Collecting Air Miles At Safeway

collectingairmilesatsafeway.jpgEarning Air Miles at Safeway is the single biggest and best way to earn a lot of miles while spending a relatively small amount of money on stuff that you need to buy anyway.  As previously mentioned, Safeway stores are only located in the western half of Canada so I don’t have any personal experience shopping at Safeway.  However, I have read many reports of the countless miles they give away for almost nothing which makes me extremely jealous.  People can earn the number of Air Miles I have collected in my entire lifetime with only a few focused shopping trips to Safeway to take advantage of their promotions.  I will do my best to give you the important details and will continue updating this page as I receive more credible information from those Air Mile collectors who are regular Safeway shoppers.

Promotion Resources

To optimally take advantage of the numerous Safeway Air Miles promotions you will need to tap into various online and offline resources to make sure you are always in the know.  These are the best resources I am currently aware of.

Weekly Flyer

The Safeway weekly flyer is your number one resource for the current promotions, specials, and bonus offers that are currently available at your local Safeway.  Promotions can vary region by region or even occasionally store to store so it doesn’t hurt to check out the flyer for a few nearby stores to makes sure you aren’t missing out.  You should get the latest paper copy of the flyer in your weekly mail or you can access their online flyer as well.

Email Newsletter

Safeway offers an email newsletter that you can also sign up for here that will deliver the most recent offers directly to your inbox.  They even offer an amazing 100 mile bonus just for signing up for the newsletter!  Even I tried to sign up, because 100 miles bonuses of any kind, let alone free ones, are very hard to come by around here.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work because you need a Safeway Club Card number to enrol.

Websites

I have only found one website so far that is exclusively dedicated to the collection of Air Miles and unsurprisingly it is filled with Safeway deals because all other Air Miles promotions typically pale in comparison to the ones offered by Safeway.  There are other sites and blogs that cover Air Miles on a regular basis as well so I will add to this list when I discover more relevant sites to Air Miles and Safeway.

Forum Threads

Some enterprising members of the largest Canadian deal hunting communities have taken it upon themselves to create regularly updated threads devoted to earning Air Miles at Safeway.  If you read the entirety of these threads then you will get much more information than I could ever write here as well as discover the benefits of previous Safeway promotions and compare them with what is currently available.

Regular Miles

Safeway gives the standard 1 mile / $20 spent like most other Air Miles partners.  Nothing interesting here.

Bonus Miles

Bonus miles are where Safeway really shines.  There are lots of different ways to earn bonus miles with Safeway the amount you can earn changes from week to week and from store to store.  After reading all the information below you should be prepared to maximize these bonuses in such a way that you will be reaping an incredible amount of Air Miles while hopefully buying food and other stuff that you need anyway!

Product Bonus

If you took some time to read through some of the above threads, you would soon discover that one of the best ways to earn miles at Safeway is through product bonuses.  It is not uncommon to be able to get more value in miles from buying the product than the actual cost of the product itself.  For example, at the time of this writing you can buy 5 boxes of Nutri-Grain bars, which costs $12.50, and receive 75 bonus miles for the purchase.  Here’s the math:

$12.50 / 75 miles = 16.7 cents per mile

So, depending on how you value an Air Mile, those 75 miles might be worth more than what you paid to get them:

14.3 cents per mile (gift cards) x 75 miles = $10.73
20 cents per mile (rough average) x 75 miles = $15
33 cents per (movie passes) x 75 miles = $24.75

This isn’t even a particularly amazing bonus offer and you can already see that if you value the miles decently high you are earning more money in miles than you actually spent.  At this point you could deposit the food product in the nearest trash bin and you would still be ahead.  Hopefully you wouldn’t do such a thing but instead either eat it yourself or give it away.  You could even donate the excess food to a local food bank and you could probably even get a tax deductible receipt from them for doing so to save even more.

Obviously this type of system is ripe for abuse and undoubtedly some people have abused it in the past by buying out the entire stock of all the stores in their area just to get the miles with no interest in the food.  Amazingly, these awesome promotions are still somehow being offered by Safeway so try to take advantage of them responsibly because all good things that are abused too much always disappear.

See the Restrictions & Limits section for more details.

Fixed Bonus

Fixed bonuses are another great promotion to look out for because they usually offer hundreds of extra miles for spending a certain amount of money at Safeway on a given day or during a given week.  As usual, the value of the bonus can vary from week to week, from store to store, and from region to region.

