This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views, opinions, Mile calculation and valuation expressed in this blog, however, are my own. American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website.
Want to earn the most Miles of any AIR MILES® Credit Card in Canada?
Than say hello to the enhanced
To top it off, it comes with a great perk to get you Bonus Miles when you redeem for flights. And all while earning Miles into one of Canada’s top loyalty programs – AIR MILES.
So let’s explore this completely refreshed Card and dive into the full details of what it has to offer.
Amex AIR MILES Platinum earn rates
So let’s start with the most important question, what are you actually going to earn in terms of AIR MILES?
Let’s do the welcome bonus first. After all, we all like being rewarded just for taking the plunge and getting a new Credit Card.
And this one doesn’t disappoint.
You can earn 2,000 Miles after spending $1,500 in the first 3 months – enough for a select flight.
Earn rates on everyday purchases
A great welcome bonus is all well and good, but for a Card to have staying power in your wallet, it needs to have great everyday earn rates as well.
And this Card doesn’t disappoint there either. You’ll earn:
- 1 Mile for every $5 spent eligible food & drinks and gas & transit purchases in Canada (up to $30,000 annually), and
- 1 Mile for every $10 spent on everything else.
No other AIR MILES Credit Card has an earn rate better than 1 Mile per $10 spent on everyday purchases like groceries and gas – so you’re getting twice as many Miles as the next best Card on these staples.
Based on a typical monthly spending of $2,000, you would expect to earn in the neighbourhood of 3,240 AIR MILES on your purchases. Here’s how:
- monthly spend of $700 on gas, groceries, and restaurants, giving 1,680 Miles in one year, and
- monthly spend of $1,300 on everything else, giving 1,560 Miles in one year.
That’s worth roughly $557 in flight rewards or $340 in AIR MILES Cash, which we’ve calculated based on 1 Mile being worth 17.2 cents when redeemed for flights and 10.5 cents when redeemed for AIR MILES Cash. For full details on our AIR MILES valuation, click here.
3,240 Miles x $0.172 = $557 in flight rewards
3,240 Miles x $0.105 = $30 in AIR MILES Cash
How much is that compared to the competition? The Card’s closest competitor is the BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Mastercard®*, which would earn only 2,520 Miles over the same spend.
No other Card can match it when it comes to earning AIR MILES. All told, you could be looking at 5,240 AIR MILES earned in year 1 when you combine the 3,240 Miles earned from annual spend and the welcome bonus of 2,000 Miles.
That’s not even including the up to 750 extra Miles you can potentially gain by using the Annual Travel Redemption Benefit – more on that later.
And, using this Card to collect AIR MILES will make it easier to obtain (or maintain) AIR MILES Onyx™ status.
Using your AIR MILES
So now that you know how many AIR MILES you can earn in a year, what can you use them for?
There’s a wide range of options you can choose from, and they’re not just limited to travel options.
Here are some of the more popular options you can choose from. For everything you need to know about redeeming AIR MILES, you can read our complete guide here.
But first, there’s a decision you have to make before you start collecting AIR MILES…
Choosing between dream and cash rewards
There’s 2 types of AIR MILES – Dream and Cash.
Cash Miles are used towards purchases, while Dream Miles are used for everything else AIR MILES offers.
You don’t have to collect just one or the other, you can collect a mixture of the 2.
How do you set your preference?
First, click on this link. You’ll be prompted to sign in, after which you’ll see a slider you can adjust:
It shows your current earning preference at the top, and you can change the slider for a new earnings setting. This slider can be changed at any time, just note that the changes take effect the next day at 3 am Eastern Time.
However, once you collect a Mile in one way, you can’t change it. It has to be redeemed in that same way.
With that said, here are the most popular ways you can redeem your Miles.
Redeem AIR MILES for flights
For the best value from your Miles, redeeming for flights is the way to go.
We’ve pegged the average value of a mile at 17.2 cents when you redeem Miles for flights.
How far can your Miles take you? AIR MILES has a flight rewards map that can show you. Simply select your province, how many Miles you can redeem, and choose whether you’re flying in low or high season. You can view the map here.
Here’s an example if you were to leave from Alberta during low season and had 3,000 Miles in your bank:
It will give you an idea of how many Miles you may need to book a rewards flight.
But, there’s also one great perk left to talk about that the Card offers to help you get even more out of flight redemptions…
The Amex AIR MILES Platinum Annual Travel Redemption Benefit
What is it? Once per calendar year, when you use your Dream Miles with the AIR MILES Reward Program to book your first single flight or vacation package online through airmiles.ca or vacations.airmiles.ca, you can get Bonus Miles equivalent to 25% of the net number of Miles used (up to a max of 750 Bonus Miles).
