Friday, January 22, 2021

January 22 Update: Receive a $25 Amazon gift card when you redeem HSBC Rewards points, you can have up to 4 personal Amex credit cards & the U.S. looking to implement a quarantine requirement

Here's your Rewards Canada Daily update! Your daily dose (or near daily dose) of loyalty program, credit card and travel news, bonuses, deals and more. This update is brought to you by the HSBC +Rewards Mastercard which is currently offering a welcome bonus of up to 30,000 bonus points, no annual fee in the first year and a low 11.9% interest rate! 

UPDATE! Thanks to DC for forwarding the full T&Cs of this offer and - you have to redeem 150,000 points in one fell swoop to get the gift card....

There is a new (well, new as of January 15) HSBC offer available to their cardholders. You may recall from last month we brought you details on how HSBC now has exclusive offers akin to Amex Offers and RBC Offers. The offers for Door Dash and Spotify are still available but now they have also added one for an Amazon gift card. When you redeem a minimum amount of points for an eligible reward by January 31 HSBC will send you a $25 Gift Card. They don't state what the minimum amount is however. I would guess that if you redeem 25,000 points for $75 statement credit (their cash back option) you would earn the $25 gift card. The terms state this is only available for the first 600 people so you may want to get in on it sooner than later if it appeals to you. Learn more here

Summary of global hotel systemwide bonus points promotions – January Edition


Here is your monthly update of all the global hotel bonus points promotions that are available. One of the easiest ways to rack up lots of hotel points is to take advantage of these systemwide bonuses that come from many of the big chain programs and also from the lesser known programs. In fact, right now it should be rare for you NOT to earn a bonus. Unless you are staying at a boutique hotel or perhaps an independent hotel most other hotels out there have a bonus. So take advantage of it! These systemwide bonuses simply require you to register beforehand and they do not affect hotel pricing as long as you book a point eligible rate which are most rates out there. Of course booking through a third party site like Expedia or Rocketmiles does not count as most chains only award points on bookings that are made directly with them.  Here are all the current promotions that are available to everyone this month:

Thursday, January 21, 2021

The postponed Scotiabank Rewards devaluation for some non-travel redemptions will now take place on April 1


In January of 2020 Scotiabank revealed they were going to change the points requirements for some of their non-travel redemption options. You can read our original post about the changes here. However it didn't take long for Scotia to reverse course because of the Coronavirus pandemic causing a shift in how Canadians were using their points. Only about a week after most of the country went into lockdown they announced that they were postponing the redemption option changes due to the uncertain times ahead. As travel was curtailed and financial woes hit I'm sure cardholders were happy to redeem Points for Credit without the planned devaluation. Fast forward to now and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it appears Scotia will now go ahead with their changes as of April 1st

January 21 Update: Double Accor ALL Rewards points for stays in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Panama, Rewards Canada Podcast now on YouTube & Budget extends Fastbreak status?!?

 Here's your Rewards Canada Daily update! Your daily dose (or near daily dose) of loyalty program, credit card and travel news, bonuses, deals and more. This update is brought to you by the HSBC +Rewards Mastercard which is currently offering a welcome bonus of up to 30,000 bonus points, no annual fee in the first year and a low 11.9% interest rate! 

On January 11th we provided details on the next iteration of Fairmont's Stay Close offer where you can get your second night free on stays at select Fairmont Hotels and in that post we also gave details on how you could earn Triple ALL Rewards points on those stays if you booked by Janaury 15. Now we can tell if you missed the triple points you can stil get a bonus as ALL Accor Live Limitless launched a new bonus today offering Double ALL Rewards Points on all stays that are booked by March 31 for completion by June 30. Sure Double Points doesn't match the Triple we had before but it's better than no bonus at all! What you need to do is simply register for the offer here first and then book your Fairmont Stay Close stay here. If you already have a stay booked simply register and you'll be all set.

