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Aeroplan is once again owned by Air Canada

The AIMIA Board of Directors met today to approve the acquisition of the Aeroplan program by the Air Canada-led corporate consortium. It’s done!

Aeroplan, once again owned by Air Canada

So this is the end of the saga that has been going on since May 2017 and the announcement of the divorce between Air Canada and Aeroplan.

The Aeroplan program is returning this January 08, 2019 to the hands of Air Canada, which is actively preparing a new loyalty program still scheduled to launch in July 2020. AIMIA’s shareholders voted 96% in favor of the transaction today, so everything will be finalized this month.

The Transaction Resolution was approved by the holders representing 96% of Aimia’s common and preferred shares who voted in respect of the Transaction, in aggregate

The agreement, in figures

Air Canada, TD, CIBC and Visa have agreed to pay $450 million to AIMIA for the purchase of the Aeroplan program, and to guarantee Aeroplan’s approximately $2 billion in outstanding miles.

This allows Air Canada to retain control of the millions of Aeroplan members and ensure a smoother transition to the new program the company is developing.

TD, a preferred partner with Air Canada

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Here, it is TD who stands out as the big moneymaker in this agreement. TD Bank has put $1.02 billion into the project:

  • 622 million paid to Air Canada
  • 308 million for the purchase of “future Air Canada miles
  • 100 million over 2 years to help Air Canada build the functionality required in the new program

TD Bank signs an agreement with Air Canada to be its main partner for a period of 10 years: from 2020 to 2030!

CIBC, walk-on role with Air Canada

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CIBC has committed to pay $292 million:

  • 200 million paid to Air Canada (for the acquisition of Aeroplan)
  • 92 million for the purchase of “future Air Canada miles

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CIBC’s strategy is to entice members to join the “in-house” Aventura program… and that’s why they recently added new benefits to their premium cards.

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What about American Express?

The big absentee in these negotiations: American Express.

American Express issues Aeroplan-affiliated cards and had renewed an agreement with Aeroplan ending June 29, 2020 to transfer its Membership Rewards points to the program.

Air Canada has announced that it is in discussions with American Express to continue its relationship beyond 2020.

We have no doubt that the two companies will come to an agreement as they are so interdependent on each other.

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It should not be forgotten that American Express has a very large network of travel agents AND is particularly well established with business customers… essential to Air Canada.

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And on the other hand, American Express has a vested interest in maintaining a good relationship with Canada’s largest airline, offering cards whose main advantage is the ability to transfer points… into the Aeroplan airline program.

Any upcoming offers for Aeroplan cards?

One thing is certain: now that the transaction is done and the banks are assured that Aeroplan miles will be transferred to the new Air Canada program, CIBC and TD will have to restart the welcome offer machine for Aeroplan cards!

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Actually… especially TD, given the amount of money at stake in its new contract with Air Canada.

Questions about the Aeroplan program until June 2020?

Now, questions remain… which Air Canada will surely answer in the coming weeks / months:

  • Will the existing Aeroplan rules continue until June 29, 2020 as originally planned?
  • What about the new program to be set up by Air Canada (fare structure, travel rules, availability…)?
  • What about the transfer of Aeroplan Miles to the new program?
  • How will the different statuses (Silver/Black/Diamond) be handled by the new program?
  • Will we have new “Air Canada” mileage accumulation partners such as gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies… which Aeroplan lacks today?

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in comments or in the specific topic in the facebook group so that they can be relayed to Air Canada!

Bottom Line

While since May 2017, the 3 Aeroplan card providers (American Express, CIBC and TD) have cut their welcome offers to the bare minimum to attract new cardholders, the final deal between Air Canada and AIMIA for the Aeroplan buyout seems to be delivering what we’ve all been waiting for: the return of these offers… for air miles!

And you, what do you think of all this? Come and discuss it in the facebook group “Travel for free (or almost…!) with your points & miles – milesopedia”!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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