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The Best Way to Redeem Air Miles

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Last updated on April 2, 2019 Views: 547 Comments: 0

Do you have a stash of AIR MILES just waiting to be used, but you aren’t sure how you want to redeem them? It’s a valid dilemma. After all, you want to make sure that you get the most for your Miles, and it’s not necessarily easy to figure out how to do that. But, don’t worry; in this article we’re going to fill you in on everything you need to know about AIR MILES redemption to make sure that you can make your Miles stretch further.

AIR MILES Redemption

The AIR MILES rewards program is divided into two categories:  AIR MILES Cash Miles and AIR MILES Dream Miles. Each one offers different types of rewards and you have to choose how you want to allocate your points ahead of time (although you can also do a combination of the two).

Cash Miles can be used to pay for in-store purchases (say, your groceries) or for vouchers to things such as movies, restaurants, or even Via Rail. If you prefer to redeem for big ticket items like flights, electronics, or event tickets, then Dream Miles are a better pick.

While the choice is up to you, unfortunately, you can’t swap your miles to either category once you’ve earned them. In other words, if you currently have 2,000 Dream Miles, you can’t switch those to Cash Miles to make a redemption.

AIR MILES Dream Miles Redemption

The AIR MILES Dream Miles as a category can sometimes provide high redemption value, but you need to be a savvy consumer when choosing your rewards. Dream Miles can be redeemed for a variety of items, but not all of the options are of equal value, which is why it’s important to figure out how much your Miles are actually worth.

To figure out the approximate monetary value of your AIR MILES, you can use an AIR MILES calculator, or do a bit of basic math to figure out a more precise CPM (cents per mile) on your own. To do this, you will take the retail value of the product and divide it by the number of points required to buy the product. This will tell you how many cents each mile is worth for the specific reward you are interested in. Figuring out your CPM is a great way to compare the value of the reward options to make sure that you get the most for your Dream Miles Redemption.

Example: the GoPro Hero 7 Silver is $399.99 retail. Or, 6,100 Dream Miles.

$399.99/6100 = a rate of 1 Dream Mile for 0.065, or a CPM is 6.5 cents.

Now, it’s really up to you to decide if you want to use your Miles at this rate. However, as a general rule, anything with a CPM of less than 10.5 isn’t considered to be worthwhile, and you’ll likely find better value for your Dream Miles via travel redemptions as described below.

Redeeming Dream Miles for Travel

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The rewards proven to have the highest CPM are travel related rewards. These include hotels, attractions, car rentals, events, and flights. When redeeming for travel you’ll still want to use your AIR MILES calculator to make sure you are getting a good CPM, but you can rest a little easier knowing that these reward categories generally make your Miles go further.

As a general rule, anything with a CPM of less than 10.5 isn’t considered to be worthwhile.

For the highest CPM on AIR MILES flights, your best bet is to choose short haul flights rather than long haul international ones. Interprovincial flights typically offer the most value since they are usually expensive when paying cash, but they’re considered short haul with the AIR MILES redemption chart. Last minute flights also tend to have a significantly higher CPM than flights booked in advance. While this may not always work for your travel needs, it’s definitely something to keep in mind if you want the highest value possible for the miles you’ve accumulated.

Note that you can also redeem 909 AIR MILES for $100 in purchases at redtag.ca. That gives you a CPM of $0.11 which is a decent value.

AIR MILES Cash Miles Redemption

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Redeeming Cash Miles is less complicated than redeeming Dream Miles. 95 Cash Miles can be redeemed for $10 in purchases at participating sponsor locations. You can redeem in-store by letting the cashier know that you want to redeem your Cash Miles when you’re checking out. AIR MILES Cash Miles can be redeemed in increments of $10 up to $750/per Collector Cash Account, per day. Alternatively, you can redeem for vouchers at other participating merchants.

Redeeming AIR MILES with Credit Cards

One of the best ways to ensure that you are getting the most for your Miles is to make sure that you are regularly collecting Miles. The easiest way to do this? Choose a credit card with the AIR MILES Reward Program.

BMO Air Miles World Elite MastercardBMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: Good-Excellent
– Min personal income required: $80000
– Annual fees: $120 

One of the best AIR MILES credit cards is the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard. It does come with an annual fee of $120 and a required personal income of $80000/year to apply, but you’ll also get a huge welcome bonus of 3000 miles (minimum spend of $3,000 in the first 3 months). The earn rate of 1 mile per every $10 spent is quite generous and you’ll also get additional benefits such travel insurance, and 2 free airport lounge passes per year. The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard is arguably the best AIR MILES credit card available.

Click here to apply for the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard


American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit CardAmerican Express Air Miles Platinum

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: 
– Min personal income required: $0
– Annual fees: $65 

If you don’t qualify for the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard, or are turned off by its high annual fee, then take a look at the Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card. With no income requirement to apply and a significantly lower fee of $65 per year (but not waived for the first year), it’s a more accessible alternative while still providing some great benefits. New cardholders will receive 2000 AIR MILES as a welcome bonus, given a minimum spend of $1,500 in the first 3 months, and will earn Miles at a rate of 1 mile per $10 spent at an AIR MILES sponsor stores, or 1 Mile per $15 spent elsewhere. The Amex AIR MILES Platinum Card also includes travel accident insurance, car rental damage waivers, and purchase protection.

Click here to apply for the Amex Air Miles Platinum card

AIR MILES Program Alternatives

AIR MILES offers some great rewards, but if you are a regular international traveller then you may want to consider a different rewards program that offers more value than the AIR MILES travel redemption.

bmo world elite mastercardThe BMO® World Elite™ Mastercard®

Eligibility Criteria:
– Credit score required: Good-Excellent
– Min personal income required: $80000
– Annual fees: $150 

For example, one of the most popular travel credit cards in Canada is the BMO World Elite Mastercard which comes with a 50000-point welcome bonus (with a  ).

Cardholders earn 3 BMO Rewards points per $1 spend on eligible travel, dining and entertainment purchases. All other purchases get you 2 points per $1 spent. Additional benefits include 4 free airport lounge passes each year and a comprehensive travel insurance package.

To redeem your points, you can either book through the BMO travel portal or make your own reservations via any travel provider and then go online and use your points to pay off your purchase.

Click here to apply for the BMO World Elite Mastercard

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