Which AIR MILES Credit Card Is Best For 2018?

Last updated: November 1, 2018

The best AIR MILES credit card

What if you want a rewards program that will allow you to redeem for more than just travel?

AIR MILES is still one of the most commonly collected and used rewards programs in Canada, and for good reason.

You have two main options for redemption:

  • As AIR MILES Cash Rewards (or Cash Miles) – which can be used as cash towards everyday shopping purchases at participating partners, or
  • As AIR MILES Dream Rewards (or Dream Miles) – which can be used to go on dreamy vacations, get exciting event tickets, score some great merchandise, or even to enter AIR MILES Dream Sweepstakes.

No matter what way you most like to redeem your rewards, if you are one of the 2 in every 3 Canadians who still choose to collect, you might as well choose a top AIR MILES credit card to help you earn and redeem that much faster.

Compare AIR MILES Credit Cards

Here is a list of best AIR MILES credit cards – ordered from best to worst.

(Please note that the table scrolls horizontally by using the slider at the bottom.)

To give you more options, cards that aren't branded as AIR MILES cards but allow you to convert points to miles are also included.

  Credit Card
Apply BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard
Apply American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
(no min. income)
Apply American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card
(no min. income)
Apply BMO AIR MILES World Mastercard
Apply BMO Shell AIR MILES World Mastercard
Apply BMO IGA AIR MILES Mastercard
Apply American Express AIR MILES Credit Card
Apply BMO Sobeys AIR MILES Mastercard
Apply Hudson's Bay Mastercard1
Apply BMO Shell AIR MILES Mastercard
Apply BMO AIR MILES Mastercard
Apply BMO SPC AIR MILES Mastercard
Apply MBNA Best Western Mastercard1
Score Miles Per $100 Spent2 Bonus Miles5 Annual Fee First Year Free? Extra Cards $25,000 Spend Score3 $100,000 Spend Score4 Insurance Score Perks Score
5.00 10.0 3,000 + 3,0006 $120 Yes $50 5.0 5.0 5.0 2.6
2.60 8.0 2,000 $65 No Free 4.2 3.7 1.3 2.2
1.93 8.0 2,400 $299 No $50 0.0 2.9 3.2 5.0
1.84 6.9 0 $99 No $35 2.8 2.9 4.3 0.0
1.73 6.9 0 $99 No $35 2.8 2.9 3.6 0.4
1.24 5.0 up to
$0 Yes Free 3.3 2.2 0.7 1.9
1.20 5.0 500 $0 Yes Free 3.3 2.2 1.1 1.5
1.18 5.0 up to
$0 Yes Free 3.3 2.2 0.7 1.8
1.10 6.2 0 $0 Yes Free 4.2 3.0 0.0 0.4
1.00 5.0 up to  800* $0 Yes Free 3.3 2.2 0.7 1.3
0.94 5.0 up to  800* $0 Yes Free 3.3 2.2 0.7 1.3
0.88 5.0 up to  800* $0 Yes Free 3.3 2.2 0.7 1.0
0.00 3.8 320 $0 Yes Free 0.6 0.0 2.9 1.8

(+/-) Footnotes:

* Limited time promotion ending soon.
1. In the cases where the credit card in question earns points of another kind than AIR MILES, points are assumed to be converted to AIR MILES in the most favorable way possible.
2. Miles Per $100 Spent is a calculated number that factors in spending spread sensibly across spending categories like groceries, gas, drugstore, travel, bills, and everyday spending. All points are converted to AIR MILES when determining reward value. All spending bonuses, tiers, limits, and caps are taken into account. Sign up bonuses are NOT included in these numbers, so that will be an extra perk for you.
3. $25,000 in annual spending works out to $2,083 in monthly spending which is achievable for a typical Canadian family funneling most of their spending through credit.
4. $100,000 in annual spending works out to $8,333 in monthly spending which is too high for most families. I have included these numbers to better evaluate cards and give an advantage to those that don't have spending caps or limits. It also allows cards that have a good tier system to shine at higher spending levels.
5. The sign up bonus is a lump sum of points or miles you get when first opening a new credit card. It is often given when you make your first purchase, spend a reasonable amount of money on the card within the first X months, keep the card open for X months, or some combination of those. The criteria to qualify for the sign up bonus are usually very reasonable.
6. New cardholders will be given 3,000 as a welcome bonus. They will also be given a companion flight rebate that we are valuing at 3,000 additional miles.

Get a credit card with top travel insurance.
Plus a travel bonus worth another $150.
Quantities are limited.

The Top 3 In Detail

1) BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard 

BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard

This card is hands-down the best AIR MILES credit card in Canada. It not only allows cardholders to earn AIR MILES faster than any of its competition, but it also gives them great perks like best in class insurance coverage.

As the top AIR MILES card it automatically gets a score of 5, but the astonishing part is the next highest card isn't even close to it with a score of 2.60. (For context, in most of my other rankings, the 2nd place card usually score at least a 4.5 or higher.)

If you’re an AIR MILES collector, the only reason not to consider getting this card is if you can't qualify or your spending is too low to justify the $120 annual fee (although, the first year is free!). 

