Air Miles Points: How It Work?

Posted on July 7, 2021

Did you know every single flight you take can have an extra value? It's true! Every single purchase you make can give you points that can be redeemed at popular shopping and travel sites. 

With vaccination rates rising, it's a good idea to start planning how to maximize your first trips. You can get great deals that can upgrade your travel and reduce your spending. 

There are so many different options and it's important to know how Air Miles points work for Canadians. To learn everything you need to know about Air Miles, keep reading! 

What Are They?

Air Miles is a popular loyalty program in Canada. While there are many Airmiles rewards programs out there, Air Miles offers a unique system. You can choose between two types of miles that you want to earn, Dream Miles or Cash Miles - or you can earn a combination of the two.

Dream Miles make up the bulk of rewards opportunities. They can be redeemed for anything from concerts to flights and car rentals. Cash Miles can get you cashback or store discounts. 

Redeeming towards flights can help you achieve your winter vacation dreams. Check out these cheap travel destinations for Canadians! 

Clearly, Air Miles have many uses in Canada. How much these Air Miles points are worth depends on what you want to do with them. Typically, the value of your miles is higher when redeemed for concerts and flights, but lower for general merchandise. 

How Do I Earn Air Miles?

There are several different ways to earn Air Miles rewards. We'll go over the easiest and most valuable ways to gain points in this section. 

BMO Air Miles

Just by making a purchase with a BMO banking plan, you can collect Air Miles with your debit card purchases. This way, you don't have to keep track of which stores give Air Miles, you're earning no matter what!

The BMO banking plan has a monthly fee but rewards you with a mile for every $30 you spend no matter what you're buying or from where. But if that doesn't suit you, BMO offers Mastercard options as well. 

BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

So, how many air miles do you get with an Elite BMO Mastercard?With the highest welcome bonus of their cards, BMO offers 3,000 miles when you sign up and are approved. Additionally, they have a high earn rate at 1 mile per $12 spent anywhere. 

As a bonus, you can earn up to three times the number of miles when you shop with certain Air Miles partners. Planning to use your miles to go solo? Check out the top solo travelling destinations of this year!

However, it is important to note that there is an annual fee of $120. But, the first year is free so you can ease into the system. 

BMO Air Miles Mastercard

Similar to the Elite card, BMO offers a free card with no annual fee. This card comes with a welcome bonus of 1,500 miles and one mile for every $25 you spend anywhere. The same offer of earning up to three times the number of miles with select partners is also available with this card. 


Indigo is a popular online shopping website that you can earn Air Miles with. But, how much are Indigo points worth? For every $20 you spend you will earn one Air Mile! 


Did you know you can even get air miles on the massively popular shopping site, Amazon? The answer is: Yes! You absolutely can. 

How do I redeem my Airmiles on Amazon? It's simple. Enter your Air Miles collector number on the Air Miles website and shop through their portal and Amazon. 

Shell Canada Air Miles Reward Program

Fuelling up can be rewarding! From fuel to snacks, there are so many ways to rack up the Miles at Shell. Opt into AIR MILES Cash and you could be getting free* fuel and more!

AIR MILES Collectors get Reward Miles on eligible* purchases at participating retail service stations, authorized resellers and aviation locations across Canada. 


If you're looking to maximize your travel experience, you can also use your Air Miles with Expedia. But, you can also double up as Expedia has its own points system. 

To give an example, what is the value of 25000 Expedia points? It's around $216. If you combine earning Expedia points with your Air Miles you'll be getting almost double the bonuses. 

You earn 1 mile for every $35 spent on Expedia. 


Even high-end companies such as Apple are a part of the Air Miles rewards system. For every $20 you spend - and that's easy to do with Apple - you will earn one Air Mile. 

What Is the Air Miles Shop?

The Air Miles shop is an online shopping portal where you can earn Air Miles for purchasing all different types of products. When you sign in you can browse for the different products you need and purchase them through the Air Miles portal. 

There are frequent daily deals where you can earn extra miles. When you're earning five times the points, you're really rolling those points in! 

If you've been patiently earning your miles waiting for the world to open back up, then you probably have quite a stockpile. Be sure to give our beginner's guide to travelling abroad a read. 

Air Miles Travel and Flight Rewards

Is it worth using air miles for flights? Or should you save them for merchandise? 

Actually, flights are one of the best value rewards options, along with concerts. You will get the most out of your miles by redeeming for flights. Generally, you can expect fully covered flights to start around 1,200 miles. 

Booking with your Air Miles is simple, as they partner with many popular carriers such as Air Canada and Westjet. You can use their advanced search feature to find a flight. 

You can use both Dream Miles and Cash Miles when searching. Once you input your dates and destinations the system will return your different flight options and their Air Miles cost. 

But what if I don't have enough for a full flight? Can I use Air miles to pay for part of a flight? Unfortunately, as of this moment, you can't. 

When you search for flights the system will only return flights that you can afford with your Air Miles balance. This means, if you only have 2,000 miles in your account, you can only see flights that cost the same or under. 

What Are Air Miles Dream Miles?

As mentioned earlier, Dream Miles is where you will earn the bulk of rewards options. Cash Miles can also be earned in order to get cashback and coupons.

Can I convert Dream Miles to Cash Miles? Sadly, once you have received the miles in your account, you cannot convert or transfer them. You can only change your earning preference so that next time you have the miles you want. 

You're probably wondering how many dream miles are required for a vacation. Travel rewards with partner airlines can cost as few as 1,200 points for a short-haul trip. Hotels and car rentals can also be redeemed with Air Miles. 

Or, maybe you want a full package. For every 909 miles, you can earn $100 towards a vacation package or a cruise. 

If you don't shop online often, you need to know the Air Miles expiration policy. Generally, your Air Miles don't expire. However, your Air Miles account can if you don't log in for a long period of time. 

Your account can be considered "dormant" after 24 consecutive months of inaction. This shouldn't be a problem for most people, but it is a way that your points could potentially disappear if you aren't somewhat active. 

How Do I Check My Air Miles Balance?

You're probably wondering how the whole Air Miles process works in detail. Let's look at how you can check your Air Miles balance.

First, you need to go to the Air Miles website, which you can find here. Click the sign-in button, and then click "join now."

Once you join, Air Miles will issue you your Collector Number. You can use this number, along with your chosen PIN, to log in. Once you start shopping as we described above, you can check your balance. 

Be aware that your miles can take up to 75 days to be posted to your account. Once posted, you will find them in your account. You can also view your transaction history here. 

When you are ready to redeem, simply head to the Rewards section. Here, you can see your redeeming options. Once you've decided, just place your order!

Now That You're Earning Miles: What Next? 

How about actually using those Air Miles points to take a trip? The Covid-19 pandemic has had us all cooped up for far too long. But you don't want to rush into things.

Before heading off, make sure you have travel insurance. Check out these top travel insurance recommendations for seniors! 

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