Shawn Stewart

March 20, 2024

[Ep. 393] How to Get the Most Out of AIR MILES with Shawn Stewart

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I’m Jessica and I’m a money expert, speaker, Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada®, host of the More Money Podcast, and am currently writing my first book with HarperCollins Canada (2025).
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This episode of the More Money Podcast is sponsored by AIR MILES®. Sign up today and start earning rewards with the AIR MILES Reward Program.

Are you leaving money on the table by not collecting rewards? Or maybe you don’t think it’s worth the time and energy of signing up and remembering to scan your card (or use the app) to collect? Well, to hopefully change your mind and get you to start earning rewards on things you’re already spending money on, for this episode, I’m joined by President of AIR MILES Shawn Stewart who shares what big changes have happened to the program, what innovations are to come, and how you can take advantage of this free program to earn miles and redeem for travel, merchandise and so much more.

I’ve actually been an AIR MILES member since I was in my early 20s and it was the first rewards program I ever signed up to since I remember being told by my mom that if you’re not collecting rewards, you’re missing out on free money. And it’s true. Over the years, I’ve been able to redeem my miles for gift cards, free groceries, and merchandise, and it costs me nothing to participate besides the time it takes for me to whip out my card (or the app) and scan it whenever I’m doing my shopping.

I’ve always been of the mind that loyalty programs should be part of everyone’s financial plan, so hopefully you’ll learn a few things about why rewards are important, why you should take advantage, and what are the best ways to earn and redeem AIR MILES specifically.


  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 02:54 Guest Background
  • 04:25 History and Acquisition of Air Miles
  • 07:16 Increasing Value and Competition
  • 08:32 Partnerships with Small Businesses
  • 09:28 Discovering Air Miles Partners
  • 11:59 Different Ways to Collect Air Miles
  • 14:53 Understanding Dream Miles and Cash Miles
  • 16:28 Preference for Instant Discount or Saving for Big Rewards
  • 18:42 Redemption Trends and Strategies
  • 21:09 Where to Find Deals
  • 22:19 Understanding the Value of Miles
  • 23:07 The Effort and Benefits of Loyalty Programs
  • 24:08 Considering the Value of Participation
  • 25:07 Integrating Loyalty Programs into Your Financial Plan
  • 25:58 The Benefits of Credit Cards and Tiers
  • 26:54 Redeeming Miles for Cars and Other Assets
  • 27:59 Being Mindful of Your Loyalty Program Participation
  • 29:13 Transferring Points in Unfortunate Circumstances
  • 30:12 Considering Points in Estate Planning
  • 32:42 Stories of Air Miles Collectors
  • 33:18 Why Collect Miles
  • 34:19 Upcoming Innovations and Partnerships
  • 35:48 Closing Remarks and Where to Find More Information


  • Check the AIR MILES app, newsletters, and forums for deals and promotions.
  • The value of miles depends on what you redeem them for.
  • Integrate loyalty programs into your financial plan and consider credit cards and tiers for additional benefits.
  • Be mindful of your loyalty program participation and regularly review your points.

Things I Mentioned in the Episode


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Welcome back to the More Money Podcast.

This is episode 393, and I’m your host, Jessica Moorhouse.

Welcome back to the show.

I hope you are as into collecting rewards and getting that value while you’re shopping as much as I am.

I mean, I have…

That was one of the first, I feel like, kind of tips that I learned directly from my mom.

If there is some sort of free program, you need to sign up for it, otherwise you’re leaving money on the table.

It’s just a waste.

And she would literally point out, like, this person didn’t collect rewards at the checkout, and that could have been future money.

So just sign up to these programs, they’re free.

And so that is what we’re going to be discussing in this episode.

We’re going to talk specifically and do a deep dive into the reward program, AIR MILES.

And to speak about that, I’ve got the president of AIR MILES on the show, Shawn Stewart, who has been an industry leader in the loyalty and customer experience space, which makes a lot of sense why he’s the president of AIR MILES because he has a lot of background in this space.

He was also the senior vice president of customer service at Canadian Tire, where he led the team responsible for enterprise loyalty, digital marketing, customer analytics, and personalization, and including the team that built and grew the Triangle Rewards loyalty program.

He also worked at McKinsey & Co.

and Accenture, where he developed customer acquisition and retention strategies, data-driven applications and customer experience programs to accelerate business growth for clients.

