Air Miles Review – Are Air Miles Worth In 2019? [Canadian Guide]

Are you looking for Air Miles Rewards program in 2019? Need to know how much each air mile is worth? I’ve got you covered. Let’s get started. 

What Are Air Miles? How Do I Earn Air Miles? 

Air Miles, also called Air Miles Points, are a form of rewards points. You earn Air Miles by showing your membership card in participating online and brick and mortar stores, using an Air Miles credit card for any purchase, or by buying extra Miles online.

After you’ve collected enough Miles you can redeem them for cash, movie tickets, flights, or other items.

Everyone always asks what their Air Miles are worth in cash terms, but it’s not so easy to answer. It depends on what you plan to redeem them for and where you go to redeem them. One Air Mile is worth something between $0.12 and $0.194.

Points are earned on purchases at participating merchants and can be redeemed against flights with specific airlines. The scheme was also operated in the United Kingdom until it was combined with BA Miles and Iberia Plus points and rebranded as Avios in November 2011.

Air Miles – Canadian Overview 

Currently owned and operated by LoyaltyOne, whose parent company is Alliance Data, the Air Miles reward program was launched in Canada in 1992, and is Canada’s largest coalition loyalty program.

In 1998, Air Miles Canada was acquired by Alliance Data Systems. In 2008, Alliance Data Loyalty Services became known as LoyaltyOne.

Air Miles Canada has more than 100 sponsors, including Bank of Montreal, American Express, retail partners such as Rona, Inc., Staples, Shell Canada, Safeway, Metro, Sobeys and Sobeys Liquor, the Lawtons, Rexall/Pharma Plus and Jean Coutu pharmacy chains, the Eastlink cable company, and online partners such as Amazon and eBay.

Collecting Air Miles – Canadian Overview 

Consumers collect Air Miles reward miles from sponsors, which can be redeemed for 1,200 reward choices, such as travel, entertainment, home electronics and gift-cards. Consumers get the best value for their Air Miles when they use them for travel.

There are more than ten million active collector accounts across Canada: approximately two-thirds of Canadian households participate in Air Miles.

In April 2009, Air Miles Canada launched My Planet, an initiative to help people trade in their Air Miles for environmentally conscious products and services.

Initially, My Planet offered collectors over 140 “green” redemption items, including public transit passes, organic cotton linens, and electric scooters.

Air Miles Canada has received awards for marketing, customer care/call centres, human resources, training and leadership.

air miles

What is Air Miles Cash ?

AIR MILES Cash lets you instantly use the Miles from your Cash Account in-store on everyday purchases when you shop at participating Partners. 95 Cash Miles gets you $10 that can be used at checkout, in $10 increments up to $750/per Collector Cash Account, per day.

AIR MILES Cash transactions must exclude gift cards and near-cash products (i.e. pre-paid credit cards). Exceptions may apply. Click here for AIR MILES Cash terms & conditions.

You can also use your Cash Miles towards AIR MILES Online Cash Rewards, available with participating Partners up to $750/per Collector Cash Account, per day.

Great for shopping online or in-store at a variety of Partners and starting at 95 Miles = $10, you can get Online Cash Rewards for yourself or share them with friends and family.

To start using AIR MILES Cash, setup the preference slider by clicking the Get Miles tab and selecting Set your preference. Doing this will allow you to begin collecting Miles into your Cash Account. Miles cannot be transferred between Cash and Dream Accounts.

However, you can change your preference as many times as you like. To set your preference

How Do I set my Air Miles Preference to Cash and Dream Accounts?

Changing the preference of Miles deposited in your Cash and Dream Accounts couldn’t be easier! Click on the Get Miles tab and select Set your preference.

Using the preference slider, you can setup or change the deposit preference for your Miles by moving the slider from 0% – 100% toward either your Cash or Dream Accounts. Once set, future Miles will be added to your accounts the way you want.

Your preference can be changed as many times as you like and the change will take effect at 3:00 am EST the following day.

Not setting your preference means that, all Miles you get will automatically go into your Dream Account and you won’t be able to take advantage of the offers and promotions available with AIR MILES Cash. 

How Do I Redeem my AIR MILES?

While at checkout show the cashier your AIR MILES Card and let them know you would like to use Cash Miles towards your purchase.

You’ll need to be spending a minimum of $10 before tax; then every 95 Cash Miles will get you $10 off your purchase; these Miles can be used in $10 increments up to $750/per Collector Cash Account, per day. Exceptions may apply. 

For extra protection, Collectors are encouraged to “lock” their Cash Account. While Cash Accounts are locked, no Cash redemptions are possible, but collecting Miles can still go on like ever before.

Collectors that choose to lock their Cash Account can unlock it in seconds prior to conducting an in-store Cash redemption by using the PIN associated with their Account via www.airmiles.ca/cashlock, the AIR MILES App or by using Customer Care automated phone system.

To protect your Cash Account visit our Self-Serve Tools page and select Lock Cash account; for a shortcut to the page.

What Does it mean to be a GOLD Collector?

The AIR MILES GOLD program was designed to reward Collectors who get 1,000-5,999 miles from January 1 to December 31 each year.

As a Gold Collector, you can enjoy great offers for travel and merchandise, like up to 30% off required miles for selected flights, and 10% off the miles required for selected merchandise.

