carte air miles en main

AIR MILES: should I collect CASH or DREAM Miles?

To the point The age-old question for AIR MILES collectors: should you collect CASH or DREAM miles? There is no single answer.

This post is also available in: FR

AIR MILES CASH and DREAM Miles

There are two types of AIR MILES Reward Miles:

  • CASH Rewards
  • DREAM Rewards

AIR MILES CASH Rewards

Cash Miles are very easy to use:

  • at an AIR MILES partner’s register
  • either online for electronic rewards

In both cases, the exchange value will be identical and fixed:

95 Cash Miles = $10
or 10.5 cents / mile

31580 cash educationalbricks 980x330 fr

But at some times of the year, you can redeem 85 or even 75 Cash Miles for a $10 rebate at Jean Coutu. This mathematically increases the value of your Cash Miles.

AIR MILES DREAM Rewards

DREAM miles require more flexibility to redeem. They can be used online to earn a reward from the AIR MILES DREAM catalogue:

  • Travel: flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages…
  • Miscellaneous articles
  • Events and attractions

In most of these cases, the exchange value will often vary.

airmiles reves utilisation

In fact, within the milesopedia community, many members find value in the AIR MILES DREAM catalogue like these 3 readers:

I always earn Dream Miles. I just bought 4 round-trip tickets from Montreal to Orlando for 12,950 DREAM miles. I am satisfied: it took me 1 year to earn it all!

Louis B. - Lecteur de milesopedia

As already mentioned, DREAM! 4 tickets to Los Angeles for a total of 8,060 miles (thanks to companion tickets) on spring break. I couldn’t have afforded this trip on short notice without it ($700/ticket x 5). I would get two tickets to Disneyland with the return of points.

MP - Lectrice de milesopedia

Dream Miles: you have to be very flexible on flights. The most interesting ones are not available/less advantageous when everyone travels at the same time…

Sébastien - Lecteur de milesopedia

And the key is here: in order to use Dream Miles, you have to be flexible!

The difficulty of redeeming Dream Miles

AIR MILES offers its members the opportunity to redeem their DREAM miles for airline tickets.

The cost per mile varies thanks to what is called a “dynamic” fare structure .

This means that the cost in miles will vary depending on market dollar prices.

Since the search tool was recently launched by AIR MILES on November 18, 2021, the true cost in miles remains to be seen. An article on this subject will be published shortly.

billet air miles yul mco
Un billet entre Montréal et Orlando durant la semaine de relâche 2020

If you are not flexible in your dates, it will be better:

In fact, this is the only case where the value of the DREAM miles will be fixed:

909 DREAM miles = $100
or 11 cents / mile

forfait vacances milles reves
909 milles Rêves = 100$

This problem with the availability of rewards with DREAM miles has prompted many collectors to migrate to Cash Miles.

Regrettably, AIR MILES does not offer its members the possibility of transferring their miles from one portfolio to another. Therefore, it is impossible to convert DREAM miles to CASH or vice versa.

The choice is yours!

Thus, to the question:

Do I have to collect CASH or DREAM miles?

There is no single answer. This will be according to:

  • your objectives
  • your flexibility

If you prefer concrete and immediate rewards, you’ll be better off with CASH miles.

On a regular basis, it is possible to redeem your Cash miles for a greater discount. 85 miles = $10, which values the mile at 11.7 cents.

If you are more “playful”, and more flexible in your dates, it will be advisable to go for the DREAM miles.

You may find it useful:

But as always: check the market price of what you want to get!

For example, Disney World has promotions at certain times of the year that target Canadian residents… but AIR MILES does not take this promotion into account and will not adjust its price!

As Frederic found out about the adult fare for Disney (taxes included):

A 7-day pass appears to be worth $369.56 USD, or 486.63 CAD. 4750 miles for $486 is 9.77 cents per mile, which is no better than Cash miles.

This can then significantly decrease the exchange value below 10 cents per mile… the value of Cash miles!

Vigilance is therefore required… but this applies to all loyalty programs. Compare before using your points & miles!

Bottom line

So it’s hard to know for sure if loyalty programs are trying to adjust in some way to change the value of points & miles held by their members.

However, I have noticed, with the feedback of many milesopedia community members, a clear preference for Cash miles on the AIR MILES side. This preference seems to have increased in recent years.

Personally, being more flexible on my vacation dates, I am accumulating 100% on the DREAM miles side!

Maybe when our kids are older – with a school calendar – reason will prevail to switch to the Cash side!

accumulation air miles jm
Le choix d'accumulation de milles

Finally, don’t forget that there are many AIR MILES credit cards available. Here are the best deals available today:

This post is also available in: FR

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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