So, say you redeem for a flight worth 2,500 Miles, here’s how it works:
2,500 Miles x 25% = 625 bonus Miles earned
So, you’ll not only get a free flight, but get Bonus Miles that you can use towards your next redemption.
Redeem AIR MILES for Rental Cars
The next best travel redemption is redeeming for rental cars. We have an average value of 16.2 cents per Mile when you redeem for a rental car.
It’s easy to find availability for a rental car, and there are 3 agencies that provide the rentals – Budget, National, and Alamo.
Redeem AIR MILES for Hotels
You can also cover the costs of hotels with your AIR MILES with an average value of 12.3 cents per Mile.
Redeem AIR MILES for cash rewards
If you collect AIR MILES Cash Miles, you’ll be able to use them for either in-store (at the register) discounts or print vouchers online you can then bring in-store to receive your discount.
Either way, 95 Miles always gets you $10 off your purchase, for a value of 10.5 cents per Mile.
Redeem AIR MILES for merchandise
Thinking about getting some free stuff for Miles? You might want to think again.
While it may be tempting to get that new blender you’ve been eyeing for free rather than going to get one at the store, you’ll generally want to avoid this option as it provides the worst value for your Miles – an average of 7.7 cents per Mile.
But hey, it’s your option if you choose it.
Other benefits provided
There are other benefits associated with having this Card. Here’s a full rundown on everything else this Card offers outside of the AIR MILES you collect.
Amex Invites and Front Of The Line
A benefit that comes with having any Amex Card, Front Of The Line gives you access to presale tickets and reservations to some of the most in-demand concerts, theatre productions, and special events, often before the general public can get them.
You can find out more about Amex Front Of The Line here.
For bonus rewards while shopping, there’s Amex Offers. You can get access to statement credits of select retailers, so you can save money on some of your purchases.
The details of how it works can be found here.
Purchase and travel insurance
Like most travel Cards, it also offers some purchase and travel protection, in case something happens while you’re out exploring.
An even more premium AIR MILES experience with Reserve
Want even more from your AIR MILES Credit Card? Then consider the
One big downside to this Card is the earn rates – they’re not as stellar as its Platinum Brother, although the welcome bonus is slightly increased to a total of 2,400 Miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, the actual earn rates are lower.
- 1 Mile per $10 spent on gas, groceries, drugstores, and AIR MILES Reward Partners, and
- 1 Mile per $15 spent on all other purchases.
However, to offset these lower earnings, it comes with a slew of great perks for use with the AIR MILES program.
Here’s an overview of them:
Automatic AIR MILES Onyx status
Just by having this Card in your wallet, you’ll get automatic Onyx status. There’s no more worrying about collecting 6,000 AIR MILES in a year to keep it going.
AIR MILES Companion voucher
In lieu of Bonus Miles when you redeem for your flight, this Card gives you an annual companion voucher. Book a flight for yourself, and get a 2nd ticket valued at up to 1,700 Miles. If your flights cost more than 1,700 Miles, you can use some extra Miles to cover the difference.
Waived administration fees
When you go to book a flight using your AIR MILES, in addition to the taxes and fees the airlines charge, AIR MILES also tacks on a booking fee that’s approximately $15 per ticket for a flight within North America.
Having this Card waives that fee for you, making your redemption that much sweeter.
AIR MILES FlexFly Redemptions
Can’t find the flights you want through AIR MILES? No problem. Another exclusive benefit is AIR MILES FlexFly™ redemptions.
Access additional airlines and destination no one else in the AIR MILES program can access. When you redeem for a flight this way, 770 AIR MILES gives you a $100 discount on your flight.
Redeem for business class seats
Want to redeem for business class seats? Only having the
Priority airport services
Finally, you’ll get some priority airport services. This Card comes with a complimentary Priority Pass™ lounge membership and 4 free passes.
You’ll also get priority security screening at Toronto-Pearson airport.
Is the Amex AIR MILES Reserve worth it?
So, is this Card worth $299 annually? Well, let’s put a dollar value to these benefits, assuming you make a yearly trip with 2 people, using the companion voucher and administration fee savings:
|Annual Companion Voucher – 1,700 Miles||$292.40|
|Waived Administration Fees||$30|
Just on these 2 benefits alone, you’ve covered the $299 annual fee. And, there are still other benefits like Onyx Status and the airport lounge access to consider.
But, it does come at a loss of total number of AIR MILES earned in a year.
All in all though, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the $299 annual price tag or not.
There you have it
And there you go. The improved and refreshed
What are your thoughts on either of these Cards?
Let us know in the comments below.