How Air Canada dumping Aeroplan will affect you

Ashley Carr
May 12, 2017

Others anxious they wouldn't be able to use Aeroplan points for Air Canada and Star Alliance flights beyond June 2020 and were concerned they'd have to rush to redeem points before it was too late.

But Dvorkin isn't too concerned about Air Canada's claim that Aeroplan members won't be able to access partner airlines come 2020.

Air Canada said on Thursday it would launch its own loyalty program in 2020, replacing the current program, Aeroplan, which is owned and operated by analytics firm Aimia Inc.

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

Photo Credit: Just a few months after introducing a new livery and uniforms, Air Canada now says it will start its own frequent flyer program.

Roughly 15 years after making its frequent flyer program a separate company, Air Canada is calling it quits, saying Thursday it will create its own program in June 2020, after the conclusion of its contract with the company that now controls it.

Air Canada began spinning off its loyalty program in 2002, and it was fully independent by 2008. They can book air travel on Air Canada, and all airlines in the Star Alliance.

The move "greatly improves" Air Canada's ability to manage its revenue, analysts at AltaCorp Capital said in a client note. He said the company continues to work on alternatives for after Air Canada leaves the program, including the possibility of new partners. However, they won't be able to use Areoplan points for flights with the airline's rewards partners including Lufthansa, United, and Air China.

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Three banks offer Aeroplan credit cards: TD, CIBC and American Express. Now that Air Canada is leaving the nest, Brar hopes that Aeroplan may sign up more retailers. It suggested the program will continue in some form after that, telling customers, "We are now exploring a range of options beyond 2020". Air Canada intends to implement near-term improvements to Air Canada Altitude and other elements of the customer experience.

Because Air Canada miles and Aeroplan miles apparently won't be transferable, some people may decide to pledge allegiance to both programs.

Dvorkin also isn't convinced that in 2020 he won't be able to combine his Aeroplan miles with miles earned by flying Air Canada.

However, Aimia CEO David Johnston said that isn't certain yet, as there's still discussions to be had. The airline has not decided what the program will be called, or exactly how it will operate.

What happens to my miles in 2020 if I don't use them up?

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.

Those contracts expire in 2024, Johnston said, adding he's not anxious those companies will choose to follow Air Canada's lead.

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