Why You Should Use SCENE Points Now

Massive Scene Devaluation

If you have piled up lots of SCENE Movie Loyalty points offered by Cineplex and Scotiabank, do yourself a favour and use them by April 17, 2019 because Scene is going through a massive devaluation from April 17.

On the Scene website, they don’t mention the word devaluation anywhere and to even find the news, you have to scroll down all the way to the bottom.

You will still be earning 1 free movie for each 10 movies, but earning and redemption rates will change to earning 125 points for each movie (from 100 points) and 1250 points to redeem (from 1250 SCENE).

This means if you have 5000 SCENE points, you can watch 5 movies before April 17. But you will be only watching 4 movies after April 17 with the same 5000 points.

The 2 most popular movie redemption categories that will take heat from the devaluation are the Regular movie (redemption rate will increase from 1000 to 1250) and Enhanced Movie (from 1500 to 2000) sections.

Another category under the Food & Drink Section that will take heat is the Snacks, food & drink category. The earning rate will go down from 10 points for each dollar to 5 points, but the redemption rate will stay the same at $5 off for every 500 points.

These changes may not affect those who just will be watching movies after April 17 and collect fresh SCENE points, but will affect a lot of those who have lots of accumulated SCENE points.

So to make the most out of your SCENE points, redeem them before April 17 and still get your points’ worth.

Watch on YouTube: Got Scene? Do Yourself A Favour & Watch Free Movies Now

What Will Happen to Aeroplan Without Air Canada?

Air Canada Will Start Its Own Loyalty Program

Air Canada is leaving Aeroplan to launch its own frequent flyer program. Things will be business as usual until June 2020. After that, Air Canada and Aeroplan will travel their own paths. Today, I will talk about the future of Aeroplan and what to expect in light of this breakup.

Aeroplan has a network of 5 million members, 75 worldwide partners, and 150 brands. However, most of these members are in Aeroplan for Air Canada, not for Aeroplan itself. A lot of these members not even aware of that Aeroplan is not owned by Air Canada and is actually a separate program. It is questionable how many of these members will stick to Aeroplan once it is is no longer with Air Canada.

Aeroplan will lose access to Star Alliance partners and fantastic redemption opportunities through its partners. Star Alliance is the largest alliance of 27 airlines and some of its partners are airlines like Thai, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss, Brussels Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Air Canada. For example, my business-class flight from Toronto to Asia cost me only $61 instead of $4000/$5000 (watch the YouTube video for proof) and a fantastic redemption opportunity like this on Aeroplan is possible only because of being a member of Star Alliance through Air Canada. On its own without being part of an alliance, Aeroplan will lose lots of its members, as it will not have access to any alliance.

Aeroplan will be able to provide flight redemptions on its own like other proprietary programs such as Scotia Rewards program, BMO Rewards program, or Air Miles. However, it will no longer be able to provide significant value like before to redeem for business class flights.

Air Canada is leaving Frequent Flyer loyalty program Aeroplan. What it means for travel rewards credit cards & programs? How about frequent flyer partners? Financial author Ahmed Dawn's insights.

Banks and retailers will be reluctant to renew Aeroplan contracts once existing contracts expire. Aeroplan will have to work on new credit card partners and retailers to offer its programs once Air Canada leaves.

The end result will actually be good for consumers due to more competition. There will be new credit card offers with hefty sign-up bonuses from both Air Canada and Aeroplan as both of them will fiercely try to grab market share. Also there will be an extensive fight to secure retailers to offer Air Canada or Aeroplan points, thus more opportunities for consumers with more promotions and bonuses. I can’t wait to see all these after 2020.

Bill 791 to 134 - Rewards Credit Cards & Loyalty Programs Survive in Quebec

Rewards Credit Cards & Loyalty Programs in Quebec Canada

Part 1

I wrote Part 2 before May 1, 2017. But just before publishing, I found out that the Quebec government is pursuing a different bill, Bill 143, instead of 791. Bill 134 does not have the clause prohibiting devaluing loyalty programs as I mentioned in point 3 below. As a result, the Part 2 article below is no longer valid. Had Bill 791 passed, it would have been the end of rewards cards and programs in Quebec. However, I am publishing Part 2 anyway for your information and reference purposes.

Part 2

Will This Be The End of Rewards Credit Cards & Loyalty Programs in Quebec Canada?

Bill 791 Puts Rewards Programs at Risk of Extinction

One of the Canadian provinces, Quebec, has introduced a bill Quebec 791. This bill proposes three new legislative requirements for loyalty programs that operate in Quebec to protect consumers.

What Bill 791 means (if comes into reality) in simple terms is that rewards or loyalty programs will have to abide by these rules:

- Inform public how to collect + use the rewards

- The rewards won’t expire (once collected)

- The program or value cannot be changed when you use the rewards, devaluing the program

Loyalty or rewards programs can accept rule # one or two mentioned above. But rule # three is one with which no loyalty companies can comply. In theory, this sounds like a great idea because you are guaranteed to retain the value of the points you are collecting, whether it’s airline, hotel, or other points. In reality, this is not sustainable by any hotel, airline, or other rewards programs.

Changing the award chart, adjusting rewards redemption rate, or devaluing loyalty program, whatever you call it, is a necessity for the loyalty programs and it’s a must to survive. It’s kind of like inflation making grocery prices going up; whether you like it or not, it will happen.

