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Thoughts on the Aeroplan and Air Canada Breakup

As you probably already read all over the news that Air Canada does not currently intend to renew the Aeroplan partnership (owned by Aimia), which is expiring in June 2020. Apparently, Aimia is exploring post-2020 alternatives.

Based on the wording from an Aeroplan news release, it may seem like the door is left open for them to renew their contract. I mean, there is still 3 years to go before it expires. So for the time being, it is business as usual for Aeroplan members, as confirmed by the CEO of Aeroplan.

From Air Canada’s perspective, they seem more firm that their plan is to launch its own loyalty program.

Questions that come to mind

Right off the bat, a few burning questions came to mind:

  • If this is 100% true, where does this leave Aeroplan?
  • Is there a possibility for Aeroplan to team up with another airline?
  • Will Aeroplan become the second coming of Air Miles? In other words, a complete third party loyalty program with various reward options, but not considered a frequent flyer program.

In the works for a while?

I have always had the fear that Aeroplan and Air Canada would discontinue its partnership, especially back when Air Canada decided to introduce its Altitude program. That was probably a trial period for Air Canada to see if they can stand on their own.

What will Air Canada do?

The reports say that Air Canada is planning on launching its own loyalty program. I just expect Air Canada to expand or revamp its Altitude program. So it is not like Air Canada is planning to start from scratch. They have a starting point to work with.

What I plan to do going forward

This means that I will be looking at another Star Alliance frequent flyer program. This will be a completely different analysis for every individual on determining which Star Alliance member to jump to.

Personally, my initial thought was to use United Airlines MileagePlus as my new primary Star Alliance program. Basically, every time I pay for a Star Alliance flight, I would back my miles to MileagePlus. I am hedging that United Airlines may potentially strengthen their ties with Canada. Furthermore, I have flown more United Airlines flight than any other airline in the past 10 years, mainly because when redeeming Aeroplan miles, I can save on fuel surcharges.

However, as nothing is ever set and stone, (which is why we always recommend to diversify your portfolio), so my plan main change over the next 3 years as Aeroplan gets phased out.

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