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.
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 points to redeem travel and merchandise, whereas Cash Rewards allows you to redeem your points instantly for discounts on your purchases at participating stores. 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.
Summary: Best AIR MILES Credit Cards in Canada in 2019
|Credit Card||Annual Fee||Welcome Bonus & Points Ratio||More Info|
|BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®||$120 (first year free)||3,000 Miles after $3,000 spend in first 3 months|
1 Mile per $10 on all purchases
|American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card||$65||2,000 Miles after $1,500 spend in first 3 months|
1 Mile per $10 at Air Miles sponsors, grocery stores, gas stations, drug stores / 1 Mile per $15 everywhere else
|American Express® AIR MILES®* Credit Card||$0||500 Miles after $5000 spend in first 3 months|
1 Mile per $15 at Air Miles sponsors / 1 Mile per $20 everywhere else
|BMO® AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*||$0||Up to 800 Miles|
1 Mile per $20 on all purchases
BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®
Credit score required: Good to excellent
Minimum personal income required: $80,000
Annual fees: $120 (free – waived for the first year)
The BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard® comes with a great welcome bonus and a high earn rate. You’ll get 1,000 AIR MILES after your first purchase and another 2,000 AIR MILES when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership. The earn rate of 1 AIR MILE for every $10 in purchases is the highest AIR MILES rate of return out there for an AIR MILES credit card. Additional benefits include Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey with two free annual passes, 15% off AIR MILES flights within North America, and 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.
American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card
Credit score required: N/A
Minimum personal income required: None
Annual fees: $65
Although the annual fee of $65 is not waived for the first year when applying for the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card, it still comes packed with enough features to make this card a winner. There’s a welcome bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES when you charge $1,500 in purchases to your card in the first three months of card membership. As for the earn rate, you’ll get 1 AIR MILES for every $10 spent at AIR MILES sponsors, grocery stores, gas stations, and drug stores. All other purchases will earn you 1 AIR MILE per $15 spent. As an American Express cardholder, you also get access to American Express invites which gives you exclusive offers to entertainment and dining experiences.
American Express® AIR MILES®* Credit Card
Credit score required: Fair to Good
Minimum personal income required: None
Annual fees: $0
If you prefer an AIR MILES credit card with no annual fee, then take a look at the American Express® AIR MILES®* Credit Card. The earn rate won’t be as high as cards that come with an annual fee, but you’ll still get 1 AIR MILE per $15 spent at AIR MILES sponsors and 1 AIR MILE per $20 spent on all other purchases which are a decent rate of return. The welcome bonus of 500 AIR MILES only requires you to spend $500 in the first three months of card membership, so this could be a good option for people who don’t spend much but still want to earn AIR MILES. Even though this is a no fee card, you still get American Express Invites as a standard benefit, as well as buyer’s assurance and purchase protection.
Editor's Choice for the Best AIR MILES Credit Card on the Market
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 3,000 AIR MILES welcome bonus is worth approximately $315 at participating stores in cash rewards, so you’re essentially getting a total value of $435 when you apply for this card. 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.
Since this is a World Elite®* Mastercard®, there is a minimum income requirement of $80,000 for you to qualify for the card. However, you would also qualify for the card if you have a household income of $150,000. If you meet one of those requirements, then the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard is the way to go. Don’t worry if you don’t meet the minimum income requirement, as the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card is another great choice.
BMO® AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*
Credit score required: Poor to Fair
Minimum personal income required: $0
Annual fees: $0
Another no-fee credit card option is the BMO® AIR MILES®† Mastercard®*. Many people will be attracted to the sign-up bonus of up to 800 AIR MILES. That’s more than what the American Express® AIR MILES®* Credit Card offers, but your earn rate is lower with this since you’ll only get 1 AIR MILE per $20 spent on all purchases. You'll also get extended warranty and purchase protection, as an added benefit.
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.
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