Erica Ehm Exposed!


How to Get Cash From Air Miles

Who Can Resist Free Money?

by: Erica Ehm

By now, you must know that I'm a self-professed rewards junkie. I'm all about getting more bang for my buck when shopping using loyalty programs. I've been a card-carrying Air Miles member since 1998 and have been upgraded to a Gold Card. I don't just collect my miles—I use them! Over the last decade I've been able to to buy gift cards, an air conditioner, flights, a television and movie tickets using my miles. If you haven't signed up for a card yet, what are you waiting for? It's free. Full stop.

I also have an Air Miles American Express Card which allows me to "double dip" when shopping at Metro, Shell, Children's Place and other Air Miles friendly retailers. I proudly take full advantage of earning bonus miles and use the program to its fullest. Psssst. Here's a collector's tip: when shopping at the LCBO, always buy the wine with bonus miles attached. Somehow they taste better :)

Since it's no secret that I am a fan of the card, I was asked to test out the new Air Miles Cash program. Basically, instead of redeeming my miles for "stuff", I can choose to redeem them to reduce my bill at participating Air Miles locations like Shell across Canada, or Metro and Rexall in Ontario.

Here's how it went. I was given 475 reward miles which essentially equals $50 in cash. If you do the math, 95 reward miles = $10. In order for me to access those reward miles, I had to change my preference on my account to 100% Cash vs Dream. Then, I went off shopping to my regular haunts and experience the process. 

First stop was a fill up at Shell. I drive a minivan, so my bill was $75. I know, ouch! Why didn't I buy a Mini?? Anyway, once I filled up, I went to the cashier and simply asked him to redeem $20 which was immediately electronically applied to my bill. I gotta tell you, paying $55 for a fill up felt a bit better than $75.

And, what was cool, five minutes after paying, I received this email:

Once my van filled up with gas, I was off to do my weekly grocery shop. There are a couple of reasons why I am quite faithful to my local Metro store. Obviously, it's for the Air Miles. I love buying groceries and getting bonus miles for picking up products already on my shopping list. But, there's another added benefit. The store manager, Tom, is an old fashioned kind of guy who is on a first-name basis with many of his customers, and makes his supermarket feel like my local corner store. But that's another post...

Next, I went through my regular weekly grocery shop and ended up spending $203. In doing so, I earned 10 regular reward miles plus 29 bonus miles. Then I asked this lovely cashier to apply $30 to my bill, which dropped my bill down to $173. 

I still haven't spent all of my reward miles. I'm like that. I covet them and use them wisely. I still have to pick up some sunscreen at Rexall for my upcoming trip to Miami (don't hate me) and wanted to save some reward miles for that. And while I'm out, I may just stop at the LCBO...cuz it's hard work being a tester and this mummy will be in need of some wine (and some bonus miles).

Are you ready to sign up and join the legion of reward junkies? Visit and thank me later!