If you’ve checked out the Air Miles website recently you would have noticed a new feature called Air Miles Cash. Beginning in March, 2012 you will be able to instantly redeem the reward miles in your Air Miles Cash balance towards purchases at participating sponsors.
Air Miles Cash: How It Works
Air Miles Cash is a new program feature that lets you redeem reward miles instantly at checkout towards everyday purchases at places like the grocery store, gas station and pharmacy through a new Air Miles Cash balance.
Your current reward miles now exist inside your Dream balance, and can still be used to redeem for travel, merchandise and more. Air Miles now gives you the flexibility to choose how you want to allocate your reward miles. You can earn just towards your new Air Miles Cash balance, both your Air Miles Cash and Dream balances, or do nothing and keep earning inside your Dream balance.
Air Miles Cash: Getting Started
It’s easy to get started. If you’d like all the reward miles you earn from now on to go towards your Air Miles Cash balance, log-in to your Air Miles account, select the Cash balance option, follow a few simple steps and you’re ready to go.
If you’d like to earn towards both Air Miles Cash and Dream balances, select the Air Miles Cash and Dream option and move the slider to choose how you want to allocate your reward miles. Remember, you’re not transferring your reward miles, you’re choosing how they’ll be allocated from now on.
Once you’ve decided on a preference, follow the instructions and you’re ready to start earning towards both Air Miles Cash and Dream balances.
If you change your mind, you can adjust your preference at any time. For example, if you choose to split your reward miles evenly between Air Miles Cash and Dream balances, and you earn 20 reward miles at the grocery store, 10 reward miles will go to your Air Miles Cash balance and 10 reward miles will go to your Dream balance.
Redeeming Your Air Miles Cash balance
Once your Air Miles Cash balance reaches 95 reward miles, you can redeem for $10 off your bill at participating sponsors when you swipe your Air Miles collector card at check-out.
According to the frequently asked questions page on the Air Miles website, you can still redeem Air Miles for gift cards and certificates but this will be phased out over time and replaced by the new Air Miles Cash balance feature.
Confirmed sponsors in the Air Miles Cash balance program are:
- Jean Coutu
- Rexall / Pharma Plus
As a loyal Air Miles collector I am not very happy with these changes. The Air Miles Cash balance feature caters to the “instant gratification” crowd who can’t wait for rewards to accumulate over time in order to get better value. It will be like redeeming PC Points at Loblaw’s with your PC MasterCard.
My interpretation is that this program will eventually take the place of all gift card rewards that were once available for redemption. I like the swipe card and instant redemption at the cash register. My problem with this new feature is that I typically use my Air Miles rewards for $20 gas certificates at Shell, which cost 175 Air Miles to redeem. Now it will take 190 Air Miles to get a $20 gift certificate.
It’s hard for me to see anything positive coming out of these changes for loyal Air Miles collectors. For now, I’ve set my allocation to 100% Dream balance and will wait and see what happens when the program fully rolls out in March.