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ALERT: The 75K Points Welcome Bonus Is Back! Click here for more info..

Do you have questions, comments or suggestions? Please click here.

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Thursday, 29 September 2016

HOT!! Spirit Airlines Flights From Niagara Airport Direct To Orlando--And Not At 2am! From $34USD!

Spirit Airlines has a HORRID reputation for late flights and terrible customer service.  Their flights out of Niagara Falls Airport (their one saving grace) tend to fly out and in at ungodly hours (not this one), but if you're willing to take a chance and be willing to pay for your baggage, feel free to give it a shot!  Baggage will cost you at LEAST $30 per piece depending on size, and no, the "Bare Fare" only includes something the size of a purse or laptop bag.  You are also included in the price, believe it or not...
For this deal, you MUST book by October 1st.  Flights direct to Orlando start November 17th.  Flights leave Niagara Falls Airport at 11:28am (you can always choose a connecting flight for more $ at 2:35am of course (LOL)) and they depart Orlando at 8:05am-again, quite reasonable an hour!
Niagara Falls Airport is the BEST because it's quite new and small.  It's VERY close to the border and parking is a breeze (used to be free but not for the last few years). It also only has 2 airlines flying out of IAG--Spirit and Allegiant (which flies at normal hours regularly).  Allegiant flies a couple of days of the week to Daytona Beach, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Punta Gorda/Ft. Myers, St. Petersburg/Clearwater/Tampa, and Tampa Bay, with rates as low as $111USD return taxes in but if you miss your flight, you'll be waiting a few days for the next one.
Spirit will try to sell you on everything as you try to complete your flight purchase--hotels, rental cars, and so on until you case finally check out.
Direct Air used to fly out of IAG to West Palm Beach but they went under a few years back.

Their $9 Club will save a few bucks but practically anything offered by Spirit is rip-off so I would just get the seats and hope the oxygen on the plane is included in the price.
Here's their availability for the deal, but other days are quite cheap too! Click here to be redirected.
Buffalo, NY AREA / Niagara Falls, NY To:$9 Fare Club Fares FromNon-Member Fares FromDates Valid
 Orlando, FL $23.10* one-way $34.10* one-way11/21, 12/3, 12/5, 12/7, 12/8, 12/12, 12/13, 12/15, 1/9, 1/14, 1/16, 1/17, 1/18, 1/23, 1/30

Orlando, FL To:$9 Fare Club Fares FromNon-Member Fares FromDates Valid
 Buffalo, NY AREA / Niagara Falls, NY $23.10* one-way $34.10* one-way12/1, 12/3, 12/7, 12/8, 12/12, 12/14, 12/15, 1/12, 1/17, 1/18, 1/19, 1/31, 2/1, 2/2, 2/8
 Plattsburgh, NY / Montreal, Canada AREA $23.10* one-way $34.10* one-way11/21, 11/30, 12/1, 12/3, 12/5, 12/6, 12/7, 12/8, 12/12, 12/13, 12/14, 12/15, 1/17, 1/19, 2/7

Plattsburgh, NY / Montreal, Canada AREA To:$9 Fare Club Fares FromNon-Member Fares FromDates Valid
 Orlando, FL $23.10* one-way $34.10* one-way11/21, 12/3, 12/5, 12/6, 12/8, 12/10, 12/12, 12/13, 12/15, 12/17, 1/9, 1/23, 1/28, 1/31, 2/7

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Calling All Officers! Free Krispy Kreme Donut & Coffee Tomorrow!

Mmmm...donuts...and the best ones in the universe!!  Get a free glazed original donut plus a small free coffee tomorrow at Krispy Kreme (Thursday September 29th).  All locations including the Canadian ones!  Click here to find the closest Canadian location to you!  You WON'T regret it...:)

25% Off Local Groupon Deals + 9% EBates Cashback!

