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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. airmiles.ca is THE worst program out there. At many places, you earn ONE MEASLY MILE per $20. The problem with that is that when you spend $39.99, you get ONE MILE. I don’t even bother putting the card in my wallet.

  2. ^^True, Ben, but then you can get many return short-haul flights for less than 1000 Air Miles, so every point is worth much more; you don’t need several (tens of) thousands to redeem them. Whereas I value an Aeroplan point at somewhere around 1.5¢, I value an Air Mile point at over 10 times that, and have gotten redemption values of over $1 per point in some instances. True, my typical Air Miles redemption is more in the 20-25¢ per point range, but I’ve hit 83¢ per point and $1.02 per point on two particular cases, and I’ve learned with time what Air Miles are *especially* good for. I also earn 1 AM for every $10 on my credit card, so accumulating them is somewhat faster than you suggest, and some retailers (Safeway, for example) actually rollover your “unearned” surplus over to your next purchase — so I might spend $35 on day and get only one point, but if I spend $25 the next day, I get two points.

    In short: Like any awards program, you’ve gotta learn the program rules in detail, and think creatively about how to apply them to get the best value.

    Also: I’d be surprised if Air Miles had 10M collectors in Canada. That would be just under one out every three men, women and children in the country, and that sounds high for any card in any wallet. My bet’s on Plenti.

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