Laws Prohibiting Mile Expiry

Mile expiration is one of the biggest mistake any points collector can make.

Mile Expiry

However, I was doing some reading on the recent legislation in Ontario and Quebec regarding loyalty programs.

Ontario Bill 47 (Protecting Rewards Points Act), was passed last December. It restricts loyalty programs from implementing expiration rules based on time alone. This means inactivity rules are permitted, i.e. the 12 month rule with Aeroplan. This exists with nearly all programs.

What is affected, is the programs that put a “lifetime” on points. Starbucks Rewards is the first program that comes to mind, as stars expire six months after they are earned. The other programs affected off the top of my head are Singapore Krisflyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, which expire after three years.

Source: Ontario.ca

Source: Ontario.ca

I’m actually very interested on how this will be enforced. Most programs wouldn’t be aware of what’s going on, and I feel it would be complicated to obtain recourse. Cathay does fly to Toronto, but Singapore doesn’t. How would the government even take action against an airline that doesn’t even operate in Canada?

Quebec Bill 134 takes this even further, prohibiting the expiration of any points completely. The bill is expected to pass later in the year, which is going to make things even more interesting. Alaska Airlines removed their co-branded credit card from Quebec partially as a result of this, and I wonder if others will follow. The other thing is that presumably this also applies to credit card programs. If you cancel your card, are you going to lose your points?

It’d be great if any lawyers could chime in on this. Also, perhaps I’ll be moving to Ontario or Quebec soon. 😉

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Pingbacks

  1. […] Laws Prohibiting Mile Expiry. – My initial reaction is to think this would be awesome.  And it would be for the miles I currently have.  But, the airlines would adjust and factor in that none could expire and would start offering less miles going forward.  Short term gain for long term pain.  I’m a long term thinker, so this would not be cool.  Here are some ways to extend the life of your miles without flying. […]

Comments

  1. Don’t some programs have a disclaimer at the end of the terms and conditions saying “You agree that this program will be bound by the laws and regulations of the jurisdiction of ____”?

  2. Unfortunately the Ontario legislation received royal ascent but still hasn’t come into force. It’ll be coming “soon” and will be retroactive, but that doesn’t help until it does happen.

  3. For instance, Asia Miles has this on their terms and conditions page:

    “These Terms and Conditions and the relationship between AML and each Member are governed by Hong Kong law. By using the programme each Member submits to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the Hong Kong courts.”

    (from https://www.asiamiles.com/am/en/site/terms#36)

  4. the biggest issue with this is, companies could react by devaluing their loyalty program points further…

  5. FYI, see below for the jurisdiction clause of Aeroplan’s General Terms and Conditions. It is very poorly written in English, perhaps because it was translated from the original French wording. Anyway, it seems to suggest that the ROC will be governed by Ontario law — so you don’t necessarily have to move to Ontario to rely on Bill 47 (assuming it ever receives royal assent and becomes law).

    “Except for members residing in the province of Quebec where the Aeroplan Program shall be governed by the laws of Quebec and the jurisdiction of its courts, the Aeroplan Program shall be governed by the laws of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein, without giving effect to their courts of Ontario and/or the Federal Court of Canada in Ontario, or any other judicial district or jurisdiction as Aeroplan may determine in any and all actions, disputes, or controversies relating hereto. For these members any disputes regarding the Aeroplan Program or in any way arising out of Aeroplan Membership, including Aeroplan Miles accumulated or rewards claimed or received, shall be submitted to the courts of Ontario whose courts which shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear such disputes.”

  6. Chat InformationYou are now being connected with Raul, an Online Application Specialist.
    you: I live in Quebec.Can I apply for this Alaska air m/c?
    Raul: Hi there, glad to have you on this chat.
    Raul: To apply for an account, you must have reached the age of majority in your province or territory of residence and be a Canadian resident.
    Raul: If you meet the above requirement, you can go ahead and apply for the card.
    you: Do this include Quebec?
    Raul: Yes, you can go ahead and apply for the card.

    You wrote “Alaska Airlines removed their co-branded credit card from Quebec partially as a result of this, “… WHY?

    • There were something in the Quebec bill that conflicted with Alaska’s T&C, so hence they decided to remove the card for Quebec residents. It might have been something with the companion fare – but I am not entirely familiar. The CS is wrong.

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