The Platinum Card from American Express will lose its Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade Elite Status benefit on March 31

Earlier in the month the U.K. based points and miles blog Head for Points announced the U.K. version of the Platinum Card from American Express was losing its Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle Jade elite status benefit. Rewards Canada immediately reached out to American Express Canada who confirmed this is the case for Canadian cardholders as well. At Amex Canada's request we didn't release the details until now as Platinum Cardmembers will be receiving details on their next statement about the departure of this benefit. Based on the U.K. and Canada losing this benefit I am under the impression this is a change seen by American Express globally.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

New 40,000 point welcome bonus and no fee in the first year for the HSBC World Elite Mastercard

Earlier this week HSBC's revealed a new offer for their HSBC World Elite Mastercard that is better than the standard welcome offer we've seen since late December but by no means does it come close to the 100K offer they ran for the last four months of 2020. The new offer provides up to 40,000 bonus HSBC Rewards Points along with having the first year $149 annual fee waived on the primary card.  The bonus is awarded as follows:

Alaska Airlines is offering up to a 60% bonus when buying Mileage Plan miles


Some of the best frequent flyer miles out there are Alaska Airlines' Mileage Plan miles so when they are offered with a bonus when buying them people take notice. For the longest time the biggest bonus on buying Mileage Plan miles was 50% but in the latter half of 2020 we saw that boosted to 60% and even 70% for select members. Well we're happy to tell you that that  the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan buy miles bonus is back and once again we see it up at the 60% level! 

Receive a 30% bonus when you buy World of Hyatt points

Hyatt has brought back their 30% bonus on buying points.  This version was last seen in October/November of last year and it allows you to buy World of Hyatt points for only 1.85 cents (US) each.  There is potential value in buying these points for select Hyatt stays around the globe as you can easily get more value than that per point on the right redemptions. Ideally since the transaction with who facilitates the sale is conducted in US$ you'll want to use a credit card that has No Foreign Transaction fees to get the best value possible out of the points.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

January 19 Update: New welcome offers for the TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum & Business cards, bonus Aeroplan points for opening TD accounts & an Amex Offer for Mr. Lube

Here's your Rewards Canada Daily update! Your daily dose (or near daily dose) of loyalty program, credit card and travel news, bonuses, deals and more.

Yesterday we let you know about the new welcome offer on the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card but didn't go into the two other TD Aeroplan welcome offer changes. Here are the new welcome bonuses for the two of the other Aeroplan co-brand cards from TD:

American Express brings back a $200 statement credit offer for Sobeys, Metro, Save-On-Foods and Uber Eats purchases (Platinum Card only)


When the Coronavirus pandemic hit last year American Express shifted a good chunk of their resources from acquiring new customers to supporting existing customers. We saw many amazing offers to help out their cardmember base from double points, boosted cash back redemption value and more. One offer that resonated extremely well with many Canadians was a $250 statement credit for grocery shopping. Amex offered their Platinum cardmembers that credit for spending up to $250 at participating grocery retailers in Canada. That's right they gave $250 for spending $250. An amazing offer that we are happy to say has returned once again! This time they are offering up to a $200 credit when you spend up to $200 with  Sobeys, Metro, Save-On-Foods and Uber Eats. (Thanks to Paul on Twitter for letting us know about it!)

Monday, January 18, 2021

It’s back – a 100% bonus when you buy Hilton Honors points

It has been just over two weeks since we last saw Hilton run their 100% bonus for buying points and it’s back again! You can earn a 100% bonus for buying Hilton Honors points right through to March 5, 2021. This time however you can only buy up to 80,000 points as they’ve dropped last year’s doubling of your annual amount of points you can buy. That 80,000 cap does not included the bonus points so if you max out this offer and buy 80,000 points you’ll receive 160,000 into your account. Hilton however has kept the lower purchase threshold of 5,000 points for where the bonus starts rather than the 10,000 we used to see.

