Monday, September 30, 2019

September 30 Update: U.S. airlines collected over $1.5 Billion in checked bag fees last quarter - here's how you can avoid some of those dreaded fees!

Airline fees are ones that all travelers hate - doesn't matter if you are once every two years flyer or once every day flyer it seems that there can be a fee for anyone. From checked bags to seat selection and more, airlines now seem to charge for almost everything. The latest report that came out this month is that U.S. airlines netted over $1.5 Billion dollars in checked bag fees alone in the last quarter! (Source The good news there are ways you can save on airline fees without being a top tier elite member in an airline's frequent flyer program and that is with select credit cards in our market. We cover all of those in our special feature entitled "Credit cards that help you avoid those dreaded airline fees". In this feature we have cards that save you on checked bag fees, seat selections fees and more. We also look at how you can use points from select cards to help offset fees that are charged.

Just a reminder that you can earn 10,000 PC Optimum points when you sign up for text alerts from Shoppers Drug Mart and spend $40 or more at SDM. There is no published end date for this offer but I would do it sooner than later (as long as you know you'll be spending $40 at SDM) as the offer can be pulled at anytime. Find out more here.

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


Other Bonus Offers

Caesars Rewards
- Earn 2x Tier Credit when playing slots, video poker or table games and for spending at qualified shops and restaurants at Caesars Rewards destinations. More... Oct 1 -31, 19

China Airlines Dynasty Flyer
- 6,000 Bonus Dynasty Flyer Miles per segment when you redeem miles for an upgrade on China Airlines flights between Taiwan and Japan or Korea. More... Oct 1 - Dec 31, 19

Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings
- 5x Fortune Wings Points when you book hotels via PointsPLUS. More... Book by Oct 31 for stays until Dec 31, 19

Millennium Hotels My Millennium
- Double My Millennium Points and up to 35% off for stays at any one of 23 Millennium Hotels in Europe. More... Book by Oct 16 for stays until Apr 19, 20

World of Hyatt
- 500 Bonus World of Hyatt points for stays at the Hyatt Regency Dharamshala Resort More... Oct 13 - Jan 30, 20
- 500 Bonus World of Hyatt points for stays at the Hyatt Centric The Liberties Dublin More... Oct 7 - Jan 30, 20
- 500 Bonus World of Hyatt points for stays at the Park Hyatt Kyoto More... Oct 29 - Jan 30, 20
- 500 Bonus World of Hyatt points for stays at the Hyatt Place Dubai/Jumeirah More... Oct 7 - Jan 30, 20
- 500 Bonus World of Hyatt points for stays at the Great Scotland Yard London More... Oct 29 - Jan 30, 20
- 500 Bonus World of Hyatt points for stays at the Hyatt Place Huntsville/Research Park More... Oct 30 - Jan 30, 20
- 500 Bonus World of Hyatt points for stays at the Hyatt Place Wilmington Riverfront More... Oct 1 - Jan 30, 20
- 500 Bonus World of Hyatt points for stays at the Hyatt Place New York City / Times Square More... Oct 30 - Jan 30, 20
- 500 Bonus World of Hyatt points for stays at the Hyatt Place Waco - South More... Nov 6 - Feb 28, 20

Follow Rewards Canada:
Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram RSS Newsletter

Hotel Review: Holiday Inn & Suites Kamloops

Another Bill W review for you! Bill is a true road warrior, his work has him driving and flying across Western and Central Canada every week while staying in a variety hotels from a variety of chains.  Bill has been reading, following and even giving Rewards Canada tips and updates for a very long time so let's welcome him back with this contribution!  

The Holiday Inn & Suites Kamloops is conveniently located ten minutes from the airport in the B.C. Interior City of Kamloops. The room I reserved was with a king-size bed. It was very clean and the temperature was quite comfortable when I checked in. While there is a wall-mounted thermostat, the actual temperature is controlled on the air conditioning/heating unit itself. It was very responsive and maintained the room temperature quite well.

The room was equipped with a 37” flat screen TV and they do offer channels in HD. There was also the usual mini-fridge and coffeemaker (Keurig) along with a microwave. There is also a work desk with 4 outlets available (all located on the wall above the desk meaning you don’t have to crawl under the desk to plug things in).

Only one of the bedside lamps had an electrical outlet for your electronics. Not really an issue unless you use your phone for an alarm (as I do). However, there was a 4-outlet plug behind the bed table with only the lamp plugged in, so the capability to charge other electronics at your bedside was available.

The shower in the bathroom is mounted just under 6’ from the floor of the tub, which will allow taller guests a more comfortable shower without having to duck to get under the waterflow.  The water pressure was good, and the hot water availability was almost instant (even during a potentially higher use time of 7:00 am).

