BMO announces agreement to buy AIR MILES

Good news has emerged this morning in the AIR MILES saga as BMO Bank of Montreal has agreed to acquire the loyalty program. Panic set in across the country yesterday (March 9) after Bloomberg news broke the details that AIR MILES parent company Loyalty Ventures was getting ready to file for bankruptcy (read our post from yesterday for more details). AIR MILES members flooded the website looking to cash out their miles in fear of losing them only to find the site down for maintenance. Most likely a result of the huge amount of traffic. Here at Rewards Canada we ourselves even managed to get some redemptions in but now it appears the panic can subside as BMO has come to the rescue.

BMO agrees to purchase AIR MILES

Our own long time reader ‘Robsaw’ called it in the comments on our article yesterday:

The only way I can see AIR MILES surviving is if some company buys it (for a song) and converts it to an in-house (at least primarily) program. It has only exhibited a continuously decreasing value as a coalition program for many years.

Good call Rob! As now we have the news that BMO will buying the program from their struggling parent company. Here is what BMO highlights in today’s announcement

  • BMO’s acquisition would accelerate the future growth of AIR MILES, one of Canada’s largest loyalty programs
  • A reinvigorated program would benefit all Canadians collecting AIR MILES, as well as merchants and partners across the country
  • AIR MILES collectors benefit from rewards at more than 300 leading Canadian, global, and online brands, and at thousands of retail and service locations across the country

Overall this is great news for collectors after the fear set in that thousands upon thousands of hard earned reward miles would be lost. While it remains to be seen if the purchase will go through (I don’t see any reasons why it wouldn’t) it does appear AIR MILES collectors and their miles are safe for now. For BMO this is a means to save their own hides as they stood to lose a lot of credit card customers if AIR MILES went under.

My one concern

I only have one concern with the takeover by BMO and it is minor compared to the alternative option of everyone losing their miles. That concern is based on BMO’s own history of devaluing their own BMO Rewards program and related credit cards more frequently than any other programs or banks in Canada. We all remember when they launched and heavily marketed their new 5x points but not really 5x points BMO Eclipse cards and less than six months afterwards devalued the travel redemption rate in the BMO Rewards program.

But as said, right now this is only a minor concern for the future. Right now, this news from BMO should be bringing a sigh of relief to collectors.

Recommended reading: When earning 5x points isn’t the same as earning 5x points – a loyalty lesson 

Wrapping it up

BMO announced this morning that they have entered into a purchase agreement for the AIR MILES loyalty program. It has been confirmed that parent company has filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. and Canada so the news couldn’t be any better thanks to BMO wanting to purchase the program. What will the future hold for AIR MILES? Only time will tell but right it seems the ship’s course has been righted and collectors can take a breather after a very chaotic 18 or so hours trying to figure out what to do with there miles!

I do want to note that the purchase isn’t final but with the emails I have received this morning from BMO and their agencies they seem pretty confident in this acquisition. And I don’t see why it wouldn’t go through as it should appease the bankruptcy courts and provide some cash to the creditors of Loyalty Ventures. However if you are in doubt or still fear the loss of your miles you may want to redeem your miles sooner than later.

Click here to learn more about this latest announcement!