Saturday, April 1, 2023

BMO to purchase Air Miles after the rewards program’s proprietor filed for chapter

Did Air Miles go bankrupt in Canada?

Lower than a day after phrase bought out that Loyalty Ventures Inc., the U.S. mother or father firm of the Air Miles Reward Program, was getting ready to file for chapter, BMO Monetary Group stepped as much as purchase this system, at a value of USD$160 million.

Does Air Miles nonetheless exist? Are you able to redeem the rewards?

Sure, Air Miles remains to be round, and it needs to be for some time but, because of BMO. “As a founding associate of the Air Miles program since 1992, BMO is nicely positioned to strengthen and develop Canada’s most acknowledged loyalty program,” in accordance with a BMO assertion issued on the morning of March 10. (The acquisition remains to be topic to court docket and regulatory approval.)

For a number of hours between March 9 and the official bulletins from BMO and Loyalty Ventures on the morning of March 10, collectors had been at midnight concerning the destiny of their Air Miles. Twitter and Reddit customers urged one another to money of their miles ASAP. Nonetheless, for a lot of collectors, the webpages the place they normally redeem their Air Miles for “eVouchers” (digital reward playing cards) and merchandise returned solely server errors. Guests had been additionally unable to view claimed vouchers of their accounts. Ultimately, the error messages had been changed with a generic word about scheduled upkeep.

Screenshot saying "Life is short but so is our scheduled maintenance to our site"

At 9:40 a.m. on March 10, Air Miles tweeted that its redemption web site was up and operating, which we’ve confirmed. The identical day, a message added to the Air Miles dwelling web page introduced BMO’s intention to accumulate this system and reassured guests that the method “is not going to have an effect on collectors’ reward miles balances or their skill to gather and redeem Air Miles reward miles.” 

What occurred to Air Miles

Air Miles is among the nation’s largest loyalty packages—its 10 million accounts characterize practically two-thirds of Canadian households. Collectors earn reward miles at all kinds of outlets and thru credit score and debit playing cards, and they are often redeemed for merchandise, journey, leisure and a spread of vouchers for manufacturers like Hole, Decathlon, H&M, The Supply and a number of eating places. Collectors may also redeem Air Miles for money rewards at in-store companions akin to Metro and Shell. (Companions fluctuate by province or territory.) 

It’s unclear what modifications we’ll see, if any, to standalone Air Miles playing cards, however BMO has supplied Air Miles bank cards for a few years—2022 was the thirtieth anniversary of its partnership with this system. And the financial institution acknowledged that the proposed acquisition “can be a made-in-Canada alternative to allow a reinvigoration for certainly one of Canada’s largest loyalty packages.”

That reinvigoration is sorely wanted. The Air Miles program has suffered setbacks prior to now two years, notably the departure of main retailers in the summertime of 2022: Staples and Empire Co. Ltd.—proprietor of the Sobeys and Safeway grocery store chains. Staples now affords its personal loyalty program, and Empire grew to become a co-owner of the Scene+ program. In 2021, the Liquor Management Board of Ontario (LCBO) additionally left Air Miles, however to work with Air Miles’ competitor Aeroplan. Lowe’s Canada additionally left in 2021; it joined RBC’s Avion Rewards program in September 2022.

Learn extra about rewards packages:

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