AIR MILES is one of Canada’s most popular loyalty programs with over 11 million members. There are many ways to earn and redeem AIR MILES, but there is no faster way than applying to an AIR MILES credit card.
Having an AIR MILES co-branded credit card will earn you miles for all your purchases at any retailer and you can earn even more points at retailers that offer AIR MILES. If you’re looking for an AIR MILES credit card with no annual fee, then read my BMO AIR MILES Mastercard review now to find out why this card may be right for you.
BMO AIR MILES Mastercard benefits
- No annual fee
- 800 AIR MILES signup bonus after you charge $1,000 in the first three months (Until March 3, 2020)
- Earn 1 AIR MILE per $20 spent on all purchases
- Earn 2 AIR MILES per $20 spent at participating AIR MILES partners (see list of partners here)
- 1.99% interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months (1% fee applies)
- Purchase protection
- Extended warranty
There’s no denying that AIR MILES has received quite a bit of negative press over the years, but if you understand the program, use a BMO AIR MILES Mastercard and know what the best redemptions are, then AIR MILES might be perfect for you.
With the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard, you’ll earn 1 AIR MILE per $20 spent on all purchases but you’ll earn 2x the Miles for every $20 spent at participating AIR MILES Partners. In other words, this is a straightforward card that earns you AIR MILES on every purchase you make.
The sign up bonus of 800 AIR MILES when you charge $1,000 your account in the first three months my not impress some people, but it’s better than you think. The value of those AIR MILES, when used as cash miles, is $85. You can’t really put a value on those miles when using them as dream miles since redemptions start at 1,200 AIR MILES, but 800 AIR MILES is still a fair amount of points. Remember, this is a no fee card so the sign up bonus is pretty impressive.
With AIR MILES, you can earn additional points at participating merchants which is basically double-dipping your points. For example, you can earn AIR MILES when shopping at Sobey’s grocery stores by scanning your loyalty card when making your purchase. If you then pay with your BMO AIR MILES Mastercard, you’ll earn AIR MILES from Sobey’s and from your BMO credit card for the same transaction.
I should also point out that since this is a Mastercard, you can use it at Costco or Loblaws where you can earn AIR MILES. This is handy since both of those merchants only accept Mastercard so you’re able to earn AIR MILES instead of PC Optimum.
Although the included benefits are good, there’s no travel insurance included which may bother some people. You do get extended warranty which doubles your manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year and purchase protection which covers your purchases from loss, theft or damage in the first 90 days.
How does AIR MILES work?
AIR MILES is easy to understand but it can also be a bit complicated. There are Cash miles which allows you to use your AIR MILES to pay for grocery or gas directly at retailers and Dream miles which can be used to redeem for travel purchases like flights or hotels. That’s right, even though AIR MILES is a single program, you need to choose if you want to earn Cash or Dream miles.
Although having options is great, you can’t transfer your points once you’ve earned them which will likely annoy people. The good this is that you can actually choose to earn both types of AIR MILES if you wanted. You could set a 50/50 ratio, a 70/30 or even 90/10 if you so desired. This is done within your account and can be done at any time.
As soon as you sign up for an AIR MILES credit card, you should look at the AIR MILES program and decide what kind of miles you want to earn. Regardless of what you choose, AIR MILES are valuable, but you still want to make sure you’re making the most out of them.
Please read my AIR MILES review which explains everything you need to know about the AIR MILES loyalty program.
How the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard compares to others
The BMO AIR MILES Mastercard is a decent no annual fee credit card for someone who collects AIR MILES and finds value out of these miles. Similar to most no annual fees cards, this card doesn’t offer premium travel insurance and high-end perks. If you’re looking for a premium AIR MILES credit card, I recommend you look at the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard.
That being said, the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard is the best no annual fee AIR MILES credit card in Canada. With a promotion of 800 AIR MILES, The BMO AIR MILES Mastercard has a better signup bonus than the American Express AIR MILES card which offers 500 miles. Both cards have the same 1 AIR MILES per $20 spent on regular purchases but the BMO bonus of 2 AIR MILES per $20 spent at partners is better than Amex 1 AIR MILES per $15 spent.
Some people by now may be questioning if an AIR MILES credit card is the best choice for them. If you’re having doubts, getting one of the best cash back credit cards may be your best bet since you’ll earn cash back and there’s no need to worry about the value of your miles. The BMO CashBack Mastercard could be a good fit since it has no annual fee.
I can’t consider the BMO AIR MILES Mastercard as one of the best travel credit cards in Canada due to a lack of premium travel perks, travel insurance and low welcome bonus. However, my BMO AIR MILES Mastercard review is still positive as it’s a decent no annual fee credit card and is the best no annual fee AIR MILES credit card in Canada.