Air Canada readies for new loyalty program in 2020

Air Canada has agreed to purchase Aimia’s Aeroplan loyalty business in a cash deal worth around CAN$450 million, as the carrier launches its own loyalty programme in 2020.

Aeroplan has been independently owned and operated by Aimia for almost a decade, and the deal sees Air Canada retake control of its own loyalty program, as it seeks to strengthen its customer relationships and deliver a more consistent end-to-end customer experience.

“The new program, launching in 2020, will offer additional earning and redemption opportunities, more personalised service and a better digital experience for Air Canada customers,” said Benjamin Smith, president, passenger airlines.

“Similar to all of Air Canada’s North American peers, by managing our own loyalty program, we will be able to take better care of our customers by making decisions in real time that address specific needs,” added Smith. “We’re excited to take this next step that delivers on our promise for continued investments in the customer experience.”

Concurrently with the signing of the share purchase agreement, Air Canada, TD, CIBC and Visa signed various commercial agreements relating to the acquisition, including credit card loyalty program and network agreements for future participation in Air Canada’s new loyalty program, all of which are conditional upon closing of the acquisition of Aimia Canada. Additionally, Air Canada remains in negotiations with American Express, which also issues Aeroplan co-branded products, to secure its continued participation in the Aeroplan program after 2020.

“We are extremely pleased to have concluded the agreement for the purchase of Aimia Canada and to have reached definitive agreements on our co-branded credit card programs with each of TD and CIBC. Subject to closing the purchase transaction, these agreements will produce the best outcome for our customers as well as those of our partners as they will facilitate a smooth transition to our new loyalty program launching in 2020, safeguarding all Aeroplan Miles and providing convenience and value for millions of Canadians.

“Our program is expected to be one of the best loyalty programs in the industry, which will be exciting for our customers and we are looking forward to communicating details later next year,” said Calin Rovinescu, president and CEO of Air Canada.

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