With just over two weeks to go until 2022 draws to a close, it’s time for all of us to wrap up another year of points-collecting endeavours.
As in previous years, let’s talk about a few key tasks you should be looking to complete during this period as you take stock of your annual progress and prepare for next year.
1. Wrap Up the Aeroplan Elite Status 2022 Benefit Year
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Aeroplan Elite Status has taken on a more prominent role in the Miles & Points grand strategy for the year of 2022. Since many of its deadlines and transitions are associated with the calendar year, now’s the time to take stock and make sure you’re well-positioned for the transition into 2023.
One of the most valuable status benefits is eUpgrades, and you may have some eUpgrade credits that are expiring at the end of the 2022 benefit year. Be sure to use them up on any flights before they expire, otherwise you could lose them altogether.
If you have eUpgrade credits that will expire in mid-January, you can extend their validity by another year through the premium Aeroplan credit card rollover benefit. Be sure to apply and be approved for one of the eligible credit cards before December 15 if you’d like to save your eUpgrades for use throughout 2023.
|Credit Card||Best Offer||Value|
105,000 Aeroplan points
$599 annual fee
|105,000 Aeroplan points||$1,921||
Up to 90,000 Aeroplan points
$599 annual fee
|Up to 90,000 Aeroplan points||$1,921||
90,000 Aeroplan points
$599 annual fee
|90,000 Aeroplan points||$1,449||
90,000 Aeroplan points
$599 annual fee
|90,000 Aeroplan points||$676||
If you’re sitting on soon-to-expire eUpgrades or an amount in excess of the 50 eUpgrades you can roll over, then consider mixing up your eUpgrade strategy a bit on any Air Canada flights you might take before January 15.
For example, while the “Latitude Attitude” is usually the go-to strategy for booking transcontinental flights, you could consider holding onto a Latitude booking and then swapping it for a Flex booking once you’re within the eUpgrade clearance window (bearing in mind that “R” space typically goes back into the pool instantly) for an upgrade from Economy (Flex) to business class.
This would allow you to burn up 10 eUpgrade credits per direction instead of 4 eUpgrade credits. Normally, it’s best to save eUpgrades for more valuable uses in the future – but if they’re expiring anyway, then it makes sense to use them up and save yourself a small chunk of Aeroplan points in the process.
eUpgrades aren’t the only valuable benefits that will need to be used up by the year-end period. If you’re holding onto Maple Leaf Lounge passes or Status Passes, those also need to be used up before December 31.
We’ve seen many members of the Prince of Travel community offering up these perks as free gifts to fellow travellers in the Prince of Travel Club Lounge or Prince of Travel Elites Facebook group. If you’re sitting on passes that might otherwise go to waste, consider sharing the joy of an elevated travel experience this holiday season!
Incidentally, if you’ve qualified for Aeroplan Elite Status but haven’t made use of any of these benefits yet, then December 31, 2022 also marks the final date to choose your Select Benefits for the 2022 benefit year. If you don’t make your selections by then, you could lose out on some very valuable benefits to use in 2023.
And lastly, if you’ve yet to qualify for status at all, then don’t forget that the Everyday Status Qualification counter resets at the end of the year. Now’s the time to seriously consider whether or not to make a late push for Aeroplan 25K status with your end-of-year spending.
2. Finalize Hotel Elite Status Qualification
Besides Air Canada and Aeroplan, the end of year usually also marks the end of the qualification period for other elite status programs, too.
Now’s the time to assess your projected status level for 2023. We’ve come to the end of the blanket status extensions from the pandemic, so be sure to take stock of your Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, and World of Hyatt status progress while there’s still time to squeeze in a few stays.
If you still find yourself a few nights short of the 50-night threshold for the highly valuable Marriott Platinum Elite, then it could make sense to either embark on a last-ditch holiday trip or get a friend who lives near an affordably-priced hotel to check in on your behalf in order to earn the additional nights required.
If you plan on being in Vancouver or Edmonton before the end of the year, be sure to take advantage of the Visit Richmond or Edmonton’s Best Hotels promotions. You can score a hotel at a very favourable price, and you’ll also earn nights towards your status qualification.
If you’re close to reaching Marriott Titanium status, consider making a final push by the end of the year. After all, the Annual Choice Benefit upon accumulating 75 elite qualifying nights gives you a Free Night Award worth 40,000 Bonvoy points, so as long as you’re spending no more than 40,000 points on your mattress run, you can think of it as effectively not costing you anything!
3. Maximize Year-End Limits for Points Transfers and Purchases
The end of the year is often treated as a reset date for many types of annual limits within loyalty programs, such as for transferring or purchasing points.
Most notably, Marriott Bonvoy allows members to send up to 100,000 Bonvoy points per calendar year to another member’s account, and to receive up to 500,000 Bonvoy points per calendar year from other members.
