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Aeroplan Launches Partnership with LCBO (Intro Offers)

Aeroplan has launched their new partnership with the LCBO as of today, November 16, 2021, allowing Ontarians to earn and redeem Aeroplan points on their LCBO purchases.

The program has announced a few introductory offers through late November, which are worth a handful of easy bonus points the next time you shop at the LCBO.

New Aeroplan & LCBO Partnership

Having been initially announced in August 2021, Aeroplan’s new partnership with LCBO has officially gone into effect today.

LCBO shoppers now have the ability to swipe their physical or digital Aeroplan membership cards upon checkout at the liquor store to earn Aeroplan points on their purchases. 

In linking up with Aeroplan, LCBO replaces its previous partnership with Air Miles, which came to an end in March 2021.

Earn 1 Aeroplan Point for Every $4 Spent

LCBO shoppers will earn a base rate of 1 Aeroplan point for every $4 spent on their purchases, which represents an effective earning rate of 0.25 Aeroplan points per dollar spent.

Your LCBO purchase amounts will be rounded down to the nearest multiple of $4 in calculating the number of Aeroplan points you earn. For example, if an Aeroplan member spent $59 on their choice of liquor, they’d earn 14 Aeroplan points, not 15. 

The points you earn on LCBO purchases are incremental to the points you earn from paying for your purchases with the right credit card. 

For Aeroplan points collectors, the simple solution would be to pay with an Aeroplan co-branded credit card and earn an additional 1 Aeroplan point per dollar spent.

However, the most optimal strategy would be to purchase LCBO gift cards at a grocery store that accepts American Express like Metro or Sobeys, earning 5 MR points per dollar spent (transferable to Aeroplan 1:1) on your American Express Cobalt Card, and then using those gift cards for your LCBO purchases.

In doing so, you’d earn a grand total of 5.25 Aeroplan points per dollar spent at the LCBO. At our valuation of 2.1 cents/point for Aeroplan points, that’s equivalent to a 11.025% return on your alcohol – whether you’re a purveyor of Belvedere or Bacardi, Taittinger or Tanqueray, you can’t beat that for a return on your preferred poison.

Intro Offers: New Member Bonus + Double Points on First Purchase

To celebrate the partnership’s launch, there are a few introductory offers to take note of:

  • LCBO customers who are not currently Aeroplan members may join Aeroplan through November 28, 2021 and earn 250 bonus Aeroplan points with their first LCBO purchase.
  • New and existing Aeroplan members can earn 2x the base points (i.e., 2 Aeroplan points for every $4 spent) on their first purchase of $50 or more at LCBO through November 28, 2021. 

While not overly exciting, these introductory offers are certainly worth taking advantage of if you live in Ontario. Front-load some of your liquor shopping before the holiday season to earn double points on your first big purchase of $50+. 

And if you have family members who aren’t Aeroplan members yet, then getting them to register for an account before shopping at LCBO results in an easy 250 extra points in your Family Sharing pool.

Bonus Aeroplan Points on Select LCBO Products

In addition to the base earning rate, you’ll also earn bonus Aeroplan points on select LCBO products from time to time.

You’ll typically see these bonus points offers being advertised in-store with tags on the shelves, as well as on LCBO flyers. They’ll be incremental to the base rate of 1 Aeroplan point per $4 spent, as well as the points you earn from spending on your credit card.

We’ll find out more about the exact bonus offers upon the partnership’s official launch later in 2021, so you can expect to hear more about this one. 

Redeem Aeroplan Points for LCBO Gift Cards

Finally, when the partnership launches, Aeroplan members will have the ability to redeem Aeroplan points for LCBO gift cards, starting at 1,000 Aeroplan points for a $10 LCBO gift card – for an effective redemption rate of 1 cent per point (cpp).

Now, this represents a discount from the usual redemption rate for gift cards (which is even lower value), but 1cpp definitely pales in comparison to the much higher value you could attain for your Aeroplan points by redeeming them for flights and travel instead.

Indeed, we recommend at least 2.1cpp as a benchmark, and it’s easy to exceed 2.1cpp when redeeming for business class and First Class flights, and sometimes even economy class flights.

Bottom line, 1,000 Aeroplan points are worth far more than $10 towards liquor – so while it’s nice to have this option on paper, I’m sure even the thirstiest of Aeroplan members will agree that it’s a better idea to pursue the onboard champagne instead. 

My Thoughts on the New Aeroplan + LCBO Partnership

Ever since the new Aeroplan’s launch, we’ve known that the program plans to implement a strategy of linking up with well-loved marquee brands in all corners of Canadians’ lives in order to widen its membership base. 

And after establishing a foothold in Canadians’ morning beverage routines with Starbucks earlier this year, Aeroplan has now taken aim for our evening doses of liquid happiness through the soon-to-be-launched partnership with LCBO.

The LCBO partnership makes a lot of sense on the surface. We know that Ontario’s liquor board has been seeking a new loyalty partner following their breakup with Air Miles in March 2021. Going forward, we can expect to hear LCBO cashiers asking “Aeroplan?” every time someone checks out, which will further ingrain Aeroplan in the wider public’s minds as Canada’s leading loyalty program. 

I do find the base earning rate of 1 Aeroplan point for every $4 spent to be fairly insignificant at a 0.25% effective earning rate, although I’d expect this to be boosted by the bonus points offers on select items, or perhaps promotional offers such as an extra allotment of points for spending a certain minimum amount at the LCBO during a promotion period. 

Furthermore, partnerships like these are never about racking up points in large quantities – we have credit card welcome bonuses for that – but instead, getting closer to your next redemption day-by-day by engaging with the program on a very frequent basis.

Of course, I also think Aeroplan may have faced questions around social responsibility if they were to offer too high of a base earning rate – certainly, those who struggle with alcohol consumption do not need to mix in their travel addiction as an overlapping force. 

The other thought that comes to mind is that even though the new Aeroplan and LCBO partnership is an exciting one, its utility is ultimately limited to the province Ontario. As excited as I am by the thought of liquor runs to Toronto on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, I’m not sure if the 0.25% return justifies the expense. 

Indeed, as a former Ontarian who recently moved out of the province, I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on this very attractive partnership here in British Columbia.

I’d love to see further partnerships with BC Liquor, SAQ, etc. being rolled out in the future, rather than simply offering the LCBO partnership for Ontarians but holding out on the rest of Canada.

Conclusion

Aeroplan’s new partnership with LCBO promises to be an intoxicating new component to Canada’s largest loyalty program.

Members will be able to earn 1 Aeroplan point for every $4 spent at the LCBO as a base earning rate, along with bonus offers on select LCBO items to further boost their balances while they pick up their favourite drinks.

The partnership’s launch is marked by a series of introductory offers that go through November 28, 2021, so make sure to keep these in mind the next time you stop by the LCBO.