Air Miles Update: Using Air Miles to rent a car (CBC Marketplace)

Air Miles Update: Using Air Miles to rent a car (CBC Marketplace)


♪ [theme]>>Asha:The “People versusAirMiles” iscoming right at you.It’s been a wild rideforAir Milescollectors.We brought these five together a few months ago to try to use up thousands of their Dream Miles before they were set to expire. ♪ ♪ Mike, James, Ivan, Joanne, and Razvan, were loyal, long-time collectors. But when it came to redeeming their miles, like million of other Canadians, our five were hitting the wall.>>I was running into major roadblocks.>>Asha: So we created a test centre.>>Has anybody gotten in yet? I just keep getting the circle going around and around.>>Asha:From slow searches.>>They have the slowest web site that I have ever experienced.>>Asha:To high prices,to no choices.Our testers couldn’t scoreanything they wanted for theirdream miles.Joanne Moscone really wantedtravel certificates but theytook those rewards away fromcollectors like her.>>I went to order my certificates, they’re not there. Can’t find them anywhere.>>Asha:And no luck for peoplelooking to take off.Michael Judd had already spentsix months looking for a flightto New Zealand to visit family.>>It’ll crash. It’ll time out. Then other times you’ll get just a little bit further and a nice big window pop up saying, “Sorry, but we are experiencing technical difficulties.”>>Asha:James Fulcher wasturned off by extra fees.>>The taxes and fees through Air Miles was $618. This clearly is not working. [phone rings]>>Asha:They tried callingthe customer servicecentre for help.>>[from phone]:We are not ableto take anymore calls today as currentexpected wait time exceedsour operating hoursthis evening.>>Asha:But got nowhere.>>They just hung up me.>>They just hung up.>>Wow.>>I feel like I can’t do anything.>>Asha:They called backon a VIP line and got through.>>I ‘m getting really frustrated. I’m getting nowhere here.>>[from phone]:Remember,the program can make changes,right, with or without notice.>>That’s really disappointing. ♪ ♪>>Asha:Turns out Air Milesmay not want usto redeem all our miles.We dug up a document that saystheir goal is for us to redeemabout 72 per cent of our miles.Execs say, “We actively controlthe program viathe options thatyou can redeem for.”>>I ‘m done. I’ve been loyal since 1993, and this past year I have had nothing but frustration.>>You’re cutting up your card?>>Done. Moving on. Different reward program.>>What are you gonna do?>>I ‘m going to fight it as as long as I can. And not just for myself, for others. ♪ ♪>>Asha:True to his word,Michael took his fight toOntario politicians who werelooking at outlawing the expiryof loyalty points.>>Today we are dealing with Bill 47 with respect to reward points.>>Air Miles execs showed up at the legislature.>>And as I understand it there are several people who wish to speak.>>Asha: It was Michael’s moment.>>Really and honestly feels like I’m being blocked, with purpose and intent. The level of service I would say is less than 1 per cent of what it was in the ’90s. It is right now, from my perspective, appalling.>>Mr. Judd, we are working to resolve your issue. However, let me please say this to the committee. Mr. Judd’s experience is not the norm. ♪ ♪>>Asha:We tried to getanswers for Canadians.You don’t want all your collectors to redeem their miles. We found it in transcribed notes.>>What we want is our collectors to stay actively engaged in our program to both earn and redeem.>>Asha:Two days later,Air Miles cavedto public pressure.They cancelled the expirypolicy and told theirshareholders that going forwardLoyaltyOnewill adjustthe value proposition to collectors.Translation, they could devalueyour miles to avoid their lostprofits in the future.[multiple text notifications]Canadians were not happy.This monthAir Milesapologizedto collectors, promising toimprove their programs but theyadmit they have already hikedthe miles requiredfor vacation packages.And our viewers saythose aren’t the onlyrewards costing more.>>Okay, so we are in our rental car, that we had to pay for, becauseAir Mileskept changing the amount of points we needed to the point where we couldn’t get it onAir Milesanymore so we’ve had to pay for this out of our own pockets.>>Asha:Edmonton’s Kelly Keanewanted to redeem dream milesfor a car rentalin Palm Springsin late January.>>This is why we went to California, is to get away from the snow. [shovel grinds against pavement]>>Asha:But the price jumpedfrom 1360 Dream Milesin the fall,to 1740 miles.That’s a 28 per cent hike.>>It’s just like they were devaluing the points that we still had left.>>Asha:We checked.Couldn’t find a reasonfor the big increase,especially because he wanteda car during the low season.>>I’m sure I’m not the only person that’s experienced these things.>>Asha:No, he’s not.Another collector wrote abouta doubling of miles for a carin Las Vegas.And a Montréaler documented askyrocketing of miles over thelast two yearsfor the same car,in the same city, in Florida.So we askedAir Milesfor an explanation. And they say they haven’t made price changes to hotels, flights or car rentals and blame any increase on foreign exchange. Market rates in general and availability at time of booking Which they say are beyond the control of Air Miles.>>I really don’t buy their argument. The changes that they’ve outlined, I don’t believe have happened. The circumstances that they’ve outlined I don’t think are realistic.>>Asha:As for our testifyingtester Michael, some good news.>>What I have here is my itinerary, finally after ten months for my flights to New Zealand.>>Asha:But that ticket tooka whole lot out of him.>>Probably in excess of 300 hours, a lot of grief.>>Asha:And guess what,it’s double the Dream Milesfrom the advertised,“Starting from 14,000,”to more than 30,000.>>It’s impossible to work out because none of it makes sense.>>Asha:Michael fought tohave the difference creditedback to him.And won.But he is pretty much done withthe program.>>I don’t understand what they are thinking. Senior management atAir Milesand LoyaltyOne really has to have a good hard think on what they’re doing.