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AIR MILES: Shop The Block November 2019
November 28, 2019
3:29 pm
Norman1
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AIR MILES is running their Shop The Block promotion again, from November 14 to December 27, 2019:

https://ShoptheBlock.ca

Interestingly, I didn't receive any notification by e-mail or regular mail this time.

November 29, 2019
5:04 am
Londonguy
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Norman1 said
AIR MILES is running their Shop The Block promotion again, from November 14 to December 27, 2019:

https://ShoptheBlock.ca

Interestingly, I didn't receive any notification by e-mail or regular mail this time.  

Me neither. I only found out about it last week when I grabbed one of the brochures that were stacked beside the checkout aisle at Metro

December 6, 2019
3:01 am
Loonie
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This is not nearly as good a programme as previous years. Requirements are more difficult to meet as they require more expenditures in things I have no real use for. I doubt I'll be going for the max reward this time although always have in the past.

December 7, 2019
12:42 pm
Norman1
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Also, it used to be up to 2,000 miles instead of up to 1,200 this time around.

Perhaps, times are not as good for the retailers and AIR MILES could not rustle up the sponsorship for up to 2,000 miles. That would be worth up to

2,000 miles / 95 miles x $10 = $210.53

plus the retailer markup AIR MILES charges on issued miles.

December 7, 2019
4:56 pm
Loonie
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Yes, these are all causes for concern!

We've decided that just one of us will pursue this deal. Usually we both do it, with separate accounts. Hopefully we'll get to 1200, but we're not going to waste money for the sake of it.

QUESTION: would you do the WealthSimple deal if you needed it to get from 800 to 1200 AirMiles? If the reward is 500 basic + 400 bonus = 900 AirMiles, that's approximately equal to $95 return.
With a minimum investment of $500, and fees of, if I remember correctly, about 0.5% = $2.50, and estimating lost interest conservatively at 1% for six months, I think you could afford a loss of about 18%? in your portfolio before incurring a real loss. Is it worth that risk? I realize you could always hold on longer, and increase or decrease your risk further. It strikes me as similar to market-linked funds, with a guarantee of $95, no cap, maybe some balancing, and a minimum term of six months.
WealthSimple's skill, or lack of it, in rebalancing and foreseeing black swans may be the key. In good times, you can make money with almost no effort.

December 8, 2019
1:08 am
Loonie
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The Sobey's offer allows you to redeem Air Miles in order to make the required purchase. That's new, and welcome, but I much preferred the Gift Card offers.
Sobey's is no bargain when it comes to prices, but can be useful for things the other stores don't carry.

Spouse got an email the other day from Air Miles offering an instant "contest". Spouse "won" the opportunity to redeem $30 at Metro and get 105 Air Miles in return. This could be used any and all days, Thurs-Sun this weekend.
However, I got no such email even though we are both "Gold" members (thanks to Shop the Block and MegaMiles) andI have even more Miles in my Cash account.sf-frown

December 8, 2019
8:41 am
Norman1
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Loonie said

QUESTION: would you do the WealthSimple deal if you needed it to get from 800 to 1200 AirMiles? If the reward is 500 basic + 400 bonus = 900 AirMiles, that's approximately equal to $95 return.

With a minimum investment of $500, and fees of, if I remember correctly, about 0.5% = $2.50, and estimating lost interest conservatively at 1% for six months, I think you could afford a loss of about 18%? in your portfolio before incurring a real loss. Is it worth that risk? I realize you could always hold on longer, and increase or decrease your risk further. It strikes me as similar to market-linked funds, with a guarantee of $95, no cap, maybe some balancing, and a minimum term of six months.

There's no floor like there is with a market-linked GIC. Only a guaranteed reimbursement of $95 of the $500 investment through AIR MILES.

I would not do it for six months. That short time frame is very risky for an equity investment. Six months makes it more a speculation than investing.

However, I would do it to start a five- to ten-year experiment with passive equity investing using Wealthsimple Invest. One gets the benefits of investing $500 for a net cost of $500 - $95 = $405.

Kind of like an RRSP contribution. But, one doesn't have to repay the reimbursement!

In ten years, you will likely regret that you put only $500 into the experiment. sf-laugh Lots of successful equity investors have to deal with that "problem".

December 8, 2019
7:15 pm
Loonie
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Thanks for your perspective, Norman.
As I'm not really interested in equity investments, if I did this, it would be just the minimum and I would hold it only until I'd made a small profit to offset loss of interest and their management fee, bearing in mind the six month minimum. I realize six months is a poor standard, but if the investment goes up enough by then, then it's good enough for me - and time to get out. I wouldn't feel bad that I'd only put in $500. I'd just be glad I came out ahead on what I did invest, glad that I didn't lose. That's all I want. I'm the sort of person who can say "no" and be happy with that, not focusing on how much more I might have won or lost if I'd decided differently.

It's not much to risk. I can certainly afford it if it comes to that, but at my age etc there is probably about a 35% chance that I won't even be here by the time this thing bears fruit in 5-10 years. Just wondering if it's worth getting involved with in terms of AirMiles as I had no plans to join WealthSimple, although I think it's a good company as these things go and have sometimes considered it. I want to be level-headed about it if I do jump in. I'm sure I'm not the kind of customer they are looking for!

So it sounds like you would recommend it as a decent deal, although you think a bigger investment and longer time-in-market would be more rewarding.

I should probably just leave it alone, but it is tempting to see how it would work out.

December 9, 2019
9:14 pm
Norman1
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I would recommend a longer time-in-market than six months to improve the odds of coming out without a loss.

I don't have any statistics for six month holding periods. But, a study I did previously found that, for one-calendar-year holding periods of the S&P 500, about 28% of the periods ended up with losses and that the proportion of periods with losses increases as holding periods shorten.

December 10, 2019
12:31 am
Loonie
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Once upon a time, back in the 1980s, I bought a mutual fund with my RSP contribution. After a year, it had gained 13%, which, at that time, was a good return. I guess I was among the 72%. I can't remember what it was invested in specifically, but it was a garden variety bank issue. I think I got it at Sterling Trust?, which no longer exists as such.

At that point, I realized I wasn't really comfortable with this kind of investment, where you never knew where it would go, and that I didn't enjoy the anxiety. So I cashed it in, while I was ahead. And that was the end of my experiment. It was successful, but I had no desire to repeat it.

I remain curious about how this one would work out, but the bottom line may be that it seems like too much work to set it all up as I'm not willing to invest very much in it. Maybe I'm just too lazy! sf-laugh

December 11, 2019
5:52 pm
Norman1
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It is a reasonable $500 experiment, as long as one understands that the probability of not losing is closer to 75% than to the 100% with a GIC.

A diversified equity portfolio does not have the certainty of a specified absolute rate of return that GIC's have. But, over time, it does have the certainty of relative outperformance to GIC's.

The outperformance is around 2:1. When GIC's were around 10% per annum, equities were around 15% to 18%. Now, with GIC's around 3%, equities are expected to return 6% to 8%.

December 11, 2019
10:56 pm
Loonie
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Considering all of the above, I think I'll pass.
For me, in my situation, it would be a bit gimmicky. Very little to gain with a small deposit; risk to capital is higher than likely possible return. As an experiment, perhaps, but I know the odds already and it is not an experiment I need to undertake or whose results would make any difference to my future actions - especially 5-10 years down the road when I'm 80ish (if living) and even less inclined to take such risks.than I am now.
I think this offer is for the young.
Thanks for the input, Norman. It helped me make up my nind.

December 20, 2019
6:22 pm
Loonie
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BEWARE!

I received an email from Sobeys yesterday offering me 10% off groceries for the next several days if I would click on the link offered. I didn't read it until today or would have posted this earlier.

HOWEVER, the fine print for the Sobeys Shop the Block offer says, in part:
"This AIR MILES® coupons cannot be combined with any other discount offer or AIR MILES® coupon offer. See store for complete details."

I don't think there is any way of unclicking.

Perhaps I would be forgiven for thinking they are trying to trick me.

I have not yet used either Sobey's offer, and probably won't.

December 21, 2019
7:25 am
Norman1
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Sobey's Shop The Block offer is 5X the regular AIR MILES for spending at least $50. That would be an extra 4 MILES per $20, worth about (4/95 * $10) / $20 = 2.1% extra.

I would take the 10% off groceries offer instead and not use their Shop The Block 5X offer coupon.

December 21, 2019
7:59 pm
Loonie
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However, if the Shop the Block offer bumped you up to 5 offers utilized, that would gain you 500 AirMiles in addition to the 5x. That had been my plan, potentially.

However, I'm fed up with this round of Shop the Block as there isn't enough that makes good financial sense to me. I'm stopping at 3 offers.

I won't be bothering with either Sobey's offer, I don't think, but need to check the flyer. Will take the 10% offer if I decide to shop there. Where I live, there is a wealth of grocery store options, and Sobey's is one of the most expensive.

December 22, 2019
9:17 am
Norman1
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Some of the groceries offers are single use. The targeted PC Optimum bonus offers are.

Perhaps that 10%-off Sobeys offer is a single use one. If it is, one could ring something in a separate transaction to use that offer up. Then, ring the remaining items, over $50, in another transaction to use apply their Shop The Block 5X offer.

Not surprised about the Sobeys stores being expensive. That is supposed to be a "full-experience" banner in the Empire Company group. Lower prices would be found in stores of their FreshCo discount banner.

December 23, 2019
2:20 am
Loonie
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Yes, it looks like single use but it doesn't specifically say. Now that I look at it again, you only have to spend $25.

"Limited time offer, valid December 19-31, 2019. Get 10% off your next purchase of $25 or more when you swipe your AIR MILES® Card at checkout. Load this offer to your AIR MILES card, shop at your local Sobeys and SAVE when you swipe your AIR MILES card at checkout!."

That's all it says. They don't even give the usual exclusions re: tobacco, gift cards etc, although I imagine they would be excluded. If not, I would definitely buy some gift cards if I could get 10% off!

February 14, 2020
6:16 am
Norman1
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AIR MILES has started issuing the bonus miles for this Shop The Block promotion. sf-smile

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