Happy Canada Day! Mid-Term Report

Happy Canada Day Everyone!!

At this halfway point of the year, we now publish our mid-term report card of the New Year’s Day wish list. The final report comes out on New Year’s Eve. To be fair, all wishes have the goal of being a win/win/win scenario for everyone: “loyalty company, credit card company and customer”. In some cases it is just win/win because one party is not involved; for example a credit card company who offers in-house loyalty program with the customer as the other party.

Grading System

Before we get going, below is a recap of the grading system:

  • A+ Exceeding expectations with nothing more to improve on (almost impossible to achieve this grade, but I listed it to put some perspective on the spectrum)
  • Awesome job
  • B+ Good job
  • B Decent, met expectations
  • Acceptable
  • Better than nothing 
  • E Nothing changed, no improvements
  • F Fail, went backwards

Now onto the mid-term report card.

1) Either a new co-branded airline or hotel loyalty credit card

It was not for Brim Financial introducing a co-branded airline card of Air France KLM World Elite, it would have been more than a decade since we last saw a new card. Neo Financial has the new co-branded Cathay Pacific card, but that was really a switch from RBC. If anything, things got worse with the RBC and HSBC merger, whereby HSBC Rewards used to have Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer as a transfer partner that are not longer available. More on HSBC later in the post. For now, nothing has changed in the first half of 2024.

Grade: E

2) Overall enhancements to train service in Canada

This spring, Alberta had a welcome announcement for rail service expansion in their province, but it could take a long time to build. So it`s really only a very small step in the right direction.

VIA Rail started operating the first of their new fleet of trains a few days ago along the Windsor – Quebec City line, which will continue through to the summer of 2025. Hopefully this makes train travel more pleasant. However, I would like to also see VIA Rail reduce the cost of theiir fares. Their business model should really be based on a high volume of passengers, but unfortunately their prices are not competitive enough to get people out of their cars or take business travel from airlines. Nicer and newer trains are great if more people can actually ride them. For now, we had a better than nothing first half of the year.

Grade: D

3) More competitive Canadian loyalty programs

What would be considered the top current Canadian based loyalty programs? American Express Membership Rewards? Air Canada’s Aeroplan? Scotiabank’s Scene+? Loblaws PC Optimum? BMO’s Air Miles? RBC Rewards?

Who would you say has some potential? CIBC Aventura? BMO Rewards? More Rewards? Dare I say WestJet Rewards? Canadian Tire Triangle Rewards?

Overall, I think we have some decent choices. But it could use more competition as I still feel that we are top heavy. Scene+ made the biggest leap in the past 2 years to really challenge the big boys. Hoping for another company to do so. It did not help with the closure of HSBC Rewards, so we went backwards a bit the first half of the year.

Grade: F

4) Upgrade spilling out of the RBC and HSBC integration

What is the word just before a disaster? Looks like RBC basically bought HSBC flat out and absorbed it like a drop of water in the lake. There are a few crumbs leftover for grandfathered HSBC credit card holders. On a larger scale, there was basically no upgrade to existing RBC customers or brand new RBC customers. Basically no positive impact, alternatively, we now have less competition overall.

Let me know if I am missing anything in the comment section below?

Grade: F

5) Upgrade spilling out of the BMO and Air Miles integration

I was going to be patient with BMO cleaning up the mess they inherited with Air Miles, considering it was basically about to go bankrupt. So far, it has looked like a very smooth transition. There was no drop off with Air Miles, unlike HSBC with RBC above. If anything, things have stabilized to the point that Air Miles looks ready to kick in more enhancements. We had a recent interview with Air Miles to show that they are at least making an effort at forward progress. Overall, I would say BMO did an decent job taking over Air Miles.

Grade: B+


I feel that I have a fairly aggressive wish list this year. The mid-term report card was brutal. But my wish list was never meant to be something easy to get high grades. Let’s see how we finish off the second half of the year.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the progress of my wish list items? Did you have your own wish list for this year? Please let us know in the comment section below!

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