Air Canada cutting ties with Aeroplan: What you need to know

Air Canada is cutting ties with the Aeroplan loyalty program.
Air Canada is cutting ties with the Aeroplan loyalty program. The Canadian Press

Air Canada announced it plans to start an in-house loyalty program in 2020 and not renew its contract with Aimia Inc., which runs Aeroplan.

Here’s what that means for the five million Aeroplan members earning rewards for flying Air Canada and redeeming points for flights with the national carrier:

What happens to my Aeroplan points?

Nothing. Your Aeroplan balance remains intact, unless you choose to redeem points for flights or other rewards.

What changes is how you’ll earn points after June 2020 and, possibly, what you can buy with those points.

READ MORE: Canada’s best credit cards to rack up travel rewards points

I’ve booked a flight in the future on Air Canada using Aeroplan points. What happens to my booking?

Members who have already planned trips and booked flights with their Aeroplan points will still be able to travel as planned.

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What points do I earn when I fly on Air Canada?

Until Air Canada’s contract with Aimia expires in June 2020, miles earned for travel on Air Canada flights will be credited to travellers’ Aeroplan accounts.

After that, travellers who fly on Air Canada will earn points towards the company’s own loyalty program.

The same applies to travel on Air Canada’s 26 Star Alliance partners, including Air China, Lufthansa and United.

Can I still use Aeroplan points to book Air Canada flights?

Members can use their Aeroplan points to book Air Canada and Star Alliance flights until June 30, 2020. Aimia says it won’t stop offering flight rewards before then.

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After that, the answer is unclear.

Air Canada said in a statement it intends to continue allowing Aeroplan members to redeem points for seats on Air Canada flights after that time.

However, Aimia CEO David Johnston said in an interview that isn’t certain yet, as there’s still lots of discussions to be had. He said the company continues to work on alternatives for after Air Canada leaves the program, including the possibility of new partners.

READ MORE: Aeroplan cuts 200 jobs amid ‘challenging’ year for loyalty program

Does this change anything about my Aeroplan credit card?

Three banks offer Aeroplan credit cards: TD, CIBC and American Express.

Those contracts expire in 2024, Johnston said, adding he’s not worried those companies will choose to follow Air Canada’s lead.

He said the majority of Aeroplan members earn points not through flying but rather through the dollars they spend shopping while using these affiliated cards.