The AIR MILES Loyalty Program is one of the most popular programs in Canada.
Like any loyalty program, it has its advantages and shortcomings, and only those with the necessary knowledge can take advantage of every mile.
Discover the advice of Serge, one of our readers – and an active member of the milesopedia Facebook group – who was willing to share his secrets to earning close to 20,000 AIR MILES miles per year!
Earning AIR MILES Miles
Serge has different techniques to earn AIR MILES miles over the course of a year.
Through AIR MILES credit cards application bonuses
Like most point & mile hoarder, the main source of AIR MILES miles for Serge is through the welcome bonuses of different credit cards.
I do this process twice a year for each card: once in my name and once in my spouse’s name. All these cards are linked to the same AIR MILES account.
Here are the cards Serge applied to for one year:
You may not think about it much, but BMO AIR MILES no-fee credit cards are a great way to earn AIR MILES miles quickly, and there are plenty of them! Especially since you only need to make one purchase to see their bonus unlocked! Serge didn’t miss that!
Serge's tips about applying
6 to 12 months after the card is cancelled, I’ll ask for it again. Never on the phone. Always online.
Serge is right: if you apply over the phone, there is a good chance that your closed account will be reopened, or that you will not receive the bonus you were expecting. So proceed with your online subscription as a new customer(and using an milesopedia affiliated link to support us!).
I’ve also already convinced someone I know to take one of their cards under my AIR MILES Collector Number.
That’s a very “borderline” tip, but then again.. whatever works!
I often enough succeed to avoid paying the annual fee for these cards. Sometimes it pays to be patient on the phone and negotiate these fees once you receive the card. It doesn’t work all the time.
We knew the negotiation technique when renewing… but this one is new! Why not!
Via monthly spending on their AIR MILES credit cards
After all, AIR MILES is a loyalty program. So it makes sense to earn miles on your everyday purchases. But you still have to spend wisely with AIR MILES credit cards!
My family (and sometimes business) expenses bring me an average of 400 AIR MILES per month. Since I’ve been aware of this blog, I’ve also been using a service like PayTM or Plastiq to earn even more points.
Please note that Plastiq occasionally offers promotions with Mastercard and Masterpass.
Don’t forget to “double-dip“: present your AIR MILES loyalty card (the famous “blue card”) at the checkout and pay with your AIR MILES-affiliated credit card.
Via AIR MILES promotions
In addition to credit cards and everyday spending, you can earn a great deal of AIR MILES through AIR MILES’ recurring promotions.
Depending on the year, AIR MILES offers between 2 and 4 major promotions such as “Spend with 5 of our sponsors and earn 1250 AIR MILES!”.
They do have at least one per quarter and we advertise them on milesopedia.
The conditions for getting the bonus are often easy and involve very low expenses. Of course, I don’t spend money on things I don’t need, but it’s always good for me.
Everybody needs a box of Mac & Cheese bought at IGA to get 100 AIR MILES miles ?
Via AIR MILES Sponsors
According to Serge, this is the weak point of the AIR MILES program.
The most common shops in everyday life where you can earn points inevitably charge you for those points. Let’s not put our heads in the sand: IGA is disproportionately more expensive than other grocery stores. Gasoline is always more expensive at Shell in my area (Boucherville).
Is the AIR MILES Loyalty Program responsible for this idea Serge has? Or are they simply businesses that are more expensive than others anyway, with or without AIR MILES? Serge adds:
Take the time to compare the price at Jean-Coutu and Pharmaprix or Familiprix products. You won’t believe your points! Unless there’s a promotion, I avoid these businesses.
Other tips and tricks for earning AIR MILES miles
Serge uses other methods to scrape a few extra AIR MILES miles:
This is an online portal through which you can earn AIR MILES miles on your online purchases.
As I order a lot of things on Amazon, I collect even more AIR MILES miles by using this site. Ditto for The Children Place, L’Équipeur and a bunch of other businesses. Compared to physical trade, I don’t pay more for my products to get miles.
Here are Serge’s tips on gift cards:
I often monitor IGA promotions on gift cards. They often offer AIR MILES miles with every $50 in gift card purchases. I prepay expenses such as restaurants, the inevitable but essential SAQ, etc.
Here are Serge’s tips for surveys:
If you have time…but like a lot of time… Survey companies give you points for every survey you complete online and you can turn those points into an AIR MILES Gift Card.
You can earn 50 AIR MILES miles quickly, but it takes time. What I don’t have anymore… since I have kids… ? In my best year, I earned 3,000 AIR MILES miles.
Spending AIR MILES
It’s not all about earning many AIR MILES miles a year. You still need to have a plan to use them and choose between CASH and DREAM miles.
I’m not a fan of the CASH Miles. All I could read and see on this subject is that the value is lower than with the DREAMS option.
At least it’s very clear.
We know the value of 1 AIR MILE in CASH.
95 AIR MILES = $10 – This means that 1 CASH AIR MILES = $0.105
You must therefore use your DREAM AIR MILES miles with full knowledge of the facts.
I earn my AIR MILES miles via the DREAMS option in order to spend them on trips to the Caribbean in “all-inclusive” packages. 909 AIR MILES gives a $100 credit in a Transat travel agency. You don’t have to fly with Air Transat, but you have to book in their branches… you’d think they don’t know “the Internet” yet.
20,000 AIR MILES miles gives you a $2,200 travel credit. You will not be able to pay the tax part with your points.
Serge’s DREAM MILES have a better value than CASH MILES. Note that this is still an excellent return on investment compared to the credit card fees mentioned above.
I also use AIR MILES miles for internal flights which can sometimes be very expensive. With your AIR MILES and low taxes, you’ll be able to get to your destination for a small fee. It is often possible to get a value of $0.20 or #0.30 per mile… that is 2 to 3 times more than their CASH value!
As with Aeroplan, AIR MILES is very advantageous for short-haul flights. These types of flights can generally cost a lot of money, but have a very low cost in miles. For more information, read this article on the subject.
I don’t recommend flying overseas. The total number of AIR MILES miles required and the price of taxes will certainly make you wince. I’ve even seen taxes higher than the price of a cash ticket on the airline’s website outside of the AIR MILES site. It’s hard to understand…
We also advise against this option, which is not very advantageous.