- March 23, 2023: Scene+ program begins in Quebec.
- February 21, 2023: Announcement of the launch of Scene+ in Quebec at IGA, IGA extra, Voilà by IGA, Rachelle Béry and Les Marchés Traditions on March 23, 2023
- February 18, 2023: announcement of the end of AIR MILES in Quebec at IGA on March 22, 2023
- October 12, 2022: Announcement of the launch of Scene+ in Ontario on November 3
- August 24, 2022: Announcement of the launch of Scene+ on September 22 in Western Canada and selected stores in Ontario
- August 11, 2022: Launch of Scene+ in Atlantic Canada
- June 8, 2022: Announcement of the Sobeys/IGA alliance with Scene+ at the expense of AIR MILES
Grocery and drug stores that will participate in the Scene+ program
Empire owns many grocery and drug stores in Canada:
- Chalo! FreshCo
- Voilà by IGA/Sobeys/Safeway
- Thrifty Foods
- IGA West
- Les Marchés Tradition
- Rachelle Béry
- Lawtons Drugs and Co-Op
All of these grocery and drug stores were participating in the AIR MILES program. Gradually, across Canada, they have replaced it with the Scene+ program, the new Scotiabank and Cineplex program. The Scene+ membership card has been used as an IGA/Sobeys loyalty card since then.
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Since August 11, 2022, Scene+ has been deployed in grocery stores and drugstores in the Atlantic Provinces. Scene+ was introduced on September 22, 2022, in Western Canada and selected businesses in Ontario.
The rollout went faster than expected in Ontario with a November 3, 2022, launch in Empire Company stores such as Sobeys and Foodland.
For Quebec, the changes took place on March 23, 2023. Therefore, it is no longer possible to collect and redeem AIR MILES miles after March 22, 2023. The Scene+ program is officially in effect at IGA, IGA extra, Voilà by IGA, Rachelle Béry and Les Marchés Traditions since March 23, 2023.
Scene+ will also be deployed in liquor stores (Sobeys Liquor, Safeway Liquor, Thrifty Foods Liquor).
How to earn Scene+ points at grocery and drug stores
With the Scene+ loyalty card
You can earn Scene+ points by shopping at IGA, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry, Sobeys by presenting your Scene+ membership card. Your Scene+ membership card serves as your IGA/Sobeys loyalty card.
Just like you did with AIR MILES.
Scene+ members will also be able to take advantage of exclusive member pricing and customized offers to earn more points.
With a Scotia Scene+ debit or credit card
You can also earn Scene+ points at the grocery store by paying with a Scotiabank Scene+ debit or credit card such as the :
- Scotiabank Scene+ ScotiaCard®* Debit Card
- Scotiabank Passport ScotiaCard®* Debit Card (Stop Sold)
- Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card
- Scotiabank American Express® Card
- Scotiabank Platinum American Express® Card
- Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card
- SCENE®^ Visa* Credit Card (including the SCENE®^ Visa* Credit Card for Students)
- Scotiabank PassportTM Visa Infinite Business* Credit Card
A Scene+ debit card (with a Scotiabank banking package) is a good option if you shop regularly at Empire Group grocery stores. And most importantly, a Scene+ credit card offering a higher earning rate for groceries.
You earn more points at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry and Co-Op:
- 6 points per dollar with the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card
- 3 points per dollar with the Scotiabank American Express Card
- 3 points per dollar with the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card
- 2 points per dollar with the Scotiabank® Scene+™ Visa* Card
As you can see, for this $516.07 purchase at an IGA supermarket, I’ve earned 3,096 points with my Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card. That’s a value of nearly $31 (representing a 6% return).
How to redeem Scene+ points at grocery and drug stores
Scene+ points can be used at grocery, drugstores and liquor stores with the value of 1,000 Scene+ points = $10.
This way, you’ll get the same redemption rate for travel or grocery purchases! This will make life easier for those who were hesitating between Dream Miles and Cash Miles at AIR MILES.
Your AIR MILES Reward Miles
The AIR MILES Reward Miles you have earned at Empire stores are held in your AIR MILES account. You can continue to use them with other partners such as Shell or Irving after the Scene+ program is implemented.
In any case, it will no longer be possible to use your Cash Miles at Empire Group stores.
What about BMO and American Express?
We do not believe that American Express Canada will go so far as to offer one or more Scene+ credit cards in place of AIR MILES credit cards (for which no specific welcome bonuses have been made in over a year). Scotiabank already issues three American Express credit cards that participate in the Scene+ program.
For BMO, one of the significant AIR MILES partners along with Shell, there are exclusive offers for Milesopedia readers on AIR MILES credit cards:
- 3,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles for the BMO® AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard®* (instead of 2,000 Miles)
- 1,500 AIR MILES Bonus Miles for the BMO® AIR MILES® Mastercard®* (instead of 800 miles)
And BMO Bank has recently redesigned its business product with the BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* Business Mastercard®*.
