Following their recent losses at the hands of Scene+, Air Miles needs a turnaround strategy.
They’ve now partnered with BMO to start a new campaign that promises up to 6,000 bonus Air Miles – assuming you like eating out and have six months you can wait.
Let’s take a look.
BMO Air Miles Credit Cards: 15 Bonus Miles per Dining Transaction
Every time you make a purchase of any amount at a store that codes as a restaurant, café, fast food establishment, bar, or food delivery service from November 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023, you will earn 15 bonus Air Miles.
These miles are capped at a limit of 500 bonus miles maximum per month, up to a net total of 3,000 Air Miles for six months from November to April.
When added with the welcome bonus on the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard, this means you could earn a total of 6,000 Air Miles if you take advantage of the entirety of the offer.
- Earn 2,000 Air Miles upon spending $3,000 in the first three months
1x3x Air Miles per $12 spent at Air Miles partners
1x2x Air Miles per $12 spent at grocery stores
- Use Air Miles for Cash Rewards or Dream Rewards
- Insurance on award travel
- Minimum income: $80,000 personal or $150,000 household
- Annual fee: $0 for the first year, then $120
As of right now, Cash Miles have a fixed value of 10.5 cents per Air Mile. This means a $3 coffee earning 15 Bonus Miles has a return of approximately $1.57, which is more than 50%.
Due to the low purchase minimums, making smaller transactions or breaking up larger transactions into smaller ones will be the best way to maximize this promotion and earn the full 6,000 Air Miles with minimal outlay.
Still, for a program in such distress, it is tempting to ask: why bother?
Air Miles: (Still) Asleep in the Cockpit
While a bonus of 6,000 Air Miles certainly isn’t unwelcome, the program itself keeps on losing retail partners. It isn’t just Sobeys and Staples that have left; other long-time comrades such as the Lowe’s and its associated hardware stores deplaned long ago in 2021.
As this latest promotion requires six months to complete, who knows which other hangers-on will eject between now and the offer’s completion?
On top of this, the redemption side of Air Miles has continued to worsen. The best use of these points is on Cash Miles because of how useless Dream Miles have become for aspirational travel.
To add to the trifecta of misfortune is the fact that Air Miles is now left with only one major Big 5 bank backing them: the Bank of Montreal.
And with what we’ve seen of their credit card “innovations”, is this really the most viable financial institution to orchestrate the embattled program’s turnaround?
Overall, the viability of the entire program, both on the accumulation and redemption sides, has taken a serious nosedive.
Contrasting these weaknesses have been the strengths of the Scene+ program, which is no longer just for movie tickets like the program of our erstwhile youths was.
If you have a Scotiabank Scene+ co-branded credit card such as their Scotiabank Gold American Express Card, travel can be redeemed easily through their app or online web portal at a flat rate of 1 cent per point. This works both on travel purchases you charge directly to your card, as well as to bookings made through Scotiabank’s in-house travel agency.
Air Miles’s and BMO’s response to this situation? A few months back, they tried to rejuvenate grocery spend; now that’s failed they’re trying to compete in the restaurant space with a limited-period promotion.
That’s it. That’s their entire response. No other accelerated earn rates, no partners, no incentives on redemptions to try and get customers to burn liabilities off the Air Miles’s parent company’s books.
While the restaurant spending bonus is a welcome change, it does not feel like it can right the ailing Air Miles’ flight path along a safer trajectory.
BMO and Air Miles have put on a new limited-period promotion that rewards new cardholders with 15 bonus Air Miles per dining transaction, up to 500 Air Miles per month between November 2022 and April 2023.
Combined with the BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard‘s base-level welcome bonus of 3,000 Air Miles, there’s the potential to earn 6,000 Air Miles from signing up for this card through the dedicated link by October 27, 2022.
While 6,000 Air Miles represents a hefty welcome bonus that’s worth a cool $630, this effort on Air Miles’s part also feels half-baked: why not coordinate with BMO to revamp their Air Miles cards to permanently compete in the restaurant space?
Until next time, I’ll see you at Timmie’s.