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Points optimization: details on the 10 hidden treasures of your credit cards!

I spoke with journalist Stéphanie Grammond who published an article in La Presse+ on the Ten hidden treasures of your credit cards. Let’s take a look at the details of each treasure featured in The Press!

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La Presse+ – Ten hidden treasures on your credit cards

Many people think that these treasures are reserved exclusively for cards with annual dues of several hundred dollars!

Yet, you will see, many treasures are hidden… even in the no-fee cards, year after year! You just have to know them!

Optimization of points: at the airport

Luggage, Seat Selection and Parking

La Presse talks about National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard. This card, available to people with an annual income of $80,000+, gives you 3 benefits per year:

  • parking at the airport (maximum $100)
  • baggage fees (maximum $100)
  • selection of seats (maximum $50)

The maximum reimbursement of $250 can be claimed from January 1 to December 31 of each year. A request for refund must be made within 60 days of the date of purchase and must be accompanied by supporting documentation. Travel expenses must be charged to the National Bank World Elite credit card account.

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Check-in on Air Canada

This card therefore caters to a certain category of travelers: but beware! If you do not use the maximum refund allowed in each category, the unused portion cannot be carried over to the next year! However, it is the only card in Canada that offers reimbursement for airport parking.

For the rest, other cards affiliated with airlines allow for example to have a first checked baggage: this is the case of TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card (when purchased with Aeroplan miles) or WestJet World Elite Mastercard for flights operated by WestJet.

Airport lounges

Access to airport lounges is a broad topic that we have covered in detail in this article. There are 2 main programs in Canada:

And two Montreal exceptions:

Priority Pass

Priority Pass offers access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide. And many credit cards offer Priority Pass (a $99 value) and several annual lounge passes such as the National Bank World Mastercard Lounge in Montreal.

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National Bank of Montreal Lounge – Trudeau – Priority Pass Member

Here are the main cards offering Priority Pass:

Platinum Lounges – American Express

American Express offers complimentary access to select Canadian and U.S. lounges for Platinum Cardmembers accompanied by a spouse (or travel companion) AND two children under 21!

In Canada, here is the list of the salons concerned:

In the U.S. and abroad, you will have access to the high-end “Centurion” lounges which are present in two airports: New York (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), Miami (MIA), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Hong Kong (HKG).

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Centurion Lounge – Miami

You will also have access to other American Express lounges. In Mexico: Mexico City (MEX), Toluca (TLC), Monterrey (MTY); in Argentina: Buenos Aires (EZE); in India: Mumbai (BOM) and Delhi (DEL); in Australia: Sydney (SYD).

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Centurion – Las Vegas

Here are the two cards concerned:

Montreal trade shows

At the Montreal airport – international terminal – you can access 2 lounges:

  • National Bank World Mastercard lounge
    NBC World / World Elite cardholders, American Express Platinum cardholders, Priorit Pass subscribers.
  • Salon Odyssée de Desjardins: Odyssey Visa Infinite Privilege cardholders (12 accesses per year), Odyssey World Elite MasterCard cardholders (8 accesses per year), Odyssey Visa Gold cardholders (50% discount on the admission fee).


Everyone hates exchange/conversion fees on foreign purchases. We see it very frequently in the facebook group Travel for free (or almost…!) with your points & miles – milesopedia.

The vast majority of cards charge 2.5% for all foreign currency transactions. Fortunately, a new credit card charges no fees for these transactions: it’s the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card! What’s more, it comes with Priority Pass and 6 annual lounge passes! You can read its detailed presentation here.

Alternatively, there is also the prepaid debit card provided by CIBC, the CIBC Air Canada AC Conversion Prepaid Visa Card, which has the great advantage of being free of charge, and offering 10 different currencies. See the detailed article here.

At the hotel

Special credit card programs

Some credit cards will provide you with benefits for your stays at the hotel. There are 2 main programs:

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Chauffeur-driven car… free of charge at the Four Seasons Las Vegas

pc optimum logos 3You will have access to rates that are often identical to public rates… but with a whole series of advantages attached to your reservation: upgrade, free internet access, free lunch for 2, credit applicable in the hotel,…

See for example the details in this article for the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program.

Hotel loyalty programs

There are many loyalty programs affiliated with hotel groups (Marriott, Hilton,…). Some credit cards will offer you high status within these hotel loyalty programs, which will entitle you to a series of benefits such as: upgrade, free internet access, free lunch for 2 (depending on status),…

The American Express Platinum Card, for example, offers the following statuses:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Gold (and therefore by equivalence Marriott Bonvoy Gold)
  • Hilton Honors Gold
  • Radisson Gold

For example, during our stay at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa (Vietnam), our Marriott Gold status allowed us to have breakfast every day, for the duration of our 7-night stay! A value of about 80-100$ per day for 2 people… for a pantagruelic breakfast(the pictures are there to prove it!)!

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JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa – Breakfast

By car

You don’t often think about it, but apart from insurance, credit cards offer advantages for your car rentals.

Accelerated accumulation of points

Holders of certain BMO credit cards earn additional points when booking at Alamo / National:

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Volvo XC60 at National in Vancouver via BMO

Discount on rentals

Most banks have partnerships with car rental agencies. Check the terms and conditions of your card, you could get 20-25% off with a special code!

For example, BMO is partnering with Alamo / National, while American Express will offer discounts at Hertz and Scotia will do the same at Review!

Roadside assistance

The BMO World Elite Discount MasterCard offers complimentary BMO Roadside Assistance (basic coverage):

  • Battery overvoltage
  • Emergency gasoline delivery
  • Changing a tire after a flat tire if the spare is safe and well inflated
  • unlocking
  • winching to get the vehicle out of mud, snow or a ditch
  • Towing in case of mechanical breakdown to the nearest authorized repair center (10 km radius).

A great replacement for CAA!

The guarantees

Of course, we know about credit card insurance for travel. But did you know that some credit cards offer much more protection?

Insurance – purchases

card insurancePurchase Protection Insurance applies to most items purchased new with your credit card for a period of 30 to 90 days depending on the card. It usually provides compensation in the event of loss, theft, damage or fire.

If the item has been lost, stolen or damaged, it will be replaced or repaired.


Many cards offer this type of protection, and often “basic” or no-fee cards will offer it, for example:

The extended warranty

We don’t often think about it, but like purchase insurance, many credit cards offer an additional year’s extended warranty on most purchases charged to the card.

However, be careful: to take advantage of the extended warranty, the card used must still be active (and not cancelled!). That’s why we recommend that you look into a no-fee year-to-year card for purchases you’d like to protect (like appliances for example!).

Our favorite? Tangerine Mastercard Discounts. This one has no annual fee and offers you great cash back in 2 to 3 categories of businesses that YOU choose.

Price protection

Finally, price protection / price protection service: if the item you purchase drops in price within 60 days of purchase, you can ask your card issuer for a refund of the difference!

This is a really unknown but very practical guarantee… especially during the end of year shopping (often at high prices)… sold out in January! Read the terms and conditions of your credit card carefully: there are significant differences between issuers. For example, for the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card, the difference must be at least $10, but the maximum payment will be $100 per item (with a maximum of $500 per calendar year), whereas for other cards it will be a smaller amount.

Bottom Line

As you can see, you will benefit from knowing the hidden advantages of the different credit cards so that you don ‘t pay twice for an option that your card(s) already offers!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
4.4 Milesopedia Rating
Jean-Maximilien Voisine
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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