The Best Way to Redeem Air Miles
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The Best Way to Redeem Air Miles

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Last updated on December 24, 2020 Comments: 7

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 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

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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 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

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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.

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.

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

7 comments
Patricia Tougas says:

I have 1,767 Airmiles Cash. How much is that worth if I want to purchase some things at participating retail stores. BTW, I’m 🇨🇦. I would like to know how to calculate that for the future also. Thank you

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Patricia,
You can use your Cash Miles in store or online with eVouchers at a rate of 95 Cash Miles = $10 towards your purchases, or roughly 10.5 cents per mile. Your current balance of 1,767 Cash Miles should be worth roughly $186. Enjoy the rewards, don’t spend it all in one place 😉

Najam Abbas says:

I have over 8000 Dream Air Miles with Onyx status, still can’t figure out the best way to use them since travelling is out of question now a days.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Najam,
If you want to spend your air miles now, you can buy merchandise with Dream Miles, know that merchandise will cost you more and burn your miles quicker than flights. If you never plan on traveling again, you might be cool with this. Otherwise, I would wait until we can travel again and cash in then. Patience will help you.

Steve D'Eca says:

How do I go about transferring my Dream Miles to my son for a flight?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Steve,
You can do this online through Airmiles.ca by logging into your account and going to the transfer miles landing page. Transferring miles costs $0.15 per mile The landing page is at airmiles.ca / arrow / TMLanding. Hope that helps.

Robin Wood says:

You can book a flight in his name. No need to transfer and pay more money.