[FAQ] Canada’s Top Loyalty Programs – Your Questions Answered

Hyder Owainati
by Hyder Owainati October 17, 2018 / No Comments

There’s no question about it: investing in a credit card rewards program is one of the best ways to earn major discounts and save on everything from flight tickets and hotel rooms to cruises, restaurants and more.

Where the real questions arise is around the specifics of each loyalty program: “How much are rewards points really worth?”, “How can I redeem points?” and of course, “Which rewards program is best for me?”

With that in mind, Ratehub.ca has created this handy FAQ to answer your burning questions about some of the most popular credit card loyalty programs in Canada.

Best Loyalty Programs in Canada



Aeroplan

One of Canada’s oldest loyalty programs at 34 years old, Aeroplan was first launched as the dedicated frequent flyer program of Air Canada. Today, Aeroplan has over five million active members who can earn and redeem their miles for flights on over two-dozen airlines as well as hotel stays, merchandise, gift cards and more.

Q: How do you earn Aeroplan miles?

A: TD, CIBC and American Express each issue travel credit cards that are associated with the Aeroplan program.

Aeroplan credit cards typically offer 1 mile for every $1 in purchases, however you can stand to earn a higher number of miles per dollar on some purchases when using select cards. One such example is the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, which offers 1.5 Aeroplan miles for every $1 spent towards groceries, gas and pharmacy-related purchases.

TIP:

  • If you book your flight through Air Canada or any of the other 26 Star Alliance Partner member airlines, you can get additional miles for every dollar spent on your travel purchase. You also can get twice the miles when you shop from an Aeroplan partner store when using your Aeroplan credit card while simultaneously presenting your Aeroplan Membership Card number.

Q: What is the dollar value of an Aeroplan mile?

A: According to our calculations, the dollar value of 1 Aeroplan mile is approximately $0.0120. It’s important to note however, the value of miles is not consistent and can vary depending on which region of the world you’re flying to. For example, 60,000 Aeroplan points can be worth $792 or $366 depending on whether you redeem your miles for a flight to Brazil or Italy respectively.

TIPS:

  • Aim to redeem your miles for flights to regions where the “Average Value of a Mile” is equal to or above $0.0l20, such as the Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific region or on long haul flights to the continental USA. This is the most effective way to ensure you avoid redeeming your miles for anything below their average value.
  • If your travel plans include a flight to a region of the world where the “Average Value of a Mile” is below $0.0l20, consider purchasing the flight ticket outright and banking your miles to redeem for another trip to a more high-value region.
  • Do you have flexible travel plans? If so, you may want to consider including one or two additional stop overs as you may be able to get more value out of your points for doing so (Aeroplan allows for a maximum of 2 stop overs).

Q: What can you redeem Aeroplan miles for?

A: Aeroplan miles can be redeemed for airline tickets through the Aeroplan App, which is available on both Android and iOS devices. If you’d like to use your points for rewards besides airline travel, you can also log in to the Aeroplan website to redeem points for everything from:

  • Flights, hotels, vacation packages, car rentals and cruises
  • Entertainment, including dining and events, spas and getaways
  • Gift cards and merchandise for electronics, fashion and accessories, personal care, home and garden items and more
  • Donations to a charity or to Aeroplan’s Green It Up program to reduce your carbon footprint

TIP:

  • Try and resist redeeming your Aeroplan miles for anything other than flight tickets. While merchandise and free hotel stays may be tempting, they offer significantly lower value for your points.

Q: What is Aeroplan’s policy regarding expiring miles?

A: Aeroplan miles do not expire for active members. However, if your account is inactive (meaning, you don’t use your Aeroplan credit card or miles at least once over a 12 month period) your points will expire. Rest assured, keeping your account active is easy, as you only have to make a purchase on your card or redeem miles once a year.

For extra measure, you can check the expiry status of your miles by logging into your online Aeroplan membership profile. Aeroplan will also send you an email notice around 10 to 12 weeks in advance of the date your miles are set to expire to ensure you don’t lose out on the opportunity to redeem them.

Q: Can Aeroplan miles be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: Yes, you can use Aeroplan miles to cover taxes and fees. The one caveat is that the value of your miles may be affected.

Q: Can you use Aeroplan miles retroactively?

A: Aeroplan miles cannot be applied retroactively and must be redeemed at the time of your purchase.

Q: Which airlines are affiliated with the Aeroplan program?

A: Aeroplan members can redeem their miles on Air Canada flights as well as any of the 26 other airlines that are part of Star Alliance, including United Airlines and Lufthansa to name a few.

Aeroplan has also announced new airline partnership agreements with Air Transat and Porter Airlines are in place for 2020.

Q: Can Aeroplan miles be transferred to other loyalty programs?

A: Miles can be transferred from one Aeroplan account to another at a rate of 2 cents per mile. In addition, Aeroplan can be covered to a number of other loyalty programs including:

  • American Express Membership Rewards: 1,000 points = 1,000 Aeroplan miles
  • Best Western Rewards: 5 points = 1 Aeroplan mile
  • Hilton Honors: 10,000 points = 1,000 Aeroplan miles


Air Miles

Launched in 1992, AIR MILES has over 10 million active collector accounts world-wide and is one of the most commonly-used travel rewards programs in Canada.

Q: How do you earn Air Miles?

