Archive | October 2014

Want a bunch of Avios? I do!

Patrick at Rewards Canada has just informed me via Twitter that the 50% bonus on RBC points to BA Avios is back for November and December.

This is where, if you have Aeroplan and want to get rid of them for Avios read this post.

How can you get a bunch of Avios?

Amex Gold Rewards Card – 25,500 MR convert to Avios – easy. (spend 500 in 3 months)

RBC Visa Infinite Avion – 15,000 RBC points – convert to 22,500 Avios next 2 months. ($120 fee)

Amex Aeroplan Gold Card – 26,500 Aeroplan converted about 1:1 to Avios next 2 months (read previous post – $120 fee spend 500 in 3 months)

Again, I have gone over this many times how far you can fly on Avios –  please be careful with credit and don’t pay those guys any interest!

But the bottom line is this…

74,500 Avios for 2 annual fees that equal $240.

What can those Avios get you? Well, check our page but…

72,000 gets 4 round trip flights to Florida from Detroit.

72,000 gets 8 round trip flights to NYC from Detroit.

75,000 (tiny bit more spending) gets 5 round trip flights to Florida from Cleveland.

“But wait” you say, “I need more Avios” (I say that all the time)

With the 2 Amex cards, refer someone (partner) to them -for each referral you pick up an extra 10,000 points which you can convert to Avios.

If you only need another 35,000 or so pick the Gold Rewards Card – no fee and easiest to convert to Avios.

2 DAY SALE- VARADERO 4.5 STAR! $804 TOTAL

I have to say Karen finds some amazing deals for us.

She keeps us updated on the latest sales so follow us on Facebook or Twitter to always be in the know for sales!

In case you haven’t heard, we have a travel agent here at borderfreetravel.com now.

Karen from traveldiscounters.ca is with us keeping us updated on deals daily.

Check out the deal below.

karen2

Seriously? A 4 and a half star for this price? Great deal.

This deal is only good for 2 days, so book soon if these days agree with you. If they don’t give her a call at 519-542-1009 and find something that works for you. Tell her you saw her at borderfreetravel.com.

Big Rick goes on a few all-inclusives a year and he always finds the best deals through Karen.

Give her a try!

goldcard ad

WE HAVE A TRAVEL AGENT!!!

Well, we lost Carolyn our cruise girl last month, but now we have a FULL TIME TRAVEL AGENT helping us out here!

Karen, at Traveldiscounters.ca is joining us here at Borderfreetravel.com.

She left us a couple deals to get started, but you can book anything through her. Big Rick says she’s the best in the Biz and he always goes to her for his bookings, so we are looking good.

I’ll update with more info. soon, but now when people ask me to book an all-inclusive, Disney, Europe or wherever I can tell you we have one of the best to book it in person for people in the Sarnia area or you can phone/email her too!

Stay tuned for deals!

Well she sent me one while I was typing to start!

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About $600 for an all-inclusive right after New Years for a week!!!

Remember she does this as her job so she can find you something!

Big Rick will still find you the 4-5 star vacations that he likes as well.

Give her a call at her office at 519-542-1009 or email karen@traveldiscounters.ca

Tell her you saw her at Borderfreetravel.com!

2 NEW PAGES

With the upcoming travel season closing in, many people have been asking me about free flights and free hotels and how to do all this “complicated stuff”.

I decided to do a page devoted to “Booking Free flights” using Avios points complete with illustrations and step by step instructions.

Then I did an “example” type of page called “A Free Week in Florida” as I have been asked about this many times.

They both kind of go together but for the person new to all of this, perhaps reading this for the first time this will get you exactly what the names of the pages are.

Since these are the questions I get the most, I like to have an answer ready for them and now I have those 2 pages to refer to.

It’s nice to be able to travel free – so give those pages a read and let me know what you think!

Marriott Rewards Visa way better deal than I thought!

Oct 23 extra note – remember this value can be found at many Cat 2 hotels, I just picked this one because it’s in Florida and shows the value.

Ok, in a previous post about a month ago I went on about the Marriott Rewards Visa getting you about $1000 in free hotel stays.

When you sign up, after your first purchase you get 50,000 Marriott points plus a free night stay in some of their lower Cat hotels – which are fine by the way!

So that’s all fine and dandy you say but I’m sure he is wrong about the $1000 part.

Yes, I am wrong. I am researching a new page I’m doing to fly a family of 4 to Florida, stay a week in a hotel and not have to purchase meals in a restaurant. And free breakfast. For free.

Ya, sure it’s on credit cards. But 3 total credit cards. 2 for one person and 1 for the other.

Back to this Visa.

I was looking at Florida hotels and found this nice little Cat 2 (10,000 points/night – pay for 4 nights, get 5th free) in Boca Raton that has the usual pool, workout facility, free breakfast, full kitchen and is 5 minutes from the beach.

Not the perfect “Florida beach getaway” but pretty good.

Anyway, 7 nights would use up your 50,000 points – that part gets you 6 nights – plus your free night certificate – gets you the 7th night!