Mile Multiplier

Much like the Shoppers Optimum program, Safeway has mile multiplication promotions where the base mile accrual rate of 1 mile / $20 spent is multiplied by a given factor.  The promotions are usually for 5x or 10x miles but it could theoretically be any number at all.  Sometimes these promotions might require a minimum amount spent or they could even come in the form of a coupon instead of an automatic bonus that you get for shopping on a specific day or during a specific week.  These promotions aren’t typically as good as some of the others but they are better than nothing and are very useful if they can be stacked together with other promotions.

Bonus Coupons

Frequently bonus coupons can also be found in the Safeway flyer or inside their email newsletter that can be quite generous.  Often times these coupons are only available at a single Safeway or a select few Safeway locations so you need to keep your eyes peeled and consider making the trip a foreign Safeway from time to time when the deal is just too good to pass up.  Bonus coupons can come in several forms but they are usually similar to those things we previously discussed: a Fixed Bonus, a Multiplier Bonus, or a Product Bonus.  The only difference, really, is that you need to have the coupon to get the bonus.  At the time of this writing there are the following coupons available:

  • Maple Ridge Safeway - 5x the base Air Miles when you spend $40 or more.
  • Aspen Glen Safeway - 150 bonus miles when you spend $100 or 300 bonus miles when you spend $200.

The Aspen Glen Safeway promotion is a decent one because you get roughly $30 (20 cents per mile) worth of miles for spending $100.  I don’t recall the exact details, but I believe I have seen promotions that offer much higher bonuses than even that!  So keep your eyes open for coupons and either clip them out of the flyer or print them off from the Safeway website or email newsletter.

Special Events

From time to time a particular store or the entire chain will have a special event that increases the amount of miles you can earn.  These usually come in one of the formats already mentioned: a Fixed Bonus, a Multiplier Bonus, or a Product Bonus.  These events often line up with holidays or other celebrations when people are more likely to be purchasing large quantities of food but they can also fall on an ordinary weekend just to get more people through the doors.

Store Openings

One special event that deserves individual attention are store opening promotions.  If a Safeway opens up shop anywhere near the vicinity where you live, you want to be heading there to shop on the day of the grand opening as long as you can stomach the drive and the crowds.  They will usually offer a plethora of bonuses and coupons all at the same time and for values usually much higher than their regular promotions.  I have see fixed bonuses and bonus coupons worth literally thousands of miles as well as product bonuses that are worth several times the value of the product you are buying.  After a single shop at one of these openings, it is possible that you could have enough miles to be on the next plane across the country or to a foreign city.  I don’t know how they do it, but they do and I sure wish I could get in a piece of the action.  If you can, you should!

Stacking

Now that you know about all of the different types of promotions that are typically offered by Safeway, you should go about taking advantage of them in the most efficient way possible.  This is usually accomplished through stacking.  You are going to want to carefully peruse the fine print and see if you can use a bonus coupon together with a product bonus on top of a fixed bonus.  You want to combine anything and everything you can to get the absolute most amount of miles for as little money as possible.  You don’t only want to stack Safeway promotions and coupon either, you want to use regular manufacturer coupons, free product coupons, credit card perks and bonuses, mail in rebates, sales, and any other offer you can get your hands on that can be feasibly combined together.

If you are new to using coupons, a coupon section will eventually be launched as part of this site but until then keep watch for high valued coupons and especially free product coupons that can use with promotions like those that Safeway offers.  The good thing about manufacturer coupons is that they are usually just like paying with cash so you will still qualify for any bonus you are trying to achieve just as if you had paid for it yourself.  So that means if you need to spend $25 minimum to earn 100 bonus miles using a Safeway coupon, you could theoretically pay for that entire amount using manufacturer coupons, spend nothing out of pocket, and still get the bonus.  Be creative and have fun, but don’t get too upset when it doesn’t work because stores do try to limit this type of thing to a reasonable level because they do want to make money after all.  Just be sure to always save and check your receipt and then if your miles don’t show up properly on the receipt go directly to customer service and take it up with them.

Restrictions & Limits

There didn’t use to be any restrictions on the number of times you could take advantage of a promotion or the number of miles you could earn.  However, as people inevitably and repeatedly exploited these amazing offers, Safeway had to start introducing restrictions to make things a little more fair.  I am unsure of all of the terms and conditions on every promotion so be sure to read the fine print carefully every time because they are always subject to change.  As reported in the Safeway Best Bonus Air Miles Deal This Week thread as of May 24th, 2010 this much is known for sure:

  • There is a maximum of 500 miles that can be earned from one bonus offer.
    • I’m not sure if this includes product bonuses where you would repeatedly buy the same product continually or not.
  • You can only take advantage of one Mile Multiplier bonus per day.
    • It is unclear if this is per store or per member account.

I could be misunderstanding or misinterpreting these conditions, so be sure to verify them yourself before attempting to repeatedly take advantage of the same offer.

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