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There’s enough drama surrounding Air Canada, Aeroplan and Aimia that one could justify a primetime television show to cover its various twists and turns. Days after Air Canada offered to buy the program it opted out of (and parent company Aimia pooh-poohed), it signed a partnership with regional Canadian airline Porter Airlines. Fast forward to now, and Aimia is trumpeting the addition of two more Canadian airlines — Edmonton-based Flair Airlines and Montreal-based Air Transat — which will become a part of the revamped loyalty program starting in July 2020.

Jeremy Rabe, CEO of Aimia, is predictably stoked. “The addition of Flair Airlines as a preferred partner airline further strengthens our air offering in Canada for Aeroplan Members come July 2020,” said Rabe. “In addition to providing members with the ability to fly any airline, anywhere, this relationship with Flair will give our members exceptional value for popular Western Canada routes.”

Speaking of Air Transat, he noted: “Adding Air Transat to Aeroplan come July 2020 further differentiates and significantly enhances our Aeroplan experience by bringing our members closer to their favourite sun and holiday destinations.”

Air Transat Cabin Interior
Air Transat Cabin Interior. (Photo courtesy of Air Transat.)

Both airlines will join the fresh-faced Aeroplan just as Air Canada finds itself flying in the opposite direction. No details were shared in terms of earning and redeeming on the new partners, but given how far out 2020 is, we’d say there’s ample time for those details to be sussed out.

The move will be a first for Flair Airlines and Air Transat. Both are considered low-cost airlines, and neither are a part of a loyalty program at the moment. For travelers, this could signal a welcome change. Typically, low-cost airlines not only subject passengers to tighter seats and nickel-and-diming, but you in most cases don’t even earn rewards for the trouble. While the Air Canada breakup from Aeroplan is certainly causing its fair share of disruption, we wouldn’t mind if it started a sea change that saw other low-cost airlines find their way into loyalty programs.

As Head of TPG Family Summer Hull recently shared, sometimes it just makes sense to skip the earning potential and fly on a low-cost carrier. But, if said carrier joined a program where earning and burning were possible, it would fundamentally upend the value proposition (and in a good way, no less).

Air Transat Tail
Air Transat Tail. (Photo courtesy of Air Transat.)

For now, though, our advice for those with Aeroplan miles is to map out ways to spend down prior to the Air Canada divorce in the summer of 2020.

Some of the top options include Lufthansa first class (70,000 miles each way between the US and Europe), Turkish business class or maximizing stopovers and open-jaws. Remember that Aeroplan is currently an especially good redemption option for families.

If you need to top off your account for one of these redemptions, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints to Aeroplan. Since there’s still two years before any changes kick in, there’s also still time to apply for a new credit card, earn the welcome bonus, transfer the points to Aeroplan and redeem for an excellent award. Top cards to consider are The Platinum Card® from American Express, the Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN and the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN.

H/T: CBC

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