Sure, there are still little problems like a closed US/Canadian border that limits travel opportunities, but Air Canada is ready to start pulling more passengers out of their homes and back to the skies. The carrier announced a half-price sale for its Aeroplan loyalty program members today to help drive those bookings. The sale applies to bookings made by 1 July 2020 for flights between 1 July and 15 October 2020.
In addition to the travel date restrictions there is one additional catch to the half price deal: Passengers must pay full price at the time of booking. The 50% savings comes in the form of a rebate issued within 3 weeks of the trip being completed.
The deal also only applies to fixed price awards and not to upgrades or when passengers use points to pay for taxes, fees and surcharges. And all travel must be on Air Canada, Rouge or regional partners. That means no United-operated flights as part of the deal.
All of these bookings are also fully refundable without any fees through 31 August 2020, as the company extended that policy for award flights.
Plenty of booking possibilities
The carrier also called attention to its recent “Travel at Home” campaign that offered bonus earning potential across a number of partners. Through the six week period program members accrued more than 5.5 billion points in the program.
The promotion also offered members the opportunity to earn Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQMs) towards elite status under the promotion. More than 27 million AQMs were earned by members. Some 5,000 of them earned enough AQMs to tip into the next status tier for the year.
That the entire Travel at Home campaign – from concept to implementation to launch – was completed in just 72 hours is a huge credit to the Air Canada and Aeroplan organization. That the group chose to include a major charitable component also helped drive extra value for consumers, the company and the community. Mark Nasr, VP Loyalty and eCommerce recently commented that the charitable component “totally blew away our expectations.”
Keeping engagement up
The ability to keep program members engaged to this level is impressive. And it is even more impressive when considering that existing Altitude Elite members did not have to do anything to keep their status next year. The huge market penetration of co-branded credit cards in Canada certainly helped with the earning numbers. But Nasr, VP Loyalty and eCommerce, also recently stated that the buy miles promotions run as part of Travel at Home was massively successful.
Selling point to consumers is not new, not particularly innovative. We were totally late to the party… And we launched [the Points.com partnership] in the height of the COVID lockdowns. Our sale did 3x the highest traffic they’ve ever done in their history.
He credits the structure of the promotion, as well as the charity angle, with delivering that win.
Teasing out future benefits of the new program, like bidding for upgrades and a partnership with Etihad also is helping keep the buzz level high as Aeroplan pushes towards the formal relaunch later this year.
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I don’t find this very useful. Even if one is able to get into Canada, you’re faced with a 14 day quarantine.
And, with AC there are surcharges which make it less of a deal. Wouldn’t you expect that we will see a big devaluation with all the miles they printed?
Seth Miller says
I think the target market is not US residents, so that’s part of where diverging views on the overall value might play.
I expect a new program to launch later this year. I expect that many people will find an award that used to be a personal sweet spot has changed and demand justice. And especially in the short-haul/Americas market I expect some challenges as Aeroplan shifts to revenue-based redemption. But overall I don’t expect it to be a bloodbath. Though many will claim it is based on specific cases.