Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Travel Reward Cards

Traveling isn't cheap on a regular basis, but traveling when you live in Nunavut is crazy expensive. There are a select few airlines who service the territory, and they charge an arm and a leg because they have the market trapped (literally). If you're not using discount codes, or flying on a seat sale, just getting out of Nunavut can cost you thousands of dollars - not to mention the cost of the flight elsewhere afterwards, say if you're going on to Toronto or anywhere other than Ottawa, Winnipeg or Yellowknife. We've often said that for the cost of one of us getting out of Nunavut, we could both fly across the world...and we're sadly not even exaggerating.

Since flights are so expensive, most everyone who has a credit card here uses a travel rewards card to earn points to get free flights home - and that's something I would highly recommend you switching to if you're considering living in the north and have the means to a credit card. The most popular one seems to be the CIBC Aerogold Visa. Unfortunately, CIBC will only send your card to a branch and you have to go and pick it up - hard to do when you live a flight or two away from the closest branch. I recently switched to an American Express Aeroplan card because they mail them directly to you wherever your home address is, and the application process is relatively painless. The only downside is that there are still some places that don't accept AMEX, although we've been able to use ours all around Baker Lake without a hitch.

Whatever you choose as your card, you should keep an eye out for bonus point promotions when you sign up. Most cards will offer to waive the first year of your annual fee, which ranges from $120 to $500 per year depending on what kind of card you get/what benefits you want (though that seems like a lot, think of how much you spend on a card and factor in whether or not a high annual fee that allows you to earn free flights faster works out to be a better savings in the end. If you're paying $500/year and getting a free $3,000 flight - there's no question that it's worth it.) It's a little bit of research now that could save you thousands of dollars later, so I highly recommend taking the time to choose a card that's best for your needs/spending habits. You'll be so thankful for it later!

-L

1 comment:

  1. I had an Aerogold card and found that i was so limited by the dates and options with aeroplan that i ended up switching to their aventura card and it allows you more airline options. Also travel cards often come with all kinds of travel insurance so you don't have to buy it later when you travel!

    -Kirsten

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