October 27, 2007, 7:00 am

Financial Ramblings

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Rambling
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Well this was an interesting week. We started it with the banks debate initiated by Customers Revenge and I must say that I was quite satisfied with my series on The Primerica Paradox last week. I think I was able to bring up a complete picture of what this company really offers. On another note, next week is Halloween and I just can’t wait to trick or treat with my son! He turned two years this summer so this will be a lot of fun! He will either be a constructor guy or a vampire and I will be a pirate (I just love screaming ARRRHH!). pirate
Are Airmiles points worth it?

I do have an Airmiles card and it is also linked to my main credit cards. Over the years, I have accumulated so many points I could go to Shanghai three times! So I thought I would use some of them to visit my aunts in western Canada. I already bought stuff through their website and it was pretty easy. However, I had never request a flight with my points. First deception, we have to call to exchange our point (where is technology when we need it?). Second deception, they received so many calls that day that I could not even remain on hold. I had to either call back or go on their website for FAQ (I want a plane ticket, what’s wrong with you?). I called about two hours after and then was welcome… to remain on hold. After then digital options, and literally ten minutes on hold, I finally can speak with somebody (once I paused my nhl game on my Playstation that I started while I was waiting!). The guy tells me it’s only two ways flight (I only needed a one way) and that they only have one flight available (even if I was able to find eight flights on my computer). The main reason being is that they have limited places for Airmiles clients. While I still think Airmiles worth it, I learned my lesson; book your flight more than two weeks in advance!Good newsI had two good news recently. The first one is kind of odd. HR called and asked me if I recall what I did with my first pay cheque sent by mail back in 2003. It appears that my first pay cheque was not deposited into my bank account and that HR sent a real cheque that was never cashed in. They told me that they have to pull out some more researches but they will surely send me another cheque to compensate their mistake. Wohoo! Free money! The second good news was related to the Bank of Canada decision to leave the rates as is. As my HELOC is linked to prime rate, I was quite happy to see it stick at 6.25%. This is a good thing for my Smith Manoeuvre too!

The importance of your family

I recently had to leave my two kids and wife for a business trip. I had to spend nine days away from the main reason that keeps me alive; my family. We sometimes take for granted the most beautiful things in life. This is what I realized once more when I was in those stupid hotel rooms all by myself. I really learn a bunch of stuff from this trip but I will share my experience later on on this blog.

Carnival Picks

Boy, boy boy… one thing I can tell you is that having a business trip and doing a MBA at the same time is not the smartest idea of all. In result, I had to prioritize and contribute only to my favorite carnival knowing it was hosted by The Dough Roller, a blog that I really enjoy reading. Therefore, my top 3 remains withing those submissions. Enjoy!

#3 Use Halloween to teach kids money by Grad Money Matters. While I can’t use this trick on William as he is only 2, I will definitely keep in mind this post in a couple of years

#2 My “Success” Story by Canadian Dream. It is pretty long to read, so just copy and paste it into word, print it and read it while you are heading back home (if you don’t drive of course). I really enjoy great success stories!

#1 The myth of the parent that NEEDS to work by Brip Blap. What can I say? another great article by Brip Blap where I absolutely understand his wife’s decision to stay at home. I aim the same goal for next year throughout my $1500 project.

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I haven’t used airmiles at all, but I know several people who use aeroplan points frequently and I’ve never heard about this kind of trouble, although I think it’s still good to book a month in advance. I get them through my credit card as well, but I don’t have enough to go anywhere yet.

Hey FB, I’m a Westjet Gold Air Miles collector (i.e.: I get cheaper Air Miles flights on Westjet and I collect a couple of thousand / year).

I remember being on the phone with an attendant who’s telling about the benefits of my Gold Card while she waits for the order to process. “You can book with as little as two days advance”, she says. And here I am trying to book a flight 4 weeks in advance and I can’t get one. “Thanks”, I say, “but that’s clearly pretty uselss as I can’t book one 4 weeks in advance.”

Cashing in for flights at “regular price” is an “OK” deal. Cashing in with Westjet at “half price” is an excellent deal, but you have to be weeks and months in advance to get the Westjet flights.

Personally, I don’t mind the price on lots of the Gift Cards, but the difficulty of cashing in for flights is really starting to hamper the system. In fact, this limitation is becoming well-known and competitors are already advertising the “we buy the seat” thing. Air Miles has maybe a year to fix the image before they start bleeding people. I know that I’ve pondered leaving my “Air Miles life” and going somewhere else: dropping the card, dropping the AM bank account via (BMO), etc. Not there yet, but coming close.

by: The Financial Blogger | October 28th, 2007 (5:34 pm)

Richard, Gates,
I am definitely thinking about those “cash rewards” credit cards instead of using this gold westjet card… I will look into it and probably make the switch if they offer similar rewards… I’ll let you know!

I use aeroplan and it totally sucks. I just booked a big trip for next year so I think I will cancel the card in the next few months and try to get a 1% cash back card – much more useful.


by: The Financial Blogger | October 28th, 2007 (7:56 pm)

Mike, do you have a specific card in mind? I really think about switching my stuff over this type of card as well.


No, Million Dollar Journey had post not too long ago where he covered a bunch of cards so I would check that out.


by: The Financial Blogger | October 29th, 2007 (6:37 am)

Yeah, I remember this post, I’ll definitely take a look at it!