Air Miles Rewards Program Guide

Air Miles Rewards Program Guide

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated December 7, 2021

Who doesn’t love free travel, merchandise, or events tickets? With the Air Miles program, you can stretch your dollar with every purchase you make and earn rewards.

Air Miles might be the most well-known rewards program in Canada, but how do you earn Miles, and more importantly, how do you redeem them? 

Let’s take a closer look at this rewards program to help you make the most of your membership.

What Are Air Miles?

Air Miles is a popular rewards program in Canada that allows members to earn Air Miles when spending money at participating merchants. The Miles accumulated with this no-cost rewards program can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, event tickets, gift cards, and grocery discounts

The number of Air Miles you earn will depend on the type of purchase you make and the merchant. That said, you can expect an average of about 1 Mile per $20 you spend. 

Types Of Air Miles

Air Miles rewards are split into two categories for you to choose from in terms of how you’d like to collect your points:

Cash Air Miles

Air Miles Cash Miles can be used toward everyday purchases, such as groceries, pharmacy purchases, gas, and so forth. You’ll earn 95 Cash Miles for every $10 you spend at participating merchants. You can then redeem anywhere from $10 to $750 per account per day when you accumulate enough Cash Miles. 

You can also redeem your Miles online for e-vouchers, but not for gift cards or prepaid credit cards.

Dream Air Miles

If you want to use your rewards toward products and experiences, then the Air Miles Dream Miles might be a better option. This includes things like flights, hotels, car rentals, and travel insurance. 

The number of points you need to redeem for a flight depends on your destination and the travel season. You’ll get good value for your Miles when you redeem them for flights, but you might find even better value when you cash them in for events, like concert tickets.

You can also redeem your Dream Miles for a vacation package when you book with RedTag.ca. It takes 909 Dream Miles to get $100 off these travel packages. 

How To Earn Air Miles Faster

Here are some simple ways to accumulate Air Miles faster so you can redeem them sooner for free rewards:

Shop With Air Miles Partners

There are many participating Air Miles merchants you can shop with to accumulate rewards. If you focus your spending on the merchants partnered with Air Miles, you’ll earn rewards a lot faster. 

Shop On AirMiles.ca

You can earn rewards when you shop online, too. Visit AirMiles.ca where you’ll find over 200 retailers to shop with and earn 1 Air Miles for every $20 you spend. There are also bonus offers available to help you double or triple your Miles. 

Shop Using Air Miles Promos

Every so often, Air Miles offers promotions that allow members to earn as much as 20 times the Miles on eligible purchases. Look out for these offers to boost your earn rate.

Shop With Participating Merchants Using An Air Miles Credit Card

When you shop using your Air Miles credit card, you’ll earn Air Miles on every $1 you spend. And if you shop at a participating Air Miles partner, you’ll earn twice as many Air Miles. Just scan your Air Miles membership card when you check out, then charge your purchase to your Air Miles credit card. 

Check out the best cash back apps available in Canada.

The Best Air Miles Credit Cards Canada 2022

Annual Fee Interest Rate Earn Rate
American Express Air Miles Reserve Credit Card$299– 20.99% on purchases
– 21.99% on cash advances
– 1 Mile for every $10 spent at eligible Air Miles partners, grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations
– 1 Air Mile for every $15 anywhere else
American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit Card$120– 20.99% on purchases
– 21.99% on cash advances
– 1 Mile for every $5 spent on eligible gas, transit, and food and drinks
– 1 Air Mile for every $10 anywhere else
American Express Air Miles Credit Card$0– 20.99% on purchases
– 21.99% on cash advances
– 1 Mile for every $15 spent at participating partners
– 1 Air Mile for every $20 anywhere else
BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard$120– 20.99% on purchases
– 21.99% for Quebec residents
– 22.99% on cash advances
– 3 Miles for every $12 spent at participating partners
– 1 Mile for every $12 spent anywhere else
BMO Air Miles Mastercard$0– 19.99% on purchases
– 21.99% for Quebec residents
– 22.99% on cash advances
– 3 Miles for every $12 spent at participating partners
– 1 Mile for every $12 spent anywhere else

Check out the best Aeroplan credit cards currently available.

How To Redeem Your Air Miles

After you’ve accumulated a sizable number of Air Miles, how do you go about redeeming them? The following are some redemption options available that can make every Air Mile you earn take you farther.

Redeeming Cash Rewards 

You can redeem Cash Rewards in-store with participating merchants by showing your collector card and asking to cash in at the point of sale. You can also redeem your Miles online for e-vouchers. This is a great way to redeem your rewards if you’re looking for speed and convenience.

Otherwise, if you’re looking to add more value to higher-ticket purchases like travel and tickets, Dream Rewards is the better way to go.

Redeeming Dream Rewards 

If you redeem your Dream Rewards, you’ll have more options to choose from, including travel, merchandise, and event tickets. Dream Rewards is a better option if you’re looking to redeem your rewards for a higher value. For instance, you can get yourself a DeLonghi Inissia Espresso Machine with 1,550 Dream Miles, or a 2-night stay at a Toronto airport hotel with 2,175 Dream Miles.

That said, this route might require a bit more planning, though it’s worth it in the end for the discounts you can get on expenditures like flights and hotels. To redeem your Dream Miles, you’ll need to log in to the Air Miles website and use their travel portal or rewards catalogue to find out what options are available to put your Miles towards.

How Many Air Miles Are Required To Fly?

When you think of Air Miles, you probably automatically think of flights when it comes to redeeming your rewards. The question is, how many Air Miles do you need to book a seat on an airline?

The answer to this question varies depending on a number of factors, including:

  • Your departure and destination locations
  • The season you wish to fly
  • The airline class

As you might imagine, flying during the low season is cheaper, regardless of whether you’re using Air Miles or are paying out-of-pocket. You’ll want to check out the Air Miles website and enter your travel dates and destination to find out exactly how many Air Miles will be needed. But to give you a basic idea of the number of Air Miles needed to fly, here are a few examples:

  • Toronto to Vancouver: 3,600 in low season, 4,900 in high season
  • Toronto to New York City: 1,300 in low season, 1,600 in high season
  • Toronto to Jamaica: 4,400 in low season, 5,800 in high season

Air Mile Features To Take Advantage Of

There are certain Air Miles program features that you should know about that come with using specific Air Miles-affiliated credit cards and accumulating a specific number of Miles each year:

Air Miles FlexFly

FlexFly offers a way to redeem your Miles exclusively through an American Express Air Miles Reserve Card. With FlexFly, you’ll have additional options for flights, including First Class seats at a rate of 770 Air Miles for every $100.

Air Miles Status

You can take advantage of additional perks that are exclusive to specific statuses within the Air Miles program. When you first start out, you’ll be classified as a “Blue” status member, then work up from there after collecting a certain number of points from January 1st to December 31st each year. 

Gold Status Benefits

Once you earn 1,000 or 5,999 Air Miles in one calendar year, you’ll be bumped up to “Gold” status. This gets you exclusive perks such as up to 30% off Miles to book selected flights and 5% off the Miles needed to buy certain types of merchandise.

Onyx Benefits

Once you earn at least 6,000 Air Miles in one calendar year, you’ll reach “Onyx” status. Additional perks that come with Onyx status include Personal Shopper Service, 10% fewer Dream Miles needed for Merchandise Rewards, and exclusive travel perks.

Can credit card rewards be taxed in Canada?

Top Canadian Air Miles Partners

Air Miles has over 100 partners affiliated with its rewards program. Here are some of the more popular partners in each category. 

Air Miles Cash Rewards Partners

A few Cash Rewards partners include:

  • Staples
  • DoorDash
  • Shell Canada
  • Sobeys
  • Cineplex
  • Pizza Pizza
  • Hudson’s Bay
  • Spotify

Air Miles Dream Rewards Partners

Some of the Dream Rewards partners include:

  • Air Canada
  • WestJet
  • Marriott 
  • IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Budget Car Rental
  • Alamo Car Rental
  • RedTag.ca

Looking to compare Aeroplan points to Air Miles?

Air Miles FAQs

How do I find out how many Miles I need to book a flight?

Visit the travel rewards page and enter your departure and destination locations and travel dates. A list of flight options will populate for you. 

How do I become a Gold collector?

You’ll need to earn between 1,000 to 5,999 Air Miles between January 1 to December 31 in any given year to earn Gold status. 

What’s the value of 100 Air Miles? 

100 Air Miles is worth about $10 when redeemed for cash, and $17 when redeemed for airfare.

Can I convert my Dream Miles to Cash Miles?

No. You can’t convert your Dream Miles to Cash Miles once you earn a Dream Mile.

Do Air Miles expire? 

Your Miles won’t expire as long as you earn or redeem Air Miles at least once every 2 years.

Final Thoughts

It costs you nothing to use your Air Miles card when you shop at partner merchants. Simply swipe your card along with your purchase at point-of-sale, and earn Miles to be redeemed for future merchandise or experiences. And when you pair this with an affiliated Air Miles credit card, you can take your Miles even further.


Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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