Companion Flies to Hawaii only for $121 |Cheap Flight to Hawaii

Alaska Airlines MBNA World Elite MasterCard Annual Fee Goes Up

Alaska Airlines recently increased its World Elite MasterCard and Platinum Plus MasterCard annual fees to $75 and $99. However, these cards still provide a lot more value than their annual fees.

These cards come with a bonus 20,000 and 30,000 Mileage Plan miles after spending $1,000 within the first three months. 30,000 miles are good enough to fly one-way business class (for example, Vancouver to New York) short distance or one-way economy class long distance (for example, Toronto to Iceland) on Alaska Airlines partner members.

And then Alaska Airlines MBNA World Elite and Platinum Plus MasterCard let your companion fly for $121 US only when you pay full fare for yourself.

You can fly anywhere Alaska Airlines flies and one popular destination is Hawaii, which could cost around $1000 to $1200 for your companion. The only drawback is that companion fare can be used only on Alaska Airlines and they serve only Western Canadian cities such as Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna, Vancouver, and Victoria.

Fly Companion to Hawaii for $121 | Alaska Airlines

Companion fare can easily pay off the cost of the annual fees for these cards: $75 and $99 for Alaska Airlines Platinum Plus & World Elite Mastercard every year.

In the first year, you will have to meet the minimum $1000 spent requirement within the first three months and then the companion fare will be awarded to the primary account holder’s Mileage Plan account after two billing cycles.

Starting the 2nd year, companion fare will be awarded after the anniversary date + within 2 billing cycles.

The anniversary date is not the date when you opened your account, but when you opened the account + an additional 6 to 8 weeks.

As you can see, these two Alaska Airlines cards still provide value if you use them tactically.

Redeem Aeroplan or Hold On It To As Aeroplan & Porter Form Partnership

Aeroplan, Air Canada, Oneworld, & Porter Airlines

Loyalty Program Aeroplan had a few runs in the news again for some recent developments. We heard about the failed unsolicited $250 million hostile bid where Air Canada partnered with 3 other financial institutions—TD Bank, CIBC Bank, and Visa —and attempted to purchase Aeroplan.

Also, more news broke out that Aeroplan and Toronto-based airline Porter formed a partnership that will make Porter Airlines a preferred Canadian partner for the Aeroplan loyalty points program and let Aeroplan members earn and redeem miles on Porter flights starting July 2020.

July 2020 is also the deadline when Air Canada splits from Aeroplan.

And then there was the news that Aeroplan is in talks with another alliance, Oneworld, to form a partnership. Oneworld is an alliance of 13 of the world's leading airlines (+ other affiliate partners) and has partners such as American Airlines, British Airways, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Canadian Airlines, etc.

Currently, Aeroplan is a part of Star Alliance through Air Canada, which will end in 2020.

After absorbing all these developments, readers may naturally ask whether they should redeem Aeroplan now or hold on to it to redeem later? I will answer these questions in a video I just published.

Aeroplan Partners with Porter Airlines | Redeem Aeroplan Now or Wait?

The Best Android Flight and Trip Tracking Travel Apps

My Top Favourite Free Android Flight and Trip Tracking Travel Apps


First Published: Mar 18, 2012

Travelling will never be the like the old days due to what technology brought us on our smart phones or tablets via hi-tech apps. Just 3 years ago, I could not have possibly imagined that just forwarding my trip confirmation email to these app email addresses can perform magic instantaneously on my android devices and all the travel itinerary and detailed hotel information will be organized day by day. Today, I will discuss my top 5 favourite travel apps you should try to make your next travel smooth and hassle free. 

WorldMate by WorldMate - A very popular mobile travel app. Free version has lots of features which can not be found on some other paid version apps. Among all other app websites, only on WorldMate’s website did I find the Check-In button that lets you check in from home and receive a boarding pass before leaving home. WorldMate does have a paid version for other platforms, but not for Android. However, I would not buy a paid version for a $10 annual fee when I can buy other paid apps for a one time $5 or $10 only. 

TripIt by TripIt Inc. - Tripit is another travel organizer app that shows all your trip details in one place, including flights, hotels, cruises, restaurants, concerts, etc. Many other travel apps uses TripIt or have the ability to sync with TripIt. So having a TripIt account gives you the advantage of sending your travel details to other apps without sending a confirmation email to each of them again. 

Kayak Flight Hotel Car Search by Kayak - Kayak is an all-in-one app that lets you search hotels, flights, setup price alerts, etc. and at the same time you can track your flights. The only thing I can complain about with Kayak is that it takes up more space on your device as it is more than just a flight tracker. 

FlightTrack by Mobiata - When it comes to flight tracking, FlightTrack does the job very well. However, there is no free version. The basic version costs $4.99 and it does not offer to sync with Tripit or anything else - you need to enter your flight information manually. The pro version costs $9.99 and has the ability to sync with TripIt. Its major disadvantage is that it can only track flights - nothing else. 

SPG American Express Offers Free Marriott Night

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express Will Give Anniversary Free Hotel Night

When the Chase Marriott Premier Visa Credit Card closed its doors in Canada, I was devastated because I lost my free anniversary night at Marriott properties across the globe. This was one of my reasons to keep paying $120 on this card each year.

However, due to the Marriott and SPG merger, I was hoping the SPG Amex credit card will offer the free night once the merger completes. And it looks like that’s what is going to happen starting August, 2018.

I received a letter from American Express Canada mentioning that once the SPG and Marriott rewards program combine in August, there are some changes coming to the SPG Amex Card. Here are some of them:

- Earn rate will be 5 points per dollar spent at eligible Marriott + SPG properties

- 2 points per dollar on everything else

- Free annual night every year (Cannot exceed 35,000 points redemption value)

-  Silver Elite Status

And some more benefits. To earn Silver Elite Status, you would generally be required to stay 10 nights per year. But you will be given this elite status just for having the SPG Amex card.

I made up my mind before that I would cancel the Starwood Amex card if it does not provide free nights after the merger. But I don’t need to cancel it anymore, as I got what I wanted.

It makes sense for me to keep this card, paying $120 per year, just for the free night. Depending on where I redeem the free night, I can easily extract $150 to $400 per night or possibly more based on the Marriott/Sheraton property location and time.

The SPG Amex card does not provide any other mentionable benefits, such as travel insurances, no foreign currency fee, or concierge services. But only the free night and Silver Elite Status are enough for me to hold on to this card.

SPG Amex Free Marriott Night

Marriott & SPG New Hotel Loyalty Program

3 Things You Need to Know

What Will Happen to My SPG & Marriott Rewards Points?

The new rewards program (which does not have a name yet) will combine Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and SPG into a single program. SPG members will have to merge accounts with Marriott in August and will receive 1:3 new points. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton members don’t need to do anything.

What is the New Program Earn Rate?

Ten points per dollar spent at all brands except certain brands (Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Element) where you will earn 5 points. Elite members will earn bonus points that could go as high as 75%.

The Canadian Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express will earn 3 new points per dollar spent for everyday purchases. There will possibly be some changes coming to this card to reflect the new program.

How Many Points Do I Need for a Free Night?

Currently 3,000 SPG points or 7,500 Marriott points are required to get a Category 1 free night. The new points requirement to get a free night will be 7,500 (Cat 1) and 85,000 (Cat 8).

Starting in 2019, there will be a free night award chart and points required for a free night will be based on various factors such as peak time, standard and off-peak time, etc. Off-Peak is expected to cost about 20% less in points while the peak season is expected to cost 20% more for a free night.