Get Amazon Prime (USA) tonight for $73USD!

Even if you currently have Amazon Prime in the States for whatever reason, you can get it for $73 a year!

If you have never had it, you have the least amount of work on your hands.  Click here to get the deal.

If you currently have Amazon Prime in the States, you can chat with them and ask them to please consider giving you the deal as you live in Canada and do not use the 2 day shipping option except on the rare occasion when you’re going there to the States to visit.  That was what I said.  They actually refunded me for my current Prime membership (after cancelling it) and then somehow made me eligible–and gave me the link through the chat system.  Choose “Amazon Video” and “Prime Video” as your issue to open up the option of the chatline.  That’s what I used.

Why get it?  If you are interested in getting an Amazon Echo device (Star Trek: The Next Generation’s computer system whereby you speak to it and it speaks back to you about a number of topics, including jokes, games, recipes, grocery lists, millions of songs from Prime music, etc.), it’s totally cool and you’ll need Prime to get the Echo to work.  They’re always adding new features to it!  You’ll also need to sign up for a service such as for $50CDN a year (or $4.99CDN a month–more expensive by the month) to allow the Echo and Prime music and Prime Video to work for you on your computer, some mobile devices, and your SMART TV.

You’ll want it if you go and vacation in the States or have a friend in the States to pick up items from–to ship packages there–and choose no-rush shipping for things that vary depending on what Amazon chooses to offer–$5.99 off Amazon grocery shipping (Prime Pantry) or $0.99 off videos for each order shipped (ship each one separately–they’ll put them together and give you credit for each order).

ACT FAST!  It ends at midnight!

Fighting For A Deal

My trip last year to NYC with my wife on our 10th anniversary was memorable–the horse and carriage ride in Central Park, the swim on the 42nd floor of Le Parker Meridien were two highlights.  We’d never been in a fancy hotel (well it used to be fancy at one time–it’s in dire need of a reno but is still pretty cool) and we enjoyed it, but to me, the deal that I fought for was the best part.

It started with a hotel deal I found online and put on SD (Steve’s Deals) for $60 for a one night stay on limited dates thru for Le Parker Meridien in NYC, including a breakfast. ended up cancelling it on me 9 days after I booked it, after I’d already made airline reservations using my points.  Cancellation fees on Avios tickets, which is next to nothing within the US, is more costly if the flight originates in Canada (YYZ-LGA return ticket cancellation was around $130CDN each).

I got on the phone with  Got me no where at first–then I had to wait for a call back for a supervisor within a couple of days.  I explained how unfair this was–a $60 deal cancelled on me, and how the email they sent me was adding salt to the wound–they would be so kind as to cancel and give a full refund for my reservation due to the accidental low price at no cost to me.  Wow.  Thanks for nothing.  I also explained I had bought the tickets to the flight and that I would have to pay for the cancelled tickets.  They got back to me eventually with an offer to cover the costs of other hotels in the area–but those hotels were not even close in amenities to Le Parker Meridien (LPM).  They also offered to cover the cost of my airline cancellation charges if I wasn’t satisfied.

I decided to play the hotel side of the story after some good advice from my friend, Brad.  Then I got in touch with the hotel.  I spoke to the revenue manager there, mentioned how it was our 10th anniversary getaway and she offered me the same suite at a “friends and family” discount price.  It did not include breakfast though.  I went back to with the offer and they accepted not only paying for the room (other than $60 plus taxes and extras), but including a breakfast at a restaurant outside the hotel as the hotel’s breakfast was not kosher.  At first they only offered $10 per person, but when I explained to them how much a breakfast cost at LPM that would have been covered by the original deal, they agreed to pay up to $27USD each for a breakfast.  That became a late brunch for us that we enjoyed.

The hotel room’s shower area was built on a stall system that used gravity with a decline towards the drain to catch water–it didn’t work.  After I noticed my wife’s shower causing a total flood in the washroom, I called room service which took too long, and by then, I’d cleaned it up using a towel, acting as a mop, squeezing it out every time it got soppy wet.   I called off the room service but they came anyways eventually.  I told them it was dealt with (as I was afraid to leave it ’til they showed as it may have caused damage if it had found its way down to the level below us and we may have been held responsible).

When checking out, I mentioned the problem and they had not been made aware of it.  In compensation for the incident, I received 3K Starwood points and an email that followed that gave me an upgrade to a Jr. suite on my next stay with them.

So, at the end, I got:

  • A Jr. suite at the original deal price of $60 (+taxes and extras)
  • A free breakfast for 2 at a kosher restaurant of our choice
  • 3K SPG points for the incident
  • I paid for the ticket on a credit card that it helped me to achieve meeting a spending threshold to receive welcome bonus points
  • An upgrade the next time we come to NYC to a Jr. Suite
  • Credit for the airline cancellation was never needed as the flight got cancelled and I asked for a refund instead of a different flight.
  • A date of my choice (any weekend in the summer) instead of the original date that would have meant a day of work’s pay lost

Fight, fight, fight!!!  Use kind words mixed with some understandable frustration and try to get them to empathize.  Much success to you!  Please email me when you have a story to share!


How To Save $ On Debt OR Make Money!

If you are in debt, or considering going into debt over something worthy, READ THIS POST!!

For years, I’ve been rotating debt by churning (reapplying for) the MBNA Platinum Plus Mastercard and using its 0% for 12 months balance transfer option.

Back before TD bought it, you could actually negotiate with them on your rate and transfer fee.  One time, I got 18 months at 0%, paying only a 0.5% balance transfer charge, but those days are loooong gone…

Now, when you apply, you’ll pay 1% to transfer your funds.  Great Canadian Rebates is offering $60 cash for applying through their website.  Use my link here to go to their website so that I can get a referral please if you’ve never signed up to their website.  After signing up, go to the left hand column where under “Categories” you’ll see “Credit cards and Finance.”  When you click on there, the MBNA Platinum Plus with the 12 month 0% financing option will show up at the top, offering you $60 cashback when applying through their link.  That way, you win and I win!  $60 would be the equivalent of borrowing $6K cash from them (as they charge 1% for whatever you transfer over).

You can transfer the cash into your line of credit, a regular bank account, or to pay off another credit card.  If you are carrying debt,.   this is a terrific option, and remember, it’s not just for 12 months!  Make a note on your calendar when the MBNA monthly statement will print that will mark the official end of your 0% deal, and pay it off the cheapest way you can.  I pay it off with my line of credit.  Then, I reapply for another Platinum Plus card.  I may have to call them, as they may not approve me instantly.  The system may show you already have a card with them, so you simply call them, and ask them to approve you for as much as possible ($500 is the minimum) and then transfer the old credit limit that you paid off to the new card and perhaps close the old card.  That way, you get the promotion and you also get a minimum guaranteed credit limit that you held before.

Example, you get approved for $15K your first time you apply.  You have them transfer the $15K to your line of credit, where you’re paying, perhaps as little as 4.7% interest.  You’ll pay $150 for the transfer, but with the $60 you will eventually get from GCR, you’ll only pay $90 to borrow the money!  You also will have to pay a minimum back of 1%, which in this example, would come out to $150/month.  If you are have a significant other, s/he could also sign up, get the $60 and borrow MORE money!

Perhaps you’re not in debt?  You could invest the money and MAKE money on the bank’s money!  Careful of course, investing in an unguaranteed investment such as mutual funds could be obviously risky, in that you may lose money at the end.  Also, it may not be worth it to put it in a high yielding bank account (Tangerine gives 2.1% for the first 6 months with one of their accounts, and then 1.05% after that, so you won’t make much and it may not be worth the credit hit to do this.

Your credit WILL take a hit as your credit to debt amortization will be high (owing $15K with a $15K credit limit for example).  I’d also advise that you try to pay it off (if you’re in debt) MUCH faster than paying the minimum.  If you pay $150 per month and keep renewing this offer with a new MBNA card every year, it will take you 100 months or 8 1/3 years to pay off at a cost of $702 in borrowing costs.  Paying $312.50/month would mean paying it off in less than half the time, exactly 4 years, at a borrowing cost of $374.50-$240 for using the GCR link that assuming it stays at $60 cashback)=$134.50!!  Compare that to, assuming your paying it down over 4.44 years (54 payments) in your line of credit at 4.7% (assuming it doesn’t go up–good luck with that “hope”), that would cost you $1630.46, meaning doing this will save you $1495.96 over 4 (or so) years!

Other cards offer 0% but not usually for 12 months, and their payback minimum is more than 1%, so this would be a great option to pay off debt!

Be sure to set up preauthorized payment out of your bank account to pay off the monthly payments so that you don’t end up going past due–that would automatically lead to you forfeiting your 0% rate and jumping up to around 19.9%.  You DON’T want to go there!

And NO, you won’t get any points for doing this–but you’ll save enough to get a nice vacation perhaps if that’s where you choose to allocate your savings–or perhaps just put the savings into the debt to pay it off faster!

How to Save $ On Vacations-Without Getting “grouponed” or “socialed”

When you go out of town on vacation, you may be out of your element when it comes to where to go and what to do while there.

Of course, you should go on to to find the Top 10, 20, 50 places to visit when in any particular destination.

Then, hope ,and pray you can find a deal to those places.

To begin, go to through Ebates if your vacation is somewhere in North America.  Not signed up to Ebates yet? You can find my link to (so I can get a referral–thanks!)–more info on Ebates can be found here.  ALWAYS go through Ebates to another website to get to ANY of these coupon websites such as Living Social, Groupon, and RetailMeNot. THAT way you will not only get the Groupon (etc,) discount but a discount on the money you spent ON the coupon with Ebates!  Many times it is 6-15% in cash back!

Choose the city you will be visiting in the location parameters box beside the search box.  Then, compare the offers to TripAdvisor to see if the places mentioned are worth seeing according to them.  Some places, such as an art night, probably would not be listed, but other places will be!

Not just places to go, but places to EAT!

Warning!  With these coupons, you not only have to look in the fine print to be sure the coupon will not expire before you leave, but also any other restrictions–only dinners, only lunches, one coupon per couple, per table, 20% tip added to order, taxes on the coupon not included, etc., etc.

Slightly changing the topic, be very careful when using these coupon companies when it comes to services around the house.  We had to cancel 3 different vent cleaners, as they did not include in the details VERY important information including how much extra they would charge for things that were apparently necessary to do a proper vent cleaning, for example.  This is more an issue when it comes to services around the house.  I ended up turning down the last company that ended up coming, for the “necessary” air conditioning cleaning that I called in another company for half the price that I felt did a VERY professional job, as opposed to the one that started the job, and would regularly not show up and not call, until they finally came, over 2 hours late, and only called soon before arriving. is a good way to find out about which companies are reputable and in turn, which ones to stay away from–you really do get what you pay for!

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.

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!

Canadians NEED to Get a (or a few) US AMEX Cards!!

AMEX is a special animal in the credit card world.  It’s the only credit card I know of in the USA that offers Canadians a credit card!  Yes, you may be able to get one if you bank with TD or some other Canadian bank’s US affiliate, but those cards offer little to no benefits and NO welcome sign up bonus! **YOU WILL NEED A US ADDRESS TO APPLY AND TO RECEIVE THE CARD AT THAT ADDRESS. Then you can get paperless billing after that.**

It also helps to have a Canadian AMEX card, as they can use it to pull up some info on you, perhaps your credit worthiness.  They will possibly ask you to send them documentation proving your credit worthiness–pay stub, mortgage payments, etc.

A problem when applying over the phone is that you will not get the BIG bonus sign ups unless those are being currently offered everywhere, not just by invitation or online.  You’ll get the regular ones (25K AMEX Membership Reward points for the Gold Rewards card, 40K for the Platinum). You can TRY to get them to match the online offer you will likely receive on your browser if you’ve never applied before for 50K points for the Premier Gold Rewards card after spending only $1K USD in 3 months, but no guarantees!  I just called them and they refused to honour the online deal.

You’ll also have to find a source of USD.  My previous post of XenBanx is one option.  Another good one is Knightbridge, but Knightbridge will only trade CDN to USD at a minimum exchange of $5K USD (at a great rate mind you).

The reason is because you will need to apply for your card over the phone as the online application requires you to have a Social Security number.  If you have business in the US or you vacation there, it’s totally worth getting this card.

Here’s why:

The Gold Rewards card now comes with no foreign exchange fee (as of June 2015) so though you’ll have to pay your bill in US$ or lose on the exchange.   The Platinum number doesn’t have one and costs a LOT less than the Canadian version, and is BETTER with the offers that are given on the card, as well as the benefits.

You can also apply for business cards, other consumer cards, like the SPG card with the annual fee waived for the first year, only $65/yr after that (not $120 like in Canada) and 25K SPG points upon approval!  That’s better than any Canadian offer ever gets!

The “Premier Rewards” card comes with a 25K point sign up and a first year annual fee waived.  The 25K can be switched 1:1 with Aeroplan or British Airways Avios.  BUT it can also be switched to WAYYYYYYYYY more airline point systems than the Canadian version.  It can also be switched at better rates.  For example, the Canadian AMEX offers a switch to Alitalia points at a 1:0.75 rate, so 1000 AMEX points turns into 750 Alitalia points.  Alitalia is a good airline that can get you to places like Tel Aviv comfortably, connecting in Rome.  AMEX USA does the switch at a 1:1 conversion rate!

Rumours are swirling that the Avios system may be devalued, but they’ve already made a change recently to their system, so a devaluation would be very unlikely in the near future.  As I’ve written about on many posts, the British Airways Avios system is very valuable, and should be collected along with Aeroplan to diversify your airline points portfolio.  Those points can be used to fly AA, US Airways (same thing now as AA), along with a ton of other airlines, all part of the One World Alliance, with very flexible cancellation policies, less points to fly, especially for short haul flights, such as Toronto to New York, but even on long haul flights, with respect to the number of points it will cost you, you’re better off with Avios.  Availablility-wise, it depends when you want to fly.  Flying to Florida in December will be tough (as it will be with Aeroplan) but at least with Aeroplan, Distinction status will get you the flights, even if for WAYYY more points.

The card comes with INCREDIBLE free offers.  You can link your AMEX to your Twitter account to take advantage of other offers that will be added to your account.  It’s SOOOOO much better than what the Cdn AMEX system currently offers:

Case in point:

AMEX has a deal that has been offered to some card holders ’til Saturday–spend $50+ at BJs Wholesale (there’s two in Buffalo–like Costco but not Costco), and get $25 cashback to your AMEX account within 90 days AND YOU CAN GET THIS DEAL FOR THREE VISITS!  So, you make one trip, make three purchases, of which they can be gift cards for future trips, and get back $75USD!  That is just ONE example of the deals that are out there when you sign into your US AMEX account and choose offers that may include ones like that one!  Then, you simply add the offer to your account.

It also offers FOUR FREE TOWS up to 25 miles away!  While you may already have CAA, consider cancelling your membership if you can get some kind of towing coverage with your auto insurance.  I’m with the Cooperators, and for $10 a year, I get up to $100 towards a tow with no limits, so if I end up needing a tow that is more than 25 miles away, I can charge my insurance to cover up to an extra $100 in towing fees!

To get the card, call 1-800-243-3888 to apply.  Let me know how it goes!  If you have a Social Security Number, you definitely should apply on line for the 50K AMEX points welcome bonus offer!  BTW, in the US, they only allow you to one welcome bonus per card.

$10 a night for a decent to very nice hotel room? YES IT’S POSSIBLE!!

I’ve stayed at a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite at the Staybridge Suites (with an indoor pool and hot tub) at Buffalo Airport.  I’ve stayed at the Hotel Indigo in Cleveland for 3 nights, 2 rooms, for next to nothing!  Canadians, it will cost you $10 per room per night, with a limit of 2 weeks per reservation–no more than 2 reservations per hotel.  You’re thinking, “wow Steve.  A stay in Buffalo.  A stay in Cleveland.  Whoopdeedoo.  How about something a little more exotic?”  They have properties all over the world.  YOU DO NOT NEED A CREDIT CARD TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS DEAL!  Keep reading for more info on that!

