All your travel essentials packed into just one card – Brim.
Matera, Italy. Built into the rock of a ravine and full of charming cave hotels, galleries, limestone grottoes, and Italy’s finest wines, the prehistoric city is but one of the Top Holiday Destinations in 2019 listed by CN Traveller. It’s in good company too, described alongside the likes of Tahiti, Tulum, Arles, Singapore, and New Orleans.
Has your mind started to wander to the places on your ‘must travel to’ list, yet?
You’re not alone. The Conference Board of Canada reports that Canadians spend more than $35-billion annually travelling outside the country, and more than twice as much per capita as Americans. And our international reputation means we’re welcomed pretty much everywhere.
People frequently use loyalty points for travel purposes, says Rasha Katabi, founder and chief executive officer of Brim Financial. But they can also be a huge source of frustration, especially when it comes to the amount of points you need to spend to get anywhere.
“It might be a set amount of points whether you want to go to Boston or to Montreal or New York. But sometimes, those flights go on sale at much better value than what your points are going to be burnt at,” she says. “With your Brim card, you can actually use your points for travel for the best price of a ticket you find.”
Travel was a major consideration for Ms. Katabi and team when they were developing the new Brim Mastercard. “We built a platform that makes your life easier, more rewarding and gives you full flexibility and choice. That includes enhancing the travel experience, whether you’re travelling for business or personal.”
To start, Brim’s open rewards enables cardholders to redeem points on any purchase made in the world at market value, via the Brim app. That means that travellers can seek out the best prices and put their points toward that purchase, instead of being locked into certain airlines or hotels.
“You can actually travel on your own terms” adds Ms. Katabi. “You make the purchase first and then redeem your points later.”
Brim will be introducing special offers with travel-oriented partners, such as airlines, hotel chains and tour operators, which will make earning and redeeming rewards that much more valuable to cardmembers. “We’ll be announcing one that we’re very excited about soon,” she adds. “It’s a total gamechanger.”
“We’re globalizing our Marketplace so members can take advantage of the earn and redeem offers all around the world,” says Thomas Patterson, Brimʼs senior product manager. “The platform allows international merchants to create offers for Canadian consumers, whether they’re travelling or shopping online. We built the platform with that international mindset.”
The Brim experience is unique to each of its members. Through Brim Marketplace, the company allows merchants to offer personalized rewards. Cardholders explore offers in the online marketplace and they automatically earn points when they use their Brim card with those merchants. Rewards have various levels depending on cardholder visits or spend with a merchant. Instead of traditional categories, with Brim cardholders have uncapped earning potential, for example earning two times, five times or even 10 times the points.
The new Canadian fintech has earned widespread interest because of its elimination of foreign transaction fees. Brim doesn’t charge any extra fees on purchases in another currency, even on a no fee card, while most banks charge 2.5 percent or more. “Even if you’re just shopping online and charged in an international currency, you’re not being charged those extra fees,” says Stephanie Weiland, senior marketing and communications manager at Brim.
All Brim cardholders even get access to free global Wi-Fi through Boingo, a package which is valued at $39.99 per month.
“We also provide premium travel insurances,” says Ms. Katabi. Both the Brim World card (with a $99 annual fee) and the Brim World Elite card (at $199 a year), cover a long list of travel-related incidents, such as flight delay, lost or stolen baggage, and travel medical insurance, as well as car rental insurance for luxury vehicles. “Our World Elite card is for the traveller who wants more,” she adds.
Mr. Patterson points out another travel insurance feature that Brim has introduced to the Canadian market. “We were the first to launch event ticket reimbursement,” he says. “We really go above and beyond to deliver an exceptional experience for our members.”
Brim’s security features lend themselves well for frequent travellers. Cardholders can set travel notifications in the Brim app to indicate when they will be travelling in a different country so the company can monitor and protect member’s accounts. As well, the Brim card can be locked and unlocked in real time through the app providing extra protection while you are travelling or when you return home. Cardholders have the choice to lock the card entirely or just block online or foreign transactions, allowing regular in-person use of the card.
“We want to make sure that your international spending is seamless,” Mr. Patterson says.
Travellers have even more flexibility with Brim’s Installment Pay feature, a first-in-market feature that’s embedded directly in the Brim card. “Let’s say you’re in Paris and decide to buy a piece of art. After making the purchase, you can opt to pay in smaller monthly payments through the app, freeing up your available credit,” says Ms. Weiland. “It can be on anything, like an antique, an excursion, or even your flight.”
“We’re all travellers at Brim. We built a credit card and platform with travel features that we wanted and could see ourselves taking advantage of,” Ms. Weiland adds. “Wherever you’re going, the Brim card is built to enhance that experience.”
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