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.
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)
- A Awesome job
- B+ Good job
- B Decent, met expectations
- C Acceptable
- D 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
I initially missed mentioning the Brim card at the beginning of the year, so I wanted to give props to Brim Financial for teaming up with Air France last year, considering how limited Canadian are in terms of choices of co-branded airline or hotel loyalty credit cards. Also, because last year, we saw the discontinuation of the MBNA’s Alaska Airlines and Best Western co-branded cards. But existing cardholders were grandfathered until now. As of September 2023, grandfathered cards will also be discontinued. There is talk of MBNA Rewards becoming a transferable rewards program. Until that becomes a reality and with no new cards have been introduced to the market, we basically went backwards.
2) Overall enhancements to train service in Canada
A few more hurdles (e.g. Toronto City Council) were cleared regarding a high-speed train in the VIA Rail Quebec-Toronto Corridor. But still no real concrete moves or signs of construction beginning. This is really disappointing because Canada could really use an upgrade of its train service. Unfortunately, there was no real progress this first half of the year to give a higher grade.
3) Major upgrade to an existing loyalty program
Air Miles took a hit this year but almost going bankrupt. BMO came to the rescue and fully bought them out. Hopefully this gives Air Miles an opportunity to get a major upgrade to its program. I remain hopeful by this move.
Aside from that, we did not see many major changes to any Canadian loyalty program. Air Canada’s Aeroplan remains at the top of the food chain through further expansion of their program (e.g. with Uber), while others are still chasing them.
Let’s see what the rest of the year brings. For now, no changes yet.
Normally I would have more items on my wish list. But for this year, I narrowed it down the three items because these are really important to me. Hopefully it puts way more emphasis on them too. The co-branded airline or hotel credit cards are taking a beating in Canada due to its limited options. Train service is very limited in Canada, and badly needs an upgrade to make it faster and more accessible to move passengers across the country. While Canadian loyalty programs need more competitive, as it has become very top heavy.
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!