After Spinning Off Its Aeroplan Frequent Flyer Program in 2002, Air Canada Will Start a New One

By Paul Riegler on 11 May 2017
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DSC_4877 (2)Some 15 years after it spun off its Aeroplan customer loyalty program, Air Canada announced plans Thursday to once again operate its own program.

The as-of-yet unnamed program will debut in 2020, coinciding with the expiration of the airline’s agreement with Aimia, the owner of Aeroplan. The new plan will become Air Canada’s official frequent flyer program on June 30, 2020.

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

Air Canada said that the company will continue the Air Canada Altitude elite status levels and their associated range of travel privileges and miles accumulated with Aeroplan will continue to count towards million-miler status

Without direct control of its own loyalty program, however, Air Canada did not have a direct relationship with its customers beyond ticket sales and also lacked the ability to offer rather lucrative co-branded credit cards, which almost all other airlines today have.

The airline is doing this “to strengthen its customer relationships and deliver a more consistent end-to-end customer experience.”

Air Canada created Aeroplan in 1984 and spun it off into a wholly owned subsidiary in 2002. Its parent company sold 12.5% of Aeroplan in 2005 for $250 million through an IPO, which made Aeroplan the world’s first publicly traded customer loyalty program. Aeroplan acquired a U.K-based consumer loyalty program company in 2007 and Air Canada sold off the remainder of its ownership in the company by 2008, at which time Aeroplan changed its name to Aimia

Aimia may not be entirely out of the picture after 2020, however.

“We are currently exploring a range of options beyond 2020” the company said on its website, while Air Canada said it plans to work with Aimia as a third-party partner after the launch of the new program.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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