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Travelling for work and looking to maximize points

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[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 30, 2003
1544 posts
78 upvotes

Travelling for work and looking to maximize points

Starting a new job that requires a lot of traveling domestically for now and I get to charge everything on my CC.

Amex Gold
- hotel and car rental through amex travel (3 pts / $1)
- flight (2 pts / $1) through air canada/partners
- gas (2 pts / $1)

In terms of hotel loyalty, right now I signed up with IHG fast track. 5 nights stay within 90 days gives me Platinum elite status. I will then do a status match with either marriott platinum or hilton diamond (I am not sure which is a better group).

My goal is to have enough pts for vacation to cover flight and hotel in probably a year. Signing up for a new CC is probably out of the question since my score took a 40 pt hit when my Amex Gold started reporting (new card less than 2 months). Eventually I will want to signup for either US Amex (Aspire or Brilliant).

I also have TD Visa Infinite (barely used now that I have Amex since it gives more pts). Is there a better strategy/CC to work towards?
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8 replies
Member
Aug 17, 2006
378 posts
323 upvotes
NLI10D wrote: Starting a new job that requires a lot of traveling domestically for now and I get to charge everything on my CC.

Amex Gold
- hotel and car rental through amex travel (3 pts / $1)
- flight (2 pts / $1) through air canada/partners
- gas (2 pts / $1)

In terms of hotel loyalty, right now I signed up with IHG fast track. 5 nights stay within 90 days gives me Platinum elite status. I will then do a status match with either marriott platinum or hilton diamond (I am not sure which is a better group).

My goal is to have enough pts for vacation to cover flight and hotel in probably a year. Signing up for a new CC is probably out of the question since my score took a 40 pt hit when my Amex Gold started reporting (new card less than 2 months). Eventually I will want to signup for either US Amex (Aspire or Brilliant).

I also have TD Visa Infinite (barely used now that I have Amex since it gives more pts). Is there a better strategy/CC to work towards?
At least you found the right forum...you will need to read a bit more and learn as it's not an easy question to answer. And yes, first start about the credit score; it won't matter after awhile but you can keep track using Borrowell (Equifax) and Credit Karma (Transunion) and sign up for those. As a start, also create an account at Great Canadian Rebates to get a start on the credit journey if you choose to do so.

For hotel, I would suggest, Marriott over IHG. Domestically, you may find a bit more of IHG depending on where you travel but Marriott almost likely surpasses locations these days due to many mergers and new properties and much nicer than some of the IHG properties. Also better hotels for Marriott vs. IHG usually outside of Canada for your personal travel. From here, you can leverage the AMEX Marriott when you are ready in which the points can also transfer to other airlines which makes it more useful. If eating at a Marriott hotel, charge it to your room to get full benefits of Marriot AMEX x5 booster or other cards to boost earnings. I actually like Hilton the best but if partnering up with a credit card, unless you go your US AMEX route, it's not as beneficial and there are a lot less Hilton properties in Canada than Marriott or IHG.

BTW, for the US route, I haven't gone down that road but have considered; you'll see the thread about that to read up on; it's a bit more complex so I would start with Canadian cards first.

With the recent downgrade of Westjet Rewards, not as nice as Air Canada but also dependent on where you travel. Start with the standard Air Canada and Westjet usually (well, not sure these days) does a status match near the end of the year if you want to review. And here, you can leverage all the CC related for Aeroplan and Westjet (well, only RBC).

Car rentals are a mixed bag but consider just to stick with one or status match from a hotel (National was one I did last year) and pool them to Aeroplan miles if possible that way you can get a bit of extra.

If out of major airport, leverage long term parking if you use it (or Uber/cab) and collect a few more Aeroplan miles; Park N Ride actually gives you bonus points which you can use for long term parking for own vacation as well.

For your existing TD VISA, you'll need to read up on TD credit cards but would advise a product switch to a different card. Again, a complete separate thread on that.

Just some tips to rattle off the top of my head; being in the same position as you but been doing this for a bit...wish I started earlier though. Enjoy the journey!
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2011
2348 posts
781 upvotes
Whitehorse
TD Visa Infinite First Class Travel. When you book through Expedia for TD and redeem points there, you get about 4.3% return. That's as good as it gets. But you can't book everything there, especially in smaller towns, and depending on the hotel chain you may lose out on their points. So it shouldn't be your only travel card.

