Cash Miles vs Dream Miles: Comparing Rewards Programs for Optimal Benefits

The main difference between Cash Miles and Dream Miles is that Cash Miles can be used instantly online or in-store to pay for things like groceries and gas, whereas Dream Miles can be redeemed for products, travel, activities, and more.

Ultimately, whether you choose Cash Miles or Dream Miles depends on your personal preferences, spending habits, and travel goals.

What Are Cash Miles?

Cash Miles are a type of reward offered by Air Miles.

These miles can be earned by making purchases with participating partners and can be used to pay for a variety of goods and services. 

Cash Miles work as a form of currency, allowing you to redeem them for discounts or even cover the full cost of eligible purchases.

They offer flexibility and convenience, as they can be used for everyday expenses like groceries, gas, or even flights and accommodations.

Where Can Cash Miles Be Redeemed?

You can redeem Cash Miles for instant in-store or online cash rebates at participating Air Miles partners.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of places where you can redeem your Cash Miles:

Grocery Stores: Redeem Cash Miles for groceries at participating stores like Metro, Safeway, Sobeys, and Foodland.

Gas Stations: Some gas station chains, such as Shell and Esso, allow Cash Miles to be redeemed for fuel or in-store purchases.

Retailers: Lululemon, Foot Locker, H&M, and The Source accept Cash Miles for purchases.

Restaurants: Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s offer discounts on meals using Cash Miles.

Travel and Subscriptions: Redeem Cash Miles on participating platforms like UberEats, Spotify, and Via Rail Canada. 

What Are Dream Miles?

Dream Miles are a type of reward currency offered by Air Miles’ loyalty program.

Members can redeem Dream Miles for flights, hotel stays, merchandise, and gift cards.

Unlike Cash Miles, Dream Miles are meant to be collected and then redeemed over time, often for travel-related rewards and other great products. 

Where Can Dream Miles Be Redeemed?

Dream Miles can be redeemed in a variety of ways, including for flights, hotels, vacation packages, car rentals, and cruises.

You can also use them to purchase merchandise from partner retailers, which offer a wide range of products including electronics, home goods, and fashion. 

You can redeem your Dream Miles for a movie night, day passes at a water park or zoo, or for an annual pass at a golf club.

You even have the option to make charitable donations to partner organizations like Kids Help Phone and Food Banks Canada using your Dream Miles.

Comparison Between Cash Miles and Dream Miles

Redemption Options

When it comes to redeeming your miles, Cash Miles and Dream Miles both offer choices for different preferences and needs.

1. Cash Miles

Regardless of whether you redeem your points in person or online, the exchange value is fixed.

For every 95 Cash Miles, you can redeem $10. 

2. Dream Miles

Unlike Cash Miles, Dream Miles don’t have a fixed exchange value.

They vary based on things like dates, destination, and which airline you’re flying with.

You can use the Air Miles flight search tool to see the best deals you can get with the points you have.

Transfering Your Points To Someone Else

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to transfer your points to another account.

Whether it’s a gift or you want to accumulate points together to redeem a bigger reward, you have options.

Both Cash Miles and Dream Miles can be transferred to another person’s account.

However, Cash Miles can only be transferred to another Cash Miles account, and Dream Miles can only be transferred to another Dream Miles account.

Here are your options when it comes to transferring your points:

Gift Your Miles To Someone Else Fee of $0.15 per mile
Merge Accounts (Same Household) No fee
Merge Accounts (Separate Households) Fee of $0.15 per mile

You can initiate the transfer by calling Air Miles Customer Care at 1-888-247-6453.

Expiration Policies

As long as you stay active and continue to earn and redeem your Air Miles, your Cash Miles and Dream Miles will not expire.

iHowever, if your account is inactive for 24 months, meaning there is no activity on the account whatsoever, your points will expire.

Looking out airpot window while waiting for flight

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the main differences between Cash Miles and Dream Miles?
  • Which type of miles is better for maximizing the dollar value?
  • In general, Dream Miles are better for maximizing the dollar value of your points. However, it’s important to check the market price of what you want to redeem, since the value of your miles can vary depending on the destination, dates, and airline.

  • Do Dream Miles have any restrictions?
  • Yes, Dream Miles for travel have blackout dates and travel restrictions. It is important to plan accordingly.

  • Are there any advantages to using Cash Miles?
  • Cash Miles are simpler to use, have no expiration, and are perfect for those on a budget or saving towards a specific goal. They can be used just like cash at participating retailers.

  • Can I earn both Cash Miles and Dream Miles at the same time?
  • You can earn both types by setting the Balance Preference, for example 40% Cash Miles and 60% Dream Miles of each purchase. You however cannot earn 100% Cash Miles and 100% Dream Miles on a purchase.

  • Can I convert Dream Miles to Cash Miles or vice versa?
  • No, Dream Miles cannot be converted to Cash Miles and vice versa. Each type of mile has its own redemption processes and limitations.

Tara Al-Khudairi

Tara Al-Khudairihas worked in the financial services industry since 2017. She graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Finance and is pursuing her CFA.

She has worked at a major Canadian financial institution in various client-facing advisory roles, starting as a bank teller and working up to a Client Services Associate within the Asset Management division. She specializes in simplifying concepts of personal finance for people of various financial backgrounds.

When she’s not examining the markets looking for the next SHOP.TO, she’s either practicing yoga, planning her next vacation, or has her nose buried deep in a book.