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BMO Financial Tip of the Week: Use Rewards to Lower Summer Travel Expenses

Nearly half (44 per cent) of Canadians travelling this summer say "affordability" is the primary driver determining where they go and how they travel

- Approximately 29 million Canadians (84 per cent) will vacation this summer

- Majority (66 per cent) have a summer travel spending budget of less than $2,000

- One third of loyalty rewards collectors plan to use their rewards towards summer travel



TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 9, 2012) - As part of BMO Financial Group's ongoing commitment to financial literacy and 'Making Money Make Sense' for Canadians, BMO is releasing a financial tip every week in 2012.

BMO's Financial Tip of the Week: Use rewards to lower summer travel expenses

According to a recent BMO survey, more than 70 per cent of Canadians belong to at least one loyalty rewards program. "Given the importance of affordability, one way to stretch a summer vacation budget is to make use of loyalty rewards," says Su McVey, Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal.

"Thirty-three per cent of loyalty rewards collectors we surveyed earlier this year told us they'll use points to offset some part of their summer holiday costs. Reward programs provide a practical and convenient way for more Canadians to take advantage of a broad array of redemption options, and upgrade their vacation experience without breaking the budget."

Loyalty rewards, such as AIR MILES reward miles, can be redeemed for flights, train or bus trips, cruises, tours, passes to summer attractions, gas, hotels, car rentals and more.

BMO provides the following tips to help consumers make the most of their loyalty rewards this summer:

• Look for a credit card with a great loyalty rewards program, so you can collect more points faster. For example, until August 31, 2012, BMO is offering 1,000 Bonus AIR MILES reward miles to all new BMO Gold AIR MILES MasterCard customers. Customers earn 1 AIR MILES reward mile for every $15 they spend using the card and get an exclusive 25 per cent discount on the number of reward miles required to book flights (annual fee $99).

• Use loyalty rewards to cut fuel costs. There are a variety of loyalty programs that offer fuel rewards. For example, it takes only 95 AIR MILES cash miles to get $10 off your gas purchases at participating gas stations across the country. Also, the BMO CashBack MasterCard gives you a 1.5 per cent cash rebate when you purchase your fuel at participating sponsor stations. The BMO Premium CashBack MasterCard gets you a 3 per cent cash rebate at participating stations (annual fee $49).

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $525 billion as at April 30, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

For media enquiries:
BMO Bank of Montreal
Carol Greene, Toronto
(416) 867-3996
carol.greene@bmo.com

Ronald Monet, Montreal
(514) 877-1873
ronald.monet@bmo.com

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596
laurie.grant@bmo.com

Web: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia