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Ultimate guide on how to earn and redeem Air Miles

How and where to earn and redeem Air Miles in Canada and maximize your rewards.

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Air Miles is one of Canada’s most popular reward programs. You can earn miles when you shop at partner retailers or use an Air Miles credit card, and you can redeem Air Miles as Cash Miles or Dream Miles — you choose how you want your miles to be divided between both categories. Redeem Dream Miles for travel, merchandise and gift cards. Redeem Cash Miles at dozens of stores.

Keep reading to find out how and where to redeem Air Miles, and how to get the best value.

What is the Air Miles reward program?

Air Miles is a reward program with nearly 10 million members in Canada. It’s designed to reward you for your everyday spending in-store and online, and you can then redeem Air Miles for groceries and gas, merchandise, travel rewards and eVouchers.

You can earn miles by shopping with your Air Miles card at partner stores in-store and online, or use an Air Miles credit card to rack up points even when shopping at non-partner stores.

As of June 2023, Air Miles is owned by BMO.

How to redeem Air Miles

The way you redeem Air Miles will depend on whether you want to redeem Cash Miles or Dream Miles.

How to redeem Air Miles Cash Miles

Redeem Air Miles Cash Miles online for eVouchers or in person at select partners. You can redeem miles in increments of $10 (95 miles). The maximum Air Miles redemption amount is 750 Cash Miles per account per day.

  • Redeeming Air Miles Cash Miles online. You can redeem Air Miles Cash Miles online or via the Air Miles mobile app for eVouchers. Use them anytime online with participating partners or use them in-store when you print them or show them on your phone. Retailers include Ardene, Spotify, Sephora, Roots, The Source, Uber Eats, DoorDash and Starbucks.
  • Redeeming Air Miles Cash Miles in person. You simply need to visit a partner store and show your Air Miles membership card or open the Air Miles app to redeem your Cash Miles at checkout. Your Miles will automatically be withdrawn from your account when you make a purchase. Retailers include Metro, Shell, Irving Oil Gas Stations and Pharmasave, but availability varies depending on where you live.

How to redeem Air Miles Dream Miles

You can only redeem Dream Miles online. Log in to your Air Miles account and browse the travel portal or Rewards Miles Catalogue for merchandise, events and attractions. Select the reward that you want, confirm your purchase and the miles will be withdrawn from your account.

  • Redeeming Air Miles Dream Miles for travel. To redeem Dream Miles, log in to airmiles.ca and select flights, hotels, car rentals, packages, extras or cruises under the “Travel” tab. From there, book your flight as you would on a regular travel website. Air Miles will show you how many points you need to redeem as well as how much cash is left owing for fees and other charges.
  • Redeeming Air Miles Dream Miles for merchandise, events and attractions. Redeem points for merchandise or other experiences by logging in to the Air Miles Rewards Miles catalogue. Browse items to see how many miles each item is worth. Click “Buy” to finalize your purchase.

Who is most likely to be researching how to redeem Air Miles?

Finder data suggests that women aged 55-64 are most likely to be researching this topic.

ResponseMale (%)Female (%)
65+7.94%9.45%
55-647.70%10.71%
45-548.81%10.12%
35-448.36%9.26%
25-347.84%8.92%
18-245.39%5.51%
Source: Finder sample of 8,687 visitors using demographics data from Google Analytics

How to redeem Air Miles for flights

You can redeem Dream Miles for flights but not Cash Miles. Here’s how.

  1. Sign in to airmiles.ca with your Air Miles card number and PIN.
  2. Use the Book Flights section(1) of the website to indicate where you want to go and when.
  3. Click “Find flights” and then browse the selection of flights on offer.
  4. Each flight should indicate how much it will cost in points as well as how much you’ll have to pay for surcharges in cash.
  5. Select the flight you want and book it to redeem Dream Miles (the Miles will come out of your account automatically upon booking).
A photo of Emma Balmforth

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Air Miles collector status: Blue vs. Gold vs. Onyx

As an Air Miles collector, your membership status is determined by how many Air Miles you earn in a calendar year. Move up to the Gold or Onyx tiers and you can access special membership benefits and offers.

Blue

You automatically reach Blue collector status when you sign up to the Air Miles reward program.

Gold

You qualify for Gold status when you earn 500 – 4,999 miles in a calendar year. This allows you to access:

  • Flight discounts of up to 30%
  • Merchandise discounts of up to 5%
  • The option to pay with cash and miles on hotel bookings

Onyx

You qualify for Onyx status when you earn 5,000 miles or more in a calendar year. This allows you to access:

  • Flight discounts of up to 40%
  • Merchandise discounts of up to 10%
  • The option to pay with cash and miles on hotel bookings
  • Priority customer service
  • The Air Miles Personal Shopper Service, which allows you to redeem Air Miles Dream Miles for just about any reward that you can’t find in the Rewards Catalogue

How to earn Air Miles

There are several ways to earn Air Miles rewards.

1. Shop in-store at partner retailers

Earn Cash Miles or Dream Miles when you swipe your Air Miles membership card in person at a retail partner. You may get 1 mile per specified amount of dollars spent, or you may only be able to earn miles on specific transactions. There are dozens of partners to choose from, including:

  • Budget Car Rental
  • HelloFresh
  • IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Jiffy Lube
  • Redtag.ca
  • Samsung

2. Shop online at partner retailers or through Airmilesshops.ca

You can earn miles when you shop online at partner retailers or through the airmilesshops.ca store. However, to maximize awards, visit the Air Miles store, first. This allows you to earn 1 mile for every $20 you spend, regardless of the brand and there are hundreds of brands to choose from, including:

  • Apple
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Expedia
  • Walmart
  • Sephora
  • LuluLemon
  • Samsung
  • H&M
  • GAP
  • Ticketmaster

3. Use an Air Miles credit card

A BMO Air Miles credit card lets you earn Air Miles at a faster rate. For example, when you use a BMO Air Miles Mastercard, you’ll earn three times the miles for every $25 spent at a participating partner, two times the miles for every $25 spent at an eligible grocery store, and 1 mile for every $25 you spend everywhere else.

According to a 2023 study, BMO Air Miles credit cardholders earn Air Miles 11.6 times faster than collectors who don’t use an Air Miles credit card.(2)

Earn Air Miles faster with these credit cards

1 - 5 of 5
Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
2,000 Miles
Up to 3 Miles for every $12 spent
20.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Earn a bonus of up to 2,000 AIR MILES. Terms apply. Plus, get the annual fee of $120 waived by your first anniversary.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash). Get a rate of 0.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 2% fee applies to transferred balances.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard For Students
800 Miles
Up to 3x Air Miles for every $25 spent
20.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles (enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash).
BMO Air Miles No-Fee Business Mastercard
1,000 Miles
1 Mile per $20 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 650
Get up to 1,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. That's over $100 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash.
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Business Mastercard
3,000 Miles
1 Mile for every $12 spent
19.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($149 thereafter)
Min. recommended credit score: 760
Get up to 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles when you spend a minimum of $5,000 in the first three months. Plus, get the $149 annual fee waived for the first year.
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4. Use a BMO Air Miles debit card

If you open a BMO Air Miles chequing account, you earn 1 mile for every $30 you spend with your BMO debit card. As an extra bonus, if you have a BMO Air Miles World Mastercard or BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard but use your BMO debit card to make a purchase, you’ll earn 25 bonus miles each month.

5. Shop with a linked Mastercard

It’s possible to link any Canadian-issued Mastercard credit card to your Air Miles account. You can then use that linked card to pay for eligible purchases and to access special offers to help boost your Air Miles balance.

6. Book travel with Air Miles Travel

You can use the Air Miles Travel portal to book flights, hotel stays, car rentals, vacation packages and more. Earn miles on your booking and access special offers from partners like Air Canada, Westjet and Budget Car Rental.

