Find how much value your air miles bring you with the AIR MILES calculator

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Updated: May 15, 2024

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Do you have enough for a flight?

Thousands of Canadians collect AIR MILES while they shop, but how many can you expect to earn each year based on your spending, and what is the actual value of those AIR MILES? In this article, we’ll help you figure all of that out with our AIR MILES calculator and some tips on how to accumulate even more AIR MILES.

Air miles calculator

Spending Categories

Fill in your approximate spending per month in each of the below categories

Earning Structure

Fill in the amount you need to spend on your card to earn 1 Mile, for each category

Card Features

1st Year Waiver:

What is the dollar value of an AIR MILE point?

The easiest way to consider the value of your AIR MILES is by figuring out what their dollar value is. Sadly, 1 point does not equal $1 (if only!), and furthermore, the dollar value of an AIR MILE isn’t consistent. It varies depending on the reward and sometimes even within the reward category itself. For example, if you are looking for a flight you will notice you need a different number of miles depending on when you want to fly (high vs. low season).

Nonetheless it’s helpful to work with an average mile value when calculating the collective value of your miles. A number of Canadian personal finance resources have compared the dollar values of AIR MILE points and calculated that the average value is between 10-15 cents per mile. We err on the side of caution, and estimate the average AIR MILE value to be $0.105.

Why should you care about the dollar value of your AIR MILES?

Some of you may wonder why you should care about the value of your AIR MILES. After all, these AIR MILES that you accumulate over time are basically just a bonus; what does it matter what their dollar value is if you aren’t technically paying for it?

This is an understandable mentality, but at the same time, don’t you want to make the most out of your AIR MILES and maximize your rewards? Understanding what your points are worth can go a long way when you’re ready to make an air miles redemption. The fewer points you spend, the more you’ll have to use later.

How are AIR MILES points accumulated?

Knowing how to accumulate AIR MILES is also important, since earning points quickly should be the goal of any points collector. Fortunately, collecting AIR MILES can be done quite easily. First you need to sign up for an AIR MILES membership card which will allow you to earn points at participating merchants. You can then increase your earn rate by signing up for an AIR MILES credit card. There are a few features of AIR MILES credit cards that you can compare directly to determine which is the most lucrative in Canada.

How do you calculate air miles?

Calculating air miles is simpler than it might seem. Essentially, you earn 1 mile for every $20 spent when using your AIR MILES membership card at participating merchants. To boost your earnings, use an AIR MILES credit card simultaneously to 'double dip'—earning twice on the same purchase! Just keep a basic tally: every $20 spent earns you one mile, so spending $100 nets you 5 miles. By consistently tracking your spending and utilizing every earning opportunity, those miles will quickly accumulate, paving the way for your next reward redemption.

How much is 10,000 air miles worth?

Let's dive into the math using our earlier estimation that each AIR MILE is worth about 10.5 cents on average. Multiplying 10,000 miles by $0.105 per mile gives us a total value of $1,050. Not too shabby, right?

But remember, the actual value can swing quite a bit depending on how you choose to redeem those miles. Opting for flights during peak travel seasons might fetch less value per mile, while snagging deals or choosing off-peak times can stretch their worth even further. So, it’s all about playing it smart and timing your redemptions right to get the most bang for your buck—or in this case, your miles.

How many Air Miles do I need to get a free flight?

The number of air miles needed for a free flight isn't set in stone—it can vary widely based on a few key factors. Firstly, where are you headed? A short domestic flight might not dent your miles stash too much, but an international jaunt could require a hefty sum. Then, consider when you want to travel. Peak travel times, like holidays and summer months, often demand more miles because, well, everyone wants to get away then.

Typically, you might need anywhere from 1,200 to 3,000 miles for a shorter domestic flight. Longer or more exotic destinations could start at around 5,000 miles and go up significantly from there. The best strategy? Keep an eye on the rewards chart provided by your AIR MILES program and plan ahead. Timing your bookings during less busy periods can make your miles stretch further, ensuring you get to your dream destination using fewer miles. 

Sign-up bonuses

When selecting a credit card within the AIR MILES rewards program, one feature you’ll definitely want to look out for is the card’s sign-up bonus. Some cards may provide a small sign-up bonus immediately following the first purchase made with the card, but the more substantial bonuses usually require cardholders to spend a minimum amount within the first three months of card membership.

BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®*

Apply now

2,000 miles

Excellent

Get 2,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles and BMO will waive the $120 annual fee for the first anniversary*.

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Cardholders earn an accelerated 3x the Miles per $12 spent at participating AIR MILES partners*,

3x

2x the Miles for every $12 spent at any eligible grocery store*

2x

reward mile for every $12 in credit card purchases, everywhere you spend*

1x

discount on one worldwide AIR MILES flight redemption during the calendar year.*

25%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

23.99%

Cash Advance APR

23.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • Offers the largest Air Miles sign-up bonus on the market with a waived annual fee for the first anniversary*

  • High earn rates of up to 3x the Miles on eligible purchases

  • Exclusive travel discounts like 25% off one worldwide AIR MILES flight redemption annually

  • Airport lounge access through complimentary Mastercard Travel Pass membership

  • Comprehensive insurance package which covers medical, trip, flight delay, lost luggage and more

  • Additional Perks include Boingo Wi-Fi, BMO Concierge, digital subscriptions, and cash back promotions

Cons

  • An $80,000 personal/$150,000 household income is needed to qualify

  • Ideal for AIR MILES loyalists, may not suit those with a casual approach

  • The fixed redemption value for flights may not appeal to everyone

  • Optimal value only when frequently shopping at AIR MILES partners

BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information

*Terms and conditions apply

Earn rates for spending

Another consideration to keep in mind is the credit card’s earn rate for spending, or in other words, the amount a cardholder needs to spend to generate AIR MILES. Generally speaking, you’ll need to spend $20 in store to earn 1 AIR MILE when you show your AIR MILES membership, but you can ‘double dip’ by using your credit card to pay.

  • This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.
Hannah Logan Freelance Contributor

Hannah Logan is a Canadian freelancer writer and blogger who specializes in personal finance and travel. You can follow her adventures on her travel blog EatSleepBreatheTravel.com or find her on Instagram @hannahlogan21.

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