Loyalty is hard to earn and easy to lose. Air Miles will soon find out just how loyal their members are after backing away from a controversial plan to allow reward miles five years or older to expire.
For more than a year consumers have been increasingly anxious about the prospect of getting nothing for their miles. Consumers occasionally crashed the Air Miles site as they raced to find something in its reward catalogue they could redeem. But this too was another exercise in frustration as the loyalty program made some items available to some members and not others.
While the news will come as a relief to members of the loyalty program, Air Miles members should take this opportunity to come up with a plan to use their points. If you hold onto points for more than five years you risk reward program changes that could water down the value of your points.
Points lose value over time
Even if your points will no longer expire, they can still depreciate. Consider this, in 2013 a short haul flight between Toronto and Ottawa would have required 950 points during the low season; that same flight now would require 1,200 points—a 25% decrease in the value of each point. That’s not all. A flight between YYZ and New York will now cost you 250 more points, while Toronto to Edmonton requires 500 more points than it did three years ago.
If you redeem your points for international flights then your rewards have seen the smallest decrease in value. While you’d still need to burn through 500 more miles for flights between Toronto and London than you would have in 2013, that works out to only a 9% increase in points needed.
That being said, it still only costs 95 miles for $10 off at select retailers.
Regardless, if you are hoping to use your loyalty rewards for a dream trip it’s worth your time finding the program that will get you to where you want to go the fastest. After all, loyalty is earned and you should be rewarded for it.
Whichever loyalty program you use, here are tips and tricks from the pros to super-size your reward count.