But remember: in the past, BMO offered co-branded cards with Sobeys and IGA. These were recently withdrawn from the market. Again, this sent a signal about the relationship between AIR MILES and its major partners.
It should also be noted that over the past two years, BMO has strengthened its proprietary BMO Rewards program with the addition of credit cards ( Eclipse Visa cards) and the recent changes to the BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard.
These cards are designed for travellers who want to earn more points for specific purchases:
BMO has also made changes to its cash back credit cards. For example, with the BMO® CashBack® World Elite®* Mastercard®* you earn between 2% and 5% cash back on many categories of purchases:
- 5% on grocery purchases
- 4% on transit purchases
- 3% on gas and electric recharging
- 2% on recurring bill payments
Everywhere else, you’ll earn 1% cash back, including at Costco.
With all these changes to its credit cards, BMO has ensured that it has the right products for you:
- travel rewards
- cash back
An easy parallel to draw with the AIR MILES program, which offers its members the option to earn:
- Dream Miles (for travel)
- Cash Miles (for cash back)
What about AIR MILES?
AIR MILES is now in a very uncomfortable position:
- Lowe’s, Rona and Reno-Depot left the program in 2021
- LCBO left the program in 2021 to join Aeroplan
- Metro bought Jean Coutu in 2017 and will be implementing its MOI program in May 2023
- Empire (IGA, Sobeys, Safeway, etc.) leaves the program in 2022
- Staples left the program on July 1, 2022
- Shell gas stations are owned by Sobeys in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, which does not suggest a long-term relationship with AIR MILES. Even though Shell has renewed its partnership with AIR MILES in Canada.
- The main competitor, Aeroplan, has signed a series of partnerships such as with Starbucks and Uber and has solid credit card agreements with American Express, CIBC and TD.
What is left in the program as major retail partners? Shell.
And a few other smaller partners.
The focus is on the Airmilesshops.ca online shopping portal, which continues to attract new partners such as Uniqlo and The Home Depot and now has over 300 brands.
AIR MILES has been trying to refresh its brand image recently.
But at the same time, significant changes were made to its Dream program and Jean Coutu ended the option of redeeming Cash Miles for Gift Cards. This has prompted AIR MILES members to find alternative strategies for using their miles.
Finally, the involvement of AIR MILES members in events such as the Shop the Block has decreased significantly due to a lack of interest in the program and the decrease in the rewards offered (to AIR MILES’ credit, the two years of COVID-19 did not help).
Scotiabank and Cineplex have partnered with the Empire Group to bring the Scene+ program to hundreds of grocery and drug stores across Canada. This is to combat the well-established PC Optimum program as well.
AIR MILES is clearly the big loser here. And we look forward to the redesign of the program following its purchase by BMO. This is a game changer given the recent departures of major players such as Lowe’s, Rona, Reno-Depot, LCBO, IGA, Sobeys, Safeway and many others.
Scene+ Frequently Asked Questions
When will the switch between AIR MILES and Scene+ take place?
Starting in August 2022, Scene+ members will be able to start earning points at Empire branches in Atlantic Canada, followed by Western Canada, Ontario and Quebec on March 23, 2023. The Scene+ membership card becomes the IGA/Sobeys loyalty card.
What is the IGA loyalty card?
The loyalty card at IGA is the Scene+ membership card.
How do I earn Scene+ points at Empire stores like IGA or Sobeys?
You can earn Scene+ points at Empire branches in two ways: by presenting your Scene+ membership card, by earning points through promotions, and by paying for purchases with a participating Scotiabank debit or credit card. Your Scene+ membership card serves as your IGA/Sobeys loyalty card.
You can earn more points by paying for purchases at participating Empire locations with a Scotiabank Scene+ debit or credit card and presenting your Scene+ membership card.
At which grocery stores can I use my Scene+ card?
In 2023, Scene+ is available at all Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland, Co-op, FreshCo, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA, Rachelle Béry, Les Marchés Tradition, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by Safeway and Voilà by IGA, as well as Needs convenience stores.
The Scene+ membership card serves as your IGA/Sobeys loyalty card.
At which drugstores can I use my Scene+ card?
Scene+ is available at Lawtons Drugs, Sobeys, Safeway, Foodland, Thrifty Foods, FreshCo and Chalo! FreshCo.
At which wine and spirits stores can I use my Scene+ card?
Scene+ is available at Sobeys, Safeway and Thrifty Foods wine and spirit stores in Western Canada.
How to get 5 times the points at grocery stores?
With the Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card you earn 5 Scene+ points per dollar at all grocery stores. and 6 points per dollar at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry and Co-Op.
The same goes for the American Express Cobalt® Card: you can earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar at any grocery store.
Find out how to get 5 times the points at many other retailers with these cards.