About a year ago I wrote about how I gave up on Air Miles. While I haven’t given up on them completely (I’ll still take them if the other option is no rewards at all), I no longer use them as my main rewards program and have opted for cash back instead.
Here are the main reasons why I gave up on Air Miles:
- the rewards are constantly changing, making it difficult to aim for a specific item
- they will soon expire, so there’s little incentive to keep accumulating them
- the flights are subject to restrictions like blackout dates and only certain flights are available
- they keep getting devalued – a flight that used to cost 1,200 Air Miles now costs up to 2,100 Air Miles
For those reasons I prefer the simplicity of cash back – I can easily calculate how much I’ll earn and I won’t have to worry about restrictions.
Apparently I’m not the only one frustrated with Air Miles. I receive emails from readers about once a week describing their frustrations with Air Miles and how they are switching to another rewards program. Some of them are concerning – seniors who count on Air Miles to use on flights to visit relatives or others who have saved for years for a certain reward, only to find out that it’s either no longer available or now requires significantly more Air Miles.
Air Miles is a great program for some – people have successfully accumulated lots of Air Miles for years. However, the program seems to be going downhill (fast) and I’m not the only one who feels this way.
I thought I could put all of the issues together in one letter and let Air Miles know the concerns. All of the frustrated readers bring up valid points that Air Miles representatives should be made aware of.
Here’s my letter to Air Miles:
To Whom It May Concern,
I have a personal finance website and have written some content about Air Miles I thought would be worth sharing.
I wrote an article outlining the reasons why I gave up on Air Miles as my main rewards program. The program has undergone some changes over the years and isn’t nearly as worthwhile as it used to be.
The content has become more popular than I expected and has been featured in national media. Many people have expressed their concerns and frustrations with Air Miles. Every week I receive about 1-2 emails from people who share the same concerns with me about the program.
One of my main concerns is that the rewards are constantly changing. If someone finds an item they like and would like to save their Air Miles to get the item, in some cases they’ve saved for months (or years) only to be disappointed by finding out the item is no longer available. This has happened to me personally as well as many others.
Another concern I have is that the Air Miles seem to be devalued over time, For example, a flight that used to require 1,200 Air Miles now requires 2,100 Air Miles. While this may not be true for all flights, the point is that the Air Miles are no longer worth what they used to be. This issue is compounded by the fact the Air Miles will soon start to expire.
Most people I’ve spoken to use Air Miles for flights, and the program has become confusing, restrictive and expensive for flights. I recently searched for a flight I am interested in but discovered the flight isn’t available, and the only dates close to my desired travel dates now require more Air Miles than I have. There are also fees (taxes) for the flights which are constantly changing.
Air Miles used to be my main rewards program but I have switched to cash back instead. It’s easier to calculate what I will earn, straight forward, doesn’t have any restrictions and most importantly – is more lucrative.
My biggest issue isn’t with my own experience with Air Miles, it’s the experiences of others. I’ve heard from families who use Air Miles to purchase Christmas gifts but haven’t been able to recently because the number of required Air Miles is constantly changing (increasing). I feel sorry for those on a fixed income who have saved thousands of Air Miles for flights to visit family across the country and now aren’t able to use them because the flights aren’t available or the number of Air Miles has increased significantly. They’ve saved their Air Miles for years only to find out they’re now worth a fraction of what they used to be.
I would like to know what is being done to alleviate these concerns and it would be much appreciated if you would check out the site and read the legitimate concerns that readers have brought forth.
I look forward to reading your reply.
Conclusion: the decision to give up on Air Miles was based on my personal spending and rewards strategy. I value simplicity and like to know how much I’ll earn for each purchase. I’m hoping Air Miles can resolve some of the issues many have mentioned
Have you ever reached out to customer service to resolve an issue or concern?