Air Miles Secrets - 20 ways to collect Air Miles Rewards Faster
  • February 27, 2012
  • By Steven Zussino
  • Coupons
  • 65

Air Miles Secrets – 20 ways to collect Air Miles Rewards Faster

Air Miles Rewards Program is Canada’s largest loyalty program – Air Miles can be earned at more than 100 participating sponsor companies across Canada.

Air Miles Secrets

Air Miles is one of the best reward programs in Canada but many Canadians do not know what the secrets are on the Air Miles program and I wanted to share 20 ways Canadians can collect Air Miles faster with Air Miles secrets:

1. Avoid “Cash Back” Air Miles rewards

If you haven’t heard Air Miles has released two HUGE news announcements in 2012. The first was that Air Miles will now expire after 5 years and the second is that Air Miles is introducing an Air Miles Cash Reward option.

Air Miles Cash

Air Miles Cash

Air Miles has basically created two reward streams: Cash Rewards and Dream Rewards. Dream Rewards are what everyone was and is collecting by default. Cash Rewards, the new system, are accumulated at the same rate as regular Air Miles. The only difference is that once you have 95 Air Miles you can trade these in at participating merchants for $10.

This means that each Air Mile using the cash rewards option is now worth 10.5 cents. However, if you use your Air Miles for a gift card you will receive a rate of 11.4 cents on average.

We recommend that you don’t collect the Air Miles Cash Rewards. The “regular” Air Miles are collected by default so if you have done nothing you are good.

If you’ve changed your account to start collecting Cash Rewards, change back to only collect Dream Rewards ASAP.

2. Shop online

Did you know you can earn Air Miles by shopping online?

You basically login to http://www.Air and select “Shop Now” for any sponsor, and sign in with your Collector Number. You will be taken to the partner’s site and shop as you normally would and you would earn Air Miles rewards.

They have popular retailers like Sears, Chapters, Dell, and eBay. This is an added bonus because you will earn Air Miles rewards just for making purchases you would normally would.

3. Buy gas gift cards during promotions

Sometimes Shell has promotions for in-store purchases. A recent promotion was for 10x the points for in-store purchases. Simply purchase a gift card and this lets you fill up at Shell with future purchases.

4. Wait for Mondays to book Air Miles Air rewards.

On Mondays, Gold Collectors save up to 40% on select flights. Redeem as soon as possible because the value of the rewards always changes.

5. Look for the highest value rewards.

A Best Western Travel Card $150 gift card is equal to 1125 Air Miles is 13.3 cents per mile. for something you are likely to use (if you travel) and that doesn’t expire.

6. Buy your gas at Shell

I always buy gas at Shell to get Air Miles. Where I live gas prices do not differentiate among retailers (Esso, Petro Canada, Husky). They are one of the top Air Miles sponsors and you earn 1 Air Miles reward mile on your first $20 purchase. They always seem to have bonus coupons to earn extra Air Miles.

My thoughts are that if you purchase gas and have the chance to earn reward miles you should stick with Shell. In saying that, always look for the cheapest price (use

7. Shop during Safeway’s Customer Appreciation day.

Safeway gives 10 times the base reward miles on Customer Appreciation Day (1st Tuesday of each month).

Customer Appreciation Day Safeway

Customer Appreciation Day Safeway

Only buy items with a decent discount or Air Miles bonus and then do your other shopping at a competitor if they are cheaper. You must purchase at least $35 worth of products.

8. Convert from other programs

Hbc Rewards points will be redeemed at a rate of 2,000 points for 1 Air Miles reward mile. These Air Miles reward miles will be displayed on your Air Miles Summary Statement.

9. Volunteer

When I’m shopping with a friend who answers “No” when the check out person asks if he/she has an Air Miles card I always volunteer my card and say, “Use mine!”.

10. Gift card bonuses

Here is a great way to collect a few bonus Air Miles reward miles on stores where you wouldn’t normally collect air miles! This is a simple trick that inexperienced Air Miles collectors might miss.

Here are some sample deals from a recent Safeway gift card promotion:

  • Earn 25 bonus Air Miles when you purchase a Golf Town, Winners or Empire Theatres $25 gift card
  • Earn 50 bonus Air Miles when you purchase one of the follwing $50 gift cards: HBC, Home Depot, Moxies, Future Shop

11. Sign up for Safeway Email Direct Newsletter for 100 FREE miles

This is THE EASIEST and CHEAPEST 100 Air Miles Reward Miles you will ever receive and definitely worth doing!

Safeway Email Direct

Safeway Email Direct

You will need a Safeway Club Card number which can be obtained by completing the form on the Safeway website. Get 100 completely FREE air miles reward miles when you sign up for the Safeway Email Direct newsletter.

To sign up visit here.

