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Are Airmiles worth collecting?

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I often spend time searching the Internet for people discussing Airmiles. I often find some very positive comments, however, I usually find a couple of comments like.

"Airmiles are a scam" or "Airmiles aren't worth collecting"

I realize that some people believe these comments. However, these people must realize that airmiles aren't costing you anything. Airmiles are simply a bonus for shopping at certain stores. If you are shopping smartly as I talked about in my Shopping Smartly article then you might as well just collect them.

Many people feel that they shouldn't have to pay to use your airmiles for flights and it's tough to disagree. However, this is the way airmiles work. If you really that passionate about paying a bit extra then simply don't use your airmiles for flights. There is always the airmiles store.


Last Week, I redeemed air miles to purchase flights from Calgary to Victoria. At the time of booking with Air Miles I had the Westjet website open to be able to look at times etc.
The number of Air miles points required per ticket was 800. Fair enough. The Air miles booking fee per ticket was $20.00, also very fair.
The total fees quoted to me by airmiles including their booking fee, Nav Can and Insurance, airport improvement tax etc.GST was $151.00 per ticket.
I asked the Airmiles CS person for a breakdown of all of the individual fees and they all jived with the info displayed on the Westjet site, except for the NAV-Ins fee which Airmiles quoted at $92.00 per ticket round trip, while the Westjet site showed $36.00 for the same fee per return flight.
I spoke with a supervisor who said and I quote, “Westjet hide some of the fees in their base fare, and when the tickets are redeemed through Airmiles these “HIDEN FEES” have to be broken out and paid by the traveller.”
I did not book immediately and called Westjet and spoke to a customer care agent, who indicated that Wesjet does not hide fees in their base fare and furthermore Airmiles is compelled to pay and charge the same ad on fees as are posted on the Westjet website.
Called Airmiles back and spoke to the same supervisor, who told me all of the fees quoted were legal and required and that I had the choice of booking through Airmiles and paying the $151.00 total fee per ticket or booking directly with Westjet. I explained the Airmiles supervisor that the fees being charged amounted to more than 50% of the total cost of each ticket if booked through Westjet. Also we were surrendering 800 airmiles per ticket as well.
I have written to Airmiles, as well as Bank Of Montreal Mosaik Master card as well as to Westjet. Still waiting for a call or an explanation from anyone.
Next steps will require more escalation.

Stay tuned

I just ran into the same problem……being charged the exact same fees that you are paying ($92.00) instead of the Westjet price of $36. I think this is total BS but I already booked the ticket at the quoted price. I plan on calling Westjet and Airmiles to try and sort this out.

Basil & Thrilhouse. Please let us all know if you do hear anything back from either WestJet or Airmiles.

Same thing with me. We booked tickets and they are charging an extra $51 per ticket in their Nav-Ins area. I intend to pursue. They need to be honest in disclosing their fees instead of hiding them and taking advantage of unsuspecting customers. With all of the media coverage on airlines being required to advertise their fares fairly, you’d think the same would apply to travel companies.

I work for a programme that competes with AirMiles. The hidden fees you pay for are normally the airport taxes, for which they make no profit, and fuel surcharges. This can amount to a large sum, but if you’re on a long-haul flight you can potentially save thousands of dollars.

Save up your miles and use them for an expensive flight, not a domestic one!

I also forgot to include:

When you buy a fare ticket the ticket price is seperate from the taxes, but the fuel surcharge is included in the ticket price. On a reward ticket they transfer that surcharge to the airport taxes and call them “airport fees”. That’s why the taxes seem higher.

The same issue of being charged extra fees on flights using my Air Miles is also happening to me. I would like to organize some legal action and get a refund. Email me back directly if your interested at lornehoedel@hotmail.com
Lorne Hoedel, Regina

How do I find out the number of Airmiles that I have accumulated? What’s a URI?

I tried to use demolished to book to t two tickets from London Heathrow to Detroit, I cannot remember all of the details as I was so angry at a time. However it goes roughly the following went online and found flights with Star alliance so I could use my BMI and Miles, Virgin Atlantic, I think to Dulles Airport Washington, DC, and then a short flight an internal flight, to Detroit. Online we were looking at a ticket price for two people of 719 pounds sterling. We then called fly BMI diamond club card support line, and I asked them to book a the flights for us using air miles to pay for it. All was going ahead really nicely until there was a pause on the line, when the guy said his goal I just need to go and check something. He came back and told us that the tax was 709 pounds sterling, plus he was going to take 150,000 air miles, I asked him how come I had the exact same flights online in front of me and the total price including tax was 719 pounds sterling, he actually put the phone down on us. All I am looking for is somewhere where I can actually book online using air miles, to go from London Heathrow to Detroit, using Star alliance partners. Unfortunately cannot seem to find anywhere, when you finally get to the nitty-gritty of trying to pay using air miles, it always requires contacting somebody on the fund and then you find that there is this interesting extra charge!! I think and Miles are a confidence trick certainly in some circumstances. I have yet to get anything back worthwhile, for my 393,000 airmiles, anybody want to buy them??? very best regards Colin

The person here who defends airmiles is the reason they get away with it. Their behaviour is not acceptable and their practices are not a fair and proper way to conduct business. I have tried to use airmiles for flights on 4 occasions and in all cases, I was able to buy the entire airfare on my own for almost the same as airmiles wanted in taxes and fees. On one occasion, I called and asked how many points I would need to fly one way to Boston. I was told they do not sell one way tickets. I asked her to quote anyway and she very abruptly warned me that she was recording on file that I initially requested a one way ticket. She went on to explain that if I bought the ticket and did not use the return flight, I would be billed the full price of the ticket and I would still lose the airmiles. AIRMILES IS A SCAM.

I am the person who defends the program and runs the site…. and in my view, they aren’t getting away with anything.

I realize that people can be and are angry at the Airmiles program. However, saying Air Miles are a scam is so far from the truth it boggles my mind. A scam is when you pay for something and receive nothing…. if you collect airmiles you WILL receive something it’s just your purgative of what you will receive…. Yes, there are fees with flights so if you don’t like that then don’t use them for flights. Consider them “bbq miles” instead of “air miles”

You don’t pay ANYTHING to collect airmiles… they’re completely free. Sure you may have to pay extra at a few stores but for the most part they use it to get you in the door. Stores know people like to collect Airmiles and FREE stuff so they use it to draw you in. If you don’t like it then shop somewhere else or stop collecting airmiles. In the meantime I’ll continue to give tips on how to collect BBQ miles quickly!

You don’t HAVE to collect airmiles.
You don’t HAVE to use them for flights.

As a side note that people may find useful
I personally don’t like using my Airmiles for flights unless it’s to certain destinations… A flight from Calgary to Vancouver is a bad idea with airmiles as you can find seat-sales which will be cheaper in the long run. However, a flight from Calgary to Castlegar is a good idea because it typically costs more to purchase the flight but the same number of airmiles.

If airmiles is so good for every 20.00 you spend you get 1 airmile. I have received only 2 air miles for When I grocery shop at safeway and I spend at least 100.00 each time, so that should be 5 airmiles each time I spend 100.00. For the month of august I got only 7 air miles from safeway, so it means I only spent 140.00 in a month on groceries?????????????? yeah right! I was there 4 times in august I have notice that my air miles doesn’t go up as fast since my card went “Gold” Maybe Mr. Stuart is using them.

Hi “Someone”

You may be collecting only 7 airmiles a month because yo’re doing it all wrong. This is EXACTLY what this site is about. I was in the same boat as you looking at my airmiles and seeing “26” and thinking… wow… that’s really going to take forever for me to earn anything.

Last week I earned 132 airmiles by spending less than $100…. that’s the way to collect.

Getting 1 airmile for every 20 dollars spent is kind of a joke; it will take forever that way. That’s why you gotta stop doing it all wrong like admin said. Shop at safeway. Look in the flyer under ultimate airmiles. Sign up for e-direct coupons through safeway. When you get the coupons, see if any of them reduce the price of products in the ultimate airmiles section. Yesterday I spent 90 bucks, saved 43, and got 230 airmiles. Not too bad. I personally hate grocery shopping, but now that I have started collecting airmiles it makes it a little like a game. Happy collecting everyone:)

Colin- Are you still hoping to sell your airmiles?

We should talk 🙂

It takes forever to collect points for the average wage earner. I make a decent income and I still dont really know if its been worth keeping the card with me it just takes up space in my wallet. Rewards for the amount of money I have run through it. I dont know if its really worth it. With the new expiry dates on them I feel ripped off kind of. I can fly, but I cant bring my wife yet, so my points will expire.

Hi Eric,

You are quite correct that collecting at 1 for every $20 spent at stores does take WAY too long. That’s why I created this site!!! To inform people how to collect at a much faster rate. My weeks best air miles deals has air miles at less than $0.50 a piece! That’s how I do it and I get lots of miles each year!!!!

Hi Admin – Have you done a write-up on the the best way to spend your airmiles? Getting the best bang for your buck? I see a couple of your comments above (which were great) but would love to hear more.

Please enlighten me if you could be so kind.


Air Miles Is a scam. How muh market research do you think they would have to fork over to get your shopping preference info? Millions more than what they are actually paying for it by luring customers into thinking they ‘re getting awesome deals. Remember the form you fill when you first get your airmiles card? there , you are a number wih spending habits and everytime you use your airmiles card they get tons of free info to better market their products and offers accordingly. Nothing in life is free , air Miles users are being swindled out of their shopping habits when these companies should be paying a lot more for this info.

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