week about the launch of the NEW American Express Cobalt Card, so the anticipation for it is big. Yes, what you may have already seen about the card is true but not all of the details were available, and now American Express has officially launched Cobalt. All I can say is this is a game changing card based on the earn rate, the redemption options, insurance and sign up bonus.

Some quick notes to start this post off:
  • First card in Canada to offer up to a 5% return that isn't limited to the first few months of having the card
  • This card is targeted towards Millennials but that doesn't mean people outside of that generation shouldn't look at the card. I'm not a Millennial and will be getting the card. Same goes for my wife. There's two people outside the target market who will be grabbing the card.
Here are all the details and with them you'll see why this card is amazing.

Annual Fee - no, make that a monthly fee
Millennials are used to paying for things on monthly basis, subscription services, transit passes, gym memberships, you name it, and now credit card fees. The card charges $10 per month for having it which equates to an annual fee of $120.

Sign up bonus
Right now the card will come with a sign up bonus of up to 40,000 Membership Rewards points. One might ask how can a card company avoid people taking advantage of such a big bonus with only a small monthly fee and someone cancelling the card? You make the bonus monthly, that's how! Simply putting $500 in spending on your card during a billing cycle will net you 2,500 Membership Rewards Points for the first 12 months. Ideally then you need to spend $6,000 in the first year (12x$500) to earn 30,000 points. If you miss out on $500 spending in any of those first 12 months you will miss out on the bonus for that month, so it is key you keep on top of your spending and make that $500 per month for those first 12 months. The additional 10,000 points comes from a limited time offer that if you spend $3,000 in first three months of having the card you'll get the bonus. To get in on the additional 10K you must apply for the card by January 30, 2018.

Earning Points
The card earns Membership Rewards points like other proprietary American Express cards and has category multipliers on the types of purchases that many Millennials make:

5 Points per dollar spent on food and drinks - this includes restaurants, bars, grocery stores and even food delivery services.

2 Points per dollar spent on travel and transit - this includes flights, hotels, taxis, transit passes and ride sharing services. Plus, Gas Station purchases are also included!

1 Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

The above points are awarded on eligible spend and category multipliers will be awarded so long as the merchant is classified/categorized with the proper merchant codes regardless of what country you are in.

Redeeming Points
The American Express Cobalt Card comes with a modified version of Membership Rewards. It has the full Use Points for Purchases option, the Fixed Points Travel Programs and includes the hotel portion of the Frequent Traveller Participants. This means there is no direct conversion to the # of airlines that partner with Membership Rewards.

If you redeem using the Use Points for Purchases option, you will get a $10 credit towards every 1,000 points redeemed for a travel purchase. This means the purchases you make on food and drinks will equate to a 5% return - no other card offers this full time. Sure they have options to earn that amount when you first get the card for up to 3 or 6 months but no card offers it beyond that except for Cobalt. Redeeming for non travel purchases? You'll get the $7 credit for 1,000 points which means you can max out at a 3.5% return on the card which is still really strong compared to lots of the cash back competitors the card has.

Moving on to the Fixed Points Travel Program, the card provides great value here as well. Being able to earn up to 5 points per dollar means you can be flying for as little as $3,000 in spending on this card!

From the chart above you'll see you only need 15,000 points for popular short haul round trip flights. Make that spending with 5x multipliers and you have that ticket for only $3,000 in spending. You will not achieve that with any other card in Canada. Even business class to Europe is an amazing deal, only $28,000 in spending at 5x points gets you that round trip flight to Europe. Compare this to nearly double that for most other cards in Canada that allow you to redeem for business class. The Fixed Points Travel Program has proven to be a large success for American Express and that is just going to explode with this card!

