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Reader Questions Answered – By Jeremy Rabe, CEO, Aimia

Today, we feature Jeremy Rabe, the CEO of Aimia (owner of Aeroplan) who has answered as many of the questions asked by our readers as they could. Thank you Jemery for taking the time to answer all the questions. We really appreciate it and look forward to all the new Aeroplan initiatives! 

Pointshogger: So tell us more about this new Porter Airlines arrangement

JR: We’re very excited about this partnership and the other preferred arrangements we’ve announced to take effect in July 2020    These preferred relationships help us to further differentiate and strengthen our air offering come July 2020 by giving members increased flexibility and great value.

With our arrangement with Porter specifically, members will be able to earn miles on Porter routes effective July 2020. In addition, Porter will also become a redemption partner and offer up to 60% of seat inventory for the purchase of flights with Aeroplan Miles at fixed-rate prices.  More information will be available as we get closer to the launch date.

Our other preferred arrangements we’ve just announced include Air Transat and Flair Airlines as of July 2020.  Aeroplan Miles will be earned and redeemed on Air Transat and Flair Airlines flights and Air Transat vacation packages.

Stany V: How true are the rumors (published in Financial Post) that AIMIA/Aeroplan intend to charger flights, redeemable for miles? This is not that far from starting another airline, something that I wholeheartedly support

JR: It’s true!  Aeroplan has select routes where we have enough demand that we can fly a daily charter throughout the year.  Again this is just for select flights and we would partner with an airline to operate.  This is something we’ll look to do in July 2020 and we’ll have more details down the road.

Fernand: How will the « new Aeroplan » differ from such existing programs as Air Miles?

JR: We believe we can offer a more compelling program due to our strategic sourcing, a better customer experience through sophisticated user interfaces, our strong analytics capabilities and deep member focus. Our points transfer program, which will launch in July 2020, is market-leading and we have a broad variety of complementary accumulation partners. In addition, our new online booking service will offer members faster earning and a convenient one-stop solution for all your travel needs.

iv: The ability to transfer/convert AP points to airline FF programs is a very welcome announcement. Have they considered looking at the possibility of transferring/converting points to hotel partners?

JR: You might have missed it but we’ll have that too.  As part of the unique points transfer program that we’ll be launching with Kaligo Solutions in July 2020, aside from close to 20 airlines, we’ll also have numerous hotel loyalty programs in which members will be able to convert Aeroplan Miles into to access thousands of premium hotel rooms across the world.

iv: Why haven’t we seen a national grocery chain as an Aeroplan partner?

JR: This is a tough one!   A number of our co-branded credit cards with TD and CIBC provide the benefit of accelerated earn for purchases at grocery stores made on the card.  We continue to look for innovative ways for members to earn miles.  For example, our recent addition of Amazon.ca to Aeroplan’s eStore enables members to earn miles on all kinds of categories and we’ll look to further add brands like this to our portfolio.

Long Time Aeroplan Customer: What will the fixed reward requirements be for business and first class?

JR: Our goal is to be the best travel loyalty program in Canada and part of our commitment is to offer our members exceptional value. You may have seen already that we’ve committed to continuing to offer our members great value on flight rewards and that we’ve committed to the same mileage levels that we offer today on some of our most popular routes.

For business class, come 2020, we’ll be expanding the range of business class seats that members can access to cover more airlines by allowing members to convert their miles into close to 20 major airlines as I mentioned above via Kaligo Solutions.  We’re also still having conversations with preferred airline partners regarding business class offerings.  We will be sure to update members as soon as we can.

FAQ Aeroplan: Why should I keep my Aeroplan miles when Air Canada will likely be better value with its new program launching in 2020?

JR: That is an interesting question.  What we know for sure is that Aeroplan Members will continue to enjoy great value on flight rewards and we’ve committed to the same mileage levels that we offer today on some of our most popular routes including our North American short haul at 15,000 and our North American long-haul at 25,000.

Air Canada has not yet committed to what their offering will look like so in order to best understand what that will look like, you will have to wait for more information from them.

In the meantime, we think members should stay focused on how we can help them fulfil their travel goals.

grimex: Can you offer a discount or tiered discount to non-Diamond members on award cancellation fees to members who request the cancellation online?

JR: As part of our perks for being a Diamond status member, they do benefit from a preferential rate on flight reward changes and refund fees.  I thank you for your feedback and will be sure to pass it along to our Product team for consideration.

CanadaPointsGuy: There is no real benefit for Diamond status. Can we expect perks like:

  • Free cancellations within a 2-3-week window? 
  • Free changes at Airport for earlier/later flight
  • No charge for rebooking dates and itinerary 
  • Free companion fare Free Maple lounge access

JR: We do provide a number of exclusive benefits for Diamond status members including up to 35% fewer miles with Market Fare Flight rewards, Priority access to the Contact Centre, 3,000 bonus miles when flying with Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, bonus miles on specific hotel stays, and 3X the miles on online purchases via the Aeroplan eStore and preferential rates on flight reward changes and refund fees and more.  I appreciate the feedback though and will flag it to our Product team for consideration.

Matt: Will Aeroplan continue their partnership with American Express? It doesn’t look like Amex is one of the partners bidding for Aimia.

JR: We remain committed to providing members with great value, increased flexibility and an enhanced experience including the ability for members to redeem for flights on any airline, anywhere come July 2020.

We announced back in May that we had extended our relationship with American Express to July 2020.  This agreement enables American Express to continue to issue the existing suite of premium AeroplanPlus co-branded charge cards (both personal and corporate cards) with select Air Canada benefits as well as enables us to continue to be a participant in the American Express Membership Rewards Program.   We’ll continue to provide value to members through this partnership.

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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