View Full Version : International travel
2011-09-27, 08:49 AM
I have to do a fairly heavy amount of international travel in the next two months for work.
Are there any deals (credit card, airmiles) that I should use when making arrangements?
I normally just use a PC Mastercard (because I like slightly-discounted groceries). I don't think I will be able to use just one airline because I'm flying a big variety of places (all in the U.S.) with fairly tight time schedules.
Any ideas for me? Thanks!
2011-09-27, 11:02 AM
Do you know which airlines you will be flying and which hotels you will be staying at, or is your travel flexible?
If the former, sign up for the respective loyalty cards.
Airlines and hotels these days share loyalty programs so it is often enough to get a couple of loyalty cards and receive credits for a variety of airlines and hotels.
I like Aeroplan since its members include many hotels and airlines, even competing airlines to Air Canada, such as United.
For hotels, I like the Starwood program a lot.
In the past, I have been able to redeem my points for stays at very nice hotels that cost several hundreds of $$ a night.
The American Express card linked to Starwood points is a particularly good deal.
2011-09-27, 11:09 AM
I personally like Hilton Honours program as that could give you a bit of a discount on room rates. Before you leave, spend some time on tripadvisor.com and read the hotel and restaurant reviews of the places you are going to. I know it takes a bit of time to do this but it's worth reading what other people are saying. Just be careful with some of the reviews as the competition seems to go in there and post dirt, or mgmt posts glowing reviews but these are usually obvious in that they are quite extreme and almost sound like a sales pitch or worse. Just be aware these spin doctors exist and look for reviews that look like they were written by actual customer experience.
The last time I used the site when I was going out of town, I managed to get a short list of restaurants to go to, I mapped them out and printed that so I could carry that with me in the car and get to the better places. The experience is so much better when you follow the reviews IMO.
2011-09-27, 11:15 AM
+1 for Hilton Honors, too.
They had a special promotion running a few years ago that gave you a Gold card just for signing up.
Not sure if they still have it, but it's a good deal.
Several airlines are part of it too.
2011-09-27, 11:28 AM
You get cookies at the Doubletree too.
2011-09-27, 11:35 AM
All my hotel accommodation is covered by the client. I need to make my own airfare reservations and hotel reservations only if I stay on in one of the cities.
2011-09-27, 11:53 AM
If you aren't already flying business class and don't have super status, and depending on what mix of airlines may be involved, there might be a credit card or airline alliance options to buy lounge passes for a period of time or per-visit, if you are doing a lot of waiting.
Wear shoes that slip on/off easily for US security screening... :)
2011-09-27, 01:21 PM
Double Tree (DT) cookies are the best ever, fresh baked, soft and delicious. High in calories of course. You can also buy them separately. I have friends who have stayed in DT and heard enough stories that I'm def sold on it and just waiting for my chance to partake. They sent me photos of those delicious cookies. The staff even brought cookies and drinks out to people who were inconvenienced by fire alarm one time. Amazing.
Seems like if you use a rewards credit card plus an Airmiles card you'd be maximizing your benefits. That's generally what we do: we buy our tickets from Expedia via the Airmiles site in order to get Airmiles credits, and then we use my rewards Visa to buy the tickets.
For personal travel, I tend not to use Expedia because I can almost always find a much better deal through Kayak. And when flying to the US I almost always (except when traveling for business) fly out of a US airport in Vermont or New York because the rates tend to be about half of those I'd pay to fly from Canada. Even when you add the price of an airport motel, which I sometimes have to book if my flight out leaves early in the morning, flying from the US ends up cheaper.
For business travel where someone else is paying the bill and I'm billing my time, I fly from Montreal because it's a lot faster.
2011-09-27, 04:36 PM
For car rental in USA I use priceline "Name Your Own Price"
Here is a description:
You can save so much money with priceline rental cars because you get to use priceline's Name Your Own Price ® service. The price you name is per rental day and does not include priceline's charge to you for taxes and service fees. We will calculate this additional charge and provide you a summary of your "Total Charges" on your contract page before you submit a request. Your credit card will be charged if, and only if, your offer is accepted by priceline. "
It is a non refundable booking so book at the last minute.
