Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October 30 Update: Amex introduces online insurance claim submissions, 250 points for joining SCENE, WestJet adds St. John's-Ft. Lauderdale flight

American Express has taken a great step for their cards that offer insurance benefits! Now you can submit claims for some of the most commonly used coverages online. The first three insurance claims you can submit online are Buyers Assurance (the extension of manufacturer's warranty), Purchase Protection (anything happens to a purchase in the first 90 days like lost, stolen, broken) and car rental theft and damage. Find out more about this new offering here.

 If you have not joined Cineplex's SCENE program you can do so now and get 250 bonus points for doing so (well as long as you have some account activity in the first 90 days). 250 points is a quarter of the way to a free movie. Find out more here!

Not only did WestJet announce the new routes to Atlanta and Barcelona today, they also announced a new winter seasonal route between St. John's and Ft. Lauderdale. It is a short run from March 11 to May 13, 2019

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals

Remember to visit Rewards Canada's Travel Booking site to book travel directly with many of your favourite airlines, hotels and more!

Canadian Bonus Offers
Air Canada Aeroplan
- 3,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you make your first hotel booking via Rocketmiles. More... Book by Dec 31, 18 for stays until Mar 31, 19

Cineplex SCENE
- 250 Bonus SCENE Points when you join the Cineplex SCENE program. Points awarded if you have activity on your account within the first 90 days of joining. More... Until ?

RBC Rewards
- Get 15,000 welcome points and earn 5,000 extra RBC Rewards Points with a minimum spend Plus the 1st year annual fee waived upon approval of the RBC Visa Infinite Avion. More... Until ?

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 Nov 18, 18

Marriott Rewards
- Earn up to 3,000 Rewards Points on Hertz rentals of 2+ days in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Australia, and New Zealand. More... Ongoing

Miles & More
- 500 Bonus Miles & More Miles for stays at participating Accor hotels Worldwide. More... Book Nov 1 - 30 for stays until Dec 31, 18
- Triple Miles & More Miles on your next stay at any Best Western hotels in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia. More... Until Dec 31, 18

Sonesta Hotels Travel Pass
- Earn up to 130,000 Bonus Travel Pass Points for stays at RE:imagined Sonesta ES Suites More... Until Jan 31, 19

Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Redeem roundtrip Economy Class Award Travel at just 9,500 miles with THAI Smile between Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and 10 destinations across Thailand. More... Until Mar 31, 19

United MileagePlus
- Earn up to 5,000 Bonus MileagePlus miles when you shop via the MileagePlus shopping portal. More... Until Nov 18, 18

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RBC Visa Infinite Avion - Up to 20,000 bonus RBC Rewards points and first year free!

On Jul  31st we saw the end of the last first year free offer for the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card, essentially it offered 25,000 points for free. That offer expired to be replaced by the standard card offer but now we have new bonus to let you know about! This time you can get 20,000 points and have the first year free but you'll have to put some spend on the card this time.  When approved you'll get 15,000 points then when you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months you'll be awarded with 5,000 more points for 20,000 total - and the first year annual fee is waived. This is the same process as the June/July offer except it is 5,000 points less. Still to get 20,000 points for free is a great deal that is assuming the $1,000 in spending you put on the card is spending you would do otherwise. This is an easily achievable spend requirement only only $333.33 per month so if you missed out on the offer that ended in July this next one is as close as you'll get to it and is still really good to take advantage of.

Those 20,000 points will equate to 20,000 British Airways Avios at no cost (or more when they run their transfer bonuses)! Or 200 WestJet dollars at no cost and that doesn't even take into account the transfer bonuses they run occasionally throughout the year. And remember BA has household accounts so you and your spouse could each get the card then convert to BA and combine the Avios into one account for 40,000 or more Avios. Remember that you can get really cheap Avios redemptions to Dublin from Toronto and Montreal on Aer Lingus. There are just so many options here....

Here are some articles we have written to help you decide if this offer is for you!

RBC Visa Infinite Avion
  • Get 15,000 welcome points and earn 5,000 extra RBC Rewards Points with a minimum spend† Plus the 1st year annual fee waived upon approval†
  • Earn 25% more RBC Rewards points on travel related purchases1 
  • Book flights, hotel stays, cruises, vacation packages, car rentals with RBC Rewards site, powered by Orbitz
  • Transfer your RBC Rewards points towards other eligible loyalty programs (WestJet Rewards, British Airways Executive Club, American AAdvantage, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. Look for the transfer bonuses to the airlines several times per year!)
  • Premium suite of insurances including trip cancellation3, trip interruption3, travel medical4, car rental insurance5
  • Redeem your points toward your credit card balance using Payback with Points2
  • Instantly save 3₵ per litre on fuel▲ & earn 20% more Petro-Points§ and RBC Rewards points** when you link your Petro-Points card to any RBC Card online.
  • Up to a 2.3% return on your spending depending on which reward ticket you book
  • Unwritten ability to redeem for Business Class tickets although at a lower rate of return when compared to the Avion Reward chart
Apply Now

PLEASE NOTE: You may not be guaranteed the bonus if you apply via a link that has not originated from our site and/or does not contain the complete URL you will find after clicking our link.

WestJet adds new routes from Calgary to Atlanta and Toronto to Barcelona in 2019

WestJet is continuing their global expansion with the announcement of two new prominent routes today.

The first route between Calgary and Atlanta is sort of expected seeing that WestJet is forming a joint venture Delta Airlines. Atlanta being Delta's home provides a wealth of connections that WestJet and Delta flyers alike can take advantage of. The flights are slated to be year round starting with 6x weekly service starting on March 3, 2019 and moving to daily service on April 7.

WestJet is the only airline flying non-stop from Calgary to ATL, the world's largest airline hub – home of Delta Airlines, a WestJet codeshare partner since 2011. Together with Delta, via Hartsfield-Jacksonairport WestJet will offer codeshare access to an extensive list of U.S. destinations including the southeastern United States and Gulf Coast and cities such as Memphis, Tenn., Charleston, S.C., New Orleans, La., Savannah, Ga., Pensacola and Panama City, Fla.  (Source WestJet)
Calgary has not seen service to Atlanta since some short lived 1x weekly summer service that Delta Airlines provided a few years back.

The second route announced today comes as more of a surprise and further builds on WestJet's expanding services to Europe. WestJet will offer 3x weekly summer service between Toronto and Barcelona Spain starting on May 24. The service will operate with their Boeing 767s (which are being freed up thanks to the Boeing 787 coming in) until Oct 21.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Get elite status with ten hotel reward programs, one airline and one cruise program with The Platinum Card from American Express


Here is one of those non-point or miles hacks to consider if you travel at least a few times per year. If you travel lots chances are you hold elite status with at least one or a couple of hotel chain frequent guest programs so this may not apply to you. But what if you only travel semi-frequently and can't hit those 25, 50 or more nights required from various programs. Or maybe you just got hired on with a company and will travel lots in 2019 but won't get hotel status until later in the year or in 2020? Or maybe your company books the lowest rates for each of your trips and has you with a different brand every time so that you can't hit those stay or point level requirements in each program for status? Then what do you do? You get yourself The Platinum Card from American Express.

January 31, 2019 Update: Taj Hotels Inner Circle Gold Status added!

The card has some of the most exceptional benefits of any card in Canada but also comes with a somewhat hefty annual fee of $699. That being said you can easily make use of the $699 with the annual $200 travel credit (use it for one of those hotel stays or for flights etc.), the airport lounge access (see our Guide to Business Class lounge access here) and tying in with this post, it gives you elite status with three hotel frequent guest programs that can then be extended to other programs that match status. In the end you should hold some sort of elite level status with a minimum of six hotel chains covering over 15,000 hotels worldwide.

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with the following Elite Status benefits:

Here are just some of the benefits you get with each of the above programs:
Marriott Rewards Gold Status

Hilton HHonors Gold Status

Radisson Rewards Gold Status

Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle Jade membership

Singapore Airlines Silver Elite Status
Shangri-La has a partnership with Singapore Airlines that is called Infinite Journeys and provides Shangri-La Jade members with automatic Silver status in KrisFlyer program. There is also a fast track where you only have to take three Singapore Airlines flights within four months of registering to get KrisFlyer Gold status.  Find out more about Infinite Journeys here

Taj Hotels Inner Circle Gold Status
Shangri-La has a partnership with Taj Hotels that offers reciprocal benefits in each other's programs. The partnership is called Warmer Welcomes and provides Shangri-La Jade members with automatic Gold status in Taj Hotels Inner Circle Program. There are some other benefits included in this partnership. Find out more about Warmer Welcomes here (Thanks for HFP for the details on this one!)
This screenshot shows 2 upgrade vouchers, but TAJ's website states Gold members get 20 upgrade vouchers -
perhaps that is only for those who earn Gold the hard way

When you receive your Platinum card, register for all the above elite hotel offers. Once you have confirmed you have elite status then you're set to extend those statuses to other programs that guarantee status matches:

1. Best Western Rewards Status Match
Best Western has had one of the longer running status match offers and it is very easy to get.  Simply put the Elite Level Status Match Best Western Rewards will match your other Hotel Reward program status with no catch. The level you get depends on what Best Western thinks the equivalent level is in their program. My Hyatt Platinum status gave me Best Western Diamond status. I would use the Marriott Gold as the program to match since that one technically needs 50 nights to achieve versus SPG's 25 nights so Best Western may see you as more frequent guest deserving a higher status. Full details
Some benefits of the three levels you would be matched to:

2 Choice Hotels Privileges Status Match
An offer that has been around for a couple years but was only opened up to Canadian residents in 2018 is the Choice Hotels Privileges Status Match. After you submit your details including proof of your other status you'll receive an answer in 7-9 days as to what level they will match you to. Full details
 Some of the benefits of the Choice Hotels elite levels:

3. Sonesta Hotels Travel Pass Status Match
This small chain with hotels in the U.S., South America, Caribbean and Egypt will Elite Status Match to preferred and elite status levels in other hotel programs. Full details

 Some Sonesta Travel Pass benefits:

4. Preferred Hotel Group iPrefer
Not well publicized, the Preferred Hotel Group iPrefer program also offers status matches - they only state this in their FAQ. Seeing they only have two levels, you should be matched to Elite status as you see below. Full details

5. MSC Cruises Voyager Club
Per the comment from Andrew P. in our post from 2016,  MSC Cruise will status match in their Voyager Club to hotel programs as long as you register 14 days prior to your cruise date.  Full details

Another hotel chain offering a status match!

6.  Wyndham Rewards
Wyndham Rewards now offers an Elite Status Match. Match from your best status above to get WR status for stays at Ramada's Days Inn's etc. Full details

You can then also try other hotel programs like Voila Hotel Rewards or the Millennium & Copthorne Hotels My Millennium program who seem to be good at matching programs (sourced from Statusmatcher.com)

Its not only you who can get status!
Now what makes the card even better, is that if you add a supplementary Platinum Card ($175) that additional card holder is offered all the same benefits. So your spouse or significant other or even maybe your adult children who still live at home can all get the same elite status offers that are listed above! We've done this in the Rewards Canada household and it makes for great travel for your loved ones when they don't travel with you as they don't have to rely on you for those special status benefits! And for only $175 its a great deal! Not to mention the supplementary cardholder also gets the lounge access and other associated benefits with the card.

Here are the details of the card:

October 29 Update: Fly Business Class from Vancouver to Europe for C$2,000 roundtrip, free IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite Status and more

Air France KLM Flying Blue has a new buy miles offer that can be really lucrative when you tie it in to their Promo Rewards promotion. Right now when you buy 4,000 or more miles you'll receive a 75% bonus. Tie this in with business class flights between places like Vancouver and places in Europe for only 53,000 miles (+taxes/fees) and it can really make sense to buy miles. For example to buy enough miles to get to a 53,000 mile redemption it will cost you EUR880 (~C$1300).
Add in roughly C$700 in taxes and fees and you have a round trip business class flight for C$2,000


There is an offer floating around on many of the frequent flyer blogs (PointsNerd, DoC, etc.) for free IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite status for 90 days and then a fast track to keep it. The terms and conditions specifically state this is for employees of eligible companies although it appears everyone is able to register albeit so far without their status being updated. I tested it and it does show up in my offers. My one big concern is that IHG has been known in the past to lock and/or delete accounts of members who register for offers that are not targeted to them. So proceed with caution if you choose to sign up for this and do so by October 31. You can find out more and register for the offer here

Posts since our last update:

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Travel Deals
Check out the Porter Airlines two day sale - Fares start at $105 each way. Book online here

Remember to visit Rewards Canada's Travel Booking site to book travel directly with many of your favourite airlines, hotels and more!

Canadian Bonus Offers

Other Bonus Offers
Air France KLM Flying Blue
- 75% Bonus Flying Blue Miles when you buy 4,000 or more miles online. More... Until Nov 12, 18

Le Club AccorHotels
- Earn up to Triple Le Club AccorHotels Points for stays at participating Accor Hotels in Italy and Greece. More... Book by Nov 21 for stays Jan 7, 19

Miles & More
- 2,500 Miles & More Miles for stays at participating Kempinski Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Nov 30, 18

Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Earn up to 6,000 QMiles when you fly Qatar Airways between Doha and Mombasa. More... Until Mar 10, 19

Singapore Airlines HighFlyer
- 50% Bonus HighFlyer Points on Singapore Airlines Premium Economy class to and from USA. More... Until Nov 30, 18

Turkish Miles&Smiles
- 2,000 Bonus Miles&Smiles Miles for stays 2+ nights Sunday-Thursday at the Sharm El Sheikh Marriott Resort. More... Until Nov 24, 18 

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