There is a way to have this annual fee waived every year after that. You just need to combine this card with a premium banking package from BMO.

While there is a fee to said banking package, you do have the ability to have that monthly fee waived as well. Simply keep a minimum balance in your chequing account and you’re golden. While normally I avoid premium banking packages like the plague, this combo from BMO is actually quite decent.

Why You Want It:

  • Earn at a rate higher than any other card, 1 mile for every $10 spent.
  • Large 3,000 mile sign up bonus - enough for two short-haul flights.
  • One companion flight rebate. Redeem your miles for a flight for you and a friend, in the first year, and your AIR MILES account will be credited for one of those tickets.
  • Insurance coverage that by far beats out any other AIR MILES card.
  • Enjoy exclusive VIP access to airport lounges worldwide with Mastercard Airport Experiences Provided by LoungeKey, plus two complimentary passes annually.
  • Great perks like 15% discount on AIR MILES flights.

Apply Now

2) American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card

American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card

The American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card is the card of choice for most collectors for a few reasons. To start, it comes with a lower annual fee – $65 vs $120. Then it has a large sign up bonus and a nice high earning rate.

But, probably the most surprising thing about this card is that there is no minimum income requirement. This Amex card gives you most of the benefits of the more premium cards, without all the extra hassle.

Why You Want It:

  • 1 mile per $15 spent on all purchases – second highest on the market.
  • 1 mile per $10 spent at gas stations, grocery and drugstores, and all AIR MILES sponsor purchases - highest on the market.
  • Premium benefits with a lower annual fee of only $65.
  • Impressive 2,000 mile sign up bonus.
  • No minimum income requirement.

Apply Now

3) American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card

American Express AIR MILES Reserve

If you’re looking for a card that gives you more rewards, even more perks, a pretty solid insurance package, and you are not afraid of a high annual fee, the Amex AIR MILES Reserve could be one worth considering.

Plus, if you’re closer to the $100,000 end of the annual spend scale and you tend to fly a lot, then this really could be the right card for you.

This card will give you 1 mile for every $10 spent at grocery stores, gas stations, drugstores, and at AIR MILES sponsors, and then 1 mile for every $15 spent anywhere else – not to mention the nice-sized welcome bonus you will receive as long as you spend $3,000 within your first 3 months.

With a perks score of 5.0, and the 4th best insurance package on this list, it’s pretty easy to see why this card is among the top three – and amazingly, this card (like all Amex credit cards) has no minimum income requirement.

Why You Want It:

  • One complimentary Companion Flight every year when you redeem your points through the AIR MILES flight program.
  • 4 annual passes to Priority Pass Lounges worldwide.
  • The only card that will waive the AIR MILES flight administration fee that you have to pay when you book your flight.
  • Automatic Onyx status in the AIR MILES program.
  • The flexibility to book almost any flight with AIR MILES, including business class flights which isn't something normal AIR MILES members can do.
  • No minimum income requirement.

Apply Now

What's Important To You?

What you think is the most important feature of a credit card might not line up with my own assessment. So if one of the features listed below is of great importance to you, then you might want to consider applying for a card that does well in that particular area.

1) Earning Miles As Fast As Possible

If what you really want is the most bang in miles for your buck, then the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard has no equal. This card will give you 1 mile per $10 spent across all spending categories. That works out to exactly 10 miles per $100 spent and no other cards on the market right now come close to that. But if you don’t meet the $80,000 minimum income requirement, this card is not for you.

If that is the case, my recommendation is to go with the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card. It has the second highest earn rates (8 miles per $100 spent), a massive sign up bonus of 2,000 miles, premium perks and exclusive features, and all for a reasonable annual fee of $65.

2) Getting The Biggest Bonus For Signing Up

The highest sign up bonus award goes to the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard at 3,000 miles. Plus, cardholders will be given a companion flight rebate which we are including in the sign up bonus.

This is a one-time rebate and we are assuming an average Canadian will be able to book 2 flights valued at 3,000 AIR MILES each (6,000 miles total) when they take advantage of this companion flight rebate. As such, we've added the estimated dollar value of the 3,000 AIR MILES companion flight rebate to the sign up bonus value for this card.

With an annual fee of $120 and your first year free, this card is totally worth it.

Taking a close second is the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card at 2,400 miles.

If you want free bonus miles, then most of the no fee cards from BMO often have bonus mile promotions. I update this table monthly, so if there isn't a promotion right now, one will probably be coming soon.

3) No Annual Fee

Sometimes paying an annual fee doesn’t make sense. Perhaps, you don’t spend enough to justify it, or you just want a no fee AIR MILES credit card to pair with one of the premium Amex cards.

Whatever the case, if you’re looking for a no fee AIR MILES card, I would suggest the BMO Sobeys AIR MILES Mastercard. It gives you 2X miles at selected partners and  2X miles at Sobeys.

4) Top Insurance Package

If you travel often, a good insurance package is a must. The insurance coverage offered by a good credit card can easily save you thousands of dollars.

For starters, whenever you rent a car, you can decline the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) that adds up to $20-$30 per day to the bill. Not to mention, if you drop your brand new iPad within the first 90-120 days of owning it, you can get a full repair or reimbursement of the purchase price – which is a pretty rare type of insurance.