2011-09-28, 02:25 AM
I got a 30% discount on hertz using aeroplan number.
I use hotwire.com for last minute hotel bookings. Usually get 50% off their posted rates. All hotels are quite good for business travel. Works in Europe too.
2011-09-28, 06:24 AM
I think the world aspire master card is the most versatile for travel. You get the equivalent of 2% back on all purchases if you apply it to travel, plus you don't have any restrictions on airlines, hotel, car rental company. You just pay for it on your card, then apply to get it reimbursed with miles.
Also gives you all the trip interruption, cancellation, lost baggage, collision insurance on rental car etc. Fee is $120 a year but you get 10,000 miles a year for free ($100 equivalent if you spend it on travel, $75 equivalent if you take cash back instead). So essentially it's $20 a year if you never use it, which is extremely good for a premium card in my opinion.
2011-09-28, 03:39 PM
I got all excited when I seen International Travel then see it is only USA LOL.Well we travel Quite a bit and what we like to do is look for places to eat before we travel as I find when you have no plan you tend to end up paying quite a bit more for your food.
I use my CIBC visa card to get my aeroplan points and also use the Hilton honors program.If you Google the location for coupons you will find some web coupons which give discounts on most hotels and food places.
2011-09-29, 08:54 PM
My first question would be what do you want out of all the travel? Is the priority to spend the least amount for all the trips, or to accumulate enough air miles for a vacation somewhere? How many trips are we talking about in total and will they be cross-country or more short-haul flights?
Regarding hotels, you mentioned that the client would be providing but do you know which one it will be? As others have pointed out, the Hilton Honors program is good, and not just for the rewards. Their program can also convert HHonors points to air miles or vice versa (https://www.hiltonhhonors.com/Rewards/RewardExchange_pop.aspx). While you may lose a bit in conversions, it's one way to fly a bunch of different airlines and then convert back to one. You can also choose a bonus with the Hilton program, whether it's extra HHonors points or extra air miles. Air Canada's Aeroplan is one of the options.
If you are a collector of Aeroplan points, it's worth noting that Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance, which has US affiliates US Airways and United. So you can still collect points while flying on those. Expedia and Travelocity are what I usually refer to. Both have lots of options for flights so you can often get the carriers you want.
2011-09-29, 10:18 PM
What I want is to extract whatever personal benefit is easy for me to extract from this travel, which is required for work.
I need to make a series of short regional hops, plus a longer cross-country haul.
Hotels are provided at each stop and I haven't even looked at what/where the hotels are. I don't care about the cost because I am not paying it - but because I need to make the flight (and car, where applicable) arrangements myself, I wondered if there was a way to maximize any personal benefits.
2011-09-29, 11:03 PM
If you are renting in the US, check carefully on your personal auto insurance. Your liability coverage may or may not extend to rental cars in the US. If not, the daily liability coverage from the rental agencies can get pretty pricey ($10-15/day). Credit cards provide (in some cases) collision coverage, but not usually liability coverage. States may require minimum personal liability to be included at no charge, but the minimums are usually very low (under $100,000, unlike the million-dollar norms on Canadian rentals), which could leave you exposed to the kindness of American personal injury lawyers!
I used to do a lot of vacation car rentals when i didn't have a vehicle (and thus insurance) of my own, and the US liability coverage was always a pain.
2011-10-05, 06:49 AM
I'd try to keep everything within the StarAlliance umbrella if you're already on Aeroplan. Air Canada isn't very cheap, but through some of the online travel portals like Expedia/Travelocity, you can find good deals with AC or affiliated airlines US Airways/United and still get credit for those miles.
And you can pay for it with your CC to get whatever bonus you currently have. It might be worthwhile to get one of the Aeroplan-related Visas to get a bunch of bonus miles too. Though that may no longer fit the easy definition.
2011-10-05, 09:37 AM
I do have Aeroplan, however, given the choice or if I were booking my own flight, I would never fly AC.
Overpriced and worst service ever.
All else being equal, I prefer West Jet, esp. within Canada.
And now that AC is playing the same games as the US airlines with the checked in baggage charges, I see no reason to chose them when flying to the US either.
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