The long-awaited relaunch of Air Canada's Aeroplan rewards program now sits a little further away, with the Star Alliance member reasoning that a period when nobody is flying is not exactly the best time to kick-start its new frequent flyer scheme.
Air Canada created Aeroplan in 1984, but from 2005-2008 it was spun out and sold off to become a broader retail-based loyalty scheme.
Almost a decade later, in November 2018, Air Canada bought Aeroplan back for $450 million and set about preparing to reboot the program in the third quarter of 2020.
"For many Canadians, given Aeroplan's privileged access to Air Canada, it is the next best currency to the Canadian dollar," remarked Air Canada CEO Calin Rovinescu at the time.
However, "with the ever-changing developments with COVID-19, we have had to determine its impact on our timelines," Air Canada now says.
"With our original timelines, we would have had to be in market very soon and Aeroplan and its partners didn’t think this was the appropriate time to launch the program given the circumstances."
"We are on plan to deliver the program but we’ve decided to move out the date to launch in Q4 but will share details of the new program well in advance of the launch."
Air Canada promises that all existing Aeroplan miles "will be honored 1: 1 in the new program", although their actual redemption value when it comes to turning miles into flights has yet to be revealed.
The airline says that the new Aeroplan will "have a dynamic redemption structure, but also a published chart for partner flights" such as Star Alliance members including Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines and Air New Zealand.
It's been suggested that dynamic redemption will apply only to North American flights, while international flights will be based on a fixed table.
Aeroplan 2.0 will also bring back the ability to make more than one stop-over on a return flight, which was removed in September 2019.