What would this cost you cash?

marriott 5

I checked and you can get that rate for 3 people – 4 would take a little negotiating but probably be fine with small kids.

So, it could cost you the total points from your credit card bonus plus 0 in taxes. Total cost 0.

Or…it could cost you $1857.03 US funds which equals over $2000 Canadian right now.

Seems I shortchanged this incredible Visa a month ago – rephrase – “only if you like $2000 in free hotel stays”

WOW.WOW.WOW.

We here have nothing to gain by promoting this card – it is just such a great deal.

Annual fee Credit Cards – worth it?

I have had a few co-workers ask me about this lately and I thought I would say a little something about it today.

First of all, Rewards Canada has a chart that has the top Canadian Credit Cards ranked by his readers and this is my “go to” chart when I need to know something quick. Here is the link

So…is it worth it? In my opinion the credit card companies are usually giving you some “bonus” to get their card, so in most cases I say yes!

Let’s take his top 5 and do a quick cost/bonus breakdown.

1. Capital one Aspire. This one has a $120 fee and you get a $350 travel credit.  Net gain $230

2. BMO World Elite. This one has a $150 fee and you get a $300 travel credit. Net gain $150

3. Scotiabank Gold Amex. This one has a $99 fee and you get $300 travel credit. Net gain $201

4. TD First Class Visa. This one has a $120 fee and you get a $100 travel credit. Net loss $20

5. CIBC Adventura Visa. This one has a $120 fee and you get a max $400 short haul flight. Net gain of anywhere between $180-$280.

Now those are “travel points” cards, there are other “hybrid” cards as well as you can see from his list.

There are many, many other factors to consider with these cards such as insurance coverage, points earned per card, etc but I am just talking initial bonus.

His website is very thorough and I have always gone to his site when it comes to credit card information. He has been doing this over a decade and is very knowledgeable.

So, the first one with the “highest” for sure gain of $230 – is that worth it to you?

This card (Capital One Aspire) was my first travel credit card 4 years ago and I thought this was the best deal ever at the time. Well, think about it. They do pretty much “give you” $230 to use their card once.

If I was just learning this “game” I would get this card. It is straightforward, you get your points fairly quickly and then you can use the “purchase eraser” I believe it was called to “erase” a travel purchase up to $350.

Give it some thought – there are many cards out there with an annual fee that does not get waived but gives you a great sign up bonus.

Hotel credit cards also do this and the way I see it, you are just “prepaying” for travel.

We have done a few posts on hotel credit cards that are great deals and may include an annual fee – the IHG Mastercard comes to mind – 60,000 points for a $120 fee. Those points are worth at least $420 so you are up at least $300 right away.

My favourite one is the Amex Starwood Card – but the 21,000 bonus is not on right now – it is currently just 10,000 points. When that comes back I will be getting a post out right away.

That card has a $120 fee but you can easily get about $1000 in hotel stays if you stay in Class 2 hotels in the Starwood Chain (3000 poins/night times 7 nights = 21,000 points for $120!)

I’ll conclude by saying probably one of the best deals out there is the Amex Platinum Card, but you need to read why on our Amex page. The math doesn’t lie and that is a great bonus.

So, is it worth it? Most times…yes.

Booking hotels? -GET THE POINTS!!!

So I get all these promos in my Twitter feed about points for booking hotels and if you realized how little points it takes to fly free on a short haul flight you may consider reading this.

First off, it takes 9000 Avios to fly a round trip short haul flight up to 650 miles from the destination.

Our Avios page talks about this.

Right now, Accor Hotels are offering 5000 Aeroplan points per booking until the end of the year.

Book one night, get 5000 Aeroplan points.

As we have discussed you can swap Aeroplan for Avios at a rate of 1:1 during certain times of the year when the RBC bonus is on. This is the post on that.

It is our most popular page so some of you may be familiar with that post.

Now these hotels aren’t everywhere, but Toronto offers a few for readers that live in our area.

5000 Aeroplan when converted to Avios is more than half the points you need for that flight.

The second thing you can do is use Rockemiles for your hotel booking.

They are currently offering a 3000 point bonus on top of the 1000 points you will get for sure for using their app!

Here is the link to sign-up with them.

We get 1000 miles if you go through us and then you can refer friends.

So, that is an easy 5000 + 4000 = 9000 points to book a couple of hotels.

I like those promos, very generous.

Booking Reward flights – patience and flexibility!

In the last couple of days I have had people ask me about booking Avios flights.

I HAVE JUST ADDED A NEW PAGE – BOOKING FREE FLIGHTS – CHECK IT OUT.

You can go to our Avios page for an in-depth discussion of it but I find just going to BA.com and looking for your flights “Book Flights with Avios” can work faster.

In fact as I look at our Avios page I find myself more and more just going to BA.com to find what I need  – I will update our Avios page shortly based on this. DONE OCT 15, 2014

So the most common “complaint” is something like this. “I can’t find Detroit to Miami from Dec 26 to Jan 2, and if I do find anything it’s like 140,000 Avios for 2”

Well, a couple things first before I address that.