And from 2010 to 2013, Shawn was a member of the AIR MILES leadership team, where his role was accountable for data and analytics for partners.

So it makes sense that he’s back in the throw things at AIR MILES and really leading it into a very new era.

Can we just, yeah, let’s call it a new era for AIR MILES.

And we get into all of that new leadership, new ownership, and what they’ve changed and what they may change in the future.

So lots of exciting stuff to look forward to.

I do of course also want to acknowledge and say thank you to AIR MILES for sponsoring this episode.

And if you want to not just listen to it, but you also want to watch it, you can now because this is a video podcast.

So you know, check me out talking to Shawn on my YouTube channel, is where you can find that.

And if you also just go to the show notes for, you know, any of the upcoming episodes or any episodes in season 18, such as this one is, you can find the video imbedded in the show notes as well, including the transcript and all this other important stuff that you’re going to want to check out.

So without further ado, let’s get to that interview with Shawn.

Welcome Shawn to the More Money Podcast, I’m so excited to have you on the show.

Thank you for joining me.

Thank you for having me.

Lovely to be here.

You’re so welcome.

Well, you know, to kick things off, what I usually do with my guests is I ask them a little bit about themselves.

So for people who don’t know who you are, you’re a pretty big deal.

Because you want to kind of share what you do.

And then also, you know, then we’re going to dive into some really specific AIR MILES talk, which I think people are very excited about.

But yeah, tell us how you got to where you are today.

Well, I have the fortune of leading this lovely little company called AIR MILES.

This is my little startup, my second tour of duty at AIR MILES.

Actually, I spent some time here early 2010 for the past eight years.

So I’ve been I was at Canadian Tire.

So I was in the retail and spent most of my career actually in retail and marketing.

So I get to have lots of fun with consumer data and this thing we call loyalty programs that has been such a dynamic space.

So it’s been pretty exciting.

Yeah, absolutely.

And so let’s kind of talk a little bit more about the background of AIR MILES.

How long is AIR MILES, the company, been around?

Because I feel like when I was a kid, it was a thing.

So it’s been around for decades.

Well, I’m moving right now and I found under my bed, my very first AIR MILES card.

So you wouldn’t be the only one that’s had it for a long time because we’ve been around since 1992, so 30 plus years.

Perhaps one of the first coalition programs maybe invented the concept of coalition, but we’ve been around for ages.

It’s been quite a journey.

We were recently acquired by Banco Montreal last year, which was pretty big news for us, big news for our collectors and investors and our partners.

To have this lovely organization, Banco Montreal, who’s been a wonderful partner since inception, standing behind us.

Yeah, absolutely.

So just to kind of talk a little bit more about that, because that is a really big change.

What does that mean for AIR MILES now that BMO has acquired AIR MILES?

It means investment, frankly.

It means value back into the market to collectors.

For a long time, I would think AIR MILES lost the step.

It was once the only game in town and the competition heated up, and really the value just wasn’t there anymore.

And so BMO really believes in this program.

It’s an integral part of their business and the investment, which we’ve already seen, frankly.

It’s much easier leading an organization where you’ve got the support and resources behind you.

So we’re really in a new world with BMO’s ownership.

So to me, that sounds like there’s a lot more competition, which I mean, competition is always a good thing.

That means companies, brands have to up their game.

And now that BMO is involved, we’re just at the beginning of seeing what that kind of means, especially for collectors.

That’s right.

I mean, our first, I like to say internally, our first focus was putting MILES back into the collector’s jeans.

It really is about the table stakes in terms of value, in terms of excitement and opportunity to earn.

We have 300 plus brands in the program, some of which many Canadians probably don’t know about.

So our marketing efforts in behind that, and that’s going to lead for us, and you’ll see later this year, a really big unveiling of what we think is a really transformative program.

Yeah, that’s what I’m, when I saw the news, I’m like, I think this means that, yeah, we’re going to see a lot more value in terms of this program to stay competitive in the market and to be able to take certain opportunities that maybe you couldn’t afford before.

A hundred percent value and simplicity, right?

So in creating awareness around it, you know, it’s, as I said, there’s 300 plus brands in the program.

Those are large national brands, but we have small businesses in this program.

I think we actually have quite a competitive advantage in small business.

My favorite example is there are dentists that issue AIR MILES, and that’s a place many programs don’t play.

So we really feel like we’re in the fabric of Canadian business, and giving collectors more opportunity to earn value.

Yeah, no, I think that really does set AIR MILES apart, because I mean, just because you mentioned that, the place that I go to get my eyebrows done, they allow me to collect AIR MILES.

I’m like, that is so random.

And I think it’s a chain.

I think there’s a few shops in Toronto, but I’m like, that is so weird.

I always kind of figured if you’re a points program, you have to, it’s very expensive to be involved, and they’re only going to look at those big brands to be part of it.

But I think there’s something to be said, especially if we’re also trying to promote, you know, shop local or even go to these smaller businesses.

I think that’s really great.

And hopefully we’ll be seeing a lot more of that.

That’s really exciting.

I love that you pointed out local, because it really is at the heart of it.

You know, a lot of these businesses don’t have the scale and the resources, the same as a national brand, to really go after their customers or to develop these programs.

And so for us, going local was incredibly important, making it easy for this organization.

It’s really a purposeful strategy, which we call being open and flexible.

Any business should be able to access this program, and therefore any collector should be able to earn whenever they shop.

That’s the idea.

Yeah, now you mentioned that there are so many brands that are part of it.

Most people probably have no idea.

Can you kind of share a little bit more about if someone wanted to find out more about, you know, who is collecting?

Because sometimes you only know, oh, they have that on their website, that they don’t allow me to collect, AIR MILES.

And what are some of those brands that may be of interest to people that they may not be aware of?

So we have a nifty little tool on our website,, where you can actually put in your postcode, and it’ll show like the pins all over the map and show you all the different places.

That’s helpful.

Yeah, I love it.

Because sometimes I go in there and I had to remind myself of all the great partners we have, and it just explodes in these red pins.

It’s really cool.

I think most people would recognize, when you think about gas and grocery, Shell, Metro, being in the program.

Obviously, if you have the BMO Credit Card, you can earn more in the program.

But through our various other programs, AIR MILES Shops, which allows you to earn online, or Card Link Program, which allows you to link your MasterCard and earn.

We have lots of other partners.

Most people are surprised when I tell them you couldn’t earn AIR MILES if you shop at Lululemon, or you shop at Sephora.

And so, that’s on us to create better awareness, right?

Like it really is, and really bringing the most relevant partners to our marketing.

But if you go on those properties, you can see the full list.

But I really recommend just doing the map and it’ll tell you everything.


Now, you mentioned that obviously, I think the old school way is having the physical card.

I still use the physical card.

Well, actually not that much anymore.

I usually now have it on my Apple Wallet.

But you mentioned there’s a couple of different ways to collect.

Obviously, you can still do the card or you can put it in your Apple Wallet or you said online.

What does that mean like online?

Is it like a browser?

Like you have to go into a website and like, what’s that mean?

Yeah, so I’ll run through and it’s a good time to mention, you know, loyalty programs have become complex.

And so we’re putting customers through a little bit of effort here.

But if you go to AIR MILES shops, that allows you to enter your AIR MILES number.

And when you shop at our affiliate partners, i.e.

Lululemon, you’ll learn AIR MILES that way.

So you go in, put in your number, and then you go to their website, you shop as you would.

So you do go to the AIR MILES shop, you don’t go to like Lululemon’s website, you go to AIR MILES shop, and then you find Lululemon in the website, click on that, and then it directs you to Lululemon.

And that’s how you earn the points.

Very important.

Otherwise, you’ll miss out on points.

That’s exactly.

You’ll miss out on lots of points.

The second way that we have is AIR MILES card link.

And what this allows you to do is link any MasterCard.

It doesn’t have to be an AIR MILES MasterCard.

It can be any MasterCard with your AIR MILES account number.

And there, you can actually shop and store online depending on the partner.

And so when it sees that you’ve used that MasterCard, so I’ll take Dollarama, for example.

When you go shop at Dollarama, you pull out the MasterCard, you link, you’ll automatically get rewarded.

You don’t actually have to pull out your AIR MILES card even.

So it’s a lot simpler and easier for the partner, right?

Because they don’t have to take the AIR MILES plastic card, right?

Just whatever form of payment you use is as simple as that.

We have a feature in our app.

And by the way, our app is where you got to be.

That’s a place to be if you want to learn about everything and get the most value out of the program.

We recently launched a capability called AIR MILES Receipts.


And this is new for us.

And the thinking was back to this open and flexible framework, is we want people to earn wherever they shop grocery.

It’s no surprise that Sobi’s exited our program last year.

And for us strategically, it was important to be relevant in the grocery category because that’s where Canadians get so much value.


And so this program allows you to take a picture of your receipt wherever you shop grocery and earn miles.

And so when you go into the app, it’ll say you get some miles on broccoli, you get some miles on dairy products, you get some miles on this, this, and this.

We partner with consumer package goods companies to put some offers in there.

You go buy those things, you take a picture of your receipt, and ta-da, you get the miles.

So again, a little bit of effort.

It’s a really great experience, and we make it fun and engaging.

But that’s just a new way for us to issue AIR MILES.

And then, of course, there’s using your BMO AIR MILES credit card, which is a massive part of the value proposition, where you’ll earn miles on everything you purchase.

And then the old school way still exists.

You know, you can go to Shell and pull out your plastic card, and we have a ton of partners that accept in that form, too.

So we have introduced some complexity, but by doing that, we’ve actually made it easier for new partners to come on, right?

Because otherwise, if they want to accept a plastic card, they’re having to do six, 12 months of technology work to figure out how to accept the card.

So a lot of loyalty programs are going to this card-link mechanism, because it’s just easier to do.

Yeah, most people just don’t, I think, use plastic.

Even for me, depending on where I am, if I’m around a lot of young people and I pull out my credit card, you realize I’m the only one who has a wallet.

Everyone is just using their phone these days.

So it makes sense that you have to have…

There’s lots of different ways that you can get involved.

And yeah, most of us forget our cards at home.

And so having it on your phone, using the app, doing it online, that makes a lot of sense.

Now, speaking specifically about MILES, I know there’s kind of two iterations.

Like there’s DreamMILES, CashMILES.

I always get confused about what exactly those mean.

What are they and how do they work?

Yeah, well, it is by far the number one complaint by collectors.

Why do you have these?

Okay, so we’re working…

We’re actually testing the ability to transfer MILES, so you’re not always locked in.

That’s great, because I feel like I have some MILES stuck in Dream Miles, and I don’t know what to do.

Yeah, so we’re actually doing a test, looking to roll that in some form later this year.

You know, there are different types of collectors, and I found this even when I was leading the Triangle Program at Canadian Tire.

There are the people who aspire and love to save.

They want that big thing, they want that free trip, they want a free coffee maker, something like that.

And then there’s those that just want a discount every time they shop.

And so really when you set this, cash is for the people who want that just quick discount.

And dream, as it’s described, is people who are aspirational and want something bigger.

And so that’s generally it.

There’s lots of flexibility in terms of setting which ones you want to collect.

As I say, we’re trying to simplify that.

We think it’s a little too complicated in today’s form.

But it is interesting when you look at the data and you actually talk to collectors, people do sit in pretty distinct camps when it comes to how they collect.

Yeah, I think I set it originally to Dream Miles, but then I realized I am more of that cash miles kind of person.

I like the instant discount.

I’m curious, since you have so much data probably at your fingertips, what do most Canadians prefer?

Is it the instant discount or is it the saving?

It’s pretty much split down the middle in terms of what people say.

We lean towards the dream side.

But I think, as you can imagine, given the economic headwinds that are up against us, consumers are seeking short-term value.

So we have seen a little more on the grocery gas side in the past year.

In fact, we had about 750 million miles redeemed in gas grocery in 2023.

So about $75 million of value that Canadians got from AIR MILES just for gas and grocery.

So we definitely see those trends shifting.

It was post-COVID travel started to come back.

So again, when you’ve got nearly 10 million people in a program, you do see all sorts of segments.

There are definitely people who are still using their miles to go on international vacations and big trips.


But in general, the average person has started to lock down on getting some value right out of the program.

That’s interesting.

Can you see the trends of people are redeeming more because of what’s going on in the economy compared to they’re saving more?

And what has been happening the past couple of years or even the past last year?

Well, redemption has gone up for us in two ways.

One, to your point, to try to get as much value.

People are looking at whatever account I have that I can extract value out of, I’m going to do so.

And because of the acquisition by BMO, we were in the headlines.

So people remembered, oh, I’m going to go check my AIR MILES account, see if I got anything in there.

So we saw a fair bit of that behavior.

And that’s gas grocery, that’s gift cards, e-vouchers, things that really can be used like cash in the short term.

Definitely seen that behavior increase.

And we love that.

I mean, we exist for consumers to get free stuff, like ultimately.

And so we saw a nice bounce back in our redemption over the past year.

But I will say, like, our travel business is pretty strong, too.

A fair amount of international still happening.

So there are, as you can imagine, with 10 million people in the program, there are diehards in this program who have lots of miles to redeem and have been saving up for many years to get that dream vacation.

I always wondered, too, because I historically have been a hoarder of cash and points.

And lately I’ve been realizing, why am I doing that?

Like, spend it, you know?

You only live once and also two, especially if we’ve seen just the cost of everything, inflation and interest rates being so high.

I realized, actually, I’m probably going to get more value if I spend this money, because I don’t know how expensive this thing will be.

I’m curious, like, is there a better strategy or just in your opinion?

I guess it depends on the person.

But does it make more sense if there’s a term and like there’s a credit card churning community on Reddit that sometimes I like to visit and see what they’re chatting about.

But it’s all about like the earning of points and burning of points.

Earn and burn is what they say.

And they say that’s kind of the best way instead of hoarding.

Because again, you’ll the points, you know, you’re not going to earn interest on those points.

And things become more expensive.

Yeah, I think the key is back to my earlier point, if you’re really if you want to put a little effort in, you can get a deal.

And what I mean by that is a lot of programs, including our own, have gone to very targeted offers.

It’s not everything that is mass.

And so mileage may vary by collector, but you have to look out for these things.

Because in some cases, the offer could be just for you.

And that’s not just on the earn side, that’s on the redeem side.

I can tell you, we run promotions all the time on the redeem side.

So you’re right, there’s general price inflation.

But if you look out for it and you check, that thing that you might have been having your eye on might have redeemed for it and actually get miles back.

Because we want people to get back into the cycle of not having a zero balance.

We never want to have a zero balance.

And so it’s not unlike when you’re trying to shop for a deal at your favorite retailer.

You check the deals, you wait for promotion, and so on and so forth.

So it’s very similar to how you might retail shop.

And some people are more willing to invest that effort.

And some people just want simple and just give me my miles and let me use my miles.

Speaking of promotions, what are some ways that people can find some of these deals?

Are there newsletters?

Are there forums?

Where can we find?

Because that’s the one thing, especially when it comes to travel, sometimes you see online, you’re like, hey, there’s a really good flight.

You’re like, shoot, I wish I knew about that sooner.


Well, as I said, the app is the home, right?

And you got to be open to getting notifications.

You got to be open to getting emails, right?

But you actually point out there’s lots of great forums out there, whether it’s Reddit, my favorite is Red Flag Deals.

I love reading customer feedback and those.

We learn a lot from that open, honest feedback, let’s say.

And so, yeah, you have to be open to having the communication, but it’s all there, right?

Every Friday, we push out new deals, you go on your app, it’s all there.

And so, some of it is you put the effort, some of it is word of mouth, and some of it is just doing your own research in other forums.

If you go on our website, we have a blog that outlines, I would say part education, right?

Because sometimes it’s hard to know what you’re getting, like, what is a mile?

Yeah, I was just going to ask, that was my next question, is like sometimes the math on these point programs are like, wait, is a thousand points a dollar?

Like, you know, because why is it like that?

So yeah, can you explain?

I know it’s, I guess it depends on what you’re redeeming it for, or how does it work?

What is the value of a mile?

Yeah, there’s, that’s exactly right.

It depends on what you’re redeeming for a value.

Like, if you’re, if you’re redeeming a mile for a gift card, it’s going to, it’s probably not going to get as much value as if you were redeeming it for a trip or something, right?

Right, so travel probably gets you the most value when we’re thinking dollars and miles.

Yeah, yeah, that would be a good way to think about it.

We are trying our best through communication to not just show what something’s worth before you go to take advantage of the offer, but replaying back to you why you earned something and when you earned it, right?

Because sometimes, I don’t know about you, I get in my app and listen, I lead AIR MILES, and I open the app and I see all these miles pop up, I’m like, how do I get those?

I have no idea how I got those.

So I go through the transaction, I’m like, oh yeah, that’s right.

And so just tell people, just keep them educated on, hey, did you know you got this value?

Because it accumulates fast, but I know the average Canadian doesn’t wake up every day thinking about us.


I’d be a bit obsessive.

Well, the one thing, and I talk about this all the time, I’ve always, and this was something I feel like I learned very young from my mom.

She always had AIR MILES.

She always put any kind of points program she was involved in because she’s like, this is free money.

And she would always be like, when you go to the grocery store or checkout anywhere, she’s like this person, and they’re like, oh, do you have this card?

And they’re like, oh, sorry, don’t.

They just missed out on something.

And so that’s for me is just like, it’s a no brainer.

It’s a free program.

It doesn’t cost you anything besides, I guess, a little time and attention.

But what would you say to people thinking that, I don’t know, like, is this really worth my effort?

Is it really worth it to participate?

Yeah, well, I would say, and this is probably different from loyalty programs when they first originated, where it was, you know, you didn’t have to do much to earn.

You just swipe your card and you got stuff.

I do think you need to be planful about it.

Say, what are my goals?

Where do I shop?

Does this program offer miles at the places I shop?

Yes or no?

Am I willing to change where I shop to get miles or not?

We know that you don’t shop a retailer just for loyalty program.

There’s lots of reasons why you do or don’t shop retail.

And so do we map on top of how you spend your money?

Yes or no?

And if we do, you stand to gain a lot of value with a little effort.

All the programs are asking for a little bit more effort, making it simple through digital, right?

As you said earlier, it just simplifies the experience a little bit as a trade-off.

And then watch it accumulate, right?

And get free stuff.

I mean, at the end of the day, these programs aren’t that complex.

It’s choosing the right one that fits your profile.


I mean, for me, my main grocery store is Metro.

So it makes a lot of sense for me to use AIR MILES because that is the program that they have.

And so it’s kind of a no-brainer.

But I’m also wondering because for me, having points and even credit cards that get you those certain points, that just makes sense to me in terms of thinking about your whole financial plan and toolkit, things that you can optimize basically.

I’m always about how can we make things simple but also optimize it so you can get a little bit more.

Now, for that, I guess, what would you say to people being like, how do I integrate this?

Is it really just about taking a good look at where am I shopping and why?

And what credit cards and programs am I using?

And am I actually getting the most bang for my buck?


Well, I think that’s where, if you want to really take the step change, and this is where you get into the conversation around tiers in a program, where you get into the conversation around, do I get the credit card associated with that program?

Because it’s step change in multiple in terms of the benefit you stand to gain.

We have tiers in our program.

We have a gold and an onX tier.

And that gets you extra benefits.

It gets you deals on redemption and merchandise and travel.

Likewise, with the BMO credit card, you’re going to earn more, you’re going to get accelerated earn, and you’re going to get other benefits.

And so you just have to stack that up against what you do and where you shop and other programs.

AIR MILES in particular, we feel we need to be more competitive.

And so we’re looking at redesigning and offering more back to collectors.

And that’s just table stakes at this point.

That’s just table stakes.

We really feel it’s the flexibility to earn wherever you shop and not have to just lock yourself down into one particular retailer all the time.

And the options you get on the redemption side.

Like you can pretty much redeem for it.

We have actually we have an interesting benefit with our ONIX program, where you can call our call center and redeem for anything.

They’ll actually facilitate the transaction for you.

So we’ve had over the last couple of years, people redeem for vehicles.

Yeah, that’s interesting.

So wait, you’re telling me I can buy a car with AIR MILES?

You absolutely can.

If you’re not, that’s interesting.

I don’t think I have enough air.

I was going to say, if you’ve got enough air miles for a car, there’s no doubt you’re an ONIX member and you’re going to get that.


But I mean, this is just a great reminder.

I tell everybody, especially at the beginning of the year, though, I know we’re entering kind of the second quarter soon, that so much of what we do with our money is on autopilot and we forget why we set it up that way, whether that’s our investments or the credit cards we use.

I talk to so many people and I’m like, why are you still using that credit card?

What do you get out of it?

They’re like, I don’t know.

I’ve just had it for 10 years.

And I’m like, that’s not a bad thing.

But have you thought about opening a different credit card that can get you better cash back, better rewards, whatever?

And it’s because just life gets busy.

We never think about doing that.

And it does take mental work.

You’re tired, you’re busy.

Believe me, opening up a new credit card, it should be simple, but sometimes it feels like a lot of work.

But I feel like, and on the other side of it too, besides doing a little audit, as I call it, I call everything an audit.

I’ll be like, we need to audit our fridge.

Josh is like, my husband is like, you need to stop using that term.

A little review of what’s going on.

But another thing too is we accumulate our, you know, AIR MILES, whatever points in these programs, sometimes on autopilot automatically, and we forget how much we accumulate.

I think that should be another part of your kind of check in with yourself, whether at the beginning of the year, every quarter, every, you know, six months.

How much points do I have and what are they for?

Because you don’t want to necessarily just leave them there.

And, you know, I have another question that popped to mind, but I’ll say that after.

But you know, that is one of those things.

You eventually need to use them.

Like, even if you were a hoarder, like I have been in the past, at some point you do need to use them.

Otherwise, it is not valuable.

Well, and conversely, from, you know, the program perspective, we want you to see value out of the program.

And so I think I like the discipline around checking in with yourself.

But likewise for us, reminding people, you know, hey, like you’ve got, did you know you have enough now to get that thing you were saving up for?


And why are you waiting?

Well, that’s right, because we see when people get the thing they want, or they get something for free, they get re-engaged to the program.

And so we’re constantly and I’d say this is maybe different than AIR MILES of past.

I think AIR MILES of past wasn’t as actively getting people to redeem.

Whereas today, I mean, I’ve lived in many loyalty programs where that’s the moment.

That’s the crucial moment where you get that.

Oh, wow, this is cool.


I got something that I need.

And then you want to continue participating.

So yeah, so yeah, the question that popped into my head, just thinking about there is a monetary value to these rewards, but only if you use them.

I remember having conversation with people and seeing conversations like this online.

What happens to your points if you die unexpectedly?

Like that is like kind of money in a checking account that no one can open.

Is there something that you can do to set it up to give it to some of your dependents?

Yeah, we, in fact, our call center deals with a number of unfortunate circumstances like that.

And yeah, there’s often transfers that are done as part of wills to family accounts.

So it’s an asset, right?


It’s an asset in separations.

It’s an asset.

If someone passes away, it’s an asset, and it’s value, and it’s split according to any kind of investment vehicle or cash you have.

So yeah, we do help.

There’s not like an easy function on our website where you can go transfer miles.

That’s fraught with fraud in some cases.

Yeah, that’s true.

You got to be careful with that.

Yeah, I got to be a little careful, but yeah, no, our call center can take care of those requests.

But yeah, just a thing to remind you, I’ve just been having lots of conversations about estate planning lately.

Me and my husband’s parents are getting older.

It’s like having those conversations with your parents to be like, because again, it’s an asset.

Do you have points?

Where is the information I can find?

Because then, you know, no one’s getting anything, and they could have been hoarding them for decades and never use them because they’re waiting to get something big.

So making a little note about that, finding out if that’s the case and where the information is so you can make that call if something happens.

I’m going to write that note for myself.

That’s a great one.

Yeah, that’s a great one.

Yeah, absolutely.

So there’s obviously so many different programs.

You mentioned when AIR MILES came on scene in the 90s.

Oh my gosh, the 90s.

Doesn’t the 90s feel like, oh, that was only 20 years ago?

And then you’re like, no, it was longer.

I feel that way about three years ago.

I hate that.

You’re like, oh, yeah, 20 years ago.

No, it was long.

But, you know, it was one of the first ones.

Now there’s kind of too many almost competing for your attention and your dollars.

Why should people consider MILES when there’s so many others on the market?

Well, it’s back to being open and flexible.

We have 300 plus brands, so it’s very likely, whether it’s a big brand like Sephora or it’s your dentist, like we talked about earlier, there are ways for you to earn MILES.

And I suspect we’re going to have more places for you to earn than any other program.

And so, making it easy to join, it’s very easy to join.

Download our app, see what offers there are, and map that against where you shop.

Yeah, when could people maybe expect to see or hear about some of these new innovations or new partners in the program?

Yeah, so we’re always adding new partners, and so through our email communication, whenever we add a partner to the platform, we’ll communicate it there.

Our recent launch of AIR MILES Receipts, which we talked about earlier, our new travel platform, which actually allows you to earn more when you book travel.

It allows you to actually pay with points and cash.

Ooh, yeah, that’s good.

