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Warnings about changes in credit card "points" policies
October 12, 2015
12:16 pm
Loonie
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http://www.thestar.com/busines.....seman.html

It seems tome that the best thing is to use them up as quickly as possible. If you are nnot in a position to accumulate quickly, perhaps you should forget about trying to save for high ticket rewards.

October 12, 2015
1:59 pm
Norman1
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Loonie said
...
It seems tome that the best thing is to use them up as quickly as possible. If you are nnot in a position to accumulate quickly, perhaps you should forget about trying to save for high ticket rewards.

I feel the same way. It is also not just Aeroplan/AIMIA that devalues existing points or drops desirable rewards.

Earlier, someone reported that AIR MILES will be discontinuing the BMO investment vouchers for Dream Miles: BMO GIC Vouchers Through Air Miles soon to be discontinued

I just had a look at the Dream Rewards catalog. Looks like sometime earlier this year, AIR MILES had quietly dropped the magazines subscriptions and charitable donations also for one's Dream Miles.

October 12, 2015
2:33 pm
kanaka
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That was me. Also keep in mind both Aero Plan and particularly AirMiles now have expiry dates. I would imagine the average spender will have difficulty saving enough miles for air travel. So in the case of Air Miles and there ever changing catalog ..... what is the point of collecting them? They seem to keep making changes for the consumer to use them for something they really want or see a value to want something. The whole program is a money maker for AirMiles off of the backs of the retailers offering the program. We are often asked for our AirMiles card at Rona or Thrifty and knowing we are under the threshold I say I have a card but there is no point of using it. And yes some retailers a keep track and award miles based on a weekly or monthly accumulation of purchases. I only accumulate using my Mastecard or Amex AirMiles cards. I would imagine once retailers see that the consumer is disenchanted, perhaps we will see the demise of AirMiles. AirMiles folded in the USA very quickly.

October 12, 2015
5:41 pm
Loonie
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Air Miles, in particular, has substantially reduced the options for Dream Rewards. BMO vouchers and magazine sub to MoneySense were the only ones I was interested in - both gone.

Now, the only magazine offer, and it is a poor substitute, requires you to BUY 2 magazine subscriptions for cash (which, for me, would be one too many) and then gives you 75 Air Miles back (less than $4 per sub rebate, based on MoneySense rate), which you may or may not actually find a use for before they expire.
As recently as last February, you could get a subscription to ONE magazine of your choosing for 110 Air Miles REDEMPTION, which was a good deal, and I took it.
So, it used to cost, effectively, $11, and now it costs $21 IF you buy 2 subs. That's almost 100% inflation in my books.

Not really worth it. It's not that great a magazine. Lots of repetition, and, unfortunately, a number of errors, which could be avoided with better fact-checking.

For what it's worth, you can still make charitable donations through your Cash Rewards account, but that won't help you deal with your Dream Rewards accumulated miles. However, I prefer to make direct donations, so that I can get a tax receipt, and use the Air Miles for things that would otherwise cost me out of pocket with no tax benefits. I hope I can still find some way of doing that, but choices are getting slimmer.

Best option for us in future with Air Miles is 100% "Cash Rewards". At least you can get rid of these quickly, if one of their partners works for you. For now, we can use it on Shell gas. You can dump Cash Rewards every 95 miles, so your losses should never be too great, should the Air Miles prove ultimately useless to you.
We have a Shell station nearby which must compete in price with the Loblaw/No Frills outlets in the area, so that forces them to behave themselves on price. Also, right now at least, Sobey's is giving out discount coupons for Shell with purchases. I am getting these (worth about 5 to 6 cents/litre in this case) from a car-less relative who has no choice but to shop at Sobey's. So, for the next little while we can use the Cash Rewards account to good effect.

We had decided last winter that one of us would collect Dream and the other would collect Cash for a while, to see which one worked out better for us. The answer is now clear. It will be Cash Rewards only for us as soon as I can get rid of my Dream Rewards, may it be soon! 783 and counting...

October 13, 2015
9:39 am
Yatti420
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I should point out Capital One point system isn't sheisty like aeromiles/airmiles etc.. No point expirations and no more tiers (although all travel is now x100 to redeem).. It's a slow accumulation but you can choose to redeem for cash (taking a hit) or travel.. They've never expired points etc aslong as I've been a client..

October 13, 2015
1:35 pm
Loonie
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The credit card points systems that are not linked with external providers (such as Air Miles and Aeroplan) don't normally have expiry dates etc. The issue with them is that you must keep the credit card (often with an annual fee) and use it (although another credit card may come along that has better rewards) in order to get the benefit out of your points.

Also, bear in mind that some credit card issuers will close your account for inactivity, and with them go the points. I don't know Capital One's policy on that but it's always worth reading all the fine print to see what they have allowed themselves to do.

One of mine was closed without my say-so several years ago in this way. I was really annoyed because I actually had plans to use it.

October 13, 2015
2:49 pm
kanaka
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I have seldom used cards too. I use one to pay Telus Home with (monthly) one and the other to pay Telus Mobility (annually) and another to pay Treo (bridge tolls) (quarterly if used) with.

October 14, 2015
8:15 pm
Norman1
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Loonie said

Air Miles, in particular, has substantially reduced the options for Dream Rewards. BMO vouchers and magazine sub to MoneySense were the only ones I was interested in - both gone.

Now, the only magazine offer, and it is a poor substitute, requires you to BUY 2 magazine subscriptions for cash (which, for me, would be one too many) and then gives you 75 Air Miles back (less than $4 per sub rebate, based on MoneySense rate), which you may or may not actually find a use for before they expire.

...
Not really worth it. It's not that great a magazine. Lots of repetition, and, unfortunately, a number of errors, which could be avoided with better fact-checking.

For what it's worth, you can still make charitable donations through your Cash Rewards account, but that won't help you deal with your Dream Rewards accumulated miles. However, I prefer to make direct donations, so that I can get a tax receipt, and use the Air Miles for things that would otherwise cost me out of pocket with no tax benefits. I hope I can still find some way of doing that, but choices are getting slimmer.

...

I agree: What still remains for one's Dream miles is no consolation. Earning miles while having to spend actual money for magazine subscriptions now instead of redeeming Dream miles for them just doesn't make up for it.

With AIR MILES charitable donations, the charitable tax receipt actually went to the donor and not to AIR MILES.sf-smile

I see no reason to eliminate the charitable donations for Dream miles when they have the option for Cash miles. I see no reason other than to increase "breakage" (miles paid for by a sponsor but not redeemed before they expire).

October 14, 2015
10:16 pm
Loonie
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I think that, in terms of the 'Dream' Miles, at this point they are really only interested in the people who accumulate Air Miles fairly aggressively and then redeem them for trips or luxury items.

I didn't know you could get a tax receipt, but it should still apply to Dream miles. I wonder if there is a minimum donation required to get a tax receipt. Many charities will not give one for a small donation, which $10 might be considered to be.

October 15, 2015
7:58 pm
Norman1
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Loonie said
...
I didn't know you could get a tax receipt, but it should still apply to Dream miles. I wonder if there is a minimum donation required to get a tax receipt. Many charities will not give one for a small donation, which $10 might be considered to be.

Many charities will not mail a paper tax receipt for a $10 donation. The postage alone would be 85¢ + tax (about 9% of the donationsf-frown). Charities seem to be more willing to e-mail an electronic receipt in such cases as it wouldn't cost as much.

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