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Monday 29 October 2018

The AMEX Bonvoy is Still TOTALLY Worth Getting

While Marriott WAS giving 3x the points for SPG points earned in any way (credit card transactions with the SPG card or for paid stays at SPG properties), until August of last year, now they're only offering double the points under the new "Bonvoy" banner.  Be it that it's the only way to directly earn Bonvoy (previously known as SPG/Marriott points, whether it's for business or personal needs, it still comes with a 51K welcome points bonus after spending $3K in 3 months.
The good news is that tons of properties have gone down in category numbers for using points to stay there, while the number of points for a category have gone a little bit.  For example, the Residence Inn Amherst (NY) and the Residence Inn New Rochelle (just outside NYC) both used to be a category 5 (25K points per night) and are now a category 3 (which used to mean 15K, but now is 17.5K, still 7.5 points less per night!). I've found MANY hotels in southern Florida that used to be higher categories and have moved down as well.  With an AMEX Platinum Business card, you get Gold status that makes you eligible for upgrades, including to a 2 bedroom suite with 2 bathrooms, based on availability.
51K Welcome bonus plus the $3K of spending will score you 57K points.
With the 5th night of any stay free, be it booked on points or cash, a 5 night stay at a category 3 will cost you 68K points.  That is still 12K points short of a 5 night stay at a category 3, but if you refer someone to the card, you'll get 10K points and if it's your life partner, they are eligible for the 51K welcome bonus points as well.  57K x 2 plus the 10K point referral bonus will earn you 124K, enough for a week's stay as you can call Marriott after booking a stay and ask to have the points transferred over to your account to cover that stay.
It comes every year with a free certificate to for one night at any Marriott property, up to a 35K (around category 5).  That's a phenomenal certificate, and better than it used to be when the Chase Marriott Canada card would offer it.
While it does charge a forex fee when using it outside Canada, it does, in a sense, give you more points than even the US version of the card.  The US version gives 2 Bonvoy point per US dollar spent, while our card gives you the same for each CDN dollar spent, about 35% better.  This is noticeable if you use the card outside Canada.
If you need ideas on how to spend $3K on an AMEX card in 3 months, see below.
  • hardware stores
  • pharmacies
  • Metro & Sobeys
  • online purchases, that include Masterpass (A mastercard pay system that accepts AMEX)
  • car rentals
  • any type of travel expense
  • groceries through (click here) Yesodei Hatorah (to credit the Lindo family towards how mich they need to spend on grocery card would be nice but YOU get them.  Either you can pick them up from the school or I've heard that for a minimum purchase, they deliver it to your home for free).

Sunday 28 October 2018

HOT! Fly JFK to Joberg through Nairobi for $349USD!

Yes, you will have to find your way to JFK, but at $349USD, taxes in to Johannesburg, South Africa, it's a great deal on Kenyan Airways.  You can always try other dates on the Matrix ITA Software or Google Flights (though I find Google flights doesn't list the lowest price for this routing, and Matrix many times, gets the price wrong), Here's the dates with the links through the Delta website...

HOT!! JFK to Nairobi, Kenya for $242USD!!

You can book a flight from JFK to Nairobi for $242USD.  The following dates are available:
Consider going to Nairobi for the days leading up to Pesach, and then flying to South Africa for a dirt cheap resort (compared to elsewhere with the Rand in the toilet) for Pesach.
Unfortunately, I cannot seem to see a similar price out of Toronto as Kenyan Airways (which is the airline you'll be flying on) does not fly out of Toronto.
The booking is through the Delta website, and you have up to 24 hours after you book it to cancel so you have nothing to lose to book now!  Follow the link on the dates to book on Delta.  To find your own prices, go to either the ITA Software Matrix or Google Flights.

The 75K For The Platinum AMEX Business Card is BACK!

Click the pic above to use my referral link, please and thank you!
If you have any questions, just email me and I'll help you use the points to score an affordable vacation!
For those of you who can justify a business, be it you're a self-proprietor or you are part of a company, you can apply for the AMEX Business Platinum card and get 75K bonus points.  There is a $499 annual fee that you could write off through your business or sell you points to more than make up the cost of the card.
You will have to spend $7K in 3 months on the card, but that isn't insurmountable...
If you would like 40K
Spending on an AMEX card is not as hard as you may think.  You can charge the following to an AMEX:
National businesses such as:

  • hardware stores
  • car rentals
  • any type of travel expense
  • groceries through (click here) Yesodei Hatorah (to credit the Lindo family towards how mich they need to spend on grocery card would be nice but YOU get them.  Either you can pick them up from the school or I've heard that for a minimum purchase, they deliver it to your home for free).
As per the AMEX website, with some comments thrown in from me, this card gives the following benefits:
  • Earn 1.25 Membership Rewards® points for every $1 in eligible purchases charged to your Card.  When sold, those points are worth around 1.22US cents per point, making the 75K bonus plus the 7K you spend on it, worth way over $1K USD.
  • Transfer your points, at no charge, to many frequent flyer and other loyalty programs including 1:1 to Aeroplan®*and British Airways Avios (though there's a 2-3 business day turnover before the points will show in your Avios account).
  • Interest-Free Days. Maximize your cash flow with up to 55 interest-free days.
  • Expense Management Reports. Quarterly and annual reporting that makes record keeping, expense tracking and tax preparation easier.
  • Access to over 1,200 lounges around the world.
  • Extras at over 825 world-class properties in the Fine Hotels & Resorts Program.
  • Priority Pass – one of the world’s largest independent airport lounge programs including membership and access as much as you would like with a valid boarding pass that day.
  • There is an easy, convenient way to get more out of your Membership Rewards® points - simply charge an eligible purchase to your Card. Then you can pay for it with points by redeeming points for a statement credit.
  • Annual Fee $499 which may be tax deductible.
  • Supplementary Card fee $199 annually for Business Platinum Cards®; $50 annually for Business Gold Cards®.

Free & Instant Spire Elite Status with IHG For 90 Days!

Whatever status you have with IHG, if you might stay at an IHG property over the next 90 days from when you sign up with this link, you can attin Spire Elite, their top tier status.  This allows you to have free upgrades at their properties, including Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental, Indigo and many others. To keep the status, instead of having to stay until the end of January for a total of 75 nights, you will only have to stay 10 to keep the status in 2019! If you only spend 5 nights (instead of 40), you keep platinum elite (which also makes you eligible for free upgrades) for 2019. 
For every stay, you'll get 100% more IHG points if you use cash to stay.  Also, you get early check in (10am) and late check out (2pm).
You have nothing to lose, so go for it!

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Flights Out of BUF from $29USD!

Frontier Airlines, one of the most decent US charter airlines, is offering rock bottom prices out of Buffalo to several locations in the States (yes, Frontier does fly into Canada, but only Western Canada right now). I've known people who've flown it, and have been very happy with Frontier.

Keep in mind that Frontier will allow you take carry one personal item (a suitcase small enough to fit under the seat in front of you).  Other than that, you're better off checking in as it's cheaper than a carry-on bag, so pack light and avoid the extra charge! 
Most flight dates start October 23 and end between November 12 and December 18.
Click here to go to the page showing the details shown below.
See below:
October 23-November 14th from $29USD each way
Austin, TX
-November 12 for $29
Jacksonville, FL
Nov. 15-Dec. 18, Fort Myers from $49
Nov. 16-Dec. 18, Tampa from $49
October 23-Dec. 18, Denver from $59
Book fast as these prices won't last!

Saturday 13 October 2018

HOT! Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort Stay in a 2 Bdrm or 1 Bdrm Ocean Front View for $179CDN per night at Xmas!!

Hilton's website as well as other websites (check through Trip Advisor and if you see it even a couple of bucks cheaper than the Hilton, Hilton will price match and BEAT by 25% if you fill out the online form on the Hilton website) are offering stays at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, right on the Ocean, a minute from the beach, multiple room types for $134USD ($179CDN) + $35USD Resort fee.
Here's the nights available:
Sunday Dec. 16
Monday Dec. 17
Tuesday Dec. 18
Sunday Dec. 23
Monday Dec. 24
Tuesday Dec. 25
So you could stay from the 23rd, leaving on the 26th for 3 nights in a beautiful large suite for $134USD per night plus resort fee.  WOW!  Book before they disappear!!
Click here to go to the Trip Advisor Website for that hotel.
Click here if Trip Advisor shows a cheaper price the night you're looking for at a competitor to Hilton's website.  Book it as a refundable stay if you wish and send them the proof--I find they get back to you overnight.
If you look at other nights, for one of the luxury suites, you normally are looking at well over $800!