Have you ever said no to money? Not taking that cash back value is leaving money on the table. As a Canadian traveler make those points work for you.
In exchange for your loyalty and information, airlines and hotels will give you a cash-back value in the form of miles or points. They unable travelers to redeem reward flights or free hotel stays. So why not take them? Why are you leaving money on the table? I know it may sound complicated in some respect, but think of it as a game with rules. Once you figure them out you can start to play, avoid the traps and attain your objective in terms of free travel redemptions.
So here are 3 reasons you should accrue miles and points.
Reason 1: It's free
It doesn't cost you anything to sign-up for airline and hotel loyalty programs. Your information is as secure as with your credit card or any other service (cell phone, hydro). So sign-up with the airline and hotel brands that give you the most value in terms of network and price. Stick to them and make sure you take advantage of the accrual bonus offers. Here is a list of loyalty programs that may have a lot of value to Canadian travelers.
It's Canada's biggest frequent flyer reward program. Canadians know it as Air Canada's loyalty program. Although Air Canada will end its relationship with Aeroplan in 2020, you still have time to accrue miles and use them on some great reward flights. Like any program, it has its strengths and weaknesses. I shared some of the great ways to burn Aeroplan miles in the following posts: Istanbul reward flights with Aeroplan for $73.45, 5 great Aeroplan reward flight ideas | Part 1, 5 great Aeroplan reward flight ideas – Part 2, Montreal-Bangkok reward flight for $65 with Aeroplan.
British Airways Executive Club
The British rewards program is bigger in Canada then we think. British Airways flies daily to Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Also travelers in other Canadian cities (ie, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Regina) can fly British Airways thanks to its codeshare agreements with Air Canada and Westjet. The airline is part of the oneworld alliance. It offers some great reward flight opportunities particularly on the Europe, Middle-East and Asia flights network. Qatar Airways is a British Airways partner, you can book a Doha-Zurich Business Class reward flight for example.
The Hilton Honors reward program is one of the most generous hotel program in the business. With 14 brands across 5 segments, you can book a hotel across more than 100 countries and get rewarded for your loyalty. Honors runs bonus promotions all-year long and gives its members a chance to get closer to free stays and great elite status perks and VIP treatment.
Marriott Rewards loyalty program matches the size of its main competitor Hilton. With as many properties across 5 segments, travelers can accrue points and redeem them on free stays across the world. Although I feel it's less of a generous program, the best value for reward stays will be in Asia, particularly Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
Starwood Preferred Guest
Although owned by Marriott, the SPG program is a distinct program from Marriott Rewards. Members can connect both their SPG and Marriott accounts thus taking advantage of either status or transfer points to the account of their choice. Travelers can accrue and redeem points across all properties. In Canada, there are ways to grow your account balance thank banking.
All of these loyalty programs offer promotions regularly, competition is fierce. This is good news for you the Canadian traveller. You know we pay a lot of taxes. So why not take the perks and VIP treatment can come in faster then you may think.
My last Hilton stay got me 9,178 HHonors points. Out that 8,033 are Bonus points! That's the beauty of the HHonors program: you can accumulate all of the Bonus offers and get 7 times the regular points accrual. Keep in mind that free stay redemptions start at 5,000 points at some Hilton properties around the world. So far this year, Hilton's HHonors program has been the most generous in the hotel loyalty business. That's getting me and my family closer to a free luxury stay at a Conrad or a Waldorf property. Have you taken advantage of this program offers? Please share with me and comment.
Reason 2: Travel doesn't come cheap
I don't know about you but travel is still expensive. Even though airfares are at their lowest historically, you still need to fork out at least $2,000 to cross the pond and stay somewhere. This is only the bare minimum: you have not eaten yet or paid for activities and entertainment. I have won't mention the super weak loonie which is a major hurt on most Western destinations for us.
If you don't have enough points and miles, you can choose to got for either free flights or free hotel stays. Free hotel stays are easier to attain as they rarely apply taxes or fees. There are exceptions in cities like Rome, Dubai or Kuala Lumpur who apply a National Tourism tax or fee.
So take the miles and points, they will come handy one day and save you in some cases $2,500 depending on what your travel taste . I cannot afford a $400/night hotel but I managed to stay at the Naka Phuket pictured below.
Naka, Thailand Throwback Week 🇹🇭 It's hard not to have fund memories of our stay at The Naka Island, A Luxury Collection Resort and Spa. It's an exclusive boutique resort off Phuket, a mere 10-minute speedboat ride to the island. We spent our time in the villa which has a private pool. Our privacy was respected and we felt isolated from the world in a true luxury setting. That feeling was one of the best ever at a hotel. We spent our 2 last nights in Thailand there. This was a reward stay (free) that was worth all of the miles I used for it. If you want to know how we did it, please DM me or reach out on my Facebook page. I recommend this resort anytime if you're travelling with your partner or family.
Reason 3: Credit cards will boost your points balance
Did you know that airlines make more money selling miles to banks then selling seats? In Canada today you can find some excellent credit card bonus offers that will boost your miles or points balance. From there you can double-dip and accrue more via your monthly habitual spending (gas, bills, grocery). But be careful don't grow your organic spending for the sake of getting more points. Always pay your entire monthly balance. However if you're a fan of compound interest then your reward airfare to Miami will cost you $3,000 instead of $55.
So now you know what to do. As a Canadian traveler you can act on it, lower significantly your travel expenses while chasing those perks and VIP treatment. Don't hesitate to follow me and read my blog every week. I share with you accrual tips, some of my own travel experience and the deals out there.
If you have questions, reach out of Amin On Miles Facebook page.