A: BMO and American Express offer a number of credit cards that allow you to earn Air Miles on a per-dollar basis. Air Miles credit cards offer anywhere 0.05 and 0.125 miles for every $1 you spend depending on the card and the type of purchase being made.

You can also earn Air Miles without a credit card by signing up for an Air Miles Collectors Card, in which case you’ll earn points only when you present your Collector’s Card at Air Miles partners stores such as Lowes, Rona, Safeway and Shell gas stations.

Q: How much is an Air Mile worth in dollar value?

A: According to our calculations, the dollar value of 1 Air Mile is approximately $0.121.

However, the value of an Air Mile isn’t constant and can fluctuate based on the time of the year and location you’re flying to.

TIPS:

  • To maximize the value of your Air Miles, try and redeem your points on flights where the redemption value is equal to or more than $0.121, such as on flights to North Eastern USA during high season.
  • Try to schedule your travel plans for the summer, spring or winter, as you’ll reap a higher return from your miles on flights booked during high season. Below, we’ve provided the time-frames for high and low season according to Air Miles:

Low Season: January 8 – February 28, April 1 – May 31, September 16 – December 15

High Season: March 1 – March 31, June 1 – September 15, December 16 – January 7

Q: How do you redeem Air Miles?

A: Air Miles members can redeem their miles in one of two ways: as Dream Rewards or Air Miles Cash.

Dream Rewards are most synonymous with Air Miles and can be redeemed for airline tickets and other-travel rewards, such as hotel stays, vacation packages and rental cars as well as some merchandise and tickets to events.

Meanwhile, Air Miles Cash can act to subsidize your purchases and help you save on your grocery and shopping bills at a number of Air Miles partner stores such as Metro, Sobeys, Rexall and Rona, among others.

You can choose between either of these two options online on the official Air Miles website. Once redeemed, you cannot swap your Dream Rewards into Air Miles Cash or vice versa.

TIP:

  • On a purely per-point bases, you get the most value out of your Dream Rewards when they’re redeemed for flight tickets. So, try and limit your redemptions on hotel rooms and car rentals as much as possible and focus on using or saving your miles for airline tickets.

Q: Do Air Miles expire?

A: Air Miles do not expire if you are an active Air Miles member and will only be lost if an account is left inactive for 24 consecutive months.

Q: Can Air Miles be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: While Air Miles Dream Rewards can be used to pay for fuel surcharges, you cannot use them to offset the cost of taxes or fees.

Q: Can Air Miles be used retroactively?

A: Unfortunately, miles can only be redeemed at the time of purchase and cannot be applied to purchases after the fact.

Q: Which airlines are involved in the Air Miles program?

A: Air Miles can be redeemed for flights on over 30 airline partners, including Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Southwest Airline West Jet and more.

Q: Can you transfer Air Miles?

A: While some rewards programs, such as Esso and RBC, allow you to convert their points to Air Miles, the reverse isn’t true. It’s also important to note Air Miles cannot be swapped between Dream Rewards and Air Miles Cash.



American Express Membership Rewards

The smallest of Canada’s three major credit card companies (whose list includes Visa and Mastercard), American Express issues a number of credit cards that offer American Express Rewards points on a per dollar basis. American Express Rewards points are redeemable for everything from flight tickets on any airline (with no black out dates) to merchandise and more.

Q: How do you earn American Express Rewards points?

A: Most American Express credit cards that are affiliated with the American Express Rewards program offer between 1 to 2 points for every $1 spent on the card. However, depending on the card, certain purchases may be rewarded with more points.

TIPS:

  • One of the most effective ways to maximize how many American Express points you can earn is by picking a credit card that rewards you with the most points on your everyday purchases. That’s why we recommend the American Express Cobalt Card. This card constantly ranks as one of the best travel cards in Canada and offers 5 points for every $1 spent on groceries and restaurants and 2 points for every $1 spent on travel-related expenses including gas, taxis, Presto and TTC metro passes.
  • If you’re buying a flight ticket using an American Express credit card, it’s best to do so through the American Express Website, as you’ll earn 1 extra point for every $1 you spend for a total of 2 points per dollar.

Q: How much is an American Express point worth in dollar value?

A: According to our calculations, the dollar value of 1 American Express Membership Rewards Point is $0.01 for all travel related-redemptions and $0.007 for merchandise. Unlike many other loyalty programs, American Express points have a fixed value for travel redemptions and do not fluctuate based on when or where you’re travelling.

Q: How do you redeem American Express Rewards points?

A: You can redeem points by logging into the American Express Membership Rewards website or by calling over the phone. You can also download the American Express App to keep track of and redeem points. American Express points can be redeemed for everything from:

  • Flight tickets from any airline through the American Express TripFlex program, as well as travel and hotel gift cards from Air Canada, Fairmont Hotels and Auberge Saint-Antoine
  • Thousands of brand-name merchandise items across a number of shopping categories including electronics, kitchen, home and garden, and fashion at participating brands from Kitchen Aid and Cuisinart, to Dyson, Bose, Samsung and more
  • Gift cards from merchants including Apple, Indigo, Roots, Sporting Life, Holt Renfrew, Winners, HomeSense, Marshalls, Henry’s, The Keg, Oliver & Bonacini and Esso
  • Event tickets from Ticketmaster or eligible purchases on Amazon.ca
  • Credits that can be applied towards your credit card statement balance

Q: Do American Express points expire?

