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Air Miles Revamps Expiration Policy

3 January 2012

Last week it came to my attention that Air Miles changed their expiry policy, something, which I am sure a lot of people, did not see coming. This new Air Miles expiry policy came to my attention as I was making BankNerd’s Best of the Best article. That being said, I first read about the new Air Miles expiry policy on Rewards Cards Canada.

What is the new Air Miles expiry policy?

The new Air Miles expiry policy can now expire; in fact starting December 31st, 2011, all Air Miles reward miles in your account will have a date stamp of 5 years. What this means is that any reward miles you have earned before December 31st, 2011 will have to be redeemed by December 31st, 2016.

Any Air Miles reward miles you earn after December 31st, 2011 will need to be redeemed 5 years from when they were posted. For example, if you earned 20 Air Miles on August 2, 2013, then you have until September 30th, 2018 to redeem them.

It can get a little confusing when you think about it, because if you are like most people, you collect Air Miles reward miles on a regular basis, which will make managing your redemption deadlines a little annoying.

To help make your life easier, you will find a table below showcasing how the redemption deadlines work:

Reward Miles posted byWill Expire if not redeemed by
Prior to Dec 31, 2011Dec 31, 2016
Between Jan - March 2012 calendar yearMarch 31, 2017
Between April - June 2012 calendar yearBetween July - Sept 2012 calendar yearJune 30, 2017
Between July - Sept 2012 calendar year
Sept 30, 2017
Between Oct - Dec 2012 calendar yearDec 31, 2017
Between Jan - March 2013 calendar yearMarch 31, 2018

As you can see, depending on the quarter of the year, your Air Miles will expire differently; in my opinion, it is still a bit confusing, there really is nothing you can do about it.

Why did Air Miles change the expiry date?

This had to be the second question that I asked myself when reading about the new expiry rules. I took a look at the Air Miles FAQ and it stated that:

Most loyalty programs in Canada and around the world already have an expiry policy of some kind (some expire accounts, while others expire points).

These practices are put in place to provide accounting certainty and are an accepted industry practice.

Honestly, this had to be the worst answer to the question; in the end all it told me was that other reward programs have an expiration date, so Air Miles should as well.

Is having Airs Miles worth it now?

One key feature about Air Miles reward miles was the fact that they never expire; it made it ideal for anyone looking to cash in their Air Miles reward miles on a vacation. With the expiration date now in place, it does make one have to stop and think before signing up for Air Miles.

I will be honest, it will definitely be tougher to accumulate the large number of Air Miles reward miles that you will need for your vacations, but realistically, 5 years is still a good timeline to have.

I for one am disappointed in the change, but with the launch of the new American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card and the Member Get Member program, collecting the required amount of Air Miles reward miles might not seem as hard anymore.

What do you think of the new Air Miles expiry policy?


About the Author


My favorite weapon of choice is the samurai sword. I use it to cut my chicken during dinner, cut my hair and periodically carve my name into stone when I am bored. I love meditating on top of a 15ft high pole and eating those sushi’s with smoked salmon on top. I love everything there is about Canada and everything financially related to Canadians. I write deily posts from Canadian Banks to Credit Card information.

Comments (4 )

Mike Wrote:

Thanks for the mention. These changes have attracted a lot of attention from collectors. I think the second change, the new Air Miles Cash feature, will have more of an impact than the expiry policy. Most collectors redeem their reward miles for gift certificates and merchandise.

The new Cash balance feature will replace many popular gift cards, and will come at a higher redemption cost. 95 Air Miles = $10 redeemed at the cash register. I used to get a $20 gift card for groceries or gas for 175 Air Miles.

Sensei Wrote:

Thank you for writing the article, I love your site, and in the event I miss something, I can always count on checking your site for good information.

I have to say though, this new feature in my opinion is not the greatest. like you pointed out with the gift card, there are plenty of stuff you can do with your normal redemption than redeeming through Air Miles Cash.

Bert Wrote:

I think the changes suck personally, yes the timeline is good (5 years), but heck, it took me 3 times that to save 5000 air miles, and mostly that was from selling our house etc…So much for getting any “good” items from the rewards collection. >:(

Sensei Wrote:

We completely see what you mean. The best thing to do is keep an eye out for places that can accelerating your air miles earning potential. Whether it is purchasing products at a particular store (hopefully it is the same price as other if not cheaper though) or getting a credit card that is tailored for collecting air miles.

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