It has been nearly a month since the latest chapter in the storied AIR MILES saga transpired and things seem to have quieted down on their front for now. All seems steady as she goes with the AIR MILES program although there isn’t any certainty yet as to what will actually happen with them in the near future. The parent company’s bankruptcy is likely progressing behind the scenes and we all await to see if the courts will approve BMO’s offer to purchase the beleaguered loyalty program.
Due to this uncertainty, we personally decided to clear out as many AIR MILES as possible as soon as we could. In my first post covering the potential bankruptcy I mentioned that I sent the link to the merchandise catalog to my wife and kids and told them to go shopping. And they all did, primarily during those first few days after the news broke and finally this week we redeemed another amount to virtually clear out our balances.
At the start of March we had over 15,700 Dream Miles sitting in our account and as of early this week we are left with
109 149 Dream Miles* and 11 Cash Miles. Redeeming for merchandise typically represents a last resort option in most loyalty program as you tend to get a much lower value for your miles or points however this is less so the case with AIR MILES. In fact, merchandise redemption value with the AIR MILES is right up there with travel, cash miles and most other options in the program.
Here is a summary of the redemption and value we received from the merchandise we ordered.
- Item #1: Redeemed 4878 miles for a product that costs $524.99. Value 10.76 cents per mile
- Item #2: Redeemed 1055 miles for a product that costs $110.25. Value 10.45 cents per mile
- Item $3: Redeemed 950 miles for a product that costs $94.49. Value 9.9 cents per mile
- Item #4: Redeemed 3,904 miles for a product that costs $419.97. Value 10.76 cents per mile
- Item #5 Redeemed 4,882 miles for a product that costs $461.97. Value 9.46 cents per mile
– All the above dollar values take into account GST for a proper comparison as if we had paid cash but does not include shipping as some items may have offered free shipping.
– We have AIR MILES Gold status and the mileage shown above includes the 5% discount Gold members receive
We redeemed a total of 15,669 miles for $1611.67 of merchandise which provided an average per mile value of 10.28 cents. With flight redemption value in the AIR MILES program hovering primarily around 9.5 cents and with only occasional flight rewards coming in upwards of 10.5 cents I am very happy with the value we received for our merchandise. In fact, I feel we got more value than what I could have potentially used them for with future flights, if ever, as we always tend to use other programs for flights!
There are possibilities for better redemption value, for example car rentals sometimes push value into the high teens and redeeming for Red Tag Vacations packages nets 11 cents per point. Those are both redemption options I don’t really have a need for so these merchandise options were the perfect redemption for us.
Wrapping it up
When news broke of the AIR MILES bankruptcy we started looking for items to use our miles on right away and many other Canadians did as well. We have already received three of the five items ordered and await the last two. In the end we have now pretty much cleared out our AIR MILES account and we’d love to hear what you the Rewards Canada community have done or are planning on doing? Tell us your redemption stories or tell us why you are still holding on to your miles in the comments section below!
* When I first started writing this my Dream Miles balance was 109 but now I received 40 miles as part of card linked offer for Boston Pizza. I totally forgot that my WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard was linked and I used it at Boston Pizza to take advantage of an RBC Offers statement credit (otherwise I would have used my Cobalt Card). So, not only did I get the RBC Offers statement credit but I got these 40 bonus miles! (Now I have to remember to switch my account back to Cash Miles as I don’t really have a use for Dream Miles at this time)
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Title image via AIR MILES