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Remember those messy high school relationships?
Those passion and drama filled, on-again, off-again, tragic love stories?
Well, if you have been following the Aeroplan news as of late, you may feel like you’re watching a saga unfold right before your eyes.
Boy dates girl, boy breaks up with girl, girl moves on and starts to see other people ‒ then boy wants girl back. Ugh.
Aeroplan and Air Canada’s relationship status: It’s complicated
This couple first “got together” when Air Canada launched Aeroplan back in 1984.
Since then, their relationship has gone through its fair share of change – including Aeroplan being sold off in bits and pieces over the years.
…until 2017 when Air Canada and Aeroplan officially announced their decoupling.
While it could have been easy for Aeroplan to throw in the preverbal towel and just start collecting cats, they quickly realized that there are other fish in the sea.
In May of this year, a new CEO came to Aeroplan and things started to happen.
In July, it was announced that Aeroplan would be relaunching and was committed to becoming the best loyalty program in Canada.
They started talking to other airlines – playing the field a little – and soon found themselves a deal with Porter Airlines.
And then Air Canada decided they wanted Aeroplan back.
After one failed attempt, Aeroplan finally decided to once again take the plunge with Air Canada (and a few of Air Canada’s friends).
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On August 21, 2018, it was officially announced that Aimia (the company that owns Aeroplan) had reached an agreement with the Air Canada led consortium.
This deal would see Aimia receiving $450 million in cash ‒ with Air Canada and friends assuming $1.9 billion in liabilities for all the collected Aeroplan miles that are floating around out there.
This accepted offer comes a month after Air Canada’s initial $250 million offer, one which Aimia rejected (nothing wrong with playing a little hard to get).
Even though Aeroplan and Air Canada have come to an agreement, this partnership is not yet set in stone.
The Aimia shareholders still need to vote and closing conditions still need to be met.
Assuming everything goes smoothly, Aimia and Air Canada hope to have the deal finalized this fall.
So what does a deal between Aeroplan and Air Canada mean for the rest of us?
Anytime a deal like this happens, Canadian consumers are often left with many questions.
And although we don’t have all the answers (mainly because nothing has officially been finalized yet), we are going to do our best to answer (and speculate) on some of the big ones.
What about Air Canada’s plans to launch a new loyalty program?
According to Air Canada, they are still planning to move ahead with launching their new program. Although our guess is that they will be “borrowing” from Aeroplan in many areas.
Aeroplan has a platform, app and customers that they have spent time and money developing and attaining, so it would seem silly for Air Canada to invest heavily in those areas.
So, we wouldn’t be surprised if Air Canada’s new loyalty program looked pretty similar to Aeroplan.
What will happen to my Aeroplan miles?
Aeroplan is insisting that things are “business as usual.”
You will still be able to use your points as normal up until 2020.
If this deal goes through, it’s really hard to say what will happen after 2020, but one scenario is that your miles will be converted to the new program that Air Canada rolls out.
Is this deal going to be good for current Aeroplan collectors?
This question is a little tricker to answer.
It’s hard to know whether Aimia’s relational freedom would have brought about some really cool partnerships with airlines like Porter, Flair and Air Transit…
But this deal should mean a smooth transition for current Aeroplan members.
Sadly, we are still a few weeks (or months) away from finding out what current Aeroplan miles will be worth with the new Air Canada loyalty program, so we would still suggest trying to use up your miles before 2020 – unless Air Canada promises us no devaluation.
Unfortunately, this deal isn’t likely to make your miles any easier to use.
Aeroplan is a great program, but finding an Aeroplan flight that fits your exact desired schedule wasn’t always easy. And with Air Canada at the helm yet again, this issue probably isn’t going to get any easier.
Is this deal going to be good for non Aeroplan collectors?
Monopolies are never good.
And the exciting thing about Air Canada and Aeroplan parting ways was that there was going to be some increased competition.
Competition often means companies fighting for customers. Especially in the world of credit cards.
We were kind of excited to see what offers credit card companies would come up with to try to lure unhappy Aeroplan members away.
That could still happen – especially with RBC and WestJet teaming up – but when it comes to options and competition, the more the merrier.
The waiting game
And now…we wait. Again.
We wait to see if these two crazy kids are going to stay together.
We wait to see what this renewed partnership will have to offer Canadians after 2020.
And we wait to see if any companies are going to rise up and try to steal some Aeroplan members in the meantime.
What do you think the future holds for Aeroplan and Air Canada?
Are you excited about this possible deal? Or are you wishing these two would just call it quits?
Let us know in the comments below.