AIR MILES is one of the most popular loyalty programs available in Canada.

Not only are there loads of retail and online stores where you can earn AIR MILES, but they also run promotions regularly to help you to earn plenty of bonus miles as well.

And whether you’re a heavy collector or just want to make the most out of the program, the is one of the best cards to consider.

AIR MILES rewards

Let’s start with the basics – the rewards.

How many AIR MILES can you earn with this card?

With both the best sign-up bonus and earn rates of any AIR MILES card, the short answer is: a lot.

To get you started, you can earn a welcome bonus of 3,000 miles – 1,000 after the first purchase, and another 2,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, you get the first year free.

And on your day-to-day spending, earn 1 mile for every $10 spent on all purchases made to the card, and double that on car rentals at National and Alamo – the best earn rates for any AIR MILES card out there.

On a typical $2,000 per month spend on this card, that would give you 2,400 miles per year.

And as one last bonus, until October 31st, 2019, you can save 3 cents per litre at Shell stations when you use both your credit card and collector number.

AIR MILES for travel

Before you can think about using your rewards, you have to choose between Dream Miles, Cash Miles, or a combination of the 2.

If you want to use your miles for travel or merchandise, you have to collect Dream Miles. You’ll be able to use your miles for a wide range of travel options, merchandise, gift cards, concert tickets, as well as attractions and experiences.

Collecting Dream Miles will let you unlock the best AIR MILES has to offer.

AIR MILES for cash rewards

Cash miles, on the other hand, can be used for either in-store discounts at select AIR MILES sponsors or redeemed for gift cards at participating retailers.

No matter how you use your cash miles, they are all worth the same – 95 miles will give you a $10 discount, a value of 10.5 cents per mile.

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AIR MILES point value

Generally, the best way to use your miles will be for travel. You can use them for flights, car rentals, hotels, and vacation packages.

The best value will generally be through flights. We have an average value of 17.2 cents per mile for flight redemption.

To get an idea of how many miles you need to redeem for flights, this site can provide some more details. Simply choose your province and whether you’ll be flying in low or high season. By changing the miles slider, you’ll be able to see how many miles it will take to get you to your destination.

To see other ways you can use your dream miles, our AIR MILES guide has all the details.

BMO AIR MILES World Elite insurance coverage

When it comes to insurance coverage, this card is one of the best in Canada.

Why does it rank so high? Because it provides 14 out of 16 insurance coverage offered by Canadian credit cards, that’s why!

One major plus? Since it’s an AIR MILES branded card, when you redeem your miles for travel, you’ll still be covered on rewards purchases.

Here are the full details on what coverages this card provides:

BMO premium banking plan

If you want the card but aren’t crazy about the annual fee, there’s a way around it. And not just in the first year.

If you have the BMO Premium Chequing account, it comes with an annual fee waiver for any BMO World Elite Mastercard. The plan costs $30 per month, but maintain a balance of $6,000 and you can get the plan’s monthly fee waived as well.

Related: Banking Packages With Free Premium Credit Cards

Other BMO AIR MILES World Elite perks

Of course, this card offers more than just AIR MILES and insurance coverage. There are several great perks that really make this card stand out.

Free lounge passes and lounge membership

Want some airport lounge access while you’re travelling? This card gives you access to 850 airport lounges with Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey, with 2 complimentary visits per year.

If you want to keep accessing lounges, that’s no problem. You can pay $27 USD per person for access once you have used your complimentary passes.

Discounts on AIR MILES flights

Beyond earning the most rewards of any AIR MILES card, the also has one perk no other AIR MILES card provides.

Anytime you redeem your miles for a flight within Canada or to the U.S., you get a 15% discount on the miles required.

You can see the discount as you’re browsing for flights.

Here’s an example – this trip from Montreal to Calgary would normally cost 3,500 miles, but when you have the , you now only need 2,975 miles instead.

BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard flight discount

Not only are you getting better value, but you’re raising the value of every single mile you collect as well. If you use your miles for these kinds of flights, you’re really going to get great value from this card.

Mastercard World Elite benefits

And since it is a World Elite Mastercard, you’ll get access to all the typical World Elite benefits as well. Here’s an overview of those benefits.

Mastercard Priceless Cities

Looking to get access to exclusive events you won’t be able to find anywhere? Mastercard Priceless Cities will let you in on some unforgettable experiences.

Mastercard Priceless Experiences in Montreal

To see everything Priceless Cities has to offer, head to this site.

Mastercard World Elite concierge service

Need help with travel arrangements, dinner reservations, or even ordering flowers? The Mastercard World Elite concierge service can help you with any arrangements you may need.

Cirque du Soleil exclusive benefits

If you’ve always dreamed of seeing the circus, having a Mastercard can help you get there with their partnership with Cirque Du Soleil. Being a cardholder automatically provides you with several benefits:

  • access to preferred seating,
  • 15% off ticket prices at Canadian shows,
  • 20% off ticket prices for shows in Las Vegas, and
  • VIP experiences.

This site will let you explore all of these benefits.

The downsides

As with everything, there are a couple of downsides to this card.

The biggest being the value of your rewards. While this card offers the best earn rate amongst AIR MILES cards, the total value of your rewards is generally lower than other premium travel cards available.

If you’re primarily collecting cash miles, there are better options available. Your return on spend would be just 1.05% – many no fee cash back and travel cards will give you better rewards. Not to mention you won’t be taking full advantage of the benefits available with this card.

And since it’s a World Elite Mastercard, it comes with high income requirements of either $80,000 personal or $150,000 household.

The bottom line

If your an avid AIR MILES collector, the is a card you’re going to want to consider adding to your wallet – especially if you use your miles to redeem for flights within North America.

And if you’re not a collector, the current sign-up offer of up to 3,000 miles and the first year free is a great incentive to give the card a try and see if it’s right for you.