Travel

The Best Use Of Petro Points

The best use of Petro points

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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Saving Money On Currency Conversion

Saving money on currency conversionsTravel can be expensive and one of the extra costs is currency conversion. When you pay for purchases in a foreign currency there is almost always an extra cost involved. If you are travelling for a long time or spend a lot of money when travelling, your costs can be significant. Whenever I travel I always try to think ahead about how I can save costs on converting my money. I tend to avoid converting cash at the big banks because they are usually more money and I avoid converting currency at an airport because it’s the most expensive option.

Cheapest Exchange Options

Here is a quick guide to the cheapest ways to convert cash (beginning with the cheapest and ending with the most expensive option). Keep reading » about Saving Money On Currency Conversion

The Best Bang For Your Esso Extra Points

The best bang for Esso Extra pointsEsso 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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How To Score Cheap Hotels On Priceline (The Ultimate Guide + Video)

How to score cheap hotels on PricelineI’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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The Best Sites For Finding Cheap Flights

The best sites for finding cheap flightsLet’s face it, trying to find a good deal on airfare can be intimidating!

There are so many sites to look at from airline sites, to online travel agencies, to third party comparison services. Ultimately, you’re left wondering if you are getting the best price and that isn’t a good feeling.

The best place to start is always with comparison websites that don’t actually let you book directly. The reason for this is because not only do they have access to the same inventory as the others, but they also partner with a wide array of online travel agencies to ensure you get the absolute lowest price.

In fact, most sites should have very similar prices and inventory because they all use a small shared set of backend systems. Therefore, the biggest savings come when you either find an interesting booking that is a mish-mash of multiple airlines or one of the online travel agencies decides to get aggressive on their pricing and pass on some of their usual profit to you.

Top Airfare Comparison Websites

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Avoiding The Costly Upsell On Car Repairs

Avoiding the costly upsell of car repairsI’ve written quite a few articles about saving money on cars and car repairs and even buy my own parts to save up to 90%, but I’m still far from a car expert. Just the other day I was booking an appointment to get my 2013 Santa Fe serviced, when it hit me that I may have succumbed to the upsell many times in the past.

When I called to make the appointment, the friendly lady on the line started giving me all kinds of recommendations. She informed me that my vehicle was due to have the brakes inspected and lubricated to prolong their life, that my tires should be checked for alignment to avoid tire wear, and one other thing that I can’t remember right now.

Luckily I had my wits about me, so I politely inquired about the cost of each of the services she offered me, the benefits of doing the service, and if it was necessary under the regular maintenance required for the warranty.

The brake service itself was $200 and as I started declining the services, she started offering me cheaper options ending with the $25 alignment test.

They Almost Had Me

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Lost Luggage: How To Minimize Your Losses

Lost luggage: how to minimize your lossesI travel a few times a year (some trips for business, some for pleasure) and have been lucky with my luggage - it's only been lost twice in the past 5 years and both times the airline was able to quickly recover the luggage.

Others aren't so lucky. They wait for their bag to arrive and when it doesn't show, they are sent to airline customer service to go through the long process of claims and paperwork related to finding the bag. Each year about 2% of lost bags aren't recovered, and it's important to know what to do if it happens to you.

Reporting Lost Baggage

Most airlines have a customer service area in major airports (located near where the bags come out in the arrivals level) that deals specifically with baggage issues. If your bag doesn't arrive your first step is to go here. It's important you report the lost bag immediately - if not, the airline won't be responsible for it.

If you had connecting flights with a different airline, the airline that you last flew on is responsible for your bags. For example, if you flew Westjet to Toronto and then American Airlines to Florida, then American Airlines would be responsible for your baggage.

Related: Top Aeroplan Credit Cards Compared

Once at customer service you'll be asked for your baggage claim ticket that was originally given when your bags were checked while checking in for your flight. It's a small barcode that has all the tracking information for your bag. The airline can still look up your bag's information without it, but it takes longer to search the system and isn't as accurate.

A customer service rep will then ask you for the details on your bag. Important details on you baggage are the approximate size, colour, contents, identifying marks (such as a ribbon), where your trip started and what connections you had (if any).

This information is entered into the system and delayed baggage form is given to you with a unique reference number and a toll-free number you can call to find out the status of your bag. At this point your bag isn't technically lost - it is "delayed" and you'll need to give the airline a chance to find it first before claiming it as a lost bag.

Delayed Baggage Compensation

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Do You Splurge?

Do you splurge?A person new to HowToSaveMoney.ca might think that I’m a tight fisted miser who bends down to pick up every penny - or should I say nickel? - off the street and then goes home to curl up in bed and snuggle with my piggy bank while laying on my mattress stuffed with cash.

As enticing as that sounds, it simply isn’t so!

My goal in life is to save as much money on everything I can so I have more money left over to live a good life and to splurge on the things I enjoy! No, I don’t believe we need oodles of money to be happy, but I do definitely enjoy spending it on some things and I’d be lying if I said it never brings a smile to my face. I’m human like the rest of you, and we all like to spoil ourselves from time to time.

My Favourite Splurges

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Getting The Most Out Of Your New Car Warranty

Getting the most out of your new car warrantyWhen shopping for a new vehicle, people tend to place a lot of emphasis on the warranty always looking for the best possible coverage. As such, car manufacturers compete heavily on warranty, especially foreign manufacturers.

The gold standard for new car warranties used to be 3 years bumper to bumper and after that you were on your own if something went wrong. Now it’s becoming increasingly common to see 4 and 5 year warranties, as is the case with Hyundai and Kia, and many luxury brands. Mitsubishi even goes so far to offer a 10 year powertrain warranty on some of their vehicles with a 5 year warranty on everything else. Here is a handy guide to new car warranties on Cars.com.

Related: How To Make Your New Car Last Forever

However, after having such a large influence over buying decisions, the warranty is often relegated to the back of the buyer’s mind as soon as the purchase is completed only to be thought of again if an obvious problem arises. As with a lot of things in life, it can really pay off to be proactive in your approach to your car warranty to maximize the value you get out of it and ensure the longest possible life out of your new vehicle.

Understand Your Warranty Fully

It’s pretty common for people not to understand their warranty fully, including the important exceptions it contains, and they are then surprised when they discover something they thought was covered isn’t. Bumper to bumper sounds promising doesn’t it?

The truth is there are still a lot of things that aren’t covered or have a shorter coverage period because they are considered to be subject to regular wear and tear. Typically things like brake pads, rotors, tires, cosmetic appearance, wipers, belts, batteries, hoses and certain electronic components have exclusions or exceptions because they are considered to be items that suffer from regular wear and tear.

You’ll want to review your warranty document carefully and jot down any notable exceptions that pop out at you.

Get Early Adjustments Made

During the first year almost anything and everything is covered under your warranty. If there is something you don’t like or are worried about with your new car, simply call the service department and get them to look at it. Have a small rattle that’s annoying you? Covered! Can’t figure out how to operate the fancy technology? They’d be happy to help!

Just be aware that some warranties will only allow you to come in for free adjustments once or a couple of times. If that is the case, make sure you make a comprehensive list of adjustments you’d like before you go in so that you don’t end up regretting it later after you’ve already used up that benefit.

Find Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) For Your Vehicle

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