Air Miles is Canada’s largest loyalty program with more than 10 million active collector accounts across the country. The company has come under fire recently as the expiry policy that Air Miles introduced four-and-a-half years ago comes into effect at the end of 2016 and many collectors stand to lose their miles.
At the same time the company announced its expiry policy Air Miles also unveiled a feature called Cash Miles; a way for collectors to redeem points instantly at participating sponsors.
Traditional rewards for flights and hotels can be found in something called Dream Miles while collectors looking to instantly redeem miles at grocery stores, gas stations, and at the movies should opt for Cash Miles.
Air Miles Dream Miles
What is it? Dream Miles is basically the Air Miles rewards program that existed before Cash Miles were introduced in 2012. Here you’ll find options for travel rewards, merchandise, plus tickets for events and attractions.
Types of Dream rewards: Flights, hotels, car rentals, package vacations, and cruises can be booked with your Dream Miles online or through customer care. There are options to book tickets for concerts, plays, sporting events, as well as golf or spa getaways. The merchandise catalogue includes electronics and household items.
How much are your miles worth? A flight from Toronto to Orlando during high season starts at 3,500 reward miles. One night at the Westin Bristol Place Toronto Airport starts at 1,065 reward miles. Car rentals start from 500 reward miles.
A Broil King Regal 420 propane grill costs 9,100 reward miles.
Air Miles Cash Miles
What is it? Air Miles introduced its Cash feature in December 2011 and collectors then had the option to allocate a portion or all of their future reward miles earnings into their Cash Miles account. Cash Miles allow collectors to redeem instantly at participating sponsors in smaller increments starting at $10.
Types of Cash rewards: There are three types of cash rewards; redeem in-store for rewards such as groceries, gas, and home renovations; redeem online and get an eVoucher for items such as pizza, movies, and Starbucks coffee; or donate your reward miles to one of over 86,000 charities.
How much are your miles worth? Cash Miles come in a standardized format so that 95 reward miles = $10. That means one reward mile is worth approximately 10.5 cents.
For a full list of participating Air Miles Cash sponsors click here – https://www.airmiles.ca/arrow/Sponsors
One of the more insidious features of this two-tier rewards structure is that there is no way to transfer Dream Miles to Cash Miles, or vice-versa. Collectors must choose their earnings preference – 100 percent Cash Miles, 100 percent Dream Miles, or anything in-between.
Set your preference here – https://www.airmiles.ca/arrow/CashDreamTool
Dream Miles are more valuable than Cash Miles, however collectors must be wary of saving too long as reward miles expire if unused after five years. The best value for Dream Miles is on hotels, flights, and rental cars. Skip the merchandise and contests.
Air Miles Cash is a decent program that gives collectors a quick and easy way to save $10 each time they’ve earned 95 reward miles. The number of sponsors is broad enough that collectors can redeem their miles for useful rewards such as groceries, gas, movies, coffee, and even iTunes.