Changes to the Air Miles Reward Redemption

According to a report by CBC News, it looks like Air Miles decided to change up their reward options. Air Miles has been accused of hiding reward options for certain members.

Apparently, Air Miles finally admitted that they previously gave members access to different rewards based on their individual personal preferences. Whatever that means??

New Reward Program

Going forward, Air Miles claims that members will have access to rewards based on their status level (i.e. blue, gold or onyx). This essentially confirms that individuals do have access to different reward redemptions. This makes the program extremely inconsistent. Again, what does personal preference even mean? What if our preferences change? Or just because we may buy something 100 times, there will be that 1 time that we will want to redeem that 1 item that is missing, because it is an item that is only a one-time purchase anyway.

Status Qualification

Below are the requirements to qualify for the different statuses:

  • Blue (free sign up)
  • Gold (collect at least 1,000 miles in a calendar year)
  • Onyx (collect at least 6,000 miles in a calendar year)

The one beauty of Air Miles is that you do not need to have “qualifying miles”. Every mile counts!

Essentially, the higher the status you have, the more access to rewards you will have.

Sneaky Move

I am fairly disappointed by Air Miles with this move. First of all, now we have confirmation that they were hiding reward options from certain customers. Furthermore, they already gave elite status members special access and discounts to certain reward options anyway. So this isn’t really a new initiative.

Playing Right Into Their Hands / Devil’s Advocate

To be fair, I think this is a smart business move by Air Miles. Once the expiry policy kicks in on December 31, 2016, I am fairly certain that a bunch of miles are going to expire, and this is really going to help Air Miles’ bottom line.

Furthermore, this move will weed out all the people who are not interested in going through all these obstacles to keep up with the program changes, devaluations, etc. The people who will stick around are people who fully understand their system. Therefore, once they write off all those miles, they will have the extra cash to launch some new initiatives for loyal customers instead.

Who’s Giving this Up?

Personally, I am going to keep using Air Miles, because I have been earning and burning, so I will not have any miles expiring on December 31, 2016. But I am very curious, because I have my doubts on whether that many people are actually going to give up their membership.

So by a show of hands, who’s actually giving up the Air Miles program?


  1. The selective reward availability from Airmiles was a very bad idea. However, unless you never travel at all, using miles for merchandise or even cash is like throwing money away.

    I was never gung ho about Airmiles but I am not giving up on them either. The key to this game is diversifying your miles portfolio. Just sticking to one program for years just ends up in sobs and tears. I guess your earn and burn strategy is good to follow.

    1. Thanks for sharing your feedback OVC! I feel the same way. I’m not happy with the current program but diversifying is the key!

  2. I’m planning to use my miles for something…anything…rather than have Airmiles just write them off. Then I’m sending their worthless little card back to them. The reversal only proves that they were, indeed, being deceptive in reward offerings, and I have a real problem dealing with anyone or anythings that has proven deceitful to me.

  3. I give up! Airmiles has devalued so much over the years.

    I remember in the late 90’s early 2000’s I redeemed 4 or 5 flights from Victoria to LAX on Air Canada for about 1000 miles each ticket plus about $125 Considering a coach ticket to California is usually about $500, I considered a mile worth about 20 cents. Availability at that time was good too. I can’t remember exactly what fare bucket they came out of, but certainly there was better availability with Air Miles, then trying to redeem Aeroplan points for that same ticket. Hotels used to also be good value. I used to get Starwood SPG category 4 hotels certificates for 500 miles I believe it was. And the availability was similar to what SPG would release as a standard category 4 rate. Could get even better then $0.20 per mile. I remember even thinking that the BMO Airmiles Credit card was not a bad way to earn points. Today there is no way I would recommend that credit card.

    Fast forward to today, where I rarely see any awards worth over $0.10 per mile. Are there any awards that are valuable anymore?

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Gerg. There are still some sweet spots for travel, but it does require some digging around.

  4. I have been a Gold collector for years and used to aggressively garner points for air travel. The taxes and fees have gone through the roof and with other much more lucrative options available I switched. 3 years ago I started using them for car rentals only with a decent valuation. In the last 3 months I can’t rent ANY car ANYWHERE (YYC, YYZ, YVR etc). There shows absolutely NO availability with any vehicle with anyone. I am SOOO done with AirMiles and will cut my card after I burn through my last 6000. Cheers

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience! I may start putting together a vote counter. For now, including me, we’re at 3 (ditch) vs. 2 (keep). Let’s keep the votes coming in!

  5. Count me as a keeper. I am still happy with redeeming Dream Miles for flights (even though the availability of “good” flights to my chosen destination has decreased in recent years ). I am not sure what I will do if the selection of flights continue to decrease – hopefully it will not come to that!
    My favourite way to redeem Air Miles was for IHG hotel rooms. I was very disappointed when they removed this option.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.