Enjoy unforgettable events like being invited to Gold-inspired gatherings and getting free movie passes to select films. There are also exciting contests and giveaways! 

How Much in One Air Mile Worth in 2019?

Central to any discussion about Air Miles is often the question of how much they’re worth.

This depends on many factors, so it’s useful to get 2 tools for understanding their value under our belts – how to calculate both CPM and Rate of Return.

What’s CPM?

CPM stands for cents per mile. It’s an easy way to compare the value of different rewards.

You can calculate CPM by dividing the cash value by the number of Air Miles required to purchase it. Then just times that number by 100 to get the cents per mile, not dollar per mile.

So if you redeem 6,800 miles for a Dyson Ball Animal 2 Vacuum, which retails for around $678, this is your CPM:

678 / 6,800 = 0.099 x 100 = 9.9 CPM

How To Get Your Air Miles Rate Of Return (ROR)

Once you know the value of a single mile, you can calculate an even more important number: your rate of return when earning Air Miles.

This is calculated by determining how much you spend earning miles versus the overall value you get for those miles.

With this number, you can easily make comparisons between different promotions and earning opportunities.

Example

While shopping at Safeway you see a product that costs $10 and has a 20 Air Miles bonus reward attached to it. You decide to buy 2. Assuming Safeway has the regular rate of 1 mile per $20 spent, here’s what your calculations look like:

40 (bonus) + 1 (regular) miles earned x 14.2 average CPM = $5.82 / $20 spent = 0.29 = 29%

So participating in this bonus effectively gives you a pretty decent 29% discount, since that’s what you’re getting in rewards.

Air Miles Loyalty Program

 

Strengths: high average value for Miles; plentiful merchandise rewards options; pay with Air Miles directly at some partner retailers

Weaknesses: taxes and fees aren’t covered; fuel surcharges covered only within North America; takes a long time to earn rewards; fewer partners and bonus offers than Aeroplan

“Almost nobody is redeeming long haul flights,” says Sojka, who notes that Vancouver to Auckland, New Zealand would be an example of one such long haul flight. “You need 14,000 points or so for a ticket,” notes Sojka. “That’s hard to achieve, and fewer than 1% of redemptions are for long-haul flights.

Transferring Air Miles 

You can always transfer air miles to your loved ones. Air Miles gives you that flexibility. However there are certain online only exclusive deals to transfer your Miles. 

Here’s how you can do it – 

1. Send Miles

Price: $0.15 CAD / Mile

  • This feature is only offered online.

  • Transfer Dream Miles to family & friends:

    • Send Miles as a gift.

    • Help out a friend who’s short on Miles.

  • You’ll need the exact first and last name and Collector Number from the recipient’s Profile.

  • Any Miles you transfer won’t qualify towards Gold or OnyxTM status for the receiving Collector Number.

  • All transfers are final and no refunds are permitted.

  • You can’t transfer your Miles between your Dream and Cash Accounts.

  • Dream Miles can only move into a Dream Account.

2. Collect Miles Together

Price: $0.15 CAD / Mile

  • You’ll need the Collector Number and full name on the Profile that you’re combining with.

  • Transfer Miles into a joint Collector Number:

    • You want to collect Miles as a couple or as a family.

  • Dream Air Miles can only move into a Dream Account.

  • Cash Air Miles can only move into a Cash Account.

  • All transfers are final and no refunds are permitted.

3. Merge Duplicate Profiles 

Price : Free

  • You’ll need the Collector Number, full name and address on both Collector Profiles.

  • Transfer Miles from two Profiles in your name into one:

    • You have two Collector Numbers in your name and want to consolidate them.

  • Dream Air Miles can only move into a Dream Account.

  • Cash Air Miles can only move into a Cash Account.

  • All transfers are final and no refunds are permitted.

In a nutshell, you’ll have three options to transfer your accumulated Air Miles to loved ones. 

Best Air Miles Credit Card Offers Right Now 

1. BMO AIR MILES Mastercard

  • Get up to 1,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. That is up to $100 in Cash redemption value

  • Get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months, 1% fee applies to balance amounts transferred

  • Get 2x the Miles for every $20 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners

  • Earn 1 reward mile for every $20 you spend on your credit card

  • No annual fee

2. BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard

  • Welcome Offer: Get up to 3,000 Bonus Miles plus a Companion Flight rebate and we’ll waive the $120 annual fee for the first year

  • 1 reward mile for every $10 that you spend on your credit card

  • Exclusive 15% Flight Discount on all flights in North America with no blackout periods

  • BMO World Elite Travel and Medical Protection

  • Complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey, with exclusive VIP access, plus two annual complimentary passes.

Conclusion 

Air travel can be expensive. However, you can reduce the cost involved with the help of your planned credit card spending.

Air Miles credit card can provide you with the ability to earn travel rewards on a number of regular purchases, reducing the amount you pay when you fly.

“You’ll get better value for your points when you redeem for travel rather than merchandise,” says Furtado.

For instance, the average value of an Air mile spent on air travel is $0.21 cents whereas the purchase of a common electronic item like a TV can yield a much lower value of about $0.0655 per mile.

The best credit card offer depends on your level of spending and where you prefer to shop.

Different cards emphasize different spending categories and stores. It’s a good idea to consider the different programs before applying for a card so that you can get the card that is most likely to give you the best results.

Please let us know your thoughts and comments below. 

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