And if you find yourself in need of emergency medical attention? Good cards will offer anywhere from 15-31 days of travel (emergency) medical – absolutely free. With 16 types of credit card insurance available, the potential savings certainly don't end there!

The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard has the top insurance package hands down offering 14 out of the 16 types of insurance that I track, making this card not only tops among AIR MILES cards, but one of the best credit card insurance packages – period.

BMO AIR MILES World Elite Insurance Coverage

If you’re looking for the best insurance package on a card with no annual fee and a low minimum income, then the MBNA Best Western Mastercard would be what I'd suggest. It has 7 types of insurance included, which is pretty high for a credit card with no annual fee.

5) Great Perks

One card really stands out when it comes to perks: the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card.

As mentioned above, this card annually gives cardholders a number of great perks:

  • free companion flight when redeeming up to 1,700 Miles on flights
  • 4 complimentary lounge passes
  • 24/7 concierge service
  • priority access to security, taxi, and limo lines at select Canadian airports
  • exclusive access to better concert and event seating via American Express Front Of The Line
  • the ability to use your miles for business class flights, taxes and fees, and other flights that are typically unavailable to AIR MILES collectors

Plus, this is the only AIR MILES card that will waive the administration fee you normally have to pay when booking a reward flight.

While the annual fee of $299 is steep, if you enjoy premium perks, this card is well worth it.

Converting Points To Miles

Some of the credit cards in the above table may seem a little out of place because they don’t reward you in AIR MILES directly...

But there are some rewards programs that allow you to convert your points to miles for free. And to be thorough, I wanted to include those cards that allow you to turn your points into miles and provide a few unconventional options.

Converting Hudson's Bay Rewards To AIR MILES

This is an easy conversion that can be set up to convert your points automatically on a weekly basis. 40 HBC points equal one AIR MILE and that conversion ratio has been factored into the numbers above so that everything is displayed in miles instead of points.

Converting Best Western Rewards To AIR MILES

You're going to lose a fair amount of point value by doing this, and I wouldn’t suggest it, but this is an option if you have the points and really want the extra miles. 5,000 Best Western rewards are worth 80 AIR MILES and can be transferred in 5,000 point increments.

Summary of Top 5 AIR MILES Cards

With plenty of options for redeeming your miles from shopping and purchases to travel and experiences – why not get the most bang in miles for your buck? Here's a quick recap of the top 5 AIR MILES cards:

Rank Card Name Miles per $100 Spent Annual Fee Score
1 BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard 10.0 $120 5.0
2 American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card 8.0 $65 2.6
5 American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card 8.0 $299 1.89
4 BMO AIR MILES World Mastercard 6.9 $99 1.91
3 BMO Shell AIR MILES World Mastercard 6.9 $99 2.12

Disclosure: You should know that HowToSaveMoney.ca receives a referral fee for some credit cards listed; however, our unbiased algorithm dictates the results of our credit card rankings. You can trust that our rankings are strictly independent of compensation; here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.


Code Clements
Code Clements's picture

Very useful. I have been looking for a better deal.

December 11, 2015 @ 7:40 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Glad you found the information useful and it helped you find something better than what you already had!

December 13, 2015 @ 10:37 pm
Nadine Mullin
Nadine Mullin's picture

I have looked around Google quite a lot at this topic and your info is excellent! I have one strange concern, though: I am an RBC client and find having my credit card within my regular online banking keeps me in check because I see it/pay it every time I get paid/log in. Since I have no reason to log into BMO, there's no built-in rigour. Have you researched RBC's air miles card? Is it a bad option? Insights welcome!

December 15, 2015 @ 3:23 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Hi Nadine. I'm going to be publishing a more thorough analysis of all the travel related credit cards in Canada in early 2016. That one will include the RBC cards. RBC doesn't really have a lot of standout cards but they aren't bad either. The Avion Infinite isn't a bad card at all. There are definitely better ones out there but if you simply must have an RBC travel rewards card, then I'd probably go with the Avion.

December 15, 2015 @ 4:55 pm
Adrianne's picture

Nice post, however, a minor detail regarding the HCB Mastercard (from their website):

"Please note that only Hudson’s Bay Rewards points earned at Hudson’s Bay, Hudson’s Bay online and Home Outfitters, or otherwise awarded by Hudson’s Bay Company or any of its affiliates can be redeemed for AIR MILES® reward miles."

So unless you spend a lot at these stores, it might not make much sense to get this card.

December 31, 2015 @ 12:16 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Thanks for commenting Adrianne. I don't think this impacts things much because you can earn HBC points at ANY store using the HBC MasterCard. That is a legitimate way to earn HBC points, so those points will still be eligible to be converted to AIR MILES.

January 02, 2016 @ 7:15 pm
Chris Philpotts
Chris Philpotts's picture

One more note to point out. The BMO AIR MILES World Elite MasterCard allows you to book flights at a 25% discount in miles. Not sure if the other cards do that as well but if you're redeeming for flights it means the miles are actually worth more with that particular card.

January 05, 2016 @ 6:24 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, that's one of the great perks of that card that was taken into account when computing the total score but I didn't really mention it in the article specifically. Thanks for pointing it out Chris!

January 07, 2016 @ 11:56 am
Colleen's picture

You're site has become a credit card pusher. And I can't trust your recommendations anymore.

January 14, 2016 @ 4:02 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I'm sorry to hear that Colleen. It is true that the site uses credit cards as a way to earn money. However, I will never ever recommend a credit card or other product that I don't 100% believe in or would use myself.

I have also built a credit card ranking system from the ground up over the past 5 years that ranks credit cards by ALL of their features. In any of my comparison articles, I always include links to all credit cards whether I earn any money from them or not. If the top card doesn't pay out any money, then it is still the top card no matter what.

I'm not sure how long you have been a reader for, but some of the earliest content on HowToSaveMoney.ca was about credit cards and maximizing their rewards. This was long before the site earned any money from those cards at all. I've also personally been using rewards credit cards to save money and travel the world practically free since 2003, long before I even conceived this site. I don't want to see people in debt and only recommend using a credit card if you can pay off your bill every month like I do.

Given all of that, you'll see that comparing credit cards and maximizing their rewards is actually long standing passion of mine. This year I have been attempting to update and add to much of my older credit card content because it has become so out of date.

I'm sure you'll also be happy to know that I'm planning to launch a new site focused entirely on credit cards so I can move a lot of those types of articles off HowToSaveMoney.ca. I will still be producing some credit card related content here, but mostly just comparison articles and not reviews and credit card related news.

If you are interested to learn more about how the site makes money and our policies, we have just updated our Terms, Privacy, and Disclosure document.

January 20, 2016 @ 4:57 pm
Marie Rose Hagen
Marie Rose Hagen's picture

Re: BMO World Elite
What happens if your income is high enough to allow enrolment and then goes down in subsequent years?

March 25, 2016 @ 11:28 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Missed this question earlier Marie - my apologies. It is no problem if your income goes down, you will still be able to keep the card just fine as long as you have a good track record of paying on time. I wouldn't report the income change to them either unless they ask you to.

April 07, 2016 @ 2:46 pm
m albert
m albert's picture

Is the 3000 bonus air miles still available with BMO World Elite

April 06, 2016 @ 9:41 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, it is still ongoing - I think it ends in May.

April 07, 2016 @ 2:44 pm
Anne Marie
Anne Marie's picture

Why does the BMO World Elite card require the $70,000.00 income? My income is less but I'm a good money manager and always pay my bills. I would like to apply for that card.

April 26, 2016 @ 9:04 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

$70,000 is actually the standard for all World Elite cards. I believe Infinite cards are also $60,000 or $70,000 across the board. I'm not 100% sure of the reason for it, but I'm sure there are several.

One thing I do know is that you can qualify for cards where you don't quite meet the income requirements if your credit is good enough. Also be sure to include all possible sources of income when giving them this number. If you receive money through any means - add it in. If you're even close, I'd still give it a shot. The worst they can say is no.

April 27, 2016 @ 3:46 pm
Laura Mazerolle
Laura Mazerolle's picture

How are these bonus cards really suppose to be so good for someone wanting to use these for flying? My husband & I, each have been accumulating for years, on the Aeroplan and Airmiles cards. We just checked them today, we are barely able to fly to Montreal or Toronto from Saint John, NB. Are these cards a waste of time to chase points?

April 30, 2016 @ 4:38 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

The trick Laura is to sign up for credit cards fairly regularly with large sign up bonuses. For instance, one of the BMO cards has a 3,000 mile bonus right now. That's enough to get flying right away. There are also good Aeroplan offers that will get you enough miles for a trip across North America just with the sign up bonus.

Then, when collecting miles in-store, you also need to stay on top of bonuses to make it really worthwhile. Otherwise, you can just expect a small discount from time to time for buying stuff you would anyway - better than nothing.

For everyday spending for a family on your credit card, you should be able to easily earn 2,500 miles a year at a rate of 1 mile per $10 spent. In 2 years you'd have enough for short haul tickets for 2 people + fees and taxes.

May 02, 2016 @ 11:34 am
Mark McShane
Mark McShane's picture

Definitely use the links provided on this site. The current bonus for the BMO World Elite Card according to the BMO website is for 1000 air miles. I figured that the 3000 mile deal was expired but that isn't the case at all. If you follow the link on this page, it goes to a special deal page on the BMO site and still includes the 3000 air miles described above. I went through the application process which confirmed the 3000 air mile bonus was indeed still valid. Thanks to the link above I got an extra 2000 bonus air miles that I would have been screwed out of by going straight to the BMO site. Howtosave indeed. Sweet.

May 04, 2016 @ 7:56 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes sometimes affiliate offers are better than what the banks offer on their own sites. I happen to be affiliated with BMO and they also happen to sometimes give better offers to their affiliates. Affiliate relationships do not affect my rankings though. The number #1 ranked card is always #1 no matter if I am affiliated with them or not.

May 05, 2016 @ 12:15 pm
Norman Kling
Norman Kling's picture

Hot Credit Card Deals This Month are listed. Caveat: regarding the Tangerine Mastercard, to be eligible for the 3 bonus categories, you must have the cash reward deposited to a Tangerine bank account, otherwise you are eligible for only 2 bonus categories and the cash reward is credited on your statement. An excellent feature is that the cash reward is paid monthly and not annually (like so many other cash back cards). I have had the card for 6 months and highly recommend it.

I have a no-fee TD Visa Drivers Reward card and use that card for gas which is rewarded at 2%, thus I do not use Tangerine's gas bonus category but elect another category.

May 16, 2016 @ 6:46 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Although not specific to this article, that's good information about the Tangerine card Norman. That's the reason why I put "up to 3 bonus categories" in the Hot Credit Card Deals section. The good news is that anyone can get the 3rd category if they really want it because Tangerine accounts are free.

May 16, 2016 @ 9:05 pm
porgiamor's picture

Sobeys Airmiles N/A anymore I clicked and it's no longer available thru BMO.

June 04, 2016 @ 5:13 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Still coming up for me. I was able to get to the application.

June 05, 2016 @ 3:09 pm
Simon's picture

BMO World Elite Card Air miles Mastercard is now 50$ for the second card

June 22, 2016 @ 12:00 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Thanks for pointing that out Simon. I just noticed the $50 the other day too and was shocked because my own data said it was free for secondary cards. This must be a new fee then as I heard a bunch of banks raised fees recently. I've updated the article.

June 22, 2016 @ 11:35 pm
Ron Natura
Ron Natura's picture

Hi Stephen,
I am wondering if that extra 2000 bonus is available as Mark McShane was telling about. What link he was using?
Many thanks

June 23, 2016 @ 8:00 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That deal is now expired everywhere Ron, sorry. I will update this page if they ever bring it back though (no guarantees).

June 24, 2016 @ 4:37 pm
Robert Donnelly
Robert Donnelly's picture

Very interested to see your "best" credit card ratings. Somewhat surprised to see Amex heading or leading in so many categories. They are one of the card companies that Credit Card Acceptors like to deal with the least. They have a reputation for slow payment, higher fees to retailers, and falling worldwide acceptance.

June 24, 2016 @ 4:00 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, the reason they are accepted less is because their merchant fees are a bit higher. However, they offer cards with some of the best rewards and features out there along with providing excellent customer service.

June 24, 2016 @ 4:39 pm
Norman Kling
Norman Kling's picture

Do you know if or how double dipping is allowed for the AirMiles bonus on credit card applications? A few months ago I applied online for a BMO AirMiles Mastercard and received 600 bonus AirMiles. Now there is an offering of a BMO IGA AirMiles Mastercard with a 500 AirMile point bonus. The fine print stipulates "Limit of one (1) offer per AIR MILES Collector Account (“Collector Account”)". Even though the credit cards have different sponsors, i.e. BMO vs BMO IGA, it is not clear to me whether I would be eligible for this second bonus. Any idea? (I suppose I could possibly apply for this second MasterCard and not provide my AirMiles account collector number and likely have a second AirMiles account created for me...whadda'ya think?)

Norman Kling

July 04, 2016 @ 3:10 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, you definitely can get the bonus for multiple cards even if they are from the same issuer (BMO in your case). Many times you can get the bonus again for the SAME card although the terms you listed indicate that it may not be the case with BMO.

If you wait more than a year and try again on the same card, I wouldn't be surprised if you were successful.

July 05, 2016 @ 12:45 pm
Maria's picture

I just viewed the BMO website (bmo.com) & the grey-colour BMO Sobeys AirMiles Mastercard does not seem to be available (through the link that shows all the available BMO credit cards) however the blue BMO AirMiles one is still there.

I then checked the Sobeys website (bmosobeys.com) & it is still there & application link seems to work?

I wonder if it's being phased out? Hope not. Thanks,

July 05, 2016 @ 10:48 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I believe this is because BMO doesn't market the card through their own website and marketing channels. It is marketed by Sobeys and through their channels. It has a dedicated landing page for that purpose. I haven't heard any word of it being phased out.

July 06, 2016 @ 1:19 pm
Maria   's picture

Great! Thanks for the reply

July 07, 2016 @ 1:06 pm
Jack Jardine
Jack Jardine's picture

I have accumulated a large number of points and fear that I may loose many of them in the next year. I was told that if I purchase the American Express Air Miles Reserve Credit Card at a cost of $299.00 per year, all of my Air Miles points will be protected. Is this true?

July 27, 2016 @ 9:58 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

This isn't exactly true to my knowledge. Having that card can help you achieve Air Miles Onyx status more quickly. To qualify you need to earn a minimum of 6,000 miles per year. If you accomplish that, then having Onyx status WILL prevent your miles from expiring. It's the status that does it, not the card itself.

The 2,400 miles sign up bonus will go a long way towards getting you to that 6,000 threshold quickly.

July 27, 2016 @ 11:45 pm
Michele's picture

Previously you had noted "The trick Laura is to sign up for credit cards fairly regularly with large sign up bonuses. For instance, one of the BMO cards has a 3,000 mile bonus right now. That's enough to get flying right away. There are also good Aeroplan offers that will get you enough miles for a trip across North America just with the sign up bonus."

How would one go about getting these additional bonus air miles? Would a new card have to be applied for whenever there is a sign up bonus program? Would the existing card have to be cancelled before applying for the new one? Would it be best to do this with a no-fee card?

August 16, 2016 @ 5:19 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, each bonus you get is when you apply for a new credit card. The credit cards with the highest bonuses typically have an annual fee. It's best to look for cards that waive the annual fee for the first year so you can get the bonus without paying a fee and then cancel the card within the first year before the fee kicks in if you don't want to keep it.

If you spot no-fee cards that have good bonuses, you can of course do it with them as well. Use the link to ALL the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards page in the article above. You will find many of those cards have good sign up bonuses.

August 29, 2016 @ 8:55 pm
Barbara's picture

The Terms and Coditions for signing up for BMO Mastercards to gain bonus Airmiles states that you cannot cancel an existing Card with them, sign up again within the year and receive the bonus Airmiles.

September 09, 2016 @ 6:07 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Good to know Barbara, thanks. I don't normally churn the same cards over and over again within a short period of time so these kinds of rules don't usually impact me except that American Express is now supposedly one bonus lifetime per each of their cards.

September 12, 2016 @ 11:39 am
Don's picture

I think your analysis for Air miles is severely flawed.

For example, I recently received a BMO Sobey's no fee Air Miles card and I can easily achieve a 10.25% return on spending. How do you ask? I just purchased $2,000 worth of Sobey's gift cards on an Air Miles bonus promo, which gave 95 bonus Air Miles per $200 gift card. This equated to the following number of Air Miles: (a) 600 Air Miles for the purchase on my BMO card (triple for the 1st 3 months) + 100 additional Air Miles for my Air Miles collector card @ 1 Air Mile per $20 spend+ 50 additional Air Miles per $ 100 spend for bonus Air Miles @ Sobeys utilizing these $ 2,000 worth of gift cards for an additional 1,000 Air Miles.

This totals up to 1,700 Air Miles for a $ 2,000 spend. This particular transaction equates to a return of 85 cents per mile for your spend.

I realize this is only possible for the 1st 3 months, but I intend to purchase an equivalent amount of Sobey's gift cards each time this offer comes out as a 2,000 amount of spend @ Sobey's only takes about 3 months to use up. Therefore I should be able to
generate an additional 1,300 Air Miles three more times during the year just with the Sobey's promo.

The end result of this exercise is that it shows that you can easily achieve Onyx status with Air Miles each year by employing this status, which allows you to achieve Air Miles flights up to 40% less Air Miles along with other special perks.

If you do the math at the end of the year, it is entirely possible that you will far exceed the 3-6% return that you receive with Aeroplan & I believe it is much easier to fly utilizing Air Miles than it is with Aeroplan points.

I do have existing Aeroplan points that I will be using to fly my wife & I to San Francisco next fall, but after that, I will be all in on Air Miles from that point forward.

October 15, 2016 @ 9:57 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

This is a great strategy you are using, but it doesn't mean my analysis is flawed. Bonuses you get for purchasing gift cards at Sobeys has nothing to do with the regular return on spending you get from making normal purchases on your credit card. That's what this article is all about.

I talk about Air Miles bonuses in other articles I've written on the subject.

October 16, 2016 @ 8:56 pm
Don's picture


My apologies for my choice of words in my comments. Severely flawed was a way too harsh.

The other point I meant to make was I think it is much easier for the average person to acquire Air Miles than it is to acquire Aeroplan or West Jet points.

My wife & I are currently retired, so we are not flying 3 or 4 times a month on business trips and accumulating large amounts of Aeroplan points and trips. It makes little sense to pay a huge premium for airline trips in order to collect a larger percentage of aeroplane points on a trip. I would much rather use Skyscanner and find the best deal with any airline for a trip, especially when flying to Europe or Asia.

Whereas, the average person could easily employ a similar strategy that I use and easily reach Onyx status with Air Miles and benefit from the 40% discount on Air Miles for selected flights. Granted, it helps to be retired, because you can fly at anytime and not be restricted to peak seasons and you can book a way ahead.

I enjoy your articles Stephen. Keep up the good work.


October 17, 2016 @ 10:50 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Thanks for the additional tips and clarification Don.

January 10, 2017 @ 1:02 pm
Ryan's picture

Are you able to double dip point earnings for the BMO Air Miles World Elite? Say I purchase with the card and present my Airmiles collector card at time of purchase thru a participating retailer, will I earn double the points?

January 06, 2017 @ 10:27 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

You will earn points on both but it won't necessarily be double. Partners have completely different earning rates than credit cards. The most common earning rate of partners and credit cards is 1 mile per $20 spent - but it varies heavily.

January 10, 2017 @ 1:03 pm
Malex's picture

Hi, Does the BMO Air Miles World Elite stack with onyx?

April 01, 2017 @ 11:33 pm
Carole D
Carole D's picture

I love my airmiles! I have the free credit card and flew from AB to New Brunswick with them every year, when my parents were with us and also went to an all inclusive resort in Mexico. All I had to pay was the taxes.

May 23, 2017 @ 11:35 am
Michael's picture

Interesting article, but you're only looking at "AIR MILES". What about some of the other programs out there? I personally love my American Express SPG card. I earn 1 point for every dollar spent. Those points can then be converted to over 30 different airline points programs..... AND when you convert 20,000 points, you get 5,000 bonus points. Therefore, I can convert 60,000 points over to AA (american airlines), and end up with 75,000 AA points. With SPG you are not locked into a specific program like AIR MILES....instead I can use many different airline loyalty programs and their partners. Just something to think about.

May 23, 2017 @ 1:00 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Wrote a review of SPG last week a couple of articles back. Check that out if you're interested. I've ranked other travel rewards cards here (which includes AIR MILES cards but they didn't crack the top 10):


May 23, 2017 @ 3:29 pm
Brian Ward
Brian Ward's picture

I would like to see credit cards rated for people over 65 years old.

May 24, 2017 @ 6:57 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

For what purpose - insurance coverage that still applies after 65? Otherwise everything else should still be the same.

May 24, 2017 @ 3:11 pm
Andrew's picture


I was wondering if you could provide some clarification around the 0.0 score for the Amex AirMiles Rserve cards score. Thanks.

June 05, 2017 @ 4:37 pm
Andrew's picture

* For the 25,000 spend category....sorry.

June 05, 2017 @ 4:38 pm
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

Hey Andrew,

For the American Express AIR MILES Reserve card there is a fairly hefty annual fee of $299. With a $25,000 spend, that only comes out to about $39 in net rewards a year. However, this card does offer a lot of insurance, so, if insurance is more important to you than rewards, this is a good card to look into.

Thanks for reading!

June 07, 2017 @ 2:31 pm
Rick C
Rick C's picture

I just found your page, it is great. I was looking for information about how to get the bonus Air Miles more often. I just got the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card. I imagine I can't just cancel it and reapply. Are there minimum time limits before reapplying?

I also have the BMO AIR MILES World MasterCard. If I upgrade it to the BMO AIR MILES World Elite MasterCard can I still get the bonus Air Miles?

That's what I was trying to search for when I came upon your website.

June 13, 2017 @ 4:06 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

American Express recently instituted a policy of only get the bonus on a particular card one per lifetime but they aren't really enforcing it that well in Canada I hear. I think they're cracking down on it harder in the USA. Sometimes there is a minimum time period as well, but a year is usually safe.

You'd have to call BMO and ask about the bonus when you upgrade. Usually if you're upgrading the bonus does apply, but you can always just apply directly for the World Elite card and then cancel your World card afterwards. If you're trying to preserve credit history and minimize credit checks, then the upgrade is the better route though if you can still get the bonus.

June 19, 2017 @ 11:00 pm
Rick C
Rick C's picture

Thank you for the response. I'll give it a try.

June 20, 2017 @ 5:12 pm
Robyn MacLean
Robyn MacLean's picture

Just wondering about the American Express Gold Card and how it ranks against the others on your list?

August 03, 2017 @ 2:23 pm
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

We consider the American Express Gold Rewards card to be the best card overall in Canada right now. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • It has incredibly flexible rewards,
  • It has great earn rates that let you earn 4 times the amount of rewards in 4 everyday spending categories,
  • The sign up bonus alone is worth about $625 in free flights,
  • It has a really decent insurance package, and...
  • for a limited time you can get the annual fee for this card waived for the first year! 

Feel free to get more information here and here.

August 14, 2017 @ 11:23 am
Nathan's picture

Hi is it possible for this card the stack with Onyx membership discounts?

August 18, 2017 @ 12:26 am
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

That would be a question for AIR MILES customer service as I'm not sure if the BMO Air Miles World Elite MasterCard flight discount is able to stack with any other discounts

August 21, 2017 @ 4:45 pm
Shari's picture

I'm considering the Sobeys AirMiles one over the regular BMO AirMiles MasterCard. Can you tell me if I will earn more miles in the long run with collecting 2x the miles at participating AirMiles collector stores with the Sobeys one verses earning 3x in 6 months with the regular BMO AirMiles Mastercard..im thinking the Sobeys is the higher collector..I would love your opinion! And is there a max for 3x the point in 3 months for the Sobeys card? Some cash back credit cards are 4% for 4 months or max of $125 So just curious if it's the same for the 3x the points deal?

October 27, 2017 @ 11:52 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes the Sobey's card offers 3X AIR MILES as well currently. You will earn more miles with it if you shop at Sobeys regularly.


October 27, 2017 @ 4:40 pm
Marpy's picture

I have always viewed my Air Miles card as a secondary bonus card. I pay with the credit card of my choice based on how much cash back I will get and then if the place gives Air Miles, I give them my Air Miles card. A lot of this has to do with the fact that for most flights, I cross the boarder and try to Fly with South West ( very low prices, excellent cancellation policy and no extra charge for checked bags). And they have their own rewards program. As such, I use my air miles for anything but flying. The cash back that you can use as cash in their partner stores is a nice perk but their rewards catalouge leaves a lot to be desired both in number of points to make a purchase and products offered.
I will take it because it is something for nothing other than spending money on what i would be buying anyway but thats about it would be my opinion on Air Miles. JMO

February 06, 2018 @ 1:00 pm
B Nichols
B Nichols's picture

I have just the plain American Express air miles. It is not that great until you register your email with them to send messages. Starting in late October right to Xmas they give a lot of air miles just for using their card to shop as normal. You have to catch their special email offers and register . Eg spend $400 and get a thousand points another time spend $200 get 400 air miles and you still get the regular air miles. This fall I racked an extra 2000 air miles by responding quickly to the special offers. One cavaet is that they limit each offer to the first so many registrants.

February 06, 2018 @ 6:39 pm
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

Great tip!  Thanks for sharing! 

February 08, 2018 @ 4:48 pm
SENIOR SAVER's picture

I prefer the MBNA card over the BMO card as far as savings on money back are convcerned.

1. No annual fee of $120.00
2. 2% money back on gas purcases, plus Air miles at Shell stations. (1 mile for 15L purchase) whereas the BMO card purchases give me only 1.06% money back with the rate of 1 air mile per $10 spent. So I prefer 2% over 1.06% back any time on the money spent.

MBNA, if you read this, do you think I should get a reward? I am your loyal customer for many years.

Stephen, you have my permission to disclose my email address to MBNA. just in case they ask. :-)

February 08, 2018 @ 12:36 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I love the MBNA card too for sure as I've had it in my wallet since it launched.

Just a note though, if you collect Dream Rewards and redeem them for high value economy flights you can achieve around a 1.7% rate of return with the BMO Air Miles World Elite. Add on the 15% discount and it jumps up further getting pretty close to that 2%.

February 20, 2018 @ 10:00 pm
L.Scott's picture

Not going to comment on the yin/yang of various AM cards, but as full disclosure. I do collect (and have redeemed) AM but only when it's dead easy.
(hate trying to find that one last $1.37 item at Sobey's or Metro to make the next $20. break-point and don't even mention the scam that is Shell)
However, in Ontario only, the 1/$20 fails in this instance and thus I quote:
"What you can earn: Earn 1 AIR MILES® reward mile for every $30 you spend at the LCBO on a monthly cumulative basis, excluding taxes and container deposit fees."
And those "taxes" are a) all hidden and b) often half the shelf price, just sayin'.

February 08, 2018 @ 9:35 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, 1 mile for $20 spent is the most common earn rate both with credit cards and in-store when showing your collector card. However, it definitely isn't universal.

February 20, 2018 @ 10:01 pm
Kellie's picture

When did BMO world elite MC drop their percentage rate from 25% to 15% when booking flights? Airmiles program has turned into a total joke.

February 13, 2018 @ 1:02 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Unfortunately, it happened early this year Kellie.

February 20, 2018 @ 10:01 pm
R.Hasan's picture

Hi Stephen,

I don't have any Air miles card with me right now. I am not frequently flying with airlines. And I have cash back Credit card with TD, & a PC MasterCard. But as I am planning to visit Malaysia & Bangladesh beginning of next year. In that case, if I want to apply for Air miles card (low or no annual fee with some insurance coverage pref.) which one will be best for me? Also please note, I have a plan to transfer my balance from my credit card....


April 25, 2018 @ 7:43 am
Mark's picture

I have been with the Air Miles Program since they started in 1992. I have close to 20,000 Dream Miles. I have flown numerous times to Ontario , B.C and a couple of times to Hawaii and back from Calgary, Alberta. I have seen the annual fee climb over the Years from $70.00 a Year (25% Air Mile Discount) offered when booking flights to now $120.00 a Year (15% Air Mile Discount.) It is almost seems bordering line to me to keep this card. I have to keep phoning the MasterCard center ( I tell them I am going to cancel because of the "High Fees." I only use this credit card for one thing,( to get the Air miles Discount when booking flights.) It doesn't seem worth it to me to pay the ''Annual Yearly Fee." I have been a Tangerine Client for years. I like instead to put a lot of money into my "Savings Account." I have used my BMO World Elite Credit a lot for "Big Purchases. I also that I could have been earning quite a lot money back into my "Savings Account" over the years. Say if I keep this BMO Credit Card for 20 Years I would be paying $2,400.00 in "Membership Fees." That is a lot of money that I could be putting back into my "Savings Account." Then all the "Taxes and Fees" that I have to pay when I book a ticket. I can probably get a ticket directly with the airline. I probably wouldn't pay much more. It doesn't seem to be worth it. I would almost certainly get the Tangerine No fee Credit Card but if I have "Two Credit Cards it'll affect my "Credit Score."

May 19, 2018 @ 7:09 pm
Leanne Williston
Leanne Williston's picture

Sounds like you've done all the math, Mark, and know what you hope to do.  Keeping a card with an annual fee that you can't justify is RARELY worth it. 
We're big fans of the Tangerine Money-Back credit card around here and we think it's a good addition to most wallets.   And I don't think you need to worry about having more than one credit card.  Many people do have more than one and as long as you can stay on top of those and not overspend, you should be alright. 

May 25, 2018 @ 1:35 pm

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