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Tuesday 29 November 2016

Canada's version, CreditKarma.CA is UP and running!

Want your weekly credit score for FREE?  Credit Karma in the States is the best free way for Americans to get their credit score and the scores they get are similar to the scores the credit agencies in the States would give if one paid for the service (why the discrepancy has to do with a slight variation in how they figure out your score--what they stress a little more than another factor).

CreditKarma.CA is up and running so you can get it, courtesy of TransUnion (Equifax is not part of as of yet).  Make sure to answer your security questions correctly (3 of them) or you'll be locked out and have to retry in 30 days!
Click here to be redirected to your free credit score!

Sunday 13 November 2016

FINALLY! 50% Conversion Bonus! Avion to Avios! **DEAD FOR NOW**

If you have an RBC Avion card, RBC is once again, for the first time this year, offering the 50% conversion bonus, from now 'til December 17th, despite RBC's incompetent website, that still shows a 1:1 ratio when you process the conversion.  Switching your Avion points to British Airways Avios points will score you a 50% conversion bonus!  Click here to see the website's details.  Earlier this year for the first time, they only offered a 30% bonus, so now they're back to their regular offer.
The minimum points to convert are 10K.  You can convert any number of points, but they must be in increments of 1K.  For example, if all you had was 15K Avion points (the welcome bonus), you would score 22.5K Avios points.  That's enough for a flight from Toronto to Miami direct--and depending on when you wish to go, you could score enough tickets for your family, but be warned, availability during peak seasons is non-existent.  Also, flight availability with routes that used to be plentiful have dried up, in some cases, TOTALLY.  You used to be able to get plenty of flights per day through your Avios points to fly American Airlines from Toronto to LaGuardia--no longer.  Now you cannot find a single seat, whether flying business class or economy.
First, AA forced British Airways to increase the number of points it took to fly short haul flights in North America, as their rates were better than anyones, including American.  Then, they stopped supplying them with flights to NY, and likely to many other places.
I've basically given up on Avios points personally.  I'll throw some points in with my AMEX to Avios to keep my account (and my wife's) alive, and sell my Avion points.  It's worth more in cash now with the conversion than before.  But check to see if the routes you want are even available with Avios points--if so, this is the time to convert your points!

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Toronto to Beijing direct on Air Canada for $497CDN! **DEAD**

This is unbelievable--Toronto to Beijing on Air Canada for $497CDN, on flights from November to mid-May!  Check for dates that work for you on Google flights here.  To think, flights from Toronto to Vancouver on AC tend to be more expensive!

Monday 7 November 2016

How To Get 1600 Free Marriott Points + Extend Validity With SPG

If you are willing to connect your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to Marriott by December 7th, you'll get 500 points each AND INSTANTLY.  If you are willing to get follow Marriott on Twitter and Instagram, that will earn you an additional 50 Marriott points each.  That's 1600 in total!  Then, when you link your Marriott account to your SPG account and transfer any number of points, it will extend the validity of your SPG account (so your points don't expire if they were about to).
Click here to get the very easy process started.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

OCHO Toronto Hotel for $19CDN!

Trip Advisor rates OCHO Hotel an average of 4.5/5 stars.  November 7th, you can stay for $19CDN + $2 in taxes. Will go FAST!
Click here to see.

Tuesday 25 October 2016

IHG Point Breaks Are Out!

Posted yesterday on the IHG website (sorry, couldn't post them yesterday and now many of the hotel deals dried up and have been dropped from the list), you can take advantage of $35USD/night per room, for an unlimited number of days in any of the IHG properties on sale through THIS link.  There are only 200 reservations per hotel on sale for 5K IHG points per night.  You're in great shape if you have a Capital One Canada IHG card (no longer available to apply for as of September 2016 and discontinued as of Nov. 7, 2016) or a US version by Chase.  Through, as a Canadian, you have the option of converting points from, for example, Aeroplan--not at a very good rate, but with IHG you either get your points through a credit card, stays at IHG properties or by converting your points--but you need to have 5K points first to do a trick to get more.  You book a room using the option of "points and cash."  It’s non-refundable, BUT they’ll give you points in lieu of the cancelled room.  That way, a room will cost you, with Point Breaks, about $35USD a night! Here's how.
Every 3 months, the IHG hotel chain releases its hotels around the world that they are giving point breaks on–for only 5K IHG points (instead of 10K +, sometimes as high as 40K+), you can stay at any of the properties on this list up until October 31st for up to 2 reservations per hotel for unlimited periods of time as the list will dry up as each hotel reaches its 200 reservations point.

