HOT!! Wonderland 2016 Season Passes For $7.99 + Tax on $67.99!!?-DEAD

Canada’s Wonderland has begun selling its season passes for $67.99 ($2 cheaper than last year).  They start selling them when the EX opens. For those of you with children, season’s passes add up to expensive entertainment–unless you subsidize your ticket with discipline.  This is what I mean…

Again, Wonderland is offering the season pass at the lowest price of the year (it goes up as opening day and beyond approaches for next season)–but if you purchase it before this year ends, you will get one of two presents from Wonderland (along with other Cedar Fair parks, including Cedar Point but at different prices, but the same deal apparently):

(A) A single day admission ticket (if you don’t currently have a season’s pass for 2015), worth between $42 (if you purchased it 3 days in advance online) or less if you went to Costco when they had them $10 off ($30 instead of $40) or got some other deal of the number of deals out there, to $48 buying them online from Wonderland (less than 3 days in advance), to up to $62 at the front gate.  Unfortunately, that ticket they give you as a gift is not transferable, so you must use it still within the 2015 season.  If you’re purchasing a season’s pass for 2016 for a child turning 3 (at age 3 they need to have their own pass), the single day admission ticket is sadly useless.  I’ve spoken to management about it, but as with any big company, it’s like trying to move a mountain.  If you buy one for the first time this year, hopefully, you’ll save a LOT of money next year if they offer the same deal that I detail below…

(B) BUT THIS is the SWEEET deal: with each renewed Season’s Pass, Wonderland will give you a Fast Lane PLUS pass, which gets “you” access to a by-pass line for 19 of the more popular rides PLUS Leviathan and Behemoth (the biggest roller coasters).  It must be used this season and it’s worth $79.10 (including taxes).  Yes, Wonderland charges $79.10 to make a one day experience more enjoyable ON TOP of the single day admission ticket.

It is also TOTALLY TRANSFERABLE, though the central info number of Wonderland will tell you otherwise.  So go and sell it!  Resist the urge to use it!  It’s easy to resist for your little ones, who cannot even enjoy the bigger rides that the Fast Lane PLUS is directed at, but YOU will need to show more discipline!  Want to go when the lines are shorter?  Go Sunday at 9am (early opening for Season’s Pass holders) or on a weekday, especially Tuesday to Thursday at 10am sharp, or on a weekend in September or October, when they also have a Halloween Peanuts show for the kids and seasonal decorations all  over the park—AND SHORTER LINES!

Want to save money on camp and have a caregiver at home with the kids?  Get a Wonderland season’s pass, and just go for a couple of hours in the morning, before the lines get nasty (though for the little ones, the lines are only REALLY nasty on the weekends and Fridays).  They’re somewhat tolerable in the afternoons.  We just go in the mornings and early afternoons, then pack it up.

Last year, I got into the Wonderland line and joined several others who were selling other tickets that they couldn’t use to Wonderland.  Me and my girls were the only ones selling the Fast Lane PLUS receipt (to exchange for the wristband) and within 10 minutes, I’d sold all 3 for $50 each in the Wonderland ticket line!

This year, according to the 2015 version of the receipt that gets you the Fast Lane PLUS, you need to present the receipt to the “Locker Room” store (located at the beginning of International Street, on the right when you enter) “along with the Season Pass” to exchange it for the wristband, so you’ll have to take everyone with the receipt with you, as the “person must be present to get wristband” and to top it off, the free pass ticket bar code must match the season pass holder’s ID.

Not true, practically speaking.  I spoke to an employee who really seemed to be in the know, an employee at the “Locker Room,” and they don’t even ask for your season’s pass (which they did not to those I sold mine to), to confirm that you aren’t transferring it.  So this time, I found people who were happy to pay less, considering I offered to wait around to be sure they got their wristband, and THEN they paid me.  You will have to have initiative to do this of course.  You could try to sell it on a website like Kijiji, but at Wonderland, it will obviously sell much faster.  I picked people near the end of the line so as to not be so obvious as to what I was doing.  I felt a bit guilty but really there’s nothing explicit on the receipt that Wonderland gives you to exchange for the Fast Pass PLUS that states that it’s not transferable; in fact, when I bought the season’s pass, the person at checkout said that I could do whatever I wanted with it, and that it WAS transferable.