It's normal that Groupon offers 20% off local deals, but 25% doesn't happen too often at all, so I thought I'd pass it along.  The deal is until Thursday for up to 3 local deals.  Use promo code FLY25.
Of course, a local deal is a deal that isn't national, so if you're going on vacation, to say, NYC, type in NYC to the city of choice and start searching for deals for your upcoming vacation!
If you've never used EBates, it's a cashback service that will deposit into your PayPal account a percentage of whatever the cost was that you paid if you use their website to be redirected to another, such as Groupon.  Currently, they're also offering more than normal, with 9% cashback!
Click here to go to EBates.  Then, click on the Groupon logo near the top of the page or type in Groupon in the search bar.  You'll be asked to sign up if you haven't used EBates before--and always use EBates.com since they'll pay you in US$.

Vegas, baby! Phoenix too! HOT!

Flights with Delta with 1 stopover from Toronto are now only $236-241CDN taxes in, with LOTS of availability, with dates departing from October 17th, returning August 10th, mostly excluding Friday to Sunday travel dates.
Use a Google Flight check to see availability by the month here.  Feel free to change the dates that I chose for the search.
Phoenix is also going for $236 but the availability is only for travel in October to mid-December apparently.  Click here to do a Google flight search to Phoenix.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

HOT!!!! Ocean View Suite @ Ritz-Carlton Miami Biscayne!

Seems dead.
May be a price mistake--$99USD + $45USD taxes per night for an ocean view 1 bedroom suite at the Ritz Carlton for dates May 30-Sept 16th, 2017.  Book before it's gone!  Refundable through Booking.com!

Hot Deals Out Of Montreal

Currently, Air China is offering flights in November to Japan from $601CDN, taxes in!  Click here to use Skyskanner to begin your search.  The search in the link are for the dates Nov.10-19th, but apparently, the 17th-26th are similar prices.
Delta, Air Canada, and American (meaning of course, you'll fly with AC if available since the others fly inferior planes and the points you'll earn with Delta and American are pretty worthless, especially Delta) have a sale for flights from Montreal to NYC (LaGuardia) from $138 to NYC and $90 to Montreal, so flights start at $228CDN taxes in, return!  Considering flying on Aeroplan points would cost you 15K plus $195.60 (or 25K and $70.45), you're clearly better off paying with cash or AMEX points (22.8K AMEX points, inclusive PLUS you'll get some Aeroplan points for the flight PLUS double AMEX points), it's worth "paying out of pocket" compared to getting shafted on the taxes with Aeroplan.

Amazon.ca Now Has Same Day Shipping!

Amazon.ca is playing catch-up with the US version by offering customers in Toronto and Vancouver same day shipping if ordered before approximately 12 noon.  It's free and only available to Amazon.ca Prime customers--you know, Prime, $79 for 2 day shipping in Canada with no Amazon Prime Videos and no Prime Music like Americans get.  Bitter?  Not really-I've got Amazon.com and Unblock-US.com so that I can get Amazon Prime Video and Music--it's great--and it may be coming to Canada next year, but I wouldn't count on it being as large a variety of shows and music with Canada's ancient copyright laws.
BTW, if you ever ordered with free super saver shipping for orders over $35 (now instead of $25) you'll know that it would arrive in 2 days, making Prime a waste of $79, but apparently, since Canada Post expedited was moving too fast, Amazon trucks are delivering the packages instead, and taking 4+ days for super saver shipping to arrive now, making Prime more attractive an option now, especially with same day shipping now if you live in TO or Vancouver.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

HOT!!! HUGE!! Marriott SPG Merger Great For Airline Point Transfers, Including SWA and United!!

You may have heard in the news back on Friday, that Marriott & SPG's merger is totally a reality.  THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT POST TO READ!!

The chain will be called Marriott Hotels in the future with 1 point system, as of 2018.
Until then, here's the good and the bad:
Good:

  • If you have United Gold status, that would give you Marriott Gold, but now, will also get you SPG Gold--and Gold allows for upgrades for hotel stays on the day of arrival, and with some properties, for good reasons (large family, need a larger unit) in advance on point stays--that's been my Marriott experience--not with SPG but that's due to a lack of experience with them
  • Totally transferrable points back and forth between the two systems after merging your accounts, as mentioned, at 3 to 1 with SPG being the more valuable point system so that if you need more points for a stay at a Marriott property and you have some SPG points (or vice-versa), you can switch them to have enough for a stay.  Click here to be redirected to link your two accounts from SPG.  Click here to be redirected to link your two accounts from Marriott.
  • You can switch from AMEX points to SPG (at a 1:2 ratio-eww) but then triple them to Marriott! So, 50K AMEX points=25K SPG=75K Marriott!  Now, Marriott properties differ in number of points for a stay from 5K (a low end hotel) to 70K for a crazy "Tier 5" Ritz Carlton-type experience so for 10K per night, for example, you can get a decent long-term stay property with a full kitchen (some TownePlace Suites), and as with both chains, the 5th night (paid with cash OR points) is free.  Those suites (as with Residence Inn Suites) all come with a full kitchen, many with a pool and free breakfast.
  • The higher status carries in both chains so if you're platinum with Marriott, you're now platinum with SPG and IF you were SPG Platinum, you're not only Marriott Platinum now, but with Marriott Platinum comes United Silver status, which means a free piece of checked-in luggage on any Star Alliance flight!
  • If you apply for an AMEX SPG card, you'll get TRIPLE the value in the Marriott chain!  Click here for the latest AMEX SPG offers.  Click here for the quickest way to get AMEX Membership reward welcome bonus points
  • If you already have an SPG AMEX card in Canada, you're getting 1 SPG point per dollar, but that means you're getting the equivalent of 3 Marriott points for every dollar you spend!  That means the Chase Canada Marriott is good for the welcome bonus of 50K (with the available link) but not for actual spending on the card--at triple the value, use the SPG AMEX card (though it's of course not as accepted as the Chase one as the Chase one is a Visa)
  • While switching from SPG to United was an option, it was a bad one with a poor ratio, but now, if you switch your points from SPG to Marriott at triple the value, you can switch them from Marriott to an airline, such as United, even with a bonus, PLUS 7 free nights at Marriott properties using a superior program Marriott offers called Marriott's Miles and Nights. For example, if you wish to switch your points to United, switch 90K Starwood points to Marriott, worth 270K Marriott points, and get 132K United miles (AND a week at a Marriott, category 1-5 FREE)--as you may know United never charges fuel surcharges so if you are looking for a flight on Air Canada to another continent, say, YYZ-Tel Aviv, that would be a direct AC flight, you'd normally pay at least $650 for the return flight per person, but if you flew with United miles on AC, you'd pay no fuel surcharge--of course, the question always is if there's availability--and that can be sketchy.  Go on the United website to see if there's availability fo the flight of your choice on different dates first before going through with such a transfer.  For 270K Marriott points, the switch is worth 7 free nights at any category 1-5 property, meaning you're not only getting 132K valuable United points, you're also getting the value of between 30K to 150K Marriott points depending on the category number you stay at (each category, starting at category 1 is 5K, increasing by 5K point increments per category number, including Tier 1 which is another way of saying category 10, and so on. If you have even more Marriott points, you can stay in higher category hotels for your 7 night stay. See below, from the Marriott website:

 Hotel + Air Package:
Enjoy more miles from RewardsPlus from Marriott Rewards® and United MileagePlus®.
You’ll receive 10% more MileagePlus miles when you redeem for a Marriott Rewards Hotel + Air Package, up to 12,000 more miles. Your bonus miles are shown below. Discover all the advantages of RewardsPlus.
7 Nights + 55,000 Miles7 Nights + 77,000 Miles7 Nights + 110,000 Miles7 Nights + 132,000 Miles
Category 1-5200,000 | View220,000 | View250,000 | View270,000 | View
Category 6230,000 | View250,000 | View280,000 | View300,000 | View
Category 7260,000 | View280,000 | View310,000 | View330,000 | View
Category 8290,000 | View310,000 | View340,000 | View360,000 | View
Category 9320,000 | View340,000 | View370,000 | View390,000 | View
Tier 1-3350,000 | View370,000 | View400,000 | View420,000 | View
Tier 4-5470,000 | View490,000 | View520,000 | View540,000 | View
But an even SWEETER idea for those who fly within the US, including out of BUF, is to switch your points to South West Airlines.  They have direct flights from BUF to Fort Lauderdale, for example, and switching 270K Marriott points to SWA will get you 120K SWA Rapid Reward points, which is a great way to get SWA Companion Pass status (need to earn 110K in a year to get it), good for the rest of this year and all of next year, meaning, you'll get 120K SWA points, worth between $1800-$2400USD, PLUS 7 nights at a category 1-5 (or higher if you pay more Marriott points for the transfer) AND--and this is why this is a better deal than the United one for those who would fly SWA, a free ticket for a companion every time you fly SWA--and if SWA continues to count hotel point transfers towards companion pass status, through to January 1, 2017 (I'm hoping so), and NOT pull the carpet out from under us with no notice, then the companion status will last until December 31, 2018!!  That's a LOT of free flights!  And if you can rake enough points in for you AND your wife, you can BOTH have the companion pass status and can both fly another person for free--that's  FOUR tickets for the price of two!!  See the Marriott to SWA chart below:

