Air Miles Blows

I have blogged about Air Miles a few times. I am seriously thinking about getting rid of Air Miles once we use up our remaining miles. We tried to use up half of them for some upcoming flights but once again, they did not have flights that worked for our schedule. We even called over 3 months ahead of time. This is the third or fourth time this has happened. This just makes me detest “Rewards Programs” even more. Some of the other tricks they do include making the flights worth more per mile than the non-travel items (such as gift cards and other merchandise). This makes it psychologically difficult to go after the non-travel items since they are valued at half the cost per mile compared to flights (sometimes worse). Seriously, on my last statement from Air Miles I got like 100 miles. Their statements are sent quarterly and 100 miles is worth like $10-20 depending on what valuation you use. So that’s like less than $10 a month. Are you f$cking kidding me? The only way to get serious miles is to rack up seriously huge credit card statements or shop like crazy at Air Miles retailers, which we are never going to do. So they pay me less than $10 a month so I can go through this hassle of calling Air Miles every time I want to fly to see if they have any flights I want (which they never do), carry an extra card in my wallet, receive an extra statement, and waste my time writing a blog article about it. No thanks.

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14 Responses to “Air Miles Blows”


  • Canadian Capitalist

    It’s not just Air Miles. A colleague was complaining that she tried to use some of her zillion Aeroplan points to book a vacation to Hawaii. No dice. So, how about buying the cheapest ticket and upgrading the ticket? No dice again.

    We don’t travel all that much, so I guess I am better off just requesting a bunch of gift cards from both Air Miles and Aeroplan and be done with it.

  • We used to fly on Aeroplan fairly regularly – you earn points much faster with Aeroplan than with Air Miles and while booking could be annoying and had to be done well in advance, we were still able to take advantage of it at least once every year. I gave up on my Air Miles long ago.

    Having said that, we’ve switched from Aerogold to TD Visa because we are completely fed up with Air Canada. Since you earn cash values that can be used with any airline, this should make travel a lot easier (we hope!). I don’t think all reward programs are bad, Dave, but finding something that will work better for you might take a bit of research. :)

    Good luck!

  • CC: I was just thinking of that “workaround” yesterday… We have 7500 miles. We have been collecting for 10 years. Only ever redeemed one night in a hotel and a couple Famous Player gift certificates (which, to our dismay, were only valid Sunday-Thursday and they expired). Never redeemed a single flight but as I said I’ve tried numerous times. We have enough for two flights to Asia and I keep thinking that we should use it to fly there but I am now convinced that they won’t have the right times/dates for us.

    Just had a look at the gift cards available. We could get $1000 worth of Chapters gift cards, for example. I might actually do that and then sell them on eBay at a discount. The cash is worth more to me (even at a discount) because I usually try not to buy books from places like Chapters anymore anyways. I buy expensive textbooks from China and India through http://abebooks.com and other books from used book stores, the library, or trade them on http://www.bookmooch.com If I buy an assortment of gift certificates I will be forced to shop at all those stores and will probably end up spending more than the what is on the gift card.

  • Here are some completed Canadian eBay auctions for gift cards/certificates: http://tinyurl.com/3a7qgg
    Most sell very close to their face value (80-90%).

  • May I suggest you get TD Travel Points… as long as you use your TD Visa, you get rewards at any retailer. The beautiful thing about it is, I use the credit card to pay off all my business bills… I think I have abotu $1,500 worth of TD travel points to use… not bad!

  • Your Air Miles experience exactly describes what I went through with them …ten years ago. One summer I had to fly back and forth between Ottawa and Moncton every weekend for eight weeks. After the usual interminable wait (don’t you love that message ‘due to the higher than normal call volumes …’) I was told by the agent that there was not a single weeke nd for which a flight was available that remotely suited my schedule. That was the end of Air Miles.

    Aeroplan is only a tiny bit better – I’ve actually booked a half dozen flights in the 22 years I’ve been a member.

    Since about seven years ago, I’m like Nabloid – TD Gold Travel Visa. Have had little problem phoning their in-house travel agents, or doing bookings through the web, and the flights/ hotels can be from any airline, at any price. Their system of granting $75 dollar credit per 5000 points redeemed works just fine. I do all my spending on my Visa – even groceries – and get about one free flight per year or two. Some cards may offer more redemption value per dollar spent but the TD Visa’s total flexibility more than makes up for that. Points that you cannot effectively redeem are worthless, aren’t they?

  • Well that does it. I think I will get rid of Air Miles and I don’t think I will get TD Gold Travel Visa because we just don’t use our credit card enough. I prefer to pay for things straight from our bank accounts. This has proven time and time again to save us money as we spend more money and buy more things if we use a credit card than if we use money in our bank accounts. It’s not psychological, it’s just that sometimes we don’t have enough money in our bank accounts so that causes us to delay and rethink big purchases. The only problem is my wife is not convinced yet and our account is joint now.

  • I picked up a airline mileage credit card a couple of years ago with the intent of flying to Hawaii. I later found out those flights usually are’nt available for use with frequent flyer mileage. I was able to use some of them to fly my son to Kentucky this summer though.

  • I find it funny that people say they will get rid of there airmiles card… ahahahah fine do it its a free service to begin with so why not get somthing for free anyway?? i have never had a bad expreince with them they always have the flights i need and in some cases i have booked up to one week beforehand genrally speaking with airmiles if you are flying for xmas or spring break best get that booked 5 monhts in advance but most other times of year it is easy

  • think airmiles is bad, apparently airmiles has decided to make people who are not a Gold collector, wait even longer to have there calls answers. That is fact. Gold collectors get to come first, even if a non-gold collector called in way before the Gold collector. Unfair isn’t it?? I should know, I work there. If you want to have your say, it is better to write to us, or fax, as oppose to call, we can’t doing anything at the call centre, but if they read your personal letters and emails, they will listen. Makes you wonder if airmiles has the power to do that what do you think their employees are going through?? Let me tell you, HELL all for a billion dollars

    Mailing Address :
    AIR MILES Customer Care, PO Box 130, Station B,
    Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2T3

    Fax :
    (416) 733-3965

  • Air miles is in the business of screwing people over. I spend one hour waiting “due to a higher than normal volume of calls.” The woman (although nice) tried three times to book a flight i wanted but it was declined every time after inputting ALL my information. And i ended up with NO flight but $1050 worth of travel insurance charges on my credit card. Which by the way after calling and waiting, I was told would not be reversed for up to 3 WEEKS!!! This is the last straw air miles…I’m through with you.

  • WE SPEND A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MONEY AT THE LCBO AND USE AIR MILES. THERE IS NEVER ANYTHING AVAILABLE ON THEIR OFFERINGS THAT ARE OF INTEREST TO US GIVEN THE LOW VALUE OF RETURN AND COMPLICATIONS WITH BOOKING TRAVEL THAT WE ENGAGE IN OFTEN. AT LEAST OUR VISA TRAVEL CARD PROVIDES REAL BENEFITS WITHOUT HAVING TO DOWNGRADE AS WE’D HAVE TO DO IF WE EVER REDEEMED AIR MILES WHICH BY THE WAY WE’VE NEVER DONE BECAUSE EVERYTHING THEY OFFER IS DOWN-MARKET.
    I GUESS AIR MILE REWARDS AREN’T MEANT TO REALLY ENGAGE US AFTER ALL, JUST ANOTHER PIECE OF PLASTIC TO CARRY IN THE WALLET.

  • Air Miles is a massive disappointment. I’ve never gotten the flights that I wanted. Most of the time they try to route you through 2-3 stops so that the flight takes 100% LONGER than it should. Someone should start a class action.

  • On the contrary, it is all in how you use the Air Miles program. By lowering my cost per mile and collecting a lot I don’t mind redeeming for merchandise. I actually got a John Deere riding lawn mower, honeymoon cruise, exercise equipment and lots of other stuff. I’ve linked to one of my guides on how I pulled it off.

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