In the world of rewards programs, the Air Miles loyalty program is one of the largest and most recognized by Canadians! Accumulating points, aka those famous “reward miles,” has never been easier – with or without an Air Miles credit card. This program provides so much value that we’ve done this in-depth review about it! Here's how to earn, redeem, and get the most out of your Air Miles.
- The Air Miles program at a glance
- How do I get Air Miles rewards points?
- Banking institutions issuing Air Miles rewards credit cards
- Which institution should you choose?
- How do you use your Air Miles rewards?
- How can you take your Air Miles rewards to the next level?
- How much is each mile worth?
- How many miles are needed to get $10 back and how do I apply this amount to my purchases?
- Where and how can I check my Air Miles points balance?
- How to get more Air Miles rewards?
- What kinds of things are ineligible for miles?
- Do my Air Miles expire?
- Can I transfer my miles to someone else?
The Air Miles program at a glance
Air Miles is a loyalty program that was launched in 1992. It is owned and operated by Alliance Data.
The Air Miles program offers its more than 11 million members reward points called Air Miles, or just “miles” for short, enabling members to claim rewards, whether for travel, vouchers or products.
How do I get Air Miles rewards points?
There are different ways to earn Air Miles points, but first you must register by creating an Air Miles account on the Airmiles.ca website, by contacting the Customer Service Center at 1-888-AIR-MILES, or by completing an application form through one of its participating partners.
You will then have to choose from the three options available to you. You can accumulate Dream Rewards or Cash Rewards, or take both. But what’s the difference?
Cash Rewards can only be used for vouchers or in-store discounts, while Dream Rewards are applied to travel or products from the Air Miles catalogue.
You can also earn these two types of miles at the same time if you want. For example, you can choose to accumulate your points and send 50% to your Cash Rewards account and 50% to your Dream Rewards account. You can choose what percentage goes into each account!
Once you’ve made your choice, all you have to do is hunt for points through one or more of the following three options.
Banking institutions issuing Air Miles rewards credit cards
There are two well-known banking institutions that provide Air Miles on their credit card offerings.
The Bank of Montreal (BMO) and American Express (Amex) have been proud partners of Air Miles for several years now. Their reputations are second to none in the world of finance. They’re recognized and trusted because they each have more than 200 years of expertise!
Bank of Montreal (BMO)
If you’re unaware of all the benefits of a BMO Air Miles credit card, you should know that there are many! You can save money with every purchase made with this credit card at participating partners.
For example, with the BMO Air Miles Mastercard, you earn 1 mile for every $25 in purchases. But that's not all, you can get so much more! We’ll provide more details a little later.
Which institution should you choose?
Given the wide choice of credit cards available to you, you’ll no doubt be tempted to decide between them by reviewing each financial institution’s respective web pages, but it would be much wiser to use a credit card comparator such as the one found on the Hardbacon website. Have you heard of Hardbacon? No? Well, it’s your best ally! It was designed to help you make the wisest choices when planning, budgeting and investing! Don't hesitate to take advantage of the many tips provided on the website, which was designed for Canadians who strive to make the best choice!
Air Miles Rewards Promotional offers
Currently, when you apply for a BMO Air Miles Mastercard, you’ll get 800 bonus miles and 0.99% interest on balance transfers for nine months.
If you choose the BMO Air Miles World Elite MasterCard, you'll get 2,000 welcome Air Miles and the $120 annual fee will be waived for the first year.
Air Miles participating partners
You can also earn Air Miles through your purchases at participating partners. You’ll find a complete list of 100 retailers at this address. Among the best known are Shell, Fountain Tire and Jean Coutu, for most of your basic needs. But there are so many that you’ll soon have too many choices!
You’ll always find the Air Miles logo at the checkout and the employees will also ask you if you have the card upon checkout.
How do you use your Air Miles rewards?
Every Air Miles point brings you one step closer to your reward, whether you're looking for travel, a discount or voucher, or a product. It's always your choice how you want to use them!
Madagascar, Casablanca, Paris, Los Angeles…these may be dream destinations, but did you know that your daily or occasional purchases at participating partners helps you collect points so you can take unforgettable trips thanks to your Air Miles card? And that's good, because travelling is the best way to use your miles!
Leading North American companies have joined the program to give you more for your money – by rewarding you when you spend with them.
Nearly 100 partners in Canada, like BMO, Shell, and Global Pet Foods, allow you to use them on their transactional websites, directly at the counter or in-store.
You can spend your Dream Rewards on products selected from the catalogue.
Unfortunately, unlike the first two options, this one isn’t the most beneficial, but if you have miles to spend or simply want to treat yourself to a Star Wars Instant Pot for 1790 Dream Rewards or a Samsung Galaxy Active 2 watch for 6190 Dream Rewards, you can do so. The full list can be found here.