The IHG hotels chain offers Point Breaks every 3 months, which means that hotels that charge, for example, 20K IHG points per night, are only charging 5K points per night.  All the hotel deals are 5K points per night and if you apply for the Capital One IHG card in Canada using the link here, you pay $120/yr for the card and get 60K points as a welcome bonus.  That’s enough right here for 12 free nights when booking a Point Break hotel!  That’s $10 per night that you paid for with your annual fee! In the US, you can get 60K easily with the Chase IHG card (click here), and if you secure message Chase, they have been matching better offers, including 80K points plus $50 cashback (harder to find links for that) with NO annual fee the first year!  The Canadian one though gives 2 points per dollar of spending on regular everyday shopping, while the US one only offers double (2 points per dollar) on gas, groceries, and restaurants.  BUT the Cdn one charges a 2.5% foreign exchange fee which is ridiculous considering it’s a travel card–welcome to Canada. The US one charge no forex fee at all–that’s a Chase thing on most of their cards that have an annual fee.

A bonus with the CDN one is if for every $10K you spend, you get a bonus 5K IHG points–that means if you spend $10K, you’ll have 25K points, which means spending $10K gets you 5 nights using the Point Breaks! Sweeeet!

Also, both the US and CDN card will give you a free night at ANY IHG property in the world upon your card’s anniversary.  In the US, that means $49 for a free night in a fancy hotel–in Canada, even at $120, that is a sweet deal!

Want to see what hotels in the chain are offering the point break deal?  The list came out today.  Click here to see the newest point break offers.  Click the continent to see what offers are available where, from stays in Ashkelon, Israel to Guelph, Ontario, bide your time for the point break that meets your vacation goals!  You might say, hey, I don’t want to stay in a Holiday Inn?  I don’t blame you, but the chain does include nicer hotels, including very fancy ones like the IHG Bora Bora, $800 a night.  You can start off with a booking in a studio suite, at say, the Staybridge Suites or Candlewood Suites–I like those hotels in the chain (the Crowne Plaza is nice too, but very few of those show up for Point Breaks.)   You can base your choice of where to go on vacation based on where the Point Breaks are!

The IHG credit card is one of the only credit cards that offers you Platinum status for having the card and that means A LOT in this chain.

You can also buy points through their website that will put you back $35USD per 5K IHG points, so that works out to $35/night USD but why do that when you can get welcome points for free that will perhaps cover your vacation plans and more that you can earn by making this one of your main credit cards?  It’s a trick whereby you can make a reservation at a property using cash and points that is non-refundable, then cancel the reservation and get only points back, meaning that you lose cash but gain points at a reasonable return ($35 for 5K points) BUT you first have to HAVE 5K points minimum to do this, and the only ways to do this without an IHG credit card is to, in the US, if you have a Sapphire card, transfer 5K Sapphire points to IHG (bad use of points but in a pinch, you do what you’ve gotta do) OR buy points through with this link after signing up for an IHG membership for free here.  That will cost you $67.50USD for 5K points (and possibly a 50% bonus so you’ll get 7.5K IHG points for $67.50USD.

Follow this path:

If you haven’t signed up for a Trip Advisor account yet, you should.  Go to to sign up and start reviewing places that you stay in.  You can use that to help you for leverage when dealing with hotel managers.  Go to the Trip Advisor reviews for the hotel you’d like to stay at.  Look good?  The manager of the hotel answering to reviews from Trip Advisor members’ reviews?  Great!

Next, call the hotel you wish to stay at.  Find out the general manager’s email address.  Send her/him a note after you’ve made your reservation for a studio suite (that’s the best you’ll get with your point break stay.  Let the manager know that you’re coming into whatever town you’re going to, how much you’re looking forward to staying there, especially after having read reviews about the hotel and noticing that the manager takes the time to respond to Trip Advisor reviews and how impressed you are that s/he cares enough to do so.  Mention your reservation number and the date of your arrival.  Mention your Platinum status.  Ask if s/he would be so kind as to upgrade you (especially if you’re travelling with your family and need the space).  Request what you’d like to be upgraded to–go to the IHG website and see what rooms are available in that hotel to pay with by cash.  Then you know what to ask for!

I’ve never hit a wall with method.  Politeness and persuasion can get you far in the hotel industry!

Act quickly!  They only accept 200 reservations per hotel for point breaks.  After that, you’re out of luck.  Missed out this time?  Pick up the credit card this time around, and then pounce next time I publish the next IHG Point Break!