AMEX PULLS OUT OF CP!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Old Apr 25, 00, 11:26 am
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 528
Another source of info on this subject good people...
From an employee email.

Canadian Airlines had a nine-year relationship with American Express
covering three areas, one of which was the Amex Membership Rewards
Program (MRP). This program enabled Amex cardholders to convert
their MRP points to Canadian Plus points. We needed to amend this
MRP agreement with Amex, as the agreement was not in the best
interests of CDN under the restructuring process. For over two
months we have attempted to negotiate with Amex. We offered to
permit Membership Reward Program members the ability to convert MRP
points to Canadian Plus points until the end of the year, giving
Amex customers over seven months to convert their MRP points to
CPlus points. Unfortunately, Amex was not prepared to accept our
proposal and this has forced us to take immediate action and cancel
the MRP agreement. Under the terms of CCAA we may terminate
contracts that are not in our best interest. Amex will now become
one of our unsecured creditors under CCAA.

We have put procedures in place for Amex Membership Reward Program
customers who were in the process of booking CPlus award travel when
the agreement was cancelled. Our Call Centre and Airport agents
should refer to F*CDN/AMEX in Sabre for procedural information.
A Flygirl is offline  
Old Apr 25, 00, 11:47 am
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Oakville, Ont, Canada
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I think that we are all quite rightly peeved by the lack of notice that we received on this issue. Even if one months notice had been given of the impending cut off would have affected Canadian that much, and it would have saved the wrath of its customers.

Amex's new program of 10000 MR = $100 is in line with its other rewards such as dining. A fine dining for two (appetizer, entree, desert for two) runs 10,000 points and would be valued in the $100 - 150 range. It just happens to be no where as good of a deal as the Cdn plus system.

So then the question remains - is MR still worthwhile for me? I tend to accumulate about 3000 MR points per month, at an annual cost of $80.25, including GST. Would I use the free fancy meals, and would I value them above my cost? For me, yes I would, so my decision is made. But if I did not live near a major centre that has a choice of such restaurants, my decision might be different.

Of course, I could always save my points for 20+ years and get a Butterfield and Robinson tour

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Old Apr 25, 00, 12:03 pm
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Mississauga Ontario
Posts: 3,526
Send a fax to the CEO at Amex to complain; I sent this off today.

To Alan Stark
American Express Canada
101 McNabb Street
Markham Ontario
L3R 4H8

Re : Platinum Amex xxxxxxxxxxxxx / Membership Rewards/Canadian Airlines

Via fax: 905.474.8708

Dear Mr. Stark,

I enclose a copy of a note that I sent this AM via the American Express Canada Web site.

Like many cardholders, I am outraged at the situation with Canadian Airlines, with respect to the Membership Rewards program.

However, I am also becoming outraged that the "announcements" by Amex yesterday to attempt to placate members -- $100 per 10,000 points - are so ridiculous that they barely merit mention.

How dare you insult us! You insult us by offering such a pittance, compared to the programs offerred by American Express worldwide in other airline programs.

I have accumulated almost 1/2million membership points, in good faith. I'm outraged at the "solution" that you now propose to offer. The beauty of the era of the Internet is such that your insult is readily apparent. As noted on an online bulletin board this AM (

AMEX has affiliated programs with airlines all over the world, I don't understand why they cannot extend those flexibilities to us. Check out below to see what other members around the world get and you can only come to the conclusion that
either Canadians are indeed a passive lot or Canadian cardmembers are getting screwed!(maybe both??)

In Australia, the Aussies can redeem on Air New Zealand (Star Alliance), Qantas (OneWorld) and Malaysian (WorldPerks).

The Brits, Germans get Alitalia, Air France, Co, Delta, Iberia, Qualifer and Virgin

The Argentinians get Swissair,Air France, