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Air Miles Cancels Its Expiry Policy

Air Miles cancelled its controversial expiry policy, effective immediately, after facing months of overwhelming pressure from its collectors, media, government regulation, plus a potential class action lawsuit. The policy would have seen unused reward miles earned prior to December 31st, 2011 expire as of the end of 2016.

“We have made the decision to cancel the expiry policy for all Collectors effective immediately. There is uncertainty with provincial governments proposing or considering legislation across Canada so we have decided to cancel the expiry policy so that all Collectors, regardless of location, can be confident that their balances will be protected,” said Bryan Pearson, President and CEO, LoyaltyOne.

The Ontario government is set to vote Monday on a bill that looks to establish fair regulation of loyalty points programs in Ontario. Under the proposed amendment to the Consumer Protection Act, any rewards points that expire on or after October 1, 2016 under a consumer agreement will be credited back to the consumer.

Cash Miles vs. Dream Miles: How to use Air MIles

Up until today, Air Miles remained defiant and said it would not back down from its expiry policy. The loyalty company made it incredibly difficult for customers to redeem their miles, with a buggy website and under-staffed call centre not keeping up overwhelming consumer demand. But the private members bill proposed by MPP Arthur Potts moved quickly through legislation and the pending vote seems to have enough support to pass. Other provinces would almost certainly follow suit, which is what happened with gift card expiry nearly a decade ago.

So Air Miles got out in front of this news by cancelling the expiry policy immediately – just 30 days before it was to take effect.

LoyaltyOne said “it believes that cancelling the expiry policy will lead to more meaningful conversations between government and industry, helping to ensure loyalty programs remain viable in all provinces and that Canadian consumers continue to reap the rewards of loyalty programs, regardless of the province in which they live.”

Related: Let’s Recap This Air Miles Fiasco

While the cancelled expiry policy is a great win for collectors who stood to lose thousands of reward miles, the news is of little solace for those who scrambled to redeem their reward miles and may have wasted their points on useless merchandise, unplanned trips, or other items they didn’t need. Think of all those unwanted blenders and toasters!

Final thoughts

I had a personal feeling of satisfaction upon hearing today that Air Miles cancelled its expiry policy. I’ve spent a good chunk of time over the past six months writing about this issue and being interviewed on CBC radio and television. Hundreds of readers have emailed me and commented on my articles expressing their anger, frustration, and disappointment over Air Miles and how they’ve handled this entire issue.

Incredibly, the loyalty company waited until the eleventh hour to do the right thing for its collectors. I’m just not sure it’s enough to repair their tarnished reputation.

9 Comments

  1. Phil Gosselin on December 1, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I’m one of those who wasted his about-to-expire air miles on a not-really-needed and way overpriced gadget. I won’t touch another air miles card with a ten-foot pole.



  2. Star on December 1, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    When this fiasco first came to light, I immediately stopped using retailers that accept Air Miles, like Shell and Metro, when I could shop elsewhere, like Esso and Loblaw, where I can use other reward cards.
    Too bad there is no diversified alternative to the LCBO.



  3. Marilyn on December 1, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    I too have bought many unnecessary stuff! I will not be collecting air miles ever again!



  4. Robert on December 1, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    I believe that Air Miles has significantly damaged its brand – perhaps permanently. I have shifted my purchasing away from Air Miles partners because I do not trust that future points will not be devalued in another attempt to change the program to my disadvantage.



  5. Bill on December 1, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I was fortunate enough to get flights for a holiday for my brother and son after spending countless hours over several weeks to actually get flights that worked. Unfortunately I was unable to use them for my wife and I because we wanted 2 weeks instead and there was never flights available for 2 weeks in Jan. 2017. My son and brother will only be able to stay for 5 and 1/2 days because that was the longest available.



    • Mike on December 4, 2016 at 11:11 am

      ” after spending countless hours” …..people spend weeks at this . Crazy. Where do they find the time to spend like this.

      I hope a competitor to AM appears soon.



  6. NofunofAirmiles on December 1, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    I would never recommend this program to anyone, anything else is better.



  7. Marc-André Cloutier on December 2, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Good for them… They “stole” me 4700 miles years ago because I didn’t use my card for two years. The bounch of thieves wanted $635,00 to have them back. Really ?
    And I’m sure the president will have a great year end bonus…



  8. Mary on December 4, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Total and blatant disrespect for their customers. I wasted many airmiles trying to recoup at least something.
    The LCBO should respect the massive number of people condemning the air miles program and select a more ethical card to offer clients.
    I am absolutely boycotting any establishment offering air miles cards.

    It seems to be the only revenge available against those crooks at air miles.



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