Air Canada ditches Aeroplan reward miles to pilot own rewards program

12 May, 2017, 12:17 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • Aeroplan no more? Air Canada to launch own loyalty program

The carrier sold its Aeroplan business to marketing and loyalty analytics company Amia around a decade ago, with the group continuing to provide the Aeroplan programme for Air Canada customers.

The move will see the Star Alliance member take back control of its rewards scheme, which was spun out and then sold off to become a fully independent scheme by 2008 in order to help Air Canada through hard financial straits - a situation which echoed speculation in 2014 that Qantas might do the same thing during its own troubled times.

When an Aeroplan member member makes an award booking for flights, Aimia pays Air Canada, an arrangement that makes Aeroplan, "Air Canada's largest single customer and generates significant cash flows to Air Canada", Aimia told investors recently.

In a statement on its website, Aimia said Aeroplan will operate normally until 2020, with customers still earning Aeroplan miles for Air Canada flights until the last day of the contract.

"The new program, launching in 2020, will offer additional earning and redemption opportunities, more personalized service and a better digital experience for Air Canada customers", Benjamin Smith, president of Air Canada's passenger airlines business said.

The Montreal-based airline said Aeroplan members can continue to earn and redeem miles until June 29, 2020, which is when Air Canada's agreement with Aimia - which owns and runs Aeroplan - expires.

Air Canada began spinning off its loyalty program in 2002, and it was fully independent by 2008. He said the company continues to work on alternatives for after Air Canada leaves the program, including the possibility of new partners.

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Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and global airline serving more than 200 airports on six continents. That's because he believes Air Canada will partner with a bank to offer a rewards credit card.

Aeroplan was originally Air Canada's in-house loyalty program.

Over the years, Aeroplan has also become popular among travelers who never fly Air Canada.

"Doing the right thing for Air Canada's customers throughout this transition period will be our guiding principle", said Mr. Rovinescu. It is possible Air Canada and Aimia will strike a deal to allow customers to use leftover Aeroplan miles for travel on Air Canada. His interim replacement, David Johnston, takes over the role.

He said the majority of Aeroplan members earn points not through flying but rather through the dollars they spend shopping while using these affiliated cards.

Analysts called the news positive for the airline.

The airline's most frequent flyers will continue to enjoy Air Canada Altitude status recognition and its associated range of travel privileges, based on their annual flight activities with Air Canada and the Star Alliance member airlines.


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