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Air Canada to launch its own loyalty rewards program in 2020 to replace Aeroplan

Last Updated May 11, 2017 at 11:57 am PST

(CNW Group/Air Canada)
Summary

Customers will be able to continue collecting points until 2020 and carry them over

MONTREAL, QUE. (NEWS 1130) – Air Canada is planning to launch its own loyalty rewards plan in 2020 but says customers will be able to continue collecting Aeroplan points until then and carry them over to the new program.

The Montreal-based airline says it’s aiming to strengthen its relationships with customers in making the switch.

Aeroplan was originally Air Canada’s in-house loyalty program but it was spun off as an independent business, now called Aimia Inc., which has expanded its customer base and evolved its services over the years.

Aimia said late Wednesday it believed Air Canada wasn’t going to renew the partnership between the two companies once their contract expires in June 2020.

Like Air Canada, Aimia said Aeroplan members can earn and redeem points with the airline in the remaining three years of the partnership.

Aimia also said it would work towards a smooth transition with Air Canada so that services for Aeroplan members aren’t interrupted.

It also announced that Rupert Duchesne, who has been on medical leave, is retiring as CEO. His interim replacement, David Johnston, takes over the role.

What this means for you

Given no deal has been finalized to carry over those points to the new system, despite Air Canada’s announcement it intends to allow the continued redemption of Aeroplan points, Claire Newell with Travel Best Bets says it might be a decent time to use them up.

“This transition isn’t happening until 2020 so you’ve got some years to use them,” says Newell, who says there’s no need to panic. “But make sure that you don’t hoard them. The value of them goes down. They go down almost every single year, because the plans themselves always make changes that it may cost you more points to redeem at the lowest level and things like that. I’ve never been a fan of hoarding points, so if you’ve got a big trip and you want to start booking it, you should make the plans to book it before 2020.”

That’s echoed by Patrick Sojka with Rewards Canada — a site that follows loyalty programs. He also suggests frequent flyers look for another option.

“Right now might be a time to jump on an Amex card or a hotel credit card, because there’s a very high likelihood that those points from those programs will convert to the new Air Canada program,” says Sojka, who says existing hotel chains have programs where you can convert hotel points for use on airlines.