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AIR MILES: Loyalty Ventures declares bankruptcy and BMO buys the program

To the point Loyalty Ventures, the company that owns AIR MILES, has filed for bankruptcy. On June 1, 2023, BMO confirms the purchase of the loyalty program.

*** June 1, 2023 : The AIR MILES program is officially purchased by BMO.

*** March 10, 2023: In a press release at 7:00 a.m. this morning, BMO confirms that it wants to acquire AIR MILES. More details to come. BMO’s acquisition of the AIR MILES business was proposed in the LoyaltyOne proceeding under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) commenced in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – Commercial List.

Loyalty Ventures officially filed for bankruptcy on Friday, March 10, 2023. The announcement had been made by Bloomberg on Thursday, March 9, 2023, and the fact was then confirmed Friday afternoon. It looked like AIR MILES would soon be gone, until Friday morning when BMO announced its intention to acquire the AIR MILES Reward Program. It was too much loss of customers as well as the drop in Loyalty Ventures’ stock that forced the company to file for bankruptcy protection.

Then, on June 1, 2023, AIR MILES confirmed its acquisition by BMO.

This article will be updated over time as more information becomes available about the future of AIR MILES.

In recent months, we have seen several efforts by AIR MILES to retain its customers:

These seem to have been in vain. It has to be said that AIR MILES has suffered a number of blows, particularly in terms of its partnerships, such as the replacement of the program by Scène+ in grocery stores in March 2023. Check out our coverage on the subject to follow the evolution of the last few months.

So what should you do with your AIR MILES in this situation? Here are our tips.

What this means for your AIR MILES miles

We recommend that you use your AIR MILES miles if you can.

If you have Cash Miles, use them in store. The redemption rate is 95 miles for $10 off your bill to pay :

  • Your grocery store at IGA in Quebec (reminder: in-store gift card purchases do not work). Or Metro outside Quebec.
  • Items or medication at Jean Coutu drugstores (reminder: the purchase of gift cards in-store does not work either)
  • Pay for gas or items at Shell

If you live outside of Quebec, you are left with Shell, Metro and a few smaller partners.

Another plan, valid for all Canadians, is to use them for electronic vouchers. There are vouchers for Spotify, Decathlon, The Source, Uber Eats, Timber Mart, H&M, Hudson’s Bay, La Vie en Rose, Roots, Pizza Pizza, Cineplex, Sephora, VIA Rail, WaySpa, etc. You will receive the electronic voucher a few minutes after your transaction.

The AIR MILES site may be unstable or experience technical problems during redemption due to high traffic on the site. If you have any problems, it would be better to do it directly in stores like IGA, Jean Coutu or Shell.

If you have Dream Miles, you have several options.

If you have any bookings scheduled and paid for with your AIR MILES miles, we hope that they will be maintained.

We will have information in the next few days, but you can try to get in the very short term:

  • on merchandise
  • tickets to theme parks such as Disney and Universal Studios
  • hotels and car rentals
  • or airline tickets

BMO and American Express co-branded credit cards

*** June 1, 2023: BMO announces confirmation of AIR MILES purchase.

*** March 10, 2023: BMO announces that it wants to buy AIR MILES. The acquisition of the AIR MILES Reward Program business by BMO was proposed in the LoyaltyOne proceeding under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act in Canada, before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

This is very good news, as BMO is in a strong position. And AIR MILES needs stability in this sea of turbulence.

It’s still early to tell what will happen with AIR MILES credit cards. But as of April 12, 2023, American Express AIR MILES cards are no longer available to new cardholders.

We will have to wait for the details of the restructuring to know more. We will update this section as we go along.

Since March 23, 2023, the Scene program has replaced AIR MILES at IGA. Scene+ points are earned on select Scotiabank Scene+ credit cards.

If you want to change your BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®*Mastercard, it may be time to upgrade to a Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card. Here is a comparison between these two cards to help you in your choice.

BMO's commitment to the future of the AIR MILES program

To reassure AIR MILES members, BMO is announcing its commitment to the future of the program:

  • New AIR MILES travel booking platform coming soon
  • New partners to be discovered soon for mileage earning and redemption
  • Using cutting-edge technology to add value to the member experience
  • New method of collecting bonus miles by reading a sales receipt (in a pilot project for the Atlantic region)

In the meantime, AIR MILES Collectors can take advantage of a summer promotion to earn 5x miles.

Bottom line

You’re probably asking yourself 1001 questions. We’ll have to wait a while for the answers, but the next few months will tell us more about this bankruptcy, and this article will be regularly updated as the situation develops.

BMO’s commitment is very vague at the moment, and we look forward to seeing concrete examples.

Now that BMO has bought AIR MILES and relaunched it, we can be a little more optimistic about the program’s future. But will it be on the same form and with the same exchange rate?

All this news reminds us of what we often say: Earn and burn – accumulate and exchange as much as possible. Loyalty programs are not savings accounts. They can be devalued at any time.

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Travelling is a way of life for Marie-Ève, who spends almost six months a year abroad. She's always looking for waves to surf, great coffee and the best strategies to travel longer. You'll probably find her in a coworking space with other digital nomads, or by the sea watching the sunsets.

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