Air Canada bought Aeroplan back from Aimia at the start of this year. In November, the airline will launch a more flexible version of the loyalty program with added benefits.
Air Canada announced today that its new loyalty program will launch on November 8. The program will retain the name Aeroplan – which has been its moniker since it was created in 1984 – and its more than five million current members will be able to keep their membership numbers, but many other aspects of the program will change, including its nomenclature. Since points will be granted based on amount paid rather than miles flown, Aeroplan’s “miles” currency will be replaced by “points.”
“We’ve been listening to feedback from more than 36,000 consumers.” – Mark Nasr, Air Canada
Aeroplan members – which will fall under either Aeroplan Debut or one of five Elite Status levels: Aeroplan 25K, 35K, 50K, 75K or Super Elite – will be able to purchase any seat using points via Air Canada’s website or app, and will no longer be subject to fuel surcharges. Taxes and third-party fees will still apply, which members have the option to pay for with either cash or points. Points will be accrued for every Air Canada flight booked using cash, including the airline’s lowest fare, Economy Basic. Aeroplan members in the same household will be able to combine points. The program’s card partners will be TD, CIBC and American Express.
“Since we announced our commitment to improve Aeroplan, we’ve been listening to feedback from more than 36,000 consumers; we’ve benchmarked against loyalty and frequent flyer programs from around the globe, and we’ve completely rebuilt our digital infrastructure,” said Mark Nasr, vice-president, Loyalty and eCommerce at Air Canada. “The result is a truly responsive and flexible loyalty program delivering a more rewarding experience so that members can travel more and travel better.”
Aeroplan was initially fully integrated with Air Canada, until it became a subsidiary in 2002. Three years later, Air Canada sold Aeroplan and it became the world’s first publicly traded loyalty program. By 2008, it was known as Groupe Aeroplan, which was renamed Aimia in 2011.
In May 2017, Air Canada announced plans to launch a new loyalty program, which would replace Aeroplan in 2020. Just over a year later, in July 2018, the airline formed a consortium with Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada, which proposed to buy Aeroplan back from Aimia in a deal valued at $2.25 billion ($250 million, plus $2 billion worth of points liabilities). A month later, the parties agreed on a purchase price of $450 million. The acquisition was completed in January 2019.