The hotel had a White Spot restaurant attached to it with direct access from the hotel. In fact, the lounge area was inside the hotel itself. It was very comfortable and seated about 40 guests. The back shelf where the liquor bottles are displayed had an actual waterfall behind it (well-lit) and added an extra touch of ambience.  The full restaurant menu was available in the lounge. As there is a restaurant onsite, room service is offered. (A full menu is provided in the information booklet in your room).

The lobby area had a very comfortable seating area with lots of couches for guests to meet other members of their party or just to sit back and relax.

There are plenty of parking spots for the guests, just don’t forget to display your parking pass provided at check-in). They even have a plug for charging electric cars.

This hotel offers guest added security by locking the front doors at midnight.  After that, you will need your room key to open the door or you call the front desk to let you in.

There is a little shop (open 24 hours) located next to the front desk that has various food and beverage items. They even have items that you can heat in your room and also have plastic utensils available to take back to your room. Vending machines are also available on each floor.

The pool area is well lit and has a reasonable sized pool along with a hot tub.  As this is an area that is good for hiking/exploring, it might be a good place to rest and rejuvenate. There is also a small fitness area with treadmills and steppers as well as free weights and an exercise ball.

The Front Desk staff were very courteous and helpful and acknowledged me as a Platinum member of IHG Rewards Club. Both check-in and check-out were completed efficiently. Definitely a good place to stay when visiting Kamloops.

Hotel details
Holiday Inn & Suites Kamloops  (Book here)
Points required for a free night 15,000 Points
Points+Cash rates: 10,000 Points + C$64 or 5,000 Points + C$99

Remember that right now you can earn up to 40,000 Bonus IHG Rewards Club Points for stays at IHG Hotels Worldwide with the Accelerate Part 3 offer! Learn more about it here.

Also be sure to visit and book mark our IHG Rewards Club Bonus Points page for many more points opportunities.

Talk to us! Have you stayed at the Holiday Inn & Suites Kamloops? What are your thoughts of the hotel? Or are you planning to and looking forward to it? Let us know below!  

Friday, September 27, 2019

September 27 Update: Today is SCENE's No Excuses day - see movies for half the points, further update to enhanced Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card, Air Canada Asia sale sees fares as low as $570

Today is No Excuses day with Cineplex's SCENE program. You can see any movie today only for half the amount of SCENE points, you can get 1,000 bonus SCENE points on Combos 1-3 at the concession, 50x Bonus Points at their restaurant partners and much more! Check it all out here!

We have some further updates to American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card enhancements that we brought to you yesterday. I reached out to our contacts and have learned the current insurance package included with the card will not change, the welcome bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES Reward Miles will continue and most importantly, the $120 annual fee will not be charged until your next renewal date of your card. Which means if you have the card and just paid the $65 annual fee say on August 15, you will not have to pay a pro-rated amount for the changes, you will get all the new enhancements on the card and not have to worry about paying $120 until August 15, 2020 (or whenever your anniversary date is). This holds true for anyone who gets the card between now and November 3 (as the changes kick in on November 4), you will only have to pay $65 in your first year but get all the new enhancements that come along with the card.

A few months ago we brought you the details of the integration of First Air and Canadian North. Part of the integration of course is Canadian North's frequent flyer program Aurora Rewards and in the last update from them you can now earn Aurora Rewards Points on First Air flights. You can also continue to double dip and also earn Aeroplan Miles on those same flights. Just make sure you have your Aeroplan number registered in your Aurora Rewards profile. Learn more here.

AIR MILES collectors check your emails for a special targeted offer that you have to opt-in for. I received this one that gives 30 bonus miles if I collect 60 miles by the end of the month.

Posts since our last update:

Travel Deals

Air Canada has launched a seat sale for their flights to Asia! Book by October 1st to grab sale fares as low as $570 round trip! Find out more here (and remember you can earn up to 30% bonus Aeroplan miles on select flights to China!)

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

Marriott Bonvoy
- 1,500 Bonus Bonvoy Points PER NIGHT for stays at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Billings. More... Until Nov 6, 19
- 2,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points PER NIGHT for stays at the Tysons Corner Marriott. More... Until Nov 15, 19

MEA Cedar Miles
- 50% Cedar Miles Discount on MEA round-trip, one-way or Maxi rewards tickets to anywhere MEA flies. More... Book now for travel Nov 1 - Dec 10, 19

Miles & More
- Earn up to 6x Miles & More Miles when you fly on Lufthansa in economy class between Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Austin or San Diego and Frankfurt.  More... Until Dec 31, 19
- Earn up to 5,000 Bonus Miles & More Miles when you fly on Lufthansa from Frankfurt and Munich to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Manchester. More... Book by Sep 30 for travel until Oct 15, 19

SriLankan FlySmiles
- Triple FlySmiles when you fly on SriLankan from Colombo to London. More... Book by Oct 13 for travel Oct 1 - Nov 30, 19

Stash Hotel Rewards
- 500 Bonus Stash Rewards Points for stays at the Perdido Beach Resort Orange Beach Alabama. More... Book by Oct 31 for stays until Dec 7, 19

Follow Rewards Canada:
Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram RSS Newsletter

IHG's Stay the Moment Sale extended to October 8 - Save up to 25% on stays Worldwide!

IHG has extended their Stay in the Moment sale which offers everyone up to 20% off the best flexible rates at IHG hotels Worldwide. If you are an IHG Rewards Club member you’ll receive an additional 5% off for a total discount of 25%. That’s a pretty decent discount if you know you have some stays you have to complete since the discounted rate must be prepaid and is non-refundable. Simply book by October 8 for stays until March 31, 2020. If you are not a member of IHG Rewards Club you can join here for free to make sure you get that additional 5% off!

Click here to learn more about this sale or to book it

Remember as well to register for IHG Rewards Club’s various bonus points offers to earn more points on these stays:
Find RC’s complete list of IHG Rewards Club Bonus points offers right here! 

IHG hasn't had a Canadian co-branded credit for quite a few years now so you can't earn extra IHG Rewards Club points on the actual payment but we would recommend using a credit card that offers an accelerated earn rate on travel purchases (hotels included) like the American Express Gold Rewards Card, The Platinum Card from American Express or the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

September 26 Update: More confirmed Amex Cobalt multiplier locations, bid points for Monday Night Football in Mexico City & an IHG PointBreaks update

We've had another update to our Confirmed Cobalt Multipliers feature! Thanks to Brad from Guys Who Travel for letting us know that DoorDash has been fixed and is now in the 5x points category instead of 1x! He also let us know that Lime Scooter rentals are properly coding in the 2x travel and transit category. We also learned that Leopold's Taverns who have locations in Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary & Winnipeg also code in at 5x points! Also note that with today's American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card updates that as of November 4th this feature will really help out as well since it will earn 1 Mile for every $5 spend on eats and drinks! Read the Cobalt Multipliers feature here!

Another reader alert! Gilbert D. let us know that the offer for 3,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles for your first Rocketmiles hotel booking has been extended to December 31. Find out more here.

RBC Rewards is offering 25% more value when you redeem RBC Rewards points for your purchases at Petro-Canada until Oct 6. Find out more here.

Hilton Honors has a pretty unique Experience offer. This is on the Hilton Honors Experiences platform where you bid points for one of a kind experiences and this one is for the big time NFL  football fan! You can experience Monday Night Football in Mexico City on November 17th to see the Los Angeles Chargers take on the Kansas City Chiefs! The experience includes:
  • Game Tickets to the Chargers-Chiefs game at Azteca Stadium on November 18, 2019 
  • Round-trip transportation to the stadium 
  • Two night stay at Umbral, Curio Collection by Hilton from November 17-19, 2019
  • Welcome 'Independencia' signature cocktails 
  • Breakfast on the rooftop terrace with mesmerizing city views during your stay
You do need to get your own fligthts down but I know there are some die-hards who would be up for this one! At the time of posting the bid was at 104,500 Honors points. You can learn more and even bid for this offer here!

 Over on the FFB blog we take a look at what IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks hotels are still available for the next month or so. There are still 125 locations Worldwide that can be redeemed for with only 5,000 to 15,000 points per night. There are still five hotels in Canada on the list! Read all about it here.

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
- Earn up to 30% Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you fly on Air Canada or Air China between Canada and China. More... Register & Book by Dec 13 for travel Oct 11 – Dec 13, 19
- OFFER EXTENDED 3,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles on your first hotel booking at select hotels made via Rocketmiles. More...   Book by Dec 31, 19

Other Bonus Offers

Etihad Guest
- Double Guest Miles for stays of 3 or more nights at the Centro Barsha Dubai. More... Until Nov 30, 19

Hainan Fortune Wings
- 20% Fortune Wings Points Discount when you redeem for economy class award tickets on Hainan Airlines or Grand China Airlines international routes to or from Shenzen. More... Until Dec 20, 19

Iberia Plus
- 50% Avios Discount when you redeem for select Iberia Regional Air Nostrum award flights in Spain. More... Book by Oct 31 for travel until Nov 30, 19

Le Club AccorHotels
- 800 Bonus Le Club AccorHotels Points for stays at Adagio Hotels in Brazil. More... Book by Oct 31 for stays until Nov 30, 19

Marriott Bonvoy
- 1,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points PER NIGHT for stays at the Moxy Patra Marina Greece. More... Oct 20 - Dec 21, 19

World of Hyatt
- Double World of Hyatt points for stays at any of 12 participating MGM Resorts destinations in Las Vegas. More... Until Dec 28, 19

