Aeroplan is making some updates to the program terms and conditions that will take effect on December 19. An email has been sent out to members notifying members about these changes and the changes are causing some concern for a subset of the points and miles community.
Summary of changes:
- We’ve clarified some terms for accumulating Aeroplan points, including how you can only accumulate on your own behalf (and not on another member’s behalf), and regarding the conversion of points from other loyalty programs into Aeroplan points.
- We’ve added some terms regarding the earning of welcome bonuses, including our cobrand Aeroplan credit cards.
- We’ve clarified our terms regarding the handling of devious or fraudulent activity in the program, including misrepresentations by members trying to circumvent the terms of Aeroplan.
What do these changes mean?
For the first point, where you can only accumulate on your own behalf, this means you technically will not be allowed to swipe scan or show someone else’s Aeroplan card for a transaction with an Aeroplan partner. For example, if you are making a purchase at an LCBO you are only supposed to earn for yourself and not provide someone else’s Aeroplan number.
This is something I know lots of members have done, even if not frequently, to keep a family member’s points from expiring.
I’m not sure how Aeroplan plans on tracking this as if you use a payment method that is not linked to your Aeroplan account they would have no way of telling who is making the purchase but do be aware that you could be in breach of the terms if you do this.
The second point is the big one out of the changes and this appears to target the gamers and churners. This is the subset of the points and miles community I was referring to. Here is the exact wording:
In connection with a Welcome Bonus being made available for becoming a holder of an Aeroplan Credit Card, such Welcome Bonus is intended as an incentive for a Member to become a holder of an Aeroplan Credit Card where that Member is not then a holder of the specific type of Aeroplan Credit Card for which the Welcome Bonus is being offered. Similarly, in connection with bonus or incentive Aeroplan Points being offered as an incentive related to Products and Services, such bonus Aeroplan Points incentives are intended for a Member who has not previously received bonus Aeroplan Points for the same Products or Services, to acquire such Products or Services.
Aeroplan may, in its sole discretion, choose to limit the number of Welcome Bonuses or similar bonuses or incentives a Member may receive in any period, and, in addition to the other remedies set forth in these Terms and Conditions, reserves the right to suspend, revoke or terminate the Account of any person who engages in a behaviour of excessive use of the Welcome Bonus offers. Such behaviours include but are not limited to: (i) applying for multiple Aeroplan Credit Cards across one or more product types or across one or more financial institutions that issue an Aeroplan Credit Card; (ii) a pattern of cancelling, or disengaging in, an Aeroplan Credit Card shortly after receiving a Welcome Bonus or similar bonus or incentive; and (iii) a pattern of purchasing and then cancelling or returning any product or service for which Aeroplan Points were issued.
What Aeroplan has done here is similar to what we have seen directly with their credit card partners like American Express and that is putting wording in that you should only receive a credit card welcome bonus only once. What this means is that even if TD or CIBC or even Amex has allowed you to apply for a card you’ve had before and you receive the bonus, if Aeroplan sees that you are receiving it again they can chose to nullify that bonus and take the points away from the bonus or even cancel your account with you losing all the points you have in your account.
This change has definitely been put in place to curb gaming and churning of their co-brand credit cards. Some of the banks have made it easy to apply for cards again, product switch and so forth. This has been good for the community that chooses to flip cards regularly but it can also affect the program as whole as the amount of points being doled can exceed supply and that’s when you see devaluations.
For me, as a non-churner I am not too worried about this but I know a set of our readers will be concerned. At this point I can only give you my opinion on this and I feel this term will only be executed by Aeroplan on those who are excessively gaming the system. That is, those who are moving or switching to a new Aeroplan card several times per year. Those who are doing less often may be left alone – but that’s only a guess on my part and don’t take my word for it.
The one line that does cause a little more concern is this one “applying for multiple Aeroplan Credit Cards across one or more product types or across one or more financial institutions that issue an Aeroplan Credit Card” Basically they are saying the can suspend, revoke or terminate you account if you have multiple Aeroplan credit cards. Will there be an issue if you have the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card and the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card? And you have and use both cards honestly? I doubt it. I mean the issue does come up where Amex isn’t accepted everywhere so you would need the Visa card on hand for those purchases thus it makes sense to have both cards. I think Aeroplan would see this and you would have no concern.
I think where there would be concern is if you have the same versions of the TD and CIBC cards (eg. the Visa Infinite Cards) at the same time as there really is no need for you to have that combination outside of getting the welcome bonus.
The final term that is being updated is Prohibited Activity which ties into point #2 as well. Here is an excerpt:
Aeroplan Membership is a privilege that can be suspended, revoked, or terminated at any time, for any reason, and without compensation. Reasons for suspension, revocation or termination include, but are not limited to: (i) a circumstance where a Member intentionally engages in a pattern of activity or behavior that, in the reasonable opinion of Aeroplan, is intended to circumvent or work around these Terms and Conditions, or the terms and conditions of any Aeroplan partner; (ii) any abuse by a Member of any of these Terms and Conditions, any additional applicable terms and conditions or any benefit, privilege or reward associated with the Aeroplan Program; (iii) any misrepresentation by a Member to Aeroplan, its affiliates, participating partners or suppliers or to any entity associated with or participating in the Aeroplan Program; and (iv) any other actions or conduct of a Member deemed by Aeroplan, in its sole discretion, to be damaging to Aeroplan, the Aeroplan Program or the interests of Aeroplan’s affiliates, participating partners or suppliers, including, but not limited to: (i) applying for multiple credit cards across different product types (e.g., Entry, Core, Premium), across multiple financial institutions that issue an Aeroplan Credit Card in order to circumnavigate these Terms and Conditions or the terms and conditions of any such financial institution issuing an Aeroplan Credit Card thereby receiving multiple Welcome Bonuses; and (ii) a behaviour of cancelling, or disengaging in, an Aeroplan Credit Card shortly after receiving a Welcome Bonus.
Where, in the reasonable opinion of Aeroplan, a Member has violated these Terms and Conditions, Aeroplan may, at any time and in its sole discretion, take one or more of the following actions: (i) freeze the Account of any Member while Aeroplan investigates suspected activity on the part of that Member; and (ii) refuse to credit the Account of any Member, or debit the Account of any Member.
In the event a Member’s participation in the Aeroplan Program is terminated by Aeroplan in accordance with these Terms and Conditions, all accumulated Aeroplan Points will immediately be forfeited.
Aeroplan reserves the right to restrict or refuse Aeroplan Membership in the Aeroplan Program for any reason, in its sole discretion, including, if you do not meet the requirements set forth in these Terms and Conditions, if you are suspected of fraud or illicit conduct or have had an Aeroplan Membership previously revoked or terminated by Aeroplan.
They have always had a Prohibited Activity section in their terms but have further expanded them, mostly covering credit cards again. They have also expanded the wording beyond their previous usage of just abuse of the program by adding such terms as “work around these terms and conditions”. I this see as coverage for when a potential mistake may arise where a member could take advantage of a promotion only intended to earn a set amount of bonus points but they find a work around to earn the bonus multiple times etc.
Again, in this section the bring the credit card terms and having multiple cards across different levels and issuers which again could be concerning for any one reading them but I do believe if you are using something like a TD and Amex combo you are fine. It does seem to have been placed in there more so for the gamers/churners who move across the levels and institutions going back and forth to various cards.
Wrapping it up
It does appear Aeroplan is taking another step to curb the gamification of the program via credit cards and other methodologies that members may have found to use to their advantage with the program. For the majority of Aeroplan members these changes to terms and conditions won’t affect them at all.