On the hotel side, I've found Choice Privileges to be the most rewarding.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 30, 2003
1544 posts
78 upvotes
@jammin825 thank you for great start off points

I am only using IHG so I can get Marriot Platinum status in probably less than a month. I dont have any CC that has instant status. Borrowell (719) and Credit Karma (761) I have no clue if that is good enough for Amex Aeroplan Reserve. Prior to my Amex last month, I've been using Visa and MC both still active and atleast 14+ yrs. I looked into the car rental partner for Aeroplan and it looks like Avis gives the most extra pts. I'm close to pearson and initially i was just going to uber but after the Park N Ride suggestion, I think I will go that route since my company will be paying for it anyways. I think i'll drop down to TD AP Plat from Infinite and hopefully I get the 10K for product switching.

Definitely A LOT of information almost like an overload specially since trying to get the most points is also intertwined with churning. I have been watching the prince of travel guy to learn some things. Again thank you for pointing me to the right direction.
...life is nothing more than a journey through the consequences of our actions...

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Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2019
1643 posts
2454 upvotes
BC
sokolov wrote: TD Visa Infinite First Class Travel. When you book through Expedia for TD and redeem points there, you get about 4.3% return. That's as good as it gets. But you can't book everything there, especially in smaller towns, and depending on the hotel chain you may lose out on their points. So it shouldn't be your only travel card.
This is a pretty decent option if one prefers the simplicity and flexibility of fixed value travel points over airline and/or hotel points. I used to put all my expensable work travel on a TD FCT when I was in a role that had me travel a lot for work (and I hadn't discovered churning yet).

However a major downside of booking flights through Expedia4TD (or any third-party portal) is that it can be a PITA to make a change or fix an issue with a booking because neither the airline nor E4TD has full access to your booking so you end up being sent back and forth between them. I experienced such problems twice and it was such a hassle that if I were in a similar situation, I'd now choose HSBC WE for 3% on travel. To me the ability to redeem against any travel purchase so you can book directly with airlines and hotels is worth the slightly lower return.
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User avatar
Jan 4, 2011
3651 posts
4508 upvotes
Montreal
NLI10D wrote: [snip]

I am only using IHG so I can get Marriot Platinum status in probably less than a month.
I'm guessing you already know, but posting for clarity: Marriott won't status match you to Bonvoy Platinum without a "challenge", i.e., if you have IHG Platinum, Marriott will give you Bonvoy Platinum if you complete 15 nights within 90 days.
Member
Aug 17, 2006
378 posts
323 upvotes
NLI10D wrote: @jammin825 thank you for great start off points

I am only using IHG so I can get Marriot Platinum status in probably less than a month. I dont have any CC that has instant status. Borrowell (719) and Credit Karma (761) I have no clue if that is good enough for Amex Aeroplan Reserve. Prior to my Amex last month, I've been using Visa and MC both still active and atleast 14+ yrs. I looked into the car rental partner for Aeroplan and it looks like Avis gives the most extra pts. I'm close to pearson and initially i was just going to uber but after the Park N Ride suggestion, I think I will go that route since my company will be paying for it anyways. I think i'll drop down to TD AP Plat from Infinite and hopefully I get the 10K for product switching.

Definitely A LOT of information almost like an overload specially since trying to get the most points is also intertwined with churning. I have been watching the prince of travel guy to learn some things. Again thank you for pointing me to the right direction.
Oh and last point; while the maximizing the points for each category is certainly achievable; in the overall scheme of things, you will get greater rewards by chasing some of the larger bonuses and spending the minimums required will yield maximum results. AKA chase all the crazy good CC bonus and not worrying about the categories. But I tend to blend both strategies; it can become a juggling act to manage multiple cards all at once while keeping track of both work and personal expenses so entirely up to you on how you want to manage all of this.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jul 30, 2003
1544 posts
78 upvotes
@efrant yes i just couldn't do the marriott challenge without an existing status. IHG was the only chain that I could find with a fast track promotion without needing an existing status.

@jammin825 i plan on doing the crazy good CC bonus once everything settles down. i figure in a month or two.
...life is nothing more than a journey through the consequences of our actions...

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