July 7 2013 by Ellen Roseman
The announcement took everyone by surprise. Aeroplan was killing its seven-year redemption deadline for points, scheduled to start on Jan. 1, 2014.
Aeroplan’s sponsor Aimia mentioned the cancellation of the harsh redemption policy in a June 27 news release. It also unveiled a new credit card partner (TD), but only if previous partner CIBC didn’t try to match the TD deal by Aug. 9.
Did Aeroplan decide not to date-stamp points because of a nationwide class action lawsuit by Merchant Law Group?
When I asked that question on Twitter, I heard from Aeroplan spokeswoman Christa Poole. She said members really disliked the deadline. The closer it came, the unhappier they were. The class action simply reflected that animosity.
A senior executive said the same thing to Star columnist Adam Mayers:
The unhappiness became clear during research into the current changes, says Kevin O’Brien, Aeroplan’s chief commercial officer.
“That one was huge,’ he says. “Aeroplan rewards play an aspirational role for members. They accumulate points to do something special and like to plan ahead. So the expiry thing was a big deal.”
However, there’s some bad news for Aeroplan members. They will need more points for business class and first class reward flights to Asia, North Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
The increase adds up to 20 per cent, coming on top of another increase in award redemption levels put in place in 2011, says The Points Guy website.
With a strong competitive market, it is about time Aeroplan cancels mileage expiration. Fortunately, more and more programs are going in the direction of “no mileage expiry.”
JetBlue just did the same thing and Delta doesn’t have mileage expiration either. However the 12-month expiry policy is still active. Members will have to continue to earn miles or redeem them each year in order not to lose their miles.
As an Aeroplan member, I’m glad I don’t have to make a mad dash to cash in my precious miles. But I’m not thrilled with the increase in redemption levels.
Like most collectors, I’m aspiring to take longer flights in more luxurious seats. This announcement means I’ll need more time to save more points than I needed before.