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The Ultimate AIR MILES Credit Card Portfolio
Last Updated: May 2, 2016

 

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In this feature of Rewards Canada' Ultimate Credit Card Portfolios we look at the ultimate one for earning AIR MILES Reward Miles. We have always recommended that you should carry a Visa, a Mastercard and an American Express card in your wallet. The reason why is that there benefits, promotions and earning potential unique to each brand of credit card. We won't go into detail here as you can read all about it in our feature on how to Maximize your Miles and Points but here we outline one card from each brand that will help you build up those AIR MILES Reward miles faster than ever. Ultimately there are various options that could be utilized for an AIR MILES portfolio but we look at one card from each issuing family that won't totally break the bank on annual fees but will provide strong AIR MILES earning along with very strong insurance benefits.

What is Rewards Canada's Ultimate AIR MILES Credit Card Wallet? It is the following three cards

Mastercard - BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard

American Express - American Express® Air Miles Platinum®* Credit Card

Visa - TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite

There are two cards in the portfolio that are obvious choices. The BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard and the American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit Card. The third card may seem out of place but there are no Visa cards that earn AIR MILES but we will show how you can tie in the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite card to help out this portfolio. The first two cards not only provide very strong earning of AIR MILES Reward Miles but bring to you some decent benefits on the insurance and redemption side. Simply by having the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard you can enjoy 25% off AIR MILES flight redemptions in North America even if those miles were earned on the Amex card or other methods. That 25% savings can mean you could be flying even sooner as it represents a significant discount on the regular AIR MILES redemption rates.


Related: Travel Hacking 102 - Earn up to 2,900 or more AIR MILES for free!


How to maximize your AIR MILES earning with these cards

In this portfolio your primary card will be the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard as its earn rate is simple. 1 AIR MILES Reward Mile for every $10 you spend on the card. Nice and easy. No specific category bonuses to worry about and the card comes with a nice 3,000 AIR MILES Reward Miles sign up bonus. The secondary card in this portfolio is the American Express AIR MILES Platinum Card. Its annual fee is waived in the first year so it won't cost you anything and you can get the 2,000 Reward Miles sign up bonus. Its earn rate 1 AIR MILES Reward Mile for every $10 spent but only at AIR MILES sponsors and on gas and grocery purchases. So for those types of purchases it really is a toss up between using the Mastercard or the American Express Card. Outside of those categories always go with the Mastercard unless you are at merchant that only accepts American Express. Just before the first year is up on the Platinum Amex you could choose to switch it to the no fee regular American Express AIR MILES card to save yourself $65 but still have that Amex in your wallet for when a promotion comes up that is tied into using an Amex card.

At first it seems like the third card makes no sense at all. The TD First Class Visa Infinite Card does not earn AIR MILES (no Visa card does) but you can end up using it when you go to redeem your AIR MILES Rewards Miles. How and why? Well on AIR MILES redemptions you still have to pay the taxes and fees as you can't use your Reward Miles towards them. So if you have used your TD First Class Visa for those purchases where only a Visa card is accepted and built up some TD Rewards Points you can use them towards those taxes and fees. Redeem your AIR MILES for a reward flight and when prompted online or by phone as to which credit card to use to pay for the taxes and fees give them your TD Visa numbers. Once that charge shows up on your account after a couple of days, go online to tdrewards.com or give them call to redeem those points against the charge that shows up from AIR MILES. You can redeem as little as 250 points for a $1 credit or if you have enough points you can use them to cover all the taxes and fees and you have now got your AIR MILES reward ticket completely free.

Related: Which credit cards can be used to cover award ticket taxes, fees and surcharges?

The Ultimate AIR MILES Credit Card Portfolio:

Card Card Features

BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®*
BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®*

Annual Fee: $120 Primary Card $50 Additional Card
Interest Rate: Purchases 20.99% Cash Advances 22.99% (21.99% for Quebec residents)

Welcome offer: Get 2,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles and we’ll waive the $120 annual fee for the first year*.

