Canada’s loyalty program space is heating up as Air Miles, which has some 10 million Canadian collectors, announced a partnership for hotels and vacation rentals on Wednesday (Oct. 18) with Expedia Group Inc.
The update coincides with Air Miles’ newly-launched travel booking platform, which offers travellers’ access to Expedia’s global supply of 700,000 hotels and rental properties in both standalone lodging and package bookings.
On the new platform, collectors can earn on the cash portion of their travel bookings, which can then be redeemed for future Rewards, including travel, merchandise, or cash rewards.
“As we continue to innovate and evolve the AIR MILES Reward Program, providing the best value to our collectors remains our main focus” said Shawn Stewart, president, AIR MILES Reward Program, in a statement. “By partnering with Expedia Group as strategic lodging supplier for our new Travel platform, we are able to provide extensive accommodation options to our collectors beyond what we already offer; being one of the most trusted names in the travel industry, it was a clear move for us.”
The partnerships is part of several improvements to Air Miles since it was bought by Bank of Montreal earlier this year.
After the purchase, BMO said it would look to expand the loyalty program with new ways to earn and redeem miles.
Expedia Group’s Rapid API aims to provide tools and technology for partners to integrate global lodging supply seamlessly into their own websites and businesses, including expanded traveller options and detailed property content.
In return, AIR MILES collectors have an end-to-end booking experience from planning their travel to purchasing to post-booking.
“This strategic lodging partnership between Expedia Group and AIR MILES taps into the natural evolution of loyalty programs, which addresses consumers’ desires to have flexibility and choice in their loyalty offerings,” said Alfonso Paredes, senior vice president of private label solutions at Expedia.
“We have already seen strong booking interest during our soft launch and look forward to building more momentum as we bring advantageous accommodation offerings to AIR MILES collectors.”
Expedia Group’s research shows that 85 per cent of leisure travellers are interested in using travel rewards across trip elements over the next year.
A further 77 per cent of consumers want to apply travel rewards to any individual element of their trip, such as the flight or hotel, regardless of brand.