AIR MILES First to Launch Instant Redemption Across Retailers

Canada's largest loyalty program introduces changes: instant redemption and date-stamped reward miles

TORONTO, Dec. 28, 2011 /CNW/ - The AIR MILES Reward Program is bringing more flexibility and choice to Collectors with the launch of AIR MILES Cash. This new program feature will enable Collectors to instantly redeem their AIR MILES reward miles in-store towards many everyday and high value purchases like gas, grocery, drug store items and home improvement purchases at participating Sponsors starting in March 2012.

Today's announcement signals an important evolution in the AIR MILES Reward Program. Starting today, AIR MILES Collectors can choose how they want to allocate the reward miles they earn across the coalition of Sponsors, to redeem towards the type of rewards they want most. This new reward feature is in addition to the over 1,200 reward options AIR MILES offers online including merchandise, travel and more. Once the program launches, more than 10 million active Collectors across the country will be able to start redeeming using their AIR MILES Cash balance at participating Sponsors - 95 reward miles will get them $10 off instantly at checkout. Collectors can redeem in $10 increments up to a maximum of $200 per day including taxes.

"The ability to redeem instantly is something our Collectors have been asking for and we're happy we can now make it even easier for them to get the most out of their reward miles," said, Neil Everett, Chief Marketing Officer, AIR MILES Reward Program. "We are now the only loyalty program in Canada that provides the option to redeem instantly on everyday purchases from a variety of participating retailers across multiple categories."

How it Works: To take advantage of the new program feature, Collectors simply follow three easy steps:

  1. Collectors need to activate their AIR MILES Cash balance at airmiles.ca/cash by setting a PREFERENCE - This preference enables Collectors to select what proportion of future reward miles earned they want to go towards instant redemptions, and which proportion they want to save for Dream rewards such as merchandise, travel, leisure and entertainment. Collectors can choose to allocate all or some of their reward miles into either balance. This gives Collectors the best of both worlds: redeeming instantly towards everyday purchases at participating sponsors from their AIR MILES Cash balance while continuing to save and redeem from their Dream balance like they always have. Collectors can also change their preference at any time.

  2. EARN towards their AIR MILES Cash balance - Once a Collector sets their preference, they can continue to earn at all Sponsors the way they always have. By setting a preference now, Collectors can start building their AIR MILES Cash balance so they are ready to redeem instantly starting in March, 2012. Collectors can check their balances on airmiles.ca, by using the AIR MILES mobile app, or through the AIR MILES Customer Care Centre at 1-888-AIR-MILES.

  3. REDEEM instantly at participating Sponsor locations - Starting in March, Collectors will be able to redeem reward miles from their AIR MILES Cash balance towards everyday and high value purchases made at the following participating regional Sponsors:
    • Western Canada  - Shell, RONA (spring 2012), TOTEM (spring 2012)
    • Ontario - Shell, RONA (spring 2012), Rexall, Metro, Jean Coutu
    • Quebec - Shell, RONA (spring 2012), Reno Depot (spring 2012), Jean Coutu
    • Atlantic - Shell, RONA (spring 2012), Jean Coutu

Note: Other sponsors will be added throughout 2012.

"We continue to evolve the AIR MILES Reward Program to ensure our Collectors are provided the best choices and options," continues Everett. "AIR MILES Cash gives Collectors the flexibility to both live for today and dream for tomorrow."

AIR MILES is also announcing that effective December 31, 2011 all AIR MILES reward miles will have a date-stamp of five years. This means that all reward miles that were posted on or before December 31, 2011 will need to be redeemed by December 31, 2016, and all reward miles posted after December 31, 2011 will have a five year timeline in which they will need to be redeemed. No action is required by Collectors at this time, and more information will become available in 2014 to help Collectors manage reward miles well in advance of expiration.

Regular collection and redemption of AIR MILES is the best way for Collectors to get the most out of the AIR MILES Reward Program and the new AIR MILES Cash program feature is making it even easier to redeem.

For more information on these program changes, as well as a list of all regionally participating AIR MILES Cash Sponsors, visit airmiles.ca/changes.

About the AIR MILES Reward Program
Founded in 1992, the AIR MILES Reward Program is Canada's premier coalition loyalty program. More than 10 million active Collector accounts, representing approximately two-thirds of all Canadian households, actively participate in the Program. The AIR MILES Reward Program allows Collectors to indulge in leisure, entertainment, merchandise, travel and other lifestyle rewards quickly, simply by doing their everyday shopping for products and services at AIR MILES Sponsors. AIR MILES reward miles can be redeemed for more than 1,200 different rewards, such as movie passes, family attractions, electronic merchandise, sports and recreation, travel and more.

For further information:
AIR MILES Reward Program      Environics
Jeff Fredericks        Amy Greenshields or Sebastian Gatica
416-552-2352        416-920-9000
jfredericks@loyalty.com       agreenshields@environicspr.comsgatica@environicspr.com