Archive | September 2014

Shop.ca referral money!!!

Ok the deal I mentioned in my last post is even better than I thought.

I talked about how, in a previous post, you could buy giftcards or anything for that matter at Shop.ca and if you registered your Amex card you would get a $50 credit on your bill when your spent $200 or more.

Well, my wife registered for the promo, got $200 in Shop.ca giftcards for $150 to spend on whatever she wants at Shop.ca and got the 16X Aeroplan bonus(used Amex AeroGold card) for a total of 3200 Aeroplan worth about $64 in travel if valued at 2 cents each.

That’s all great, but then they sent me an email because I referred her giving me a $25 referral credit to use at Shop.ca!

She is also using her money on Gap/Old Navy giftcards, so this is quite a deal when you add everything up.

Total spent between us $150 + $150 = $300.00

Total value of Gap/Old Navy giftcards $200 + $200 = $400.00

Total Aeroplan points earned (me) 2400 + 3200 (her) = 5600 worth about $100.00

Total referral credit earned = $25.00

So, in the end for $300 total spent we get $400 + $25 = $425 in giftcards and about $100 in travel (when used properly)

It’s not too late to do this, but it looks like it ends tomorrow so if you want to get these bonuses you need to get cracking!

Great deal about to expire!

As reported in a previous post from August, there is currently an offer from Shop.ca and Amex that allows you to receive a $50 rebate off your bill when you spend $200 or more at Shop.ca.

Here is the link to register.

They are still offering 15x Aeroplan points on your first purchase as well!

Somehow I managed to miss the 15x bonus for the 2 days in the last 3 months it wasn’t offered! Unbelievable! And I promote these guys! LOL. I still got 10x points on my first purchase which is great.

If you read the previous post, this is a definite WIN for the consumer.

Look at how easy it is to get a free flight or two.

Anyway, the promo ends Sept 30, so if you haven’t tried it yet, go for it.

Quick example – spend $200 on Gap/Old Navy/Banana Rep Giftcards on your REGISTERED Amex.

Get a $50 credit on your statement.

Nice, that only cost $150.

And…you get 200 x 15 = 3000 Aeroplan points worth anywhere between $30 – $60 in travel.

Pretty good deal about to expire.

Marriott Rewards Visa is a great deal!!! (only if you like $1000 in free hotels stays)

For the readers that have been shy about getting Amex cards – here is a Visa card to get with a huge sign-up bonus for spending on it once! Try this card if you are worried about Amex – this will convince you credit card perks are pretty sweet.

Thanks to Pointshogger for pointing this out.

For those of you that love credit card sign-up bonuses and don’t like Amex – here is a great card and great deal.

When you get the Marriott Rewards Visa you get 50,000 points after your first purchase AND 1 free night stay at a Cat 1-4 hotel which can be worth over $150 in itself!

What do 50,000 Marriott points get you?

Well, I did a sample of different classes of hotels in the Toronto area and found an average point value of .008 cents per points or a rough value of $400. Plus the free night bonus!

So…this bonus is worth about $550 in hotel stays, plus or minus $100 or so…or is it…read on!

The first year annual fee of $120 is waived the first year too.

Another great thing about this is after you stay 4 consecutive nights, your fifth is free – the following example is amazing.

As I am checking these numbers, I find that 6 nights in the Courtyard Toronto/Mississauga (10,000 points/night)  would use up your 50,000 points with one free night in there – or cost you $908.00!!!

Or, if you want a FREE WEEK IN FLORIDA, I find that 6 nights in the TownePlace Suites St. Pete’s/Clearwater (10,000 points/night) would use up your 50,000 points with one free night in there – or cost you $867 US!!!

So, the best value for getting multiple hotel nights is in the lower Cat hotels, but you can always stay at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto for one night and use up all your points on luxury – it’s worth $545!

Any way you slice it, if you can use your points for an extended stay of 4-6 nights and use your free night stay bonus, you are at OVER $1000 IN HOTEL STAYS FOR FREE.

People are always asking me what a good credit card bonus is – “but not American Express” – well here you go – that is simply an awesome bonus.

Spend one time on it, get over $1000 in hotel stays if used wisely. Wow.

KOA Port Huron, MI – great times!

If any of you live near Sarnia, Ont. this is a place where you might want to check out for a family trip or just a bunch of friends hanging out (like our neighbours this past weekend).

Ever since I visited this place in the summer of 2010, I have been hooked.

They have so many things for kids to do!

The 2 pools, bumper boats and water balloon wars are seasonal so they end at Labour Day.

But there are still go-karts, mini put-put, batting cages, bank-shot and other fun things to do right next door at Sawmill City. You just walk through the gate.

The KOA itself is about a 10 minute drive once you get over the Bluewater Bridge and located near gas stations, grocery stores and fast food outlets if you need that stuff.

Your accomodations can range from bringing your own trailer, to renting a basic cabin to renting a “fancy cabin” as I call them – the second pic looks just like the one we just rented.

Now, for $55 you can get a basic cabin. This includes a Queen bed and a bunkbed with air conditioning. I have rented these before and they are OK. For an extra $15 you can get 2 rooms with the big bed up front and 2 sets of bunkbeds in back – with air.

These are OK and some you can get with a fridge/microwave combo for a few bucks more.

Twice this summer we splurged and got the “Deluxe Cabin” which range in price from $150 – $180 a night depending on what you get. This time we got the $150/night one which had a full bathroom, kitchen, kitchen table, TV, futon to sleep on and 2 bedrooms which had a bunkbed in one and a Queen bed in the other.

For those contemplating going with small kids, the bathroom itself made paying the extra worth it.

Well…maybe…it’s almost $100 more a night than the basic ones.

Here is an idea. If you are going with a group of friends and you usually get 2-4 basic cabins in a row or in the same area, consider getting 2 “Deluxe Cabins”.

For 4 basic cabins you can sleep 4 families at a cost of $55 x 4  = $220

For 2 Deluxe Cabins you can still sleep 4 families (might need a mattress) at a cost of $150 x 2 = $300.

So…is it worth paying an extra $20 a night to have your own washroom, shower, TV, kitchen, eating area, porch, Weber BBQ, etc ? I’ve been there enough – yes it is.

I paid for it on points again. Check our Amex page how.

If you got the Amex Gold Rewards Card, and refered your partner to it you would have a total of 60,000 points or $600 in travel, or 4 NIGHTS IN A DELUXE CABIN! FOR FREE.

That’s why I love their sign-up bonus.

koa ph2

koa ph

Rocketmiles Aeroplan Bonus is pretty sweet.

I admit I haven’t used Rocketmiles yet to book a hotel, but I will now!

There is currently an offer where you get an extra 3000 miles on your first booking with them on top of the minimum 1000 miles you get for sure.

That can be different airline miles but I use Aeroplan and Avios.

That is 4000 miles! That is great!

Why? With British Airways Avios that is just 500 miles short of a short haul one way flight – remember you can fly on American Airlines and US Airlines.

So this got me thinking of a previous post I did back in the Spring on how you can get some quick points without getting a new credit card. Full credit goes to Patrick at Rewards Canada for this chart and others like it. He is the “go to” guy when it comes to this stuff in Canada.

Book a hotel with Rocket Miles – 4000 miles(min)

Rent a car with Hertz – 1000 miles a day (max. 5000 miles)

If you don’t find the hotel you want with Rocketmiles you can still get Aeroplan miles for stays with Best Western, Fairmont, Choice Hotels, Accor, Hilton, etc. Many offer 1000 miles a stay!

Shop.ca has many bonuses going on with a 15x bonus miles on your first purchase that comes up regularly.

Getting gas at Esso – they have a promo right now that you can get up to 1000 miles on your next 6 fill-ups there!

Sign up for Direct Energy email alerts – 500 miles.

Again, see his chart, but Aeroplan has many partners out there – shopping online is big as well!

So if you are planning a getaway soon be sure to grab those extra miles that are there for the taking!

goldcard ad

Surveys = Aeroplan points

There are many survey sites out there that get you points for doing consumer surveys.

E-Miles, E-Rewards, the list goes on.

I like Asking Canadians. Just search them to find. I collect Aeroplan points by doing their surveys.

I’ll give a simple example of points earned for a survey that got emailed to me this morning.

It’s usually consumer surveys and once you do one, your information is set up with them so your points get posted automatically after the first one.
Today it was 75 Aeroplan points for 20 minutes of my time. The times are usually pretty accurate so I’ll go with that.

That translates into 9000 points for 40 hours of surveys. I’m not suggesting you make this your job, but if you enjoy surveys and want to get a free flight – here is a way.

You could probably realistically earn 300 points a week doing this – you don’t get a survey a day or anything, but sometimes you can get more than 1 a day.

So, after a year you would probably have over 15,000 Aeroplan or enough for one of their short-haul flights!

This is also a good way to keep your Aeroplan account active.

If you value Aeroplan points at 2 cents each this little part-time job would pay you $4.50/hr – in travel – not good by any means, but something to do with your spare time!

Again, I like the sign up bonus that Amex offers with the AeroPlan PlusGold card – 26,000 points for a $120 annual fee.

In that way you are buying Aeroplan points for about half a cent each when they are worth 2 cents each – nice!

1 flight anywhere in Canada or Continental USA for $120 is also another way to look at it.

See our Amex page for more!

aero 26000

Paying your bills with Credit cards

Well, with all this talk about #ApplePay I thought I would mention a simple, but effective strategy for collecting points using the good ‘ol fashioned credit card.

I’m always reading American blogs where they are getting points for pretty much doing anything – even paying your biggest bills like rent and certain monthly payments.

We don’t have it quite so good here but there are ways to maximize your points by paying attention to your bills.

My friend just got into this whole “point” thing and seems to be loving it like I thought she might.

I did a post a couple months back about how you can get enough points for a free flight just by gassing up at certain gas stations – about 9000 points a year for a couple. Click here for that post.

But my friend has been looking into paying all her regular monthly and bi-monthly bills with a credit card.

I think this is a great idea – for her – and other people that can manage their credit well enough that this won’t cause extra confusion and cause you to pay interest on your charges.

That is the key – organization. She told me most of her bills can be paid by credit cards and feels confident this won’t cause confusion.

I already pay my cell phone and insurance by credit cards, but you obviously can pay many more than that.

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Why have auto-withdrawal from your bank account when you could be gaining major points each month towards travel?

The question is – how many points is this really?

Well, lets say you paid your bills with the Amex Starwood Preferred Guest Card – my personal fav.

This way it is simple to calculate – 1Starpoint for every dollar you spend.

“Ah yes”, you say “but certain cards give you 2 points per dollar spent!”

This is true. But lets do one example. The IHG Rewards Club Mastercard gives you 2 points per dollar spent. Is this good though?

Depends on how you value your points.

The IHG points are straightforward. Each point is worth .7 of a cent. You can google that or just buy them straight up for that  – 10,000 points would cost you $70.00.

So, are Starpoints worth twice as much as IHG points? Well we also did a post on Starpoints a few months back.

Yes they are. For our purposes, staying in hotels around here or in destinations we are likely to go, they are worth 5 cents each! Even conservative bloggers give them a value of 2 cents each, but most give them a value of 2.5 cents each.

Ok. So what will my average spending on monthly bills get me with this card?

Well, we need to find out how much, on average you could pay per month.

Rather than go through a bunch of scenarios, let’s say you can pay as a family, $750 a month.

Insurance, phone bills, internet, TV and some of the bigger bills like hydro and gas. That all depends on who the provider is and if they take a certain credit card.

But $750 is not unrealistic for sure, probably more if you can get your bigger bills in there.

So, lets do the math. $750/month times 12 months a year = $9000 a year spent.

If you are currently paying those bills by auto-withdrawal or online banking without getting points…ouch.

I’ll just give you 2 different travel bonuses you can get from that.

Amex SPG Card – 3 nights in a Category 2 hotel. (worth about anywhere from $200 – $450 in hotel stays)

Amex Gold Rewards Card – convert those 9000 points to Avios – 1 free short haul flight on US Air or American Airlines. (Detroit to places like NYC, Washington, Philadelphia, Charlotte)

Don’t forget the sign up bonuses you get just getting those cards!

SPG Card – 10,000 points with a $120 fee

Gold Rewards – 30,000 points with no fee first year.

So, between paying your regular monthly bills and getting gas at certain stations you can rack up serious travel perks!

Again, to pay your regular bills by credit card make sure you are organized enough to do this!

Check our Amex page for the specifics.

 

Amex Aeroplan Card now has annual fee…

Well it was fun while it lasted – 30,000 free Aeroplan points and no sign-up fee first year.

Amex has changed the sign-up bonus to 26,000 Aeroplan points (when you spend $500 in 3 months) and now has an annual fee of $120.

While this is still a great deal when you do the math, the Amex Gold Rewards Card is still a sweet deal if you can get it.

Simply spend the $500 on it in 3 months and you get 25,000 Amex MR points – good for a free flight anywhere in Continental US or Canada. While this is good, I prefer to convert my points to Avios 1:1 and that will almost get you 3 short haul flights for free (you need 27,000 points – just spend $2000 on it to get to 27,000)

This is truly a great sign-up bonus and if you haven’t done it yet, pick up that card! A great deal and better than $40 in free groceries or free light bulbs at CDN Tire!

Detroit to NYC and Washington cheap in September!

Just checking Google flights for some weekend getaways in September and found flights to NYC for around $225-250 for some long weekends starting mid-month – that’s pretty good(Spirit).

Washington, DC as reported in a previous post is very cheap and you can find a few flights around $100 depending on when you go (Frontier).

These all are round-trip prices!

Anyone out there find any good flight deals?

Amex releases great Cash back credit cards!

As reported by Patrick at Rewards Canada, Amex has released 2 new credit cards offering cash back rather than travel rewards.

As usual these are great options for those of you that would rather get cash back on your purchases, rather than travel points.

 

1. The SimplyCash Preferred Card – welcome rate of 5% cash back on all purchases in the first 6 months (up to $400 cash back), 1.5% cash back on purchases up to $100k when welcome rate ends (1.25% over 100k), $79 annual fee and their usual great insurance coverage.

2. The SimplyCash Card – welcome rate of 5% cash back on all eligible purchases in Canada at gas, grocery and restaurants in the first 6 months (up to $250 cash back), 1.25% cash back on all other purchases when welcome rate ends, no annual fee, and the great insurance coverage.

You can find their link for cards here.

The first card seems to make more sense with the possibility of getting $400 cash back after spending $8000 on it in 6 months less the fee of only $79 which leaves you up $321!

The second card would leave you up $250 which is also pretty nice.

So, if cash back is your thing consider one of these cards!