Top 5 Cash Back Credit Card Sign Up offers for January - These cards provide the best value out of their welcome bonuses


Here are Rewards Canada's Top 5 Cash Back Credit Card Sign Up offers for the month of January 2021. This is not a 'best' credit card list like our Top Cash Back Credit Card rankings but instead a look at cards that have very good acquisition (welcome/sign up) offers. As always when choosing a card you should always take other factors into account other than the just sign up bonus, but when some of these cards are first year free, they can and do pay off even when you grab them strictly for the sign up rewards.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

TD® Aeroplan® Visa Infinite* Card welcome offer boosted to 20,000 Bonus Aeroplan Points, buddy pass and no annual fee in the first year

TD has revealed a new welcome bonus today for their TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card and it actually took us a little by surprise. We knew the last offer was going to end on January 17 and were guessing that we’d either see a continuation of the 10,000 points, a buddy pass and first year annual fee rebate offer or a move back to a typical higher points bonus with no pass. That’s where TD and Aeroplan surprised us as we got the best of both worlds in the offer! They’ve kept the buddy pass bonus, they’ve kept the first year annual fee waiver but boosted the welcome bonus points to 20,000! Now that’s truly a valuable welcome offer!

Friday, January 15, 2021

January 15 Update: New welcome offers on the RBC Avion Visa Infinite & Rewards+ Visa cards and double points on Best Western stays until the end of January

Here's your Rewards Canada Daily update! Your daily dose (or near daily dose) of loyalty program, credit card and travel news, bonuses, deals and more.

The RBC Rexall partnership we detailed earlier this week also include new welcome offers on two of RBC's credit cards. If you apply via the RBC Rexall partnership page for the RBC Avion Visa Infinite Card you'll receive the standard 15,000 RBC Rewards Points welcome bonus but on top of that you'll get 200,000 Be Well points when you link your accounts within 30 days of approval plus 10% back on all Rexall purchasees in the first 12 months up to a maximum of $100 ($1,000 in spending). The other offer is for the RBC Rewards+ Visa with its up to 3,500 bonus RBC Rewards points plus 50,000 Be Well Points and 10% back on Rexall purchases up to $50 ($500 in spending). Both offers are in place until March 31. .Learn more about these offers here.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

January 14 Update: Negative COVID-19 test result required prior to flying to the U.S., earn double points for Coast Hotel stays & much more

Here's your Rewards Canada Daily update! Your daily dose (or near daily dose) of loyalty program, credit card and travel news, bonuses, deals and more.  


The United States has become the latest country that will require a Negative PCR test prior to boarding a flight that will land in the U.S. The requirement will take effect on January 26. All passengers must provide proof of a negative viral test taken within 3 days of their flight to the U.S.. If you have flights booked to the U.S. after the 26th make sure you are able to get tested properly within the required time period. And remember you have to do the same upon returning to Canada. (Source CDC)

Earn 1,000 bonus Rewards points on your next Best Western stay completed by June 30 (Possibly targeted)

There is a new offer out for Best Western Rewards members that awards 1,000 bonus points on your next stay with the hotel chain. I believe it to be a targeted offer as the URL has ’email-campaign’ in it however the terms and conditions don’t explicitly state that it is for recipients of the email only. It accepted my email address when I submitted the registration however the offer does not show up in the Special Offers section of my BWR account. In the end you should register for it no matter what and just keep your fingers crossed you get those extra points on your next Best Western stay. If not, oh well and hope the next time you are targeted. Be sure to also register for any other Best Western offers that are available! You can find those offers here.

