Air Canada Will Start Its Own Loyalty Program
Air Canada is leaving Aeroplan to launch its own frequent flyer program. Things will be business as usual until June 2020. After that, Air Canada and Aeroplan will travel their own paths. Today, I will talk about the future of Aeroplan and what to expect in light of this breakup.
Aeroplan has a network of 5 million members, 75 worldwide partners, and 150 brands. However, most of these members are in Aeroplan for Air Canada, not for Aeroplan itself. A lot of these members not even aware of that Aeroplan is not owned by Air Canada and is actually a separate program. It is questionable how many of these members will stick to Aeroplan once it is is no longer with Air Canada.
Aeroplan will lose access to Star Alliance partners and fantastic redemption opportunities through its partners. Star Alliance is the largest alliance of 27 airlines and some of its partners are airlines like Thai, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Swiss, Brussels Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Air Canada. For example, my business-class flight from Toronto to Asia cost me only $61 instead of $4000/$5000 (watch the YouTube video for proof) and a fantastic redemption opportunity like this on Aeroplan is possible only because of being a member of Star Alliance through Air Canada. On its own without being part of an alliance, Aeroplan will lose lots of its members, as it will not have access to any alliance.
Aeroplan will be able to provide flight redemptions on its own like other proprietary programs such as Scotia Rewards program, BMO Rewards program, or Air Miles. However, it will no longer be able to provide significant value like before to redeem for business class flights.
Banks and retailers will be reluctant to renew Aeroplan contracts once existing contracts expire. Aeroplan will have to work on new credit card partners and retailers to offer its programs once Air Canada leaves.
The end result will actually be good for consumers due to more competition. There will be new credit card offers with hefty sign-up bonuses from both Air Canada and Aeroplan as both of them will fiercely try to grab market share. Also there will be an extensive fight to secure retailers to offer Air Canada or Aeroplan points, thus more opportunities for consumers with more promotions and bonuses. I can’t wait to see all these after 2020.