I’ve received numerous questions about an email that Aeroplan sent out to members sometime between yesterday and today titled “Upcoming changes to our Terms and Conditions”, which might’ve naturally put you on high alert as you opened the email.
Ultimately, the email doesn’t contain any groundbreaking changes to the program or merciless devaluations to the award chart, and instead feels more like taking care of some housekeeping in the old terms and conditions before the progression towards the new Air Canada loyalty program begins in earnest.
Nevertheless, given the amount of concern that readers have expressed upon seeing the email, I’ll provide here a walkthrough of the changes detailed within and offer up my interpretation as to what’s happening.
Changes Take Place as of May 25, 2020
The changes detailed in the email will take effect as of May 25, 2020, but I’d be hesitant to assign too much importance to that date. We know that the new program is targeting a Quarter 3 launch, which means July 2020 at the earliest, and I can only see the actual launch date falling later, not earlier, than this projected date.
Instead, the date of May 25 strikes me as a reasonable midpoint between now and the targeted launch date of July 2020, which allows Aeroplan & Air Canada to provide sufficient notice to members about the changing terms and conditions (as they are doing today) while laying the groundwork for the new program’s launch in the future.
Email Will Be the Primary Means of Communication
What’s interesting here is the outright confirmation that Aeroplan and Air Canada will be proactively informing members of the upcoming changes via email.
If I think back to the most recent large-scale transformation within the loyalty space – the merger of the legacy Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards programs into Marriott Bonvoy – one glaring problem was that members were rarely, if ever, kept up-to-date about the impending changes, instead having to learn of many details about the new program via third-party websites and blogs.
Based on Air Canada’s messaging so far, including the open and upfront way they communicated the change in stopover policy last July, I’m hopeful that we’ll all be kept fully informed of the workings of the new loyalty program well before its launch.
Aeroplan Accounts Will Be Administered Online Only
The following section of the email details the changes that are taking place within the terms and conditions, providing a comparison between new and old for every item that’s affected, starting with Item #2:
The second paragraph is a brand-new addition to the terms and conditions, and reflects Aeroplan’s full-fledged existence as a digital platform going forward.
Remember that historically, Aeroplan members have been able to enroll in an Aeroplan account in all kinds of ways: over the phone, when flying with Air Canada via the in-flight magazine, at their local Home Hardware store, etc.
It’s a vestige of a loyalty program that predates the digital era – members would sign up, receive a membership card in the mail, and would only register for an online account if they felt like it. With the introduction of these new terms, however, an online account associated with a valid email address is now the primary basis on which all Aeroplan accounts will be administered.
Note that I don’t see these terms as having any relevance on how Aeroplan bookings are made, and in particular whether or not the Aeroplan contact centre will continue to handle bookings in addition to the online search engine – there’s no doubt that they will.
Instead, it’s simply the administering of your account that will be done primarily online, with the entire new program moving to a much more robust digital platform than what we have now.
Item #22 Is Removed
Following the changes to Item #2, there’s also a change to Item #15, which is basically the same notice that email will become the primary form of communication as we discussed above, but formally codified.
After that, the email states that Item #22 of the current terms and conditions will be removed going forward. The email also provides a sample of the current text:
There’s been quite a bit of confusion over this item. If you aren’t reading the email carefully, it may seem like this is saying that it’s suddenly no longer possible to earn miles in 2020, or make Aeroplan bookings after March 31, or book travel for sometime in 2021.
Well, there’s no need to worry: this item has actually been buried in the terms and conditions throughout much of Aeroplan’s history, and the dates have simply been extended year after year as time goes on.
I’m not sure what purpose it has served, but this line in the terms and conditions would basically always tell you that you may only use the Aeroplan program for the next year or so, except that those dates would keep getting pushed back year after year.
Moreover, the whole thing is a moot point now, since the item will be removed in the new terms and conditions, so there will be no such moving deadline within the terms for earning and redeeming your Aeroplan miles any longer. Much ado about nothing, really.
You Are Responsible for Keeping Your Account Information Up to Date
Pretty simple stuff here – the new Item #25 only expands upon the previous edition, reminding members that it’s their sole responsibility to keep their account information up to date, and absolving Aeroplan of responsibility should you miss any communications due to inaccurate contact information on your account.
The latest updates to Aeroplan’s terms and conditions, which take effect on May 25, are mostly for housekeeping as they prepare to launch a much more digitally-focused refreshed loyalty program in which the importance of email communication will be paramount.
They’ve also taken the opportunity to get rid of Item #22 within the terms, a “moving deadline” for earning and redeeming Aeroplan miles that historically hasn’t really served any real purpose and has only confused members.
We continue to await further official word on the actual workings of the new loyalty program for now, keeping a keen eye out for any details that’ll affect how we earn and redeem Aeroplan miles going forward.