AIR MILES Massive Giveaway - win up to 100,000 miles to shop the AIR MILES Merchandise Rewards Catalogue


AIR MILES launched a new contest today where you can win up to 100,000 Reward Miles to use towards any items in their Merchandise Rewards Catalogue.  For every AIR MILES Reward Miles base mile you earn between today and the contest end date of February 3 you'll earn one entry into the giveaway.  There is one grand prize and 10 regional prizes to be won as follows:

Awesome new bonus on Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Card - Up to 45,000 bonus points for the American Express Cobalt Card

The overall best travel rewards credit card in Canada (and in fact a pretty strong cash back card in its own right) just became that much more valuable if you don't have it in your wallet yet. The card is the American Express Cobalt Card and ever since it launched late in 2017 it has been the number one card in Canada. There are several reasons for this but it primarily comes down to the card earning 5x points on eats and drinks (it was one of the first cards to award that many points on purchases) but also providing good redemption value for those 5x points and even the rest of the points the card earns a 2x and 1x. On top of that the card lets you convert points to Marriott Bonvoy which can then in turn be converted to 40+ airline programs including Aeroplan. Really, the card gives you a little bit of everything.

IHG Rewards Club first promo of 2021: Earn 2,000 bonus points after every 2 nights for stays in Canada and Worldwide


 IHG becomes the next hotel chain to provide details of their first major promotion of 2021. The follow in the footsteps of Hilton, Marriott and Choice who have already released their offers (or details of them) and IHG’s offer is similar to Marriott’s in that their is an elite status component. The offer awards 2,000 bonus points for every 2 nights you complete at IHG hotels Worldwide. The nights do not have to be consecutive or on the same stay. As well all bonus points earned with this promotion will count towards elite status.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

RBC credit card holders can now earn extra Be Well points for shopping at Rexall

CORRECTION: Thanks to long time Rewards Canada reader Harry B. for pointing out that you earn 50 points in total with your RBC card and your Rexall Be Well account. Not the 50 points + 10 points as we first published. Per the email sent out from Rexall you earn 40 points from your RBC card and 10 points from your Be Well card for a total of 50 points per dollar.

Akin to RBC's partnership with Petro-Canada, RBC credit card holders will now be able to link their credit cards with Rexall's Be Well program to earn extra points. Once you link your RBC credit card to your Rexall Be Well accounts you'll earn 50 Be Well points for every $1 spent on that RBC card at Rexall. This is over and above the base earn rate for the Be Well program.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

When earning 5x points isn't the same as earning 5x points - a loyalty lesson

BMO's ad on Twitter

Taking a page right out of TD's playbook we see BMO come out with an advertising campaign for their new BMO eclipse Visa Infinite* Card. The campaign that I saw on Twitter highlights the card's 5x points earn rate and the card's welcome bonus but nothing else. It is ads like these that irk me as they don't tell the whole story. Technically speaking there is absolutely nothing wrong with them nor are they advertising anything falsely. In fact many banks and credit card issuers do it. For me it brings back memories of when I heard that radio ad for Canada's first ever 100,000 point credit card welcome bonus on the ATB Gold My Rewards Travel Card back in 2013. The radio ad made it seem like or should I say implied those 100,000 points were huge and provided amazing value when in fact they were only worth $100. Other cards at that time were only offering 15,000 to 25,000 points but those were worth way more than that $100 but ATB's hope was that people didn't realize that.

January 12 Update: AIR MILES losing Lowe's, Rona & Reno Depot, Alaska Airlines will not adjust oneworld partner charts and Virgin Atlantic status match to British Airways

 Here's your Rewards Canada Daily update! Your daily dose (or near daily dose) of loyalty program, credit card and travel news, bonuses, deals and more.

And so it continues - as first reported by Milesopedia. AIR MILES will be losing a major partner at the end of this month. The Lowe's group of partners (Lowe's, Rona, Reno-Depot) will end their partnership with AIR MILES on January 31. This marks another blow to the AIR MILES program and further adds fuel to the topic of the coalition program model dying a slow death in Canada. After this there aren't many prominent nationwide partners left in the program, you have Amex, BMO, Shell, Safeway/Sobeys, Staples and a few other major players but gone are the days of having so many nationwide partners to choose from.

