Featured Post

New increased welcome bonus of 3,000 miles on the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card

  During the first six or so months of the pandemic American Express shifted their focus to enhancing card offers and encouraging spending f...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Air Miles increasing mileage requirements for flights within Canada, to the U.S., Mexico and Caribbean to cover fuel surcharges


Air Miles has announced increases to the mileage requirements for flight redemptions within Canada, to the U.S., Mexico and Caribbean as of July 17th.  Apparently the increase in mileage is due to the fact that they are now building the fuel surcharge into those mileage amounts and not charging them as a separate fee. However a quick look at some of the numbers would make it appear that there is padding in the increases, especially on short haul flights with them jumping from 950 to 1,200 miles (over a 26% jump)
Example Air Canada flight between Calgary and Vancouver October 11-13
Price on Air Canada.com is $290 base fare and has a $54 fuel surcharge or $344 before other taxes and fees.
Which means with the old redemption rate of 950 miles for the $290 base fare you would be getting a a value of 30 cents per Air Mile and with the new rate you are only getting 28 cents per Air Mile.
And then you also have to ask the question what about airlines that don't charge fuel surcharges like Alaska Airlines or American Airlines? If your flight redemptions are on these airlines you are definitely going to lose a lot of value!

It also means that ultimately you need to earn more miles before you can redeem. Before this you could earn less miles even though you had to pay for the fuel surcharges. For some of you, you'll be waiting longer before you can redeem for those flights you want.

These examples may not always be the case but most programs tend to hide mileage increases in some sort of wording that makes it seems like an enhancement, like this case of building the fuel surcharges into to mileage amounts.

Find all the details here on the Air Miles website

Some highlights from that page:



What is changing?
The number of reward miles required to be redeemed for flights will be changed.
In the case of flights within Canada, to the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), to Mexico and to the Caribbean, this is as a result of reducing the total taxes and fees to be paid in cash by our Collectors by including the fuel surcharges in the number of reward miles required to be redeemed for these flights… something that our Collectors have been asking us to do for years.
For other international destinations, Collectors will continue to pay for fuel surcharges as part of their total taxes, fees and surcharges applicable to the flight reward.



What is the magnitude of the change?
The average increase in the number of reward miles required to be redeemed for flights within Canada, to the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), to Mexico and to the Caribbean will be 16%. Some destinations will see a smaller increase, while others will see a larger increase.
For example:
  • A round-trip flight, in Low season, will now start at 1,200 reward miles (instead of starting from 950 reward miles)
  • A flight from British Columbia to Los Angeles will increase by 19% in Low season (1,600 reward miles to 1,900) and 14% in High season (2,275 reward miles to 2,600).
  • A flight from Ontario to New York City will increase by 13% in Low season (1,150 reward miles to 1,300) and 14% in High season (1,400 reward miles to 1,600). 

As always we'd love to hear your thoughts on this 'enhancement' from Air Miles!


17 comments:

  1. Air Miles weren't really worth it already, appart from some specific usages (short haul to remote Canadian airports, where revenue flights tend to be super expensive). Plus, I find it very hard to earn Air Miles at a decent rate. :(

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree the high cost short haul flights were a good deal but those just got worse...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just another reason why I stopped collecting after the expiry implementation. Sitting on 10k and planning for a short haul flight to wipe it out.

    ReplyDelete
  4. way to go airmiles, you just put in a plan that goes against all that was promised to your customers!!! the very nerve to up the required amount of airmiles at such a drastic rate. just finished searching for the dates i have been looking for for the past month(and for which there has been very limited availability i.e. one seat on each flight!!) and now have an increase from 2006 to 3488 for the same flight i looked at yesterday. there is no availability at all for the new required amount of 2375!!!!!!!! your sponsors should run as fast as they can just as many of your customers will!!!!!!! btw i will be using what airmiles i have now but i will be cancelling my bmo gold airmiles mastercard and any related banking connected to airmiles, and i will be avoiding all your sponsors!!! good luck with it, lol

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ridiculous, my flight went from 900 to 1125 with no changes in taxes
    Another went from no availability at 950 to 1268 when yesterday it was 768 with the 25% discount.
    I'm cancelling both the bmo AND the amex AM plat. Think I'll shop at Superstore now... good bye Safeway.

    ReplyDelete
  6. totally agree. I have a BMO mastercard because it ALWAYS gave me 25% discount off required standard airmiles. The additional miles being used to cover fuel surcharges costs is obviously disproportionate because I don't see a substantial enough difference in the overall out of pocket costs. AND now we are being given an option at the end of a flight search to use more miles because there are no flights available for the BMO gold customer # of miles??? Why thank you so much (sarcasm). This is a sneaky way of having blackout periods and being discrimiative towards BMO gold collectors. I guess BMO mastercard and airmiles have made a cozy agreement between them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I too, found that there is a huge increase in the points required. For YVR to Dallas on AA, the points went from 1200 to 2138--an incredible 78% increase! And the taxes did NOT go down at all. For travel to PSP from YVR on West Jet non-stops, the availability almost totally disappeared and the price went from 1200 points to 1995. (using the BMO mastercard)


    Airmiles just sent us the Onyx card. Talk about insult to injury!!! We're furious, and we will stop shopping at Safeway and other airmiles sponsors. We will also be sure to tell all our friends and neighbors about this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Once they have "given" [i.e. signed you and enough others up]...


    ...they will start to take away.


    It's in their DNA, boys...in their DNA...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Fortunately, you are not at all surprised by the predatory practices of "rewards" programs...[aka "loyalty" programs...snicker]


    ....right?

    ReplyDelete
  10. What I don't get: Why is anyone surprised the "rewards" programs...


    ...are engaging in predatory practices?


    Once they've "got" you, they'll keep on doing it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I cancelled my AMEX Air Miles Platinum prompty, and will redeem for iPad when I have enough AM (I did get 4000 free AM out of AMEX) and will re-sign up again when the 1500 AM offer returns

    YYZ-Quebec, even with Gold specials (30-40% off on Westjet/AC), is still a ripoff without YQ

    Thank god I don't actively collect AM as it's even worse than Aeroplan, ha

    ReplyDelete
  12. To think that I have been championing the airmiles program to anyone who would listen, I have turned away from other rewards cards and sympathized with frutstrated Aeroplan and Avion collectors, all the while, being smug in the knowledge that as an airmiles collector, I belonged to the fairest rewards program available. I tried to book a flight to New Oleans yesterday. For October. It said 2100 miles required from Toronto. When I chose the date it was unavailable, so I adjusted by a few days, there was nothing available at 2100 miles, but I could get there for 6400, so I adjusted the date again, nothing for 2100 miles, but I could get there for 3150 miles. I guess this is a view of things to come. Oh well, back to saving loonies and toonies to travel I guess. Thanks for the onyx card though, it looks very pretty in my wallet.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Here is a comment from our reader Daveshay which for some reason didn't post correctly so we are just reposting it





    To think that I have been championing the airmiles program to anyone who
    would listen, I have turned away from other rewards cards and
    sympathized with frutstrated Aeroplan and Avion collectors, all the
    while, being smug in the knowledge that as an airmiles collector, I
    belonged to the fairest rewards program available. I tried to book a
    flight to New Orleans yesterday.
    For October. It said 2100 miles required from Toronto. When I chose
    the date it was unavailable, so I adjusted by a few days, there was
    nothing available at 2100 miles, but I could get there for 6400, so I
    adjusted the date again, nothing for 2100 miles, but I could get there
    for 3150 miles. I guess this is a view of things to come. Oh well,
    back to saving loonies and toonies to travel I guess. Thanks for the
    onyx card though, it looks very pretty in my wallet.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes - devaluation was bad, but for me the earnings opportunities are getting much better. Both IGA (qc) and Metro (on) are giving better bonus opportunities lately. Such bonuses require more work and tracking (gift cards specials mostly), but I find them worth it. Overall, the gutting of redemption values is disgusting... Air miles is run by a division of Alliance Data - which is a public company. Feel free to voice your frustrations by writing to mr Bryan Pearson (EVP, President of Loyalty one division) http://www.alliancedata.com/pages/MeetOurTeam.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have suspended use of my Air Miles credit cards and will be spending down my miles - unless something changes for the better, I'm out. Not into doing the milk run with ridiculous connections.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just went to check for flights, unaware of the increase in points required my Vancouver to Vegas. 225 point per person increase plus limited lower point flight available. I have multiple air point cards. Airmiles master card will be cancelled. Avion, Avios and Alaska Airlines cards will do. Good luck with your system airmiles.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Just received an offer from bmo for a new bmo airmiles elite world mastercard, or rather an offer to upgrade from the bmo airmiles world mastercard, for free for a year. Plus, the letter informed me that the 25% flight discount will only be available on airmiles flights in North America starting in may 2015! Guess it's a way to take the focus off the once again downgrated rewards program by offering a new card. it's time to use up the airmiles I have accumulated and look for a new travel rewards Program.

    ReplyDelete