I sold them for $60 each, which is still a savings of $19.10 per Fast Lane PLUS if someone in line bought it without a deal online.  That’s like 5 Season’s Passes for the price of ONE!  If people in line purchased a Fast Lane PLUS along with a ticket online, then they aren’t going to buy your passes.  Those that haven’t AND carry cash, let them know that it will cost them $79.10 for the PLUS version including tax and $67.80 for 4 or more and that you’re only selling them for whatever you feel you can get.  At $60 each, they’re saving between $7.80 and $19.10 each.  You can then direct them to the left side of the counter at the Locker Room, as the pass they’re buying from you is considered prepaid, so they just have to take it and slap the Fast Pass Plus wristband on the purchaser.  An employee may take them to a kiosk near the store to exchange the receipt for the wristband. Some may already have a day pass purchased online or a season’s pass and they want an extra Fast Lane PLUS or one of many admission combinations, but either way, $67.99-$60 is $7.99 + tax on a $67.99 season’s pass, or $16.83 per season’s pass!  Enough detail?????

Let me know how successful you are!  Please share my website with your friends.  I’m on Facebook (StevesDeals) and Twitter (StevesDealsCA)

How To Get A Free Parking Pass and Free Adult CNE Season Pass To The CNE

Apparently, if you go to the CNE Casino and register at the counter for a VIP Pass, hang around “gambling” for 3 hours and then go back, you will earn a VIP Pass which includes a CNE Season Pass and a free parking pass.  Only thing is, they will expect you to gamble.  I have not tried this, but apparently, they don’t monitor you so if you leave and come back after three hours to go on a “smoke break,” you are totally eligible for this promotion–and even better, they’ll mail you in July next year to let you know that your CNE Season Pass and parking pass is available to be picked up for next year to be picked up by a certain date.  Best of all, you won’t need to wait around for 3 hours next year.  Is it a lifetime deal?  The verdict is still out.  Others have been doing this for years while others are “reevaluated,” meaning you have to go back and spend 3 hours there again.   What do you do while you wait the three hours?  Well, you could go into the EX but then you’ll pay.  You could certainly gamble.  That’s what they expect you to do. I will have to try this and update the website with my personal experience.

How To Gain Status With Hotel Chains

This is a big subject, but I’ll focus on 3 hotel chains, IHG, Marriott, and SPG.

IHG.  Easy.  Get the Capital One IHG M/C in Canada and/or the Chase IHG M/C in the States.  The rumour is that Capital One will be DROPPING this product soon and focusing their business on their new love, Costco.  BTW, I’m not a fan of the Capital One Costco card–you get 2% cashback on gas and 3% on restaurants–and that doubles for the first 3 months.  Yes, it has no annual fee, but that’s all you’re getting.  With either the US or Canadian version, you get Platinum IHG status.  That will qualify you for upgrades, which may not mean much at a Holiday Inn, but at the Staybridge Suites chain, that include 2 bedroom with 2 bathroom suites (in some cases), an upgrade from a studio to one of those or even a 1 bedroom is sweet.  Also, they offer Point Breaks that are made public every 3 months, that allow you to book hotels on that 1/4 year’s list for only 5K IHG points.  The Canadian card offers 60K IHG points once you use the card, while the US version, one can find links online offering as much as 80K, not to mention in the States, they waive the annual fee in the first year.  As reported in a previous post, yes, us Canadians are stuck paying the $120 annual fee from year one, but if you look at it as 12 nights using Point Breaks (2 reservations are allowed per hotel for as long as you have points left in your account) that’s $10CDN for a night in one of their point break hotels!

Marriott.  More difficult.  Silver status means nothing.  I think they throw in a free newspaper or something useless like that, but reach 50 Elite nights and you get gold status–that qualifies you for free upgrades when you arrive at the hotel.  You get 15 when you are approved and spend any amount on the Chase Canada Marriott Visa, plus 50K points with this link on my website (I get no credit for it but I’m here to help!).  For every $3K, you get 1 elite night added to your account.  Stay at Marriott properties and you’ll earn more elite nights.  Hitting 50 isn’t easy.  There are ways, but you’ll have to come to my first Steve’s Deal seminar to find out how (in the planning stages).

