Happy Canada Day! Mid-Year Report

Back on New Year’s Eve, I talked about how 2013 was a great year for credit card sign up bonuses. I also talked about what I would like to see in 2014. Since we are at the mid-point of the year, this is a great opportunity to revisit my recommendations to financial institutions, loyalty programs and the transportation industry:

1) Stop devaluations.

Unfortunately, this will probably be a continuing trend, with Hyatt and Marriott being hit a little harder so far in 2014. While IHG Rewards Club and Starwood Preferred Guest actually lowered the number of points required on many of their hotels, so there is some hope. Airlines changes will come into effect in 2015, namely Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. As always, I recommend that we diversify our points portfolio to avoid being affected too negatively.

2) I would like to see loyalty programs and financial institutions make some bolder moves at improving their programs so that they can capitalize on a bigger market share.

If anything, we saw some negative news, such as IHG account closures and Air Miles cancelling fuel surcharges on certain flights, which might not even be advantageous to customers. We did see the introduction of Aurora Rewards, which is a breath of fresh air to compete with WestJet Rewards and Aeroplan. We’ll also see if Air Canada’s Rouge and WestJet’s Encore can take more market share.

3) I’ve been waiting for more transfer bonuses between programs.

Aeroplan and RBC Rewards had their transfer bonuses in the first half of 2014, but still nothing from American Express Membership Rewards. The Aeroplan and RBC Rewards transfer bonuses were not that impressive either.

4) Hopefully credit cards sign-up bonuses will continue to increase and first year annual fees waived.

There have not yet been too many significant credit card promotions in 2014. Most of the good promotions are carry-overs from 2013 or repeat promotions that we have scene in the past. Hopefully we will see more momentum going into the second half of the year.

5) Higher cash back credit cards that have no annual fee.

Unfortunately, there has not been any new and significant no annual fee cash back credit cards introduced in 2014 yet. We did see the new American Express Gold Cash Back Credit Card, but with a $99 and not a very impressive card.

6) I hope to see improved safety and security for travellers.

The only way to really gauge this factor is to see less news reports on travel accidents.

Safe travels everyone and Happy Canada Day!!

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