#364: Air Canada’s Award-Winning Aeroplan Program (Short Summary Show)

Air Canada has reimagined their points promise, offering flexible and unique rewards unlike any other airline.

In this week’s episode of Let’s Talk “a little” Loyalty, Tom highlights the incredible relaunch of the Aeroplan rewards programme, from the original podcast hosted by Paula Thomas and featuring Derek Whitworth, former Managing Director of Marketing & Loyalty Optimization at Air Canada and currently Managing Director, Digital Channels.

In this episode, Derek discusses the new Aeroplan proposition, with impressive new partners, unique upgrade awards and a host of new options for members.  Aeroplan won the prestigious “Golden Loyalty Award for Excellence in Management” in 2021 and is beloved by Canadians.

Hosted by Tom Peace.

Show Notes :-

1)  Air Canada 

2) Air Canada’s Aeroplan

3) Derek Whitworth⁠ – Managing Director, Digital Channels

4) #194: Air Canada’s Award-Winning Aeroplan Program

Audio Transcript

Paula: Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an Industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m Paula Thomas, the Founder of Let’s Talk Loyalty. Today’s episode is hosted by Tom Peace, Managing Director of The Loyalty People, a strategic consultancy with a laser focus on loyalty, CRM, and customer engagement.

The Loyalty People also runs a free global community for anyone working in the loyalty industry. If you are working in loyalty marketing, make sure to join Let’s Talk Loyalty every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to hear the latest ideas from loyalty experts around the world.

This episode is brought to you by Collinson Worldwide, leaders in Customer Engagement and Loyalty. Creating and orchestrating customer engagement and loyalty initiatives and programs for some of the world’s biggest brands in travel, retail, and financial services. Doing it globally for over 30 years. Want to know more? Go to collinsongroup.com.

Tom: Hi, I’m Tom Peace, Managing Director of The Loyalty People. Welcome to this week’s episode of Let’s Talk A Little Loyalty. This week my summary broadcast showcases Paula’s interview with Derek Whitworth, Managing Director of Marketing and Loyalty optimization at Air Canada. Derek starts this interview with Paula by talking about how many changes Air Canada made since 2017 when they first made the decision to leave AIMIA, and take loyalty back in house. And then eventually repurchasing the Aeroplan business. This was a fascinating development for the loyalty industry and one that I personally was very interested in, having previously spent around six years at AIMIA.

Air Canada took the decision to move away from a world class loyalty business so that they could really focus on the customer needs and also modernize and digitize their customer experience. This was a very brave move. But definitely the right decision as the program continues to go from strength to strength. Derek talks in detail about how Air Canada immediately took a strong customer focus and demanded that they did the right thing by the member. The first challenge being to simplify the customer value so that every seat is available for points and the value proposition was made much simpler for members. This is always a very complex message in Airmile loyalty and a major challenge to customers if made too complex.

Another key innovation, Derek, discusses, is a development towards upgrades with points which was commercially difficult through the AIMIA partnership, and obviously something extremely important to an airline loyalty program. By simplifying the way that members can earn and burn their air miles, Air Canada have created huge amounts of value for the customer. This is a great lesson for us all, not just in airline programs, that simplification is, key to customer success. Don’t make your customer work hard for their rewards.

So how did Air Canada make these major changes so successfully? By listening to the customer and investing heavily in research and advisory. Derek talks about how they researched the opinions of a massive 3,600 customers so that they could be sure that the customer voice was heard. They also invested in five separate consultancy projects to ensure that they truly understood the landscape, the customer requirements, and the potential challenges before investing in the changes, you really have to applaud this customer-led approach.

So this is a very insightful interview from Derek and you should all listen to the main show, which can be found at www.letstalkloyalty.com. And first aired on the 9th of March 2022. Episode number 194. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed my summary show. All the best and speak to you soon, Tom.

Paula: This show is sponsored by The Wise Marketer, the world’s most popular source of loyalty marketing news, insights, and research. The Wise Marketer also offers loyalty marketing training through its loyalty academy, which has already certified over 500 executives in 38 countries as certified loyalty marketing professionals.

For more information, check out. thewisemarketer.com and loyaltyacademy.org.

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