3 Ways to Maximize Your Air Miles

Charlotte Sinclair
by Charlotte Sinclair July 24, 2016 / Comments Off on 3 Ways to Maximize Your Air Miles

Air Miles is one of the oldest and most popular travel rewards programs in Canada. There are multiple affiliate programs associated with the program. If you’re looking for an Air Miles credit card, there are many options available some of which are among the best credit cards.

It’s always important to consider all the features a credit card offers before choosing which card is right for you. Air Miles credit cards are no different. If the rewards program is the most important to you, you should select a card that allows you to earn the most points per dollar. In this case, your best option is the BMO Air Miles World Elite MasterCard.

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BMO AIR MILES World Elite MasterCard

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  • Earn 1 Air Miles reward mile for every $10 that you spend
  • Get 1,000 Bonus Air Miles after you make your first purchase and if you apply before October 31,2016
  • Exclusive 25% Flight Discount
  • VIP Airport Lounge Access* – Priority Pass membership and two complimentary passes per year included (total value of US$153)

The BMO Air Miles World Elite MasterCard is a great option because it allows you to earn points at a high rate in comparison to other Air Miles credit cards. You’ll also have the opportunity to earn a welcome bonus points of 1,000 miles. By maximizing your points and using this BMO MasterCard with a high rate of earning, you’re bound to have a good experience with the Air Miles rewards program.

1. Compare Your redemption to the Air Miles benchmark

RateHub’s estimated that the average value per Air Mile is $0.121. Anytime you’re looking at using your points, you should use this benchmark. If you’re going to get less value than $0.121 for each mile, you should consider paying for a purchase in cash rather than points. If you’re going to receive a greater value than $0.121 for each mile, you should definitely book with points.

2. Pay attention to what you chose to purchase with your rewards

First, you’ll get better value for your points when you redeem for travel expenses rather than merchandise. The average value of a mile spent on air travel is $0.121 whereas the purchase of a popular electronic item (for example, a Panasonic LED TV) merely yields a value of $0.0655 per mile.

We know that you’ll get the most value when you redeem your points for flights but it’s also important to look at which flights will give you the best value. Based on RateHub’s research and analysis, there are flight regions that present greater value for each mile you spend. Note, that our analysis assumes that flights are made from Toronto Pearson International Airport. For example, flights to the midwestern United States present the greatest value. Flights to Manitoba and eastern Canada also provide great value. You’ll also tend to receive better value for your points when you book a flight during peak season. You may also consider how far in advance that you book your flight. Since airfare prices tend to increase the closer you get to the departure date, you’ll maximize the value of your Air Miles if you wait until the last minute to book your flight.

3. Become a Gold or Onyx program member

The Air Miles Gold program is awarded to Air Miles collectors who collect 1,000 to 5,999 miles per year. As a Gold collector you can receive special offers on travel and merchandise. This includes booking eligible flights for up to 30% fewer miles and purchasing selected merchandise for up to 50% fewer miles. One thing to note is you must re-qualify every year by Dec. 31 in order to receive the perks of being a Gold member.

The Air Miles Onyx program is awarded to top Air Miles collectors. In order to qualify, you must earn more than 6,000 miles a year. This is the highest status you can achieve with the Air Miles program and it’ll give you a number of superior benefits. This includes travel and merchandise perks, access to special events and contests, and priority service at the call centre. The Onyx program allows you to book select flights for up to 40% fewer miles and purchase certain merchandise with up to 50% fewer miles. You may also receive exclusive offers on select package vacations and cruises. And your miles will never expire as long as you maintain your Onyx status. Similar to the Gold program, you must also re-qualify every year before Dec. 31 to remain a Onyx member.

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