News broke earlier this May that Air Canada and Aeroplan, would not be renewing their partnership after the current contract expires in June 2020. Aeroplan is an interesting program, because it’s one of the few “airline” programs that operates independently. Aeroplan was spun off by Air Canada in 2002 and is owned by Aimia, a global loyalty analytics company which also has stakes in other European, Asian, and Latin American programs.
What Will Happen June 2020?
So far, there’s been a lot of buzz but few specifics on what will happen. Here’s what we know when it comes to earning and redeeming miles.
You earn Aeroplan Miles from in three main ways:
1. Co-Branded and Affiliated Credit Cards: CIBC, TD, American Express. This includes credit cards that have the option to transfer to Aeroplan, like Membership Rewards.
What will happen in June 2020? You will not earn Aeroplan from flights anymore. Everything else goes on as normal. This is especially true given that Aeroplan’s agreements with CIBC and TD to issue their credit cards run until 2024.
There are three main aspects of Aeroplan redemptions right now:
1. Flight Redemptions with Air Canada and Star Alliance partners at fixed levels. This is the award chart most familiar with consumers, with the standard 25,000 mile round-trip redemption in coach within North America one of the most used rewards.
2. Flight Redemptions with Air Canada at variable levels. These are known as market fare awards which rise up and down to an extent with paid fares.
3. Non-Flight redemptions including merchandise, experiential awards, and other flight rewards like car rentals and hotels.
What will happen in June 2020? You won’t be able to redeem for Air Canada and Star Alliance partners at the current fixed levels. All other rewards remain, with a high likelihood that there will be still options tor redeem on Air Canada flights in line with the current market fares.
I redeem most of my Aeroplan miles for fixed mileage rewards with Star Alliance and Air Canada, so if Aeroplan isn’t able to offer a meaningful alternative after June 2020, I (along with many others) will be jumping ship. However, I’d like to imagine that there are some bright minds working at Aimia.
Here’s a list of other things that we know will be happening:
- Altitude Elite Status with Air Canada will not change
- Air Canada will launch their own credit cards (and has been looking for a partner)
- After June 2020 all flight miles will go into your new AC Rewards account
What We Don’t Know
Air Canada is building a new program from the ground up, so we’ll hear from them soon about how to earn and redeem miles, since right now, there isn’t any other information other than that they’re launching their own credit card and that all flights earnings after June 2020 will accrue into the new program.
Given that the break is in the middle of the year, there is also no idea about whether miles will carry over to some point in the new program. Unfortunately, there’s still huge uncertainty in this space, and many things could change before we get to 2020. This will be a messy divorce, although I have the hope that consumers will benefit overall from the increased competition.
I have written before that I will continue collecting Aeroplan miles, and that stays true unless there’s a major change with earning or redeeming points.