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BMO Completes Acquisition of Air Miles

BMO Completes Acquisition of Air Miles

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Air Miles has a narrative that’s as iconic as it’s dramatic. Via its precipitous rise to its ignominious and unhappy inner collapse, the model has maintained a recognition amongst Canadians unparalleled by every other loyalty rewards program.

It seems like this story has a minimum of one other few chapters but to be written, as a result of the white knight generally known as the Financial institution of Montreal has accomplished its acquisition of Air Miles as of June 1, 2023.

Let’s dig in.

BMO Completes Acquisition of Air Miles

On June 1, 2023, BMO accomplished its acquisition of Air Miles. The financial institution paid $160 million (USD) to convey the loyalty program below its purview, and the deal has now been accomplished.

To rapidly recap what introduced the financial institution to make the acquisition, the Air Miles loyalty program had been in decline for fairly a while.

First got here the information of huge devaluations in 2021, significantly when utilizing Air Miles for journey.

Then got here years of stagnancy and lack of progress as prospects organically veered away from utilizing Air Miles, as a result of it was tougher to realize a enough quantity of miles to redeem for respectable rewards. Even when they have been capable of, it grew to become extra sophisticated as Air Miles grew to become cut up between the Dream and Money classes, each of which having totally different guidelines and valuations round redemptions.

Third got here the mass abandonment of the Air Miles program by its varied significant retail companions in 2022 and past, which included Lowe’s, Staples, and the crown jewel of Empire-affiliated grocery shops, corresponding to Sobeys. So as to add insult to damage, the grocery juggernaut opted to board the Scene+ program as an alternative, which by all accounts has been full steam forward since then.

This cacophony of woes resulted in Air Miles’s former mother or father firm, Loyalty Ventures Included, declaring chapter again in March of 2023 – after senior executives had an opportunity to pay themselves hefty bonuses from the meagre remaining balances of the corporate money accounts, in fact.

The Financial institution of Montreal is the brand new official proprietor of the Air Miles loyalty program

BMO provided to instantly purchase out the Air Miles portion of Loyalty Enterprise Included’s portfolio, and with apparent motive. The Air Miles model identify nonetheless holds a hallowed cachet to many Canadians, not due to what the model has been lately, however due to the ubiquity it as soon as possessed.

And now, BMO inked a deal to amass Air Miles that was pending courtroom approval for the previous few months. On June 1, 2023, the deal was lastly accomplished, with BMO noting its pleasure for the long run and plans to reinvigorate this system.

Can Air Miles Soar Once more?

After years of turbulence, the goodwill that Air Miles has misplaced with prospects can be arduous to win again, whether or not backed by the Financial institution of Montreal’s deep pockets or not.

Whereas this system continues to have the status and recognizability that comes with the Air Miles identify, the model has been broken on two main fronts.

The primary is its worth proposition to the shopper: utilizing Money or Dream Miles has, for a lot of, been a mediocre and even complicated expertise at finest. When one decides to expend their hard-earned miles, it’s hardly ever for a redemption of fantastic worth.

Regardless of its identify and emblem, Air Miles haven’t been meaningfully helpful for journey in a few years

The second difficulty going through Air Miles is its considerably diminished retailer community. Traditionally, this system grew to become well-known as a result of Air Miles might be collected at nearly any brick-and-mortar store.

Nonetheless, Air Miles has a lot starker competitors not simply from conventional retail opponents such because the PC Optimum program, however from different journey rewards powerhouses like Scene+ and Aeroplan. Because of this accumulation is sluggish, and the footprint of Air Miles has suffered attributable to mismanagement.

Each of those issues have introduced prospects an sincere query: with so many loyalty packages vying for enterprise, why ought to anybody proceed to make use of Air Miles? It seems BMO isn’t blind to those points, and their newest press launch notes proactive steps to attempt to resuscitate the model.

BMO is promising to revamp the Air Miles journey portals for a better person expertise. Nonetheless, this promise is coming from a financial institution that has been infamous for its devaluations of its personal BMO Rewards journey program, and whose inner journey portal has been nearly completely changed by allowing prospects to redeem BMO Rewards factors at 0.67 cents per level in opposition to journey purchases made straight with distributors. 

The financial institution can also be vowing to enhance this system’s retailer community, and to supply prospects probabilities to earn many extra bonus Air Miles as a part of promotional occasions. Whereas the latter is commendable, the previous has me elevating my eyebrows: in any case, Air Miles has added companions lately who fail to encourage a lot confidence.

The problem is that these new companions are typically specialist retailers with excessive costs and restricted buyer bases, such because the meal supply field firm Goodfood, whose efficiency on the Toronto Inventory Change seems just like that of the dearly departed Loyalty Ventures Included.

On the upside, BMO hasn’t indicated something about becoming a member of the Metaverse in partnership with varied obscure and shady-sounding corporations.

Regardless, the Financial institution of Montreal’s newest acquisition has an uphill battle in entrance of it, and can want innovation and creativity to excite confidence in prospects as soon as once more. Right here’s hoping that the legendary Air Miles identify can soar to new heights, but it surely does appear unlikely primarily based on the guarantees BMO is making at the moment.


BMO has accomplished its acquisition of Air Miles from the defunct Loyalty Ventures Included. This is a gigantic buy of a well-known loyalty model for the Financial institution of Montreal, and got here with a price ticket of $160 million (USD).

This improvement comes at a time of change within the loyalty area, with many new opponents for the getting older Air Miles to face within the type of Scene+, Aeroplan, and PC Optimum, simply to call just a few. Time will inform if BMO is as much as the duty, however first the financial institution might want to efficiently rebuild the religion of consumers in a program that has had a poor repute for a while.

Till subsequent time, maintain your eye on Air Miles.


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