Follow Rewards Canada:
Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram RSS Newsletter

Awesome new enhancements coming to the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card

American Express revealed fresh new enhancements to the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card today that will see the card earn more AIR MILES than before and offer a generous annual redemption benefit! These enhancements will kick in on November 4, 2019 for both existing and new cardholders. Here are the changes that we see happening to the card:
  • 1 Mile for every $5 in Card purchases, up to $30,000 annually, on eligible food and drinks (including stand-alone grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops) and eligible gas and transit (including local commuter transportation, ridesharing services and taxis) in Canada
  • 1 Mile for every $10 in Card purchases everywhere else
  • Annual Travel Redemption Benefit – Once per calendar year, when an eligible Cardmember uses Dream Miles with the AIR MILES Reward Program to book their first single flight or package vacation through or, they can get Bonus Miles equivalent to 25% of the net number of Miles used (up to a maximum of 750 Bonus Miles)
  • Annual fee increased to $120

These changes now make this card the number one credit card in Canada for earning AIR MILES Reward Miles. Before these changes the card earned 1 Rewards Miles for every $10 spent at AIR MILES Partners and at other eligible grocery stores, gas stations, and drugstores in Canada and then 1 mile for every $15 everywhere else. As you can see you'll be earning double the miles on a lot of those purchases now with the 1 Mile for every $5 on food and drinks, gas and transit (same categories as the American Express Cobalt Card so you can utilize our Confirmed Cobalt Multipliers page to see where you'll earn the 1 Mile for every $5 on food, drinks, transit and gas) and then all other purchases will earn 1 Mile for every $10 - not just purchases from AIR MILES partners, grocery stores etc. The 1 Mile for every $5 is capped for $30,000 in spending annually just as we see on the American Express Cobalt Card. This means you can earn 6,000 AIR MILES each year for that $30,000 in spending. Overall these are very welcome enhancements to this card and make it very attractive - even if you are someone who doesn't use AIR MILES or have it as a secondary or tertiary program as that earn rate is pretty significant. We value AIR MILES Reward Miles between 11 and 15 cents each when you redeem for travel although you can get even more than that out of each Reward Mile. This means the 1 Mile for $5 sees you getting a return of 2.2% to 3% for travel or if you look at Cash Rewards where you redeem 95 miles for $10 your return would have an effective return of 2.1% - that's higher than a lot of the cash back cards in the market.

The other enhancement to the card comes on the redemption side. When you book a flight or vacation package with AIR MILES you will receive 25% of the miles redeemed back to you as a bonus (up to 750 miles). This means when you will get some miles back to your account when you redeem up to 3,000 miles. Ideally this is what you would want to do and push your first redemption of each year as close to that 3,000 miles mark if at all possible to maximize your return. Still, 25% back on redemptions below that amount is a great feature as you may be someone who never gets to the 3,000 mile level but can easily get to 1,200 or 1,500 miles and redeem for a short haul flight and save 25% on it. I'm happy to see American Express add this feature as it is something we don't see very often, the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Card does have it's 15% off on redemptions in North America with no cap but other than that there aren't many cards offering a miles or points discount when redeeming for flights.

As is usually the case with enhancements to cards, all the positive changes tend to be offset by some negative changes and the card has only one, the annual fee is being increased to $120 from the previous $65. I feel this may be a touch on the high side since the card doesn't have a large benefits and insurance package. Personally I would have probably have priced it at $89 or $99 as that would be a bit more attractive to the market (and current cardmembers) and basing it on what other $120 a year cards from competing issuers and programs offer such as lounge access, higher accelerated earn categories and better insurance options.

Update for the annual fee! I asked about the fee for existing or new cardholders who get the card prior to November 4th and whether they would need to pay the difference/pro-rate their annual fee from $65 to $120. Well the good news is that if you have the card or get it before November 4th you won't pay the $120 until your next card anniversary! So this means if you don't have the card and want to get it for the changes you should do so now so that you only pay $65 in the first year instead of $120!
The $120 fee applies on their next anniversary date after November 4, 2019, which is when the changes take effect. If someone’s anniversary is prior to that date, they would pay the $65 fee as usual, and their new fee would take effect at their next anniversary.
Overall though I would say these are very welcome changes to a card that hasn't seen an update in several years and it is a step in the right direction to make it more relevant to today's market. By that I mean, AIR MILES hasn't been adding a slew of new partners so by changing the best earn rates to not having the AIR MILES partner stipulation it does make the card much better than it was.

You can learn more about the upcoming changes here.

What do you think of the upcoming changes to American Express AIR MILES Platinum CardLet us know in the comments below!

The card details listed below is the current card offering and there is no harm in getting it now as these new changes will take place on November 4th, 2019 for both new and existing cardmembers.