Air Miles is a reward program that offer you “Air Miles” when you shop at selected retailers and service providers. This program used to be a good one, but things have changed for the worse. It is no longer the program that it used to be from our perspective here at froogalism.com
You can redeem Air Miles to receive various products, services, gift cards, and “yes” even air flights. The trick here is that you are being offered something “almost” for free just by shopping at selected retailers and service providers. I say “almost” free because as all of you know, nothing is “truly” free. They collect user data every time you buy something. This data is a virtual goldmine for anyone who has or buys access to it. You are selling your privacy. This is not inherently bad as long as you are aware of it and this does not bother you.
The problem here is that you do not get cash, you get “Air Miles” whose value is determined by Air Miles themselves (great business idea!). In essence, they can pay as little or as much as they want in exchange for this little piece of your privacy and change their payment at any time. A twenty dollar gift card at Roots, for example, used to cost you 120 Air Miles, now it costs you 175. This is one heck of a decrease in value of my Air Miles!
I prefer to use a credit card that gives me cash back. Money does devalue at the rate of inflation, but I can spend it wherever I want, on whatever I want, at any time that I want. I currently use the CITI Bank Enrich Mastercard (recently bought by CIBC) and the CIBC Dividend VISA card. Each of these cards has no annual fee (of course) and they offer me cash once per year based upon how much I spend. The CITI Bank Enrich Mastercard offers me 1% cash back on everything that I buy (not sure how, if at all, it will change after moving to CIBC). I’ll update you later.
Air Miles is an okay option if you combine it with using one of these credit cards at one of their participating outlets (this way you get Air Miles and cash). I just think that the Air Miles program is overrated. I especially dislike the fact that the value of my hard earned Air Miles can be decimated overnight by some unannounced decision at Air Miles head office that will make them more money (gee, that must be a tough decision for them!). I just don’t like this idea. I prefer cash (as any frugal minded person would).
I’m not saying not to use the Air Miles reward program, just be aware that you are surrendering a certain level of your privacy for a reward whose value seems to be continuously diminishing. Look for bonus events and extra reward being offered at participating retailer if you really want to make the most of it. Again, use it as an adjunct to your credit card purchase which gives you cash back. This way, the inflation of your Air Miles points don’t matter as much (collect enough cash back and you could even BUY the Air Miles company).
READ my Air Miles UPDATE!
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