Canadians are Taking a Break from Winter without Breaking the Bank



    AIR MILES(R) Reward Program Survey Reveals more Canadians are taking time
    off, but staying closer to home

    TORONTO, March 6 /CNW/ - It's confirmed. Canadians have had enough of
winter. Nearing the end of one of the country's most relentless winters, 82
per cent of Canadians agree they are sick of the weather and need a break. An
online survey on March Break travel habits commissioned by AIR MILES indicates
that more Canadians are acting on their need to recharge and are taking a
much-needed respite this year.
    One-in-three of those surveyed who have children plan to take vacation
time during this March Break - a 33 per cent increase from 2007. However, they
won't be going too far from home. Thirty-three per cent of participants plan
to travel within Canada, while 40 per cent have planned day trips or other
activities close to home. Thirty-six per cent have plans to complete
activities at home.
    "If your family is staying local over the March Break, it's good to
remember that AIR MILES Collectors can redeem reward miles on an extensive
list of local activities and entertainment offerings," says Neil Everett,
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at the AIR MILES Reward
Program. "Families can enjoy everything from an afternoon at Toronto's Royal
Ontario Museum to an exhilarating day on the slopes in Whistler, British
Columbia."
    Nearly one-in-five (18 per cent(*)) of March Breakers plan to travel
outside of Canada. Of that sample, 64 per cent are headed for sun
destinations, such as Florida or the Caribbean, while 15 per cent will travel
to non-sun destinations. The AIR MILES Reward Program reports its Collectors
redeemed reward miles for travel this March Break to Canadian destinations,
Florida, Las Vegas, California, Phoenix, New York, Mexico, Hawaii, Europe and
the Caribbean (listed in order of popularity).
    Eighty-one per cent of respondents plan to spend $1,000 or less on
travel, accommodation and entertainment expenses during their time off. More
than 50 per cent of families will pay for these activities using credit cards.
    By using a credit card offering loyalty rewards, such as the American
Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card, families can easily achieve their 2009
March Break goals.
    "No matter where your March Break takes you, if you pay for all of your
family activities with an American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card you
can earn valuable AIR MILES reward miles faster than ever before," said Rob
McClean, Vice President of New Product Development at American Express in
Canada.
    Also of note, the majority of Canadians are being proactive in paying off
March Break activities, with 51 per cent intending to reconcile credit card
expenditures immediately, followed by one-out-of-three who plan to do so
within two months.
    The new American Express(R) AIR MILES(R) Platinum Credit Card helps AIR
MILES(R) Collectors redeem for travel, local attractions and everyday consumer
goods faster than ever, by earning 50 per cent more reward miles. Cardholders
can earn 1 reward mile for every $10 dollars spent at AIR MILES(R) Sponsor
locations, as well as 1 reward mile for every $15 spent everywhere else they
use the Card. To apply for the American Express(R) AIR MILES(R)(*) Platinum
Credit Card, visit www.americanexpress.com/canada.

    These results are based on 2,895 online interviews with Canadians, 18
years of age and older. Interviews were conducted between February 28th and
March 3rd, 2008. The sample size used ensures, with 95% certainty, that the
overall results are within +/-1.8 percentage points of what they would have
been had the entire Canadian population been surveyed. The margin of error
will be larger for sub-groupings of the survey sample.

    (*) Percentages equal to more than 100 per cent due to multiple responses.

    About the AIR MILES Reward Program
    ----------------------------------
    Founded in 1992, the AIR MILES Reward Program is Canada's premier
coalition loyalty program. More than 9 million active Collector accounts,
representing approximately two-thirds of all Canadian households, actively
participate in the Program. The AIR MILES Reward Program allows Collectors to
indulge in leisure, entertainment, merchandise, travel and other lifestyle
rewards quickly, simply by doing their everyday shopping for products and
services at AIR MILES Sponsors. AIR MILES reward miles can be redeemed for
more than 800 different rewards, such as movie passes, family attractions,
electronic merchandise, sports and recreation, travel and more.
    Collectors can shop and collect AIR MILES reward miles at more than 100
brand-name Sponsors across the country, representing thousands of retail and
service locations nationally, including RONA, Shell, SportChek (Sports
Experts), The Shoe Company, American Express, A&P, Sobeys, Safeway and IGA,
and airmilesshops.ca. The AIR MILES Reward Program's website is airmiles.ca.

    About American Express in Canada
    --------------------------------
    American Express in Canada operates as Amex Bank of Canada and Amex
Canada Inc. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of the New York based American
Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., the largest operating unit of
the American Express Company. Amex Bank of Canada is the issuer of American
Express Cards in Canada. Amex Canada Inc. operates the Corporate Travel,
Travel Services Network and Travellers Cheques divisions in Canada. American
Express opened its first offices in Toronto and Hamilton in 1853 and now
employs 3,700 Canadians coast-to-coast.





For further information:

For further information: Felicia Yukich, GCI Group, Canada,
fyukich@gcigroup.com, (416) 486-7224


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