A: Points do not expire for active members. However, if an American Express credit card is cancelled and enrolment to the American Express program is withdrawn, points will expire after a one-month period.

Q: Can American Express points be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: Yes, you can use points to cover the cost of taxes, fees and surcharges.

Q: Can American Express points be used retroactively?

A: Yes, flight tickets can be purchased outright through an American Express credit card and redeemed using points at a later date (up to 3 months later via the web and 12 months later via the telephone).

Q: Which airlines are involved in the American Express program?

A: American Express points can be redeemed for flights on the airline of your choice.

Q: Can you transfer American Express points?

A: Yes. In fact, American Express has phenomenal transfer options with a number of the most popular rewards programs including Aeroplan, Alitalia, Asia Miles, British Airways Executive Club, Delta SkyMiles, Etihad Guest and Hilton Honors, to name a few.

TIP:

  • You can convert American Express points to Aeroplan miles (which offer a higher dollar value per point) without having to pay any taxes or fees. We’ve calculated that you can boost the value of your American Express points by up to 20% through this strategic transfer.


BMO Rewards

BMO Rewards is the branded rewards program of the Bank of Montreal, the first official bank in Canada and one of the ten largest banks in North America. BMO Rewards points are earned with every purchase made through select BMO credit cards and can be redeemed for travel or merchandise.

Q: How do you earn BMO Rewards points?

A: BMO credit cards offer between 1 to 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 in purchases.

TIP:

  • One of the best ways to maximize your rewards is to pick a credit card that rewards you the most points. That’s why we recommend the BMO World Elite Mastercard. This card offers 3 points for every $1 spent on travel, restaurant and entertainment-related purchases.

Q: How much is a BMO Rewards point worth in dollar value?

A: According to our calculations, 1 BMO Rewards point is worth approximately $0.007. The value of a BMO Rewards point is consistent and therefore isn’t affected by travel destinations.

Q: How do you redeem BMO Rewards points?

A: You must redeem points through the BMO Rewards website or by calling the BMO Rewards Centre (a $29.95 fee applies to bookings made over the phone). BMO Rewards Points can be redeemed for:

  • Travel-related rewards including flights, hotels, vacation packages and car rentals. When booking travel for more than six people, you must call the BMO Rewards Centre.
  • A wide selection of brand-name merchandise including electronics, home and garden, kitchen, luggage and bags, fashion and accessories, health and beauty items and more.
  • Gift cards from dozens of merchants including Hudson’s Bay, Starbucks, Cineplex, Best Buy, The Keg, Indigo, Amazon, Canadian Tire, Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls.
  • Credit to be applied your card statement balance or as a contribution to a BMO investment account.

TIP:

  • BMO Rewards has a price match guarantee policy, so make sure to keep an eye out for lower-priced alternatives on applicable fights before redeeming your points – it could end up saving you quite a bit of points.

Q: Do BMO Rewards points expire?

A: BMO Rewards points do not expire. However, if you voluntarily choose to close your account with BMO, you have up to 90 days to redeem your points before they are forfeited.

Q: Can BMO Rewards points used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: Yes, BMO points can be used to pay for any applicable taxes, fees and surcharges.

Q: Can BMO Rewards points be used retroactively?

A: Unfortunately, points can only be used at the time of purchase.

Q: Which airlines are involved in the BMO Rewards program?

A: From Air Canada to Delta Airlines, West Jet and more, a number of popular airlines are associated with the BMO Rewards program.

Q: Can you transfer BMO Rewards points?

A: No, unfortunately you cannot transfer points from one BMO account to another, or to other loyalty programs.



CIBC Aventura

CIBC Aventura is the official rewards program of CIBC, one of Canada’s big six banks. In addition to flights, CIBC Aventura points can also be redeemed for hotels, cruises and vacation packages. Aventura points are not limited to airlines or by black out dates.

Q: How do you earn CIBC Aventura points?

A: If you sign up for the CIBC Aventura VISA Infinite, you can earn Aventura points based on a sliding scale – with 1.5 points for every $1 dollar you spend on gas, groceries and pharmacies and 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

TIP:

  • You can earn an additional Aventura point for every $1 you spend towards your travel purchases (for a total of 2 points per dollar) when you book your trip through the CIBC Aventura Rewards Centre.

Q: How much is a CIBC Aventura Rewards point worth in dollar value?

A: According to our calculations, 1 CIBC Aventura Point is worth approximately $0.0116. However, the value of points is not set in stone and can vary depending on where you’re flying to.

CIBC Aventura splits the world into five different “Flight Regions,” as outlined below:

TIP:

  • To get the most value out of your points, aim to redeem your CIBC Aventura points when the value of a point is close to or above $0.0116 – such as on long-haul flights in Canada or to the US.

Q: How do you redeem CIBC Aventura points?

