Credit card details are up to date as of January 1, 2021. For the most accurate and up to date information, visit the issuer’s website.
AIR MILES is one of the oldest and most recognized loyalty programs in Canada, so it should be no surprise that there are millions of Canadians who are members. But did you know you can easily increase your earn rate with an AIR MILES credit card? This should be obvious, but many people are leaving their AIR MILES behind when they decide to pay with cash or a different credit card at participating AIR MILES merchants.
The good thing is, earning more AIR MILES is easy with one of the best AIR MILES credit cards. Here’s why you should start collecting AIR MILES and what the best AIR MILES credit cards are.
Why Choose AIR MILES Credit Card?
The real advantage of using an AIR MILES credit card is that you can double dip your points at participating AIR MILES Sponsors. That means if you’re making a purchase at a merchant that allows you to earn AIR MILES, you can earn double the points by scanning your AIR MILES card or app and then paying with your AIR MILES credit card. There’s no quicker way to earn AIR MILES.
Editor’s Choice for the Best AIR MILES Credit Card on the Market
BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®
There’s no doubt about it, the best AIR MILES credit card on the market is the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®. The sign-up bonus and earn rate are considerably better than the other AIR MILES credit cards on the market, while the annual fee of $120 is waived for the first year. To give you some perspective of the value you’re getting, the welcome offer of 2,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership is worth approximately $210 at participating stores in cash rewards, so you’re essentially getting a total value of $330. Another lesser-known benefit about the card is that you get 15% off AIR MILES redemptions on flights within North America, which is a great way to help you stretch out all those AIR MILES you’ll be earning.
You’ll also get an excellent earn rate of 1 AIR MILE for every $12 in purchases. Additional benefits include a complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey with a comprehensive travel insurance package which includes travel medical for up to 15 days per trip. The card does come with an annual fee of $120, but it’s waived for the first year.
- Annual Fee: $120 (first year free)
- Income Eligibility: $80,000 individual or $150,000 household
- Credit Score Required: Excellent
- Welcome Offer: 2,000 AIR MILES bonus miles
- Additional Perks: Travel insurance, Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey
- Purchase APR: 20.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99% (21.99% for Quebec residents)
Summary: Best AIR MILES Credit Cards in Canada in 2021
|Credit Card||Annual Fee||Welcome Bonus/Points Ratio||Reward Miles|
|BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®|
|$120 (first year free)||2,000 Miles (Conditions apply)||1 reward mile for every $12 in credit card purchases||Visit Site|
|BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*|
|$0||800 Miles (Conditions apply)||1 Mile per $25 on all purchases|
3x Miles per $25 at participating AIR MILES Partners
|American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card|
|$120||2,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles|
|1 Mile for every $5 on food and drinks, gas and transit|
1 Mile for every $10 on all other purchases
|BMO AIR MILES®† Business Mastercard®*|
|$120 (first year annual fee waived)||Get 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles - that’s enough for $310 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash!*||1 Mile on every $10 + 1.25X the Miles on Shell purchases||Visit Site|
BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*
A no annual fee credit card option is the BMO AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*. Many people will be attracted to the sign-up bonus of 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles when you spend $1,000 in net card purchases in the first three months of card membership. That’s more than what other credit cards offer, but your earn rate is lower with this since you’ll only get 1 AIR MILE per $25 spent on all purchases. However, you get 3x the Miles for every $25 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners — a great way to rack up miles. You’ll also get extended warranty and purchase protection, as an added benefit.
- Annual Fee: $0
- Minimum Income Eligibility: $15,000 individual
- Credit Score Required: Good
- Welcome Offer: 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles
- Additional Perks: Extended warranty and purchase protection
- Purchase APR: 19.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99% (21.99% for Quebec residents)
American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card
Now is a great time to sign up for the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card. For a limited time, new cardholders will receive a generous 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 card membership. That’s enough to redeem for $200 towards your purchases with AIR MILES®* Cash. Not too shabby!
Aside from a great welcome bonus, you’ll also enjoy an earn rate of 1 Mile for every $5 in card purchases of food, gas, groceries and transit (up to $30,000 annually). For everything else, you’ll earn 1 Mile for every $10 spent. You can also earn 500 miles for each successful referral, up to a maximum annual referral bonus of 7,500 Miles.
The American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card offers insurance coverage to accompany their generous rewards program, including car rental insurance, travel accident insurance, purchase protection, and buyer’s assurance protection.
- Annual Fee: $120
- Minimum Income Eligibility: N/A
- Credit Score Required: Good to Excellent
- Welcome Bonus: Up to 2,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles
- Additional Perks: Travel accident insurance, car rental insurance, purchase protection, and buyer’s assurance protection
- Purchase APR: 20.99% | Cash Advance APR: 21.99%
BMO AIR MILES®† Business Mastercard®*
If you’re looking for a business credit card with a hefty welcome bonus, the BMO AIR MILES®† Business Mastercard®* may be for you. This credit card for businesses gives you a welcome bonus of 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles – that’s enough for $310 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash!*. How it works: Spend $5,000 within the first three months of account open date to earn the 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles. Plus, the $120 first year annual fee is waived for new cardholders.
You’ll also enjoy a regular earn rate of 1 AIR MILES Reward Mile on every $10 you spend. As a bonus, when you use your credit card to pay for your travel arrangements, you’ll benefit from a suite of insurance benefits, including car rental insurance, trip cancellation insurance, flight delay, trip delay/interruption insurance, and more.
- Annual Fee: $120 (first-year annual fee waiver)
- Income Eligibility: N/A
- Credit Score Required: N/A
- Welcome Bonus: Get 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles – that’s enough for $310 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash!*
- Additional Perks: Earn AIR MILES on card purchases, travel insurance, car rental insurance, shopping protection
- Purchase APR: 19.99% | Cash Advance APR: 22.99%
Calculate your Annual Air Miles Rewards
Take a closer look at the credit cards above, and see which card is best suited for your needs, based on your spending categories.
AIR MILES Dream Miles vs. Cash Miles
With AIR MILES, you have the option to earn AIR MILES Dream Rewards or AIR MILES Cash Rewards. With Dream Rewards, you can use your AIR MILES to redeem travel, tickets, and merchandise. The redemption rate varies, but it tends to give you a better bang for your buck, allowing you to cash in for some bigger ticket items. For example, you could cash in your Dream Miles for a flight, but the number of AIR MILES needed will depend a bunch of factors, such as the destination, time of year, fare class, and so forth.
AIR MILES Cash Rewards are more straightforward. Basically, you can redeem your AIR MILES instantly at participating stores or online for AIR MILES eVouchers. The cash value works out to 95 Miles for every $10, which can be put towards everyday shopping for things like groceries or gas at participating partners. So if you’re at the grocery checkout, you’d need 950 AIR MILES to pay for a $100 bill.
You can split how you want to earn your points per category (e.g. 50/50, 80/20, etc.), but once you’ve earned miles in a specific category, they can’t be transferred. That said, you can change your ratio allocation at any time.
How to Earn AIR MILES Faster
There are a few easy ways you can supercharge your AIR MILES earnings:
- Shop at AIR MILES partners: AIR MILES has hundreds of partners – retailers and service providers that offer AIR MILES when you purchase from them. It’s pretty easy to rack up miles through these partners with everyday spending, as they include popular retailers such as Metro, Safeway, Sobeys, Shell Canada, the LCBO, Staples, Rona, and others. Focus your spending at these partners and you’ll quickly see a difference on your rewards statements.
- Get an AIR MILES credit card: The fastest way to accumulate AIR MILES is by using an AIR MILES credit card for everyday purchases. How it works: you earn AIR MILES on every $1 that you charge to your AIR MILES credit card, plus twice the AIR MILES if it’s a purchase from a participating AIR MILES partner. All you have to do is scan or enter your AIR MILES membership card at check out, and then use your AIR MILES credit card to pay.
- Shop online at AirMilesShops.ca: A great way to earn AIR MILES is to shop online with AirMilesShops.ca – an online shopping portal of 200+ retailers where you can earn at AIR MILES for every dollar you spend. Just by doing everyday shopping through this site, you’ll earn 1 AIR MILE per $20 spent at most participating retailers. In addition, there are often bonus offers that allow you to multiply your AIR MILES and get double (or even triple!) the points.
Final Words: Is An AIR MILES Credit Card the Right Card for You?
Is an AIR MILES credit card the right card for you? If you enjoy collecting AIR MILES, then applying for an AIR MILES credit card is the smart thing to do since you can earn double the miles (just don’t forget to show your loyalty card or app). Choosing the right card can be a bit trickier since you need to look at the sign-up bonus, earn rate and income requirements before settling on a card that fits your lifestyle. Once you do pick a card, make sure you allocate your points to the rewards category you prefer so you can make the most out of your AIR MILES. Debating whether to collect AIR MILES or Aeroplan (or both)? Take a look at our article on Aeroplan vs. AIR MILES.
The Best Credit Cards by Category:
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This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.