Hotel + Air Package 3:

7 Nights + 50,000 Rapid Reward Points7 Nights + 70,000 Rapid Reward Points7 Nights + 100,000 Rapid Reward Points7 Nights + 120,000 Rapid Reward Points
Category 1-5200,000 | View220,000 | View250,000 | View270,000 | View
Category 6230,000 | View250,000 | View280,000 | View300,000 | View
Category 7260,000 | View280,000 | View310,000 | View330,000 | View
Category 8290,000 | View310,000 | View340,000 | View360,000 | View
Category 9320,000 | View340,000 | View370,000 | View390,000 | View
Tier 1-3350,000 | View370,000 | View400,000 | View420,000 | View
Tier 4-5470,000 | View490,000 | View520,000 | View540,000 | View
Participating Airlines: Southwest Airlines
The Bad:
  • As mentioned earlier, will SWA stop accepting hotel point transfers from Marriott towards Companion Pass status before Jan. 1, 2017?  Jury is out on it...
  • You CANNOT use a free certificate stay with one chain for another--so if you get the 7 nights free stay with the Marriott to an airline switch, or just get a free certificate with a Marriott Chase Visa card, as well as on every anniversary, it can ONLY be used at a Marriott property (and same with SPG free nights that can only be used at SPG properties)
  • If you lost your platinum status with Marriott for not staying 75 nights in the previous year (including 15 non-earned nights with a Chase Visa Marriott), you could pay 60K Marriott points to get it back--only really worth it for the United Silver status.  If you lost your gold status with Marriott, Marriott would offer for you to get it back for around 30K points, now only 10K SPG transferred points to keep gold with Marriott, but will this offer continue with the new merger?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

AMEX STILL Giving 25K Welcome Bonus For Repeat Customers!

Despite the claim AMEX Canada had made back in January 2016 (I believe) that only new customers that have never had the personal gold can get the welcome bonus, they are STILL giving 25K welcome bonus miles for their personal gold card, with the annual fee waived for the first year.  Now true, I do get a referral bonus for getting you to sign up for it through my link, but I'd really appreciate it considering the information I'm giving and that I'm happy to give you my advice on how to achieve your personal vacation goals--just email me and I'll give you personal advice on how to most quickly achieve your personal vacation goals. See below for more info about the AMEX and the links!
Read the story below the pics that have the links embedded to apply.
American Express® Gold Rewards CardClick the link in the pic
STILL AVAILABLE FOR NOW: 25,000 Membership Rewards with the link above after hitting the spending threshold (only $1500 in 3 months).  That's worth 12.5K SPG points that can now be switched at triple the value to 37.5K Marriott points!  Love the 2x the points on gas, grocery, and pharmacy purchases and the annual fee waived the first year--that's like 25K Aeroplan or Avios miles for FREE.
THE PLATINUM CARD®Click the link in the pic
Limited Time Offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards (instead of 50,000) ONLY with the link above after hitting the spending threshold (ONLY $1K in 3 months) but beware: it comes with a $699 annual fee that is NOT waived the first year.  That's worth 30K SPG points (if converted) and 90K Marriott points when transferred between the two systems since they offer the switch for free!  If it's the benefits you're looking for, including AMEX Centurion Lounge access and $200 each year (that's $400 for the first 12 month year) in airline reinbursement fees, this card may be for you.

American Express® Business Gold Rewards Card 
40,000 not 30,000 Membership Rewards with the link above after spending $5K in 3 months.  Annual fee waived the first year.  That's worth 20K SPG points or 60K Marriott points!
The Business Platinum CardTM from American Express®
Limited Time Offer: 75,000 instead of 40,0000 Membership Rewards ONLY with the link above after spending $5K in 3 months.  That's worth 37.5K SPG points through converting it on the AMEX website, or 112.5K Marriott points through the SPG/Marriott merger for free!  While the fee on the AMEX isn't waived, you DO get lounge access (not Centurion Lounge) at airports around the world, including Pearson, and the $399 fee is a right off for many, and for those who it isn't, you can pay off the fee in a sense with your points--that way, you spend 40K points to cover the annual fee (through using your points to pay for items in lieu of the $399) and keep 35K!
Read below for more info on AMEX:
During a conversation with an AMEX rep, I learned some interesting inside information about changes coming to AMEX Canada.  Anyone who travels in the US or online to US websites can see that AMEX is accepted pretty much everywhere in the States, but everyone here in Canada knows it’s a washout.  After losing 8% of their profits when Costco divorced AMEX when Capital One offered them a better deal, not charging a per transaction fee, only the regular 2% (or so)  Mastercard charges.
Well, in the States, AMEX will now be accepted at Sam’s Club Warehouses–not exclusively like they had with Costco, but nonetheless, it will help them stay competitive, but what about here in Canada?
Apparently, over the next few months, AMEX will be changing how it offers the card to its merchants.  Somehow, they will offer merchants something that amounts to a lower percentage so that small businesses can afford to offer the AMEX card at about the same levels of charges as Mastercard and Visa, without compromising on its profit like it.  As it was explained to me, it will allow merchants to be non-official merchants, so that they can offer AMEX without the higher fees that AMEX normally charges merchants.  It’s confusing and unclear but these changes are coming over the next few months.
What that means for us is a more competitive card!  Whether it’s the AMEX Gold or Platinum Rewards Personal or Business card, they will be accepted at a LOT more places–and with AMEX Membership Rewards points, you’re much better off at switching the points to Aeroplan (instantly) or to Avios (within about 2 days).  That way, you can decide, based on availability and where the routing will cost you the least in fuel surcharges, which point system you wish to switch your points into.  Back in March, AMEX was offering a 25% bonus when switching your points to British Airways Avios, part of the One World Alliance, which includes many different airlines around the world, with lower taxes on tickets (if not actually flying on British Airways but on an Alliance member flight such as US Airways), cancellation fees that are more flexible than Aeroplan (24 hours notice as opposed to 33 days).
Now just might be the time to get an AMEX card!  If you have a business card with AMEX, you can put pressure on AMEX to truly bring these changes to fruition.  By cancelling your AMEX Business Gold and telling them why (not accepted at Costco and too many other merchants), they may offer you 7K Membership Rewards (MR) points or more to stay and pay the annual fee when it comes up, but you’d be better off cancelling the card, and if the changes go through, reapplying using the link above, and getting the welcome bonus of 40K Membership Rewards points after spending $5K in 3 months.  That can be transferred into 40K Aeroplan points or Avios points–and if you have MR points, don't be surprised if AMEX once again offers a conversion to Avios deal, likely again to be a 25% bonus when switching your points from MR to Avios.
They’ll also waive the annual fee the first year.  A little known fact is that the welcome bonus is STILL available but only for the AMEX Business cards and a personal gold or platinum if you've never gotten the welcome bonus before.  Remember, you can apply for the card if you have ANY business–self-proprietors without a tax number are accepted, even if you have a business that is on the side–you include ALL your income when answering the question about your business.
Go over the  benefits carefully.  Remember, the Platinum Business has a $399 annual fee while the personal version has a $699 fee, but the benefits, especially for the personal card, are what you’re paying for, especially if you travel a lot.  And the $699 is cushioned by a $200 travel credit that you get each year, so for the first year of your AMEX Platinum person account, you'll get $400 cashback on travel, making the cost for 75K points (this limited time deal) costing you only $299, plus all the lounge access and concierge treatment you'll get with the card.  For example, access to lounges including free lounge access to the AMEX Centurion lounges, including the one at Pearson.
Get the card for yourself and your spouse and you'll get 75K, you can refer him/her and get 25K for the referral and s/he will get 75K as well--that's 175K AMEX points which will take you and your spouse far--80K Aeroplan x 2 to go to Israel, 7 return trip tickets across the US/Canada are two examples of what these points will give you!
For more info, search through the search box on my website for more info on the different cards!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

