5 Best Ways To Redeem Your Air Miles

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Air Miles may have decided to cancel their their expiration policy - but that doesn't mean you should wait to redeem your miles.

Why?

Because Air Miles was banking on huge profits from being able to take millions of unredeemed miles off their books and keep that money for themselves. Now they can't...

... And who do you think is going to foot the bill?

You'd be right if you're thinking they are going to try and make their collectors pay for their misfortune in some other way! They even admitted that much in a financial disclosure to their investors as reported by The Globe and Mail.

It’s time to stop 'dreaming' about a glorious future redemption and get real about what you can actually get for your points today before they’re worth much less.

Want to get the BEST value for your Air Miles? Download the PDF version of this guide - and read it anywhere when you want.

Your Options For Redeeming Air Miles

A big change to the Air Miles program, Air Miles “Cash”, was announced back in 2011. At the same time, the clock on this new 5 year expiry policy started ticking that has now been abolished.

If you chose to switch your points to 100% Air Miles Cash at the time, then you’re pretty safe. Just go to a participating Air Miles sponsor in your area - maybe a gas station or grocery store - and get part, or all, of your purchase for free.

With Air Miles Cash, your miles can always be redeemed at a rate of 95 miles = $10. That gives each single mile a value of 10.5 cents. This is known as the cost per mile or CPM and is an easy way of comparing reward value.

You calculate CPM by taking the real cost in dollars of the reward you are buying and dividing it by number of Air Miles required to redeem for that reward. I’m going to be using CPM throughout the rest of the article.

If you chose to stick with Air Miles 'Dream', then you have a much more difficult decision ahead of you. You can choose between a variety of rewards including travel, merchandise, events & attractions, and even sweepstakes.

Inside each one of those categories is a confusing array of additional choices. The bad news is that the selection of high value rewards has really dwindled since Air Miles Cash was introduced.

My go-to reward was always the free movie certificates because they gave a 30 cent per mile value, nearly triple the cash rate. Years ago that reward disappeared so I switched to car washes which also had a high value. Not long after, that one was gone too - followed by the great selection of gift cards they used to offer.

The good news?

There’s a few things left worth redeeming for and I’m going to tell you what they are.

Top 5 Air Miles Dream Rewards

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Costco’s Crazy Return Policy

costcoscrazyreturnpolicy.jpgI’m going to get a lot of flack for this one - I can feel it in my bones.

You’re waiting to judge me…aren’t you?

Ok here it goes.

In case you aren’t aware, Costco has the most amazing return policy in the history of return policies.

They will allow you to return practically anything, for almost any reason, with no time limit on when you can make the return. There’s only a few reasonable exceptions.

Sounds insane, right? How can this be profitable?

It’s actually a genius marketing and psychological play that gives customers a huge sense of security and trust in the products Costco carries. They open their wallets without thinking about it or even checking the reviews.

Much of the time Costco can charge back any returns to the manufacturer anyway - and the sheer volume of sales they do and annual membership fees makes up for the rest of the potential losses.

In short…it’s why I shop at Costco.

I’m always pressed for time. The draw of that warm security blanket return policy and reasonable prices is just too hard to resist.

I'm not the only one who can't resist either - here's a blogger who lists her favourite Costco buys.

My $1,000 Costco Return

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How To Score Cheap Movie Tickets

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I don't know about you, but I love going to the cinema to watch a movie!

It's a great way to get out of the house and enjoy a night out with family or friends. There's just something about the experience that makes it so much better than watching a movie at home, even if it is MUCH more expensive.

With the price of a single admission approaching $15 per ticket in some cities, it can cost a fortune to go out to the movies with your spouse especially if you include the insane cost of movie food. Add on a babysitter and you could be getting close to $75 or more for one night at the movies!

Fortunately, there are a lot of creative ways to score cheap movie tickets and I've put together a pretty comprehensive list:

Discount Movie Passes

There are actually a ton of ways you can advance purchase discount movie passes that makes getting cheap movie tickets a breeze. You can find these cheap movie passes at various retail stores, through certain membership programs, or sometimes even through your employer. Here are a few specific examples:

Costco Cineplex Movie Packages

One of the quickest and easiest ways to get discount movie passes is at Costco. They "Great Escape" Cineplex package for adults costs $26.99 when bought directly at the warehouse. You get 2 regular adult admissions, 1 regular popcorn, and 2 regular fountain drinks all for that one price. Keep in mind, it is $3 extra per person to upgrade to 3D. Depending on how you value the tickets and the refreshments, you could be getting a value of up to $45 there.

Costco also offers kids packages for about $10 which gives you an under 13 regular admission ticket and a kids pack from the concession stand (popcorn, soft drink, and small candy).

It’s worth noting that Costco.ca often has these same or similar packages at a slightly increased price so you can buy them even if you aren’t a Costco member - but they do go out of stock often. If you aren't a member, try convincing your friends who are to pick a few passes for you.

Virgin Mobile BOGO

Virgin offers buy one get one free (BOGO) movie passes to its customers several times a year. This is great if you are already a "member" or know somebody who is. The good news is that you can become a member cheaply when you buy a prepaid SIM card (about $5). Once you have that, you can insert it in any unlocked phone and use it to claim your BOGO code.

The downside is that your SIM card will expire in 120 days from when your balance reaches $0. The minimum top up is $15 and that lasts for 30 days. So you can wait 119 days after buying the SIM, top up for $15, then you should have 150 days before it is set to expire again. Keep topping up every 149 days to keep it active.

CAA

Being a CAA member can have its perks and one of them does happen to be cheap movie tickets! CAA offers a discount on individual Cineplex movie tickets and sometimes packages as well. The packages aren’t quite as cheap as they are at Costco, but still a reasonable deal if you can’t take advantage of the Costco deal. They also offer single admission passes at $9.83 each, which is something you can’t buy at Costco which is great for those people who don’t want over-priced food at the movies or don’t want to spend the extra money to get it.

Employee Discount Programs

Many larger employers offer employee discount programs for their employees to take advantage of. Typically the discounts given are of marginal value at best, but many such programs do offer decent discounts on movie tickets. For example, a previous employer of mine offered us single admission movie tickets for $2.50 off the regular price. Check with your employer to see if they offer a similar program!

Redeem Points For Movie Passes

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Winners - $1000 Cash HUGE Christmas Giveaway 2016!

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2016 is coming to a close and we ran another successful Christmas giveaway this year!

We collected 11,731 entries and awarded $2,000 in cash and prizes ... mostly cash :)

I want to give a heart-felt thank you to everyone who took the time to enter and share the giveaway. You are the reason this is a success year after year!

If you are a new HowToSaveMoney.ca reader because of this giveaway, then congratulations on becoming a Smart Saver and joining our community of like-minded savers. I believe that we can all save better together by helping each other out and pooling our knowledge to create a better financial future for ourselves and others.

I'm looking forward to what 2017 has in store and I hope to see all on the site again throughout the year.

Here Are Your Winners!

There are still a few winners who have yet to confirm - I will update this list of winners as they do. If they don't confirm soon, I will be drawing new winners in their place. Keep an eye on your inbox and spam folder over the next few days just in case. Keep reading » about Winners - $1000 Cash HUGE Christmas Giveaway 2016!

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