With a quarter of the year gone recovery of the Canadian aviation sector remains a long way away. Air Canada acknowledged this, choosing to extend elite status in the company’s Aeroplan frequent flyer program another year. Whatever status a member holds in 2021 (including those extended from 2020) will automatically extend through 2022.
In addition to the elite status extension the company extended the expiry date of points in the Aeroplan program. No points will expire prior to 31 January 2022.
Selective rollover on earning for 2023
In addition to the status extension, members who fly in 2021 could see those credits rollover into 2022 for earning status in 2023. But this option comes with a catch: Only program members that reach a qualifying tier in 2021 will see the credits apply again in 2022. As the company explains:
- Based on your 2021 flight activities, if you earn 26,000 SQM, 15 SQS, and 3,500 SQD, you’ll have met the qualification requirement for Aeroplan 25K, and therefore all 26,000 SQM, 15 SQS, and 3,500 SQD will be added to your qualification balance in 2022.
- Similarly, based on your 2021 flight activities, if you earn 79,000 SQM, 35 SQS, and 12,500 SQD, you’ll have met the qualification requirement for Aeroplan 75K, and therefore all 79,000 SQM, 35 SQS, and 12,500 SQD will be added to your qualification balance in 2022.
- However, based on your 2021 flight activities, if you earn 12,000 SQM, 4 SQS, and 2,800 SQD, you will not have met the qualification requirement for any Aeroplan Elite Status, and therefore your 2021 SQM, SQS, and SQD will not be honored in 2022.
Limiting loyalty leakage
The limited rollover could help address loyalty leakage, one of the most common challenges associated with a wholesale status extension or other promotion. With loyalty in the program assured for another year, perhaps customers will seek out alternate options rather than remaining loyal. After all, they’ve already secured status for next year.
A rollover program hopes to keep some of that loyalty by effectively doubling the credit for qualifications, and several programs offered some version of that approach in 2020 for the 2021 earning year. Aeroplan’s approach this time around, however, means that customers must focus a decent chunk of their loyalty on Air Canada (or partner) operations to earn that rollover.
Just one or two flights won’t be enough typically to get the bonus credit next year. As a result, the customers who “invest” more in the program now are rewarded.
This must be balanced, of course, against the reality of the Canadian market. International services are severely limited. The country only recently announced it would allow some regional flights to leisure destinations in the Caribbean and Central America again after closing them out completely in the depths of winter. Long-haul operations must funnel through limited gateway airports and quarantine rules apply. Even domestic travels are limited. All of this points to an environment where elite qualification will be dramatically lower this year.
Promotions to capture as much of the traffic trickle as possible are key for the programs as they hope for a brighter future wallet share.
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