Rewards

Couples: Stop Fighting And Save Money With Planshare

couplesstopfightingandsavemoneywiththissimplesolution.jpgThis article is sponsored by BMO.

Managing your own money can be a stress inducing endeavour.

Throw in another person with a completely different personality, wants, and ideas and soon emotions can fly and tempers erupt.

In fact 17% of survey respondents in a recent BMO survey stated that they argue with their partner about their finances on a weekly basis. Turn those weeks into months and years, and you can bet that percentage rises substantially.

I’ve been there - and maybe you have too...

...You’re now living with the person you love and, at the bare minimum, you have to figure out how to split your expenses.

Or, you can dive in deep and merge your money together completely. Let’s be honest, it’s a little lot scary.

BMO PlanShare Provides Flexible Banking For Couples

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Collecting AIR MILES At Shell: Still Worth It?

collectingairmilesatshellstillworthit.jpgRoyal Dutch Shell, the second largest Big Oil company in the world, operates about 1,300 Shell branded retail stations in Canada.

Rather than offer their own rewards program like Petro-Canada’s Petro-Points or Esso Extra, Shell is a sponsor of the AIR MILES Reward Program. Customers that fill up at Shell can earn AIR MILES on eligible purchases at participating stations in addition to the miles that can be earned with other retail partners.

Shell recently changed their rewards structure yet again. It used to be that you earned 1 mile for every $20 spent on gas. Then, it became 1 mile on the first $30 and 1 mile per $20 spent in the same transaction thereafter.

Now, getting that first mile is much easier with only a 15L purchase required, but chances are it will be the only mile you earn on a single fill up. Have they gone too far with the changes this time?

Read on to see exactly how earning miles at Shell works and how you can maximize your rewards.

Earning AIR MILES with Shell

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The Best Use Of Petro Points

thebestuseofpetropoints.jpg

Petro-Canada offers the Petro-Points loyalty program. Members can collect points and exchange them for fuel, car repair and store purchases at any of the 1,500 Suncor branded gas stations.

There is no annual membership fee associated with the Petro-Points program. Sign up at a station to receive a card immediately. Signing up online gives the option to print a temporary card until one arrives in the mail. In each instance, an online account will need to be created and the card number registered. Rewards are redeemed using the online account.

Here’s everything you need to know about collecting Petro-points with Petro-Canada.

Earning Petro-Points

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The Best Bang For Your Esso Extra Points

thebestbangforyouressoextrapoints.jpgEsso Extra is a loyalty program offered by Esso, one of the largest gas retailers in Canada. It offers everyday rewards like car washes, gift cards and fuel to entice drivers to fill up at one of the 1,700 Imperial Oil branded gas stations.

The Esso Extra program is free to join and there are no annual membership fees. You can join online or become a member at any station with your name, a valid email and Canadian address. Once the Esso Extra card has been received, you will need to create an online account to register the card number. The online account is also used for redeeming rewards.

With the current price of regular running about $1.05/L, an average Canadian family that drives 20,000 KM/year in a vehicle with a combined city/hwy fuel economy of 9L/100 KM would pay $1,890 for a year’s worth of fuel. How many points would be accumulated and what would be the best way to use those points? Here’s what you need to know.

Earning Esso Extra Points

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Review: SimplyCash Preferred From American Express

simplycashpreferredcardfromamericanexpress.jpgI recently reviewed the regular Simply Cash Card from American Express, which is one of the most underrated no-fee cash back credit cards in Canada. This card, the Preferred edition, is like the big brother to no-fee card in that it has higher cash back and more perks, but comes with an annual fee of $79 to account for them.

You’ll get 1.5% cash back on ALL purchases, which is a really good rate, and the annual fee is less than all of its main competitors. Everything else with $79 or less earns less cash back or has a tiered cash back system, which typically also means less overall cash back. Unfortunately, there are a few competitors with slightly higher annual fees in the $90-$120 range that offer more cash back.

However, this card definitely fills a nice niche that you will begin to appreciate as you peruse the pros and cons below. The sign up bonus that is effectively worth $400 is also nothing to sneeze at because none of the other cash back cards come close to this - they typically come in at around $100, if a bonus is offered at all.

Quick Facts

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The Simply Cash Card From American Express Is Very Underrated!

simplycashcardfromamericanexpress.jpgCanadians love their cash back credit cards, be it the Smart Cash, the Momentum, the Aspire, or one of the other cash back offerings from The Big Five Banks. However, there is one card that often gets overlooked when it comes to cash back credit cards, and it is the Simply Cash Card from American Express.

It might be flying under the radar because Amex isn’t known for cash back - most of their cards offer travel rewards. Or, it could be that the market leading 1.25% cash back on ALL purchases is just too simple for most people... it isn’t a round number after all, and that could also be a put off. More realistically, it could be because one particular store they shop at doesn’t accept Amex cards, but my experience has been that most stores will gladly take it. Even Tim Hortons, the last big cash-only hold out in Canada, now takes American Express.