So, like, if you just don’t have the right amount of miles to get there, you can kind of cover off with credit card purchase.

So we’re seeing more bookings come that way.

And I will say in the next few months, you’re going to continue to see, I mean, we’re on this path of churning out new stuff like every month.

In the two years I’ve been here, it’s about go, go, go and putting new value, new features out.

And so stay tuned.

In the next few months, you’re going to see some great things.

Well, Shawn, it was such a pleasure having you on the show.

And I feel like I learned a lot.

There’s definitely a few things that I want to do differently with my AIR MILES, connect some things to the app.

And honestly, I don’t know if I’ve done that postal code thing.

That sounds radical that I’ve never tried that.

So I’m going to try that right after this call.

So where can people find more information?

You mentioned a few things, but just to remind them and where can they get the app, all that kind of stuff.

Yep, and the app store on your favorite device will be there.



Well, thank you so much, Shawn, for taking the time to be on the show.

And that was episode 393 of the More Money Podcast with Shawn Stewart, president of AIR MILES.

Make sure to check out AIR MILES, learn a little bit more about what is going on there.

And if you don’t already have an account or are collecting AIR MILES, why not?

Start doing it right now.

It is a completely free program.

There’s nothing.

It does not cost you anything.

There’s only things that you’re going to get if you participate.

So you can find more information at

I also highly recommend that you download the app, because, I mean, most of us are on our mobile devices.

And, you know, for me, for example, one thing that I found very effective, instead of having the cards in your wallet or forgetting your wallet, is having it in your Apple Wallet or whatever kind of digital wallet that you have on your smartphone.

Just makes it easier to, you know, be like, oh, shoot, I forgot my wallet.

Oh, wait, I have my phone.

Just some tips, just some tips.

And if you want to find out a little bit more about what we talked about in this episode, and also watch it if you haven’t, you know, if maybe you want to check it out again, watch it again, listen to it again, just go to the show notes,

That is where you can find it.

And since I mentioned the show notes, if you’re ever looking for the show notes for any episode in the past, in the future, you can easily find it by going to either, or the number of that episode is.

Very easy to find on my website.

Now, a few things I just want to remind you of or share.

So number one, I’m doing a big book giveaway as I always do.

And so if you want to check that out, check some of the books I’m currently giving away, and I will be adding more throughout this podcast season, just go to, and you can easily enter to win any of those books, all of those books, whatever you want to do,

Also too, speaking of my website, a couple of things if you are new to the podcast or just need a little reminder of what’s going on, I do have a bunch of budget spreadsheets.

If you’re looking for a way to organize your money, check out my downloadable budget spreadsheets on my website

And if you want to learn more about investing for Canadians, specifically passive investing, check out my Wealth Building Blueprint for Canadians course.

It is over three years old now.

Hey, happy birthday, investing course.

And you can find more information about it at

Look at some student testimonials.

Check out the breakdown of what’s in the course.

And if you’re interested to learn even more, all you have to do is apply, and then you get to have a phone call, a one-on-one with me.

It is a special kind of onboarding process that I do for my course to make sure, A, this is a good fit for you, and B, you get any of your questions asked and you’re heard.

You can talk to me one-on-one.

This is something that I probably won’t always offer.

And so, if you want to learn more about how to get started with investing, and you want to speak to me about it one-on-one, you should do it right now,

Well, that is really it for me.

So thank you so much for listening to this episode.

If you want a little teaser, who is going to be on the show next week?

I have another Jessica on the show.

I love having other Jessicas on the show.

It doesn’t happen often, but it also kind of weirds me out because that’s my name.

That’s my name.

But I have Jessica Spangler on the show.

She’s the author of Invest Like a Girl.

And we’re going to obviously talk about investing with, you know, within the lens of being a woman and all the things and her rise from being.

She has a PhD, I believe, in pharmacy.

And now she’s like writing this book on investing.

I need to know that journey.

I need to know what happened.

So that is going to be what is on the show next week.

So thank you so much again for listening and supporting this podcast.

And of course, a big thank you always to my podcast team, video edit by Justice Carrar and produced by

Thanks so much.

Have a great rest of your week.

And I will see you back here next Wednesday for a fresh new episode of the More Money Podcast.

Disclosure: Nothing on my website or affiliated channels should be considered advice or an endorsement, and some content may include affiliate links in which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Please read my disclaimer to learn more.

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