This is the continuation of my trip to Australia from Vancouver, using miles and points to fly first class for less than the price of an economy class ticket. I wrote about how I booked my flights in this post.

Singapore Suites Class is basically one of the pinnacles of redeeming miles. A few years ago it used to be incredibly unattainable, but now is actually one of the aspirational products that are actually fairly easy to get, if you have KrisFlyer miles. As I mentioned earlier in my post on how this trip was booked, I used 119,000 KrisFlyer miles to fly Los Angeles – Tokyo – Singapore – Melbourne, which was a very decent deal. This included a leg on the Singapore A380 featuring Suites Class.

Flight Path

Flight Path

While Aeroplan points accrued from the American Express Aeroplan Gold Card do not have access to Singapore Suites space, the easiest way to fly this product in Canada is through a transfer to KrisFlyer, either through HSBC rewards or transferring SPG points earned through the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express, which currently offers a 10,000 points signup bonus. The American Express Gold Card as well as the Platinum Card also transfers to Starwood at a 2:1 ratio, which isn’t a fantastic deal but may be worth considering if you’re topping up an account.

The SQ ground representative picked us up from the Star Alliance Lounge LAX and walked with all the Suites passengers at the gate, where boarding was just beginning.

Boarding Gate

Boarding Gate

Singapore Airlines SQ11
Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita
15:45 to 19:15 +1 (11 hour 30 minutes)
Airbus A380-800

My very first premium class flight was business class on the Singapore Airlines A380, so stepping on the Airbus A380 again was amazing. Even though I haven’t flown Suites before, I knew coming into the flight that this is one of the best ways to travel commercially. The feeling of having gotten a great deal really hits home when you realize that you can do this flight for only ~$135 in fuel surcharges and taxes for this segment. I was warmly greeted by the cabin crew, and directed to my seat.

The Singapore Airlines Suites has 12 seats, configured in a 1-2-1 layout. The cabin configuration looks as follows (image from seatguru):

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Seatmap

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Seatmap

Most people say row 3 aisle seats are the best for people travelling alone, as it has three full windows and the most privacy. If it is available then by all means snag it, but I didn’t think it mattered that much. Any seat you get here is amazing! The flight load was 4/14, with the couple seats 3C/D taken and one of the seats on the F-aisle.

I settled into my seat, 3A.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Seat 3A

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Seat 3A

The seat that I had was recently refurbished, to align more with the cabin aesthetic that’s now in place on some of the new Singapore 777-300ER’s (77WN), designed by BMW Group.

For reference, the old seat looks like this. (Photo from One Mile at a Time)

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Old Seat Design

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Old Seat Design

I didn’t think it was a big difference, although it was nice knowing that your seat was fairly new.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Windows

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Windows

Everything else in the suite, including the IFE, tables, and décor was the same.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites IFE

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites IFE

There were lots of small pockets in the suite for storing wallet, phones, and other items, as well as the IFE controller.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites IFE control and pockets

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites IFE control and pockets

There were also 2 USB slots, a power outlet, and headphone jack, as well as Bose QuietComfort 15 headphones already in the suite.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Ports

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Ports

The leading steward came over and we made small talk about my flight from Vancouver. Menus were also handed out in a leather binder, along with a hot towel.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

I walked around the cabin taking a few more pictures. The aisles were a little crooked due to the width of the suites.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Aisles

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Aisles

I took a few more pictures of the cabin.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Reading Light

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Reading Light

Storage space.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Storage Space

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Storage Space

Overhead lighting.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Ceilings

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Ceilings

The ottoman across the seat has a seatbelt and two people can dine together.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Ottoman

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Ottoman

The seat is very comfortable, as it has armrests that can be pulled up to form an even wider seat. The only small negative about the seat was that it was so far from the windows, due to the ledge that was on the side, so it was nearly impossible to look out the windows and get a good picture. Boarding was completed fairly quickly and we pulled back, right beside a Korean Air A380 and a British Airways A380 that was taxiing.

A380's Taxiing

A380′s Taxiing

After takeoff, some water and nuts were served.

Water and Nuts

Water and Nuts

The amenity kit were handed out.  It featured Salvatore Ferragamo products and a 30ml bottle of eau d’toilette, as well as lip balm, hand cream, eyeshades, and socks.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Amenity Kit

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Amenity Kit

Givenchy-branded Pajamas were then handed out. I still prefer the Cathay Pacific PYE pajamas, but these were not bad at all and I still wear them at home.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Givenchy Pajamas

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Givenchy Pajamas

I was also given slippers, which was presented, unwrapped, and placed at my feet.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Slippers

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Slippers

After takeoff, I asked about the possibility of getting a double bed since the cabin was pretty empty. Then, I had a glass of orange juice. ;)

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Orange Juice

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Orange Juice

I took a look at the menu, which was quite thick as it contained the selections for the continuing Tokyo Narita – Singapore route as well.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

The LAX to NRT sector featured dinner, a light meal before arrival, and a snack list between meals.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

I had preordered the lobster thermidor for the second meal, so I’d be able to try the regular menu offerings for the first meal. Here is the menu for dinner:

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

There was also the Japanese meal, which I didn’t have a chance to try.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

 

0700

 

The table was set up with precision. I was offered another hot towel, as well the bread basket. I selected a piece of garlic bread. The Givenchy branded plates were really classy.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Table Setup

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Table Setup

The dinner service started with nicely presented caviar. It was served with all the garnishes.