What is the fastest way to collect Air Miles?

The easiest way to earn Air Miles fast is to use an Air Miles credit card.(3) When you shop at partner retailers and use your card for other everyday purchases, it’s easy to ramp up your miles earn rate.

You’ll usually earn a set number of points with your Air Miles credit card, which will be automatically deposited into your Air Miles membership account.

How much are Air Miles worth?

It depends on whether you redeem Air Miles as Cash Miles or Dream Miles:

  • Cash Miles. 95 Cash Miles are worth $10, so 1 Cash Mile is worth 10.5 cents.
  • Dream Miles. The value of Dream Miles varies depending on the reward you redeem them for, with rewards starting from 250 Dream Miles. So 1 Dream Mile will be worth less than 10.5 cents when redeemed on some rewards, but worth more on others.

That’s why it’s important to calculate the cost of Dream Miles purchases in cents per mile to work out whether you’re getting good value.

Cash Miles vs. Dream Miles

AIR MILES logoThere are two types of miles you can collect in the Air Miles program — Cash Miles and Dream Miles. You get to choose whether you want to earn your rewards as Cash Miles, Dream Miles, or a mix of the two.

But what’s the difference between Cash Miles and Dream Miles? It all comes down to what you can redeem them for.

  • Cash Miles. You can redeem Cash Miles online for eVouchers or in-store at select partners.
  • Dream Miles. You can redeem Dream Miles online for flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, merchandise, events and attractions. Check out our full guide to what you can buy at the Air Miles Rewards shop.

How do I choose Cash Miles or Dream Miles?

Set your preferences for collecting Air Miles Dream Miles and Cash Miles by using the slider in your airmiles.ca account. You can set the slider to 100% Dream Miles or 100% Cash Miles if you want. When you’re all set, select Update balance preference to save your changes.

This will apply to Air Miles you earn in the future. You can’t change how your existing Air Miles are divided up. You can change your Air Miles points redemption preferences as often as you’d like.

AIRMILES dream miles cash miles slider

Can I convert Dream Miles to Cash Miles (or the other way around)?

No. Air Miles Dream Miles cannot be converted to Cash Miles. Similarly, you cannot convert Air Miles Cash Miles to Dream Miles. However, you can change your preferences for earning Dream Miles and Cash Miles by logging into your account at Airmiles.ca.

Are there any Air Miles promotions and bonus offers?

Yes. Air Miles always has limited-time offers and promotions to help you boost your miles balance. These include bonus miles, “multiplier” rewards, discounts on specific products and partner brands, and exclusive access to competitions.

You can access the latest deals on the Offers section of the Air Miles website, or download the Air Miles app. The app can be downloaded for free from Google Play, Apple’s App Store and Samsung’s Galaxy Store, and you can also use it to scan your digital Air Miles card when paying with Cash Miles at the checkout.

Finally, BMO also commonly offers bonus miles when you sign up for a BMO Air Miles credit card. At the time of writing, you could get 2000 Air Miles bonus miles by signing up for a BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard.

Who are Air Miles partners (known as partner brands)?

Air Miles lets you earn points for everyday purchases like gas, retail items and dining out. Partners include Spotify, Cineplex, Hudson’s Bay, Starbucks and The Source. You can redeem online for eVouchers or in store at Shell stations and other retailers (select provinces).

Visit the Air Miles rewards website(4) to redeem Air Miles for evouchers. Select your province from the dropdown list to see which stores are available to you.

Cashing in Dream Miles: What can you buy at the Air Miles Rewards shop?

If you’re looking to redeem your Dream Miles at the Air Miles Rewards shop, you’ve got plenty of choice when it comes to merchandise.

Redeeming Miles for merchandise

You can only redeem Dream Miles in the Merchandise Rewards shop. Cash Miles can only be used for eVouchers or in-person discounts at Air Miles partner stores. This means if you only collect Cash Miles, you won’t be able to shop in the Merchandise Rewards store.

