The Value of Air Miles



The dollar value of 1 Air Mile is
$0.121

Dollar value of 1 mile Flexibility of miles Can miles cover taxes and fees?
$0.121 Weak Partially

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How much are your Air Miles worth?

Before we begin, it is important to note that "Air Miles" and "Points" are the same and will be used interchangeably.

Certain flight regions provide better value for your hard-earned Air Miles. Here at RateHub we calculated the average dollar value of an Air Mile for every flight region during both the high and low seasons. Here is an Air Mile flight rewards chart outlining what we found out about redemption values:

Flight Region Destination Low Season High Season Average
British Columbia: Vancouver $0.1535 $0.1426 $0.148
Alberta Calgary $0.1374 $0.1453 $0.141
Saskatchewan Saskatoon $0.1525 $0.1482 $0.150
Manitoba Winnipeg $0.2136 $0.2019 $0.208
Ontario Ottawa $0.0868 $0.1522 $0.120
Quebec Montreal $0.1004 $0.1635 $0.132
East Coast Canada Halifax $0.1506 $0.1674 $0.159
North West Territories Yellowknife $0.1635 $0.1403 $0.152
North Eastern US New York $0.1258 $0.2008 $0.154
Chicago $0.1266 $0.1642
Midwest US Minneapolis $0.2225 $0.1710 $0.231
Kansas City $0.3020 $0.2296
Northwestern US Seattle $0.1153 $0.0997 $0.041
Portland $0.0380 $0.0445
Southwestern US Los Angeles $0.0984 $0.1282 $0.099
Dallas $0.0933 $0.0742
Southeastern US Miami $0.1085 $0.1312 $0.149
Atlanta $0.1950 $0.1594
Caribbean Punta Cana $0.0965 $0.1044 $0.105
Jamaica $0.0896 $0.1306
Mexico Cancun $0.0879 $0.0944 $0.100
Puerto Vallarata $0.0719 $0.1476
Hawaii Honolulu $0.0713 $0.0823 $0.078
Maui $0.0714 $0.0863
Central America/ Europe 1 Paris $0.0877 $0.0650 $0.071
San Juan $0.0484 $0.0827
South America/ Europe 2 Helsinki $0.0883 $0.1203 $0.104
Rio de Janerio $0.1179 $0.0884
Europe 3 Warsaw $0.0788 $0.0552 $0.069
Istanbul $0.0723 $0.0687
Middle East & Africa Cairo $0.0467 $0.1011 $0.062
Lebanon $0.0358 $0.0639
Asia Bangkok $0.0785 $0.0997 $0.088
Tokyo $0.0836 $0.0894
Australia & New Zealand Melbourne $0.0751 $0.0985 $0.091
Auckland $0.0777 $0.1145
Total Averages $0.1101 $.1210 $0.121

On average, you receive the most value for your Air Miles by flying to the Midwest US region. Flights to Manitoba and East Coast Canada also provide good value for your Air Miles. It's best to redeem Air Miles during the high season since it typically provides better value than flights during the low season.


The Math Behind It:

The Air Miles flight program charges you a fixed mileage level based on the region you’re flying to and the time of year:

Departure Destination Low Season High Season
Toronto (Pearson) British Columbia 3,600 4,900
Toronto (Pearson) Eastern US 1,300 1,600
Toronto (Pearson) Caribbean 4,400 5,800
Toronto (Pearson) Asia 9,300 12,500
  • Low Season: January 8 - February 28, April 1 - May 31, September 16 - December 15
  • High Season: March 1 - March 31, June 1 - September 15, December 16 - January 7

Here is the methodology we used to value Air Miles:

A. Look up the price of a flight between your destinations online through www.kayak.com

B. Using your Air Miles account, search for a similar flight and note the taxes and fees Air Miles charges for the flight

C. Take the price of the flight found online (A) and subtract the taxes that Air Miles would charge for a comparable flight (B), finding your net gain

D. Divide your net gain (C) by the total Air Miles required to find the value of one Air Mile


Case Study: Flying to New York (JFK) on points in late September 2014

The example below was priced out by RateHub.ca in 2014.

Total Cost of Flight Air Miles Required
$277.06 Price of a flight found on Kayak
1300 Points
Step 1: Determining Net Gain
$277.06 flight price $125.74 taxes, fees & surcharges =
$151.32 net gain
Step 2: Calculating the Value of One Air Mile
$151.32 net gain ÷ 1300 Air Miles =
$0.1164 / Air Mile

Overall Flexibilty: Weak

Taxes and fees covered? Consistent value? Transferable to/from other rewards programs?
Partially No Partially
Air miles cover the cost of fuel surcharges, leaving only the additional taxes and fees. No, the value of your Air Miles change with many factors like flight destination and seasonality. Yes, several rewards programs (HBC, Esso Extra, RBC) allow you to convert points to Air Miles, but not vice-versa.

Miles cannot be switched between Air Miles Dream and Cash rewards.
More than one airline involved in program? Can the points be used retroactively? Expiration date on points?
Yes No Yes
Yes, there is a wide variety of airlines to select from. Popular airlines include: Air Canada and West Jet (Canada), American Airlines and Southwest Airlines (U.S.), Lufthansa and British Airways (Europe) No, they must be used at the time of purchase (on flights and at sponsored vendors), or in advance using eVouchers. Air Miles expire 5 years after the date they are earned. If you are inactive on your Air Miles account for 24 consecutive months, your Air Miles will expire.

With the Air Miles reward program, there are two types of miles you can earn: Air Miles Cash and Air Miles Dream rewards. The upside about this is that you determine what percentage of your miles goes into Cash or Dream rewards. The downside is that once you’ve earned Cash or Dream miles, you cannot transfer them into either bucket later on.

Air Miles Cash adds some flexibility to the program by allowing you to instantly redeem your miles towards everyday purchases at sponsor locations (95 Air Miles = $10 off). Dream Rewards, on the other hand, allow you to redeem miles towards travel or merchandise exclusively on the Air Miles website. This lowers the flexibility of the Air Miles program since it removes your ability to shop around on any travel site for the best deals and flights, like other rewards programs.

Also, a common criticism of Dream redemptions is the difficulty getting the flight you want for the dates you want. If you have a rigid itinerary or schedule, to guarantee a flight on Air Miles points you would have to book far in advance or fly during the low season.

The Air Miles reward program isn’t the most flexible, but when used strategically, it can save you a bundle in travel costs. Furthermore, the ability to use Air Miles at over 100 partners allow for the quick accumulation of Air miles or the option for cash back redemption on everyday purchases.

Although the Air Miles program covers fuel surcharges, it does not allow you to use your points to cover additional taxes and fees. While this does not change the value of your Air Miles as seen in the "value of miles" tab (we’ve taken them into account when determining the value of an Air Mile), it can be disappointing for members who have a large Air Miles balance but cannot use them towards taxes and fees.

Listed below are the Air Miles required and the average taxes when traveling to each Air Mile flight region as calculated by RateHub.ca (All flights are round-trip leaving from Toronto Pearson Airport booked 3 months in advance).

Flight Region Destination Low Season High Season Tax Average Tax
British Columbia: Vancouver 3600 4900 $139.93 $139.93
Alberta Calgary 2900 3800 $150.43 $150.43
Saskatchewan Saskatoon 2500 3300 $139.93 $139.93
Manitoba Winnipeg 1600 2000 $133.88 $133.88
Ontario Ottawa 1200 1400 $120.06 $120.06
Quebec Montreal 1300 1500 $136.37 $136.37
East Coast Canada Halifax 1700 2200 $136.38 $136.38
North West Territories Yellowknife 4000 5200 $118.93 $118.93
North Eastern US New York 1300 1600 $155.64 $158.18
Chicago 1300 1600 $160.71
Midwest US Minneapolis 1600 2100 $160.71 $158.17
Kansas City 1600 2100 $155.63
Northwestern US Seattle 3900 5200 $162.57 $162.57
Portland 3900 5200 $162.57
Southwestern US Los Angeles 4300 5500 $162.57 $162.57
Dallas 4300 5500 $162.57
Southeastern US Miami 2800 3500 $162.57 $162.57
Atlanta 2800 3500 $162.57
Caribbean Punta Cana 4400 5800 $204.95 $201.92
Jamaica 4400 5800 $198.89
Mexico Cancun 4400 5800 $153.74 $159.02
Puerto Vallarata 4400 5800 $164.30
Hawaii Honolulu 7900 10500 $174.03 $174.03
Maui 7900 10500 $174.03
Central America/ Europe 1 Paris 5400 7000 $607.46 $454.60
San Juan 5400 7000 $301.73
South America/ Europe 2 Helsinki 6000 8000 $567.30 $458.36
Rio de Janerio 6000 8000 $349.42
Europe 3 Warsaw 6300 8500 $598.22 $629.70
Istanbul 6300 8500 $661.18
Middle East & Africa Cairo 9300 12500 $689.02 $627.42
Lebanon 9300 12500 $565.82
Asia Bangkok 9300 12500 $490.98 $417.81
Tokyo 9300 12500 $344.64
Australia & New Zealand Melbourne 14000 19000 $972.79 $932.12
Auckland 14000 19000 $891.45

Best Way to Use Your Air Miles

The value of your Air Miles depends on what rewards you redeem your points for. The math to determine the average value of a mile can be seen in the “Value of Miles” tab. Some flights offer you very little value for your points and if you think you’ll fly in the near future, it’s worth saving your miles for more valuable destinations.

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