AIR MILES Onyx is the highest status tier available to AIR MILES collectors in Canada. Onyx members get discounts of up to 40% on AIR MILES flights, plus greater access to flights and rewards, but just achieving Onyx status requires spending hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars every single year.
If you aren’t tied to the AIR MILES program and are just looking for a quick way to upgrade your travel game, we strongly recommend the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card, which offers an incredible 50,000 points welcome bonus, excellent travel insurance, and a free 5-star hotel night every year, which is worth more than the $120 annual fee on its own.
Everyone wants to be a VIP wherever they go, and achieving high elite status levels in loyalty programs is one way to do it. See what it means to be at the top of the AIR MILES Rewards program with the AIR MILES Onyx status.
In this post you’ll find:
#1 What Is AIR MILES Onyx?
Simply put, AIR MILES Onyx is the highest possible elite status in the AIR MILES Rewards program. It brings in the best benefits that AIR MILES Rewards has to offer, including great travel and shopping perks, as well as access to unforgettable events. It took AIR MILES a while to follow in the footsteps of other loyalty programs like Aeroplan who were already offering several levels of rewards by 2014. But in the end, everything fell into place and the Onyx Status was born.
AIR MILES Onyx Benefits: A Quick Take
To give you a spoiler of what it means to be an AIR MILES Onyx collectors, here are all the perks that come with it:
|Travel Benefits|| • Access to more flights and better seats |
• Up to 40% less miles on select flight redemptions
• 10% discount on accompanying partner ticket paid in cash
• Special prices on some vacations packages and cruises
|Shopping Benefits|| • Discounts of up to 20% on all merchandise rewards|
• Personal Shopper service to help you purchase anything outside the catalogue (Like a shopping concierge) at no extra cost
• Buy anything you want with your Dream miles at the Cash miles exchange rate of 9,500 miles per every $1,000 ($0.105/mile)
|Customer Service Benefits||Special dedicated service line for priority at the AIR MILES Call Center|
|Other Perks|| • Get invited to special Onyx-only events|
• Access to contests for entertainment tickets as well as the chance to meet & greet your favourite artists
• Monthly giveaways, contests and movie tickets
But before we go too deep into the details behind each of these benefits, let’s review the different AIR MILES statuses so that you can get a good grip on what’s so special about Onyx.
#2 Elite Status Levels In The AIR MILES Program
All loyalty programs offer different levels of rewards and redemptions depending on how “loyal” you are to the brand. In other words, the more you purchase and spend within the program and earn points (in this case AIR MILES), the more benefits you’ll receive for your spending. In this sense, the AIR MILES Rewards program is no different from other loyalty programs, and it offers three different rewards levels or statuses, depending on the number of miles you earn each calendar year (January 1st through December 31st):
- Blue Status (from 0 to 999 annual miles)
- Gold Status (from 1,000 to 5,999 annual miles)
- Onyx Status (6,000 annual miles or more)
#3 AIR MILES Blue, Gold & Onyx Status
That’s the key question! It’s not about how cool the name is; it’s what it means to be in each level. Check out the following table and compare all the perks and benefits you get with each status in the AIR MILES Rewards Program. The last column is where you want to aim at, since the Onyx status has it all.
|Flights, merchandise and events||Standard||Prime||Premium|
|AIR MILES Perks||✔||✔||✔|
|AIR MILES Stage Pass||✔||✔||✔|
|Discounts on Flights||Up to 30% off||Up to 40% off|
|Discounts on merchandise rewards||Up to 10% off||Up to 20% off|
|Personal Shopper Service||✔|
Blue Status is the basic collector status, and you get it just for signing up to the AIR MILES program and getting your Collector’s Card. In short, being Blue doesn’t mean much, and it’s not an elite status. To go elite, you need to spend and earn miles. While you’re Blue, you get access to the standard flights, merchandise, and events redemptions, with the possibility to earn and redeem either Dream Miles or Cash Miles. AIR MILES Perks and Stage Pass give all collectors, including Blue collectors, access to special offers, discounts, redemptions and passes to popular events.
You’ll remain a Blue collector every year you earn less than 1,000 miles.
If you reach 1,000 or more miles, but less than 6,000 miles during the calendar year, AIR MILES will upgrade you to Gold status gold. Gold collectors immediately gain access to more flights with better schedules, and they can access better merchandise and events that aren’t available to Blue collectors. They still have access to all the perks of Blue, of course, but they also get these Prime AIR MILES benefits, which can be quite valuable.
The most valuable Gold Status benefit is, without a doubt, the discounts of up to 30% on flights. This can really add up to big savings, and the 10% discounts on some consumer products and merchandise doesn’t hurt, either.
#4 AIR MILES Onyx Benefits
Now that we’re clear on all the things that the Blue and Gold statuses include, we finally got to where you want to be: The Onyx Status.
We already gave you a heads up on the pros that come with this tier, but here well review the top benefits and show you what they’ll be worth to you as an Onyx collector:
Travel Benefits Of The AIR MILES Onyx Status
Even though the AIR MILES program has been known to be a bit weak in the travel department, the upgrades that come with the Onyx AIR MILES status really make a difference:
Even though the AIR MILES program has been known to be a bit weak in the travel department, the upgrades that come with the Onyx AIR MILES status really make a difference:
Premium Flight Rewards
In terms of flights, Premium means that you gain
- Access to more and better flights
- Access to more seats
- Better schedule flexibility
This can really help take the edge off finding available seats on the flight you want to book, which is something some blue and even gold collectors have been known to complain about.
Discount Of Up To 40% On Select Flight Redemptions
Compared to Gold Collectors, AIR MILES Onyx collectors enjoy an additional 10% in discounts on select flight rewards. This makes savings go up to 40%. This is a really valuable benefit, as it could increase your miles value by 67%, as long as you can find a flight to use it on.
10% Discount On Companion Ticket Paid In Cash
This is a benefit that is also available for Gold collectors, but it’s still well worth mentioning here. Whenever you book a flight reward with your dream miles, you can buy a second ticket for a companion in cash, and you’ll get a 10% discount.
Shopping Benefits Of The Onyx AIR MILES Status
Shopping and merchandise rewards is what the AIR MILES program is most famous for, but the Onyx status takes this to another level.
With these shopping benefits, you’ll not only get more value from your miles, but you’ll also give your dream miles the ultimate flexibility.
Premium Merchandise Rewards
As with the premium flight rewards, premium merchandise means that you’ll get access to all of the products and merchandise availabe in the AIR MILES catalogue.
Discounts Of Up To 20% On All Merchandise Rewards
The discount that comes with the AIR MILES Onyx status in the merchandise rewards category isn’t as great as the one on flight redemptions, but it’s still a great way to stretch your miles even longer. Additionally, there’s also the fact that these discounts are a lot easier to find than the select discounted flights, so in the end this benefit could offer more value.
By reducing the amount of miles you need by 20%, you’ll effectively increase your dream miles’ value by 25% (I’ll explain below)
Personal Shopper Service
The Personal Shopper Service is almost like having a concierge but only for shopping, so let’s call it a “Shopping Concierge”. The personal shopper service basically puts an entire team at your disposal to look for and shop for any item you might possibly want,
not just the ones in the AIR MILES catalog!
You can buy literally anything you want, from a brand new iPhone to a Mercedes, all straight out of your dream miles balance, without paying a single cent.
A Benefit With No Fineprint
You’re probably thinking “There’s gotta be a catch somewhere!” but there isn’t:
- Hidden fees? Not a single one. The service is completely free of charge to Onyx collectors. AIR MILES doesn’t just give you access to the service, they literally give it to you. All you have to do is call, request your product and the gears will get into motion.
- Lower value for your miles? Not even that! You can buy anything you want with your Dream Miles at the regular Cash Miles exchange rate of 9,500 miles per every $1,000 ($0.105/mile).
If you think about it, in a way, this benefit is almost like having the ability to transfer dream miles to the cash balance, and additionally dropping the $750 cap per transaction. It actually lets you save all your miles in your dream balance but without losing the ability to use them as cash miles for merchandise purchases.
Additional AIR MILES Onyx Perks
First-Class Customer Service
Onyx collectors get an independent priority customer service line so they don’t have to wait for a service rep to become available. Instead of calling the regular AIR MILES phone number, Onyx collectors call 1-844-399-ONYX (6699) and receive priority service.
This is something good to have in case you need any help, especially considering that AIR MILES has tens of thousands of members all across Canada, which can sometimes saturate the regular customer service line.
Access To Exclusive Onyx Events And Attractions
Great once-in-a-lifetime experiences can be hard to find and plan out, but AIR MILES takes care of its Onyx collectors by pampering them with things like
- Exclusive wine tastings
- Exclusive meet & greets with celebrities like famous chefs and artists
- Fine dining experiences, and more.
To top it off, you also get discounts of up to 20% in spa and golfing experiences (see the full list here)
#5 With AIR MILES Onyx Status, You Can Boost your Dream Mile’s Value By 25% To 67%
Remember that by being an Onyx collector you can get select flights for 40% fewer miles and select merchandise for 20% less. Here I’ll show you that this benefit translates into an increase of 25% to 67% in the value of each mile.
A Hypothetical Case Study: A 40% Discounted Flight
Suppose you find a flight that normally costs $1,000, but it’s offered in AIR MILES for 12,500 Dream miles. That would give you a value of $1,000 / 12,500 miles = $0.08 per mile, or 8 cents.
Now suppose that you’re an Onyx Collector ant that the said ticket is eligible for a 40% discount. This means that it’ll cost only 7,500 miles. However, the value of the ticket is the same $1,000, because it’s the exact same flight. Now, your miles are worth more, because you’re getting the same value for less miles. In fact each mile will be worth, in this hypothetical case, $1,000 / 7,500 miles = $0.1333 per mile, or 13.33 cents.
THAT’S 67% MORE THAN THE ORIGINAL 8 CENTS PER MILE VALUATION!
Have a go and do your own numbers, it’ll be the same every time, no matter how much value the flight you choose will originally give your miles:
- If it’s an average deal that gives blue collectors 10 cents per mile, being Onyx will get you 16.67 cents per mile.
- If the reward flight gives regular members 12 cents per mile, with your Onyx Status, you’ll get 20 cents per mile!
By the same logic, if a $100 product is worth 1,000 miles (at a valuation of 10 cents per mile), the AIR MILES Onyx 20% discount will let you have it at 800 miles, giving you a value of 12.5 cents per mile.have to pay for select merchandise will increase your miles value by almost 25%.
That’s an increase of 25%!
#6 How Do I Reach Onyx Status?
As I mentioned above, to reach each status you need to earn a minimum amount of miles. To learn how, let’s first take a closer look at the AIR MILES program.
A Different Sort Of Loyalty Program
The AIR MILES Rewards program has some differences and similarities with other loyalty programs like Aeroplan, Membership Rewards and the Marriott BonvoyTM program. The most important differences reside in the way earning rates are expressed and in the way you store and redeem the AIR MILES you earn, but there are other more subtle differences as well.
The first difference with other popular programs, is that AIR MILES is an independent loyalty program, in the sense that it’s not tied to a particular brand or merchant, like Aeroplan, which is tied to Air Canada for example. AIR MILES is owned and run by LoyaltyOne Inc., a company that provides loyalty solutions to other companies in a B2B (business-to-business) model. It’s actually the partner companies who offer you reward miles through LoyaltyOne Inc., for your purchases. This basically translates into three things:
- Each partner merchant has its own rewarding scheme, depending on the terms agreed with LoyaltyOne.
- There are literally hundreds to thousands of merchants in Canada where you can shop and earn AIR MILES Rewards miles.
- There are also hundreds of different ways to redeem your points.
AIR MILES members are called Collectors, and when you sign up, you receive an AIR MILES Collector’s Card, reminiscent of the Aeroplan Card you get when you join that loyalty program. Just like in the latter case, you show this card at eligible merchants to earn points on purchases, and you use this card to pay for eligible purchases with your miles.
A Different Way To Express Earning Rates
Earning rates in the AIR MILES Rewards program are expressed a bit differently from other programs. Instead of miles per every $1, they are expressed as the amount you have to spend on purchases to earn each mile.
To compare earning rates when expressed like this, you have to consider that the lower the number, the better the earning rate, because you need to spend less to earn each mile. If the amount of dollars is four times greater, the earning rate is four times lower.
Let me show you what I mean with the following example of a $140 purchase at different typical earning rates:
|Earning Rate||Total Purchase||Miles Earned|
|$35 per 1 mile||$140||$140 x 1mile / $35 = 4 miles|
|$20 per 1 mile||$140||$140 x 1mile / $20 = 7 miles|
|$15 per 1 mile||$140||$140 x 1mile / $15 = 9.33 miles|
|$10 per 1 mile||$140||$140 x 1mile / $10 = 14 miles|
|$5 per 1 mile||$140||$140 x 1mile / $5 = 28 miles|
Comparing the first and last earning rates will clearly show what I just said: $5 per mile is seven times lower than $35, but you earn 28 miles on a $140 purchase, which is seven times greater than 4 miles.
This has some other setbacks apart from this unintuitive way to interpret the earning rate. The biggest problem is that you can’t add these earning rates when you earn more than one rate on the same purchase(something you can actually do with an Amex AIR MILES Credit Card), but we’ll get back to that further down the post.
Many Ways To Earn AIR MILES
AIR MILES provides plenty of ways for you to earn miles and become an Onyx AIR MILES Collector. As a loyalty program, the first one is obvious: shopping at partner brands. However, the list doesn’t stop there, and you’ll see that the AIR MILES program has a lot more to offer. Pair it with one of American Express’ AIR MILES credit cards, like the AIR MILES Platinum and the AIR MILES Reserve, and you’ll multiply your options and increase your rewards.
Shopping at Partner Brands
As stated above, you can buy at any of AIR MILES Rewards’ partners or sponsors and receive points for your purchases. This includes both in-store and online purchases. To earn your miles, all you have to do is present your collector’s card to the cashier or at check-out, and you’re set.
Check out the FAQs section at the end of this post where you’ll find a complete list of all the AIR MILES Sponsors, along with their respective miles earning rate offers.
Double Dipping: Earn Miles Twice With An American Express AIR MILES Credit Card
This is a great way to boost earnings and it’s as simple as paying with your card at AIR MILES Sponsors. If you show your collectors card, you’ll earn miles thanks to the AIR MILES program, and if you pay with your Amex AIR MILES Card, you’ll earn additional miles, courtesy of Amex.
Earn Miles On ANY Purchase With An American Express AIR MILES Credit Card
With any one of American Express’ different AIR MILES credit cards (like the AIR MILES Platinum, Business Platinum, Business and the Reserve), you’ll earn miles on any purchase, not just on sponsors. There’s always a preferential rate for buying at AIR MILES sponsors and other eligible purchases, and a lower rate for all other purchases.
However, the bottom line is simple enough: every time you use your card, you’ll earn miles!
Special Rewards: Booking Hotel Stays Through AIR MILES Travel Hub
As a special offer, if you book and pay for hotels through AIR MILES’ online travel booking system, Travel Hub, you could earn as much as 1,000 AIR MILES per night, depending on the property. Additionally, if you book any hotel before the end of 2019, you’ll also receive an extra 75 miles bonus.
With this method, you could get some seriously high earning rates. If you book a room at the Boston Park Plaza, for example, paying the $190 would get you, at the normal rate of $5 to a mile: $190 x 1mile/$5 = 38 miles.
However, if you book through Travel Hub, you’ll receive 440 AIR MILES per night.
That’s over ten times what you would get, just for booking through their travel service!
Buying AIR MILES Rewards Miles
Picture this scenario:
It’s December 30th and you check your annual miles earnings and see that you’re only short by 100 miles to reach AIR MILES Onyx status (in other words, you’re at 5,900 miles). You’re so close, and you don’t have too many options, given how little time you have. What are your options?
- Make a purchase to earn the extra miles
- Get those extra miles somehow, or
- Forget about Onyx for another year
Of course, nobody wants to have to choose the third option, but the first one implies making a $2,000 purchase at the average $20 per mile rate. You spent so much on Christmas already that putting forth an extra 2K for a random purchase seems unreasonable.
You can buy your miles, but they’re not cheap! You pay 30 cents per mile, which is quite a bit more than what those miles will be worth to you in the end, so it’s something to keep as a last resort. However, in the present circumstances, spending $30 to get the extra miles so that you can enjoy all the benefits Onyx offers for an entire year seems more than reasonable.
#7 How Much Would I Need To Spend On Purchases To Reach Onyx Status?
Climbing up the status ladder in the AIR MILES Rewards program isn’t easy, especially if you have to do it by yourself, without the help of an Amex AIR MILES credit card.
To compare, I’ll summarize all the amounts you would normally have to spend to reach each level at both the best and the average earning rates the AIR MILES program offers, which are $5 and $20 per mile respectively. I’ll also include the amounts you would need if you had an Amex AIR MILES Platinum or Reserve card in hand, assuming you pay for everything with your card at the Amex rate of $10 per mile.
|AIR MILES STATUS (needed miles)||AIR MILES Average Earning Rate ($20/mile)||AIR MILES Best Earning Rate ($5/mile)||Amex AIR MILES Platinum ($10/mile) + Average Earning Rate ($20/mile)||Amex AIR MILES Reserve ($10/mile) + Average Earning Rate ($20/mile)|
|Blue Status (0 miles)||$0 in purchases (you get it just for joining AIR MILES)||$0 in purchases (you get it just for joining AIR MILES)||$0 in purchases (you get it just for joining AIR MILES)||$0 in purchases (you get it just for joining AIR MILES)|
|Gold Status (1,000 + miles)||$20,000 annually (almost $1,700/month)||$5,000 annually ($417/month)||$6,667 annually ($556/month)||$0 in purchases (you get it automatically with the Reserve)|
|ONYX STATUS (6,000 + miles||$120,000 annually ($10,000/month)||$30,000 annually ($2,500/month)||$40,000 annually ($3,333/month)||$0 in purchases (you get it automatically with the Reserve)|
Breaking Down The Numbers
As you can see in the previous table, at the average earning rate for AIR MILES collectors, which is 1 mile for every $20 in purchases, you would need to spend $120,000 on purchases at AIR MILES Sponsors in the course of one year! This worst-case scenario amounts to $10,000 every month! Not all Canadians have the wallet or the stomach for that kind of spending!
You can do a lot better if you decide to earn all your points on InterContinental Hotel Group properties, which offer the best earning rate of any AIR MILES sponsor, but you’d still have to spend $30,000 a year. That’s like staying at a luxury resort for a whole month! It’s a bit unrealistic.
Luckily, Amex AIR MILES Credit Cards can really help!
Just by signing up to the Amex AIR MILES Platinum, which has the same earning rate as the Reserve, things start looking a little easier. You need $40,000 in purchases at AIR MILES sponsors in order to earn miles twice, but it’s a lot more doable because you’re not limited to hotel stays at a single hotel chain. That’s three times faster just for being a Platinum AIR MILES Cardholder.
#8 Automatic Onyx Status With The Amex AIR MILES Reserve Card
The AIR MILES Platinum helps a lot, like you just saw, but who wants to spend $40,000 to get to the AIR MILES Onyx status, when you can get it automatically just by signing up to the Amex AIR MILES Reserve! What’s more, you won’t have to wait until the next calendar year to enjoy your benefits. You start off in the AIR MILES Rewards program like a pro – right at the top of the chain, ready to get the most out of every mile!
Add in a 2,400 miles welcome bonus, an annual partner flight ticket worth another 1,700 miles, worldwide airport lounge access and comprehensive travel insurance, and the $299 annual fee will look like a joke.
What is the earning rate on AIR MILES sponsors?
There are many AIR MILES sponsors or partners, and each has its own rewarding scheme. In the following tables you’ll find the full list of all in-store and online partners along with their respective earning rates:
| • Ace ($20 per mile) |
• ADI ($50 per mile)
• Alamo Rent-A-Car (5 miles per day of rental)
• Auto Plus UniSelect
• Best Western (20 miles per stay)
• Budget Car & Truck Rental ($15 per mile)
• Cedarlane Laboratories ($25 per mile)
• Co-op Atlantic ($30 per mile)
• Co-op Country Store ($30 per mile)
• Craftsman Collision ($15 per mile)
• FOODLAND ATLANTIC ($20 per mile)
• Fountain Tire ($20 per mile)
• Gerrie Electric ($30 per mile)
• Gescan ($30 per mile)
• Global Pet Foods ($20 per mile)
• Goodyear ($20 per mile)
• HearingLife Canada (N/A)
• Hudson’s Bay Rewards (N/A)
| • IGA (Excludes Quebec Stores) ($20 per mile) |
• IGA Express ($10 per mile)
• Intercontinental Hotel Groups (IHG)
o InterContinental Hotels and Resorts ($5 per mile)
o Crowne Plaza ($5 per mile)
o Hotel Indigo ($5 per mile)
o Holiday Inn ($5 per mile)
o Holiday Inn Express ($5 per mile)
o Staybridge Suites ($5 per mile)
o Candlewood Suites Hotel ($5 per mile)
• Irving Oil (1 mile per 20L)
• Jean Coutu ($15 per mile)
• Jiffy Lube ($20 per mile)
• Johnsons Insurance ($20 per mile)
• Kent (N/A)
• Lawtons Drugs ($20 per mile)
• LCBO ($30 per mile)
• Les Marchés Tradition ($20 per mile)
• Lowes ($20 per mile)
• Lumen ($30 per mile)
• Lumino Health (100 bonus miles)
• Macdonalds Consolidated (N/A)
| • Manitoba Liquor Marts ($30 per mile) |
• Manulife (N/A, earn miles for your Quote)
• Metrobus (N/A)
• Metro ($20 per mile)
• National Car Rental (10 to 40 miles per day of rental)
• Needs (N/A)
• Nettoyeurs Daoust ($10 per mile)
• NLC Liquor Stores ($25 per mile)
• NSLC (N/A)
• OSSO Electrical ($30 per mile)
• Pharmasave ($10 per mile)
• Primus ($15 per mile)
• Rachelle-Béry ($20 per mile)
• Reno Depot ($20 per mile)
• Rexall ($20 per mile)
• RONA (Excludes ACE) ($20 per mile)
• RSA ($20 per mile)
• Safeway Grocery ($20 per mile)
• Safeway Liquor ($20 per mile)
• Safeway Pharmacy (7 miles for $20, conditions apply)
• SaskEnergy ($20 per mile)
• Shell AVIATION ($25 per mile)
| • Shell Bulk Fuel (1 mile per 100L) |
• Shell Residential Heating Oil ($30 per mile, or 1 mile per 30L of oil)
• Shell Retail ($10 in-store purchase per mile, or 1 mile per 15L of fuel)
• Sobeys Atlantic ($20 per mile)
• Sobeys Ontario ($20 per mile)
• Sobeys Urban Fresh ($20 per mile)
• Staples Canada ($40 per mile)
• Thrifty Foods ($20 per mile)
• Thrifty Foods Liquor ($20 per mile)
• TIMBER Mart ($15 per mile)
• United Van Lines ($30 per mile)
When comparing the different earning rates in the tables, it’s clear that you’ll get the best deals with hotel stays and purchases. The absolute best earning rate is 1 mile for every $5 at any of the Intercontinental Hotels Group properties. The worst-case scenario would be ADI, where you’ll need to spend $50 to earn a single mile. The average earning rate for this category is very close to 1 mile for every $20 in purchases. In the case of online stores and retailers, most offer a rate of $20 in purchases for every mile, but a few offer each mile for $35.
Are there special rewards to earn miles?
Yes, there are. One is booking hotels through AIR MILES’ online travel booking system, Travel Hub, you could earn as much as 1,000 miles per night. There are also occasional, limited-time offers on select sponsors where you can earn a lot more miles than you would just for the purchase alone.
Can I buy AIR MILES Bonus Miles?
Yes, you can, but they’re not cheap! You pay 30 cents per mile, which is quite a bit more than those miles will be worth to you in the end, so only keep this as a last resort, and only when you’re short by a few miles. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense.
Do AIR MILES expire?
AIR MILES Bonus Miles will expire if your account is inactive for 24 consecutive months. To prevent your Bonus Miles from expiring, you just need to earn or redeem your AIR MILES at least once during every 24-month period.
AIR MILES will send you multiple emails as your miles approach their expiry date, but if those emails end up in your Junk folder, you might miss them. Our suggestion is that if you haven’t used your AIR MILES Onyx card in a while, bring it out and start earning some miles to prevent those you already have from expiring!
Does my AIR MILES Onyx status expire?
Your AIR MILES Onyx status is valid from the day you achieve it until the end of the following year. For example, if you qualify for Onyx status on July 1, 2020, your Onyx status will expire on December 31, 2021. If you meet the requirements for maintaining your status during that span, it will not expire.
AIR MILES Onyx status offers reasonable value if you’re a frequent AIR MILES user, but the low value of most AIR MILES flight redemptions and the difficulty of achieving Onyx status make it a tough sell. The only viable ways of reaching Onyx status are either a) spending tens of thousands of dollars at AIR MILES partners each year, or b) through a credit card like the AIR MILES Reserve Card, which still costs $299 per year.
Instead, we suggest getting the Marriott Bonvoy Card, which offers you far more travel benefits than Onyx status, and comes with a fee of just $120 per year. And with the Marriott Bonvoy Card’s current welcome bonus offer of 50,000 points—which you can transfer to dozens of airline partners or use for free nights at five-star hotels around the world—now is the perfect time to apply.