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