1K Free Aeroplan Points! Act Fast!

Enroll in Fairmont Hotels & Resorts for free and receive 1K Aeroplan points--good to keep your account alive in case you haven't been using it lately or placing any points in there lately.
The 1K Aeroplan points are not mentioned, but this link includes the enrollment bonus!  You can see it in the website address.

$10 Off $50+ on Ebay.CA TODAY ONLY

Ebay.CA is offering a promo code that is valid for purchases of regular items--click here to get the promo code and to see the terms and conditions, including the exclusions to the offer.
The deal ends 10pm EDT.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

CIBC FRAUD ALERT!!

If you have a CIBC credit card, including a business credit card, you should know that CIBC's fraud dept. is overwhelmed with calls!  If you have a CIBC credit card, check the balance and call them before you find that your card balance is over the credit limit.
My card had over $1K of fraud on it, and be it that the card was not even in my wallet, I was a little surprised that I only found out upon receiving my statement.
You'd think the fraud dept. would have caught on since the transactions were out of province and I hadn't used the card for a while, but apparently, their fraud dept. doesn't have their act together.
According to the CIBC agent I spoke to, CIBC sets up its credit card account numbers with a predictable card number and expiry date that some group figured out the pattern--probably FSociety (LOL--Mr. Robot reference).  That's why I waited over a half an hour to speak to the fraud dept.
This WILL effect your credit rating temporarily as a large balance hurts your credit to debt amortization to higher than what you want it to be (around 1%).

Thursday, 15 September 2016

How Frustration is Compensation ($$)

Image result for capital one canada ihg card
My favourite "go-to" credit card has been discontinued.  :(
Last September, Capital One Canada stopped offering the Cap 1 IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group including Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn, Intercontinental, etc.) credit card which I was going to recommend on my blog, but it was too late.  This was a $120/yr card with premium features, but the best thing about it was that not only were you getting 2 IHG points per dollar, but it had a built in spending threshold with no limit--for every $10K spent, not only get 20K IHG points, but a bonus 5K IHG points.  25K IHG points is enough, on their "Point Break" deals on hotels worldwide, for 5 free nights--plus it came with Platinum Elite status, which would allow you to get upgrades based on availability--including for my family to a 2 bedroom suite in Staybridge, Candlewood, and sometimes Crowne Plazas have them too.  It was a super deal--spend $10K, get 5 free nights.
So, I called them and complained.  Got nowhere.  Wasn't satisfied with that so I put in for a callback from a supervisor--supervisor offered me $50 for my frustration.  Why wasn't Cap 1 offering its loyal customers another card like AMEX did after their divorce with Costco?  AMEX offered a cashback card (ironically with Capital One) so why are they offering a customer with a premium credit card nothing?  "Just apply for another Capital One product"--and get an unnecessary credit hit AND have to go through the trouble of applying?  Oh, and BTW, Cap 1 is the only bank that does TWO credit checks (with both credit agencies, Equifax and TransUnion) so that's like a double hit.
They offered I speak to the supervisor's supervisor.  He called me, I returned the call, and spoke to that person who offered me apologies for the inconvenience (pre-authorized payments have to be redone with another credit card--grrr) and gave me another $50--this is also after my last statement did not charge me the annual fee of $120 because they knew (before I did) that the card was going to be discontinued.
Never settle when a bank disappoints you--it's an opportunity to follow through and get appropriate compensation!