A: Aventura points must be redeemed through the CIBC Rewards website or over the phone. Aventura card holders can redeem points for:

  • Flights on any airline (with the added flexibility of no blackout dates) as well as hotels, car rentals, vacation packages and cruises
  • Hundreds of merchandise items from brands such as Dyson, KitchenAid, Le Creuset, Bose, Nikon, Weber and Napoleon
  • Gift cards from dozens of merchants including Whole Foods, Longos, The Keg, Moxie’s Grill & Bar, Amazon, Best Buy, Hudson’s Bay, Saks Fifth Avenue, Rona, Home Depot, Starbucks, Roots, Indigo and Holt Renfrew
  • Credits towards your CIBC credit card, personal line of credit balance or CIBC mortgage. Plus, points can be used contributions into a CIBC TFSA, RRSP, or Investor’s Edge portfolio
  • Auctions on unique events and experiences, such as a VIP Las Vegas trip for two or tickets to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting in New York City

TIPS:

  • Try and resist redeeming your Aventura points for anything other than air travel. While restaurant rewards or paying off your bills with points may be tempting, they offer significantly less value for your points.
  • Read our blog post on How the CIBC Aventura Rewards Program Works for an-depth review of this loyalty program.

Q: Do CIBC Aventura points expire?

A: No, points do not expire for active member or inactive members. However, if an account is closed, points will be forfeited after 60 days.

Q: Can CIBC Aventura points be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: Yes, Aventura points can be used to pay for any applicable taxes, fees and surcharges.

Q: Can CIBC Aventura points be used retroactively?

A: No, points cannot be redeemed retroactively.

Q: Which airlines are involved in the CIBC Aventura program?

A: When redeeming points for flight tickets through the CIBC Rewards website, you’ll have access to hundreds of airlines including Air Canada, British Airways and Delta Airlines, to name just a few.

Q: Can you transfer CIBC Aventura Rewards points?

A: Yes and no.

CIBC Aventura account holders who signed up before October 31, 2013 can transfer points to Aeroplan miles at a ratio of 1: 1. However, those who signed up after that date are out of luck and can’t transfer points to another loyalty program.



MBNA Rewards

MBNA Rewards is the official rewards program of MBNA, an independent credit card issuer whose Canadian portfolio of credit cards was purchased by TD in 2011. The MBNA Rewards program allows you to redeem your points for travel, cash back, merchandise and gift cards.

Q: How do you earn MBNA Rewards points?

A: MBNA issues a number of credit cards that offer MBNA Rewards points on everyday purchases. Depending on the card, you can earn between 0.5 and 2 points for every $1 in purchases.

Q: How much is an MBNA Rewards point worth in dollar value?

A: According to our calculations, 1 MBNA Rewards point is worth $0.01. If you choose to redeem your MBNA Rewards points as cash back, the value of points falls to 0.05 or the equivalent of 0.5% cash back.

TIP:

  • While having the flexibility to redeem rewards for either points or cash back is a nice feature, points offer considerably higher redemption value compared to the cash back option.

Q: How do you redeem MBNA Rewards points?

Points must be redeemed by signing in to the MBNA Rewards website or by contacting MBNA over the phone at 1-888-876-6262. Points can redeemed for the following rewards:

  • Travel-related purchases including flights
  • Merchandise from the MBNA Rewards catalogue, from brands including Apple, GoPro, Nest, Bose, Le Creuset, Fossil and Swarovski
  • Gift cards from dozens of merchants including Starbucks, The Keg, Hudson’s Bay, Canadian Tire, Cineplex, Home Depot, Saks Fifth Avenue, Best Buy, Sport Chek, Winners, HomeSense andMarshalls
  • Credits that can be applied towards your monthly statement balance
  • Purchases made through the MBNA Rewards eMall

Q: Do MBNA Rewards points expire?

A: There is no expiration date for MBNA Rewards points while you are an active member.

Q: Can MBNA Rewards points be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: Yes, MBNA points can be used to cover the cost of taxes, fees and flight surcharges.

Q: Can MBNA Rewards points be used retroactively?

A: Yes, flight tickets can be purchased outright through an MBNA credit card and redeemed with points at a later date (up to 9 months later). Please note, you’ll need a minimum of 10,000 points to redeem points retroactively. This option may impact the value of your points.

Q: Which airlines are involved in the MBNA Rewards program?

A: MBNA Rewards points can be redeemed for flights on the airline of your choice.

Q: Can you transfer MBNA Rewards points?

A: Unfortunately you cannot transfer points from one MBNA account to another, or to other loyalty programs.



Meridian Travel Rewards

Meridian Travel Rewards is the official rewards program of Meridian, Canada’s third largest credit union.

Q: How do you earn Meridian Rewards points?

A: While the majority of Meridian credit cards are cash back cards, Meridian does issue two credit cards that offer travel points on your everyday purchases.

The Meridian Visa Infinite Travel Rewards Card offers 3 points for $1 spent on travel and 1.5 points per $1 on all other purchases but is accompanied by a $100 annual fee. The Meridian Visa Platinum Travel Rewards Card, on the other hand, offers 2 points for $1 spent on travel and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases and comes with a $50 annual fee. It’s important to note that neither of the aforementioned credit cards are available in the province of Quebec.

Q: How much is a Meridian Rewards point worth in dollar value?

A: According to our calculations, the value of 1 Meridian Rewards point is approximately $0.01.

Q: How do you redeem Meridian Rewards points?

A: Points can be redeemed through the Meridian Travel Rewards website for:

  • Flights on more than 100 airlines, stays at more than 80,000 hotel properties, cruises and vacation packages
  • Thousands of merchandise items across categories such as appliances, electronics, beauty, fitness and sports, toys and games, home, office products and outdoor living. Brands include Apple, Bose, Samsung, Dyson, KitchenAid, Le Creuset, Hudson’s Bay, Swarovski, Pandora and FitBit
  • Gift cards from merchants including Cineplex, Indigo, Pottery Barn, Roots, Winners, HomeSense, Marshalls, Red Lobster, The Keg, Earl’s Restaurant and Jack Astor’s
  • Tickets to sporting events, live concerts, theatre, opera and comedy, motorsports, horse racing, theme park tickets, Las Vegas shows and other special events

Q: Do Meridian Travel Rewards points expire?

A: No, Meridian points do not expire. However, if you voluntarily choose to close your account with Meridian, your points will be forfeited immediately.

Q: Can Meridian Travel Rewards points be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: Yes.

Q: Can Meridian Travel Rewards points be used retroactively?

A: Yes, you can redeem points as cash back to cover the cost of your rewards at a later date. The one caveat to consider is that the value of your points may be affected when using this redemption option.

Q: Which airlines are involved in the Meridian program?

A: Meridian Rewards points can be redeemed for flights on over 100 airlines.

Q: Can you transfer Meridian Rewards points?

A: Unfortunately, points cannot be transferred to other loyalty programs. However, points can be transferred from one Meridian account holder to another.



National Bank Points

National Bank is the sixth largest bank in Canada and the single-largest bank in Quebec.

Q: How do you earn National Bank points?

A: National Bank issues a number of credit cards that offer points on everyday purchases. Most National Bank credit cards offer between 0.5 and 2 points for every $1 in purchases, depending on the card.

TIP:

  • You can earn up to 25% more points when you spend at the pump at participating Ultramar gas stations until November 11, 2018.

Q: How much is a National Bank point worth in dollar value?

A: According to our calculations, the value of 1 National Bank point is approximately $0.01.

Q: How do you redeem National Bank points?

A: Points must be redeemed through the A la carte Rewards Boutique website (which offers access to every major airline and travel agency) and can be used to cover either the full or partial cost of a travel expense. The redemption process requires that card holders first purchase the flight tickets on their credit card and wait 72 hours before their rewards are applied to their statement.

Aside from using points to book travel tickets, National Bank points can also be redeemed for:

  • Hundreds of items from the À la carte boutique from brands including Apple, Cuisinart, Coleman, Le Creuset, LG, Bose, Michael Kors, Fossil, Oakley and Swarovski
  • Gift cards from dozens of merchants including Hudson’s Bay, Gap, Brault & Martineau, SAQ, Club Piscine, Gap, Banana Republic, The Keg, Indigo and Home Depot
  • Credits to pay off your credit card balance or contribute to National Bank financial products, such as TFSAs or RRSPs
  • Donations to a charity

Q: Do National Bank points expire?

A: Points never expire as long as you are an active National Bank credit card holder. However, if your account is left completely inactive for six consecutive months, your points will expire and you’ll only have a 30-day window of time in which you can redeem them.

Q: Can National Bank points be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: No, unfortunately.

Q: Can National Bank points be used retroactively?

A: Yes, on National Bank Platinum, World and World Elite credit cards, points can be used retroactively. Card holders must first purchase the flight tickets on their credit card and request to exchange their points for a travel discount from National Bank within 60 days of the transaction.

Q: Which airlines are involved in the National Bank A la carte program?

A: National Bank points can be redeemed for flights on the airline of your choice.

Q: Can you transfer National Bank points?

A: National Bank points cannot be transferred to other loyalty programs. However, points can be transferred from one National Bank account to another.



RBC AVION

Avion is the travel rewards program of RBC – the largest of Canada’s big six banks based on assets and market capitalization. RBC Avion points can be redeemed for travel rewards including flights, hotels and car rentals. Ticking off all the boxes of a flexible travel program, Avion members can book flights on any airline with no seat restrictions or blackout dates.

Q: How do you earn RBC Avion points?

A: Most of the RBC credit cards that are affiliated with the Avion program offer 1 point for every $1 in purchases, with exception of the RBC Visa Infinite Avion which provides 1.25 points for every $1 spent towards travel.

TIP:

  • You can earn bonus points for every dollar you spend on travel-related purchases when you book your trip through the Carlson Wagonlit Travel Management company or shop around on the RBC Rewards e-mall.

Q: What is the dollar value of an RBC Avion point?

A: According to our calculations, the dollar value of 1 Avion point is approximately $0.0114. However, Avion points are not consistent and their exact value can fluctuate based on which of the six RBC flight zones (outlined below) you’re travelling to and the total cost of the flight.

Q: How do you redeem RBC Avion points?

A: RBC Rewards points can be redeemed through the RBC Rewards website.

When redeeming your points, you can use RBC’s Air Travel Redemption Schedule to take advantage of special travel offers that are available exclusively to Avion card holders. The only caveat is that you must book your travel tickets at least two weeks in advance.

If you need to fly in short notice (under two weeks) you can still redeem your points, but at the rate of 100 points for 1 dollar. You can also use the Pay Back Option available through your RBC online banking account to apply your points as a credit on your monthly statement to cover travel purchase retroactively.

Avion points can be redeemed for numerous rewards, including:

  • Travel rewards including flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages and cruises
  • For thousands of items from Apple and Best Buy catalogues, as well as household and fashion merchandise and gift cards.
  • As credits to be applied to your credit card balance, RBC loans or investment products

Q: Do RBC Avion points expire?

A: Avion points do not expire for active members. If you choose to voluntarily close your account however, you will have 90 days to redeem your Avion points before they are forfeited.

Q: Can Avion points be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: Yes, points can be applied to the cost of taxes and fees at a rate of $0.01 per point.

Q: Can you transfer Avion points?

A: Compared to the rewards programs of some other Canadian banks, Avion points can be transferred to a number of popular frequent flyer programs including West Jet, British Airways, HSBC and American Airlines.



SCENE

The loyalty program of choice for movie buffs, SCENE is jointly owned by Scotiabank and Cineplex Entertainment and offers points that can be redeemed for free movie tickets and cinema concession purchases at over 160 theatres across Canada.

Q: How do you earn SCENE points?

A: You can earn SCENE points in one of two ways: with a SCENE membership card or a Scotiabank SCENE Visa card.

With a SCENE membership card, you’ll only earn points on purchases made at Cineplex Cinemas or partner store locations. This membership card offers 100 SCENE points for every general admission Cineplex movie ticket purchase and 10 points for every $1 spent at the concession stand or at the online Cineplex store.

On the other hand, if you have a Scotiabank SCENE credit card, you’ll get SCENE points on all your everyday expenses – not just those that are Cineplex-related.

Plus, with a SCENE Visa Card, you’ll earn SCENE points at a faster rate, as you’ll get 5 points per $1 spend at Cineplex Cinemas (including the concession stand) and 1 point per dollar on all your other non-Cineplex related purchases.

Q: What is a SCENE point worth in dollar value?

A: The dollar value of 1 SCENE point is $0.01.

TIPS:

  • You can use the SCENE app or website to check your points balance and view special offers that allow you to either earn bonus points on purchases or redeem rewards for half the usual number of points.
  • If you’re looking to catch a movie at home that’s not available on your favourite streaming service, consider the online Cineplex Store, as you earn SCENE points on all your online movie and television purchases from this digital platform.

Q: What can I redeem SCENE points for?

A: SCENE is a straight-forward rewards program that allows you to redeem points for free movie tickets (and concession stand food and drinks) from Cineplex Cinemas by simply presenting your SCENE Visa card at the checkout counter.

Below, we’ve broken down how many SCENE points you need to redeem for free movie tickets and more:

  • 500 points for $5 off concession stand purchases
  • 1,000 points for a general admission movie ticket
  • 1,500 points for a premium movie ticket
  • 2,000 points for a VIP movie ticket

Additionally, you can redeem points for discounted meals and purchases from a select number of SCENE partner locations, which include: Swiss Chalet, Montana’s, East side Mario’s, Bier Market and Rec Room.

Q: Do SCENE points expire?

A: SCENE points don’t expire as long as your account is active and in good standing. However, SCENE points will expire if your SCENE Visa card or points go unused for two consecutive years.

Q: Can SCENE points be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: Yes, SCENE points can also be applied to the additional cost of taxes and fees on movie ticket purchases.

Q: Can you transfer SCENE points?

A: You can convert SCENE points to Scotia Rewards points, Scotiabank’s branded rewards program, at the following rates:

  • 1,000 SCENE points = 950 Scotia Rewards points
  • 1,000 Scotia Rewards points = 770 SCENE points


Scotia Rewards

Scotia Rewards is the branded rewards program of Scotiabank, the third largest of Canada’s big six banks based on profitability. The flexible rewards program offers points that can be redeemed for everything from flights (on any airline with no blackout periods) to free hotel stays, merchandise and more. Scotia Rewards members also have access to Scotiabank’s full-fledged travel service and price match guarantee that allows for a streamline travel booking experience.

Q: How do you earn Scotia Rewards points?

A: You can earn Scotia Rewards points on a per dollar basis through any of the Scotiabank credit cards that are affiliated with the Scotia Rewards program. Depending on the card and the type of purchase, you can get between 1 and 5 points for every dollar you spend.

Q: How much is a Scotia Rewards point worth in dollar value?

A: According to our calculations, the dollar value of 1 Scotia Rewards point is $0.01. Scotia Rewards point values are fixed and do not fluctuate.

Q: How do you redeem Scotia Rewards points?

A: You can start redeeming points for travel rewards when you’ve accrued at least 5,000 points ($50 value), with additional redemptions only accepted in increments of 5,000 points.

When it comes to using points for flights or hotels, you can either redeem points from the Scotia Rewards website or from any third-party airline or travel agency (flexibility is one of this program’s biggest perks).

You can also visit the Scotia Rewards website to redeem points for merchandise (from brands including Amazon, Cineplex, Hudson’s Bay, Indigo and more), gift cards as well as credits to help pay off your credit card statement.

TIP:

Q: Can Scotia Rewards points be used retroactively?

A: Yes, flight tickets can be purchased outright through a Scotiabank rewards credit card and conveniently redeemed using points at a later date. You’ll be credited for retroactive redemptions 7 to 10 days from the date of your purchase.

Q: Which airlines are involved in the Scotia Rewards program?

A: Scotia Rewards points are flexible and can be redeemed on multiple airlines.

