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 bigger 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 of 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
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 domestic flights rather than long-haul international flights. Interprovincial flights typically offer the most value since they are usually expensive when paying cash, but they’re considered short haul within the AIR MILES program. 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
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.
Earn more AIR MILES for bigger redemptions
Do you have your eye on a specific item or travel itinerary, but you’re short of the number of miles it requires? Don’t compromise by redeeming your miles for something more accessible but of lower value. Instead be patient and try to make smart choices that will allow you to earn miles at a faster clip.
One of the best ways to earn AIR MILES rapidly is to focus as much of your spending as possible onto an AIR MILES credit card. AIR MILES credit cards allow you to earn AIR MILES on every purchase you make, and over time this can ultimately add up to a big stockpile of miles without necessitating that you change your regular spending habits. AIR MILES cards might also earn extra miles for spending in certain categories–like restaurants, groceries or gas–and may provide additional travel benefits, like insurance or airport lounge access.
AIR MILES program alternatives
AIR MILES is a great fit for many people, but don’t stick with it just because it’s the brand that’s most familiar to you. If you’re a regular international traveller then it may be worth your while to check out some of the different travel rewards programs out there. Some programs, like Scotia Rewards or Amex Rewards, are far more flexible than AIR MILES, and allow you to redeem your points for any travel purchase you make. Others, like Aeroplan, have special relationships with certain airlines and might ultimately offer better value for people that fly with those airlines regularly.