Why you should still use your Air Miles now

Your miles may no longer be expiring but you shouldn’t go back to banking your miles. Here’s why

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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.


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6 comments on “Why you should still use your Air Miles now

  1. Their program is a joke for those very reasons. Saving for something worthwhile is impossible all the while the value of an air mile drops while at the same time you need more everyday to make that purchase.
    The Air Miles program is a fraud if you ask me, I signed up in 1998, I could care less about it and the useless miles they create!

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  2. We have used the program many times over the last 15 years for travel. Used up my last points a month ago and will not show the card the light of day again.
    The costs for taxes and handling on air tickets are now verging on the cost of just buying the ticket from the airline.
    It is a program that the corp execs are twisting to make quarterly goals and bonuses.

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  3. I agree with Tracy, if you add the arrogance of the policy makers ,do yourself a favor, make room in your wallet and put this card in the garbage.

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  4. I agree with you guys, I’ve already cancelled my Air Miles AmEx and my blue AM card is out of my wallet and now in my glove compartment next to my other gas point cards. The only use now is for cash miles, as the dream rewards are even worse value. At the beginning of this year, surely in anticipation of the flurry of AM redemptions coming, they took away the ability to use dream miles to purchase Investorline vouchers which allowed you to at least cash out your dream miles (950 AM = $100). I had thousands of miles set to expire so wound up getting a friggin blender with them. Best deal I could find. Just terrible.

    The last good deal I found on a flight was back in 2010, flying to the Vancouver Olympics actually, got about 30 cents per mile on that. Since then, there’s been nothing of value. Flights to Vegas? Sure, if you want to take the red eye back. Just garbage.

    Aeroplan is better, but anyone hoarding Aeroplan points (like myself) needs to be aware their contract with Air Canada expires in a few years, 2020 I believe. There’s 100% chance the aeroplan points will lose value with any new contract, it’s just a question if they’re watered down a little or a lot.

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  5. Although have had many flights to Mexico since 1992 from AIRMILES they sure are destroying a good program out of greed Aeroplan is doing likewise Now I like the TD Travel card for the simplicity & options As with any program you have to know the rules which is getting more complicated each year

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  6. I found your site on Google and have a question, I recently flew TYS-DFW-SFO, and the miles for the DFW-SFO leg are missing. I’ve called the Platinum desk a few times and both agents (one was rude as hell, BTW) say that I’m not on the flight manifest. Do I have any recourse ?

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