Restricting loyalty programs to make necessary adjustments to survive will only make things worse and chase these programs away from Quebec. Quebec residents are the one who will suffer in the end.

And there is no need to wait to see the consequences. It’s already happening – MBNA Alaska Airlines MasterCard has already pulled out of Quebec. Other programs like SPG, IHG, Hilton Honors, Aeroplan, Avios, Amex, and many more will have to follow the same path.

If this bill passes, it will possibly be the end of rewards credit cards and loyalty programs in Quebec, especially those are international. Quebec residents and point collectors should take a hard look at this bill before it’s too late.

What Is IHG Points Break?

Photo Courtesy: IHG.com

Photo Courtesy: IHG.com

How to Travel Cheap Using IHG Points Break

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) Rewards Club is the loyalty program of hotels such as InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Candlewood Suites, and Staybridge Suites. IHG has over 5000 hotels across the globe.

Usually it costs to stay 10,000 to 60,000 points per night. However, IHG runs a promotion every three months (called IHG Points Break) that lets members to stay in hotels for 5000 points only. About 170 IHG hotels participate in this program.

A participating hotel can be booked for a maximum of two stays/reservations for unlimited nights. For example, you can book 2 rooms in the same hotel or book 2 different dates to stay as many nights as you want (if it’s available) and they will be considered 2 reservations. However, that same hotel cannot have more than two reservations/bookings. You can view the list of hotels under points break here.

There are several ways you can accumulate IHG points. I will not go into detail on all of the possible ways to accumulate IHG points in this article. You can find out easily by searching online. My favourite way to earn IHG points is to buy them when they are on sale. At the regular rate, 5000 IHG points cost $67.50 US. However, IHG runs points sales often with 100% bonus points, making it 5000 points for around $34. This means that you are staying at a hotel for $34 per night.

If you act right away when IHG announces their next segment points break, you maybe able to get a hold of an expensive hotel for 5000 each night. The steep discount sometimes can be as high as 90%. To make the most out of IHG points or their points break, learn the ins and outs of the IHG Rewards Program and here is a good article to get you started: The Complete Guide to IHG Rewards

Mileage Plan 101– Tips, Tricks, and the Basics

Alaska Mileage Plan - What You Need to Know

Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan is one of my favourite frequent flyer programs and I use this program to fly Business class across the globe paying very little. It’s no wonder Alaska Airlines and its loyalty program rank at the very top on customer satisfaction year after year.

This Mileage Plan is dynamic in the sense that it’s not part of any 3 alliances; rather it has a pool of partners from all 3 alliances and some non-allied airlines. Here are Alaska Mileage Plan partners:

- Aeromexico

- Air France

- American Airlines

- British Airways

- Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)

- Delta Air Lines

- Emirates (Dubai)

- Fiji Airways (formerly Air Pacific)

- KLM (Netherlands)

- Korean Air

- LAN (South America)

- PenAir (Alaska)

- Ravn Alaska (formerly Era)

- Qantas (Australia)

Now, let’s look at some basics of Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan frequent flyer program.

Stopover Allowed on One-Way Trip - This is one of the most sought-after features in Mileage Plan rewards. It allows stopover on one leg of the journey or 2 stopovers on a round trip. So you can visit 2 countries instead of one on a one-way trip or 4 countries on a round trip if you use this feature wisely. However, some partners do not allow stopover. Visit alaskaair.com for more info.

No Mix and Match – The Mileage Plan does not allow more than one partner on a one-way flight or on one leg of the trip in a round trip. However, it is allowed to combine with one partner + Alaska Airlines.

Generous Mileage Chart – Unlike other programs, the Alaska Mileage Plan has different redemption charts for different partners and different regions. Usually required miles are a lot less to travel business class compared to other loyalty programs. I will provide some examples below.

Avoiding Fuel Surcharges – Avoid British Airways, as their Mileage Plan collects fuel charges on BA flights, which can be hefty (in the area of $500, for example) on even short flights.

Cancel, Change, and Phone Booking - Alaska allows you to cancel or change within 60 days of departure for a $125 fee and no fee if before 60 days. The phone booking charge is $15 per ticket.

How to Search/Book Flights – You can search and book all partners’ award space on the Alaska website except for Cathay Pacific or LAN. For these, you need to search on partners’ websites such as British Airways, Qantas Airways and then call Alaska to book over the phone. You can learn more on how to search for Alaska award flights by searching more online.

Collecting Alaska Miles – Bank of America and MBNA Canada offer Alaska credit cards with other perks and features. From time to time they will also offer Alaska sales miles on discounts.

Some Alaska Rewards Flights Examples

- Cathay Pacific (CP) to Asia on business class for 50,000 miles with a stopover in Hong Kong

- You can fly to Africa for 50,000 as well with a stopover in Hong Kong on CP. This is real, not a dream.

- CP to Australia or New Zealand with a stopover in Hong Kong for 60,000.

- Qantas business class to Australia or New Zealand for 55,000 miles. Or you can fly to Auckland and have a stopover on Sydney.

- Japan Airlines luxury first class to Asia with a stopover in Tokyo for 70,000 miles.

- Fiji Airways business class to Australia or New Zealand with a stopover in Fiji for 55,000 miles.

- Fly Air France business class for 60,000 miles to Tahiti from LA.

There are so many other possibilities the Alaska mileage plan offers that I find it hard to believe. With proper planning and research, you can see the world in style with Alaska miles.