Air Canada Ditches Aeroplan, Will Develop Its Own Loyalty Program

Air Canada is ending its longstanding relationship with Aeroplan. Recently, the company announced it would be cutting ties with Aeroplan effective June 30, 2020, and will create its own loyalty program for its customers instead. It’s a decision which affects almost 5 million Aeroplan rewards collectors.

"This decision is the right one for our customers, our employees, and our shareholders," said Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada's president and chief executive officer. The company says it made the decision to "deliver a more consistent end-to-end customer experience."

What will happen to your points

Air Canada

and Aimia, the operator of Aeroplan, have promised to work together during the transition period over the next three years. Here's what will happen to your points before, and after, the new program is implemented:

  • Before June 2020: Aeroplan members will be able to earn and redeem Aeroplan Miles for Aeroplan Rewards, including flights with Air Canada and their Star Alliance partners.
  • After June 2020: Miles earned from Air Canada and Star Alliance flights will be credited to the new program, with customers able to redeem those miles for rewards including Air Canada and Star Alliance partner flights.
  • Aeroplan miles earned up to June 2020: Will stay in Aeroplan members' accounts.
If you love the Aeroplan program, Air Canada says you will still be able to reap flight rewards through it. The airline will "continue to offer Aimia redemption seats for Aeroplan members" and will continue to recognize Altitude and Million Mile statuses in the new program. Specifically, it said: "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.” "All Million Mile program qualification activity and status will also be honoured in the new program."

Air Canada promising better service and rewards

Air Canada is assuring its customers they will be happy with the new arrangement. "The new program...will offer additional earning and redemption opportunities, more personalized service and a better digital experience for Air Canada customers," said Benjamin Smith, Air Canada's president of passenger airlines. Smith said the program will more closely match many other North American airlines’ loyalty programs, adding "we will be able to take better care of our customers by making decisions in real time...We're excited to take this next step that delivers on our promise for continued investments in the customer experience." The company will also offer "enrolment bonuses and incentives for new members as well as existing Aeroplan members when we launch our program," Air Canada told CBC News. It’s expected that more details about the new loyalty program will come to light in September.

Aeroplan responds

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In an email to its members, Aeroplan said it too was committed to "business as usual" for its customers up until June 2020, promising new rewards for them after then. "We know how much you care about this program, and we're working to secure great new redemption options for you after June 2020," said Vince Timpano, president of Aimia's Americas Coalitions.

"As we seek to build our next-generation program, Aeroplan is committed to preserving a high value redemption proposition for its members, including travel and flight rewards with industry leaders," he said. But Aeroplan isn't completely giving up on a partnership with Air Canada. "We still believe that a renewed contract between Air Canada and Aimia would be the best outcome for shareholders of both companies," David Johnston, Aimia's group chief executive told CBC News. "Having said that, we've anticipated that this is one of the things that could happen, and we've been well-prepared for this. We are taking action to protect our company and protect our shareholders, and also we're obviously working on a range of alternatives," he added.
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