How to Convert Your Air Miles to Other Airline Loyalty Programs

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Key Takeaways:

  • Air Miles is a popular loyalty program in Canada that allows you to earn and redeem miles for travel, retail, and more.
  • Air Miles has two types of miles: Dream Miles and Cash Miles. Dream Miles can be used for non-cash rewards, such as flights, car rentals, and merchandise. Cash Miles can be used for cash or eVouchers at select partners.
  • You can transfer your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs, such as WestJet Rewards, American Airlines, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific, by using third-party services or partner offers. However, this may not be the best value for your miles, as you may lose some miles or pay fees in the process.
  • You can also use your Air Miles to book flights with a variety of airline partners, such as Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat, Porter, Delta, and more, through the Air Miles Travel website or app. This may give you more flexibility and choice for your travel plans, as well as better value for your miles.
Graphic representation of converting Air Miles to various airline loyalty programs, featuring cards, global network symbols, and arrows indicating exchange.
Maximize Your Travel: Convert Air Miles to Multiple Airline Loyalty Programs Effortlessly.

Introduction

If you are an Air Miles collector, you may be wondering how you can use your miles to travel the world with other airlines. Air Miles is one of Canada’s most popular loyalty rewards programs, with nearly 10 million members¹. You can earn miles by shopping at eligible retailers, using a BMO Air Miles credit card, or taking advantage of bonus offers. You can then redeem your miles for a variety of rewards, such as flights, merchandise, eVouchers, and more.

However, Air Miles is not a traditional airline loyalty program, as it does not belong to any of the three major airline alliances: Star Alliance, SkyTeam, or Oneworld. This means that you cannot directly transfer your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs, such as Aeroplan, AAdvantage, or Avios. However, there are still some ways that you can convert your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs, or use your Air Miles to book flights with other airlines. In this article, we will show you how to do that, and what you need to consider before making the switch.

Types of Air Miles

Before we dive into the details of how to convert your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs, let’s first review the types of Air Miles that you can earn and redeem. Air Miles has two types of miles: Dream Miles and Cash Miles. You can choose how to allocate your earned miles between these two categories, or opt for 100% Dream Miles or 100% Cash Miles.

Dream Miles

Dream Miles are miles that you can redeem for non-cash rewards, such as flights, car rentals, hotel stays, concert tickets, and merchandise. You can browse and book these rewards through the Air Miles website or app, or by calling the Air Miles Customer Care Centre. The number of Dream Miles required for each reward varies depending on the type, availability, and demand of the reward. For example, a round-trip flight from Toronto to Vancouver may cost anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 Dream Miles, depending on the season, airline, and booking time².

Cash Miles

Cash Miles are miles that you can convert into cash or eVouchers, which are handy for online purchases. You can only redeem Cash Miles in-store or online at participating Cash Miles partners, such as Sobeys, Shell, Staples, and more. The value of Cash Miles is fixed at 95 Cash Miles for $10, and you can redeem them in $10 increments up to a total of $750 per day³. You can also use Cash Miles to get discounts on your purchases instantly at the checkout, or get eVouchers that you can use later or gift to someone else.

How to Transfer Your Air Miles to Other Airline Loyalty Programs

Now that you know the difference between Dream Miles and Cash Miles, you may be wondering how you can transfer them to other airline loyalty programs, such as WestJet Rewards, American Airlines, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific. Unfortunately, there is no direct or official way to do that, as Air Miles does not have any reciprocal agreements with other airline loyalty programs. However, there are some third-party services or partner offers that may allow you to convert your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs, with some caveats.

Third-Party Services

One way to transfer your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs is to use third-party services, such as The Points Trader, Points.com, or Points Loyalty Wallet. These services act as brokers or intermediaries that buy and sell miles from different loyalty programs, including Air Miles. You can sell your Air Miles to these services for cash, and then use that cash to buy miles from other airline loyalty programs. Alternatively, you can exchange your Air Miles for miles from other airline loyalty programs directly, if the service offers that option.

However, there are some drawbacks to using third-party services to transfer your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs. First, you may not get the best value for your miles, as these services may charge fees, commissions, or markups for their transactions. For example, The Points Trader charges $0.15 per Air Mile to buy or sell, which means that you would lose 15% of the value of your miles⁴. Second, you may not be able to transfer all of your miles, as these services may have minimum or maximum limits on the number of miles that they accept or offer. For example, Points.com requires a minimum of 1,000 Air Miles to exchange for other loyalty programs, and a maximum of 100,000 Air Miles per year⁵. Third, you may violate the terms and conditions of Air Miles or other airline loyalty programs, as some of them prohibit the sale, purchase, or exchange of miles with third parties. This may result in the cancellation of your miles, the suspension of your account, or the loss of your benefits.