Ultimately, I don’t know why more people aren’t choosing this card, but I hope to help change that with this review because it is definitely a card worth considering. It is especially good if you make a lot of everyday purchases that don’t fall into the bonus spending categories of other cards (which are often very limited anyway, as is the case with the Smart Cash).

Heck, since the card has no annual fee, I’m not sure why more people don’t just apply for it to get the massive 5% cash back on gas and grocery purchases for 6 months. If you spend $800 per month on those, that’s a cool $240 you just earned!

Quick Facts

Annual fee $0
Interest rate 19.75%
Min. income $15,000
Reward type Cash Back
Reward 1.25% on ALL purchases with no limits
HTS reward return 1.25% of spending for a typical person after annual fee deducted
Sign-up bonus 5% cash back on gas & groceries for 6 months - $250 maximum.
Apply Click here

Positives:

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How To Score Cheap Hotels On Priceline (The Ultimate Guide + Video)

howtoscorecheaphotelsonpricelinetheultimateguidevideo4.jpgI’m going to show you exactly how to get the best possible hotel deal on Priceline resulting in savings of up to 70% off a hotel’s published rate. No joke, if you want proof you can check out my list of previous cheap hotel scores.

I’m going to walk you through it step by step giving you tons of extra information most guides don’t cover and to top it off I’m going to show you a video of me doing it myself so you can be 100% confident when you do it.

Sound good?

But first, I want you to know exactly what you’re getting into by giving you the pros and cons of bidding on hotels. Also, if you aren’t familiar with Priceline and what hotel bidding is, read the above link for a good primer and then come back here to learn exactly how to do it.

Start A New Priceline Bid

The Ups And Downs Of Hotel Bidding

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Are Chapters-Indigo Plum Rewards Worth It?

arechaptersindigoplumrewardsworthit.jpgPlum Rewards is Canada’s largest loyalty program for reading enthusiasts. It offers discounts and special promotions for members that shop at the Toronto-based retail chain Indigo. The Plum Rewards program is available across the country at Indigo’s 92 superstores and 131 smaller format stores operating as Chapters, Coles, SmithBooks and online at chapters.indigo.ca.

Plum Rewards is free to join and there are no annual membership fees. To become a member, you must be 16 years of age. You can join online or at any store location with your name and a valid email address or mailing address and telephone number.

Related: Cut Your Telephone Costs By 90% With Voip

In addition to books, Indigo has expanded to include exclusive product lines, a large toy department, fashionable home décor and even specialized teas. The wide range of products makes Chapters a tempting shopping destination to readers and non-readers alike.

Changes have been made to the Plum Rewards program starting September 3rd, 2015. Here’s what you need to know.

Earning Plum Rewards Points

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What Is An Aeroplan Mile REALLY Worth?

whatisanaeroplanmilereallyworth.jpgWith all the negativity surrounding Aeroplan lately, some people might say they are worthless actually!

Believe me, I’m frustrated too: lack of availability, bad connections, high taxes and fees, and big fuel surcharges (when oil prices were higher) are REAL. Amia needs to wake up and fix these flaws before they lose all their members due to frustration!

Find out what an Aeroplan Mile is really worth. Download the PDF version of this analysis.

However, if you know how to work Aeroplan to your advantage, Aeroplan miles are actually VERY valuable. If you follow the suggestions in my complete guide to the rewards program linked above, then you will easily avoid most of the major pitfalls and start getting maximum value for your miles.

The Quick Answer: 3 Cents

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Canadian Tire Money Finally Comes Out Of The Dark Ages

canadiantiremoneyfinallycomesoutofthedarkages.jpgCanadian Tire ‘Money’ has been in the dark ages as a rewards program for many years forcing you to carry around stacks of worthless bills that were easily lost or left behind.

Things were slightly better if you were a Canadian Tire Options MasterCard holder because you could accumulate the stuff on your credit card but unfortunately that card has a dubious system for paying out rewards and doesn’t give great value anyway. The only exceptions being bonus gas multipliers and in-store offers available exclusively to cardholders that are occasionally worthwhile.

Enter the new My Canadian Tire ‘Money’ program. It has all the features of a modern rewards program making it much more usable and useful. This is still a big step forward for the program even though the return on spending it offers has diminished greatly from a high of 5%, when CT Money first started in 1958, to the meagre 0.4% it is today.

The up side to the low regular rate of return is that it allows them to offer big bonus multipliers, similar to what you see with other programs like Shoppers Optimum and Air Miles, along with individual product bonuses and offers customized specifically for you.

Related: The Best Cash Back Websites For Canadians

Great New My Canadian Tire Money Features

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