Hi, my name is Fay, and I’m addicted to rewards cards. My wallet is absolutely stuffed with them. If a store has a loyalty program, I am most likely a member. But AIR MILES is still my preferred rewards program. I have a BMO AIR MILES Mastercard and a American Express (AMEX) AIR MILES Platinum credit card to help me feed my addiction. I actually pay the $50 annual fee to American Express for the upgrade to Platinum status to earn 30% more miles. I have been a “Gold” AIR MILES collector for 6 years straight now, which means I qualify for discounted rewards or bonus offers. This status is achieved by collecting 1,000 AIR MILES and visiting 5 AIR MILES sponsors in a calendar year. Most people look at me in horror and immediately think that I’ve spent $120,000 to reach this level. But of course I didn’t, and I’m happy to share my secrets with anyone who wants to know.
Canadian Cheapo’s Tips to earn AIR MILES faster:
- “Double dipping”
I always try to double dip by earning AIR MILES with both the AMEX and the AIR MILES Collector card. Shop at retailers that honour both programs and you’re well on your way to Gold status!
- Use an American Express AIR MILES credit card
Charge all your purchases to an AMEX AIR MILES credit card if possible, regardless of the dollar amount. Using this credit card allows you to collect 1 reward mile for every $15 you spend in a month, not per shopping trip. This means if you upgrade to a Platinum card, you can collect 1 reward mile per $10 spent at all the sponsors combined. Also, Food Basics, the “warehouse style” supermarket chain owned by Metro (such as Loblaw’s No Frills) is included in this sponsor list. I have not seen that advertised anywhere but my statement clearly shows Food Basics as part of the cumulative monthly total spending at a sponsor. A typical week could find you shopping at Food Basics/Metro, Rexall/Pharmaplus, Shoe Company and The Children’s Place, for example. Fill your car up with gas at a Shell station and you’ve already reached the 5 sponsor requirement for Gold status!
- Supplementary cards
Take advantage of the free supplementary AMEX credit cards and AIR MILES collector cards. That way, you can get assistance from your family members.
- Use any credit card that offers Airmiles
To shop at retailers who do not accept American Express, I use my free BMO Mastercard so I do not lose out on any opportunity to collect miles.
- Make “cashback” purchases with your BMO debit card
If you bank at BMO and have a Performance or Premium banking plan, you can collect 1 mile/$40 spent on a debit card purchase. If you need money, use your BMO debit card for a “cashback” purchase at a store instead of going to a bank machine. This amount is added to your total purchase, so if your bill is $20 and you add $20 of cashback, you will gain another mile and you don’t have to pay an ATM fee.
- Subscribe to the AIR MILES newsletter
AIR MILES will send the latest offers or surveys direct to your email inbox. A recent survey earned me 25 additional miles!