Mystery Shopping for flights - 50% discount on Airfare

You know Mystery Shopping? Like where somebody comes to your business and pretends to be a regular consumer but they are actually just testing to see what your customer service is like? Well I always thought Mystery Shopping was like corporate management's version of Santa Claus.  

"Now, now fair employee, you had better be good or else Santa will know and you won't get presents for Christmas".

But guess what? It's real. People do it all the time, and you wanna know the kicker? It's not just for the grocery store or your local bistro restaurant, one company in Canada does it for Flights and Hotels!

Evaluate it by SQM is a Mystery Shopping Company that provides customer service audits to Air Canada, Fairmont Hotels, and more. They also have opportunities in countries where these companies are affiliated, like Australia, USA, South America, UK, Europe, and Asia. As payment for this, they reimburse you 50% of the full fare ticket/cost!

I just signed up, and got approved 2 days later. I logged in and found they were auditing flights to Sydney, Australia! I emailed and asked how much it would be and they sent me both one way options and Round trip!

ROUND TRIP

YVR - SYD, SYD-YVR was going to cost $2200.
After 50% Refund = $1100 (FOR A ROUND TRIP!!!)

ONE WAY

YVR - SYD was going to cost $1400
After 50% Refund = $700

So by taking notes and doing surveys on Customer Service and flight experience, I could have flown one way for $700, or Round Trip for $1100!!!

Unfortunately, I had already booked a segment from Sydney so was unable to take advantage of it this time, but I WILL be doing this in the future. Too good to pass up.

Important to Note:

THEY HAVE TO BOOK FOR YOU

You pay SQM and they book for you. You can't go fishing for better deals on kayak as SQM have to book from the Aircanada website so it is only whatever that site says. 

You Pay Upfront and they refund you later

You have to pay them the full fare then get a cheque later for the 50% refund. For some people, this can't work financially. 

NO CONNECTING FLIGHTS

In my case, YYJ -YVR-SYD was actually $200 cheaper even when it connected in YVR and took the same plane! But they can only book flights they are reviewing so I would have had to arrange my own way there which would have added cost.

MILES ARE IFFY

Not sure if you can earn Aeroplan miles on these tickets. Worth looking into?! I figure you probably can? But can't back that up as I haven't been yet!

Sign up here:
http://www.evaluateitbysqm.com/

Read about the experience here:
http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2014/04/financial-travel-tip-112-50-airfare-mystery-shopping/
https://www.creditwalk.ca/dear-nora-free-travel-mystery-shopping-companies-scam/

Sweet Deals

Here is my pick of Sweet Deals on Offer with SQM right now (June 12th, 2015)

Flight Offers

Flights are guaranteed a minimum of 50% refund.
They are dependent on availability as only one SQM rep can evaluate each flight.
You CAN book Tango Fares.
Whatever the Air Canada site says is probably what they will quote you.

This is where they fly from within Canada:

Some Prime examples of sweet deals

Calgary YYC - Frankfurt FRA 
(Nonstop Direct Flight)
Dep July 7 - Ret July 14
$950 after 50% refund.

Toronto YYZ - Rio de Janeiro GIG
(Nonstop Direct Flight)
Dep Aug 5 - Ret Aug 18
$457 after 50% refund

Hotel Offers

The Hotel deals are usually 50% off for one night reservations only. Looks like a mix of Holiday Inn, Fairmont, Marriott and few others in major cities across Canada. Often they require you to book over the phone, then while you are there, you have to use the bell services, and also request one thing is brought to your room. Sounds totally doable.

Frequent Flyer members CAN add their membership to gain miles on the booking. AND you are allowed to try get a reduced rate (eg CAA, Government, etc).

This is what one of the Hotel Conditions pages looks like (as of June 12, 2015)

Aeroplan Triple-Dip

Here's how you can triple dip Aeroplan Points using this service stacking with another promotion on right now.

- Arrange a Stay through SQM for Fairmont Royal York Hotel (Available for rebate in September 2015)
- Book 3 nights with your AMEX Aeroplan Card
- Do the SQM assignment and stay 3 nights
- Reap the benefits

There is a promo on right now with Aeroplan and Fairmont where booking with your AMEX Aeroplan card will get you Double the Aeroplan Miles, 3rd night free (at Royal York) aswell as a $25 credit for restaurants, etc. So to breakdown the costs:

Night 1

Book with SQM for 3 nights. The first night will get you 50% refund. Net cost on a avg $320 room is now $160 for the night.

NIGHT 2

This night is full fare and will cost around $320 if you use CAA rate.

NIGHT 3

Due to the Current promo this night will be free.

- Aeroplan Points earned from 3 night stay = 500 regular miles
- Aeroplan bonus for using AMEX Aeroplan Card = 500 miles for current promo.
- 3 Night stay costs $480 instead of normally over $1000.
- You also get 480 Aeroplan points for the booking by using your credit card 1pt:$1
- You also get $25 credit. 

FPC is Fairmont's loyalty program (review here). You move from the basic Club tier to Premier tier with 10 nights in a year. This will earn you 2 of those nights.

This sounds like a good deal if you love Fairmont? But otherwise maybe just stick to the SQM 50% off?!

Let me know if you have any questions?!

By   

Matt McLean


Matt McLean is an ex-teacher who has lived and worked in 7 different countries, trying his hand as a cruise ship counsellor in the Caribbean, a waterski instructor in New York, a surfing coach in England, a radio announcer in Australia, a chalet host in France, a Lindt chocolatier in Canada, and a conference presenter in Austria. To Read more from Matt, click his name!