Chilled Malossol Caviar with melba toast and condiments

Chilled Malossol Caviar with melba toast and condiments

Next, I had a smoked salmon starter.

Smoked Salmon with ginger and coriander

Smoked Salmon with ginger and coriander

A minestrone soup.

Beef Minestrone with basil pesto

Beef Minestrone with basil pesto

A salad.

Fresh spinach and Belgium endive salad

Fresh spinach and Belgium endive salad

Then I had the seared wagyu sirloin, which was one of the better beef dishes I’ve had on a plane.

Wok seared wagyu sirlion

Wok seared wagyu sirlion

Skipping the chesse course, the service concluded with a berry financier and iced chocolate. At this point, the cabin lights started to dim. Somehow, they managed to put whipped cream in my drink which I’ve never had onboard before and was a nice surprise.

Berry Financier

Berry Financier

Iced Chocolate

Iced Chocolate

Overall, the food was quite good for a meal served 35000 feet in the air, and while it wasn’t amazing it was tasty, simple, and delicious.

I headed to the lavatory, which was really nicely designed, with lots of lights and mirrors. There were drawers for dental kits, combs, and other items.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Lavatory

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Lavatory

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Lavatory

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Lavatory

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Lavatory

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Lavatory

The faucet was automatic which was convenient

SIngapore AIrlines A380 Suites Faucet

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Faucet

There was also a seat bench that could be lowered for changing.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Toilet

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Toilet

Then I headed over to 2C/D where my double bed was set up. It was actually really hard to photograph, but then I climbed onto one of the ledges to get a better shot.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Closed Double Bed

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Closed Double Bed

The amount of space you got in a double suite was INSANE. Definitely the roomiest “suite” I’ve been in on a plane.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Double Bed

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Double Bed

I do think that the double bed however, is more style over substance if you really are intending to use the suite as a double bed. You see, there’s a ledge between the center seats, which is lowered when it becomes a bed.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Center Ledge

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Center Ledge

When the bed is made, the ledge is still perhaps an inch higher than the mattress pads. Although it’s covered with blankets when the bed is made, it still pushes into your back when lying diagonally across the double bed. Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Double Bed

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Double Bed

I ended up mostly napping on one side of the suite. The bedding and mattress pad were very comfortable. I do think that having the bed as separate from the seat really helped with the padding.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Double Bed Pillows

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Double Bed Pillows

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Double Bed

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Double Bed

This bed is probably on par with the width and length of the Lufthansa First Class bed, although the configuration of the suite makes it seem much roomier.

The novelty of having a double suite was  was definitely there when I rolled around the bed, played with both TV monitors, and drew the divider between the two seats up and down.

I managed to nap for around three hours, and when I woke up, I had a snack of Hagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream and a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Snack

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Snack

The in-flight snack menu wasn’t too comprehensive but satisfactory for any in-flight hunger pangs between meals.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

I also got a few more shots of the seat. You can see in the following image that the mattress is the rectangular shape on the suite wall behind the seat, which comes down to form the bed.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Seat

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Seat

The shades can also be lowered or raised manually. These made the suites quite private, although there were small gaps under the shade which allowed people to peer through if they really wanted to know what you were doing inside.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Shades

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Shades

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Shades

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Shades

This is the maximum amount that the seat can recline to, before converting into a bed.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Seat

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Seat

I also took a walk around the plane, although most of the plane was darkened, which made it hard for good photos. There are two staircases, one at the front of the A380.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Stairs

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Stairs

There’s also a spiral stair at the back of the plane.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Stair

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Stair

This Airbus A380 was configured to have the entire upper deck with business class, although it was a bit emptier near the end of the upper deck.

I passed the time by watching a few movies in my double suite, and chatted a bit with the cabin crew in the galley. Apparently the crews that I talked with were all Japanese, and only flew on SQ flights to/from Tokyo/Osaka/Fukuoka/Nagoya, as well as the SQ11 and 12 route. That’s why it almost felt like NH service!

Soon we were around an hour or two from landing into Tokyo Narita airport, and a light meal service began.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Menu

Another hot towel was served.

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Hot Towel

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Hot Towel

First up was a crabmeat appetizer, which was okay.

Crabmeat with corn and apple slaw

Crabmeat with corn and apple slaw

Then I had the lobster thermidor from book the cook. It was lukewarm and wasn’t very good, in my opinion. Quite underwhelming, and perhaps it was just a one-off situation.