For those of you playing in two-player mode or more, you should definitely make sure you’ve maximized this transfer capacity for 2022 and pooled your Bonvoy points into a single household member’s account to as great an extent as possible.
Ideally, pool your household members’ points into the account of the member who earns the most elite qualifying nights, and therefore the highest elite status level. After all, Platinum status on one account means free breakfast for two!
In the same vein, if you’re in the habit of accelerating your earning power by purchasing miles when it makes sense, then you’ll know that the loyalty programs usually have a capped amount on how many miles you can purchase per year.
If your needs for buying miles happen to exceed this cap, then you’d want to make sure you’ve met the cap for 2022 before it resets for the year.
As a reminder, the following programs have promotions for buying points up to the end of the year:
Of these, the most compelling offers are for Alaska miles and Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles.
One of the best sweet spots in Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is booking a one-way flight from North America to Japan in Japan Airlines First Class for 70,000 Alaska miles. With the unfortunate discontinuation of the Canadian-issued MBNA Alaska Airlines Mastercards, it’s now harder than ever to come by Alaska miles in Canada.
If you didn’t manage to collect any Alaska miles, and if you’re not quite yet in the US credit card game, you can buy 70,000 Alaska miles for $1,379 (USD) ($1,880 (CAD)) with this promotion. That’s a huge discount from the cash price for the same flight, which can exceed over $20,000 (CAD).
As for the Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles sale, it’s worth considering if you have a trip from Montreal or Toronto to Europe planned before May 31, 2023.
The December 2022 Air France/KLM Flying Blue Promo Rewards include discounted business class award flights for travel up to May 31, 2023. Between Europe and Montreal, you’ll get a 50% discount, and between Toronto and Europe, you’ll get a 25% discount.
This means you can get business class flights for as few as 27,500 Flying Blue miles. With the current 100% bonus promotion, buying enough miles for round-trip flights in business class costs just $938 (USD) ($1,259 (CAD)), which is still a great deal even after factoring in the taxes and fees on the redemption.
4. Use Up Year-End Credits and Offers
Similar to the above, many types of credits and certificates expire at the end of the year, and you’ll just want to quickly check that you’ve taken care of these before 2023 rolls around.
For example, many of the US-issued American Express cards have airline fee credits which work on a calendar year basis, such as the $250 (USD) airline fee credit on the Amex US Hilton Aspire Card or the $200 (USD) airline fee credit on the US Platinum Card or the US Business Platinum Card.
If you haven’t taken advantage of these credits to offset your annual fee yet, you have just over two weeks left to take action.
Historically, Amex US isn’t a big fan of cardholders finding creative ways to use up these credits outside of their intended uses (i.e., incidental charges like checked bag fees or pet fees on a major US airline), and has sometimes taken steps to claw back the credits after the fact.
Therefore, it’s best to do some further digging on such methods if you haven’t yet maximized these airline fee credits; there are potentially a few ways to parlay different sets of these credits towards a united travel bank for future trips instead.
Then there are other types of annual credits, like the $200 (USD) Dell credit on the US Business Platinum Card, respectively, the $50 (USD) Saks Fifth Avenue credit on the US Platinum Card, and so on.
The Dell credit can be triggered by orders made on the Dell Canada website. Alternatively, you can simply buy some Xbox Live gift cards and resell them for a little less than face value afterwards.
In Canada, there are a handful of annual credits to make use of before 2023, including:
There’s also a variety of different Canadian Amex Offers that will be ending on December 31 as well. Most notably, the following Amex Offers are set to expire before the end of the year:
In the US, there are many more Amex Offers available, so be sure to check your accounts for any intriguing offers that are about to expire.
5. Review Accounts and Look Ahead at 2023
While this isn’t necessarily an end-of-year activity, something you can do during the final few weeks of each year is to take some time to review your hotel stays and airline activity in detail.
One reason for this is to catch any errors that may have occurred that you may have overlooked during the year, such as missing night credits, points not posting correctly, or future reservations getting stuck in limbo due to schedule changes.
Now is the time to review your mileage activity across all the loyalty programs you dabble with, and perhaps give the program a call if anything needs to be fixed.
Looking forward at 2023, you can also review your Excel spreadsheet to tally up your total points earnings for the year and think about further optimization for next year.
Take a moment at the end of the year to put your feet up, relax, and look through your list of upcoming reservations for 2023 – even if many of them might be speculative.
You might just recapture some of those warm and fuzzy feelings in anticipation of future trips that you’ve missed for so long.
‘Tis the season for tying up the loose ends in Miles & Points as 2022 draws to a close.
Take some time during the last few weeks of the year to deal with the many elements in our space that move in yearly cycles, such as elite status qualification, points transfers and purchases, and the various credit cards’ and loyalty programs’ credits, certificates, and benefits.
And finally, let’s not forget the most important task of all: let’s all count our blessings for making our way through another somewhat turbulent year in 2022 and being able to look forward to what we hope to be a brighter year of earning and burning in 2023.