Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 26 Update: Hiton HHonors Status Match/Challenge, finding more AIR MILES reward options and more

News, Tips & Tricks
At the end of June the awesome Hilton HHonors status match offer came to an end. The good news is that it is back but the bad news is that they made it a little tougher. Now when you sign up for it you will only get status for 90 days rather than the full year and half or so to March 2018. You can still get the full status to March 2018 but it requires you to complete four Hilton stays within that first 90 days of this offer. So not as good as before but still better than nothing if you missed out previously. Find out more here!


WestJet has released the details of their Winter flying schedule which includes a new route between Regina and Orlando (Source WestJet)

  • New non-stop weekly service between Regina and Orlando, Florida, effective October 27, 2016.
  • New flights from Toronto to a number of Canadian and international destinations including Vancouver, Ottawa, Moncton, Myrtle Beach, Aruba, Kingston (Jamaica), San Jose and Liberia (Costa Rica), Port of Spain and St. Martin.
  • An increase of 41 new weekly flights between Vancouver and Kelowna, Prince George, Toronto, Honolulu, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and Los Angeles.
  • Kelowna will see 19 new flights per week to Vancouver and two additional weekly flights to Calgary.
  • Service from Halifax will increase with seven additional weekly flights to Sydney, Nova Scotia, and daily flights added this summer scheduled to continue through the winter.
  • Extension of existing seasonal services through the winter, including Vancouver-Montreal, and Toronto to Gander, Nashville, Los Angeles and Brandon.
  • Additional flights from Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg to domestic and international destinations.
  • As previously announced, non-stop service to London Gatwick from Calgary and Toronto will operate on year-round basis through the winter.

Posts since our last update:


Bonus Offers

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
- 2,000 Bonus Mileage Plan Miles on your first Rocketmiles booking More... Book by Sep 30 ,16

Best Western Rewards
- Double Rewards Points for stays at the BEST WESTERN Blanche De Castille Dourdan, BEST WESTERN Plus Hotel Setif or the Abbaye des Capucins Spa & Resort, BW Premier Collection - Montauban More... Until Sep 30, 16

British Airways Executive Club
- Triple Avios for stays at Accor Hotels Worldwide. More... Book by Sep 12 for stays until Oct 12, 16

Carlson Hotels Club Carlson
- 2,000 Bonus Gold Points + a $25 Restaurant.com gift card for stays of 2 or more nights at participating Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotels in the U.S.. More... Until Sep 5, 16

Hilton HHonors
- Hilton HHonors Elite Status Match to preferred and elite status levels in other hotel programs. Status will be matched for 90 days and if you complete 4 stays in that time period you will receive the status until March 31, 18 More... Until ?

Iberia Plus
- Triple Avios for stays at Accor Hotels Worldwide. More... Book by Sep 12 for stays until Oct 12, 16

IHG Rewards Club
- 5,000 points per award night - IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks Redeem only 5,000 points for stays at select hotels Worldwide. More... Until Oct 31, 16

Orbitz Rewards
- 2x Orbucks on all flights booked via Orbitz. More... Book by Aug 2, 16

Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Receive up to a 35% QMiles Discount when you use miles to upgrade to a Premium Cabin. More... Until Aug 31, 16
- Earn up to 10,000 Bonus QMiles when you fly between the Sarajevo and Doha. More... Nov 2 - Jan 31, 17
- Save up to 17,200 QMiles when you redeem for an award ticket to or from the Sarajevo. More... Nov 2 - Dec 2, 16
- Earn up to 10,000 Bonus QMiles when you fly between Windhoek and Doha. More... Sep 28 - Dec 31, 16
- Save up to 18,000 QMiles when you redeem for an award ticket to or from Windhoek. More... Book by Oct 31 for travel Sep 28 - Nov 30, 16
- Earn up to 10,000 Bonus QMiles when you fly between Chiang Mai and Doha. More... Dec 16 - Mar 15, 17
- Save up to 20,000 QMiles when you redeem for an award ticket to or from Chiang Mai. More... Book by Jan 15 for travel Dec 16 - Feb 15, 17


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Here is the key to finding more AIR MILES redemption options on their website

This post is now part of our Guide to AIR MILES expiry. Find that guide here.

We have received emails and comments from many of our readers about the lack of rewards on the AIR MILES website for those looking to use up their miles before they expire. One of those emails that we received this past Friday reads as such:
After collecting 3200 Air Miles over the last 15 years, I finally decide to use them, especially since the recent media coverage regarding their new expiration policy.