Lobster Themidor

Lobster Themidor

For desert there was a lime tart with passion fruit.

Lime Tart

Lime Tart

We landed on schedule into Narita airport just as the sun was setting.

View of the A380 from Tokyo Narita

View of the A380 from Tokyo Narita

This route has a short stop to unload and pick up passengers, and to refuel. Instead of continuing to Singapore, I decided to have a quick overnight in Narita, and to take the morning flight 638 to Singapore.

Tokyo Narita Airport was pretty deserted, and clean and nice as always.

Tokyo Narita Airport

Tokyo Narita Airport

Coming off this flight was pretty surreal, having taken my first flight on one of the best in-flight experiences in the world. Singapore Suites really is an incredible way to fly!

Any questions? Let me know in the comments.

Previous Segment: Los Angeles TBIT Star Alliance First Class Lounge

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Travelpony is a new hotel booking site (or OTA, if you want to call it as such). Their prices look to be pretty competitive/similar to what’s offered on other sites. However, right now they are offering two potentially very lucrative promotions which makes it a great place to book your next hotel stay.

10 to 45% Off All Hotel Rates

Right now, Travelpony are offering 10 to 45% off the cheapest available rate. Unsurprisingly, most of the hotels are at the 10% figure, however there are a few (mostly European) hotels offering bigger discounts (the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile for example, at 45%). Unlike many other discount code promotions offered by hotel sites, Travelpony’s discount applies to every hotel available for sale. A neat way to pick up a 10% discount, for sure.

45% off Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile with Travelpony

45% off Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile with Travelpony

For some hotels (such as the Hilton properties, as I’ve observed) the discount value hidden, and isn’t revealed until the booking stage. The 10% minimum still applies here, so you can safely assume it’s (at least) 10% off the published rate.

Travelpony Discount on Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle

Travelpony Discount on Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle

To access these savings, simply visit the Travelpony website and enter the promo code TPSAVINGS during checkout.

$35 off $200 or More Stay for New Customers

Travelpony is also offering a $35 discount on hotel stays of over $200 for new customers. This promotion is stackable with the previous discount code, meaning you are potentially getting over 50% off the standard (lowest) rate of certain hotels. This is an incredible deal, not much more to say.

Over 55% off Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile with Travelpony

Over 55% off Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile with Travelpony

Note that the $200 threshold is based on the original rate before discounts. So as you can see above, a $261 room at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile can be obtained for $116, or a 55% discount. The $35 discount is automatically applied to all new accounts – just sign up using this discount link and enter REFERRAL35 at checkout.

Hyatt.com Rate for Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile

Hyatt.com Rate for Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile

The Hyatt.com rate for the same stay is going for almost $200 more or three times the price – which makes this an incredible deal in anyone’s book.

You will likely not be receiving elite status credit or points on these stays, but the discount might be worth not getting points and credit. Most hotels should honour status benefits. As always, it’s important to weigh out your options and see which one is most cost-effective.

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American Express Canada is offering a $100 statement credit with a $500 spend at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. This offer I believe was a targeted statement credit last year, but this year there aren’t any terms on cardholder eligibility specifically.

American Express Fairmont Statement Credit Offer

American Express Fairmont Statement Credit Offer

That means cards like the American Express Gold Card, the American Express Aeroplan Gold Card, the Starwood Preferred Guest Card and the Platinum Card can be registered. Supplementary cardholders are also eligible.

You must register your card before December 30th, and stay before December 31st. The $500 spend must be in one transaction. The spend must also be made at participating properties, which include most North American Fairmont Hotels.

Participating Hotels

Participating Hotels

The statement credit may take up to two billing cycles to appear on your statement and up to 8 weeks to be credited to the account. To enroll, you have to fill in your card number and other personal information.

American Express Fairmont  Statement Credit Offer Registration

American Express Fairmont Statement Credit Offer Registration

After you submit the form, a confirmation email will be sent.

Registered

Registered

This is a pretty fantastic promotion, in my opinion, as you’re essentially getting a 20% rebate on your first $500 of spend at a hotel. This is especially lucrative with the American Express Platinum Card, because you can in some cases stack your spend with a Fine Hotel and Resorts rate, which I wrote about here. As well, since the Platinum card offers a fastrack to top-tier elite status, it’s quite a significant rebate if you do plan on staying in a Fairmont.

You can register for the offer here.

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This is the continuation of a trip report from my trip in August. See my posts on booking the trip, the lounge in YVR, and the Vancouver to Los Angeles flight.

LAX airport is pretty dumpy, but the one nice thing about is the Tom Bradley International Terminal (the completed parts anyways). It is spectacular, and it’s finally a terminal that is at least on the same playing field as the top airports of the world.

My flight got in at around 10:30am, so originally I was planning to head to In-N-Out, but I was way too tired. So I ended up sitting and walking around the check-in piers at TBIT, which was a perfectly pleasant way to spend a bit of time too.

