The AIR MILES® Reward Program may still be considered one of Canada’s top loyalty programs, but does that mean it’s your best choice?
We’ll take a look at what to expect as an AIR MILES® Collector, how to earn and redeem Miles, and the travel benefits and on the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card, and how to earn Miles faster.
Let’s take a detailed look at whether this Card is right for you!
|Welcome Bonus||Receive a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES® Bonus Miles.|
|Minimum Spend||Earn 2,000 Bonus Miles when you meet the minimum spend requirement of $1,500 in the first 3 months of Cardmembership.|
|Card Type||Credit Card|
|Annual Fee (Additional Card)||$0|
|Interest Rate||19.99% (beginning February 25, 2020, the Preferred Rate for purchases will increase to 20.99%)|
|Funds Advance Rate||22.99%|
|Balance Transfer||Applicable to new Cardmembers at the time of online application only: Receive an interest rate of 1.99% in the first 6 months if you transfer your other credit card balances to American Express. There is no transfer fee for this offer.|
|Category Spending Bonus||Earn 1 Mile for every $5 spent on eligible food & drinks (such as eligible restaurants, coffee shops and stand-alone grocery stores) and eligible gas & transit (public transportation, ridesharing and taxis) in Canada up to $30,000 annually.|
|Base Earn Rate||Earn 1 Mile for every $10 spent on everything else.|
|Eligibility||A Canadian resident with a Canadian credit file|
|The age of majority in the province or territory of residence.|
|Entertainment Access||Front of The Line Advance Presale Access to Concerts and Events|
|Front of The Line Reserved Tickets|
|Front of the Line E-Updates|
|Special Offers and Experiences for all Cardmembers|
|Special Access for all Cardmembers|
|American Express World Class Service||24/7 Customer Service|
|Fraud Protection Guarantee|
|Emergency Card Replacement|
|Travel Benefits||Your Choice To Redeem Your AIR MILES® for Over 1,000 Rewards with Dream Miles or Receive Cash Back with Cash Miles|
|Shop at AIR MILES® Partners across Canada with your Card and show your Air Miles Collector Card to earn Air Miles twice.|
|Annual Travel Redemption Benefit|
|Referral Bonus||Earn 500 Miles per approved referral, up to 7,500 Miles per year (15 referrals)|
New American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card Cardmembers, earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES®* Bonus Miles when you charge a total of $1,500 in purchases to your Card within your first three months of Cardmembership. That’s enough for a select flight.
If you’re looking for more travel benefits as an AIR MILES® Collector, check out our review on the American Express® AIR MILES®* Reserve Card.
With a lower annual fee comes less travel benefits, but here is the major travel perk of this Card:
Annual Travel Redemption Benefit
- Once per calendar year, you can use your Dream Miles with the AIR MILES® Reward Program to book your first single flight or package vacation redemption through airmiles.ca or vacations.airmiles.ca and
- get Bonus Miles equivalent to 25% of the net number of Miles used (up to a maximum of 750 Bonus Miles).
American Express Cardmember Benefits
Special Cardmember Invites
As an American Express Cardmember, you’ll receive invites to special Cardmember events, such as advance screenings, private dinners with celebrity chefs, weekend getaways, and discounts on shopping, so keep your eyes open for those email announcements from Amex to take part.
American Express Cardmembers in Toronto will be able to experience concerts in style.
You’ll have exclusive access to the American Express Lounge at the Budweiser Stage and get in the venue faster with the dedicated American Express lineup.
You’ll also have lounge access at the Roy Thomson Hall and enjoy express service at the American Express bar at Massey Hall.
Front of the Line Access
Speaking of entertainment, as an American Express Cardmember, through Front Of The Line® you’ll also have access to concerts, theatre and special event presales before the general public and reserved tickets to a block of great seats just for being an Amex Cardmember.
