We have done a new page on Detroit flights to Florida for the CANADIAN March break of 2015, which looks like it starts Friday, March 13, 2015.
We will keep this page live until then, but we are looking for input as in flight prices for that time, award availability and so on.
So if you know of anything that would benefit travelers for next March break, comment!
Here is the link
There are currently many credit card offers out there that offer free hotel rooms when you sign up.
Probably the best is the Capital One IHG MasterCard. We are not affiliated with any of these, we just thought it is good information to have for the upcoming summer season.
I now understand the value of these cards compared to signing up for department store cards or grocery store cards – the sign up bonus alone can be 10 – 20 times the value of the bonus of those cards.
Example – you can have $20 in free groceries or $500 in free hotels. What sounds better?
Here are 5 hotel credit card sign-up bonuses.
I am going to base a night on a hotel room valued at between $80 – $120. There are obviously rooms that go for more money and some that go for less.
Some of these cards have a small minimum spend you need to do – nothing much though
IHG Mastercard (Holiday INN family)- 60,000 points upon sign up – good for 4 nights – $120 annual fee
Choice Rewards Mastercard – 24,000 points upon sign up – good for 3 nights – no fee.
Best Western Mastercard – 20,000 points upon sign up – good for 1.5 nights – no fee.
Marriott Rewards Visa – 50,000 points upon sign up – good for 3 nights – no fee
AMEX Starwood Card is on our AMEX page – it is usually my favourite card when the bonus is 21,000 points – good for 5 nights – for a $120 fee – but the bonus is only 10,000 points right now which is good for 2.5 nights – for the $120 fee.
Bottom line here – if you there are 2 of you and both of you get these cards over the course of time:
20 – 30 nights of different hotels for total fees of about $480. Not too shabby.
The Amex Gold Card below is free, and it just straight up gives you $250 in travel credits. So if you don’t like figuring out points you can just take the $250 credit!
Our theme this week has been using the Aeroplan bonusses out there to cash in on free flights – WITHOUT using a new credit card.
Now, some people are thinking “How am I going to get 25,000 Aeroplan using some hotel and car rental bonus?” Well, you probably won’t.
You can get the Amex Aeroplan Plus Gold card and pick up 30,000 Aeroplan points like many of us do. Had to say it. It’s so easy people.
But wait – you don’t need 25,000 Aeroplan to fly places for free. You actually need about 9,000 points, an Esso Extra account and collect RBC Rewards.
We outlined this strategy in a post last week – give it a read if you want to convert Aeroplan to Avios.
Ahh, but I need an RBC credit card that has a fee. No, you can get a no fee one, or maybe you already have an RBC credit card – you are on your way!
So, back to the point of this.
The first is renting a car – if you are renting a car soon, you can pick up 5750 Aeroplan for renting through Hertz for 3 or more days!
That is worth about $115.00 in travel, or more than half a flight paid for!
Certain hotels have huge bonusses through Aeroplan right now, with Best Western being the biggest – 2000 points per booking!
IHG (Holiday Inns, etc) have 1000 points per booking.
Choice Hotels are 750 per booking.
Fairmont Hotels are 500 per booking.
Check their page for more!
These are very generous and if you are planning on going away and renting a car soon, you should sign up for Aeroplan and cash in on these.
Easy example – you are going to Toronto for a long weekend.
Rent an Economy car from Hertz for 3 days from a location. I picked Pearson Airport.
That cost $116 total when I checked.
It’s worth about $115(5750 Aeroplan) in travel. So, that car costs you a dollar to use for the weekend. Probably worth it if you are driving around Toronto.
Depending on what hotel you book, you can get 4000 Aeroplan by booking through Rocketmiles your first time, or if you book through the hotels I mentioned you can get anywhere from 500 – 2000 points per booking.
Without putting out more examples, you can see how quickly you can get to 9000 Aeroplan points!
If you are short, you can always go test drive a Volvo for 2500 Aeroplan points! Yes, it’s still going on.
Again, 9000 Aeroplan, when converted to about 9000 Avios can get you a free round trip ticket from Detroit to places like Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA and Charlotte, NC to name a few.
