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BMO to purchase Air Miles after the rewards program’s proprietor filed for chapter

Did Air Miles go bankrupt in Canada?

Lower than a day after phrase received out that Loyalty Ventures Inc., the U.S. father or mother firm of the Air Miles Reward Program, was getting ready to file for chapter, BMO Monetary Group stepped as much as purchase this system, at a value of USD$160 million.

Does Air Miles nonetheless exist? Are you able to redeem the rewards?

Sure, Air Miles remains to be round, and it must be for some time but, because of BMO. “As a founding accomplice of the Air Miles program since 1992, BMO is nicely positioned to strengthen and develop Canada’s most acknowledged loyalty program,” in line with a BMO assertion issued on the morning of March 10. (The acquisition remains to be topic to court docket and regulatory approval.)

For a number of hours between March 9 and the official bulletins from BMO and Loyalty Ventures on the morning of March 10, collectors have been at midnight in regards to the destiny of their Air Miles. Twitter and Reddit customers urged one another to money of their miles ASAP. Nonetheless, for a lot of collectors, the webpages the place they normally redeem their Air Miles for “eVouchers” (digital reward playing cards) and merchandise returned solely server errors. Guests have been additionally unable to view claimed vouchers of their accounts. Ultimately, the error messages have been changed with a generic observe about scheduled upkeep.

Screenshot saying "Life is short but so is our scheduled maintenance to our site"

At 9:40 a.m. on March 10, Air Miles tweeted that its redemption website was up and working, which we’ve confirmed. The identical day, a message added to the Air Miles residence web page introduced BMO’s intention to amass this system and reassured guests that the method “is not going to have an effect on collectors’ reward miles balances or their potential to gather and redeem Air Miles reward miles.” 

What occurred to Air Miles

Air Miles is without doubt one of the nation’s largest loyalty applications—its 10 million accounts characterize practically two-thirds of Canadian households. Collectors earn reward miles at all kinds of shops and thru credit score and debit playing cards, and they are often redeemed for merchandise, journey, leisure and a variety of vouchers for manufacturers like Hole, Decathlon, H&M, The Supply and a number of eating places. Collectors may redeem Air Miles for money rewards at in-store companions comparable to Metro and Shell. (Companions range by province or territory.) 

It’s unclear what modifications we’ll see, if any, to standalone Air Miles playing cards, however BMO has supplied Air Miles bank cards for a few years—2022 was the thirtieth anniversary of its partnership with this system. And the financial institution acknowledged that the proposed acquisition “could be a made-in-Canada alternative to allow a reinvigoration for one among Canada’s largest loyalty applications.”

That reinvigoration is sorely wanted. The Air Miles program has suffered setbacks up to now two years, notably the departure of main retailers in the summertime of 2022: Staples and Empire Co. Ltd.—proprietor of the Sobeys and Safeway grocery store chains. Staples now presents its personal loyalty program, and Empire turned a co-owner of the Scene+ program. In 2021, the Liquor Management Board of Ontario (LCBO) additionally left Air Miles, however to work with Air Miles’ competitor Aeroplan. Lowe’s Canada additionally left in 2021; it joined RBC’s Avion Rewards program in September 2022.

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