In a new development that will have everyone in Ontario raising their glass, Aeroplan has announced a new upcoming strategic partnership with the LCBO, allowing Ontarians to earn and redeem Aeroplan points on their LCBO purchases.
New Aeroplan & LCBO Partnership
Aeroplan’s new partnership with LCBO has been announced today, and is scheduled to launch in late 2021 before year-end.
When the partnership begins, LCBO shoppers will 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.
There will be a base earning rate for Aeroplan points, as well as additional rotating bonus offers on select LCBO items.
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 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.
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.
Still, I’ll be eager to see the partnership launching before year-end and witness how it all plays out at LCBO stores across Ontario. And whenever I’m back in Toronto, I’ll be sure to load up on a few extra bottles to get the good times – and my Aeroplan balance – flowing.
Aeroplan’s upcoming partnership with LCBO promises to be an intoxicating new component to Canada’s loyalty program, one that will surely lift members’ spirits across the province of Ontario.
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.
It’s yet another step in Aeroplan’s roadmap to dominate the Canadian loyalty space, and I’m excited to see what special offers the program comes up with when they launch the partnership sometime in the upcoming months.