I ended up at one of the seating areas a floor higher that gave a bird-eye’s view over the check-in concourse.

Nice VIew

Nice View @ LAX TBIT

The Singapore Airlines counters ended up opening at around 12pm.

Singapore Suites Check-In Counter

Singapore Suites Check-In Counter

The check-in lady managed to print out all my boarding passes to Melbourne, which was appreciated, and in proper Suites and First Class ticket stock. She confirmed that there were only four passengers in Suites today.

She also got me an escort to the lounge, who went through security with me. The security situation was slightly awkward, because while he told me to cut into the line, he didn’t do it himself at first. No way I was going to cut the queue in the premium security line with a whole line of people giving me death glares!

Suites Class Escort

Suites Class Escort (sorry for the blurriness)

We then proceeded to the lounge via the old set of boarding gates which was a longer walk, because there was some construction going on in pathway between security and the “normal” way to the lounge (between the designer shops in the main hall). There was a separate entrance to the First Class Lounge, although they were connected inside.  Some pictures are taken from previous visits to the lounge.

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Entrance

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Entrance

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Entrance

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Entrance Podium

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Entrance

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Entrance

The lounge was surprisingly small, although there weren’t that many passengers in the lounge at once. It was basically a long seating area, with around 20-30 chairs, and a four tables which comprise the dining area. This picture basically captures the entire First Class section of the lounge.

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Seating

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Seating

There was a display of printed reading material as well as a customized flight display screen only displaying flights whose passengers used the Star Alliance Lounges.

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Reading Material

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Reading Material

The food on display is to the left. There were small amounts of ready-to-eat food, including chocolates, fruits, cookies, and cheeses. These were nicely displayed and refilled constantly.

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Food on Display

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Food on Display

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Food on Display

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Food on Display

There was also a counter for a coffee machine, drinks cabinet, and alcohol display.

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Drinks

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Drinks

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Drinks

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Drinks

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Alcohol

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Alcohol

If you wanted more food, there was a basic menu for made-to-order at the dining area. I think the food for both the First and Business Class lounges are similar (probably with slight differences) but they come from the same kitchen. The only difference is the First Class Lounge the food is brought to you.

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Menu

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Menu

The menu had lots of “simple” choices that were nice. I liked the tables quite a lot as I could get a bit of work done and it was nicer for my back than using the lounge chairs.

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Dining Area

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Dining Area

I had a Caesar salad, a tomato soup, and a crepe, which were delicious.

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Salad

Salad

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Soup

Soup

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Crepe

Crepe

The check-in manager for SQ also stopped by to drop off a feedback form, and also to remind me not to consume any unattended alcohol in the lounge, as I am not of drinking age in the USA. ;)

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class SQ Feedback Form

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class SQ Feedback Form

The shower facilities are shared with business class passengers and are quite nice.

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Shower Room

LAX Star Alliance Lounge Shower Room

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Shower Room

LAX Star Alliance Lounge Shower Room

The business class areas are also quite nice, with the outdoor terrace, and various seating areas, albeit a bit more crowded.

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Media Room

LAX Star Alliance Lounge Media Room

LAX Star Alliance Lounge First Class Outdoor Terrace

LAX Star Alliance Lounge Outdoor Terrace

LAX Star Alliance Lounge Balcony Seating

LAX Star Alliance Lounge Balcony Seating

This is probably one of the best lounges in North America (perhaps except for the JFK Virgin Clubhouse, JFK Lufthansa First Class Lounge and AMEX Centurion Lounges), and makes connecting in LAX that much more desirable.

I basically fall in love with everything new, so might be biased, but the food is simple and delicious, the atmosphere is decent, the wifi and showers are good, and the open-air seating areas are a refreshing change from closed off lounges. Of course there’s the crowding with business class lounges, but this is definitely a lot nicer than the average business class lounge, in my opinion. Especially with Vancouver having less international airline service than the typical US gateway, the lounge makes connecting in LAX very pleasant. The terminal layout and walking isn’t great, but the lounge makes up for it.

All Star Alliance premium passengers as well as Star Alliance Gold elite members can use this lounge. I used Krisflyer miles for Singapore Suites/First Class which is only accessible with Krisflyer miles, but you could also fly Asiana, All Nippon, EVA, Air China, Lufthansa, and Swiss to use this lounge (although the last two don’t release much space ex-LAX) on an Aeroplan award (or other star alliance mileage award). A good way to earn Aeroplan miles is to get the American Express Gold Card, which gives 25,000 Membership Rewards points after a $500 minimum spend in the first six months of holding the card. These points transfer 1:1 to Aeroplan. The easiest ways to earn KrisFlyer miles in Canada is a transfer from HSBC Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest.

At around 40 minutes before boarding, the SQ check-in manager came to escort all Suites passengers to the gate. I was really excited for Singapore Suites!

Previous Segment: Air Canada Rouge Vancouver to Los Angeles

Next Segment: Singapore First Class Suites Los Angeles to Tokyo

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TD has been issuing Aeroplan co-branded credit cards in Canada for a few months, and they’ve had I one public promotion in April, where the first year annual fee were waived on some of their credit cards.

A reader forwarded an TD Aeroplan Banking offer he was targeted for allowing him to earn up to 115,000 Aeroplan miles by opening new banking accounts.

TD Aeroplan Banking Offer (Targeted)

TD Aeroplan Banking Offer (Targeted)

That’s right, my title wasn’t wrong and your eyes aren’t seeing incorrectly. 115,000 Aeroplan miles! That’s almost enough for a mini-RTW in business class. To my knowledge he does have a TD Aeroplan credit card. You can actually check your eligibility for these offers online through this link here. If you’re targeted you’ll probably be directed to a different page. Unfortunately, none of my accounts I manage were targeted, even though some do have a TD Aeroplan Visa linked to the account. You’d probably get a message similar to the one below for a non-targeted account.

Not Targeted :(

Not Targeted :(

For opening checking, savings, investment, and cross-border banking accounts, you could earn 75,000 miles and an additional 10,000 mile bonus for opening all their products, which is incredibly impressive. The Small Business offer is for 30,000 Aeroplan for a combined total of 115,000 miles!

This is a very lucrative offer targeted at those who don’t bank with TD (but have their credit card) to try to get them to switch over all their banking. It’s very smart and it’s great to see TD leveraging their partnership with Aeroplan. I’ve never seen an offer this big that isn’t involved with opening some credit card, so it’s a really great offer to take advantage of if you are targeted. If not, then… :(

The easiest way to accumulate 25,000 Aeroplan miles in Canada is the American Express Gold Card, which offers 25,000 Membership Rewards points after $500 in minimum spending within the first six months of holding the card. These points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Aeroplan. Luckily, this is a public offer.

I’ve listed the bonuses below.

TD Aeroplan Banking Offers (Targeted)

Chequing Account
Earn 25,000 miles
• Open a new TD All-inclusive Banking Plan or Unlimited Chequing Account in your name during the period from August 5 to October 31, 2014; and
• Apply for overdraft protection on the Chequing Account by October 31, 2014;
and
• Complete two of the following three activities by December 12, 2014 for the new Chequing Account that has been opened:
a. A direct deposit to the Chequing Account;
b. A monthly Pre-authorized Debit from the Chequing Account; or
c. An online bill payment from the Chequing Account either through EasyWeb or the TD mobile app.

Savings Account
Earn 5,000 miles
• Open a new TD High Interest Savings Account (“Savings Account”) in your name during the period from August 5 to October 31, 2014;
• Set up a Personal Transfer Service for a minimum amount of $10.00 by October 31, 2014 for the Savings Account that has been opened and maintain
this service between October 31, 2014 and January 31, 2015; and
• Maintain a $5,000 minimum balance in the Savings Account between November1, 2014 and January 31, 2015

Cross-Border Banking
Earn 20,000 miles
• Open a new TD Canada Trust U.S. dollar account with a Borderless Plan (“TD Canada Trust Account”) in your name during the period from August 5 to October 31, 2014;
• Open a new TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, U.S. Dollar Premier Checking Account (“TD Bank Account”) in your name during the period from August 5 to October 31, 2014; and
• Link your TD Canada Trust Account and TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, Account through TD Cross-Border Online Account Portfolio View by October 31, 2014.

Direct Investing
Earn 25,000 miles
• Open and fund a new TD Direct Investing account (“DI Account”) in your name during the period from August 5 to October 31, 2014; and
• Maintain a $50,000 minimum balance between November 1, 2014 and January 31, 2015.

Special Offer for Small Business
Earn 30,000 miles
Open a new TD Canada Trust Business Chequing Account with a TD Every Day A, B or C, or Unlimited, Business Plan between August 5 and October 31, 2014

I’ve also uploaded the entire document with the targeted offer, available here: TD Aeroplan Banking Offers (Targeted)

Tip of the Hat to Boris

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Air Canada Rouge Introduction

When Air Canada switched over many of their leisure routes from mainline to Rouge many folks weren’t too thrilled about it, yours truly included. Nothing says premium travel like 35 inch seat pitch. Rouge is the “lower-cost” arm of the airline. They operate their own planes in a more leisure configuration, meaning fewer business class seats, more economy seats, and less legroom. This would also allow them (if I’m not mistaken) to hire new cabin crew at lower pay rates.

Rouge has been operating an increasing number of traditional Air Canada mainline routes, one of which is Vancouver – Los Angeles. What most travellers have been unsatisfied with was the fact that they were pretty much unable to receive compensation for the tighter seats, charge for in-flight entertainment, and similar reductions in benefits associated with a leisure airline.

Air Canada must be really hoping that Rouge will weather out the storm as them seem very committed to Rouge at this point, including cutting mainline service on many important routes and forcing all travellers to either fly Air Canada Rouge or switch to other airlines. Thankfully, Rouge is bookable with airline miles no different than a regular Air Canada flight. I used 25,000 Aeroplan for premium rouge, which would be the same price as a “real” domestic first award.

This was an awful value (in my opinion) as it costs only 7,500 Avios miles transferred from Membership Rewards to redeem on Alaska in economy, which are accessible with the American Express Gold Card as well as the Platinum Card. Unfortunately, at the time I booked there wasn’t any availability at the low level and it didn’t seem worth it to pay 20,000 Alaska miles for mid-tier economy, since Alaska miles are worth quite a bit more than Aeroplan.

Air Canada Premium Rouge Review

Air Canada Rouge AC1878
Vancouver to Los Angeles
07:00 to 10:02 (3 hours 2 minutes)
Airbus A319-100

I boarded promptly at Gate 82, after having visited the Plaza Premium Lounge at Vancouver in their Transborder Pier, which I think is better than the Maple Leaf Lounge.

Air Canada Premium Rouge Boarding

Air Canada Premium Rouge Boarding

By the time I got onto the plane, the cabin was pretty full, so I didn’t manage to take as many pictures as I would have liked to. But I’ll try and describe it the best I can. Today, I was on an Airbus A319, with premium rouge, and regular (rouge) economy. Premium rouge is in a 3-3 configuration, with the middle seat blocked off. I was in seat 2F, a window seat. The cabin was nearly full with perhaps one empty seat. See the seatmap from seatguru.com.

Air Canada Rouge A319 Seatmap from Seatguru

Air Canada Rouge A319 Seatmap from Seatguru

Pre-departure drink of orange juice or water was offered. We took off on-time and headed toward LA. At this point I tried desperately to sleep although given it was an economy seat with 35” of legroom, and an empty middle seat, I didn’t end up sleeping much. The pillows were nice, though.

Air Canada Premium Rouge Seats

Air Canada Premium Rouge Seats

Breakfast was served in the premium rouge cabin and I believe the meal card handed around had either a choice of fruit and oatmeal or an omelet. I choose the former.

Air Canada Premium Rouge Breakfast

Air Canada Premium Rouge Breakfast

There was no in-seat IFE but there was streaming media through iPads available for rent in economy (and free in premium rouge), as well as a phone app for Android or iPhone anyone could download. There was also no power, even in premium rouge. This was moderately annoying as my electronics hadn’t been charged completely.

Air Canada Premium Rouge IFE

Air Canada Premium Rouge IFE

Before I knew it we were descending into LA.

Descent into LA

Descent into LA

The best way to describe premium rouge is intra-Europe business class. With intra-Europe business, you get lounge access, extra baggage, and a blocked middle-seat in economy with more legroom, and meal service. That’s exactly what you get here in premium rouge. For my flight everything was okay, given that it was a tolerably short flight. However, for flights like Toronto – Las Vegas and San Diego (and not to mention flights to Honolulu), where the flight time is 4-5+ hours, I can imagine the limited legroom, especially for taller folks, can be unbearable.

The seat pitch in economy is 29”. That’s worst than Allegiant at 30” and almost as bad as Spirit at 28”. Given that economy class especially domestic are pretty much the same and the only difference is seat pitch and airplane, I probably personally would avoid Rouge. There’s no way I’d redeem points for rouge either, except if it’s close-in and/or a paid fare is excessively high. I’d rather redeem on star alliance partners or AC mainline metal, which do have a legitimate domestic first seat, and less bone-crushing legroom in economy.

The easiest way to accumulate 25,000 Aeroplan miles in Canada is the American Express Gold Card, which offers 25,000 Membership Rewards points after $500 in minimum spending within the first six months of holding the card. These points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Aeroplan (and British Airways as well). Currently, this is pretty much one of the better cards to get given the signup bonus of the American Express Aeroplan Gold Card decreased to 26,000 miles.

Air Canada Premium Rouge is tolerable, and even to an extent nice. However, I wouldn’t go out of my way to redeem on it and it wouldn’t be my first choice either when Air Canada is pricing similar to domestic first (and in the case of an award, exactly the same). Only time will tell if travellers continue choosing Rouge, which is pretty much the only airline in North America to operate with such a blocked middle seat business class configuration.

Previous Segment: Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Review

Next Segment: Los Angeles Star Alliance Lounge First Class

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Frequent Miler posted about an opportunity for Canadians to purchase collectors coins at face value, then redepositing or cashing them out at a bank. The Canadian Mint occasionally has silver coins which sell for their face value with free shipping online, which are available here.

These coins have been around for awhile, so it’s not the first time I’ve heard about them, but I think it’s not worth the time and effort to manufacture spend, especially with the lower amounts and no category bonuses. It’s very easy to work out the numbers.

There are currently ten coins available for sale. You can purchase three of them per household. The total value of these coins add up to $1500.

Coins for Sale

Coins for Sale

That’s of course assuming they’re not sold out.