Finally, another huge and I mean huge benefit to the redemption side of this card is the ability to convert to Membership Rewards Frequent Traveller participants. This is where the modified version Membership Rewards is key. The only Frequent Traveller participants tied into the Cobalt card are the hotel partners, the airline partners like Aeroplan or British Airways are excluded. That's OK and here's why:

When you convert to Starwood Preferred Guest, which is one of the two hotel transfer partners you'll get 0.5 Starpoints for every Membership Rewards Point transferred. As we know the Cobalt card earns up to 5x points on purchases which means you'll get up to 2.5 Starpoints per dollar spent on this card. Once again, no other card provides such a great SPG earn rate! Then within SPG you have the option to convert to 30+ airlines and when you convert 20,000 Starpoints at a time SPG kicks in an additional 5,000 miles. For example convert 20,000 Starpoints to Aeroplan and you'll get 25,000 miles. That means this card has an effective earn rate of up to 3.125 Aeroplan Miles, British Airways Executive Club Avios, and so on! Once again no other card offers a potential earn rate on airline miles like this! Just heed the advice that Starwood has been taken over by Marriott and we should see the SPG program merged with Marriott Rewards in late 2018 or early 2019 of which we don't know what the redemption rates will look like after that date.

The other hotel option is Hilton Honors and offers a 1:1 conversion rate from Membership Rewards. Again this card has the potential the best Hilton Honors points earning card for Canadians.

Other Benefits
Like all American Express cards, the Cobalt card will included American Express Invites which has  Front Of The Line® Advance Access, Front Of The Line® Reserved Tickets, Front Of The Line® E-Updates, Special Offers & Experiences for all Cardmembers and Social Access for all Cardmembers

It does have a decent Travel-Related Insurance Coverage package which includes Emergency Medical Insurance (out of province/country), Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance, Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance, Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance, Flight Delay Insurance, and  $250,000 Travel Accident Insurance.

This card attacks from all angles. Earning, redeeming, benefitting. You name it, this card has it. American Express has done their research and come out with what may just be the best all-around product on the market not only for Millennials but the mass market of Canada who do not need extraordinary travel benefits that come with some higher end cards.  We've now got our work cut out for us with the 2018 Top Travel Rewards Credit Card rankings, our Ultimate Credit Card Portfolios and more. It means working overtime but that's OK since it's worth it passing along news like this to Canada.

Click here for complete details and to apply for the American Express Cobalt Card

IHG Rewards Club Buy Points Flash Sale - 100% Bonus until September 29

IHG Rewards Club is once again offering their great 100% bonus on buying their points. You only have until September 29th to buy them and if you purchase 5,000 or more points you'll get the number of points you buy doubled. As is always the case when buying at the 100% level, each point will only cost you 0.575 cents. If you choose to buy the maximum number of points, 60,000, it will cost you US$690 but of course you'll end up getting 120,000 points. That's 24 nights at IHG hotels if redeeming via the PointBreaks option which works out to only $28.75 per night!

Offer Details
100% Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points when you buy points online.  Minimum purchase of 5,000 points. Full details. Until Sep 29, 17

Find many more IHG Rewards Club bonus point offers here

Monday, September 25, 2017

September 25 Update: Quiet Monday will lead to a busy Tuesday and score yourself 500 Free Miles & More Miles

News, Tips & Tricks
A quiet Monday before what will no doubt be a very busy Tuesday! Be sure to check back on the blog tomorrow morning and on our social media for a big credit card launch. If you follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you'll know what we're talking about or even read about our post last week for why there is a need for a credit card for Millennials.

In the bonus offers check out the offer for 500 Miles & More miles for simply downloading and logging in to the Miles & More app.

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals
Movenpick Hotels Save up to 30% when you stay at any of 80+ hotels and resorts across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East Book by Oct 31 for stays until Nov 30. Find out more here!

Canadian Bonus Offers

Other Bonus Offers
Miles & More
- 500 Bonus Miles & More Miles when you download and log in to the Miles & More app. More... Until Sep 30, 17

Saudia Alfursan
- 1,000 Bonus Alfursan Miles when you stay any night Thursday-Sunday at the JW Marriott Hotel Cairo. More... Until Dec 15, 17
- 1,500 Bonus Alfursan Miles for stays at the W Marriott Hotel Kuwait City, the Courtyard by Marriott Kuwait City or the Residence Inn Kuwait City. More... Until Oct 31, 17
- Triple Alfursan Miles for stays of 4+ nights at the Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort & Spa. More... Book by Oct 31 for stays until Dec 20, 17

Stash Hotel Rewards
- Up to Triple Stash Rewards Points for stays at the Creekside Inn Palo Alto. More... Until Dec 31, 17
- Double Stash Rewards Points for stays at the King George Hotel San Francisco More... Until Dec 31, 17

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