Radisson is offering a 20% rebate on reward nights & points transfers to airline miles

Radisson is once again offering a rebate on some of their rewards like we saw this past fall but this time the rebate is a little less (it was 25% in fall). However this time the offer expands beyond free night rewards to include airline transfers as well as gift cards. The rebate is 20% for reward nights and transfers to airlines and 15% for gift cards. The offer is good for redemption made until January 20, 2021 with reward nights having to be consumed by April 18, 2021. Registration for the offer is required.

Choice Privileges: Double Points on all Choice Hotels stays in Canada (and beyond)


It is nice to see Choice Hotels changing up their systemwide bonus promotions as they have pretty much cycled through the stay twice get up to 8,000 points offer for the better part of a couple years now. Their newest systemwide promo sees the program offering double points on all stays worldwide (save for a few countries*) from January 18 to February 28. No need to complete to two stays as the points are awarded on all eligible stays including a single night stay. They do cap the maximum number of bonus points you can earn at 30,000 during the promotional period.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Top 5 Credit Card Sign Up offers for January - These cards provide some of the best value out of their welcome bonuses


Here are the Rewards Canada Top 5 Travel Credit Card Sign Up offers for the month of January 2021! This is not a 'best' credit card list like our Top Travel Rewards Credit Card rankings but instead a look at cards that have very good acquisition (welcome/sign up) offers. As always when choosing a card you should always take other factors into account other than the just sign up bonus, but when some of these cards are first year free, they can and do pay off even when you grab them strictly for the sign up rewards. This month we see three first year free cards on the list 

Marriott Bonvoy Elite Members to receive 50% elite night credits, will offer a double points/elite credit promotion & a discount on off peak redemptions

Marriott just announced they will once again be giving a boost to their elite members to make re-qualifying for status easier during these depressed travel times. This February all elite members will receive elite night credits equal to half of what it would normally take to earn the same status they currently have.

Fairmont's Stay Close offer of every 2nd night free returns for 2021 with the possibility to earn triple ALL Accor Live Limitless points on those stays


From May to August and then in the fall of last year we provided an abundant amount of coverage of Fairmont's Stay Close promotion. This is where the hotel chain offered every 2nd night free (or 2nd room) at many of their hotels in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. The offer never went away but simply trickled down to only one hotel just before Christmas and then BAM! Once again it's here in full force at a select number of their hotels in Canada, the U.S., Barbados and Bermuda! 

Friday, January 8, 2021

It's time to pick your Aeroplan Elite Status Select Benefits


A new year means a new cycle to elite status benefits and the most prevalent in Canada happens to be Air Canada Aeroplan's Elite Status. If you hold status with Aeroplan that means you get to pick your select benefits for the year now. The benefits you get to select over and above your standards benefits depends on which level of Aeroplan status you hold. Those are as follows:

Podcast Episode 75 - 2021 Loyalty & travel outlook, predictions & trends with special guest Points, Miles & Bling's Anshul Singh


In this the first episode for 2021 Patrick is joined by special guest Anshul Singh of Points, Miles & Bling. Based in Ottawa Anshul is well known in the world of points and miles in Canada. He's famous for his weekly virtual meet ups with bloggers, experts and others from around the world. Anshul and Patrick discuss what travel may look like in 2021, what else we will see from the new Aeroplan program this year, Alaska Airlines joining oneworld and the effects it will have on the Mileage Plan program, what to expect in our credit card market and the loyalty programs to keep an eye out for this year!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Receive a 40% discount on AeroMexico Club Premier business class award tickets out of Canada for travel until the end of June (Book by Jan 8)


The following would be a speculative booking in my mind but for the next two days AeroMexico is offering its Club Premier members 40% off business class award tickets from the three Canadian cities they serve. Those cities are Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. If you have enough Club Premier points for the redemption and feel like you would want to travel to Mexico City by June this may be an offer to check out. Beware aof ny travel regulations that you need to follow and also beware those regulations may change by the time of your actual flights. 

