Canada Day! Mid-Term Report

This year marks the 150 anniversary of Canada (founded in 1867), so it is a big one! As we continue our annual tradition, this is the time to give my 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
  • Acceptable
  • Better than nothing 
  • E Nothing changed, no improvements
  • F Fail, went backwards

1) Incentives to Retain Credit Cards

Yes, I will continue to be stubborn and keep this wish around. I really do believe that this is a win/win scenario. Reward customers who reach a certain minimum spend requirement year after year. Rewarding big spending would take the sting out of annual fees and reduce the necessity to churn. How is this not good for credit card companies? I do wonder why credit card companies don’t take this route. Do enough people continually pay the annual fees year after year that they have no need for this offer because credit card companies are profitable enough?

Maybe there is not enough churning going on!

Grade: E

2) More Co-Branded Airline and Hotel Loyalty Credit Cards

Stuck in neutral here. Can you remember the last time an airline or hotel loyalty program teamed up with a Canadian credit card company? Aeroplan with TD doesn’t exactly count since Aeroplan already had co-branded cards with CIBC and American Express. But even so, that was back on January 1, 2014. Wow, has it really been that long? I really hope to see a new team up soon because I think that we are completely overdue!

I heard that Porter Airlines may be working on something!

Grade: E

3) More Multiplier Bonus Categories

We started the year rough with the devaluation of the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card, where you only earn 0.5% cash back instead of 1% on non-multiplier bonus categories. Granted, some may argue that it is not much of a devaluation, as you would only use the Tangerine card on 2% category purchases, and another card for all other purchases anyway.

However, TD introduced a new Cash Back Visa Infinite Card. It may not be the most impressive card, but glad to see a new addition to the industry.

Grade: C

4) Improved Rail Service

Last year, we had some exciting news (e.g. Travel Between Montreal to Toronto in 30 Minutes), but not much this year. There was some news on the VIA Rail front, but nothing too significant yet. However, various cities across the country are expanding their light rail service, but I am looking more for nation wide access. It may be a stretch to have high speed trains. However, if there is improved rails where trains can at least travel 160 kilometres per hour more consistently, it would already speed up travel time. Furthermore, so long as they can keep the cost low enough to compete with buses, it should also increase ridership.

With VIA Rail, unless you are paying Escape fare, the other prices feel overpriced. Will look into a more in-depth post about VIA Rail later on.

Grade: E

5) More Credit Cards Offered by Smaller Companies

There is no new significant credit card that is going to make a dent on the market. Instead, we saw some discontinuations such as the Chase Rewards Visa and RBC Esso Extra Visa (granted not one of the small companies).

Hopefully we will close out the year strong with the introduce of at least 1 new competitive card from one of the smaller credit card companies.

Grade: E

6) Improved Safety and Security for Travellers

It hasn’t been a great first half of the year, so let’s close off on something more positive.

This is a very subjective topic to evaluate. But personally, I feel that the news has not been as bad this year as previous years.

Grade: B+

Happy 150th Canada Day!!

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