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Canadians have limited access to hotel points in comparison to airline miles. The only credit card options available are the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express, the Starwood Business American Express, and the MBNA Best Western MasterCard. The SPG American Express cards are one of the best cards to hold on to thanks to their annual free night award.
This leaves the next option to earn hotel rewards through promotions and credit cards in the US. Hotel promotions in the past have been fantastic deals, but these are now far and few between as the economy is doing well and business picks up. Obtaining American credit cards can be a challenge as you need a US credit profile. The easiest method is through Global Transfer which gives you access to American Express cards in the US. You can pick up cards like the Hilton Ascend American Express or the Hilton Aspire American Express that offer up to 150,000 Hilton points. This process is fairly simple in comparison to obtaining credit cards from Chase, US Bank, and Barclays.
You are able to redeem some credit card rewards directly for any hotel, such as points from the BMO World Elite MasterCard or the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite. However, using their programs – Scotia Rewards, BMO Rewards, and other similar programs provide limited value. Redeeming these points only makes sense when revenue rates are low.
That being said, the final method of acquiring hotel points is the easiest: through purchase promotions. Since most hotel programs have a fixed award price regardless of the cash cost, buying hotel rewards can be a good way to reduce your total hotel costs. The best results would usually be redemptions for luxury and high-priced properties. Thus, I primarily recommend purchasing Hyatt points, especially with their 40% bonuses, as this means you can get a stellar deal on some of the best hotels in the world.
IHG Rewards – Buy Miles with a 100% Bonus
Through this deal, you can buy IHG points with a up to 100% bonus. The bonus kicks in with purchases of 5,000 points or more in the following increments:
- 5,000+ points: 40% Bonus
- 20,000+ points: 60% Bonus
- 30,000+ points: 100% Bonus
The maximum number of points you can buy is 100,000 per year. With the bonus, this means you can earn up to 200,000 IHG Rewards points with this bonus. Points normally start at 1.35 cents each, although maxing out the promotion would mean 200,000 points for $1,000. Each mile would cost 0.5 cents. I do not suggest buying miles during this promotion with anything less than a 100% bonus, with the exception for small amounts to top up an account. One really cool thing with this bonus is that there are no additional taxes or fees on top of the $1,000, nor is GST/HST applied on the transaction.
Best Redemptions – IHG Rewards
Buying IHG Rewards can be a good value because the program has some incredible redemption deals. Primarily, their PointsBreak promotion offers hotels for only 5,000, 10,000, and 15,000 points. That means you can pay $25 for a Holiday Inn, or $75 for an Intercontinental or Crown Plaza. It is obvious that this is an fantastic value. As well, redeeming for luxury properties can also be a good idea.
For example, the Intercontinental Le Moana in Bora Bora normally has rates daily rates of over $800+ with taxes, but only requires 70,000 points per night. That is a significant discount if you buy miles for this purpose. There are similar opportunities available with similar resorts and luxury city hotels – including Hong Kong, London, and other cities with high hotel prices.
Since points.com processes the purchase, you should use the best card for everyday spend. As well, using Canadian credit card with no foreign transaction fees is a wise idea – this includes the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, Home Trust Preferred Visa, and HSBC World Elite MasterCard. 100% is usually that highest offer that IHG has on points you buy. With this bonus, you can score incredible deals on a wide variety of hotels, and especially if you have a specific use in mind.