Canada's new entry requirement now in effect - Negative COVID-19 test result required prior to flying to Canada

 Today, January 7th 2021 marks the day that any travelers flying back to Canada from outside our borders will need to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result prior to boarding their flights. The test must be administered within 72 hours of your planned departure time and if you don't meet the requirements you are to be denied boarding by the airline. This new requirement is in place for all travellers aged 5 years and up and is for both Canadian and foreign nationals. 

Air Canada Aeroplan adds Virgin Australia as their newest airline partner

Air Canada's Aeroplan keeps on adding more travel partners to program - namely airlines which shows they are hyper focused on the program being a true frequent flyer program rather than the coalition program they had been known as for the better part of almost two decades. In 2020 alone the program added four new airline partners Etihad, Azul, Vistara and Air Serbia and as of January 19 you can add Virgin Australia to that list.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

January 6 Update: Spend $150+ online with Shoppers Drug Mart and get 50,000 bonus PC Optimum points & Sonesta buys Red Lion Hotels

Here's your Rewards Canada Daily update! Your daily dose (or near daily dose) of loyalty program, credit card and travel news, bonuses, deals and more.

You can earn 50,000 PC Optimum bonus points (worth $50) when you spend $150 or more on almost anything online with Shoppers Drug Mart. This offer runs until January 7. Find out more here.

Which credit card earns the most Aeroplan Points? Version 2.0

Way back in 2012 we published a feature and infographic that compared how various credit and charge cards in Canada earned Aeroplan miles. The last time it was updated was 2014 and a lot has changed since then! We've seen cards that were on that list disappear, cards go through earn rate changes and most recently seeing the entire Aeroplan program revamped and relaunched in November 2020. It is only fitting that we provide a new and revised version of that feature as well since there have been so many changes in those 7 years. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

January 5 update: The new RWRDS logo, AIR MILES Shop adds new partners & offers 5x miles and an update to Airline & Hotel programs that you can earn miles/points in with Canada

 Here's your Rewards Canada Daily update! Your daily dose (or near daily dose) of loyalty program, credit card and travel news, bonuses, deals and more. 


This is the first update post of 2021 and the main thing you may have noticed since the onset of the New Year is a transformation that is happening at Rewards Canada. It all started with our new logo (With many variations) that has been on the back burner for several years now and has been finally brought to fruition. Watch our social media and other channels in the future for more details on the development of our logo. This will all be followed by a complete revamp of the website in the coming months as it hasn't had a major update since 2012! Just patchwork additions and updates here and there. I know we are excited about the changes and we hope you like them as well! As always, feedback is appreciated on everything happening here so please fell free to pass along comments, suggestions and more.

There is one very popular travel rewards credit card in Canada that is due for a major overhaul

The credit card market in Canada is ever changing - it doesn't seem like a month goes by without a new card being released or an existing card being revamped. And it is the latter that is the subject of this post. We have seen a lot of the major cards in our market go through an overhaul over the past few years, whether it was an enhancement, a devaluation or both. From the Scotiabank Gold American Express Card to CIBC's suite of Aventura cards to the BMO Rewards World Elite Mastercard and the new Aeroplan cards, issuers have been making sure they do their best to be competitive. There are however some cards that have not been touched in ages by their issuers and in our opinion there is one that is in serious need of an overhaul to remain relevant and competitive in our market.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Today only - save an extra 15% when booking WestJet flights within Canada

WestJet released a promo code today that will provide an additional 15% off base fares (Basic and Econo) during their first sale of 2021. This code is valid for any travel within Canada on WestJet for travel between January 14 and April 24. While their first seat sale does run until January 7 the code for the additional discount is only valid for today. That code to use is Y6ZP41O (it is also on the page we link to below)

Learn more about and book this offer here.

Looking to rack up more WestJet dollars in 2021? Why not start by getting the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard which is offering its highest ever welcome bonus of 450 WestJet dollars! Apply by January 31 to get this offer.

Image via WestJet