Saturday 22 October 2016

Free 1K Aeroplan Points AND The Truth About Aeroplan!

Aeroplan Logo
So Aeroplan is offering 1K Aeroplan points for taking this quiz though there is a stipulation that the points may only be awarded to those who received an invitation to the quiz so don't hold your breath, but it's a minute of your time for possibly 1K Aeroplan points, so might as well give it a shot.  BTW, all the answers are "Myth" but here comes the TRUTH about Aeroplan:

Fixed Mileage Flight Rewards are never available.

Aeroplan answer: myth.  REALITY: TRUTH in many cases--if you try to get tickets to fly somewhere during the "busy" season, whether it's flights to Puerto Rico in December Break, Paris or Rome in the summer, or Florida for March Break (for examples), Aeroplan will release perhaps TWO seats and NOT necessarily 356 days in advance.  They may not even release "Market Fare" seats 356 days in advance.  There is NO knowing when the seats will be released--you just have to keep trying and you MAY get the two seats they release for any specific flight.  Aeroplan's quiz claims that 70% of their reward flights booked are at fixed mileage levels, but that's VERY misleading, since that means that only 30% bother getting ripped off purchasing Market Fare flights to popular destinations.  If you buy Market Fare ticket WAAAY in advance, the advantage is that it will cost you the minimum number of points that they would ever charge for that route if you're the first one buying the tickets, and you can buy enough for a large family. But if you wait....for example, want to go to Fort Lauderdale for December break and your looking for tickets right now?  Have some status with Aeroplan, perhaps Black Distinction status?  It'll cost you "only" 90,100 (minimum) AP points per ticket instead of 110100AP, or 25K for a Fixed Mileage ticket--which you can't get of course.  Want a different flight time?  How about the 8:45am flight for 112600AP points per ticket? 
So, are they never available--"Never" is a tricky word-no--not NEVER, but for a family of 3+, yes, pretty much NEVER for a vacation destination during peak travel times. And with another airline like United, maybe only ONE flight per month available.  I've seen it MANY times.  Want to fly out of Buffalo with United to somewhere--but there is only one flight available in an ENTIRE month as Aeroplan likely doesn't want to give you that option as the taxes are less than $10 return ANYWHERE through United out of BUF.

Aeroplan has blackout dates.

Aeroplan answer: myth.  REALITY: MYTH BUT PRACTICALLY TRUTH--as per my comments above, if you can't get flights out during peak travel times with Fixed Mileage, are you really going to spend upwards of 100K+ points (in some cases less or much more) for EACH ticket to somewhere that should only cost you 25K (long haul flights within North America)?  So in practical terms, YES.  They do have blackout dates.

Contact Centre agents have access to more seats.

Aeroplan answer: myth.  REALITY: PRACTICALLY TRUTH in complex flights.
If you're trying to get somewhere that involves, or MAY involve stopovers, the Aeroplan website does a good job of making it exceeding difficult to find a flight to avoid fuel surcharges, as they will always prioritize AC flights, whether direct or indirect, on the departure or the return or BOTH.  Say you want to fly to Israel with Aeroplan and avoid the lie of fuel surcharges (jet fuel has gone done in price along with gas prices but they continue to charge the charge though United, South African, Turkish, Ethiopian, Egypt, and many other airlines NEVER charge fuel surcharges).  Let's make it even more complex.  Let's say you want to do a multi-city vacation to hit both Tel-Aviv and Capetown ("only" 100K AP points) as one of the two cities will be considered the "final" destination.  Okay, so you want to fly Toronto to Newark with AC or United, then United to Tel-Aviv via Newark, then Turkish to Capetown with a stopover in Istanbul and Joberg (you stay on the plane) (safe airline though Istanbul did have that bombing several months back), then back from Capetown to Addis Ababa, and then to Toronto.  No fuel surcharges--cannot fly through the same city twice with AP rules; hence, the complex route.  Try finding THAT through the Aeroplan website! ;)  You'll want to speak to an experienced Aeroplan agent after telling them you want to avoid all fuel surcharge airlines in the Star Alliance.  If you don't get a good feeling about the agent (they aren't being helpful or are just inexperienced), HUCA (hang up, call again).  Then, book it online if possible to avoid the extra Aeroplan fee for booking with an agent.

My TD® Aeroplan® Credit Card is my Aeroplan card.

Duh.  Myth.  One is a membership card, the other is a credit card that gives you Aeroplan points.   This one quiz question is the only straightforward REAL Myth answer.

There are no real perks to achieving status with Aeroplan.

MYTH--Really, in most cases, and with the new rules kicking in in December.  If you have Diamond Distinction status, by getting 100K Aeroplan points (NOT through welcome bonuses anymore--grrrr), but through flying AC or Star Alliance flights (and attributing the flights to AP), or by getting Aeroplan points through purchases at stores or Aeroplan credit cards from AMEX, CIBC or TD, you will save a lot on cancellation fees (if necessary) and Market Fare flights.  Sometimes, it doesn't matter what your status is--Market Fare will give you the same discount whether you're black, diamond, silver, or nothing--depends if it's ticket that AC is certain they won't be able to sell out (off peak).
Oh, and the higher your status, the less time you'll wait on hold to speak to an Aeroplan agent.
For some flights, you'll get the maximum discount of 35% off the number of points to fly, though as stated earlier, sometimes it's a MUCH bigger discount and irrelevant what your AP distinction status is.
So go take the quiz and know better now! :)

Saturday 15 October 2016

Good & BAD Changes Coming To Aeroplan

Aeroplan Logo--BOO!
Well, first came the offer of allowing one to pay the taxes for an Aeroplan reward ticket using your Aeroplan points (TOTAL RIPOFF), followed by this one:
It used to be (and I'm not sure when this changed exactly) that if you wished to change a ticket, you had to do so more than 33 days in advance.  You could not cancel a ticket within that window, so it you wanted to cancel a ticket within the 33 days, you first had to pay to change your ticket date OUTSIDE the 33 day window and then pay again to cancel it.  It used to be that this would put you back $90 per ticket for the change and then another $90 to cancel IF you were within the 33 day window.
At some point, they changed the rules to cancelling a ticket to TWENTY-TWO instead of 33 days, and they also allowed one to change a ticket more than 2 hours before the flight (or a same day change at the airport for $75, whether for an earlier or later flight on the same itinerary).
In some cases (short haul flights for example), not even worth changing the ticket.  Better to buy a new one.  If you cancel your ticket more than 2 hours in advance, there's no charge for the cancellation--your tickets will be in limbo for 1 year until you choose to use them, at which point, they'll nail you with the $100 change fee per direction.  This rule seems to be gone come December 6, 2016, but in reality, cancelling a ticket for "free" and holding it for a year in limbo was eventually going to cost you when you had to rebook it anyways.
The only good news is about the change that happened at some point that allowed you to make a change more than 2 hours before your flight.  I don't know when they changed THAT rule.
Here comes the NEWEST BAAAAD change:
Now, you can apply these "new" rules like before, but now you'll pay $100 PER DIRECTION, up to a maximum of $200 (in case you have a multi-city ticket--Toronto, Joberg, Tel Aviv, back to Toronto, you'll "only" pay $200, not more). Before, if you had to change a return trip ticket, and make changes on both your departure dates (leaving and coming back), you'd pay a flat fee of $90 total.  If you had a one-way ticket, you'd pay the same: $90.  Now, for changes on a return trip ticket that will effect both directions, you'll pay $200 (plus tax, of course).
The exception: if you have Diamond Distinction status with Aeroplan, which you attain if you accumulate 100K Aeroplan points in one year, through flights and Aeroplan credit card purchases (not even the CIBC Aeroplan card gives you Aeroplan Welcome Bonus points that count towards Distinction status--they were the last ones to do so--ended in March of 2016, unofficially).
With Diamond status, changes two hours prior to departure are still $75 (instead of $100) and refunds more than 22 days in advance are only $30 online, and $100 if you're crazy enough to do it with an Aeroplan agent over the phone.  So, if your flight is in 3 hours, and you wish to CANCEL, first you pay $75 PER DIRECTION to change it outside the twenty-two day window, then $30 to get a refund (step two).  For a non-diamond status member, it'll be $100 per direction per ticket (max $200), and then another $150 per ticket (regardless of whether it's one-way or return)--costing you on a return ticket $350 to get the points back in your account.  YIKES!!
Avios still will only charge you the taxes if you buy you need a refund or cancellation more than 24 hours in advance--and if they changed the time of your flight and you point out how inconvenient that time change is, they will give you a refund at no cost.  If they won't, HUCA (hang up and call again) and get a new agent who may be more susceptible to your charming way! ;)

Thursday 6 October 2016

Toronto to Cancun From $353+ Taxes In!

Westjet & AC have a sale on flights from Toronto to Cancun, but not for the December Break period (naturally).  It covers November to mid-December, and prices start at $353 return.  I found prices from $364 on Westjet for November 5-23.  Here are some dates where the prices are cheapest, according to  The number in brackets were the number of seats available if there's only a few, as of posting.  Try to get these prices.
Oct 31 - $231
Nov 5 - $221
Nov 7 - $231 (2)
Nov 11 - $231
Nov 12 - $221
Nov 16 - $232 (2)
Nov 18 - $231 (2)
Nov 23 - $211 (1)
Nov 26 - $221
Nov 30 - $211
RETURN dates
Nov 7 - $162
Nov 09 - $142
Nov 10 - $152
Nov 11 - $162
Nov 16 - $142 (2)
Nov 17 - $152 (2)
Nov 23 - $142 (1), $163
Nov 24 - $152
Nov 30 - $142
Dec 1 - $152 (4)
Dec 7 - $142 (1)
Dec 11 - $162 (6)
Dec 14 - $163
Dec 20 - $163
Dec 27 - $163
Dec 28 - $163

Sunday 2 October 2016

$85CDN Return From Niagara Falls Non-Stop To Orlando!

As posted last week here on SD, Spirit Airlines, a discount airline that has been flying out of Niagara Falls, NY Airport (not BUF) for years has started daily non-stop flights from Niagara Falls to Orlando, beginning November 17th.  They've just extended their calendar and ticket for flights in as late as February 8th, and returning as late as February 14th (through January and mid-February) are now available on their website from $63.70USD, return, taxes included--but as I wrote about here, be forewarned, they'll charge for everything.  You'll breathe a sigh of relief when you find out that the oxygen on the flight IS included though.

25 Free Hertz Points + Up To 550 Points More!

You can get 25 Hertz Points by entering this contest.  The 25 points will be deposited right away. It won't extend the life of your Hertz account (which expire after 24 months without activity) but it also qualifies you to get an additional 550 points for a Hertz rental costing at least $25USD.

A Way To Keep Your SPG Alive

With the SPG/Marriott merger, merging your two accounts (if you have both) will allow you to transfer points either way, whenever you wish at no fees to you, but not only that, it will extend the life of your SPG account by switching points over from Marriott.  The same is NOT true of switching from SPG to Marriott though.  If you have no activity on your SPG account for 12 months, your points should disappear, but apparently don't until 18 months from your last activity on the account.  If you call SPG and plead to get them back, you will likely be successful.  Marriott points expire 24 months from the last activity.  You CAN transfer points to anyone living at the same address as you and that will help you have enough for a stay if you're short some points in your account and need some from your spouse.  I don't believe this would extend the life of your Marriott account, but of course, using some points for a stay would, as would activity on a Chase Marriott Canada Visa (using or getting approved for one, then spending $1 to get your welcome bonus).

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 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!

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. Now Has Same Day Shipping! 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 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 and 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:

  • 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?