· Get 3x the Miles for every $12 spent at participating AIR MILES Reward Partners.*
· Earn 1 reward mile for every $12 in credit card purchases, everywhere you spend*
· Get valuable benefits and offers for digital everyday services from a variety of on-demand apps and subscription services
· Use your card at Costco
· Extended Warranty
· Access over 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world - all at no added cost, and no added fees or roaming charges*
· Complimentary membership in Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey, with exclusive VIP access
· Exclusive 15% Flight Discount on all AIR MILES flights in North America with no blackout periods*
· BMO AIR MILES World Elite Travel and Medical Protection*
· BMO Concierge Service*
· Unlock Mastercard Travel Rewards cashback offers when you travel and shop outside of Canada

*Terms and conditions apply

Apply Now

BMO is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click on the Apply now link for the most up to date information

American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card
American Express®  AIR MILES* Platinum Credit Card

Card Type: Credit   
Annual Fee: $120 Additional Card Fee: $50
Annual interest rate 20.99% on purchases and 21.99% on funds advances; Missed payment applicable rates, 23.99% and/or 26.99%

• New American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card Cardmembers, earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES®* Bonus Miles when you charge a total of $1,500 in purchases to your Card within your first three months of Cardmembership. That’s enough to redeem for $200 towards your purchases with AIR MILES®* Cash 
• Earn 1 Mile for every $5 in Card purchases, up to $30,000 annually, on eligible food & drinks, (such as eligible restaurants, coffee shops and stand-alone grocery stores), and eligible gas & transit (such as local commuter transportation including ridesharing services and taxi) in Canada.
• Earn 1 Mile for every $10 in Card purchases everywhere else.
• American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card Cardmembers can take advantage of the Annual Travel Redemption Benefit. Once per calendar year, when an eligible Cardmember uses Dream Miles with the AIR MILES Reward Program to book their first single flight or package vacation through airmiles.ca or vacations.airmiles.ca, they can get Bonus Miles equivalent to 25% of the net number of Miles used (up to a maximum of 750 Bonus Miles).
• Shop at participating AIR MILES®* Partners®* across Canada with your Card and show your AIR MILES®* Card, and you can earn Miles twice
• American Express is not responsible for maintaining or monitoring the accuracy of information on this website. For full details and current product information click the Apply now link. Conditions apply

Apply Now


TD® First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card
TD® First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card

Annual Fee: $120 Additional Cards: $502
Annual interest rate 19.99% on purchases and 22.99% on funds advances
$60,000 personal or $100,000 household annual income

Apply by May 30, 2021 to get a full Annual Fee Rebate1 for the Primary and Additional Cardholders for the first year and up to 60,000 TD Points1 (a travel value of $300 when you book travel purchases through ExpediaForTD.com+) as follows:

Welcome Bonus of 20,000 TD Points when you make your first Purchase with your Card1.
+
40,000 TD Points when you spend $1,500 within 90 days of Account opening1.

To receive the first-year annual fee rebate, you must activate your Card and make your first Purchase on the Account within the first 3 months after Account opening.

• Redeem TD Points for travel and travel-related purchases3
• Also redeem4 TD Points for retail merchandise and gift cards, or for a cash credit to your Account
• No travel blackouts5, no seat restrictions5 and no expiry6 for your TD Points
• An extensive suite of travel insurance

• Earn 9 TD Points9 when you book travel online through Expedia® For TD8
• Earn 3 TD Points for every $1 you spend on Purchases made using your Card10
• Your TD Points don’t expire as long as you are a TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite* Cardholder

Apply Now

This offer is not available for residents of Quebec. For Quebec residents, please click here.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) is not responsible for the contents of this site including any editorials or reviews that may appear on this site. For complete and current information on any TD product, please click the Apply Now button.

+ Every 200 TD Points redeemed are worth $1 in travel savings off the cost of Travel Purchases made through Expedia For TD. Redemptions can only be made in 200 TD Points increments.
1 Must apply by May 30, 2021. Welcome Bonus of 20,000 TD points will be awarded to the TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* ("Account") only after the first Purchase is made on the Account. For Residents outside of Quebec: To receive the additional 40,000 TD points, you must make $1,500 in Purchases on your Account, including your first Purchase, within 90 days of Account opening. For Quebec Residents only: To receive the additional 40,000 TD points, you must keep your Account open, active and in good standing for 90 days after Account opening. For all Accounts: Rebate of the Annual Fee is only for the first year for the Primary Cardholder and the 1st Additional Cardholder added to the Account. To receive the first-year annual fee rebate, you must activate your Card and make your first Purchase on the Account within the first 3 months after Account opening. To receive the 1st Additional Cardholder Annual Fee Rebate you must add your first Additional Cardholder by January 18, 2021. Annual Fee Rebate will be applied within 2 monthly statements from the date of the statement with the first Annual Fee charge. The Primary Cardholder is responsible for all charges to the Account, including those made by any Additional Cardholder. Offer may be changed, withdrawn or extended at any time and cannot be combined with any other offer unless otherwise indicated. This offer is not available customers who have activated and/or closed a TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Account in the last 6 months. We reserve the right to limit the number of Accounts opened by and the number of TD points awarded to any one person.
2 Primary Cardholder remains liable for all charges to the Account, including those made by any Additional Cardholder.
3 Every 200 TD Points redeemed are worth $1 in travel savings off the cost of Travel Purchases made through Expedia For TD. Redemptions can only be made in 200 TD Points increments
4 The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its affiliates are not liable or responsible for the products, goods or services offered or made available by third party retailers through tdrewards.com
5 Subject to carrier/space availability.
6 TD Points do not expire as long as you are a Cardholder.
7 TD Points must be redeemed in minimum 200-point increments for travel Purchases charged to your Card that are booked online or by phone through Expedia For TD. For travel Purchases charged to your Card that are not booked through Expedia For TD, TD Points must be redeemed in minimum increments of 200 or 250 TD Points as fully explained in the TD Travel Rewards Program Terms and Conditions ("Travel Terms") contained in the TD Travel Credit Cardholder Agreement for your Card. The Travel Terms are available on tdcanadatrust.com/agreements. We can decrease the required minimum TD Point redemption increment at any time. To redeem TD Points for travel Purchases charged to your Card that are not booked through Expedia For TD, Cardholder must contact the TD Travel Rewards Program or visit www.tdrewards.com after the travel Purchase has been posted to the Account and within 90 days from the transaction date of the travel Purchase. The required TD Points will be redeemed from the TD Points balance available at the time the TD Points are redeemed for the travel Purchase, not the transaction date of the travel Purchase. The amount that will be credited toward the travel Purchase will be equal to the value of the TD Points redeemed. If there are insufficient TD Points available to cover the entire amount of the travel Purchase, the Account will only be credited by the value of the TD Points redeemed. Any amount of the travel Purchase not covered by the TD Points redeemed will remain on the Account for payment.
8 Expedia For TD is operated by Expedia, Inc. at www.tdrewards.com and 1-877-222-6492. The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its affiliates are not responsible for any of the services and products offered/provided by Expedia, Inc.
9 Earn 9 TD Points for every $1 in Purchases of travel made online through Expedia For TD ("Online Travel Purchases") and charged to the Account. Any returned items, refunds, rebates or other similar credits will reduce or cancel the TD Points earned on the original Online Travel Purchase. Fees, Cash Advances (including Balance Transfers, Cash-Like Transactions and TD Visa Cheques), interest charges, optional service, refunds, rebates or other similar credits do not earn TD Points. Other Conditions: Offer may be changed, withdrawn or extended at any time and cannot be combined with any other offer. Earn 6 TD Points for every $1 in Purchases of travel made by phone through Expedia For TD ("Phone Travel Purchases") and charged to the Account. Any returned items, refunds, rebates or other similar credits will reduce or cancel the TD Points earned on the original Phone Travel Purchase. Fees, Cash Advances (including Balance Transfers, Cash-Like Transactions and TD Visa Cheques), interest charges, optional service, refunds, rebates or other similar credits do not earn TD Points. Other Conditions: Offer may be changed, withdrawn or extended at any time and cannot be combined with any other offer.
10 Earn 3 TD Points ("Standard Rebate") on every $1 on all other Purchases ("Other Purchases") charged to the Account. Any returned items, refunds, rebates or other similar credits will reduce or cancel the TD Points earned on the original Purchase. Fees, Cash Advances (including Balance Transfers, Cash-Like Transactions and TD Visa Cheques), interest charges, optional service, refunds, rebates or other similar credits do not earn TD Points. Other Conditions : Offer may be changed, withdrawn or extended at any time and cannot be combined with any other offer.
All trade-marks are the property of their respective owners.
* Trademark of Visa International Service Association and used under license.
®The TD logo and other trade-marks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Related: American Express Platinum AIR MILES Credit Card Review / BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard Review

Other Card Options:

If you want to upgrade your travel you could choose to go with the American Express AIR MILES Reserve card. It comes with a heftier annual fee of $299 but comes with a slightly higher sign up bonus of 2,400 miles but the key with this card is the additional benefits it brings. It gives you automatic AIR MILES Onyx status meaning your AIR MILES will never expire as long as you hold the status and comes with a free companion ticket when you redeem for a flight with a value of up to 1,700 AIR MILES. It also pays for an annual Priority Pass which allows you to access airport business class lounges along with 4 complimentary lounge visit passes. Or as we mentioned above if the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard is your main card you can just choose to go with a no-fee Amex option in the portfolio. On the other hand if you have something like the Platinum or Reserve from Amex and want a lower version of a Mastercard you could go to the no fee BMO AIR MILES Mastercard but with that card you'll do away with your strongest AIR MILES earning potential and the 25% discount on reward flights in North America. So we would not recommend going that route!

Talk to us!

What do you find works best for you for earning the most AIR MILES Reward Miles? Do you use these three cards exactly as laid out above or do you use a different combination? Tell us in the comments section below or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

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