I spent a couple days going through ever page on the dream merchandise site and finding very little that I would even want. Finally I decided on a coffee grinder for around 1800 points. I checked out and got my notification that the item was ordered and my points dropped the 1400.

Going back on the reward site I now noticed a lot more items listed under my 3200 point level. And things that I would really like to have.

I immediately called Air Miles and was on hold for just under 2 hours. I explained what happened to the agent, and was assured that Air Miles does not hide items based on someones points.

- why do I then have to provide a collector number before the items are visible?

She cancelled my order and credited my account back to the 3200. I then went back online and everything I could afford and want, had disappeared.

Am I going crazy??

I randomly selected a collector number and found a client with under 1000 points.

Wow, no surprise but that member had a lot more selection under 3000 points then I did.

Please test and verify for yourself this activity by Air Miles as soon as possible since I'm sure with the recent media coverage, many people are trying to receive what is owned to them for years of collecting.
Can it be so? Can the system show potential rewards to collectors as enticement to those who have very little miles and in reality know they won't get to that level while not showing rewards that someone can actually redeem for so they don't and also not show them ones that those collectors are close to being able to logically achieve?

We decided to try this ourselves by using our account and also the random account number that our reader provided us. The results are surprising. Also note, the way the AIR MILES website works is that you can input a collector number without a password so you can see the account balance but not do anything else in the account hence the ability to see what awards are available.

I inputted my membership number that has over 8,000 AIR MILES Rewards Miles and chose the computer/tablet rewards section. Here is what came up for me:


I then inputted the random number as our reader above did. That account had less than 300 miles in it and low and behold here is what it shows:




I don't see the Samsung tablet and many of the other items in my list!

And now Tools & Automotive. In my account with a larger balance AIR MILES shows me 9 items that I can redeem for using miles only while the account that has less than 300 miles has 13 items including a 3D printer and GPS that does not show up for my account:

My account:


and the account with less than 300 miles:


No GPS, no Samsung tablet. Nothing. Those did not show up as options for me.

While crafting this piece yesterday our reader wrote back with the following:
Just to let you know, I followed up with AM (AirMiles) again.  I called the service center and waited for a call back.  After 90 minutes I was contact (sic) by an agent who insisted I just needed to log in correctly. Which I did again and had the exact same results.  I then had my 18 year son set up an account and used his as an example and told the agent to escalate my complaint to a supervisor.
I was then transfer (sic) but put on hold for 55 min. 
When I finally got through, this person then tried to tell me that it was based on my account but only for random balancing of inventory by another 3rd party company.  I then told her it as a load of crap and that I had documented proof that AM was trying to hide merchandise to prevent members from cashing in their points by limiting their selections. She then asked for the item I wanted and then completed the transactions from the list of items I found through my sons account, as a special exception.
Also in that time I did reach out to AIR MILES to discuss this potential issue. They also told me that I should see more rewards if I do a full log in to the system. That is, not only inputting your member number but also your password/PIN. So I did just that, clicked on my account and did the full log in. It was at that time that I was able to see many more reward options become available to me. I saw the Samsung tablet, the GPS and more. For me personally,  I was unable to now reproduce our reader's situation but that doesn't mean it won't happen to you. AIR MILES explained to me that the reward catalog is in fact dynamic. Different members will see different reward options depending on how they use the program. If you are more engaged with the program and earn more miles chances are you'll get more reward options. How you navigate the AIR MILES website and also your personal interests will also affect which rewards you see. Is this ideal? I don't believe so. But if that is the case why are accounts with lower balances which perhaps indicates lower engagement seeing more rewards? Doesn't make sense. Everyone in the program should see the same rewards so they know what they can potentially redeem for. I get it if there are 'specials' for people who may be Onyx or Gold members, all programs do that. But in general the main reward catalog should be available to everyone not select members.

That also brings me to the question of what rewards show up before you complete a full log in. I know many of our readers and myself as well, use the AIR MILES website by simply inputting our membership number on the homepage without completing a full log in. By inputting that number the system should recognize at least to some extent, the engagement of the member but it does not. Why show more rewards to someone who has less than 300 miles in their account than someone who has more than 8,000? That's what started this post in the first place. My options were limited before doing a full log in and to many people this may have been their last step. They may believe that there is nothing they want to redeem for when in fact there could be. This is definitely misleading and what I believe to be the major source of the confusion as many of you have written to me about the lack of rewards. There is a simple fix here, AIR MILES should do away with the 'half' log in with your membership number only. Either make the entire reward catalog open to everyone without logging in or have everyone complete the full log in with PIN. Simple as that and the confusion goes away.

For example, you go to the AIR MILES website and click on Dream Rewards, they don't give you a full log in option, they give you this:
That's what I used and most members will use thinking they will be fully signed in and see all the rewards available to them. It even clearly states "Sign in below to see the range of rewards available to you" But that's not the case, using that screen above is what I used for this post and I got the short list of rewards.

I had to go to 'Your Profile' on the navigation menu on the top right and click on 'Your Transactions' to get the following where I could do the full log in:
Now I can really see where the confusion lies! Most everyone, including myself would think that the first log in option that comes up when you click on 'dream rewards' means you are logged in fully and you should see the full catalog. Nope, not that easy.

So the key is to fully log in to your AIR MILES account. Do not just input your membership number on the home page. Go to Your Profile, Your Transactions and enter your number along with PIN. And AIR MILES, do away with the non PIN half log in. You are creating a whole bunch of confusion and frustration which brings me to this part of the email from AIR MILES today:
Who wrote that?? The company is frustrated? Seriously? I know what they mean, it really should read 'Your frustration is our problem' but no company is going to state they have a problem. But to basically say that they are frustrated? Come on AIR MILES you can do better than that.


Monday, July 25, 2016

IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks - 5,000 Points for Award Night Redemptions at 135 Hotels (6 in Canada)


The latest set of IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks are now bookable for stays from today to October 31st (subject to availability).

Each Reward Night at these participating hotels will be only 5,000 IHG Rewards Club points during the above mentioned dates. Remember the new PointBreaks rules that a member can only book up to 2 reward reservations per hotel participating in the individual offer (ie 2 at Pointbreaks hotels and 2 at Last Minute Reward Night hotels).  My tip to get around this would be to book 2 reservations with one IHG Rewards Club account and then have your spouse book 2 more etc. Of course this is dependent on both accounts having enough points to redeem for these awards. Also be sure to book these ASAP as once the allotted nights are booked at certain locations those hotels will fall off the list.

Why are IHG Rewards Club Point Breaks such a great deal? Because they offer reward nights at participating IHG hotels Worldwide for only 5,000 Rewards Club points. For those of you not to familiar with IHG Rewards Club , normal redemption rates for Rewards Club reward nights run from as low as 10,000 points for some Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express locations to 50,000 points for ultra-luxurious InterContinental locations and even these locations can participate in PointBreaks. So as you can see you can receive a discount of 50 to 88% off the regular redemption rates. You may be thinking that the high end hotels won't participate but they do depending on the time of year! Please note that like most loyalty promotions these offers are capacity controlled so I advise you to book sooner than later to ensure you get the PointBreaks rate. These offers are now bookable via the primary PointsBreaks page or you can access them via the individual links below. (list pulled from the IHG)

This time the showing in Canada in slightly better with 6 hotels participating. Still not many hotels considering how many hotels they have n Canada but I guess better than the 4 we saw during the last iteration.

Canada


 

United States


ALABAMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CLANTON

ARIZONA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES ORO VALLEY-TUCSON NORTH
CANDLEWOOD SUITES SIERRA VISTA

ARKANSAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES HEBER SPRINGS
HOLIDAY INN LITTLE ROCK WEST - CHENAL PKWY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES MAGNOLIA-LAKE COLUMBIA

CALIFORNIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS CALEXICO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES JACKSON
STAYBRIDGE SUITES PALMDALE

COLORADO
STAYBRIDGE SUITES DENVER TECH CENTER
CANDLEWOOD SUITES CRAIG-NORTHWEST

CONNECTICUT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS SOUTHINGTON
CANDLEWOOD SUITES WINDSOR LOCKS BRADLEY ARPT

DELAWARE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES DOVER

FLORIDA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS DEFUNIAK SPRINGS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS NICEVILLE-EGLIN AFB

GEORGIA
CROWNE PLAZA ATLANTA SW - PEACHTREE CITY
HOLIDAY INN SAVANNAH S - I-95 GATEWAY

IDAHO
CANDLEWOOD SUITES IDAHO FALLS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES SANDPOINT NORTH

ILLINOIS
HOLIDAY INN ST. LOUIS-FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES LITCHFIELD WEST
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES SYCAMORE

INDIANA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES PORTLAND
CANDLEWOOD SUITES SOUTH BEND AIRPORT

IOWA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES DUBUQUE-WEST
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES SHELDON

KANSAS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES EL DORADO, KS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HUTCHINSON
CANDLEWOOD SUITES OVERLAND PARK - W 135TH ST.

KENTUCKY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES LONDON
HOLIDAY INN LOUISVILLE AIRPORT SOUTH

LOUISIANA
HOLIDAY INN COVINGTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES LAFAYETTE

MARYLAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS EASTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES GERMANTOWN - GAITHERSBURG
STAYBRIDGE SUITES BALTIMORE BWI AIRPORT

MASSACHUSETTS
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES WESTFIELD

MICHIGAN
STAYBRIDGE SUITES DETROIT-UTICA

MINNESOTA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES MINNEAPOLIS-BLOOMINGTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES ROGERS

MISSISSIPPI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES GRENADA
HOLIDAY INN MERIDIAN E - I 20/I 59

MISSOURI
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS KIRKSVILLE
HOLIDAY INN POPLAR BLUFF


NEBRASKA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES NORFOLK
CANDLEWOOD SUITES OMAHA AIRPORT

NEVADA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS FALLON

NEW HAMPSHIRE
HOLIDAY INN SALEM (I-93 AT EXIT 2)

NEW JERSEY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HASKELL-WAYNE AREA
STAYBRIDGE SUITES NORTH BRUNSWICK

NEW MEXICO
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES DEMING MIMBRES VALLEY
STAYBRIDGE SUITES LAS CRUCES

NEW YORK
HOLIDAY INN BUFFALO-INTL AIRPORT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES MALONE
HOLIDAY INN HOTEL & SUITES ROCHESTER - MARKETPLACE

NORTH CAROLINA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES FAYETTEVILLE-FT. BRAGG
CANDLEWOOD SUITES HUNTERSVILLE-LAKE NORMAN AREA
HOLIDAY INN LUMBERTON NORTH - I-95

NORTH DAKOTA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES BISMARCK
CANDLEWOOD SUITES FARGO-N. DAKOTA STATE UNIV.

OHIO
HOLIDAY INN DAYTON/FAIRBORN I-675

OKLAHOMA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES GUYMON
HOLIDAY INN OKLAHOMA CITY AIRPORT

PENNSYLVANIA
CANDLEWOOD SUITES PITTSBURGH-CRANBERRY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES DUBOIS
HOLIDAY INN JOHNSTOWN-DOWNTOWN

RHODE ISLAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES PROVIDENCE-WOONSOCKET

SOUTH CAROLINA
HOLIDAY INN ANDERSON
CANDLEWOOD SUITES SUMTER

SOUTH DAKOTA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES ABERDEEN

TENNESSEE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES ALCOA (KNOXVILLE AIRPORT)
HOLIDAY INN KNOXVILLE WEST- CEDAR BLUFF RD
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES MILLINGTON-MEMPHIS AREA

TEXAS
CANDLEWOOD SUITES DECATUR MEDICAL CENTER
CANDLEWOOD SUITES MOUNT PLEASANT
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES SAN ANTONIO - BROOKS CITY BASE

UTAH
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES LOGAN

VIRGINIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES EXMORE - EASTERN SHORE

WASHINGTON
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES BURLINGTON
CANDLEWOOD SUITES OAK HARBOR

WEST VIRGINIA
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES LOGAN
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES CHARLESTON-SOUTHRIDGE

WISCONSIN
HOLIDAY INN CONFERENCE CTR MARSHFIELD
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES PLEASANT PRAIRIE / KENOSHA

 

Europe


FINLAND
HOLIDAY INN TAMPERE - CENTRAL STATION

FRANCE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS GRENOBLE - BERNIN
HOLIDAY INN PARIS - PORTE DE CLICHY
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MONTPELLIER - ODYSSEUM

GERMANY
HOLIDAY INN LEIPZIG - GÜNTHERSDORF

HUNGARY
HOLIDAY INN BUDAPEST - BUDAÖRS

ITALY
HOLIDAY INN NOLA - NAPLES VULCANO BUONO

PORTUGAL
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS LISBON - ALFRAGIDE

RUSSIAN FEDERATION
HOLIDAY INN MOSCOW - SOKOLNIKI
STAYBRIDGE SUITES ST. PETERSBURG

SPAIN
HOLIDAY INN ELCHE
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS PAMPLONA

SWITZERLAND
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS AFFOLTERN AM ALBIS

UNITED KINGDOM
HOLIDAY INN BOLTON CENTRE
HOLIDAY INN BRENTWOOD M25, JCT.28
HOLIDAY INN DARLINGTON - A1 SCOTCH CORNER
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS GRIMSBY
HOLIDAY INN IPSWICH - ORWELL
HOLIDAY INN LEAMINGTON SPA - WARWICK
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS MIDDLESBROUGH - CENTRE SQUARE
HOLIDAY INN LEEDS - WAKEFIELD M1, JCT.40

 

Asia

Middle East & Africa

 

Central & South America

 

Mexico

 

Oceania



Friday, July 22, 2016

July 22 Update: Air Canada launches crowdfunding travel site Embarq and 3 way to keep AIR MILES from expiring

News, Tips & Tricks
Air Canada has launched a first of its kind crowdfunding website called Embarq to helps travellers raise funds to reach a travel goal. The site has actually been around since March when it soft launched. 
The website, created in partnership with marketing firm JWT, facilitates contributions to a travel goal by encouraging users to upload photos or a video story and spread the campaign through social media. It was soft launched in March.

“No other airline is offering a similar product,” Ms. Filali said. “More and more of our existing customers were purchasing our e-gift card to help friends and relatives with their travel dreams.”  (Excerpt from The Globe and Mail)
We took a look at the site and while we think it is an interesting concept it doesn't seem to be taking off just yet. Most people who have posted a travel goal have not received any fundng from anyone. We saw one person who actually reached their goal for a honeymoon (probably sent it to everyone invited to their wedding so it makes funding it easy!) another at only 5% of their goal and another at 2%. The rest were at 0%.

We hope the site takes off for Air Canada as it is a very clever marketing tool for them (all funds raised are converted to Air Canada Gift Cards so Air Canada gets the revenue when these crowdfunders redeem for travel!) and it is also good for the traveller as there are no fees. 100% of the funds raised goes to the travel goals. Find out more about Embarq here!
 
Posts since our last update:

Bonus Offers
airberlin topbonus
- Earn up to 1,000 Bonus topbonus Miles when you stay at participating Marriott Hotels in Europe. More... Until Sep 11, 16
- Double topbonus Miles when you book and travel on WESTbahn. More... Until Aug 31, 16

Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Earn up to 1,000 Bonus MilleMiglia Miles for each flight on Alitalia between Rome and Larnaca. More... Until Sep 4, 16
- Earn up to Triple MilleMiglia Miles when you fly on airberlin from Florence, Bologna, Milan Linate, and Venice, via Dusseldorf , to Havana , Varadero , Puertoplata and Puntacana or from Milan Linate, via Berlin, to Varadero and Punta Cana. More... Book by Sep 30 for travel until Nov 30, 16

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Earn up to 150% Bonus Asia Miles when you book hotels with Expedia Hong Kong or Taiwan. More... Book by Aug 31, 16
- Triple Asia Miles for stays at the at Grand Lapa, Macau or Grand Coloane Resort. More... Until Dec 31, 16
- Earn up to Triple Asia Miles for stays at Jin Jiang Hotels. More... Until Oct 31, 16

EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Double Infinity MileageLands Miles for stays on the Linger Longer offer at participating Langham Hotels Worldwide. More... Until Sep 30, 16

Philippine Airlines Mabuhay
- Earn up to Quadruple Miles for stays at participating Hilton hotels Worldwide. More... Until Sep 30, 16

Voila Hotel Rewards
- 20% VHR Points Discount when you redeem for an award night at a VOILÀ network hotel Worldwide. More... Until Sep 30, 16


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Thursday, July 21, 2016

3 ways to keep your AIR MILES Reward Miles from expiring

With this next piece in our Guide to AIR MILES expiry we look at how you can keep your miles that are 5 or more years old from expiring at the end of this year. Tips 1 and 2 essentially come to the same result but take two different paths to get there while 3 seems like an obvious choice.

1. Earn 6,000 miles before the end of the year

When you earn 6,000 miles in a calendar year you will be granted Onyx status. Onyx elite members are not subject to the expiry rule. Start planning now to see if you can hit that 6,000 mark. If you might be a few hundred miles short or even a couple thousand you can take advantage of some credit card sign up offers to push you to the Onyx level.

Few hundred miles short? You have the BMO No Fee Air Miles MasterCard that nets you 500 miles on your first purchase or the American Express Air Miles Credit card that also comes with a 500 mile bonus and of course since there is no annual fee on either card so those miles don't really cost you anything. If you are 1 to 2 thousand miles short you could grab the American Express Platinum Air Miles card with its 2,000 mile sign up bonus when you spend $500 within three months. Good news is that there is no annual fee in the first year so those miles also come for free. You can then reassess if you want to keep the card after the first year.

Another way to earn a lot of miles in a short time is to take advantage of shopping bonus offers. Safeway and Sobeys are running promotions almost every week for bonus miles when you shop, those bonuses usually range from 95 - 195 miles or more when your purchase is over a certain amount. If it is getting closer to the end of the year we usually see bonuses for buying gift cards at Safeway. We have taken advantage of this in the past and in reality you can get those miles for purchases you may be planning anyways. Know you'll be shopping at a certain store? Buy the gift card for that store with a bonus at Safeway. See our post from last November as an example of this bonus

Take note that you must maintain Onyx status to not lose your miles. If you drop to Gold or Blue status your miles that are 5 years or older will expire at the end of the first quarter in the year after that you are no longer Onyx. So think of the credit card methods above as an extension of your miles to give you more time to redeem for the right award for you. Keep Onyx status and you have nothing to worry about.

2. Get yourself the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card

The American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card comes with automatic Onyx status. Easy as that. Get the card and you save your miles. Now the card does carry a $299 annual fee that isn't waived in the first year so you need to find your breakage level. Look at how many miles you have that are set to expire. Are they worth more than the $299 fee and you want to keep them to redeem for that ultimate flight award or specific travel that you want? Then get the card. If you were to ask me at what level of miles set to expire would I get the card? I personally would get it if I had 2,500 or miles set to fly away at the end of the year. Taking an average value of 13 cents per mile that puts those 2,500 miles at $325. Now, you don't just have to look at your miles expiring to find value in the card, if you get it you gets tons, we mean tons, of benefits with the card! If you spend $3,000 in the first three months you get 2,400 miles, when you go to redeem miles for flights you can take a companion for free for redemptions of up to 1,700 miles (essentially a free short haul companion flight), you get the AIR MILES flight booking fee waived, you get Priority Pass airport lounge access, you get priority security access at Toronto's Pearson airport, and you can redeem AIR MILES towards the taxes and fees on flight awards. Those are only some of the benefits the card gets you. So not only can it save your miles it can make using them a lot more fun. If you take these benefits into account for what the card costs you can even consider lowering the expiring miles threshold that we mention above. Find out more or apply for the card here.

3. Redeem your expiring miles! 

As silly as it sounds, use up your miles that are set to expire (see here on how to request your mileage expiry statement) This is the third and final way to keep them from expiring. No matter what if you don't use methods 1 or 2 you have to go this route or you'll lose those miles. Will you get much value out your miles? Depends on what you redeem for and how many you need to use. Only have 100 miles expiring? Enter some of the AIR MILES Dream Sweepstakes. Have lots but can't find travel you want or need? Redeem for attractions, merchandise or whatever. Pundits will say never redeem for merchandise but if that is your only option then do it, otherwise you get nothing for those miles. I'd rather get a blender than a big fat zero. Heck even grab stuff and then sell it on eBay or Kijiji. Get some cash back for those miles. Doesn't really matter just get something for them.

Related: The True Value in Reward Redemptions

I also advise to start looking now at what rewards interest you and redeem before the Christmas break as I'm guessing this will be big news right after Christmas and the website and call in center will be inundated with people wanting to redeem before midnight on December 31st.

Remember if you do want to redeem for travel it doesn't have to be for this year, you simply have to book a trip with your miles by December 31st meaning that travel can be taken well into 2017. Plan your trip well in advance and you may actually be able to use those expiring miles for something with more value!

What do you plan on doing with the miles you have that are set to expire? Will try methods 1 or 2 to save them or will go with number 3 and use them up before the end of the year?