Q: Can you transfer Scotia Rewards points?

A: Yes, Scotia Rewards can be transferred between Scotia Rewards-linked accounts as well as with the Scotiabank SCENE program at the following rates:

  • 1,000 Scotia Rewards points = 770 SCENE points
  • 1,000 SCENE points = 950 Scotia Rewards points


Starwood Preferred Guests

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) is the loyalty program of Starwood Hotels and Resorts and its holding company Marriott – now the world’s largest hotel company. This points program is primarily geared toward frequent hotel guests who can redeem their SPG points, also known as Starpoints, for free stay at more than 6,500 hotels and over two-dozen hotel chains. The SPG program is flexible however and can be used for flight tickets in addition to hotels.

Q: How do you earn Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Starpoints?

A: There’s only one travel credit card in Canada that offers Starpoints on your everyday purchases: the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express.

This card offers a minimum of 2 Starpoints on every $1 you spend and 5 points for purchases made at participating Starwood and Marriott hotel chains. This card also currently features a lucrative 50,000 point welcome bonus (which can be redeemed for up to four free nights at select hotels) and an automatic upgrade to a Silver Elite Status membership.

You can also earn SPG points by signing up for an SPG membership and not the co-branded SPG credit card, in which case you will only earn points when you book a stay at a Starwood or Marriott hotel chain or dine at participating hotel restaurants.

Q: How much is a Starpoint worth in dollar value?

According to our calculations, the dollar value of 1 Starpoint is approximately $0.0117.

When redeeming Starpoints for a hotel room however, it’s important to note that point values are not consistent and can fluctuate based on three key factors: 1.) Whether you’re booking a hotel stay during standard, peak or off-peak hours 2.) which region of the world your hotel is located and 3.) the category of hotel you’re staying at. The SPG program currently categorizes hotels into 7 tiers (soon to be 8), with hotels in category 1 requiring the least amount of points per-night and category 7 requiring the most.

Numerous factors determine whether a hotel falls in category 1 or 7, including a hotel’s popularity, exclusivity, location and average room rate, among others.

Q: How do you redeem Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints?

A: Starpoints can be redeemed for free overnight stays at Marriott International’s worldwide network of 6,500 hotels and two-dozen hotel chain brands, which include Marriott, Delta Hotels, Sheraton, Meridian and St. Regis, to name a few. Hotel redemptions can be made through the Starwood Hotels and Resorts website.

SPG members can also use their points towards flights using Marriott’s Travel Booking website service or by transferring their SPG points to any one of Marriott’s 40 airline partners.

In addition, Starpoints can be redeemed for what are known as SPG Moments, which include access to members-only concert tickets and backstage passes as well as VIP sporting experiences.

As an SPG member, you do not have to rely solely on your points when redeeming for hotels or flights, as you have the flexibility to use a combination of Starpoints and cash. For example, Category 1 hotels during off-peak hours usually cost 7,500 points per night but can also be redeemed for 3,500 points + $55 per night. The exact ratio of points to cash varies between the seven hotel categories.

TIPS:

  • If you want to maximize your Starpoints, try and avoid redeeming your points for stays at hotels in categories 5 or 6. On average, hotels in these categories offer the least value for your points.
  • The number of Starpoints required to book a free hotel stay varies with each category but not by region. For example, a category 3 hotel in Europe requires the same amount of points as a category 3 hotel in South America – regardless of whether they differ vastly in quality or price. So, if you are travelling to an area with lower-priced hotels, you may want to consider paying for your hotel stay and banking your Starpoints for another time when you’re travelling to an area that tends to have more expensive hotels.

Q: Do Starpoints expire?

A: Points do not expire for active Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) member accounts. However, points do expire for inactive accounts.

An SPG account is considered inactive if the Starwood SPG member doe not earn or redeem Starpoints hotel for 12 consecutive months. This does not apply to members who have reached SPG Lifetime Gold or SPG Lifetime Platinum status.

Q: Can Starwood Preferred Guest points be used retroactively?

A: No, points can only be redeemed at the time you’re booking your hotel, flight or rewards.

Q: Which airlines are involved in the Starwood Preferred Guests Program?

A: SPG members redeem their points for flights on over 40 participating airlines including Air Canada, Emirates Airlines and more.

Q: Can you transfer Starpoints?

A: Yes, SPG points can be transferred to the loyalty programs of over 40 airlines, including Aeroplan miles, Emirates Skywards, Air China Companion, American Airlines AAdvantage and more. In the case of most airlines, SPG points can be transferred a ratio of 3-to-1.



TD Rewards

TD Rewards is the branded rewards program of Toronto Dominion (TD), the country’s second largest bank according to both assets and market capitalization. The popular rewards program offers a flexible points structure, in which points can be redeemed for flights on almost any airline (with no blackout dates) as well as hotels, cruises, merchandise and more. TD Rewards card holders can also earn additional points when booking their travel plans through Expedia (or what is known as the ExpediaforTD service).

Q: How do you earn TD Rewards points?

A: There are a total of three TD credit cards that are associated with the TD Travel Rewards program. Depending on the card and the type of purchase you make, you can earn 1, 2, 3, 5 or 9 points for every $1 you spend.