12. Use all bonus coupons.

Use ALL Safeway Spend $100 Get 100 bonus Air Miles coupons – you can find one version in the flyer, another via email or online at Air

Here is an example from an online PDF and another coupon from

Safeway $100 bonus coupon

100 Bonus Air Miles from

They have different PLU codes so although technically you shouldn’t be able to use both at the same time, the computer will accept them. Use the self-checkout to get this to work.

13. Don’t bother buying any “merchandise rewards” with Air Miles.

Their merchandise rewards are not competitive, even the gold “specials”. You will save more money with a purchase at Future Shop, The Bay, or Canadian Tire.

Here is an example: A SONY Reader WiFi, is available for 1,675  reward miles on the Air Miles rewards store. This sounds like a good deal, but if you were to purchase this item on it would be available for $129.99.

This means that when you divide the price by the number of miles you get a return of only 7.7 cents per Air Mile, a lot less than a cash reward.

14. Calculate the dollar value of an Air Mile when shopping

I recommend to look for rewards that give me the best dollar value (ie: divide the dollar value of the reward by the number of Air Miles required — higher value is best).

Here is an example:

One trick I always do is to figure out the “net price” I am paying. I attach a dollar value of $.114 per Air Mile and subtract this from the price being charged to get the “net price”.

i.e. Pampers $29.99 (Buy 2 Boxes get 100 Bonus Air Miles).

I would earn 101 Air miles (100 bonus Air Miles and 1 for a purchase of $20).

This is a value of $11.51 in Air Miles.

This brings the price down to $18.48 for 2 large boxes of diapers.

Bottom line — don’t buy anything just to get Air Miles.

Calculate the Air Miles as a discount and if it makes it cheaper and it’s a product you need anyway, then buy it.

If the price with the Air Miles discount comes to about the same as the competitor’s price, buy from the competitor and save yourself the stress of waiting for the Air Miles to be credited and hoping you can still redeem them for the same value two or three months later.

15. Collect Air Miles on your next house purchase.

Did you know that you can earn 2 AIR MILES reward miles for every $1,000 property value bought or sold through a participating CENTURY 21 office in Canada. This is a nice bonus if you were planning to use a particular agent.

However, if you sold your house for $500,000 and bought another one for the same price you would earn a tidy 2,000 Air Miles. This is a great non-taxable benefit from selling/buying a home.

16. Get an Air Miles Credit Card.

Get the American Express Air Miles Credit Card and earn a welcome bonus of 150 reward miles the first time you use the Card.

One of the best no-annual fee Air Miles rewards credit cards is the BMO AIR MILES MasterCard. They offer 1 Air Mile for every $20 in spending with no annual fee. As well, they have a respectable insurance benefits package.

BMO Air Miles Credit Card

BMO Air Miles Credit Card


  1. 1 Air Mile for every $20 in spending.
  2. 1.5x Miles at Shell, National Car Rental and Alamo


  1. Theft Insurance (90 days)
  2. Extended Warranty (up to 1 year)

17. Get your Raincheck.

If you are buying any Air Miles specials at Safeways (example is Buy 5 Get 50 Air Miles) and they no longer have any quantity get a rain check. When you get your rain check ask for multiples of the rain check so that instead of buying just 5 to get 50 Air miles if you bought 50 you would get 500 Air miles.

All Safeway rainchecks are good for 90 days. A great tip is to save these for their monthly Buy $100 Get 100 bonus Air Miles.

18. Hang onto receipts.

A good idea is to hang onto your receipts so you can verify that when Air updates your balance you can check that your account was credited correctly.

19.Use the Air Miles app to find new sponsors

The AIR MILES App is available for iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices only. The AIR MILES App is free to download.

One of the most exciting new features of the re-designed AIR MILES Application is the Check-in Challenge on now until April 30, 2012.

The Check-in Challenge is the first ever Air Miles rewards mobile game that ranks the number of Check-ins Collectors do at Air Miles Sponsor locations against other Collectors each month. At the end of the month, the top 50 Collectors with the highest number of Check-ins will get a Check-in Bonus, 2x the reward miles they earned that month at the Sponsors they Checked in at. Collectors can compete against each other to earn more reward miles faster.

20. Sign up with Grocery to get the latest Air Miles matchups and bonus Air Miles coupons

Each week we share the top Air Miles specials from the Metro flyer and Safeway flyer. Each week we share the best deals from the flyer and show coupon matchups and show Air Miles bonus coupons from Safeway to use. We even share the “Air Miles” value with the major deals to show you the rock-bottom price you are paying with the Air Miles included.

Sign up for our free newsletter and join over 21,000 other Canadian readers that are informed of the latest Safeways coupons and Canadian coupons.

Steven Zussino

Steven Zussino is the co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. He loves to help Canadians save money on groceries. He also runs the blog,