The 5 Best AIR MILES Credit Cards in Canada for 2024

A convenient electronic payment card, the credit card enables purchases and payment for goods and services effortlessly

    If you love to travel but hate throwing money away, it’s time to consider an AIR MILES credit card. American Express ended their partnership with AIR MILES in September 2023, making BMO the sole provider of AIR MILES branded credit cards in Canada. We’ve hand-picked the best credit cards in Canada for AIR MILES collectors in this round-up, so if you want to know how to get from here to there for less and crush your travel goals faster, keep reading!

    Selecting the right AIR MILES credit card involves more than just eyeing the rewards. It’s about aligning the card with your lifestyle and financial practices. Are you looking to get free gifts or seeking a card that offer travel insurance? Balancing these aspects with the practicalities of annual fees and payment habits is key. To simplify this process, our credit card comparison tool is designed to match your specific needs and spending patterns with the ideal card.

    1. BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard – Best AIR MILES Card

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    The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard is the best AIR MILES credit card overall and our top pick for globetrotters. Let’s take a  look at what this top card has to offer: 

    The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard gives you one of the best earning rates and one of the best welcome bonuses on the market. Currently, new cardholders earn 2,000 bonus miles when they spend $3,000 on the card in the first 3 months. That’s a value of $210 towards your next purchase with Cash Miles! But wait, there’s more! The $120 annual fee is waived for the first year. Between the two, that’s $330  worth of sign-up offers. Cha-ching!

    Cardholders earn 3x miles for every $12 in purchases at participating AIR MILES partner stores and 2x miles at any grocery store, so it’s easy to accumulate points through everyday purchases. For regular purchases, you’ll earn 1 mile for every $12 you spend. Plus, you can double dip to earn even more miles when you present your AIR MILES membership card and your BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard together at the same time.

    The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard offers several benefits for travellers. These include complimentary membership to the Mastercard Travel Pass program provided by DragonPass, which provides access to a network of more than 1,400 exclusive lounges at 400 airports around the world. Travel and medical insurance is also provided for 15 days outside the province and country.

    This great travel card also provides access to more than one million Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide, with no additional fees or roaming charges. Another important benefit of the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard is the 25% discount on all AIR MILES flights in North America. Cardholders also benefit from purchase protection and an extended warranty on items purchased with the card.  With these, your purchases are protected against theft and damage for 90 days, and the manufacturer’s warranty is doubled by BMO for up to one additional year.

    Eligibility RequirementsBMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
    Credit Score
    (estimate)
    700+
    Annual Income$80,000 (individual); or
    $150,000 (household)
    AdditionalResident of Canada
    Provincial age of majority

    2. BMO AIR MILES Mastercard – Best No-fee AIR MILES Card

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    Enough with the fees, am I right? If you don’t want to pay for your credit card, the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard is a great option. As a no-fee credit card, the AIR MILES earning rate is lower, but this card still packs a punch for budget-conscious jet setters. Although it does not offer the same benefits as the other AIR MILES cards on this list, it comes with a significant welcome offer of 800 Bonus Miles, worth $80 in purchases with AIR MILES Cash. A free card that pays you to sign up? Add to cart! 

    The reward rate for the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard is relatively low at just 1 mile for every $25 spent. However, you can earn 3 miles for every $25 spent at participating AIR MILES Rewards partners to rack up the miles even faster.  And remember, you can get twice the miles when you present your AIR MILES Membership card at the same time you make a purchase with your BMO AIR MILES Mastercard.

    New cardholders can also benefit from a 1.99% introductory rate on balance transfers for the first 9 months; a 1% balance transfer fee applies. The BMO AIR MILES Mastercard also includes an extended warranty and purchase protection on items purchased with the card.

    Eligibility RequirementsBMO AIR MILES Mastercard
    Credit Score
    (estimate)
    660+
    Annual IncomeN/A
    AdditionalResident of Canada
    Provincial age of majority

    3. BMO AIR MILES Mastercard for Students – Best for Students

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    Your first credit card is a rite of passage into adulthood. It’s how you establish and start building your credit score. A good credit score is something you will need throughout your life, like when you apply for an apartment, a mortgage, insurance, a cell phone, and even a decent job. With the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard for Students,  you can build credit and get rewarded for it at the same time!

    New card members get 800 Bonus Miles when they spend $1,000 on the card in the first 3 months. You’ll earn 3 miles for every $25 spent at AIR MILES partner merchants, and 1 mile per $25 spent everywhere else. The BMO AIR MILES Mastercard for Students is an ideal way to save money and get free stuff while you establish good credit habits. You can accumulate AIR MILES to pay for a well-deserved break after months of studying for those nerve-wracking exams! University is no joke, treat yo’self. 

    The BMO AIR MILES Mastercard for Students is available to those aged 18 to 24 years old who have reached the age of majority in their province and are enrolled in a post-secondary institution such as a CEGEP or university. To get this card, you must also be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and have an annual income from employment, a grant or scholarship, a student loan, or a family allowance.

