Earn AIR MILES Rewards Fast: Top Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

May 1, 2016 1523 7

We’ve put together the best AIR MILES rewards credit card sign-up bonus offers currently available in Canada. If you’re looking to add to your collection of AIR MILES rewards, or simply accelerate your AIR MILES earnings, getting a new AIR MILES credit card with a hefty sign-up bonus is the best and quickest way to earn a boatload of miles without having to spend an additional dime.

Even if you already have an AIR MILES rewards credit card, why spend $10,000 to get 500 Air Miles Rewards, when you can sign-up for a new card from a different issuer and get 500 miles with no annual fee!

AIR MILES Rewards Credit Card Bonuses

Credit CardBMO AIR MILES World Elite MastercardBMO SPC Student AIR MILES MastercardThe American Express AIR MILES Credit Card
BMO No-Fee AIR MILES MastercardBMO Sobeys AIR MILES MastercardThe American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit CardThe American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card
Annual Fee$120$0$0$0$0$65$299
Supplementary Card$50$n/a$$0$n/a$n/a$$0$50
Sign-Up Bonus AIR MILES3,000 (offer valid until April 30th, 2018)5005005005002,0002,400
Interest Rate19.99%19.99%19.99%19.99%19.99%19.99%19.99%
Base Earn Rate 1 mile : $101 mile : $201 mile : $201 mile : $201 mile :$201 mile : $151 mile : $15
Earn Rate at AIR MILES PARTNERS1 mile : $10
(all AIR MILES Partners)
1 mile : $15
(all AIR MILES Partners)
2 Miles: $202 Miles : $20 @ Sobeys and Air Miles partners1 mile : $10
(all AIR MILES Partners)
1 mile : $10 (all AIR MILES Partners)
Perks & Bonuses!2 Free airport lounge passes
15% discount on AIR MILES flights in North America
10%-15% Student discounts at hundreds of storesN/ACar rental discountsN/A1 mile : $10
(grocery, gas, drugstore)
Free companion flight ticket!
4 Free airport lounge access passes
FlexFly Redemptions
Redeem for flight taxes & fees
AIR Miles flight admin fees are waived
InsuranceTravel Accident
Car Rental
Emergency Medical
Flight Delay
Lost or stolen Baggage
Baggage Delay
Trip Cancellation
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Trip Interruption
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Travel Accident Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Travel Accident
Car Rental
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Travel Accident
Car Rental
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection
Travel Accident
Car Rental
Emergency Medical
Flight Delay
Lost or stolen baggage
Baggage Delay
Extended Warranty
Purchase Protection

In our opinion, the best AIR MILES rewards credit card welcome bonus offers right now are the no-fee BMO Air Miles MasterCard and the Amex Air Miles Platinum card. We love the BMO no-fee Air Miles MasterCard which comes with a welcome bonus of 500 Air Miles. The nice thing about this offer is you received 500 Air Miles after you’ve made your first purchase on the credit card. There are no minimum spend requirements. With no annual fee, it’s an easy 500 Air Miles to get completely free.

We also love the American Express Air Miles Platinum card offer, which offers a whopping, 2,000 AIR MILES reward sign-up bonus offer! All you’ll have to do is spend $1,500 in the first 3 months to be eligible, spend you can shift from one card to this card. The annual fee is only $65 a year – very reasonable. BMO’s newest offer for its no-fee Sobeys card is pretty great as well, offering a 500 Air Mile reward welcome bonus (limited time offer, conditions apply) plus 2 Miles per $20 spent at Sobeys and other Air Miles partners and and 1 mile per $20 spent everywhere else.

If you have a lot of spend coming up in the next 3 months, it’s a quick and easy way to accumulate some Miles. You can even combine the BMO no-fee Sobeys card with the Amex Platinum card to get a hefty welcome bonus and Miles accumulation on spend, with no annual fee!

Strategies To Get The Best AIR MILES Bonus

1. Size of sign-up bonus

There are plenty of AIR MILES rewards sign-up bonus offers available, but we recommend one of two strategies:

First strategy: Take advantage of some of the no annual fee offers, which are risk free. Whether its 800 or 2,000 AIR MILES rewards, there are quite a few sign-up bonus offers available. Don’t be afraid to get one from Amex and another from BMO. In fact, you can even get multiple cards from either BMO or American Express in the majority of cases.

Second Strategy: Wait until you get at least 2,000 AIR MILES Rewards for a fee based card. You’ll likely have to wait for a special offer, but both Amex and BMO typically have a 2,000 mile offer at least once a year – all the better if you can find a deal that also waives the first year annual fee – but that’s becoming difficult! As a benchmark, remember that 1,000 AIR MILES gets you a short haul airfare.

2. Minimum spend requirements

Some bonus offers give 500 AIR MILES rewards with no minimum spend required. Others offer 2,000 miles with a minimum spend of $1,500 within the first 3 months. Whatever it is, we recommend you just shift spend from one card to another, as opposed to spending more than you otherwise would, just to get the bonus.

3. Annual fee waiver

Many of the best credit card bonus offers also have a first year annual fee waiver. With no fee in the first year, the issuer is dangling a big carrot to have you try out their card for free – take advantage. With no annual fee in the first year, the sign-up bonus really is absolutely free – at the end of the year you can decide to cancel your card or not, but the AIR MILES rewards will remain yours.

4. Diversity

One of the advantages of a coalition loyalty program like Air Miles, is that they have multiple credit card issuing partners. This allows you to earn multiple sign-up bonus offers from one rewards program, while all the miles go into your AIR MILES collector account. It is the most efficient strategy to quickly ramp up your miles.

With so many no annual fee cards available, with nice sign-up bonuses, you can easily get enough points for a short haul flight (1,000 AIR MILES rewards), just by signing-up for a few credit cards risk free. With no annual fee, and nice sign-up bonus it’s a great strategy to really jump start your AIR MILES collector account.

Regardless of your choice, milk as many AIR MILES rewards from the system as you can. You can see how AIR MILES credit cards stack-up against the competition in more detail with our travel rewards comparison tool. Just remember that our tool does not take into account the AIR MILES rewards you earn when you double dip and collect miles on your loyalty card from AIR MILES partners.

Article comments

7 comments
Es lee says:

Hi, I had recently been rejected for another BMO air miles credit card. I wanted to take advantage of the 600 bonus air miles promotion that is currently taking place. I was planning on signing up for another card under my spouse’s name (with his consent lol) which would technically save me $12,000. I would then transfer the points into my account a few months later on. This would cost me $90 (0.15 x 600 miles). Is this a sound method? Or, am I able to link two credit cards to the same air miles collectors number? Thank you in advance

GreedyRates says:

Hey Es, thanks for your comments!

Concerning your question about how to take advantage of the BMO air miles bonus going on right now, we have a great solution for you. The complicated process you describe in your comment is not necessary, as multiple cards can be opened that contribute to the same BMO air miles account.
During the application process, simply write in the number of your current account, and all bonuses stemming from the new card will be added to your existing BMO account. In this way, BMO makes it easy for families and couples like you and your boyfriend to get the most from your purchases! Good luck.

GreedyRates Staff

C W says:

Hi,

When redeeming a flight with Air Miles, is there better value in terms of # of Air miles or $ of taxes by booking a round trip as opposed to two one-way trips? I know one of my dates but haven’t figured out my return flight date yet, so I just don’t know whether it’s better to wait to book a round trip or just to book two separate one-way segments.

Thanks!

Natalie says:

Can you get the signup bonus twice off the same card if you cancel and wait a few months before reapplying? I’m thinking specifically of the Amex platinum 2,000 mile bonus.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Natalie,

Unfortunately, for current or former American Express Air Miles Platinum credit card members, you can only receive the welcome bonus once (relatively new rule). That said, you can apply for different American Express cards and receive each of their welcome bonus offers – as long as it’s not the same card twice.

BMO does not have the same restriction.

Hope that helps,

GreedyRates Staff

HeathCliff says:

I used my American Express card at Costco to get miles for Delta. Now that Costco is eliminating American Express, I need to get a visa card. What’s the best Visa air miles card? God, I don’t want to fly United.

GreedyRates says:

Hi Heath Cliff,

Canada does not have a Visa Air Miles card. There are plenty of Visa travel card alternatives if that’s what you mean though.

Best,

Greedyrates Staff