5 things to know about Aeroplan points

TORONTO — Air Canada (TSX:AC) is saying au revoir to Aeroplan as it unveils plans to start an in-house loyalty rewards program in 2020. Here’s what that means for the five million Aeroplan members earning rewards for flying with 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.

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I’ve booked an Air Canada flight 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?

Air Canada’s contract with Aimia Inc. (TSX:AIM), which runs Aeroplan, expires in June 2020. Until then, points 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 Airlines.

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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.

After that, the answer is unclear.

Air Canada said 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 that isn’t certain yet, as there’s still discussions to be had. He said the company continues to work on alternatives for when Air Canada leaves the program, including the possibility of finding new partners.

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Does this change anything about my Aeroplan credit card?

TD, CIBC and American Express all offer cards connected to the Aeroplan program. The contracts with TD and CIBC expire in 2024, while the American Express contract expires in 2018. Johnston said he’s not worried about those companies following Air Canada’s lead.

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

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Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said all three affiliated card contracts expire in 2024. Aimia later said its contract with American Express expires in 2018.

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