Air miles for booking flights?

Discussion in 'Canadian Trip Planning & Community Board' started by Tinkershelly, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. fredgirls

    fredgirls DIS Veteran

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    We can never seem to make the math work to use them for flights! But we live close to the border. Flying from Canada using air miles and paying the taxes always works out more expensive than the cost of driving to the states and flying from there! And we still have the air miles.
     
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  3. coastgirl

    coastgirl DIS Veteran

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    Resurrecting an old thread because I am rather AM-obessed right now.

    Here in the east, we mostly get AC as a flight choice, with Westjet sprinkled in. Very, very occasionally you will see United come up. There are some flts from Halifax/YHZ to Newark, Boston, Chicago I believe. Personally we hate clearing customs in TO. Also, when I've found the US-carrier flts, the taxes and fees are significantly lower, like $45 instead of $100 pp. I tried asking on the AM FB page how to get those US flts but didn't get a straight answer--I think they are released closer to the dates or something.

    Also you used to be able to book flts which originated in the US, but they've discontinued that option officially. (Something else I learned on the FB page!)

    AM really, really annoys me. They make it hard to collect points, then they hold off awarding them as long as they can. They make it hard to question, because they won't even look into missing miles for 120 days, and you have to be seriously motivated to keep track of everything for that long. (I am waiting until next week to contest some missing miles from October!) AND my "free tickets" usually end up costing about $200 pp in taxes and fees. I used to be able to get r-t on SWA from Manchester for that!

    All that said, I priced tickets for 4 YHZ-MCO and it's close to $1000 each. A really, really good seat sale (like, it took about 20 mins to sell out) recently could get all of us to Fl for $500 each, but usually you're lucky to get it under $800 pp. So, I'm saving $2000-$3000 by using AM. ANd I'm having a hard time imagining how easy it will be to fly directly from Halifax, as for years we've been doing the 10-hrs-each-way drive to Manchester NH to save money.

    Have thought about the "best value use" too, and now they are selling "AM cash" for $10 for 95 pts. So your points are worth about ten cents each, though if you want to buy them to top up, they are 30 cents each. If I'm saving, say, $3000 by using 10500 pts (high season, but with the BMO discount), that works out to 29 cents a mile...way better value than 10 cents a mile for AM cash. I guess the 19 cents "additional value" is earned by my hard work to stalk the AM site and get flights that work for us!
     
  4. CdnCarrie

    CdnCarrie DIS Veteran

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    Not sure how they make it hard to collect points? :confused3 I easily earn 20,000 a year.

    As for not 'awarding" them that is up to the retailers themselves not Air Miles. For example Safeway almost always has them posted in less than a week. My understanding is that the retailer has up to 90 days (or 120 for bonus ) to post and the time it takes depends on the retailer. Some retailers like to wait and post accumulated posts at one time.

    As for keeping track I keep my receipts in an envelope and check every so often. But since Safeway posts within a week I usually see it without bothing to cross check my receipts.
     
  5. coastgirl

    coastgirl DIS Veteran

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    Well for instance, here we can earn points at Lawton's drugs, and they often have "buy 4participating products, earn 15 miles" or the like. It's really hard to tell which products are "participating" and I often find myself trying to read the very-fine print on a bottle of shampoo to find out if it's Unilever or P&G. I have, more than once, had long conversations with a cashier over why I didn't get the bonus, and what qualifies as "partcipating". Often they don't have a clue why either.

    It's also common for retailers to post the bonuses around the store but not put them on the receipts. The liquor corp recently started awarding points, but doesn't note on the receipt if you earned any, or what products were eligible. THey seem to be decent about posting points to our account now, after several months of working with AM, but I know I have not had things awarded. Now I don't put the receipt away until I've noted next to the product how many points I expect.

    You must be out west? When we lived in BC (and didn't collect AM, stupid us), Safeway had tons of promos, for big amounts. This weekend I have scoured Sobeys and Lawton's flyers, and I might make 150 pts, by using five separate coupons I got in the mail, plus taking advantage of two rare multiplier offers. Sobey's has 5x base points if you spend $100 (base points = 1 for $20, so if I spend $100 I will make 25 points). Lawton's has 10x base miles on, they give 1 for $10 so I can make 50 pts if I spend $50. BUT this is the first time I've seen the "10 x base offer" since September. Each special offer is only valid for two days this weekend. A couple of times a year, if I'm lucky.

    Also I took advantage of the "Thanks a Million" contest back in the fall. Worked hard to use their coupons, and the retailer points have been posted for months. The contest closed in October, and the AM "bonus" 95 miles showed up 1 week before the 120 day deadline. I watched my account. And that was in their control.

    ...So that's why I think it's hard to use! :)
     
  6. CdnCarrie

    CdnCarrie DIS Veteran

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    Yes I'm out west and get the majority from Safeway.

    We don't even have Lawton drugs here.

    Not sure about the contest thing. Don't really remember it.
     
  7. coastgirl

    coastgirl DIS Veteran

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    Lawton's is a drug store chain owned by Sobey's, so Atlantic prov only I believe (may extend to QC/ON?). I find them relatively expensive, so I don't have reason to shop there often. Most of my transactions are Sobey's (groceries) base points, and the points we get every month from the BMO Master Card, with a few other retailers (like the liquor store and Michael's) thrown in.

    I am SO open to hearing earning tips from others, though! We are still about 700 pt short, and I will top up when I feel I have to "jump" on the flights, but am trying to gather as many as I can before that time.
     
  8. DisneyRookie2007

    DisneyRookie2007 DIS Veteran

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  9. coastgirl

    coastgirl DIS Veteran

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    Niiice. We have a BMO card, which gives us the 25% discount on points required, but that's a chunk of points they're giving you. A year of no-fee makes it pretty sweet.
     
  10. DisneyRookie2007

    DisneyRookie2007 DIS Veteran

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    I also have the BMO M/C with the 25% airmiles discount. I've also given additional A/M collector cards to my family members, buy my gas @ Shell when they have special promotions, Sobeys always has special airmiles offers.
     
  11. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

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    You guys are so lucky with Safeway. In this week's Metro (grocery store) flyer, the vast majority are of things to get 2 points. The biggest one is to buy two cases of pop for $10 and get 15 points. Two cases of pop for $10 is highway robbery since last week it was on sale for $2.99/case!!! It is very tough in Ontario to build up points quickly. There are no multipliers here at all.
     
  12. jenny-pooh

    jenny-pooh Mouseketeer

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    I love Safeway and Airmiles! I have purchased flights and tickets. Flying to Orlando from Edmonton can be quite pricey especially when you leave on a Saturday. For me it usually makes sense dollarwise to use the miles for flights even with the increasing taxes.

    The only issue I have with using AM for tickets is not qualifying for the dining plan (do not get me started on the dollar value here :rotfl:) and not having park passes on my KTTW.
     
  13. CdnCarrie

    CdnCarrie DIS Veteran

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    It also takes 2654 Air Miles to fly from Winnipeg (with BMO discount) compared to 1781 from Toronto. If you are paying cash it's cheaper. Plus it's drivable without taking a week in travel time round trip.

    I'm think you guys are the lucky ones!
     
  14. donkthemagicllama

    donkthemagicllama <font color=blue>My DW would really like to visit

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    For what it's worth, I did the math to decide if I was better using my airmiles to go YYC-Comox (vancouver island) or YYC-LAX. Dollar-wise, my airmiles were worth nearly twice as much for the comox flight as the LA flight.

    I compared by dividing flight cost for each by the number of miles required. My miles were worth something like 33cents each for the comox flight and 20 cents each for the LAX flight.

    worth looking into
     
  15. damo

    damo Proud Redhead

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    We prefer DL, so no, you guys are the lucky ones!!! ;)
     
  16. aristocat65

    aristocat65 DIS Veteran

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    One thing to remember if using Airmiles for flights, is that if you need to change or cancel you do not get your Airmiles OR "fees and taxes" back. They encourage you to buy insurance, but has exclusions like any travel insurance. I stopped trying to accumulate Airmiles years ago because of this and their high fees. This is different from Airline mileage programs which only charge a small fee to change and you don't lose your miles if you cancel. I still get a few Airmiles from Safeway, but most of the offers are for packaged type foods we don't eat. The Airmiles I do get I use for gift cards.

    I now collect American Express gold rewards which can be used for travel or transferred directly into an Airline's mileage program.
     
  17. coastgirl

    coastgirl DIS Veteran

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    That's interesting, aristocat65. I am fairly sure this is my last big AM effort, it's taken me years to get the 10k miles I need for our family of 4. I never travel for business anymore, so I don't build up any "real" ff miles. I will probably be looking for a better option for collecting rewards soon.
     
  18. CdnCarrie

    CdnCarrie DIS Veteran

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    You can just pay the change fee directly to the airline if you need to change plans.
     
  19. coastgirl

    coastgirl DIS Veteran

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    That's good to know, Carrie.
     
  20. tgropp

    tgropp DIS Veteran

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    Just got back from week on the Fantasy and a week at WDW. I went and tried to book 7 flights from Toronto to Orlando from Dec 19'th through the 29'th and someone has already booked 6 flights out of airmiles alloted 7. I will probally end up going on the 18'th as they have 7 available. I was shocked that that date was gone
     
  21. CdnCarrie

    CdnCarrie DIS Veteran

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    That's the busiest week of the year at WDW. Not sure why it would surprise you that it's booked quickly. Flight costs will be at a premium so I'm sure lots of people are looking for the Air Mile flights doing high season.
     

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