All we are saying is if you are staying in a hotel soon or renting a car, you might as well grab the bonus Aeroplan out there – it might end up turning into a free flight when you are done!
Ok, we know we go on about Amex and their credit cards – basically because they are amazing giveaways – sign up – get a free flight or more.
This alone has gotten many of you some free flights and we are happy to have helped out.
But as this weekend went on, I discovered something I already knew, but after doing some research, found what I knew to be quite easily attainable.
First thing was during the month of May and June this year you will be able to swap Aeroplan for Avios about 1:1 using a bonus we found here on an earlier article we wrote.
To some, that is no big deal, but to others that is a huge bonus.
Why? Because you can fly Detroit to a place like Charlotte, NC for 9000 Avios + $2 round trip. The lowest redemption you can get booking an Aeroplan flight is 15,000 Aeroplan and a whole bunch of taxes. You pretty much have to bite the bullet on US flights with Aeroplan and use up 25,000 points.
So…9000 Avios…or 9000 Aeroplan if you convert them to Avios.
That’s not hard to get people.
You see, with getting Avios straight up you need to spend that $9000 on a credit card to get 9000 points – there are very few options for us as Canadians to “rack up” Avios points.
But…Aeroplan is different. Aeroplan is Canadian and there are many ways to “rack up” Aeroplan points.
See our Aeroplan page on a description of the program and how to sign up for free.
If you just google “Aeroplan bonus” you will find many ways to rack up the points here in Canada, but I will go over a few with you now.
Get an Aeroplan account first.
Remember Aeroplan points are worth roughly $.02 or 2 cents each.
Test drive a Volvo Sportwagon V60 – 2500 Aeroplan for a limited time and it works! That’s about $50 in travel!
Get Gas at Esso, for a limited time there are double Aeroplan points, so for every $3 you spend you get 2 Aeroplan points.
Sign up for email updates from Direct Energy – 500 Aeroplan.
If you shop online, go through the Aeroplan Estore – there are periodic bonusses like 10x the points we got on Thursday night.
We spent $100 on clothes at The Gap.ca and got 1000 Aeroplan. Other retailers are…here is a list of many of them.
Now, especially important are hotel miles. If you are paying for hotel stays coming up, GET SOME AEROPLAN WHEN YOU DO!!!
As a true life example, we just got back from a paid Best Western stay (all my Best Western points were used in Florida) and earned 2000 Aeroplan for this!!! My wife is going to another Best Western in 2 weekends and earns another 2000 Aeroplan!
This bonus goes all summer long and is truly incredible if you do the math.
Basically, a $100 a night hotel room gets you 2000 Aeroplan, which is worth roughly $40 in travel.
You are getting a 40% return booking a Best Western through Aeroplan!
It actually gets better for some. There is a website called Rocketmiles that is giving you 3000 Aeroplan for your first booking..plus it looks like an extra 1000 just for the booking! SWEET!
So, if you are looking to book a hotel coming up…go through them! That’s about $80 in travel for you!
There are other hotels linked with Aeroplan, just check their bonus page.
So, if I quickly go through my Aeroplan bonusses for the month, here’s what I get.
Test drive Volvo – 2500
Esso Gas – 150
Direct Energy email sign up – 500
Gap.ca – 1000
2 paid stays at a Best Western – 4000
That is 8150 Aeroplan without even thinking of it.
Oops, forgot. The money spent was on my Amex Aerogold Card so that’s another 150 + 100 + 200 = 450(a point per dollar spent)
I’m now at 8600 Aeroplan – or just 400 away from that free flight.
You can see how these different bonusses add up. Over the course of about a month, we basically earned a free flight to Charlotte, or Philadelphia, or Washington DC.
So, even though we love Amex and it’s cards, you can rack up points by paying attention to Aeroplan on social media, or reading our posts now and then.
Again, you can get 30,000 Aeroplan by just signing up for the Aeroplan Plus Gold Card, and spending $500 on it, and no fee, but this way gets you there too!
