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Old 11-26-2012, 05:48 PM   #16
DisneyRookie2007
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Originally Posted by Tinkershelly View Post
Aaah, I hoped someone would chime in about the taxes and fees. We booked with Continental/United points for flights in September and paid $50 each for the Halifax-Orlando flights but $5 each for the Orlando-Halifax flights. I'm not as keen to pay $200 each.

And can anyone confirm that I will have to use Westjet ro Air Canada? I'm not a fan of connecting through Montreal or Toronto, we prefer to utilize US customs pre-clearance here in Halifax, not needing to deal with that and reclearing security in the middle of our flights.

Thanks for all your information, it really helps me think things through.
I believe the only option for Airmiles is WJ or AC - and I have not ever seen a connection through the USA - but perhaps this depends on where you are flying from
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:47 PM   #17
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We always fly in and out of Saint John, via Toronto or Montreal on Air Canada. Its just easier but you do have to book early. There is also a code share option to book other Air Lines with Air Miles but the cost goes up quickly. I look at booking out of Bangor with Air Miles and it wasn't worth it, too many points.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:11 AM   #18
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Thanks for the good information in this discussion. I'll certainly check out the flights when the booking window opens but it looks more and more like I'll use the miles for other things and pay cash for the flights.

Ironic that the best use for Air Miles is not booking flights.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:36 PM   #19
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We've used airmiles several times to fly from Halifax-Orlando...sometimes on Westjet and sometimes on AC. Last year we flew AC and had a direct flight which was wonderful. We also had a direct flight from YHZ-MCO on Westjet a few years back. I usually start checking as soon as the flights become available and the direct flight was there. The taxes and fees are high but much lower than the cost of the flight, especially at March break which is when we usually travel.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:48 PM   #20
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We have used them, but have only had luck when we booked almost a year in advance. This time we booked 4 months out and could only get one way flights. It is always difficult though because we need 5 seats for our family.

Even with the fees, if you work out how much your miles are worth comparing the miles to dollars ratio you are way further ahead using your miles for flights as opposed to any other tickets or merchandise. Off hand I can't remember the exact dollar ratio, but what I mean is that say you need to use 1500 Air miles for an airline ticket that you would pay $500 for (before taxes and fees) directly from the airline, then you would need more than 1500 Air miles for say a camera that you would pay $500 for in a store.

I'm sure Air miles would much rather if you used your miles for merchandise as opposed to flights as they are paying out less. They certainly make it easier to redeem them for merchandise. You really need to do the math - it is a big difference. I would never use miles for anything but flights.

Also the fees you pay for the airline tickets are fees that you also have to pay if you buy your tickets directly from say west jet or air canada. They are fees for fuel surcharges and taxes - they are not fees that go the Air Miles company.

I hope I explained clearly, but don't take my word for it do the math yourself. Do a google search there are websites that walk you through the calculations to figure out what your miles are worth depending on what you are cashing them in for.
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Old 12-08-2012, 06:54 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by SunshineCruiser
We have used them, but have only had luck when we booked almost a year in advance. This time we booked 4 months out and could only get one way flights. It is always difficult though because we need 5 seats for our family.

Even with the fees, if you work out how much your miles are worth comparing the miles to dollars ratio you are way further ahead using your miles for flights as opposed to any other tickets or merchandise. Off hand I can't remember the exact dollar ratio, but what I mean is that say you need to use 1500 Air miles for an airline ticket that you would pay $500 for (before taxes and fees) directly from the airline, then you would need more than 1500 Air miles for say a camera that you would pay $500 for in a store.

I'm sure Air miles would much rather if you used your miles for merchandise as opposed to flights as they are paying out less. They certainly make it easier to redeem them for merchandise. You really need to do the math - it is a big difference. I would never use miles for anything but flights.

Also the fees you pay for the airline tickets are fees that you also have to pay if you buy your tickets directly from say west jet or air canada. They are fees for fuel surcharges and taxes - they are not fees that go the Air Miles company.

I hope I explained clearly, but don't take my word for it do the math yourself. Do a google search there are websites that walk you through the calculations to figure out what your miles are worth depending on what you are cashing them in for.
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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Old 01-31-2013, 02:05 PM   #22
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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!
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:11 PM   #23
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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!

I have no interest in AM cash as I use them strictly for traveling.

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!
Not sure how they make it hard to collect points? 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.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:26 PM   #24
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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!
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:47 PM   #25
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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.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:20 PM   #26
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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.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:17 PM   #27
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[QUOTE=

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.[/QUOTE]

Well I took advantage of the American Express Platinum card offer. Year 1 waive of the annual fee ($50) and 1125 airmiles after my 1st purchase. My wife also applied for a card and also received 1125 airmiles. Earlier this year they offered me an additional 1000 airmiles when I spent $200 before the end of Sept (if I recall correctly).
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:30 PM   #28
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Well I took advantage of the American Express Platinum card offer. Year 1 waive of the annual fee ($50) and 1125 airmiles after my 1st purchase. My wife also applied for a card and also received 1125 airmiles. Earlier this year they offered me an additional 1000 airmiles when I spent $200 before the end of Sept (if I recall correctly).
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.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:44 PM   #29
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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.
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.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:52 PM   #30
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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.
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.
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