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Aeroplan To Enhance Recognition Program, Cancel Expiry Policy

Aeroplan announced some major changes to its recognition program, which includes the cancellation of its much reviled seven-year mileage redemption policy.  Beginning January 1st, 2014 Aeroplan Miles will no longer expire for members who are active in the program each year.

The announcement came on the heels of news that TD could replace CIBC as the primary credit card issuer for Aeroplan when its 10-year agreement expires at the end of 2013.

Related: Best Ways To Redeem Aeroplan Points

CIBC has until August 9th to match TD’s terms and kill the deal.  In the meantime, CIBC issued a statement saying it has first right of refusal to renew the Aeroplan partnership.  Snipped from the release:

“Our objective is to have the market leading travel card in Canada for our clients either through the revitalization of the Aeroplan partnership or through the launch of our own proprietary card offer.”

So we could be seeing a complete revitalization of the Aeroplan program, with its enhanced benefits and revitalized credit card partnership (with either CIBC or TD).  This has to be seen as a win for consumers, many of whom have become dissatisfied with both Aeroplan and rival coalition program Air Miles.

Related: New Air Miles Expiry Policy

Aeroplan’s Enhanced Recognition Program

Other changes announced today from Aeroplan, effective January 1st, 2014, includes the launch of Distinction, a new recognition program that rewards top earners with preferential mileage levels for redemption, bonus mile offers and exclusive privileges.

They’ll also replace ClassicPlus Flight Rewards with New Market Fare Flight Rewards, which offers significantly improved value, with all Aeroplan members having access to mileage levels reduced by up to 20 percent, and Distinction members enjoying reductions of up to 50 percent.

Vince Timpano, President and CEO, Aimia, says 2014 will mark a new era for Aeroplan, as it provides members with an unrivalled loyalty experience.

“We’re redesigning core parts of the program, delivering what is most important to our members, while reinforcing Aeroplan’s position as the leading loyalty program in Canada,” he said.

Related: Best Aeroplan Travel Credit Cards

Benefits of Distinction include:

  • Exclusive flight reward benefits with significantly better value on new Market Fare Flight Rewards
  • Special flights to popular destinations during peak periods with 100 percent of the seats reserved for Distinction members and offered at ClassicFlight reward mileage levels
  • Bonus mile offers on eligible Air Canada flights, with select hotel partners, and through Aeroplan’s eStore
  • Preferential treatment, privileges and limited-time offers, special partner and reward offers and invitations to exclusive events

Distinction Levels:

Distinction levels are achieved based on miles earned across all coalition partners including airline, travel, retail and financial card partners.

Distinction includes three status levels based on a member’s total eligible mileage accumulation:

  • dSilver – 25,000  miles accumulated during the calendar year
  • dBlack – 50,000 miles accumulated during the calendar year
  • dDiamond – 100,000 miles accumulated during the calendar year

The qualification period runs a full calendar year (Jan 1 – Dec 31).

For this special launch year, if members reach Distinction status by December 31, 2013, their benefits will take effect on January 1, 2014 and last until December 31, 2014.

Related: WestJet Dollars Frequent Guest Program

After 2013, benefits will start as soon as a member successfully reaches a Distinction level, and will last until the end of the following calendar year.

Cancellation of the seven-year mileage redemption policy

As part of its commitment to improve member satisfaction, Aeroplan announced the cancellation of its seven-year mileage redemption policy.

Prior to this announcement, miles unredeemed seven years following their accumulation date would have been removed from member accounts starting January 1, 2014.

As a result, miles will not expire as long as members stay active in the program by having at least one accumulation or redemption activity every 12 months. Learn more at www.aeroplan.com/7year

“Member feedback has inspired these major enhancements and significantly improved benefits that we’re bringing to the program,” said Kevin O’Brien, Chief Commercial Officer, Aeroplan.

Related: Why Cash Back Beats Travel Rewards

Additional changes to mileage levels for flight rewards

As of January 1, 2014, mileage levels for one-way flight rewards will decrease and require only 50 percent of the miles needed for a round-trip flight.

For example, North American one way long haul fares in economy will be reduced from 17,000 miles to 12,500 miles and European one way fares will go from 40,000 miles to 30,000 miles starting January 1st.

Unfortunately, Aeroplan will be increasing the mileage levels for certain international routes (to/from North America to Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific; Middle East and North Africa; and Asia) for business and first class ClassicFlight Rewards by 20 percent as of January 1, 2014.

Learn more about the ClassicFlight Rewards mileage level changes here: www.aeroplan.com/changes

4 Comments

  1. SavingMentor on June 28, 2013 at 8:10 am

    This sounds like a really positive change overall. If you can get distinction by earning credit card bonuses, this will be even more awesome. If you have to actually fly a lot to achieve distinction then it won’t be as good for less frequent travellers like myself.

    It’s too bad that they are upping the miles required on certain routes but that happens time to time anyway, it just happens to be timed with this generally positive change.

    Getting rid of the 7 years expiry is a big win and getting rid of the one way premium for miles is another big win so you can still book part of your trip with miles if classic flight availability is poor. I also like that they are changing ClassicPlus rewards slightly. They may still be unusable (at least in my opinion) but any improvement is better than none because booking a ClassicPlus seat is akin to highway robbery almost always. I think a straight double cost for ClassicPlus would be the way to go instead of the 3-4x or more that it often is now.



    • Robb on June 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      The husband of a woman I work with has super elite status and probably gets the most value out of this program. He won’t even consider looking at something like Cap One Aspire Travel because the return on the business class, long haul with Aeroplan is so good.

      Overall, this is a great improvement on the program. Should be interesting to see what happens next year if/when they go with a new preferred card issuer. They also may have something bigger cooking with Amex.

      I wonder if Air Miles will respond with some changes of their own?



      • SavingMentor on June 30, 2013 at 8:51 am

        I read through the terms and credit card sign up bonuses don’t count. I assume that credit card referral bonuses don’t count either but it doesn’t state that explicitly. However, miles earned through regular spending on your Aeroplan credit card DO count, so that is a positive. However, if you prefer to earn Amex Membership Rewards and transfer them to Aeroplan like a lot of people then that won’t count either because transfers from other programs don’t count.

        However, after reviewing the “Distinction” perks specifically, I don’t find them to be all that valuable anyway so I’m not too concerned with getting distinction anyway. It’s kind of like Air Miles gold … not all that useful. I’m Air Miles gold but I don’t think I’ve actually ever benefited from it in any way. The perks just suck for the most part.

        I agree with your friend though. Aeroplan gives some ridiculous value especially on long haul business and first class flights. However, I’m still too cheap to book First over economy because it’s usually at least double the points cost. I’d rather travel twice as often. I was happy to see that all the mileage increases they are introducing are for Business/First rewards. Doesn’t look like any economy reward costs are rising.



        • Robb on July 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm

          @Saving Mentor – great points!

          Hey, it looks like I’ll be going to CPFC13 in Toronto this Fall. Looking forward to meeting up.

          Cheers!



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