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“Aeroplan is committed to preserving a high value redemption proposition for its members, including travel and flight rewards with industry leaders. We look forward to providing you with more details at the earliest possible time,” says a typical reply on Facebook.
In other words, keep collecting and cashing in your points as usual. Meanwhile, details of deals available in 2020 will dribble out slowly.
Kevin O’Brien, Aeroplan’s chief commercial officer, puts on a brave face in an interview. The split with Air Canada is a reinvention opportunity, he says, offering a chance to sign up other airlines. (I vote for WestJet.)
“The bulk of our members use their points for flights in North America, not Australia,” he tells me after I open up about my Aussie obsession.
“Keep in mind that the miles haven’t cost you anything,” O’Brien says to explain why members don’t mind cashing them in for local flights.
You earn Aeroplan points from retailers keen to build their businesses and banks that offer co-branded cards (TD, CIBC and American Express). They are a byproduct of purchases you make and credit cards that let you defer payments while enjoying the use of a bank’s money.
Aeroplan’s five million active members redeem their points on average once every two years, the company says. Most of the rewards they pick are for flights.
Am I in a minority? As an Aeroplan member since 1987, I’ve redeemed points for flights maybe six times (or once every five years).
About five years ago, CIBC offered flights to Orlando for Aerogold credit card customers and reserved an entire Air Canada plane for us. All I had to do was reply to an email, an amazingly easy process.
Correction – June 7, 2017: This article was edited from a previous version that mistakenly said CIBC offered free flights to Orlando for Aerogold credit card customers