Skift Take

Until last week, Air Canada's loyalty program members were on track to see Aeroplan split from the airline in 2020. Now, the program and miles are in jeopardy.

Series: Business of Loyalty

Travel Loyalty News

The Skift Business of Loyalty covers the world of hotel, airline, and other consumer loyalty programs in the travel industry. Read more coverage of loyalty here.

It’s been a strange few days for Air Canada and members of its Aeroplan loyalty program. Early last week, it appeared as though everything was on schedule for Air Canada to split from Aeroplan and launch its own, separate loyalty program in 2020. Aeroplan had even come out with a new landing page and interview with its CEO making the case for flyers to stick around after Air Canada’s departure.

On Wednesday, though, everything got turned on its head when the news came that Air Canada was planning to make a hostile takeover bid for Aeroplan – the program that it abandoned less than a year earlier.

It’s not really clear why this is happening. Air Canada and Aimia, the company that oversees Aeroplan, initially couldn’t come to terms on the joint operation of the program – that’s what triggered this initial path. But now with Aimia’s stock in the dumpster and Air Canada realizing the complexity of starting a new program, it may make more sense for the airline to reinvest.

Loyalty program members are clearly being taken for a ride. And something tells us that the ride is going to get even stranger before it’s over.

— Grant Martin, Business of Loyalty Editor

Skift Stories and More Expert Insight

Alaska Airlines Made a Costly Loyalty Mistake by Offering Too Many Free Seats: As frequent flyers know, U.S. airlines usually make available few free seats for loyalty program members during the busy summer season. And when do, they often jack up prices, so a flight that might ordinarily cost 12,500 miles could go for 30,000. But Alaska Airlines customers this spring got an unusual benefit.

Walk a Few Miles and Earn Points: New Location-Based Loyalty Program Launches: A new loyalty program from a handful of Silicon Valley veterans aims to use your phone’s location-based data patterns to deliver reward points. Called Miles, the new loyalty program awards points for a user’s full spectrum of travel modes, from walking to riding a bicycle to public transit to driving to flying on an airplane.

American Airlines Legend Bob Crandall on How Mergers Led to Increased Inequality: Bob Crandall called it in the late 1970s, saying airline deregulation would be the ruination of U.S. aviation. You can credit the retired American Airlines chairman and CEO with consistency as he argues that airline mergers — and mergers in general — have contributed to capital accumulation at the expense of workers, and the demise of small cities.

American Airlines Cites the Competition in Forcing Basic Economy Changes: American Airlines will begin allowing a free bag as part of its Basic Economy fare as CEO Doug Parker obliquely referenced the competition — most likely meaning Delta — as the rationale for the change, and directly mentioned Google as factors in the decision.

British Airways Owner Poaches Flybe Executive to Run Low-Cost Carrier Level: British Airways parent company International Airlines Group has raided UK regional airline Flybe to be the new boss of its long-haul, low-cost airline Level.

Can JetBlue Cut Costs and Maintain Margins While Fuel Prices Keep Rising? As JetBlue Airways retrofits its oldest aircraft, making them look factory fresh with new leather seats and high-definition television screens, it is earning higher satisfaction marks from travelers, according to its customer survey data.

Southwest CEO Says Assigned Seats Still Don’t Make Sense: With higher fuel prices likely to stick around for the foreseeable future, U.S. airlines know they must increase revenue, both from fares and ancillary opportunities like bag fees and premium seats.

Hyatt Is Making a Play to Take Over NH Hotels: Hyatt Hotels Corp. has sent a letter to NH Hotel Group SA indicating its interest in taking over the Spanish hotel operator.

The Rise and Demise of the AAirpass, American Airlines’ $250k Lifetime Ticket: In the 1980s, American Airlines sold an unlimited, first-class ticket for life. But it didn’t account for supertravelers like Jacques Vroom and Steve Rothstein.


Skift Business of Loyalty Editor Grant Martin [[email protected]] curates the Skift Business of Loyalty newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Monday.

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Tags: loyalty

Photo credit: Air Canada, the country’s largest airline, was supposed to launch its own loyalty program and end its relationship with Aimia Inc., operator of the current Aeroplan, in 2020. Those plans may be changing. Bloomberg

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