VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – If you’re an Air Miles collector, expect to see an apologetic email pop up in your inbox sometime soon if you haven’t already.
The letter, signed by company head Blair Cameron, admits they “did not live up to” the title of “Canada’s favourite loyalty program” in 2016, adding they learned some “very difficult, public and humbling lessons.”
Thousands of members were left feeling burned when the company announced that miles older than five years would become worthless as of January 1st, 2017. The wildly unpopular expiry policy was later reversed one month before the deadline.
“A lot of people were inconvenienced by trying to use points in a very short period of time, and actually made transactions they wouldn’t otherwise have done just so they would be able to salvage something out of the new system,” says Bruce Cran, Air Miles collector and president of the Consumers Association of Canada.
Cran adds it wasn’t just the expiry fiasco that has he and others frustrated; the company has devalued their points a few times over the years, and their customer service line has left people stuck in endless loops. “They put you on hold, they hold you there for 10 or 20 minutes, and then it just cuts off, so you’re back to where you started again,” he argues.
Air Miles is making broad promises to improve their customer service wait times, improve communication about program updates, and add new reward options, but Cran and others like him are hardly convinced. “I don’t think this company has a great regard for Canadian consumers, and a lot of people are telling off that they’re not going to use those cards in the future.”