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Best Air Miles Credit Cards In Canada

Best Air Miles Credit Cards In Canada (1)

The best Air Miles credit cards in Canada offer big incentives like a juicy sign-up bonus, VIP airport lounge access, complimentary passes, flight discounts, not to mention earning additional Air Miles every time you swipe your card. Redeeming Air Miles has its challenges, no doubt, but there are some redemption sweet spots where Air Miles can still have incredible value.

Several years ago, Air Miles introduced two ways to collect and redeem points. The first is Dream Miles, which is the traditional way to earn and redeem Air Miles for travel rewards. The second is Cash Miles, which is a way for collectors to earn and spend Miles quickly – redeeming them in as little as $10 (95 Air Miles) increments on groceries, gas, movies, and more.

Related: Best Aeroplan Credit Cards In Canada

Note that you can’t transfer existing Air Miles from Dream Miles to Cash Miles, and vice-versa. You need to set your collection preference ahead of time.

With that out of the way, let’s look at the best Air Miles credit cards in Canada. Air Miles has co-branded credit cards with BMO and American Express.

Best Air Miles Credit Cards

BMO Air Miles Credit Cards

BMO and Air Miles have a lengthy history that dates back several decades. Not only do they have an extensive credit card line-up featuring three personal Air Miles credit cards and two small business Air Miles credit cards, BMO also offers Air Miles through one of its chequing accounts.

Here’s a look at BMO’s Air Miles credit card portfolio:

BMO Air Miles World Elite MasterCard

The top Air Miles credit card in Canada is BMO’s Air Miles World Elite MasterCard. No other Air Miles credit card offers 1 Mile for every dollar spent. Plus, check out these benefits:

  • Complimentary membership in MasterCard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey, with exclusive VIP access, plus two annual complimentary passes
  • 15% discount on all flights in North America booked with Air Miles with no blackout periods
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Travel and Medical protection offering 15 days of Out of Province / Out of Country Emergency Medical protection up to $2 million, Collision Damage Waiver on rental cars, and more
  • $120 annual fee

Applicants must have a minimum $80,000 (individual) or $150,000 (household) annual income to be eligible for this premium MasterCard.

The best time to apply is when BMO offers a welcome bonus of 3,000 Air Miles (1,000 miles after first purchase, plus 2,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months) and waives the $120 annual fee in the first year.

BMO Air Miles World MasterCard

Sandwiched between the World Elite version and the no annual fee version is the BMO Air Miles World MasterCard (the gold one). Cardholders earn 1 Air Mile for every $15 spent, plus the following benefits:

  • Complimentary membership in MasterCard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey
  • 1.25x Bonus Miles at Shell, and 1.5x at National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car, plus up to 25% off rentals at select locations
  • 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada, and 20% off resident shows in Las Vegas
  • purchase protection and extended warranty on most items bought with your card
  • Coverage for Car Rental Collision Damage, Unexpected Return Home, Common Carrier Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance, and more
  • $99 annual fee

Applicants must have a minimum $60,000 (individual) or $100,000 (household) annual income to be eligible for this MasterCard.

The best time to apply for this card is when BMO offers a welcome bonus of 1,500 Air Miles and waives the annual fee in the first year.

BMO Air Miles MasterCard

A no annual fee card, the BMO Air Miles MasterCard still packs plenty of punch for collectors. Cardholders get 2x the Air Miles for every $20 spent at participating Air Miles partners, and 1 mile for every $20 spent everywhere else.

You’ll also get:

  • up to 25% off at National and Alamo at participating locations
  • purchase protection and extended warranty on most items bought with your card
  • 15% off admission to Cirque du Soleil shows touring Canada, and 20% off resident shows in Las Vegas
  • $0 annual fee

The best time to apply for this card is when BMO offers a welcome bonus of 800 Air Miles.

American Express Air Miles Credit Cards

American Express and Air Miles is another partnership with a long history. In fact, my first rewards card was an American Express Air Miles card, which I used back in the day when Costco solely accepted American Express cards. Those were the days!

Today, American Express offers three versions of Air Miles credit cards: a no-fee version, a platinum version, and a fancy “reserve” version. Here’s a look at the American Express line-up of Air Miles credit cards:

American Express Air Miles Reserve Credit Card

This…is something. A card that appeals to the luxury traveller in all of us is all about exclusive benefits and status. Cardholders will earn 1 Air Mile for every $10 spent at Air Miles partners, plus at grocery stores, gas stations, and drug stores. Earn 1 Air Mile for every $15 spent elsewhere.

In addition, the American Express Air Miles Reserve Credit Card is the only Air Miles Credit Card that provides these exclusive benefits: Air Miles FlexFly Redemptions, the Companion Flight Benefit, the choice to redeem Miles for flight taxes and fees, and waived Air Miles flight administration fee.

This card comes with a premium annual fee of $299.

Travel benefits:

  • Air Miles FlexFly, a Reserve exclusive
  • Exclusive Annual Companion Flight Benefit
  • Redeem Miles for flight taxes and fees – another Reserve exclusive
  • Air Miles Business Class Seats
  • Priority Pass – Worldwide Airport Lounge Access
  • Waived Air Miles Flight Administration Fee
  • Toronto Pearson Priority Security Lane

Travel and Shopping Coverage:

  • Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
  • $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance
  • Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
  • Flight Delay Insurance
  • Baggage Delay Insurance
  • Hotel Burglary Insurance
  • Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan
  • Purchase Protection Plan

The best time to apply for this high-end card is when American Express offers a welcome bonus of 3,800 Air Miles.

American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit Card

A more traditional “premium” travel rewards credit card, the American Express Air Miles Platinum credit card offers the best earn rate of 1 Mile for every $5 in card purchases, up to $30,000 annually, on eligible food & drinks and eligible gas & transit in Canada, and 1 Mile for every $10 in card purchases everywhere else.

In addition, once per calendar year, use your Dream Miles to book your first single flight or package vacation through airmiles.ca or vacations.airmiles.ca, and get Bonus Miles equivalent to 25% of the net number of Miles used (up to a maximum of 750 Bonus Miles).

Other benefits include:

  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
  • $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance
  • Purchase Protection Plan
  • Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan

Get this card when American Express offers a welcome bonus of up to 3,500 Air Miles.

American Express Air Miles Credit Card

American Express also has a no annual fee version in its Air Miles line-up, where cardholders can enjoy an earn rate of 1 Mile for every $15 spent at Air Miles sponsors and 1 Mile for every $20 spent everywhere else.

Cardholders also receive the following benefits:

  • $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance
  • Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan
  • Purchase Protection Plan

New cardholders can earn a bonus of 500 Air Miles when they spend $500 within the first three months.

Final Thoughts

Air Miles still offers good value for collectors who either know where to find the sweet spots for travel redemptions (flights and hotels), or for those who exclusively collect and redeem Air Miles Cash Miles for free groceries, gas, and entertainment.

The best Air Miles credit cards allow collectors to double-dip when shopping at Air Miles partner locations – a quick way to boost your reward miles balance. Add in the potential for earning a juicy welcome bonus and you could be well on your way to a dream vacation.

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