Travel hacking in Canada is one of the best ways to lower your travel costs. Flights, accommodation represent two of the biggest expenses travelers face so getting those to zero allows you to travel more for less. When money isn’t a worry, the world is your oyster.
Although our website has a ton of travel hacking tools for Americans, I frequently get inquiries from Canadians about whether they may also benefit from travel hacking. The response is always affirmative!
Canada is the second-largest points market in the world, although the United States offers the most deals and possibilities.
I contacted my buddy and fellow travel blogger Ricky Zhang from Prince of Travel to assist you comprehend the Canadian travel hacking scene. He offers his advice and tactics in this interview.
How did you start traveling without paying?
In 2013, I initially developed an interest in rewards and loyalty programs. I was a university student in Canada who frequently traveled to China to see my family. I was attempting to figure out how to gain access to airport lounges.
It turns out that the reward program of Aegean Airlines, the national carrier of Greece, offered a little-known chance to quickly achieve top-tier Star Alliance Gold status. I discovered that if I merely credited the miles from one or two of my round-trip Aegean trips, I would eventually achieve Star Alliance Gold, granting me access to the lounge that I desired.
That led me to blogs and forums on the internet, where I rapidly discovered that accumulating credit card points, and more especially the signup bonuses, was the key to paying several travels across the world (sometimes in business class or First Class), at a significant discount.
America is renowned for having fantastic travel credit cards. What stands out about Canada?
While it’s true that the Canadian travel hacker credit card industry is less lucrative than the US in certain respects, there are other aspects in which Canada is the more advantageous location.
The US offers access to more airline and hotel programs, a wider variety of travel credit cards, and larger signup bonuses (for instance, bonuses of 100,000 points are frequently given, whereas the highest signup bonus in Canada is only 75,000 points).
We can play the game on both sides of the border thanks to the fact that Canadians may also apply for US credit cards.
Really? How may Canadians obtain a credit card for American travel hacker?
To do it, you’ll need three things:
- A US address
- A US bank account
- A social security number (or something equivalent)
The location is simple. Use a mail-forwarding service or a friend’s or a family member’s address instead. It’s simple to open a bank account.
It’s tough with the social security number section. Without actually studying or working in the US, you cannot just obtain one.
If a foreign resident can demonstrate that they have earned money in the US (for instance, if they won $5 gambling in Las Vegas), they can apply to the IRS for an ITIN. However, they must be exempt from paying taxes on that money because they are a foreign resident. Once you obtain your ITIN, you may use that in place of your SSN when applying for US credit cards as Travel hacker.
Which Canadian credit cards are the finest at the moment?
The American Express Business Platinum Card has the biggest sign-up bonus in Canada Travel hacker, offering 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $7,000 (CAD) in the first three months.
The benefits of Marriott Gold Elite membership and unrestricted access to Priority Pass lounges are also included.
The Business Platinum does, however, have a $499 yearly cost. I would suggest the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, which is giving 30,000 Aeroplan points + First Year Free, for people who are more interested in First Year Free offerings to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses.
In addition, RBC Avion points are incredibly versatile, making them quite useful. For these reasons, the RBC Visa Infinite Avion card, which offers 15,000 Avion points at registration, is another excellent choice. Most issuers are OK with it if you simply submit your personal name as the business name and apply.
What about debit cards, though? Regarding avoiding ATM fees when traveling abroad?
The Stack Prepaid MasterCard is the front-runner in this aspect because it doesn’t charge international transaction fees for ATM withdrawals from overseas countries. When you withdraw money from a foreign ATM, Stack only charges you the fair exchange rate (although the local ATM fee may still apply). Applying for and loading cash on Stack is free. It’s how I always get cash out while I’m on the road.
Are there any methods for artificially inflating spending in Canada to increase points?
In Canada, there are always a few manufactured spending strategies in circulation, however they are rarely addressed in public for fear that they could become obsolete if they were made too well known.
Attending live events with other Miles & Points fans would be the ideal way to learn about artificial spending strategies. Every year, I host one or two of these gatherings, and there are also ongoing unofficial gatherings in every Canadian city.
What advice do you offer for novice Canadian travel hacker?
The best way to actually get started would be to consider one or two destinations you’d like to visit over the next year (which destinations, what time of year, how many passengers, what class of service, etc.), then research specifically the best ways to make that trip happen using points, and finally put together a strategy for earning those points using credit card signup bonuses.
Having this plan in place will make it possible for you to gain experience and benefit much more quickly than if you just randomly acquired credit cards without a specific objective in mind.
Additionally, make an effort to attend a meetup or event in person so that you can get to know other community members; this can greatly speed up your learning experience. Some of the organizations and websites listed below might teach you more about them: