Air Canada recently announced that it will be rebooting its loyalty program. However, the new program won't be rolled out until 2020. That doesn't mean that loyal customers of Air Canada shouldn't start taking a look at how the changes will affect the way they fly. The first thing to know is that all Aeroplan Miles earned up until June of 2020 will stay in a customer's Aeroplan account. Miles can continue to be redeemed for Aeroplan Rewards until then. It has also been revealed that Air Canada expects to continue allowing Aeroplan Miles to be redeemed for flights beyond June of 2020.
Why Air Canada's Current Program Isn't Enough for the Airline
Air Canada's Aeroplan program isn't actually operated by the airline. It is owned by a separate company called Aimia. The choice to use a third-party company to operate its loyalty program made financial sense for Air Canada back in 2008 when the decision was made. However, a lot has changed since then. Data is now king when it comes to loyalty programs. Air Canada's decision to take back its loyalty program is actually a decision to be able to acquire and utilize all of the data that is gathered through the program. It also means that the airline is effectively starting from scratch when it comes to building its loyalty program.
What Will Be Different About Air Canada's Updated Loyalty Program?
Air Canada will be taking a data-driven approach when it revamps its loyalty program in 2020. The program won't simply focus on rewarding customers for flights. The program will be built around figuring out how customers earn and use their miles. Each customer account will be utilized as a rich treasure trove that can be mined for data regarding a customer's preferences and habits.
This is becoming more and more important for airlines because they often strike huge partnership deals with credit cards. Air Canada doesn't own the rights to Aeroplan credit cards under its current arrangement. Those rights belong to Aimia until the company's contract with Air Canada runs out in 2020.
Taking More Control Over Customer Experience
The decision to put control of its loyalty program into the hands of another company didn't just limit the rights of Air Canada in terms of customer information. It also limited Air Canada's abilities regarding customer experiences. Air Canada's revamped loyalty program will enable the company to create a cohesive and comprehensive operating plan.
Members of Air Canada's loyalty program might be concerned over the company's plan to rely more heavily on data when creating and operating its updated program. This obviously raises concerns over privacy. However, it seems that Air Canada's goal when using data primarily revolves around being able to deliver smarter offers. Data will be used to make sure that the right offers are being shown to the right members.
This means that customers with histories of traveling to certain destinations for business will be shown flight options and offers that meet their needs. It also means that people who travel primarily for pleasure will be shown options that work best for leisurely vacations. Having access to pure data from customer activity will give Air Canada the ability to show relevant products and services to the right people.