Optional Balance Transfer Offer For New Cardmembers
If you’re looking to switch your existing Card to the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card, you can take advantage of the balance transfer option with an interest rate of 1.99% for the first 6 months and no balance transfer fee. This offer only applies to new Cardmembers at the time of application.
AIR MILES® Earning Structure
You can earn AIR MILES® 3 different ways:
- Cash Miles
- Dream Miles
- or a combination of both.
Try to identify your travel goals ahead of time to ensure you’re earning points in the currency that makes sense.
From your AIR MILES® online account, you can set up or change the balance ratio for your Miles by moving the preference slider from 0% to 100%, towards either your Cash or Dream Accounts. Once set, future Miles will be added to your accounts the way you want.
Keep in mind, once your Miles have been earned in that currency, they can’t be converted.
Login to your AIR MILES® account and change your earning preferences between Cash and Dream Miles here.
Let’s take a closer look at your options and see what’s right for you:
If you choose to earn Cash Miles, you can redeem them in-store, or online for eVouchers to use at AIR MILES® Partners.
95 AIR MILES® = $10 cash discount off your purchase.
Going this route essentially turns your AIR MILES® into cashback rewards.
Dream Miles can be earned and redeemed for a variety of travel like flights, hotels, car rentals and even cruises.
You can also redeem those Miles for merchandise from the Rewards catalouge or for tickets to events and attractions. But to get the best value out of your AIR MILES®, you should be looking to redeem them for flights.
How to Earn AIR MILES®
On All Purchases with the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card
You’ll earn 1 Mile for every $5 in Card purchases, up to $30,000 annually on eligible food and drinks (such as eligible restaurants, coffee shops and stand-alone grocery stores), and eligible gas & transit (such as local commuter transportation including ridesharing services and taxis) in Canada.
You’ll earn 1 Mile for every $10 on everything else when you charge purchases to your Card.
Refer Friends and Family
American Express has a generous referral program with several of their Cards including this one. When you refer a friend or family member to signup, you’ll earn a referral bonus of 500 AIR MILES®!
You can refer up to a maximum of 15 people per year for a max annual bonus of 7,500 Miles!
This is one of the easiest and quickest ways to build your points balances, and one of the main reasons I love using travel rewards. Learning how to travel on points not only helps you, but you’ll become an authority that friends and family come looking for to help plan their trips! For your efforts, you can refer them to the same Card you have, and watch the referral points roll in to fund your own trip.
At Sign Up
You can earn 25 Cash Miles just for signing up as an AIR MILES® Collector and opting in to receive the email newsletter without applying for an Amex AIR MILES® branded Card.
In-Store With AIR MILES® Partners
With over 120 in-store AIR MILES® Partners across Canada, including gas stations, grocery stores, retail stores, hotels, car rental companies, home improvement stores and more, chances are good that places you already shop accept AIR MILES®.
Here are a few notable AIR MILES® in-store Partners you might recognize:
- Hudson’s Bay: Hudson’s Bay Rewards points can be redeemed for Reward Miles at a rate of 40 Hudson’s Bay Rewards points to 1 Mile.
- Rexall: 1 Mile per $20
- Rona: 1 Mile per $20
- Safeway: 1 Mile per $20
- Shell: 1 Mile on a minimum 15 litre fuel purchase in a single transaction and/or 1 Mile for every $10 purchased in-store.
Earning AIR MILES® with these Partners is easy. Just present your AIR MILES® Card and your American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card when you pay to earn Miles twice. Check out the full list of AIR MILES® Partners here.
You can also choose to redeem your AIR MILES® at the time of purchase as well.
AIR MILES® Store Directory
Here is the complete store directory of AIR MILES® in-store Partners across Canada.
AIR MILES® Partners Near You
Just enter your location and the map will show you the Partners you can earn AIR MILES® with that are closest to you.
Online With The AIR MILES® eStore Shopping Portal
Just make sure to click through to Amazon.ca from the AIR MILES® shopping portal to track your purchase and earn yourself those points!
If you can use these kinds of strategies to earn AIR MILES®, then having this Card really makes sense.
Point of View: Check out the list of retailers and make a list of the ones you shop most frequently at. Then try to wait to make a purchase from that retailer when there is a special AIR MILES® promotion on so you can earn more Miles.
If you’re familiar with shopping portals, you might see some of the same retailers listed in more than one shopping portal (Bose, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Ugg, Old Navy etc) .
Figure out what retailers you most frequently shop, and what points currency is most important to you (AIR MILES®, Aeroplan, British Airways etc), then try to always shop through the same shopping portal so you earn the most points for that currency.
How To Redeem Cash Miles
Cash Miles can be redeemed in store at AIR MILES® Partners at the time of purchase, or you can purchase eVouchers (gift cards) online to use at AIR MILES® Partners.
95 AIR MILES® = $10 cash discount off your purchase.
You’re best to earn Cash Miles if you don’t have any plans to redeem your Dream Miles for flights or experiences.
How To Redeem Dream Miles
Dream Miles can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, or tickets to events and attractions.
How to Redeem Dream Miles for Flights and Travel
You can redeem your Dream Miles for a variety of travel options including:
- Car Rentals
- Vacation Packages
Just login to your AIR MILES® account and click “Rewards” from the main navigation menu, and select the type of travel you’d like to redeem your Dream Miles for.
Even if you don’t have enough Miles for the redemption, you’ll still get an estimate of how many Miles it will take. Keep in mind, taxes, and fees won’t display until you get to the checkout page.
Here’s a screenshot of me attempting to book a flight from Vancouver (YVR) to Maui (OGG), showing me how many Dream Miles I’ll need for low and high seasons. However, I won’t be able to see the details of my flight options unless I have the Miles required. This can certainly make it difficult to plan and speculatively book a trip, so be aware.
How Many AIR MILES® Do You Need For A Flight?
Your best bet is to have flexible travel dates to get the most out of your AIR MILES® (or any reward currency for that matter). Peak travel times are mostly considered summer, Christmas, and spring breaks – so you’re better off flying when everyone else is at work or school!
Here’s a quick overview of how far your Dream Miles can take you. Keep in mind these prices are for low season travel. Traveling at peak times will cost you more.
Estimated prices are for low season travel, for a roundtrip, one passenger, economy flight departing from Canada.
- Same province: 1,200 Dream Miles
- Neighbouring province or state: 1,400 Dream Miles
- Within a few neighbouring provinces or states: 1,400 to 5,999 Dream Miles
- United States and Canada: 6,000 Dream Miles
- Mexico and Europe: 7,500 Dream Miles
- Asia and South America: 9,000 Dream Miles
- Africa, Middle East, Australia: 20,000 Dream Miles
AIR MILES® Low and High Season Travel Dates
AIR MILES® Low Season Travel Dates (2019):
- January 8 to February 28
- April 1 to May 31
- September 16 to December 15
AIR MILES® High Season Travel Dates (2019):
- December 16 to January 7
- March 1 to March 31
- June 1 to September 15
Interactive Map: See How Many Miles It Will Take For Your Flight
Merchandise from the Rewards catalogue should be considered a last choice redemption when cashing in your travel rewards, as items are notoriously overpriced. In almost every circumstance you’d be better off waiting for a sale and paying cash elsewhere.
Nonetheless, if you need to unload your Dream Miles in a hurry, or see a deal of the week, you can redeem them for things like TVs, video games, watches, jewelry, vinyl records, toys, household appliances and more.
Events and Attractions
You can also redeem your Dream Miles for a variety of events and attractions including concert tickets, movie tickets, theater performances, spas, visits to the zoo, CN Tower, West Edmonton Mall, and more.
What Rewards Programs Are Worth It? CBC Marketplace Weighs In
Which loyalty programs are worth it? Asha Tomlinson and consumer advocate and Toronto Star columnist Ellen Roseman answer questions about AIR MILES® and other popular reward programs.
Card Value Breakdown
|Travel Benefit||Value (CAD)||Notes|
|Welcome Bonus of 40,000 Aeroplan miles||$480.00||Calculated at a baseline value of 1.2 cents per mile.|
|Annual Partner Travel Benefit valued at 15,000 Aeroplan miles||$180.00||Calculated at a baseline value of 1.2 cents per mile.|
|Annual PriorityPass Standard Membership||$129.28||The annual fee is $99 US. 1 USD = 1.30595 CAD. $32 USD per person, per visit still required.|
|Annual Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Access||$354.11||As an AeroplanPlus Platinum Cardmember, you'll have access to 17 Maple Leaf Lounges worldwide.
Our Valuation Logic: Because the "Canada" Maple Leaf Lounge annual membership is offered at $375 with access to 18 lounges, we've divided the annual cost of that membership by the number of lounges you'll have access to ($20.83). $20.83 x 17 lounges = $354.11 (not including taxes). https://www.mapleleafclub.ca/en/service/memberships/
|Valet parking fee waived at Toronto's Pearson International Airport||$25.00||$25 per valet use. Daily/weekly parking rates are in addition to. Value determined for one annual use.|
|Other benefits we couldn't quite put a dollar value on:|
|Air Canada Priority Check-in||-||Skip the long check-in with Air Canada Priority Check-in.|
|Priority security-line during peak times at Toronto's Pearson International Airport||-||Get access to the priority security line during peak times at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.|
|Travel insurance||-||Receive a variety of travel insurance coverage.|
|Front of the Line advance access to presale concert tickets on Ticketmaster||-||Receive first access to the hottest live entertainment tickets with Front of the Line presale access on Ticketmaster|
|Special offers and experiences for all Cardmembers||-||American Express holds a variety of exclusive events throughout the year, and as a Cardmember, you're eligible for an invite. Visit amexinvites.ca to learn more.|
|15% discount on parking at Toronto's Pearson International Airport||-||Receive 15% discount on daily/weekly parking charges at Toronto's Pearson International Airport|
|Complimentary Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® Membership||-||Skip the line-up when you’re picking up or dropping off, and get a better selection of fleet vehicles to choose from.|
|Total value in Travel Benefits||$1,168.39|
|Annual Fee on the AeroplanPlus Platinum Card||$499.00|
|Your Savings (Or More!)||$669.39|
We’ve already broken down the value of of this Card, and we can see that the value outweighs the $120 annual fee – on which their is no obligation to renew.
There are plenty of opportunities where earning and redeeming AIR MILES® makes sense, and you’ll still be ahead of the game, especially if you already shop at the long list of AIR MILES® Partners.
On paper, this Card still makes sense with the welcome bonus AIR MILES® that you can redeem for a short haul plane ticket to a neighbouring province or state.
Focus your efforts on this Card for the welcome bonus and pay attention to Flash Sales and other AIR MILES® promotions where you can earn points faster, but do not go out of your way to craft the perfect redemption.
If you’re serious about collecting AIR MILES®, quickly earn your points with the welcome bonus, refer friends and family if possible for extra points, and shop at AIR MILES® Partners for big purchases.
Then, for the most availability and highest value straightforward redemption, use your Dream Miles for a short-haul economy flight.
Once you’ve done that, step up your travel game by looking at one of the American Express Membership Rewards Cards with a flexible points currency and see how far your points will take you.
The Amex Platinum, Gold, Cobalt, and Business Edge Cards offer exceptional value for the Canadian traveller and are more flexible than AIR MILES®, allowing you to transfer your points earned on everyday purchases to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs for maximum value.
But before you make your decision on if this Card is right for you, check out our review on the American Express® AIR MILES®* Reserve Card for some serious travel benefits and extra AIR MILES® perks not available to other Collectors.