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If you collect Aeroplan points and use them for travelling on Air Canada flights, some big changes are on the way. Air Canada has announced it's terminating its agreement with Aimia, the company that runs Aeroplan. Instead, it will operate its own loyalty program, and it's promising that customers will reap better rewards. "The new program...will offer additional earning and redemption opportunities, more personalized service and a better digital experience for Air Canada customers," said Benjamin Smith, Air Canada's president of passenger airlines. Aeroplan's Air Canada program will end on June 30, 2020, and that's when the airline's new loyalty program will kick in.

What happens to my Aeroplan points now?

Aeroplan and Air Canada say they are committed to business as usual for the next three years. Until June 30, 2020, you'll be able to earn and redeem Aeroplan Miles for Aeroplan Rewards, including Air Canada flights and flights with Star Alliance partners. Starting in July 2020, Miles you earn from Air Canada and Star Alliance flights will be credited to the new program. Customers will be able to redeem those miles for rewards including Air Canada and Star Alliance partner flights. "This decision is the right one for our customers, our employees, and our shareholders," said Calin Rovinescu, Air Canada's president and chief executive officer.  The company says it's made the decision to "deliver a more consistent end-to-end customer experience." Any existing Aeroplan points will stay on your account after June 20, 2020, but you won't be able to use them for Air Canada flights anymore. You can still use Aeroplan towards the program’s other rewards.

Aeroplan promising better rewards

Aimia says it will still be worthwhile for customers to continue using their program, and they will take steps to make rewards even better. "We know how much you care about this program, and we're working to secure great new redemption options for you after June 2020," said Vince Timpano, president of Aimia's Americas Coalitions. "As we seek to build our next-generation program, Aeroplan is committed to preserving a high-value redemption proposition for its members, including travel and flight rewards with industry leaders." The company says it still believes a renewed contract between it and Air Canada would be the best solution for both companies.

Enrolment bonuses and frequent flyer programs

Air Canada seems definite in its decision to leave Aeroplan, but it isn't leaving Aeroplan's customers out entirely. The airline says it will continue to offer third-party loyalty program redemption seats, which you will be able to use Aeroplan points for, after the changeover in 2020. However, Aeroplan points will not be eligible for rewards with Air Canada's Star Alliance partner airlines, which include United Airlines, Air China, Lufthansa, and others. Air Canada told CBC News it plans to offer "enrolment bonuses and incentives for new members as well as existing Aeroplan members when we launch our program." Air Canada will also keep its frequent flyer programs. "The airline's most frequent flyers will continue to enjoy Air Canada Altitude status recognition and its associated range of travel privileges, based on their annual flight activities with Air Canada and the Star Alliance member airlines. All Million Mile program qualification activity and status will also be honoured in the new program." Details are still emerging on what Air Canada's new in-house loyalty program will look like, but more information is expected in September.

Patrick Faller

Patrick is a writer, creative media producer, and award-winning journalist with a love of technology, the arts, and design. He’s passionate about consumer affairs and helping Canadians make the best possible choices when it comes to their finances. You can find him on social media @patfaller.

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