Air Miles backs down, cancels points expiry policy
The Air Miles program is rejigging its access to rewards for collectors, amid complaints from those scrambling to redeem miles that will expire at the end of the year.
Jeff Lagerquist, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, December 1, 2016 4:41PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 1, 2016 6:04PM EST
Air Miles collectors no longer have to worry about using up their rewards points before they expire. The company has backed away from its policy to eliminate unused miles older than five years.
Customers had expressed outrage over the looming deadline when they would lose long-held points. The expiration policy, which was first announced in 2011, was set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2017
Air Miles boasts 11 million active cardholders. The company says collectors have amassed more than $2 billion in points over the past four years.
“There is uncertainty with provincial governments proposing or considering legislation across Canada, so we have decided to cancel the expiry policy so that all collectors, regardless of location, can be confident that their balances will be protected,” said Bryan Pearson, president and CEO of LoyaltyOne, the parent company of Air Miles, in a release on Thursday.
Last month, Ontario Liberal MPP Arthur Potts introduced a private member’s bill that would make it illegal for companies offering loyalty rewards programs in Ontario to eliminate unused points based on the passage of time.
The Protecting Rewards Points Act, or Bill 47, would also force companies to restore any points that expired on or before Oct. 1, 2016.
Executives from LoyaltyOne attended a committee meeting on the issue at Queen’s Park on Tuesday where they expressed their opposition to Bill 47 as well as the expenses associated with making special provisions for Ontario collectors.
“People were very upset by the fact that time was ticking down and they were going to lose their points,” Potts told CTV News Channel on Wednesday. “They were having difficulty redeeming points on the website. They couldn’t get live operators. I realized that there’s a real problem for consumers we needed to address.”
He was confident the bill would pass after a third and final reading on Nov. 12.
Reaction to the surprise announcement on social media has been mixed. While many Air Miles collectors are applauding the decision, a number of customers are regretting cashing out their older miles to avoid expiry.
Just learned @AIRMILES expiry is reversed. Good, but VERY disappointed that I used @ 5,000 miles unnecessarily-had enough for Australia!— Tracey Comeau (@traceycomeau) December 1, 2016
So either #AirMiles heard an angry crowd...or, this was their plan all along to get people to cash in on radios instead of flights?— Peter Greathead (@Peter_Greathead) December 1, 2016
Me: Orders 1700 #airmiles worth of stuff before Dec 31.— Calin Way (@CalinWay) December 1, 2016
Air Miles: lol, j/k you can keep your miles. lololololol