My 2 Sense My 2 Sense

My 2 Sense

The AirMiles Game

What They Say Is Not What You Get

May, 2006
Without Prejudice
Airmiles If any of you have ever tried to redeem AirMiles points for travel you will be able to relate to this story.

Recently, I called to book flights for two from Vancouver to Edmonton on AirMiles. The flight was on a Saturday returning on a Sunday.

AirMiles quoted me 1900 points plus $270 taxes. I thought the taxes were high, so I asked what the actual flights cost and was told, $690 for the two of us, of which $270 was taxes which AirMiles doesn't cover, and $420 which was the 1900 points. ( a dollar is worth 4.5 points)

This didn't sit well so I checked on the WestJet website only to find that the same flights cost $490.00 for the two of us with $180 of that being taxes. BIG DIFFERENCE. This is a sale price, the regular price would be what AirMiles quoted.

So the point is, AirMiles will not give you the same deal that the airline offers AND AirMiles won't pay the taxes.

Contrast this with the flight we both took recently to Phoenix on America West which we booked through my TD Visa Travel card. Having checked first for flights and deals on America West, I contacted TD Visa Travel and received the same flights WITH the sale price INCLUDING all taxes.

AirMiles are a ripoff on the price. Not only that, but they only fly to certain cities at inconvenient times and have only a couple of seats available on any the odds of getting what you want, to where you want, when you want, at a good price is pretty much impossible.

A Comparison

TD Visa Travel
AirMiles will NOT let you take advantage of any special deals offered by the airlines
TD Visa WILL let you take advantage of any special deals offered by the airlines
AirMiles will NOT pay the taxes with points TD Visa WILL pay the taxes with points
AirMiles does NOT use any airline TD Visa WILL let you use any airline
AirMiles does NOT fly to all cities TD Visa WILL fly to all cities
AirMiles does NOT fly at convenient times TD Visa WILL fly anytime
AirMiles requires a Saturday night stay TD Visa doesn't require a Sat. night stay
AirMiles will NOT refund or change flights TD Visa WILL change flights for a fee
AirMiles points are worth 22 cents each TD Visa points are worth $1.50 each
AirMiles is an American company TD Visa is a Canadian company

The Bottom Line: Using AirMiles for travel is a waste of time and money. Use your points to redeem for goods...although one wonders how much they inflate the price on the goods.

IF you have the same problem with this as I do, feel free to email: and we'll add your comments on this page.

Feel free to write, email or phone Airmiles as well.

Just my opinion,

Courtney Smith

Update - AirMiles drops the ball

AirMiles never fails to disappoint
December, 2009
So, in light of the useless AirMiles Travel Rewards, my partner suggested I use my points to buy consumer items, and what better than her Christmas gift.

Well thank you AirMiles for saving me the trouble of having to wrap it because it DIDN'T get delivered in time for Christmas!

Despite their purchase receipt saying it would be sent out by UPS within 2 to 4 weeks or sooner. Just to be on the safe side I phoned AirMiles a week ago to find out when it went out and what the UPS waybill number was. And surprise, surprise, they won't give you the waybill number.

So I asked if it was being shipped from the U.S. and the operator said no, it was shipped from within Canada. WTF. How long does it take to process and order and ship it across Canada? 4 weeks? I don't think so.

But hey, I'm not surprised. AirMiles gives the least amount of any loyalty program to maximize profits for themselves and their American masters.

NOTE: The item I purchased is available from the manufacturer for $189.95 so at 1600 AirMiles points, each point is worth 12 cents!

I really get a kick out the fact that the parent company of AirMiles is LoyaltyOne Inc. of Dallas, Texas. They have a shitload of overpaid executives who grind away making AirMiles the biggest, most successful and least useful loyalty program around.

News Flash

Fall 2011

Have you noticed how Capital One and American Express have hopped on the travel bonus loyalty card business?

Heavy advertising going down and it's all modeled on the TD VISA format of "any airline," "any deal," "anytime."

So you KNOW that any day now AirMiles is going to have to suck it up and modify their program to be competitive. The people may be slow but they're not stupid.

Update - Credit Where Credit is Due

And a few tips for YOU
March 16, 2012
As you can see, it is now 6 years since this blog entry was begun, and I'm here to tell you that not much has changed over at AirMiles. Desiring to vacation in Phoenix for a couple of weeks, I decided to burn up the remainder of my AirMiles and trash my MasterCard, prefering to use my TD VISA Travel Rewards Card for all future business.

So, I went to the AirMiles website, and arduously went through the process of buying the flights online. They did have exactly the dates and times I needed as I have to book the place we are staying, and our dog sitter and my wife's days off work. But whoa, just when I'm proceed to checkout, the website times out. Blam.

So rather than try it again, I just phone AirMiles Rewards only to find out the website is wrong and those flights on those times and days are not available. I told the rep I didn't for one minute think if you randomly picked a day 6 weeks in advance at a random time on a random flight to any city in North America, that you'd find the two AirMiles designated seats gone. I then demanded to speak to a supervisor.

I then speak to a "Collector's Service Rep" who explained a couple of things to me which I shall pass along. AirMiles buys flight/seats a year in advance so they have a stock of seats, and presumably at a great price but that many times the flights desired don't have those AirMiles designated seats on them.

TIP # 1
- He then went on to explain that there is ANOTHER list, different from the website one and the one the run-of-the-mile AirMiles Reward agents have, that is exclusive to the Collector's Service Reps. My, my, my. So, he very helpfully checked this special list, and got some better flights, but still not what I needed. I expressed my total dissatisfaction with buying flights on AirMiles and told him my plan was to burn up the points and never use AirMiles again, oh...and write them up in my blog.

TIP # 2 - He then told me that he could put a special request in to the particular airline and ask permission for two seats on my desired flights to be part of their AirMiles deal. He said it was at their discretion and that he'd get back to me in 48 hours.

Which he did, with the good news that I got what I wanted and needed. So kudos and thank you to him for a job very well done!
I still think the AirMiles deal stinks compared to TD VISA and others now in the game, but this guy did right my me and I'm grateful for his help. He shall remain nameless for having revealed these tips for all of you to know.