TIPS:

  • If you’re a TD Rewards card holder, you can earn up to triple the points when you book your travel plans through ExpediaforTD. Therefore, you should aim to use this service for all your travel-related purchases instead of buying tickets directly from an airline or a third-party travel agency.
  • Since you can book flights from any airline through Expedia, you can double dip and earn points on both your TD credit card and the loyalty card of your favourite airline.
  • One of the best ways to maximize how many TD points you can earn is by picking a card that rewards you the most points for your everyday purchases. That’s why we recommend the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite. This card offers 3 points per dollar on travel-related purchases (increases to 9 points per dollar if you use Expedia) and 3 points per dollar on all other purchases. While the card does charge a $120 annual fee, it offers a welcome bonus of 20,000 points on your first purchase.

Q: How much is a TD Rewards point worth?

A: According to our calculations, the value of 1 TD Rewards point is approximately $0.005 when redeemed through the ExpediaforTD service. In cases when this service is not used, the value of a TD Rewards points is $0.004.

Q: How do you redeem TD Rewards points?

A: You can start redeeming points through Expedia when you’ve accrued at least 200 points or 250 points in instances when you’re not leveraging Expedia’s partnership with TD.

TD points can be redeemed for a variety of travel-related expenses (including flights, train and bus tickets, car rentals, cruises, hotels, tours and more). You have the flexibility to book travel through the ExpediaforTD service (online or over the phone) or on your own.

You can also redeem TD Rewards points for items from the merchandise catalogue, which has one of the widest selections available with access to thousands of items across numerous shopping categories including electronics, entertainment, home and garden items, fashion accessories, luggage and travel, health and beauty, games and toys as well as baby products from almost every name brand imaginable.

Additionally, you can redeem points for gift cards from dozens of retailers and restaurants including Boston Pizza, Moxie’s, Starbucks, The Keg, Apple, Cineplex, Costco, Loblaws, Longos, Hudson’s Bay, Indigo, Gap, Roots, Sephora, Canadian Tire, Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls.

Q: Do TD Rewards points expire?

A: Points do not expire as long as your account is open. If you voluntarily choose to close your account however, you have up to 90 days to redeem your points before they are forfeited.

Q: Can TD Rewards points be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: Yes, TD Rewards points can be used to cover the full cost of taxes and fees.

Can TD Rewards points be used retroactively

A: Yes, you can apply TD points to travel purchases retroactively by requesting for a credit from TD no later than 90 days from the date of your ticket purchase. However, this does not apply to purchases made through ExpediaforTD and since Expedia offers a considerably higher number of TD Rewards points on your travel-related purchases, you’ll want to leverage Expedia as much as possible.

Which airlines are affiliated with the TD Rewards points program?

A: TD Rewards points can be redeemed for flights on the airline of your choice.

Can TD Rewards points be transferred to other loyalty programs?

A: Unfortunately, not.



Triangle Rewards

Triangle Rewards is the newly-revamped program from Canadian Tire – one of the country’s largest department stores and a pioneer of store loyalty programs in Canada having launched Canadian Tire Money back in 1958. Triangle Rewards offers the ability to earn and redeem your Canadian Tire Money electronically and is an ideal option for anyone who frequently visits Canadian Tire as part of their household shopping runs.

Q: How do you earn Canadian Tire Money through Triangle Rewards?

A: You can earn Canadian Tire Money through Triangle Rewards in one of two ways: by signing up for a Triangle Rewards membership or by applying for one of two Triangle Rewards credit cards.

As a Triangle Rewards member, you’ll only earn points when you present your Triangle Rewards membership app or card at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Atmosphere stores or Gas+ stations.

In contrast, with a Triangle Mastercard, you can earn Canadian Tire Money on all your purchases – not just those at participating retailers. There are currently two Triangle Rewards credit cards: the Triangle Mastercard and the Triangle World Elite. Both cards offer 4% back on Canadian Tire purchases, however, the Triangle World Elite offers additional perks such as 3% back on grocery purchases (excluding Wal Mart and Cosco) and a free roadside assistance membership.

TIP:

  • Both Triangle Rewards credit cards have no annual fees, with the only thing separating the best card (Triangle World Elite) being the higher income requirement of $80,000. So, when you’re applying for a Triangle Rewards credit card, make sure you get the best card possible based on your annual income.

Q: How much is Canadian Tire Money worth?

A: The dollar value of 1 Canadian Tire Money is $0.01.

Q: How do redeem Canadian Tire Money through Triangle Rewards?

A: Canadian Tire Money can only be redeemed at the following locations: Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark’s, Atmosphere stores, L’Équipeur, Canadian Tire Gas+ and Essense. You can apply your Canadian Tire Money to your purchases by using either the Triangle Rewards membership card, app or fob.

With that being said, Triangle Rewards members can also take advantage of additional perks such as the ability to make returns without a receipt, receive personalized offers through the Triangle App and track their transaction history and Canadian Tire Money balances.

Plus, members who have a Triangle Rewards credit card can redeem at least 5 cents per litre back in Canadian Tire Money at Gas+ or participating Husky gas stations.

Q: Does Canadian Tire Money expire?

A: Canadian Tire Money does not expire.

Q: Can Canadian Tire Money be used to pay for taxes and fees?

A: Yes, Canadian Tire Money can be used to cover taxes on select purchases.

Q: Can you transfer Canadian Tire Money?

A: Unfortunately, not.