It is July 1, which means we are due for another mid-term report card from my beginning of the year wish list.
Here’s a quick recap of my grading system:
- A+ Exceeding expectations with nothing more to improve on (almost impossible to achieve this grade, but I listed it to put some perspective on the spectrum)
- A Awesome job
- B+ Good job
- B Decent, met expectations
- C Acceptable
- D Better than nothing
- E Nothing changed, no improvements
- F Fail, went backwards
1) Incentives to Retain Credit Cards
I think that we finally have a company who is willing to take the first step in offering incentives to retain credit cards. American Express Starwood Preferred Guest cards will be offering an “Annual Free Night Award” (for up to 35,000 points redemption), which is definitely a strong incentive to retain its credit card every day. They also have the spending requirement to attain Gold status. I think that they could improve the offer after $30,000 spending. Either way, I am happy with this. I would give a higher score if more companies jumped on board. But I cannot go higher if only one company wants to step up.
2) More Co-Branded Airline and Hotel Loyalty Credit Cards
I feel like we are hanging by a thread here. We had an Alaska Airlines scare, which has since been clarified that Alaska Airlines is not going anywhere. That being said, it has been 6 months and no movement in the industry. Hope to see some positive news in the second half of the year.
3) A New Brand of Transferable Points Program
This was probably a long shot. It may be in the works, but it will take some time. I was hoping that either BMO, CIBC or Scotiabank (they have the highest chance and most incentive to do so) would step up and offer some transferable options of their loyalty programs, like with American Express (Membership Rewards), HSBC and RBC (Avion). Hopefully this is not too much to ask!
4) High Speed Train
I am sure that everyone has their own opinion because it is difficult to calculate whether the cost is justified. For what it is worth, we are the only G7 country without a high speed train. Considering we are the second largest country in the world, you would think high speed trains would help moving people around. Either way, it seems like the province of Ontario is working on a plan to build high speed trains between Toronto and Windsor. I remain cautiously optimistic on whether this will become a reality as it is only expected to be completed in 2031. For now, at least there is a plan in the works!
I decided to switch items 5) and 6) so that we can end on a more positive note!
6) Improved Safety and Security for Travellers
Quite a few accidents in the first half of the year. It is probably impossible to be perfect. The only hope is that there is always ongoing and continued improvements. I was a little taken aback by the Southwest Airlines incident, especially considering they are my favourite airline for economy travel, so I cannot give a very good score this time around.
5) One Credit Card Company to make Significant Strides
Based on my most recent credit card company rankings, it looks like Canadian Tire and HSBC are making the biggest splash. One could make an argument for Rogers Bank for introducing a World Elite version of their card. I like the effort being shown in the market!