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What Are AIR MILES Dream Rewards and How Do They Compare to Cash Rewards?

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Last updated on December 23, 2020 Comments: 11

AIR MILES are ubiquitous in Canada. You’re asked if you collect them when shopping at sponsor merchants, they are offered on several credit cards, and they’re of enough interest to the Canadian public to occasionally end up in the news.

But there is some confusion about what kinds of AIR MILES can be earned and redeemed, particularly when it comes to AIR MILES Dream Rewards. How do they work, and what can you get for them?

AIR MILES Dream Rewards vs. Cash Rewards

Those who collect AIR MILES have two choices when it comes to allocating their Miles. The first option is Cash Rewards, which you can use toward your everyday shopping at participating partners (mostly grocery stores and drug stores). The second option is Dream Rewards, which you can use for bigger-ticket items such as vacations, events, and electronics.

Now, it is important to remember to choose wisely between the two, as they cannot be transferred. It is possible to do a mixture of both, but many choose to allocate their points entirely to Dream Rewards, as the rewards are exciting and they can have a higher CPM (cost per mile).

Not every reward has the same CPM so you will want to do a little bit of math and make sure that you are getting the best deal on the reward that you choose. To do this, take the retail price of the product that you want and divide it by the number of miles you will need to exchange for it. Obviously, the higher the CPM, the better the deal for you.

For example: The GoPro Hero 7 Silver is $399.99 retail, but it’ll cost you 6,100 Dream Miles for a redemption. $399.99/6100 = $0.066. Therefore the current CPM when redeeming for a GoPro Hero 7 Silver is 6.6 cents.

Generally speaking, AIR MILES Dream Rewards tend to have a higher CPM compared to Cash Miles, but that’s only when you’re booking flights or vacation packages. Most points collectors agree that if you can get a CPM of 10.5 when making a redemption, you’re getting good value regardless of what you’re claiming.

How to Redeem AIR MILES Dream Rewards

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AIR MILES Dream Rewards can be redeemed for a variety of experiences and products. Common rewards include flights, car rentals, hotels, tickets to attractions, and events. You can also use your points to purchase household items and electronics such as cameras, barbecues, watches, and more. Once you have a sufficient number of Dream Rewards, you can proceed to exchange your points for your desired reward online.

Please note that AIR MILES Dream Rewards gift cards are no longer available. If you are looking for vouchers to restaurants, the movies, etc., they now fall under the AIR MILES Cash Rewards program.

AIR MILES Dream Rewards Catalogue

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The AIR MILES Dream Rewards catalogue is where you can find all of the options and items that you are eligible to purchase using your Dream Rewards. The online catalogue is divided into different sections including travel, merchandise, and events or attractions. You can use these categories to browse the items on offer. For travel and vacation redemptions, prices will vary depending on the time you choose to travel and where you’re travelling to. Remember to calculate the CPM to make sure you are getting the best deal!

The AIR MILES Dream Rewards catalogue also has weekly deals with select merchandise available for less miles than they would usually cost. There are also occasional travel rewards specials as well. Make sure to take a look at these promos before redeeming your points.

AIR MILES Dream Rewards Return Policy

Customers should note that all purchases made with dream rewards are final. Once you have received your order confirmation, you cannot make any changes. Refunds, returns, exchanges, or cancellations are not allowed. Should there be an event cancellation, it is up to the artist/venue/or promoter of that event to issue a refund or exchange as they see fit.

Can You Transfer AIR MILES from Dream Rewards to Cash Rewards?

As soon as you sign up for an AIR MILES account, you will have to choose how you want to allocate your points. Your options are Cash Rewards, Dream Rewards, or both. You can choose to earn all your AIR MILES as one or the other, or a combination of the two. Although you can change your earn allocation at any time, once the points have actually been earned as Cash or Dream Rewards miles, you can’t transfer them between the two.

Using Credit Cards to Collect AIR MILES Dream Rewards

The fastest way to collect AIR MILES Dream Rewards is to focus all or most of your purchases onto a credit card that earns AIR MILES. If you like the AIR MILES rewards program, there are a number of potential advantages to using an AIR MILES credit card, including:

  • Earning AIR MILES for every dollar that you spend
  • Extra AIR MILES for shopping at partner retailers
  • Extra AIR MILES for making purchases in specific spending categories (e.g. grocery stores)
  • Special sign-up bonuses for new cardholders, allowing you to earn a large number of miles in a short time
  • Additional benefits, like airport lounge access, travel insurance, low interest rates, etc.

AIR MILES credit cards are processed by either Mastercard or Amex. Mastercard is accepted by a larger number of merchants than Amex (both in Canada and abroad), while Amex cards typically offer more lucrative earn rates.

To easily figure out which AIR MILES credit card will earn you the most value possible, spend a little quality time with our AIR MILES calculator below. You enter your monthly expenditures and the key details of the credit cards you’re choosing between, and it will give you the approximate real-world $ values that the cards will generate based on your spending habits. You can learn more about the calculator by reading this article.

Are AIR MILES Dream Rewards Worth It?

The AIR MILES Dream Rewards program does have some decent offers, but many find the program restrictive when it comes to using their Miles toward flights. Travellers looking for a more flexible program might want to take a look at our comprehensive article about other travel rewards programs in Canada. Keep an eye out for programs like American Express Membership Rewards and Scotia Rewards, both of which allow you to retroactively apply points to any travel purchase you’ve made with an Amex or Scotiabank credit card.

Author Bio

Hannah Logan
Hannah Logan is a freelance finance and travel writer/blogger based in Ottawa. Her stories have appeared on Fodor’s Travel, Livestrong, World Nomads, Intrepid Travel, and more. You can keep up with her at Eatsleepbreathetravel.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram: hannahlogan21.

Article comments

11 comments
Raymond Rutherford says:

How do I get a dreams mile catalogue as I will not be using dream miles for travel

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Raymond,
I believe the catalogue of merchandise is available online at the following link: https://rewards.airmiles.ca/

Roseanne small says:

I have over 6000 dream miles what can I do with them?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Roseanne,
You could travel from Toronto’s Pearson Airport to Los Angeles’s LAX during high season (Jun. 01, 2021 to Sep. 15, 2021
From Dec. 16, 2021 to- Jan. 07, 2022, From Mar. 01, 2022 to- Mar. 31, 2022) for about 5,500 Miles round trip or from Toronto to the Bahamas, Mexico or Cuba Round-Trip during high season for 5,800 Miles. You can also fly from Toronto to London, UK round-trip during low season (Apr. 01, 2021 to- May. 31, 2021 From Sep. 16, 2021 to- Dec. 15, 2021 and From Jan. 08, 2022 to- Feb. 28, 2022) for 5,400 miles. Those are just some of your options.

Kevin says:

Hi
Been collecting airmiles points for 26 years now. Never used points for travel, seems to restrictive for smaller Canadian destinations visiting family.
I’ve used points for the purchase of small household appliances or electronics as our old ones wear out. In recent years the catalog doesn’t offer as many choices as in the past.
I could switch to the cashback option. But then why not switch to a cashback credit card?

Nate Siegel says:

Hi Kevin,

Great comment, we appreciate you coming to GreedyRates. It’s true that Air Miles isn’t just for travelling, though this is the redemption category in which you get the most value from Miles. You can also use your Dream Miles in other ways, and we’re glad that you’ve been enjoying your card and the rewards program so far to obtain some nice merchandise or electronics with your Miles. You’re correct that if you like, you can switch your allocation to 100% Cash Miles in the back end of your Air Miles account, but this is essentially capped at around 1.00% equivalent value at the rate of 95 Miles per $10 (against your statement or at the register).

To be honest, it’s about time you shook your head, and decided that there might be better options out there. Your question “Why not a cash back card?” is a good one: even the most bottom-barrel cash back cards offer 1.00%, and many basic ones even more than this. Take the Rogers Platinum card, for instance, which has no annual fee nor any significant income requirement. You’ll earn 1.25% cash back with this card and 3.00% when spending with it in a foreign currency, meaning you get to offset the 2.50% foreign transaction fee.

GreedyRates

Cindy Reid says:

I have had an air miles card for quite a few years. It is just a regular air miles card. It says I have dream miles. I did not sign up for dream miles when I got the card. How can I switch this or should I just get rid of the card?

Nate Siegel says:

Hey Cindy,

Great question, and thanks for bringing it to GreedyRates. Whether or not you earn Dream or Cash miles is a preference set beforehand, and while you can switch it up to earn either or, once you’ve earned Dream miles you can’t then turn them into Cash miles, or vice versa. If you don’t plan on redeeming miles for travel and don’t want to spend the miles you’ve earned, then you should switch over to another card. Otherwise, activate Cash miles by calling your issuer and simply requesting it. It may also be possible online after logging into your AIR MILES account.

GreedyRates

Ian Hamilton says:

I am 85 years of age and no longer travel or need to buy new articles as we are trying to get rid of stuff and not buy any more than necessary. When I originally got my air miles card it was not an option to have dream miles or cash miles and I am now at the stage where I would like to use my cash miles to buy necessaries such as food at Thifty foods but say I cannot switch dream miles to cash miles. If I had the option when I got my card I would have chosen cash miles but now you will not let me transfer these so called dream miles. Is there any way you can send me a gift card that I could use at Thriftys to buy necessary food. Please help, regards Ian Hamilton

Nate Siegel says:

Hello Ian,

Thank you for the descriptive post. Unfortunately, you cannot convert your Dream Miles into Cash Miles, meaning that there’s no direct way to use your miles against your credit balance. That doesn’t mean they aren’t useful, however. Dream miles can be used for more than travel or merchandise, you should also be able to redeem your miles for gift cards from Air Miles partners. For example, if you or a family member drives and pays for gas, then a gas gift card will come in handy and represent as much of a perk as cash back! If you’d like further details, then you can call Air Miles and make an inquiry, and they’ll happily give you any information you need! Good luck.

GreedyRates

Jason says:

You can go on your profile and change the settings of which option you most prefer out of the 2