1. You can always just pay for an “award booking service” starting at about $75 a person they will find your flights or something close to that for you. Click this link for info. on that. I’ll leave it at that.

2. You need to be flexible with your booking and have patience.

In my sample “complaint” there are a few things I’d like to comment on.

1. You are looking only 2+ months out for HIGH DEMAND flights, (Christmas break) so there may be some but you should start looking for these flights well in advance.

2. Can you fly on slightly different dates? BA.com gives you that option with just a click of the mouse – you see all award availability on the screen – so be flexible!

3. Can you fly out of a different city? Can you fly back out of a different city?

I was looking for a friend today and found plenty of flights Detroit to Miami for when he was looking but nothing coming back. There were many flight coming back out of Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando.

Yes, if you are renting a car there will probably be a charge of about $100 from what I am seeing to return the car to a different airport. If your flights are free, is this a huge concern?

4. Look under the “Economy” availability for the least amount of Avios used – unless of course you want first class!

dtw-mia

Ahhh, I love seeing this screen – direct flight, economy available.

So, be a little flexible with your plans and be patient when looking!

HUGE sign up Bonus for Amex Business Gold Rewards Card.

As reported by Patrick at Rewards Canada yesterday, American Express increased the sign up bonus for the Business Gold Rewards Card to 30,000 MR points – after you spend $5000 in the first 3 months.

Also as reported by him and agreed by me is the fact that you as a consumer should be able to get a Business card by just calling yourself a business on the application.

In a previous post we talked about how you could pay many of your regular bills with your Amex card and get up to about $750 a month on regular bills. That is great but you are still near $3000 short and can you pay those bills off on time?

That is always one of the main questions you should ask yourself. Can I pay this bill off on time without interest charges? If you can then these huge bonuses are for you. Really they are – take them when given if you are good with money.

Since we are within 3 months of Christmas, it would be prudent to perhaps use this card for buying presents, booking venues, anything involving Christmas really.

Also, as I suggested to some co-workers, if you have some higher expenses covered by insurance like dental, orthotics, drugs, etc use it there as well!

If you have a spouse/partner…well you be the judge there.

Yes, it is hard to find ways to spend $5000 in 3 months so you have to be wise about it, and always remember to pay those bills before the due date.

There is a 40,000 point bonus if you get referred by someone you know.

See our Amex page on what 40,000 MR points can get you, but a quick example is 2 flights from Detroit to Miami, or 4 flights from Detroit to New York City. (All flight using Avios  – see our Avios page on the great deals there!)

You can always just use it as a $400 travel credit, but I like the value of the free flights more.

Lastly, if you are thinking $5000 is way to hard, you can always get the Amex Gold Rewards card (non-business) where you get 25,000 MR points when you spend $500 in 3 months!

Either card is such a great deal right now.

Here is the LINK. Business card is third one down.

Book a hotel, get a free flight. Wow, Rocketmiles!

If you are thinking of booking a hotel somewhere, this is an amazing deal through Rocketmiles.

Basically you get miles in Aeroplan, Avios, etc for booking a hotel through their site.

The first thing I thought was “Probably a huge surcharge to use this service” WRONG!

I found this site very favourable for prices and cities to book. It won’t list every single hotel in every city, but it does give you a good choice of hotels.

I played with their app and other hotel apps like my IHG and Best Western app and found the price they offer was pretty much the same as what the hotel was offering and for the hotel in my city, Rocketmiles was cheaper!

So, why not get miles and flights when you book hotels?

I follow them on Twitter (by the way, follow us on Twitter!!!) and find many deals that won’t last get posted on Twitter like the one they currently have.

The one they posted today, Oct 3, at around noon was a bonus 5000 points on top of the minimum 1000 points you get for booking on their site – FOR 15 MINUTES!!!

You have to be on top of this stuff to catch these bonuses but what a deal.

I will retweet this deal when I see it, but timing is crucial.

What I did was look for a hotel – AHEAD OF TIME that I may need to book in the next little while and make sure Rockemiles had that one available at a fair price – which they did.

So, some of you reading this are saying, “OK, what is 6000 points worth?”

Well, we like BA Avios points to collect and we have a whole page devoted to this – see the page.

But, if you use these points for flights it is probably worth $120.00 at 2 cents per point.

A one-way flight to places like New York City, Washington,DC, Philadelphia and Chalotte,NC from our area (Sarnia, Ont.) is only 4500 points! Just for booking a hotel you are getting at least a one-way flight.

If you and a partner did this in the time period you are looking at 12,000 points or more than enough points for a round trip flight to those above destinations.

The hotel I have been looking at goes for about $120 a night.  So…book the hotel and get my money back in flights? Yep!

Anyway, great deal and you can go to their site to sign up.

Here is our referral link if you would like to use us.

https://www.rocketmiles.com/refer/SLUGGS682