How to browse the Merchandise Rewards Catalogue

To browse the available merchandise, you’ll need to visit rewards.airmiles.ca/merchandise. If you have an Air Miles account, you can sign in using the “Sign in” button. You can browse items and simply redeem your Air Miles for any merchandise – as long as you have enough Dream Miles for the product.

If you’re just looking to browse the catalogue, you don’t have to sign in to your account. Should you find something you’d like to purchase with your Dream Miles you can then log in to your account.

Merchandise categories

Choose from thousands of products across a range of categories including:

  • Electronics
  • Kitchen and dining
  • Home
  • Outdoor living
  • Kids, baby and pets
  • Fashion and beauty
  • Luggage and travel
  • Sports and fitness
  • Hobbies, music and games
  • Deal of the Week

Purchasing merchandise

To purchase a product from the Merchandise Rewards Catalogue, simply click the “Sign in to Order” button underneath the product description. You can then log in to your account. Once you’re logged in, you’ll either be able to purchase the product or, if you don’t have enough Dream Miles, the number of Miles you need in order to purchase the product will appear.

Should you not have enough Miles or you’re unsure you want the product, you can add it to your “Wishlist” or simply purchase more Dream Miles from the Air Miles website.

To view products you’ve ordered, navigate to the “My Orders” page, where you can view any orders you’ve placed – whether that’s merchandise or eVouchers.

How to get a discount when redeeming Dream Miles

It’s possible to get a discount of 10% or 20% off the number of Air Miles required to redeem for a product, but it depends what Collector tier you are in.

There are three tiers – blue, gold and black. Gold tier members get a 10% discount on merchandise, while black tier members get a 20% discount.

The tier you’re in is determined by the number of Air Miles you collect in a calendar year:

  • Blue. Earn between 0 to 999 Miles in a calendar year.
  • Gold. Earn between 1,000 to 5,999 Miles in a calendar year.
  • Black. Earn more than 6,000 Miles in a calendar year.

Delivery

Merchandise Rewards are typically delivered within four weeks or less from the time of ordering. Certificate Rewards are usually delivered within three weeks or less.

You can track your order every step of the way – from the processing to the packaging and delivery. To check the status of your purchase, log in to your account and navigate to the “My Orders” section. You can then click on your reward and track it.

Air Miles alternatives

Not sure if Air Miles is the right program for you? Compare it to these other reward programs first:

  • Aeroplan. Aeroplan is Air Canada’s frequent flyer program that allows you to redeem Aeroplan points for flights, hotel stays, car rentals and retail rewards. But is Aeroplan or Air Miles better? Check out our Aeroplan guide to find out what it has to offer.
  • Avion. Avion is RBC’s rewards program that lets you earn points when you spend money on your RBC Avion credit card. You can redeem Avion points for flights, merchandise, gift cards and more. Learn more in our Air Miles vs. Avion guide.
  • Aventura. Aventura is CIBC’s reward program that rewards you with points when you spend on an Aventura credit card. Points can be redeemed for flights and other travel rewards, merchandise, gift cards, exclusive experiences and more. Learn how to redeem Aventura Points in our guide.

Bottom line

You can redeem Air Miles for Dream Miles by logging in to the airmiles.ca online portal or by visiting the Air Miles Rewards Miles Catalogue. Redeem Cash Miles for eVouchers to dozens of popular retailers or in store at a few partners. And if you really want to maximize your reward earning power, get an Air Miles credit card to rack up miles faster when you shop at partner and non-partner stores.

FAQs about how to redeem Air Miles

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Written by

Tim Falk

Tim Falk is a freelance writer for Finder. Over the course of his 15-year writing career, he has reported on a wide range of personal finance topics. Whether you're investing in stocks and ETFs, comparing savings accounts or choosing a credit card, Tim wants to make it easier for you to understand. When he’s not staring at his computer, you can usually find him exploring the great outdoors. See full profile

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