$100 Coins for Sale

$100 Coins for Sale

So say you were able to get all of them. On unbonused spend, I’d be using the American Express Platinum Card to earn 1.25 points per dollar spend. You could also use your Starwood Preferred Guest American Express depending on how much you value your Starwood points. That means you’d get around 1800 Membership Rewards points. At most, I’d value them at 1.7 cents since there are pretty much no-hassle methods to acquire similarly valued miles for less.

That means those points are worth around $30 bucks. You’d just wait for them to ship, and then cash them out at your bank. Since there’s free shipping, and no fees of any sort, the points are absolutely free. The only cost is your time. I’m guessing it’d take 1-2.5 hours to do this process, so just even from that, your time is probably worth less than $20 bucks an hour, which honestly isn’t very great – especially since you’re getting miles instead of cash.

This is, of course assuming you’re actually able to cash them out because you won’t run into a stubborn bank, you’re able to purchase all these coins, and there aren’t any other logistical problems associated with receiving and transporting your coins.

That being said, it depends on how much time you have on your hands and if you could find ways to get around the limit of three per order and limit per household, it could be workable – but really not something that 99% of miles/points people would do.  Other than for collector’s purposes, I’m not sure there really is a purpose for you to use these coins to manufacture spend…

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Aeroplan is offering a 50% bonus on redeemable miles, earned on flights on Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge.

Aeroplan 50% Bonus miles on Air Canada Flights

Aeroplan 50% Bonus miles on Air Canada Flights

This promotion is valid for all travel between October 1 and April 15, 2015, if you register between now and October 31. You’ll only receive the bonus miles for flights that have been booked from today, as current bookings are excluded. This bonus will be given to any mile earning flights on Air Canada – thus award tickets are excluded. There is another 75% bonus AQM offer for elite qualification that is targeted, so check your email to see whether you were.

Most of my travel are on awards, so this really is quite insignificant for me although I don’t know when I’ll have the occasional paid Air Canada flight coming up. It doesn’t hurt to register definitely and it only takes a minute. It’s also tremendously easier to earn redeemable miles through other means. A simple way to boost your Aeroplan balance if you’re Canadian is the American Express Gold Rewards Card offers a limited-time bonus of 25,000 miles upon signup and $500 spend within three months, and the first year annual fee waived. AMEX Membership rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Aeroplan. A bit ironic that one credit card application will probably get you more miles than all the flying you will do in an year.

This promotion is available to everyone, so you can register at this link.

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Last year for a short while I did an Award Booking Service which was received quite well and I enjoyed a lot. Today, I’m excited to launch the first phase of a set of travel services that my site will be offering, called Flight Hacks.

FlightHacks - Canadian Kilometers Travel Services

FlightHacks – Canadian Kilometers Travel Services

The website is located at http://www.flighthacks.com. I have two services that are offered.

Award Booking

Have frequent flyer miles but can’t figure out how to use them? Understanding the logistics beneath frequent flyer points can be a daunting task with a steep learning curve. Why not save up to thousands of dollars on your next trip by redeeming your hard-earned miles without the hassle.

I know here at Canadian Kilometers I talk a lot about advanced strategies for booking aspirational trips as well as tricks to reduce costs of travel, and I have no doubt that many of you who are advanced readers have no problem booking your own trips. But if you are too busy to book your own trips or do know people who don’t have the know-how to book trips effectively, please direct them here and I’d be happy to book them a fantastic trip using their miles. As always, if we don’t find you a satisfactory itinerary, you don’t pay.

Submit your award booking requests here.

Flight Search

Flight searching can seem simple on the surface – but underneath, there are tens and hundreds of lesser-known strategies and tips to reduce your price, duration or both. Leave it to a real flight expert to find ideal routes, price strategies, discounts, deals, and more.

This service is for those who don’t have enough miles, or do need to pay cash for a ticket for whatever other reason. There are many ways that you can reduce the cost of a paid ticket – some that I talk about here, and some that I don’t. Sometimes, as you may know, searching on a regular OTA (i.e. expedia, orbitz, etc.) won’t necessarily give you the best price, especially for premium class travel. If you do have a paid ticket in mind, please fill in a request and my service will use every trick in the book possible to reduce the cost of going from Point A to B. I’ve brought on board one of the most highly ranked bookers from Flightfox, so you’ll be getting the same quality of service and knowledge, all at a lower price and a fraction of the potential savings you’d get from saving on your travel costs.

Submit your flight search requests here.

Thanks for your support!

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Lifemiles is the frequent flyer program of Avianca, which often makes miles available to be acquired at 1.5 cents each, during promos. This 100% purchase promotion is one such opportunity. This promotion will run until until September 30th.

LIfemiles 2x1 Promo

LIfemiles 2×1 Promo

Lifemiles Purchase Promotion Details

Through this promotion, Lifemiles will give you a bonus mile for every mile you purchase, in 1,000 mile increments. Lifemiles normally sells their miles at three cents apiece. The bonus is automatically calculated when you fill in the form of the number of miles you’d like to purchase.

Lifemiles Bonus Purchase Form

Lifemiles Bonus Purchase Form

The maximum amount of miles you can purchase in an account, 150,000, would cost you $2250 USD.

Lifemiles Purchas Cost

Lifemiles Purchase Cost

Would I recommend transferring miles through this promo?

Many people here do like to purchase miles to redeem for discounted routes that are available through glitches. However, Lifemiles have had a history for devaluing their programs, as well as fixing glitches, so I wouldn’t stock up on them. It is comforting that if you do have the knowledge you are able to access nearly all regions of the world for 30k miles or less. For more information about Lifemiles, check out my post on Lifemiles Tricks and Strategy.

This is the last promotion where you’ll be able to purchase lifemiles for 1.5 cents, so if you are planning to purchase in the future it might make sense to do it now, as starting in October the price of miles will be going up to 1.6 cents per mile. They do run these transfer/purchase promotions every few months. As well, Lifemiles is devaluing their award chart slightly starting October 15th with their new chart available here.

In any case, you’re going to get a good value from the miles as even with a regular redemption you can get a first class redemption to Asia or Europe for just under $1500 one way on Star Alliance partners, except on Lufthansa First which isn’t available for the most part to be ticketed with Lifemiles. Furthermore they do have extra access to Singapore Airlines Business Class space, which I wrote about here. Keep in mind that you can top up for an award at the time of ticketing with cash and points. You only need 50% to get the same 1.5 cent ratio to top up for the redemption.

Mixed class redemptions, long layovers, and  stopovers are not available, and for the most part calling the award center is atrocious in my opinion. So if you are intending to buy miles for a business/first class ticket where there is availability to your desires and you can ticket online, definitely consider purchasing Lifemiles. Lifemiles purchases are processed directly with the airline, so do use cards which offer category bonuses for airline purchases. They process in USD so for Canadians it’s a good idea to use a card with no foreign transaction fee.

You can purchase miles at this link.

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I booked Air Canada Rouge from Vancouver to Los Angeles to connect to my Singapore Suites ticket from Los Angeles to Melbourne. To see the full details of my itinerary, see my post on how I booked these flights.

Before my flight I headed to the lounge. First, I stopped at the Transborder Air Canada counters at YVR to verify my documents and print out a boarding pass. Even though I checked in online, I think most passports require a verification of documents at the airport, although that could also be done at the gate.

IMG_9516

I then went through security and US pre-clearance, which had one of the longest lines I’ve ever seen at YVR, although to be fair, it was a Monday morning and it was time for lots of families to head out on trips. The NEXUS security line was open, which was a complete lifesaver, although it was also the crew line and I kept on getting cut by lots of legacy carrier crews.

At this point I was extremely tired thanks to having a crazy night with some miles/points friends who were in Vancouver, so I apologize if photos don’t come out as well as they should. Some of the photos here are from previous visits to the lounge. The YVR Plaza Premium Lounge in the Transborder concourse is located a short walk after the US pre-clearance immigration area.

Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder

YVR Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Entrance

YVR Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder

This lounge is free to Canadian American Express Platinum holders, and also partners with Priority Pass.

Amex Platinum Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder

Amex Platinum YVR Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder

Once the lounge agent swipes you in there’s a short hallway to the lounge area.

Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Hallway

YVR Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Hallway

The lounge had lots of empty seating, a refreshing change from many jam-packed domestic lounges.

Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Seating Area

YVR Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Seating Area

Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Seating Area

There were no tarmac views although the windows did feature a view of the immigration arrivals area and the amazing lovely CBSA agents.

View from the Lounge (look at that line!)

View from the Lounge (look at that line!)

The lounge is slightly more dated than the MLL but it had some decent breakfast selections, including fruit, yogurt, salad, and sandwiches. There was also a juice and coffee machine, as well as cereal, pastry, and bread selections.

Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Breakfast

YVR Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Breakfast

Vancouver Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Breakfast

YVR Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Breakfast

There were also two hot options, which were scrambled eggs and a baked beans dish.

YVR Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Hot Food

YVR Plaza Premium Lounge Transborder Hot Food

The only drawbacks for some maybe the lack of separate wifi access, as this lounge uses the same free Internet that’s provided by YVR in the terminal. I think this lounge is better than the Maple Leaf Lounge transborder, as there are generally fewer people resulting in peace and quiet, as well as a better food and beverage selection. The tradeoff is that you don’t get tarmac views and lounge-only wifi.

I had a few coffees, tried to stay awake, and then headed to my very first Rouge Flight!

As a Canadian, you can get enough miles for this flight with just a single credit card application with the American Express Aeroplan Gold Card, which offers 30,000 Aeroplan miles after $500 of spend within 3 months.

Previous Segment: Planning and Booking

Next Segment: Air Canada Premium Rouge Vancouver to Los Angeles

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