In 2002 Air Canada decided to spin off its mileage program, Aeroplan, into its own entity.
Air Canada started selling it off in 2005 and completely divested of it by 2008. Aimia currently runs the program and has the contract to do so until June 29, 2020.
Experts thought that Air Canada would start a new trend, with airlines realizing big up-front bucks by spinning off their mileage programs.
But the opposite happened. The main value proposition of mileage programs is when they are integrated. That way the airlines can collect the big bucks that banks are shelling out, while offering award tickets that won’t hurt their bottom line. Over time banks have been paying higher and higher fees for miles in order to support their lucrative credit card departments.
Air Canada just announced that they will not renew Aeroplan’s contract and effective 6/30/20 they will bring their mileage program back in house. After that point you will earn Air Canada miles for flights and you’ll likely need Air Canada miles to redeem awards on Star Alliance airlines. Until then you will continue to earn Aeroplan miles.
If you have Aeroplan miles you will probably want to use them by 6/29/20. The Aeroplan program will continue to exist, but it won’t have access to the type of award flights that it enjoys now as Air Canada’s mileage program. It is nice that we’re getting a 3 years heads-up for that purpose.
Aeroplan has gone through a plethora of devaluations, even worse than the US programs. The best outcome of this announcement is that it will pretty much kill the voices that want other airlines to outsource their mileage programs. People are unlikely to invest in outsourced programs when airlines can just refuse to renew the contract and effectively kill the program.