Starting today, the new AIR MILES flight search tool goes live. Let's see its characteristics.
What's new in the AIR MILES platform
More seats and destinations available
Previously, AIR MILES purchased a block of seats and offered them for sale to its members. Now they will have access to all seats and all classes, without any restriction period.
In addition, flights booked with AIR MILES had to be absolutely from or to a destination in Canada. From now on, flights can be booked from almost anywhere to anywhere.
A few days in advance, we were able to learn more about the tool exclusively!
For example, two airline tickets from Toronto to Halifax used to cost 3,400 AIR MILES and $350. The cost was based on distance, according to a chart. Here is what it was like before the change in the search tool.
With the new flight search tool, results are based on membership status (Blue, Gold or Onyx). In addition, the cost in miles now varies according to market fare prices.
When AIR MILES introduced the platform to us on November 16, 2021, here’s what the same round-trip flight for two people from Toronto-Halifax in economy class would cost:
- Gold Member: 4,160 miles + $350
- Onyx member: 2,890 miles + $350
So, we notice that a Gold member will be at a disadvantage because it will cost him 760 miles more. But the Onyx member will be happier, because he will save 540 miles!
That’s not even counting the BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®* rebate. With this credit card linked to the AIR MILES account, there is an additional 15% discount on flight rewards. So in this example, those tickets would cost 2,457 miles.
Although this is just an example, we are looking forward to experiencing this new tool for ourselves in real life!
Other options available
Finally, here are some other additions:
- There is a note if checked baggage is included
- There is a note if the flight is eligible to earn points in the airline’s frequent flyer program
- Warnings, restrictions and documentation tool for the destination
- Cancellation fee waived
- Ticket refunds vary depending on the class of ticket
- End of high and low season pricing (everything is now based on market prices)
Note that the option to choose a ticket to be purchased in cash or miles is still available. Also, the booking deadline of a maximum of 48 hours before the flight is unchanged.
To celebrate this day, which coincides with the start of the AIR MILES Bonus Boom Boost promotion, AIR MILES is running a promotion.
Until January 31, 2022, 200 AIR MILES Bonus Miles are awarded for every ticket purchased.
Also, Air Canada and WestJet are offering a 15% discount on the miles required for air travel to some destinations.
What’s interesting is that a BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®* credit cardholder can combine their additional 15% discount. So, in total, a person can save miles through :
- its Onyx status (offered as a bonus to holders of this card)
- the 15% discount in miles
- Air Canada and WestJet’s 15% promotion
In addition, members who book a flight with Emirates will receive a free one-day pass to Expo2020 in Dubai.
There will be other special promotions on the AIR MILES site.
This new tool is more flexible and definitely offers more choices than before.
We look forward to experimenting with it further to see the possibilities. The trial-and-error date search was always a problem with the old version. It seems that this will still be the case for the new version. We really like to have an overview of other possibilities a few days before/after around our dates of travel, like the Google Flights and Aeroplan’s search engine. This saves time and frustration.
Indeed, knowing the other possibilities a few days before or after our travel dates is always appreciated. Google Flights and Air Canada/Aeroplan search tools offer this option. This saves so much time and frustration!
Also, it remains to be seen whether the dynamic prices in miles will be more or less advantageous for the member, compared to before.