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New Year’s Eve! Recap of 2020

As we close out 2020, we continue with our year-end series of grading our 2020 wish list from the beginning of the year. This report card is a continuation from our mid-term report back on Canada Day.

Keep in mind that all wishes are generally a win/win/win scenario for everyone (loyalty company, credit card company and customer) involved in the transaction. In some cases it is just win/win because there is no middle retailer (i.e. just the credit card company and the customer).

Grading System

Here’s a quick recap of the 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)
  • Awesome job
  • B+ Good job
  • B Decent, met expectations
  • Acceptable
  • Better than nothing 
  • E Nothing changed, no improvements
  • F Fail, went backwards

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

We did see some re-branded of co-branded Aeroplan credit cards offered by CIBC,  TD and American Express in August (just after the mid-term report). So in a way, we did see something new as they changed up their existing features and benefits. For this reason, it was better than nothing.

See our comparison posts:

Grade: D

2) A Brand New Transferable Points Program

I still believe that CIBC Aventura or Scotiabank Rewards will eventually expand their program to be transferable at some point in time. At least, I feel that it is in the works, but lots of details to work out.

That being said, American Express did expand their credit card portfolio to give more options to earn Membership Reward points. In recent years, they added the Cobalt card and the Business Edge card. Their latest addition is the Choice Card from American Express, which occurred this month. For this reason, it is better than nothing.

Grade: D

3) Incentives to Retain Credit Cards

The Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card is probably my top pick in terms of annual incentive at the moment. They allow cardholders to earn 10,000 bonus points for spending at least $40,000 annually, which offsets most of the $139 annual fee. The reason it is win/win (no third win, because there is no middle retailer) is because Scotiabank gets more spending put on their credit cards while cardholders are rewarded for their spending.

Even though churning is a lucrative way to increase account balances in a hurry, I would prefer more incentives offered to cardholders to retain their credit cards to reduce the need for churning.

As mentioned in wish item #1, Aeroplan is now offering revamped cards. One of the new features added is the ability to earn 1,000 status qualifying miles and 1 status qualifying segment for every $10,000 spent. This is exactly the type of incentive that I would like to see credit card companies offer, which reduces the need for churning.

In terms of grading, because the Air Canada benefit is offered on so many different versions of their Aeroplan co-branded cards, I will give a little higher score than items #1 and #2.

Grade: C

4) More Progress Towards High Speed Trains

A few ideas are being tossed around. A high speed train is being explored between Vancouver, Seattle and Portland. Even though it is not Canada exclusive, at least it does have a Canadian station.

Still a long shot, but the hyperloop technology is at being considered between Calgary and Edmonton, as well as Montreal and Toronto.

For now, these ideas are still a pipe dream, but at least a thought!

Grade: D

5) One Credit Card Company Stepping up in a Big Way

We recently published our post: Ranking the Credit Card Portfolios of Each Canadian Financial Institutions. The two companies that made the biggest jumps are the Canadian Tire Bank and Walmart Financial.

Canadian Tire jumped up mostly because they were under-ranked to begin with, but they did crack the top 10 now. While Walmart made its biggest jump ever on our rankings list due to its new World MasterCard version.

Furthermore, with the addition of Manulife also entering the credit card market (teamwork from 3 different companies), I will give a better score.

Grade: B

Conclusion

This is the first year that we did not have any Es and Fs on the board. All things considered, I would say, this has been an acceptable year (average of C) in the industry. This has been the highest overall average year since we started putting together a wish list. I find this significant because the items on my wish list is generally long shots to begin with, unlike my predictions lists, which I generally publish on January 2nd of every year.

Did I miss anything on my wish list? Do you agree with my scores? Please let us know in the comment section below!

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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