Air Canada announces plans for the new Aeroplan

The airline will relaunch the loyalty program in November with a focus on value and flexible redemption.

Air Canada-Air Canada Unveils Details of Transformed Aeroplan Pr

Air Canada has unveiled its long-awaited changes to its Aeroplan loyalty program, with an emphasis on making it easier to rack up points, redeem them on more flights and providing value for members.

The changes come into effect on Nov. 8 and offer restriction-less redemption for any Air Canada seat available for sale, eliminates surcharges, incorporate the brand’s Points Predictor Tool (a reward chart that gives users a likely range of points required for the flight they are requesting) and allow users to pay for a portion of their flights in cash.

The focus of the program is on providing more value than “major Canadian bank travel programs,” which Air Canada specifically called out in today’s announcement.

Flexibility in redemption, a common pain point for travel plan members, is also a focus. Other changes include members being able to combine Aeroplan points with others in their household for free, so they can redeem for travel sooner. Flyers are able to upgrade to Premium Economy or Business Class if they are available, name their own price to bid for upgrades and use their points on extras like in-flight WiFi. Air Canada will also allow members to earn points based on the amount paid for a ticket, instead of miles flown.

Air Canada also redesigned its Aeroplan co-branded credit cards and introduced new cardholder levels, offering perks such as priority check ins and a free checked luggage.

Air Canada re-acquired Aeroplan from Aimia in 2018 through an acquisition process that was hostile at times, with the goal of turning the underperforming coalition loyalty program into its own a travel-focused rewards program. Earning based on flights is once again the focus of Air Canada’s announcement today, but, according to its website, members will still be able to earn points on purchases from Home Hardware and UPS, as well as from brands like Nike and Apple through its own online store, with more partners reportedly coming soon.

Mark Nasr, VP, loyalty and eCommerce at Air Canada, says that the improvements are informed by  listening to feedback from more than 36,000 consumers, and that the brand benchmarked against loyalty and frequent flyer programs from around the globe, and has completely rebuilt its digital infrastructure.

According to this year’s Loyalty Report from Bond Brand Loyalty, experience using a loyalty program is the top factor in keeping a member engaged.

The Aeroplan changes build upon ones announced last summer through an integrated Aeroplan campaign, that included full refunds within 24 hours of booking, a refund option for flight rewards up to two hours before departure and a reduced fee for refunds completed online.