Best Air Miles Reward Redemption

Air Miles continues to receive bad publicity from CBC. It almost feels personal:

I will actually hold off commenting on CBC’s report since I have already already covered this Air Miles fiasco extensively:

One thing that I haven’t done is talk about what are the top reward redemption to choose from, assuming they are available, *cough cough. But let’s assume that the award is available. Below is a list of what I think are the top reward redemptions.

Value of Air Miles

Keep in mind that I normally value 1 Air Mile at 11 cents per mile. However, it also depends on how you earned you miles. If you depend on credit card spending, like earning 1 mile per $10 (at best), that’s only a 1.1% return for your purchase. Normally you may get 1 mile per $20, which is a dismal 0.55% return. The only way I would really rack up Air Miles is credit card sign up bonuses, presenting your loyalty card at sponsors, or surveys. I would only use an Air Miles co-branded credit card to meet minimum spend requirements.

Top Reward Redemptions

1) Events

Tickets to limited time events like a concert or sports game are sometimes hard to come by and usually high priced. You an go as high as 25 cents per mile in value, depending on what reward you aim for.

What I like most about this reward redemption is that you do not have to add any extra cash to redeem for.

2) Attractions

Certain attractions like going to the zoo, Disney, waterparks, etc. can get you close to 15 cents per mile. It may not be as high as some of the other reward redemption that I will list below, but the fact that you do not have to add extra cash to redeem for the reward makes this more attractive to me.

3) Hotels

When you redeem your Air Miles for a hotel stay, especially higher end hotels, you can get a decent cents per mile value. It can go over 20 cents per mile. However, what I really dislike about this reward redemption is that you may have to add some extra fees to the reward redemption, which will be a common theme for the next top choices as well.

Additional taxes and fees is what keeps these reward options outside of the top 2 choices, even though you may get more value (cents per mile).

4) Flights

You can consistently get over 15 cents per mile on a flight reward redemption. I would target short-haul flights to get more value, rather than long haul. But there are always sweet spots to watch for carefully. Keep in mind that it is a distance based reward redemption. But just like hotel rewards, you still need to pay extra fees.

5) Car Rentals

Still with related to travel. You can target up to 15 cents per mile on car rentals, but expect to add taxes and fees.


  1. I agree with your comment that only sensible way to earn Airmiles is sign up bonuses. I recently redeemed for Hotel stays in California and got 12 cpm. I was’t too impressed with the offerings they had available.
    Not sure if Car rental redemptions is a smart idea. Not using your premium credit card to pay for the rental in full may lose the insurance coverage CC’s offer. Not to mention poor CPM Airmiles provides for Car rental redemptions.

    1. Yep. Just have to change up the strategy based on how they lay out their program. Hopefully it won’t be like this forever.

  2. Sometimes is also a good deal, like right now when they’re offering 20X miles on almost any purchase (that’s 20 miles per $20 spent, so huge return).

    1. Yes! That’s a decent way to rack up miles quicker! I may need to write a post on best ways to earn Air Miles later.

  3. can i use airmiles for american hotels? or does everything (eg inluding events) need to be based in the US? Im trying to use this miles before they expire and get blocked at every turn!

    1. Yes, you should be able to use miles on US based hotels. Just keep plugging away at the website to see what you can qualify for.

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