Partner Offers

Another way to transfer your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs is to use partner offers, such as promotions, contests, or sweepstakes, that may occasionally be available from Air Miles or other airline loyalty programs. These offers may allow you to convert your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs, or vice versa, for a limited time or under certain conditions. For example, in 2023, Air Miles and WestJet Rewards had a promotion that allowed collectors to convert their Dream Miles to WestJet dollars, or their WestJet dollars to Dream Miles, at a 15:1 ratio⁶. Similarly, in 2022, Air Miles and British Airways had a contest that gave collectors a chance to win 250,000 Avios, the currency of British Airways Executive Club, by redeeming their Dream Miles for any reward⁷.

However, there are also some limitations to using partner offers to transfer your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs. First, you may not find an offer that matches your needs, as these offers are rare, sporadic, and unpredictable. You may have to wait for a long time or check frequently for any new offers that may suit your preferences. Second, you may not get a good exchange rate for your miles, as these offers may have unfavorable or variable ratios that may change depending on the demand, supply, or market conditions of the miles. For example, the 15:1 ratio between Air Miles and WestJet dollars means that you would need 1,500 Dream Miles to get $100 in WestJet dollars, which is not a great value compared to other rewards. Third, you may have to meet certain requirements or restrictions to qualify for these offers, such as having a minimum or maximum number of miles, having a specific credit card, or booking a specific reward.

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How to Use Your Air Miles to Book Flights with Other Airlines

If you are not satisfied with the options of transferring your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs, you may want to consider another way to use your Air Miles to travel with other airlines. You can use your Air Miles to book flights with a variety of airline partners, such as Air Canada, WestJet, Air Transat, Porter, Delta, and more, through the Air Miles Travel website or app. This may give you more flexibility and choice for your travel plans, as well as better value for your miles.

Airline Partners

Air Miles has a network of over 20 airline partners that you can book flights with using your Dream Miles⁸. These include:

  • Air Canada
  • WestJet
  • Air Transat
  • Porter
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Aeromexico
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • Lufthansa
  • Air New Zealand
  • Air North
  • PAL Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Canada Jetlines
  • SATA
  • Condor

You can search and book flights with these airline partners through the Air Miles Travel website or app, or by calling the Air Miles Customer Care Centre. You can choose from one-way, round-trip, or multi-city flights, and from economy, premium economy, business, or first class cabins. You can also select your preferred departure and arrival times, airports, and stopovers.

Booking Process

To book flights with Air Miles airline partners, you need to follow these steps:

  • Log in to your Air Miles account and go to the Travel section of the website or app.
  • Enter your trip details, such as the origin, destination, dates, number of travellers, and cabin preference.
  • Select your payment preference: credit card, Dream Miles, or a combination of both. If you choose a combination of both, you need to have enough Dream Miles to cover at least 80% of the flight cost.
  • Click on the Search button to see the available flights from the airline partners that match your criteria.
  • Choose your preferred outbound and inbound flights from the list of options. You can filter the results by airline, price, duration, stops, and departure or arrival time.
  • Review your flight details and the number of Dream Miles required. You can also see the taxes and fees that you need to pay with your credit card.
  • Confirm your booking and enter your personal and payment information. You will also need to provide your passport and visa information, if applicable.
  • Complete your booking and receive your confirmation email and e-ticket number. You can also access your booking details and manage your reservation through the Air Miles Travel website or app.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Using your Air Miles to book flights with other airlines may have some benefits and drawbacks, depending on your situation and preferences. Here are some of them:

Benefits

  • You can have more flexibility and choice for your travel plans, as you can access a wider range of destinations, routes, and airlines with your Air Miles.
  • You can get better value for your miles, as you can compare the prices and availability of different flights and choose the best option for your needs.
  • You can enjoy the perks and benefits of the airline that you fly with, such as priority boarding, lounge access, baggage allowance, and in-flight entertainment, depending on your cabin class and status.
  • You can earn miles or points from the airline that you fly with, if you are a member of their loyalty program and provide your membership number when booking your flight.

Drawbacks

  • You may need more Dream Miles to book flights with other airlines, as the number of miles required is based on the market value of the flight, which may fluctuate depending on the demand, supply, or season.
  • You may have to pay higher taxes and fees with your credit card, as these are not included in the Dream Miles redemption and may vary depending on the airline, destination, and departure country.
  • You may have limited availability or options for your flights, as some airlines may have blackout dates, capacity controls, or minimum or maximum stay requirements for Air Miles bookings.
  • You may have to follow the rules and policies of the airline that you fly with, such as the cancellation, change, or refund policies, which may differ from those of Air Miles.

Conclusion

In this article, we have shown you how to convert your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs, or use your Air Miles to book flights with other airlines. We have explained the types of Air Miles, the methods of transferring your Air Miles to other airline loyalty programs, and the process of booking flights with Air Miles airline partners. We have also discussed the benefits and drawbacks of each option, and what you need to consider before making your decision.

Source : Air Miles – Wikipedia : Air Miles Flight Calculator : Cash Miles – Air Miles : The Points Trader – Sell Air Miles : Points.com – Exchange Air Miles : Air Miles and WestJet Rewards Promotion – WestJet : Air Miles and British Airways Contest – Air Miles : Airline Partners – Air Miles : Dream Miles – Air Miles


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