Ok, so I’m looking at Myrtle Beach options today on my computer and I check my twitter feed and Spirit is giving $24.00 off flights booked by tomorrow for flights from Sept – Nov 19.
Hmm, that could be good I think. Well, yes it is.
Detroit – Myrtle Beach
Right now you can book most weekend flights in Sept/Oct for $154 or $114 round if you get the $9 fare club option for $60.
So, if you are paying for more than 1 person, it is worth getting the year membership – I have done this before and it does save you some decent cash.
Let’s say there are 2 of you – cost is 60 + 114 + 114 = 288 – 48 = $240 for 2 flights!
Let’s say you are paying for 4 fights – cost is 60 + (114×4) = 516 – 96 = $420 for 4 flights!
If you are by yourself you should probably just pay the $154 – 24 = $130
I know some of my friends might like the sounds of this, so tell people – this is an awesome deal!
Just so you know the Amex below will pay for 2 of those flights and is free the first year! Get your points and cancel later if you want!
Carolyn still has cruises available through Expedia!
Check out her page if you are looking for something last minute or any cruise going anywhere – she has you covered!
If you are even somewhat interested check her page and send her an email.
Maybe May long weekend is calling?
Of course you would. If Groupon or some other discount website offered this you would be all over it.
I hear people all the time saying they can’t afford to fly for March break – too expensive, didn’t budget for it, etc.
You can and you should take this advice if you want to fly for free for a few years.
This example will be – a family of 4 flying to Florida from Detroit on our Canadian March break for the next 3 years.
First, how much would this cost you up front? Since I have been researching this for awhile, I can tell you the average person would probably spend $350-$400 per flight. Now, some people are bargain hunters and spend hours more than the average person looking, but for this example we will use a ballpark figure of $375 per flight.
So, 4 flights a year, for the next 3 years is 12 flights @ $375 per flight = $4500 in flights.
Would you pay, say $3500 for this, or $292 per flight? Would you pay $3000 for this or $250 per flight? Yes, you probably would.
No, I’m not going to tell you that you can get these flights for free…but you can get them very cheaply.
The trick is getting Amex MR points, and referring your partner to the same card – and if your timing is right – getting the periodic bonus AMEX does.
Before I go through the steps, you need to know how many MR points (converted to Avios) you would need for these 12 flights total.
It is important you see our Avios page to sign up with them (British Airways – you will fly American Air or US Air)
This scenario will assume flights are 18,000 Avios each.
Cleveland – Miami – 15,000 Avios
Detroit – Tampa – 18,000 Avios
Detroit – Miami – 20,000 Avios
Let’s go with the middle scenario at 18,000 Avios per flight so we aren’t too little or too many.
12 flights times 18,000 Avios per round trip flight = 216,000 Avios.
Yes, it’s Amex – here are the steps. Side note – you don’t need a huge income for these cards! Most people can get these cards if you have decent credit and a job – says their website.
Step 1 – Get (referred to) the AMEX Platinum Card. You get 60,000 MR points after spending $1000 on card.
Cost is $699. You get a $200 travel credit for each calendar year. Use both travel credits in current year and folowing year for rental cars, hotels, etc. You may then choose to cancel the card before the $699 renewal comes up. or not. Total cost to you ends up 699-200-200 = $299.
Step 2 – Refer your partner to that card – AMEX Platinum Card. You get 15,000 MR points for referring and they get 60,000 MR points and same scenarios hold up for step 1 for spending and using up travel credits.
Step 3 – (maybe 2-3 months later) Get referred by your partner to the AMEX Gold Rewards Card. Since you both have the Platinum Card, your referral will gain your partner 15,000 MR points and you get 25,000 MR points when you sign up and spend $500 on card.
Step 4 – Refer your partner to that card – AMEX Gold Rewards Card. You get 15,000 MR points for referring and they get 25,000 MR points and same scenarios hold up for step 3.
Ok, where do you stand with MR points now?
You – 60,000 + 15,000 + 25,000 + 15,000 = 115,000 points
Partner – 60,000 + 15,000 + 25,000 = 100,000 points
Plus the dollars you spend (minimum) on those 4 cards = 3000 points
You now have a combined total of 218,000 points – Avios between you.
Combine them in a family Avios account so they are all in one place.
How many points did you need again for 12 flights? 216,000!
You made it!
So…you and your partner got 2 new credit cards each, did the minimum spend on them, kept them for a year, and then perhaps decided to go with a new card…or whatever.
Total final cost to you and partner taking the travel credits (2×200 each) into consideration = $598.00
Total flights paid for to Florida (or similar distance) 12
Do you know you just bought 12 flights to Florida for $50.00 each?
Do you know it could actually be better?
Amex periodically does a bonus to Avios with the last one being in March 2013 of 33%, 40% and even 50%. Last March was 50%
If you timed this bonus right, and I am planning to, your 218,000 MR points could be as many as 218,000 x 1.5 = 327,000 Avios, or SIX MORE FREE FLIGHTS!!!
If you did this, your net cost would still be $598.00, but it would be for 18 flights.
$33.22 per flight for 18 flights!!!
People in the know are doing this all the time, you can too.
Well, as an avid Avios collector it has been well documented (google Avios benefits) that the merger of these 2 airlines benefits those of us that collect British Airways Avios. In case you are wondering why BA Avios, check our Avios page, but now there are more award flights available at GREAT DEDEMPTION RATES through AA and US Air.
AA Hubs are Dallas, New York City, LA, Miami and Chicago
US Air hubs are Charlotte, Philly, Washington,DC and Phoenix
As I was used to the AA Hubs, the new US Air hubs we have access to are pretty cool.
Why? Because 3 of them are only 9000 Avios round trip from Detroit!
Only Phoenix is 20,000 Avios round trip.
This is the key with Avios short haul trips. 9000 Avios plus $5 in taxes!!!
Do you know how easy it is to get 9000 Avios?
Well we have well documented how Amex is giving away these points – just see our Amex page.
But seriously, 1 credit card getting you 3 round trip flights after you spend $2000 on it. With no fee. That is an incredibly good deal.
I was checking May long weekend flights to these places and there was plenty of availability.
If you are single or have a partner to travel with and no kids, these are places you could be seeing with regularity.
For us living in the Detriot area these are such good redemptions – you should try it once, you’ll be hooked! (on free travel)
June 21/2017 UPDATE – THIS CAN NO LONGER BE DONE AS OF AUG 1/2017
MAY 9, 2017 UPDATE. Current ratio is 100 Aeroplan gets you 88.5 Avios.
The Bonus is 30% till June 8, 2017
With the current RBC bonus at 50%, the ratio is back to 1:1 Aeroplan to Avios!!!!
I did a video explaining this – crude but for people that don’t like reading this stuff – better? lol.
Some new bad news to tell you right off the hop.
The bonus is now 30% more Avion points converted to Avios – down from 50%!
OK the time I refer to the “bonus period” is here from May 9 – June 8 where you can convert your RBC points (Avion) to Avios at a 30% bonus.
This seems to be our most popular page and we know why.
Well, a couple of scenarios have convinced me to put more points into Avios rather than bother too much with Aeroplan anymore – I will still collect, but for flying, it will be all Avios.
The merger of American Airlines and US Air is a reason enough – now there are more award flights available to book through Avios!
This itself will convince many people to switch from Aeroplan to Avios.
I will keep some Aeroplan for the Detroit – Las Vegas/West Coast option which uses less points(25,000) than Avios(30,000+), but for the most part the flights my family and I take are 15,000 – 20,000 Avios.
The Frugal Travel Guy wrote a good article about this here.
Remember he is American so those credit card links aren’t for us.
Credit Walk also wrote an article on why the Aeroplan short haul flights aren’t such a great deal here.
Another article by them here showing the devaluation.
When doing research for the articles on this site I have always found Aeroplan to have higher taxes on their flights, and that is one of the bigger reasons these articles exist – you don’t seem to get good value out of Aeroplan points. Now there are ways, for sure, but if you just do a google search on Aeroplan you don’t always get the happiest customers!
As a side note, there is a website flyertalk.com that talks about everything you will ever want to know about these issues – it is what I go to when I am wondering about a certain issue in points or credit cards.
The second scenario involved someone just plainly asking me “Can I just trade my Aeroplan for Avios – they are pissing me off”
What exactly was pissing her off? Taxes, of course.
I told her I didn’t think there was – she was probably stuck with them – but to use them where they were a better deal than using up more Avios.
So, then I googled “Aeroplan convert to Avios”
Before I type any more, here is a good flyertalk forum on it.
Well, turns out you can – and if you are patient, you can get about a 1:1 ratio on them – awesome! May 9 2017 update – now that is 100 Aeroplan : 88.5 Avios.
You need to sign up for a few things first, but all worth it if you want more Avios.
Sign up at points.com where they keep track of all your points in one place – quite handy – I have had an account there over a year now and love it.
They are the site in which you can trade points and in this case transfer points out of a program into another – free.
You need to sign up for Esso Extra, and from what I am reading, spend at least $250 at Esso to qualify for transfers out of the program.
That is easy, free and you will probably pick up some bonus just for signing up – if you link your credit card to Speed Pass you will pick up some more points as well.
Lastly, you need to get an RBC Rewards card THAT COLLECTS AVION POINTS – I suggest you get the Infinite Avion card with a 15,000 RBC points bonus, but a $120 fee.
That is actually awesome as you could use those points for a short haul flight worth up to $350, but keep them to convert to Avios with the bonus.
So you transfer your Aeroplan points to Esso extra at a rate of 1:1.1385 or 100,000 Aeroplan gets you 113850 Esso points(as of yesterday when I tried it)
Then, after you have spent you $250 at Esso, you can transfer out to RBC Rewards at a 5:3 ratio – or 113500 Esso = 68100 RBC (350 Esso left over)
Then…you be patient. Wait for the bonus period which seems to happen twice a year when you can convert 1 RBC Avion point to 1.3 Avios! So your 68100 RBC points turn into 88530 Avios!!!
It works and it may seem lot a lot of work for people and confusing to people new to this, but if you are sick of Aeroplan, this is one option that is awesome.
Let me conclude this with a personal example.
To fly my family of 4 to Florida, it costs 100,000 Aeroplan plus taxes.
Same flights using Avios are (depending on where you depart from) 60,000(Cleveland), or 80,000 (DTW-MIA) – a way better use of those 100,000 points you started with – and of course…less taxes than Aeroplan.
I have many friends that would like to go away for March break to destinations like Florida or Myrtle Beach but tell me they just can’t afford flights. Wrong.
First let me say Airlines release “award space” 330 days in advance of the flights. As I write this , that is March 1, 2015.
You can bet I will be looking for March break departures from the Detroit area in about 10 or so days.
The Friday of our March break is March 13, so I have been told.
How do you do this? Can getting one credit card each (couple) fly a family of 4 to Florida? Yep, we did.
Go ahead and try it, it’s free and it works.
The Amex Gold Rewards card will give you 25,000 points upon spending $500 on it. That could take you all of one day- if you want to get those points fast and start looking for flights.
You then refer your partner, they get 25,000 points for spending $500 on it and you get another 10,000 points for referring them.
Total points is now 60,000 – you both need to get a British Airways account first and then pool your points in a family account. Why British Airways, see our Avios page but it’s because you can fly both American Airlines and US Air with those points.
Did you know that 60,000 points can fly 4 people from Cleveland to Miami round trip? Cleveland is 3.5 hours from our base in Sarnia, Ontario, which isn’t a bad drive when you fly for free! It can fly 3 people from Detroit to Miami, or Tampa which again is awesome because it’s free!!!
Many of my co-workers have now figured this out and are asking me daily how to get more points.
Again, you need to check our Avios page about starting an account, but once you do, you will love collecting points and flying free!
Check our Amex page on the card options, but in this case it is only 1 card each! You really can’t lose, just pay your bills on time!