Air Miles is one of those reward programs that has the potential to be very beneficial for you, but just like any other reward program, you have to know the “right way” to take advantage of the program.
First, here are the two types of rewards you can claim:
- Air Miles Cash – This one is pretty straight-forward. Redeem your Air Miles for cash when paying for your purchases in store (Stores Included: Jean Coutu, Metro, Rexall / Pharma Plus, Rona, Shell Retail).
- Dream Rewards – Redeem your Air Miles for gift cards, merchandise, flights and more (see a complete list of rewards here).
You can choose to set-up your Air Miles account to receive miles towards your Dream Rewards, Air Miles Cash or both.
Air Miles Offers
“Print an Offer” allows you to print the offer right from the site to take shopping with you. Simply print off the coupon, and then take it with you to the Sponsor location to receive the Bonus Offer.
The offers found in “Click an Offer” can be redeemed only online. From within “”Click an Offer””, you can click through to a Sponsor’s Web site to learn about the Bonus Offer’s details, and then take advantage of the Offer on their site.
“In-Store Offer” shows you what offers are currently available by visiting a Sponsor’s location. It is not necessary to take in the offer – just visit your local Sponsor and receive the Bonus outlined.
“Contest” offers show you the Sponsor or Program-related contests available to you. From a ‘Contest’ offer, you can click through to a Web site to learn about how you can enter for a chance to win!
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty about how to earn Air Miles.
There are over 100 sponsors that offer Air Miles with your purchase (see them all here), including in-store sponsors and online sponsors, so it’s easy to accumulate miles if you shop at these stores often.
Here are a few tips for earning Air Miles:
Buy Your Gas at Shell
Shell is the only gas station that offers Air Miles to their customers, so if you have a location nearby, try to always purchase your gas from Shell, just to get the Air Miles (the price will likely be the same as a competitor, anyway). You earn 1 Air Mile for the first $20 and 1 Air Mile for every $30 after that. Shell also offers special 10x points promotions – this is the best time to buy gas.
Buy Gift Cards in Store
Whenever Shell has special 10x points promotions for in store purchases, buy gift cards, because these are included in the promotion and you will earn bonus Air Miles. You can buy gift cards for Shell, as well as many other stores.
Shop During Customer Appreciation Days
The first Tuesday of every month is “customer appreciation day” at all Safeway stores. You will earn 10x the Air Miles when you spend $35 or more, so this is a great time to do some grocery shopping.
Use Bonus Couons
When you’re an Air Miles member, you will often receive coupons in the mail that you can use to get bonus Air Miles on your purchases. Use these whenever possible, since they really help to boost the amount of miles that you have. They also have online coupons that you can use to earn bonus miles.
Buy a Home Through Century 21
If you’re in the market to purchase a new home, and can do so through Century 21, don’t forget to use your Air Miles card! You will earn 2 Air Miles for every $1,000 in property value.
Shop During Bonus Events
You can often find bonus events at stores (especially Metro, Rexall and Safeway) to earn Air Miles faster. Look for events such as:
- 100 Air Miles when you spend $100 or more
- 25 Air Miles when you spend $25 or more on select products
- 50 Air Miles when you buy 4-5 select products
Use Manufacturer Coupons
You can use manufacturer coupons to lower your bill at stores that accept them, and you will receive Air Miles. You can even use FREE, B1G1 and B2G1 (for example) coupons and you will still receive Air Miles. This is a great way to earn Air Miles fast.
Tip: Wait for promotions such as “spend $100, earn 100 Air Miles”, and redeem all of your FREE coupons (if you have enough to get you to $100). This means you will spend nothing out of pocket (except all applicable taxes) and you will still earn a bunch of Air Miles!
There are two credit cards for Air Miles:
- American Express Platinum – Earn up to 1,000 bonus miles when you sign up, your first year is free and then $65 per year.
- American Express – Earn 150 bonus miles when you sign up and use the card for the first time, no annual fee.
I don’t recommend signing up for Air Miles credit cards just to get miles, unless you travel often.
Other Air Miles Information
- All Air Miles will expire in 5 years
- You still earn Air Miles when you are redeeming Air Miles Cash
- Redeem your Air Miles for Greyhound tickets, (this will save you up to 40%)
- Air Miles are worth about 10-12 cents each (keep this in mind when making purchases just to get Air Miles)
The Best Value for Your Air Miles
After doing some research, I have determined that the best value for your Air Miles are the 3 following rewards:
- Boston Pizza – $50 gift card for 475 miles
- Pharmasave (Atlantic) – $20 gift card for 190 miles
- Movie Night Out (Cineplex, Famous Players or Galaxy Cinemas) – 2 admission, 2 regular drinks & 1 regular popcorn for 190 miles
Though I don’t believe it is the best rewards program in Canada, there really are some great benefits to being an Air Miles rewards member.
It’s possible to spend very little money out of pocket and earn a whole bunch of miles, which you can use to reward yourself with gift cards, outings or cash.