SPG–the most prestigious of the hotel groups and whose points are the most valuable:  Get the AMEX Platinum card (in the US or Canada).  The Starwood SPG card offers gold as well, but with them you have to spend $30K before you’ll be gold. The AMEX Platinum comes with a hefty annual fee ($700 CDN (with a 60K AMEX point welcome bonus through this link)), $450 US, and Ameriprise Financial (USA) waives the annual fee for the first year.  This is not the post that discusses the benefits that come with the AMEX Platinum, other than its connection to SPG.  Don’t exactly know how they’re connected, but clearly they’ve got a deal with SPG over it.  You get to stay in your room ’til 4pm the next day as well.  There are other benefits but those are the biggies.  They will also dote over you.  One friend complained about the free cookies his kids got that were waiting for him in his hotel room–the one that’s on a separate floor, reserved for those with minimum gold status…they brought his kids up another kind of cookie and I believe he said that they gave him SPG points over the unfortunate cookie scene.

“I Don’t Have A Business” How Can I Justify A Business Credit Card (and Get the Welcome Bonus points)?

One does not need to have a registered business with Revenue Canada to have a business–if you’re making ANY money on the side from anything you’re doing, even if you’re making next to nothing from it, perhaps it’s a hobby that occasionally makes you some money, you’re what is categorized as a “self proprietor.”  Of course, you still report your income to Revenue Canada, but you’re not incorporated, as a Revenue Canada agent stated it, “that’s opening a big can of worms.”

On the credit application, you would not place a business number on the application and you’d pick self-proprietor on the dropdown menu.  Your salary from it includes your salary from all of your jobs.  Your losses, well, if you don’t have any losses from it, then that would be zero.  Number of employees? One.  Excluding yourself: Zero.

AMEX IS still offering a signup bonus for business cards to business that is not new–in other words, if you are deciding to get an AMEX card but already had one in the past, you ARE still eligible for the welcome bonus, which  is 40K AMEX points, which can be converted to Avios at a 25% bonus over 1:1 or to Aeroplan at 1:1 or as cash towards travel purchases, after spending the minimum $5K in 3 months with the first year $250 annual fee waived, and then after that, you’ll be charged if you keep it but it may be tax deductable.

That link is here to get the 40K.  CIBC’s Aeroplan Business card is offering their $180 annual fee card with the fee also waived for the first year, but only ’til August 31.  The 20K Aeroplan points that come with it, as mentioned in recent posts, is Distinction status eligible.  They DO, on the CIBC application, expect that you’ve been in business for a year or more to apply online.  If it’s close to a year, think about when you started your first steps into your self-employed business on the side–that may have been already more than a year ago.

Three Steps to Aeroplan Black Distinction Status–And Only Spend $5K+ In One Year

This post is a summary of recently posted material regarding how to get up to 50K Aeroplan points that will count as Distinction points with Aeroplan.  There’s the 3 levels of Distinction with Aeroplan–Silver, Black, and Diamond.  Diamond, if you’re an Aeroplan maniac, spending over $7K/mth on the card or a combo of spending on an Aeroplan credit card plus travel on Air Canada flights could get you 100K Aeroplan points that are Distinction qualifying. That will get you a 35% discount on Market Fare tickets (discussed below) AND priority when calling Aeroplan’s booking line (though I’d only use it to book a flight that can’t be booked online or just to get info that they can access to avoid Fuel Surcharges for overseas flights with Star Alliance affiliates).

Basically, anytime you spend money on your AMEX Aeroplan, CIBC, or TD Aeroplan Visa, you’ll get Distinction qualifying points.  25K Distinction points will get you Silver status, which gives you 20% off Market Fare rates.  Black you get at 50K and Diamond at 100K.  On your Aeroplan account when you click, “Your Aeroplan,” and then, on the dropdown menu “Transactions,” you’ll see on the right column the amount of points you received, and beside it, a lower case fancy “d”.  The only time you don’t get a “d” is if it’s not earned through travel or purchases on a credit card.

TD and AMEX welcome bonus points on a new card do NOT qualify, BUT…

  • The 10K you get with the TD Aeroplan after spending $1K in 3 months DOES.
  • The CIBC Aeroplan, both the business welcome bonus of 20K (annual fee waived now ’til August 31) DOES and…
  • The personal welcome bonus of 15K (annual fee waived when applying in a CIBC branch–some say you have to get a chequing account and agree to some credit insurance in case you lose your job but other sources say you do NOT need any of this) DOES

So you spend $1K on your TD Aeroplan Infinite, at least a few dollars on the CIBC business and personal has just earned you 45K Distinction qualifying points.  You’ve now spent $1K and change to get the 45K Aeroplan points +1K (or more if you spent them in certain qualifying categories such as gas or groceries on the TD or CIBC personal cards)–now you need only spend another $4K on all 3 cards and you’ll have Black status.  With that, you’ll get a 25% discount on Aeroplan Market Fare flights.  You also KEEP your status through next year.  If you’re a churner, you may be able to pull off things such as:

Applying for 2 TD Aeroplan cards on the same day (not at the same time–may register as a duplicate application) (that’s only ONE credit hit BTW if it’s on the same day).

Cancelling and reapplying for the CIBC cards after a few months…you get the idea.

I.E.  You may be able to pull off Diamond Status this way–it’s not my way, but it’s an option that while it may be frowned upon by the banks, is not illegal from anything I’ve read.

Market Fare is an excellent way to fly IF you’re desperate to get an AC flight that has no classic fare availability for that day or for a specific flight time, but be prepared to get ripped off by Aeroplan for the number of points they want from you for the flights.  They can truly be astronomical!  Like over 100K points for a one-way to New York from Toronto.  IF you book the flight right in the beginning of the opening of AC flights with Aeroplan, 356 days in advance, you could get tickets for the same or LESS than a classic fare flight if you book while there’s plenty of availability–and the taxes are lower.  For a one-way flight to NY, tickets are about $50 cheaper with Market Fare flights.

With some flights, it’s practically impossible to book the flights to get classic rewards.  I’ve tried to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico with Aeroplan points, on the direct flight during peak season.  No success, but with Market Fare, if I’m fast enough, I may have success–and so might you!

Get A Free 15K Aeroplan Points with the Annual Fee Waived!

So after an annoying experience whereby I took advantage of the CIBC Aeroplan Business 20K Aeroplan point bonus deal with the annual fee waived the first year (see previous post) by being forced to walk into the branch to pick up the card (I’m not a client so they make you), showing 2 pieces of ID, only to find out that they put the supplementary card in a separate envelope, forcing my wife to make a trip into CIBC as well (they require a signature) , I am happy to pass on this piece of info to you:

Until August 24–walk into your local CIBC branch and apply for a CIBC Aeroplan Infinite Visa and they will WAIVE the annual fee for the first year.  This is NOT a new deal-sorry, it’s been available since April 15th, but it IS unadvertised. The welcome bonus of 15K Aeroplan points apparently count towards Aeroplan Distinction Status.

This means if you apply for both the personal and business cards, you’ll automatically earn Silver status for Distinction (25K Aeroplan points eraned in one year), which most importantly will give you a 20% discount on Market Fare flights.  Those are the flights that are specifically AC flights, whereby every seat on the plane is available to Aeroplan customers–except you’ll pay a premium in the number of points for your flight.  For example, a classic fare one-way flight to New York from Toronto is 7500 Aeroplan points.  With Market Fare, that flight could be 10K points if there’s lots of availablility on the flight, but it could also be around 100K points for the same flight–that’s ECONOMY seats  But at least they offer the seats, right?  I would never pay that in points, but if I was desperate, and all other options were not available, too expensive in cash, or too inconvenient (a flight from Buffalo at some unG-dly hour), I may take a market fare flight.

Also, market fare flights, for whatever reason, are cheaper in cash that you pay on top of the points than a classic fare flight.  For that YYZ-NYC one-way flight, you’re only paying $86.86CDN instead of about $50 more with a classic fare flight, IF there even IS any availability at Classic Fare.

Of course, the United flight using Aeroplan points out of Buffalo will cost you only $10CDN (and change) plus 12.5K Aeroplan points, and the flight times, in the case I was looking into on Monday, were reasonable times–9:36 or 10:36am.

Remember, the deal at your local CIBC branch ends August 24th!