    Eligibility RequirementsBMO AIR MILES Mastercard for Students
    Credit Score
    (estimate)
    600
    Annual IncomeAmount not specified (but must earn income from employment, student loan, grant or scholarship or family allowance)
    AdditionalResident of Canada
    Provincial age of majority
    Be enrolled in a post-secondary institution
    Be 18 to 24 years old

    4. BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard for Business – Best for Business Owners

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    With the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard for Business,  you’ll earn miles at a rate of 1 mile for every $12 spent on regular purchases for your business, and 4x miles at participating AIR MILES partners. Right now, you’ll get a welcome bonus of 3,000 AIR MILES when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, and the $149 annual card fee is waived for the first year.

    Plus, cardholders get access to 24/7 virtual healthcare offered by MAPLE and up to 5 free online consultations they can share with family members. Eligible patients get access to all kinds of healthcare practitioners, including mental health counsellors within 12 hours of an initial request.

    Another benefit of the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard for Business is that it includes several types of travel insurance such as: 

    • collision damage waiver insurance;
    • personal and business property insurance;
    • accidental death or dismemberment insurance in rental vehicles and for accidents on board a common carrier.

    You will also travel with peace of mind since the card also offers the following protection:

    • luggage and personal effects
    • baggage or flight delays
    • trip interruptions, postponements, and cancellations

    To take advantage of these benefits, simply use your card when paying for your travel reservations. The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard for Business is a solid card for business owners and one of the best business credit cards in Canada.

    Eligibility RequirementsBMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
    Credit Score
    (estimate)
    720
    Annual IncomePersonal income of at least $80,000 or
    Household income of at least $150,000 or
    Business income of at least $250,000 or
    Assets under management of at least $400,000
    AdditionalResident of Canada
    Identity documents, licenses, financial statements, etc.

    5. BMO AIR MILES Mastercard for Business – Best Free AIR MILES Card for Business Owners

    [Offer productType=“CreditCard” api_id=“631a6beb57179a4644cb8b3a”]

    Are you a new business or small business owner? If so, the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard for Business might be a good fit for you. There’s no annual card fee and still offers AIR MILES rewards, just earned at a slightly lower rate. As a welcome offer, new cardholders will get 1,000 Bonus Miles, a value of $100 towards your next purchase with AIR MILES Cash. To qualify for this offer, simply spend a minimum of $3,000 on your card within the first 3 months of opening your account.

    With the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard for Business, you will earn 1 mile for every $20 spent on regular card purchases. If you use your card at a participating Shell gas station, you earn 1.25  miles for every $20 spent. It is, therefore, an interesting option if you frequently use your vehicle for your work.

    Another benefit of the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard for Business card for your business is the inclusion of a liability waiver program, which protects you in the event of misuse of the card by an employee.

    Eligibility RequirementsBMO AIR MILES Mastercard for Business (free)
    Credit Score
    (estimate)
    660
    Annual IncomeN/A
    AdditionalResident of Canada
    Identity documents, licenses, financial statements, etc.

    FAQs about AIR MILES Credit Cards in Canada

    What is the best AIR MILES credit card in Canada?

    The best AIR MILES credit card in Canada, overall, is the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard. It has one of the highest earning rates at 1 MILE per $12 in card purchases, with up to 3 MILES per $12 spent at AIR MILES Partners. The card also includes 12 different complementary insurances related to travel and items purchased with the card. You also get an exclusive 15% discount on AIR MILES flights in North America without any blackout dates.

    Should I collect Dream Miles or Cash Miles?

    The good news is that you can choose whether you earn all Dream Miles, all Cash Miles, or a mix of both depending on your needs, goals, and shopping habits. While you can’t swap one kind of earned MILE for another, you can change the ratio of MILES you earn on purchases if your needs or preferences change later on.

    Dream Miles will give you the highest redemption value when used for flights and other travel-related expenses. However, there are fewer redemption opportunities and more restrictions. You will need to spend more time planning and paying close attention to detail in order to get the best value for your Dream Miles. Dream Miles is a good choice if you love to travel and don’t mind putting in the work to optimize your MILES.

    Cash Miles have a lower redemption value but you can redeem them almost immediately in-store or online. Where available, 95 Cash Miles will get you $10 off a purchase when you swipe your AIR MILES card. The AIR MILES program is one of the largest loyalty programs in Canada with a large network of partner merchants across the country. Therefore, you have much more flexibility to redeem your Cash Miles to save money on everyday purchases. Despite the lower redemption value, Cash Miles is a good choice if you are less concerned with travel, and prefer more ways to save when you shop instead.

    How can I collect more AIR MILES?

    Choose an AIR MILES credit card with the highest earning rate in categories where you spend the most, as long as you can earn enough MILES to more than offset any annual card fee. Adjust your shopping habits to prioritize AIR MILES partners over non-partners, whenever possible. Double up the MILES when you open an AIR MILES account and present the membership card in addition to your AIR MILES credit card when making a purchase at an AIR MILES partner. Take advantage of Bonus MILE offers at participating stores, as well as the annual AIR MILES Shop the Block event, and various Mega Miles events throughout the year. Bank of Montreal offers banking packages that earn AIR MILES with your debit card. Finally, if you have a good credit score, you can open various credit cards to take advantage of their AIR MILES welcome offers. 

    Meagen Seatter is a freelance journalist for Hardbacon. She's been using credit cards to travel-hack her way around the world since 2019. In addition to freelance work, she writes for Investing News Network, a global publication reporting on the latest investment news, developments, and trends. She studies online at Athabasca University and currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia.