Welcome to Part 2 of our coverage of the new AIR MILES Flights program. In Part 1 we highlighted once again what the new AIR MILES flights provides from dynamic pricing to booking in any fare class and more. As promised we said we would dissect the new dynamic rewards to see what value each AIR MILES Rewards Mile will have when compared to the old flights program.
We’ll jump right into the booking system and the values. We picked some random routes to compare the old booking platform to the new one and then we also looked at the new options of booking any fare class and also flights outside of Canada.We then end it off with the outsized value redemption we discussed in Part 1. Now do remember these are only a small handful of thousands of possible flights you can book now so it only gives a small snapshot of value and your results and valuations may vary from what we found.
Calgary to Vancouver
In the old system we checked Calgary to Vancouver for four people and on all the
random dates we searched we could not find a redemption at the old base
reward chart value of 1,300 miles. We attribute that to trying to get
four tickets at once – chances are if we had searched for one person
there most likely would have been availability. But not everyone books
for one person so we still wanted to see however how AIR MILES old
dynamic pricing model would compare to the new one. So here’s the route
and dates we
flights priced out at $845.24 in total with WestJet directly. So you
can see that 8840 miles and $374.84 in taxes isn’t that great. In fact
it only works out to 5.3 cents per mile. Less than half of our target
And here it is in the new platform:
Now you only need 4,800 miles instead of 8,840 and you still pay the same taxes and fees. That’s a lot better value proposition when you compare them directly. Now the value gets bumped up 9.8 cents per mile. Better than before but still not at the average of 11 to 15 cents we used to see.
We also found one of the changes in the new booking platform here. When you click ‘select’ you get the option to pick from multiple economy class fares:
Toronto to Vancouver
this one we moved to a solo traveller flying from Toronto to
Vancouver in January. In the old system this one priced out with the reward zone pricing
of 3,600 miles plus taxes and fees:
price for this flight with WestJet was $408.87 which means the 3,600
miles would cover only $247.87 or a value of 6.9 cents per mile.
And in the new system (I wasn’t able to pull up the same return flight but selected another):
Now in this example the value per mile jumps up 20.6 cents. That’s definitely much better in the new platform and outperforms our previous 11 to 15 cents valuation.
Vancouver to London Heathrow
In the old AIR MILES flights system:
Here it is from the new platform:
Again a much better redemption rate in the new system. To book this same flight with British Airways would be $929.26 so you are actually only redeeming for $139.48 of this flight cost. The value here is about 6.8 cents per mile.
However now the new system provided more options than the old one and now there was this option
So you could technically redeem the same amount of miles as Calgary to Vancouver or Toronto to Vancouver! However these same flights only cost $785.56 outright when buying them with Air Canada. As has always been the case the fees and taxes on London flights do not make them worth redeeming with the AIR MILES program.
That’s it for our old system to new system comparisons (Except for one which we will end with) and now it’s time to look at some of the new options for flights.
Toronto to Dubai – First Class with Emirates
Here it is priced out in the new AIR MILES Flights:
and to buy this flight outright:
Yes you can actually book a coveted First Class seat on Emirates with your AIR MLES now! In this redemption example the value here works out to 9.9 cents per mile.
Vancouver to Toronto Business Class on WestJet’s Dreamliner
The price from the new AIR MILES Flights platform:
and to buy these flights from WestJet:
Here you are redeeming for lie flat business class seats on WestJet’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The final value? 10.4 cents per mile redeemed.
Amsterdam to Rome
And now we jump into being able to book flights anywhere in the world! Here’s the pricing from AIR MILES Flights for this trip in June 2022:
And to buy the flights from KLM:
For these flights in Europe you end up getting a value of 7.8 cents per mile.
and finally we’ll end off our value comparison with the outsized value
redemption that we have mentioned previously.
Iqaluit to Igloolik
On November 17 we checked for flights between Iqaluit and Igloolik for travel in April. Here’s what we got in the old system:
|Iqaluit to Igloolik with AIR MILES|
and the price to buy those same flights:
|Iqaluit to Igloolik with Canadian North|
you can redeem 1,200 AIR MILES Reward Miles + $109.75 in taxes and fees
for a flight that costs $1248.66. Here you could get a smashing 94.9
cent value per mile. Nearly 9 times that of our average valuation!
And with the new dynamically based pricing:
is exactly the example some of our readers were worried about in losing
outsized value and unfortunately that’s the case here. In the new AIR MILES Flights these
same flights now cost 11,892 versus 1,200, a jump of nearly 10 times!
The per mile value in the new booking system is 10.37 cents per mile. On
popular routes that wouldn’t be a bad redemption rate coming in just below
our old valuation of 11 to 15 cents per mile but when you compare this
to what it used to be….
Wrapping it up
Without spending hours upon hours searching dozens of different routes we can tell you that it is a mixed bag when it comes down to the value of AIR MILES Reward Miles in this new dynamic pricing model. Most of our direct comparisons did see better value as AIR MILES has told us we would, however the actual value of a mile on almost every redemption we looked at didn’t reach our benchmark of 11 to 15 cents per mile. We only had one example, Toronto to Vancouver, that beat it and it beat it pretty good coming in at over 20 cents per mile. But then on the complete opposite end of the spectrum we see that sweet spot that AIR MILES was known for, flights in the North, disappear in the blink of an eye. As with any change to a reward program, namely when moving from a reward chart based system to a dynamically priced system there are winners and there are losers and we see that here.
We now call on our Rewards Canada readers, who we know love to search flights near and far to tell us your finds in the comments section below. Tell us the good ones, tell us the bad ones, tell us how they compare to before. And most of all tell us what you think of the new AIR MILES Flights.
More articles related to the AIR MILES changes
- AIR MILES card linked offers are here – earn more miles with ANY Canadian Mastercard
Images via AIR MILES