How can you take your Air Miles rewards to the next level?
Air Miles members are divided into three categories: Blue, Gold or Onyx. These statuses provide various benefits, as explained in this table:
|To qualify||Earn up to 999 miles in a calendar year.||Earn between 1000 and 5999 miles in a calendar year.||Earn 6000 miles or more in a calendar year.|
|Flight discounts||Discounts Up to 30%||Up to 40%|
|Various items discounts||Up to 5%||Up to 10%|
|Pay with cash + Air Miles||X||X|
|Priority customer service||X|
|Personal assistant service||X|
How much is each mile worth?
The current value of a mile is $0.121 (as of June 2021)
How many miles are needed to get $10 back and how do I apply this amount to my purchases?
All you need is 95 Cash Rewards to get a $10 voucher to apply to your purchases. As soon as you have to spend a minimum of $10, all you have to do is inform the participating merchant and present your Air Miles card to them so that they can apply the voucher. Most cashiers will offer it to you themselves as soon as they see that you have enough miles to use.
Where and how can I check my Air Miles points balance?
Finding out where and how to check your Air Miles account couldn't be easier! Simply sign in to access your Air Miles account.
Then, you’ll be able to see your Cash Rewards and your Dream Rewards, next to your profile.
Each mile collected is then credited to you within a maximum of four weeks. You can view all the transactions that have earned you miles.
How to get more Air Miles rewards?
We’re sure you’ve enjoyed this article extolling the virtues of the Air Miles program. After all, who doesn't like getting more for their money? But wait, that's not all! There are still many other benefits to know about, like how to earn more points to convert into Air Miles rewards!
To do this, you have three options:
- Use your credit card from one of the two institutions mentioned above and your membership card at participating retailers for your everyday or occasional expenses.
When making a trip to the grocery store, securing a rental car for the weekend, going on business trips and other types of expenses…always remember to use your credit card when you pay. Currently, BMO is giving triple the miles and Amex is giving double the miles when you use your card with participating partners.
- Be on the lookout for promotions offered through the Air Miles card
By visiting the Airmiles.ca website, you’ll see all the offers, including the featured ones, such as 400 bonus miles when you open and fund a Wealthsimple Trade investment account, or 50 bonus miles with $60 or more in purchases at Jean Coutu. The offers vary and there are often also events such as the “Bonus Boom” event.
- Shop at airmilesshop.ca
It's simple to use. Log in and browse exclusive offers and retailers, and choose from over 100 partner stores online. Click on “Shop” and you’ll be redirected to the desired partner's site. It's the same as going directly to Apple or Walmart, for example, but you'll automatically get 1 mile for every $20 spent before taxes and shipping.
Since many of us order almost everything online, the miles can add up very quickly!
There are so many participating partners and just as many tempting offers! Don't let them pass you by!
What kinds of things are ineligible for miles?
Certain items such as taxes, postal services, postage stamps, lottery tickets, gift certificates, transit passes, prescriptions and medications are ineligible for the Air Miles program.
Do my Air Miles expire?
Even if you don't often use your miles, don't worry! As long as you don't close your Air Miles account, your miles will never expire.
Can I transfer my miles to someone else?
Currently, you’re unable to transfer your miles to a loved one. However, they can help you rack up more! All you have to do is give them a copy of your Air Miles card so they can earn miles for you when they shop. You can have two physical copies of the card, but it can end up being added to as many Google Play or Apple Pay wallets as you want.
You can also merge the accounts of the people living under your roof. The good news here is that it’s free to do this!
If you wish to donate your Air Miles to charity, you have that option. There are currently three charities that accept Dream Air Miles: Motionball, Food Banks Canada and Kids Help Phone. This is an opportunity to do a good deed!
In conclusion, there are many advantages to having an Air Miles card and collecting the points. There's a reason this program is Canada's favourite! Don't wait any longer and go open an Air Miles account to start earning points. It's free, and it would be so silly to miss out on this kind of offer that costs you nothing…but rewards you with so much!
About The Author: Arthur Dubois
Passionate about personal finance and financial technology, Arthur Dubois is a writer and SEO specialist at Hardbacon. Since his arrival in Canada, he’s built his credit score from nothing.
Arthur invests in the stock market but doesn’t pay any fees because he uses National Bank Direct Brokerage online broker and Wealthsimple’s robo-advisor. He pays for his subscriptions online with his KOHO prepaid card, and uses his Tangerine credit card for most of his in-store purchases. When he buys bitcoins, it’s with the BitBuy online platform. Of course it goes without saying that he uses the Hardbacon app so that he can manage all of his finances from one convenient place.
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