In the quest to find decent redemption options for expiring Dream miles, I did some digging around the Air Miles website to see what opportunities exist. As with the Canadian examples, these redemptions are intended for two travellers. The hotels I chose weren’t necessarily the cheapest but appeared to be a good value based on location and cash rate.
Whereas the Aeroplan 15,000 mile short-haul flight options are limited when it comes to US destinations, Air Miles has more cities to choose from in the 1500-1900 range. For example, Richmond, VA (see Colonial Williamsburg?) or Lexington, KY (like Bluegrass?)…
I’ve read that the Windy City is a fun place around Christmas…
Flight: Halifax – Chicago Midway (Porter)
1500 Air Miles + $145 per person
Hotel: Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection
1026 Air Miles per night + $88 total taxes and fees (4 nights)
Total Air Miles: 3000 + 4105 = 7105
Total Taxes and Fees: $290 + $88 = $378
The airfare would be $392 and the hotel on those dates is $159 USD ($209 CAD).
Any time of year is a good time to visit the Big Apple…
Flight: Charlottetown – New York LaGuardia (Air Canada)
1900 Air Miles + $153 per person
Hotel: Courtyard Long Island City/New York Manhattan View
1085 Air Miles per night + $102 total for 4 nights
Total Air Miles 2800 + 4350 = 7150
Total Taxes and Fees $306 + $102 = $408
Airfare for those dates is currently $540 and hotel is $183 USD ($241 CAD). This hotel is not in Manhattan but it’s only 4 stops away from Times Square on the subway and gets great reviews.
Sometimes using Air Miles for destinations further afield can make sense when a good discount promo comes along on the Air Miles website, or if you’re a holder of the BMO Air Miles World Elite MasterCard that offers 25% fewer Air Miles for flights in North America. Otherwise, it can make more sense to try to score an airfare deal and save those miles for a better use. Here are a few examples of hotels that have good Air Miles redemption value.
The Harry Potter stuff at Universal Studios is incredible…
Holiday Inn Express Nearest Universal Orlando
799 Air Miles per night + $54 total for 4 nights
Total Air Miles: 3195 + $54
Cash rate Dec. 18-22 $117 USD CAA ($154 CAD)
Doubletree by Hilton at Entrance to Universal (this hotel is walking distance to Universal) Unfortunately, this option is strangely only available to Onyx account holders.
928 Air Miles per night + $61 total for 4 nights
Total Air Miles: 3710 + $61
Cash rate March 12-16 is $144 USD ($190 CAD)
How about a 12 night trip around The Boot?
Rome: Best Western Hotel Artdeco 986 Air Miles per night + $10 total taxes and fees for 4 nights
Cash rate: $130 CAD
Florence: Boscolo Astoria Hotel 959 Air Miles per night + $52 total taxes and fees for 4 nights
Cash rate: $213 CAD per night
Venice: Boscolo Bellini 1089 Air Miles per night + $57 total taxes and fees for 4 nights
Cash rate: $315 CAD per night
Total Air Miles: 3944 + 3836 + 4356 = 12,136
Total Taxes and Fees: $10 + $52 + $57 = $119
The Boscolo hotels are part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection and appear to represent a great value for Air Miles.
If there’s a trip you’ve been daydreaming about and you’re sitting on some Air Miles due to expire, maybe use this as inspiration to take a trip.