When I was working at WestJet, one of the biggest perks was the ability to fly standby anywhere in the WestJet network. This was something that my family and I took advantage of at every opportunity we could.
The problem with standby is that there were occasions where you didn’t know whether or not you would make on the flight, which made it difficult to book your accommodations given that many hotels require between 24-48 hours of notice to cancel without penalty, with some even having less forgiving policies.
When flying standby, the only time you knew for certain that you had a seat was when the cabin door was closed and you started to push back.
So the question remains, how do you book your accommodations if you aren’t sure you are going to a destination until 1 minute before you push back?
Easy – onboard wifi.
Onboard Wifi Cost
Onboard wifi is absolutely incredible. You’re hurdling to your destination at 900 km/h at a height 40,000 feet in a chunk of aluminum while listening to the Raptors win the NBA Championship .. true story.
Given all the technology that needs to work together to make this all happen, it’s not a huge surprise that the experience comes at a very high cost.
But what if I told you that I could that you could get wifi for free? Like literally free … potentially forever.
Brim Financial and Boingo
Brim has been around for a little while now and made a splash with their very strong value proposition. In particular, the $0 Brim Mastercard offers significant value and quite frankly, I have been BLOWN AWAY with what it offers.
For NO ANNUAL FEE, you get a card that has 0% foreign exchange fees AND free global wifi via Boingo.
Let’s break down these two key features to understand their value.
What is Boingo
Boingo is an American company that provides access to mobile hotspots around the world and claim to have over 1 million connection points around the world. The value proposition of Boingo itself quite valuable as it has come in handy when travelling abroad but what really makes it sing is that Boingo works on airplanes.
For Canadians, that means free wifi on WestJet flights. Unfortunately, Air Canada uses Gogo instead of Boingo so if you are an AC flyer, this isn’t going to be of much use to you.
If you fly WestJet a lot, either personally or for work, the value you can derive is incredible. The Brim card carries a $0 annual fee and you get unlimited use wifi on WestJet flights. It’s a no brainer.
What makes this even more amazing is that there are a few other airlines around the world that also support Boingo. According to the Boingo website, Austrian Airlines, China Airlines, Air Europa, Singapore and WestJet use Boingo but from my own personal experience, I know that my flight from YVR-TPE on EVA Air (BR) had Boingo connectivity and I was able to get online with no issues. Wifi providers on airlines change all the time so keep an eye out for other airlines that support Boingo in-flight.
Let’s Talk About the 0% Foreign Currency Benefit
If free wifi wasn’t enough, the Brim Financial Mastercard also offers 0% FX for transactions made outside of Canada. Some of you may have a US card that has 0% FX but you also face the challenge of paying your bills in US currency. With Brim, it’s as easy as adding an additional bill to pay through your online banking, which makes your transaction frictionless.
Now, the promise of no FX is great but does Brim actually deliver?
In a word, yes.
When our family travelled to Shanghai this summer, we stopped in at Disneyland Shanghai and paid for a set of FastPasses (yes, that’s a thing in China) and we were charged ¥1,980 (Chinese Yuan) on July 19th, 2019.
Brim charged us an FX rate of 1 RMB = 0.190762626 CAD.
And here’s what the Bank of Canada had as its mid-market rate for the same day:
Accuracy to 3 decimal points is pretty great in my eyes and follows through on Brim’s promise of 0% FX. This means that you don’t pay a cent more than you need to when you make foreign transactions, which is HUGE.
A Points Program On Top of It All
In addition to the already amazing value proposition, Brim provides points with their purchases. With the $0 Brim Mastercard, you get 1 point per dollar spent and each point is good for 1¢ that you can apply against future purchases.
As an example, if you spend $1,000, you will get 1,000 points, which is good for $10 which can be applied against any purchase you make on the Brim Mastercard.
It’s not earth-shattering but with the free onboard wifi and the 0% FX, this is an incredible additional benefit.
How To Apply
The application process, when I went through it, was a bit clunky. When I applied, I did not receive an immediate approval and was told to call back in two days. I did so and was again told that they were still processing applications and to call back again in 2 more days. After calling back a second time, I was told I was approved and received this email.
If you apply for the Brim card through my referral link, you will receive 1,000 Brim Points and a chance at my undying love*.
* love conditional on back massage ability.
I love outsized value when it comes to the world of Travel Hacking and the Brim Financial card is something that I am in love with. I am actually shocked that there isn’t more coverage on this card because of its incredible value. Let’s look again at what you get for a $0 card.
- Free onboard and terrestrial wifi
- 0% Foreign Currency fees
- 1% cashback on all purchases
- $10 kick start by using a referral code
- My love
I challenge you to find a more valuable $0 card in Canada. You can’t.
Do yourself a favour and get a credit card that will bring you incredible value with NO ANNUAL FEE.