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Airline or airmiles credit cards are usually offered to customers with high, stable incomes and excellent credit histories. The reason is that issuers feature many perks and benefits that are reserved for trustworthy customers. Products with attractive rewards programs include the BMO Gold AIR MILES MasterCard for Business, Visa Infinite Avion, and American Express AIR MILES Gold Business Card.

Redeeming Rewards

Customers earn airmiles or e-vouchers. Redemption is subject to a specified duration and the accrual of a certain number of rewards points. Airlines confirm reservations within a period of 7 – 10 days, depending on their terms and conditions. When customers use vouchers to make bookings at a call center or online, they may have to pay the applicable taxes.

There are different options when it comes to redemption. Holders can redeem their rewards points for a round-trip economy flight or they can earn points toward flight taxes and fees. They are paid at the time of making a booking.

Benefits of Using an Airline Credit Card

Customers benefit from perks such as priority lounge access, flight administration fee waivers, and access to business class seats. Those who use products such as the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Card enjoy additional benefits such as access to the Toronto Pearson Priority Security Lane. They can use this service at Terminal 3 and Terminal 1 by showing a valid boarding pass and their credit card. Preferred ticket access, concierge services, and taxi lanes are additional benefits. Car rental discounts are offered by many issuers. Customers enjoy a variety of added services in Canada, the United States (including Hawaii), and elsewhere, depending on the issuing bank. They have access to flexible and convenient travel options such as Executive First and Executive Class.

Customers receive extra bonus points when shopping at participating retailers and establishments. These include diners, golf clubs, spas, hotels, ski resorts, and others. Participating establishments include places such as Esso, Air Canada Vacations, Bentley, Avis, and others. Holders can triple their points by shopping at certain retailers. Those who use airmiles cards by the Bank of Montreal, for example, can triple their points by making purchases at White Lotus Gifts & Books, Source Security, and other establishments.

Additional Benefits

Some airmiles cards are suitable for students and feature low interest rates and no annual fees. Students can redeem points for travel, gift certificates, movie and concert tickets, and a lot more.

The miles or bonus points don’t expire even if the customer doesn’t make payments for 12 months. In addition to hotel rewards, car rentals, and free airplane tickers, customers can choose from a large selection of merchandize, including tools, toys, and home décor as well as gift certificates and cards. Reward points can be redeemed during workdays, weekends, and holidays. With some issuers, customers can redeem their points for flights or merchandize, including iPod docks, cordless phones, and others.

Holders can take advantage of different insurance plans, depending on the issuer. Banks and finance companies offer trip interruption insurance, baggage and flight delay insurance, travel medical insurance, and many others. In addition to these benefits, customers receive spend alerts and reports and have access to tools such as personal spend manager. Some issuers, like CIBC, for example, offer enhanced monthly statements to customers who use an airmiles card. Spending is divided into major categories such as restaurants, transportation, and grocery shopping.

What to do with your miles

There are different things to do with your airmiles, and redemption is just one of the options. You can transfer, convert, trade, donate, and deposit them. For example, you can donate your rewards points to participating charities such as The Push for Change, Support Cancer Care, and The Stephen Lewis Foundation. Another option is to trade your airmiles from other rewards programs. As an alternative, you can deposit your points to be redeemed for rewards. Businesses can purchase airmiles for their employees and managers. This is a good option for an incentive and loyalty program which helps drive performance and efficiency. Some finance companies even offer to develop customized incentive programs that fit the requirement of different businesses.

Features and Fees

While airline cards offer a number of benefits, some issuers charge high annual fees. The American Express AIR MILES Reserve Credit Card, for example, comes with a fee of $299. Aerogold Visa Infinite by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce goes with an annual fee of $120. Other banks offer airmiles cards with no annual fees and double rewards at participating retailers and airmiles sponsors. The BMO AIR MILES Credit Card is one example. Note that many financial institutions have minimum income requirements. Customers of CIBC, for instance, should have a household income of at least $100,000 or personal income of $60,000 a year. Business credit cards feature higher available limits and more features and benefits.

Top 4 Airmiles credit cards

CIBC Aerogold® Visa Infinite Card

CIBS offers customers the opportunity to earn extra rewards points (1.5) on purchases at, drug and grocery stores, and gas stations. Cardholders also earn 1 point on each dollar in regular purchases and enjoy attractive VISA and Air Canada benefits. There are further benefits for holders, including priority boarding and check in, as well as hotel rewards, airport lounge access, and others.

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Additional cards: $50
  • Interest rate: 19.99 percent

American Express® AIR MILES® Platinum Credit Card

This AMEX card is ? convenient credit and payment solution that offers a complimentary bonus of 20,000 bonus points and the opportunity to collect points on drug store and gas station purchases and groceries. Supplementary cards are available at no added cost and offer the opportunity to earn even more points. Cardholders also earn referral bonuses worth 500 points. Assured reservations and car rental theft coverage are added benefits.

  • Interest rate: 19.99 percent
  • Annual fee: $65

BMO® AIR MILES® World MasterCard®

BMO also offers a rewards card by MasterCard as well as attractive features and add-ons such as flight discounts, concierge service, airmiles rewards, and others. Cardholders are offered comprehensive travel insurance, trip cancellation coverage, medical protection, and other benefits. BMO offers 1 bonus mile for each $15 in card purchases. Purchases at Alamo Rent-A-Car, Shell, and National Car Rental earn extra points.

  • Annual fee: $99
  • Interest rate: 19.9 percent
  • Annual income requirement: $60,000
  • Grace period: 21 days

Visa Infinite Avion

This is an attractive offer by RBC and a great way to earn rewards with no seating restrictions, extra points, and no blackout dates. One dollar in purchases earns 1 point and travel related purchases earn 25 percent more points. Cardholders are free to choose any flight and airline. Comprehensive insurance package is also available and covers purchases, car rentals, hotel stays, and medical expenses.

  • Annual fee: $120
  • Interest rate: 19.99 percent
  • Minimum personal income: $60,000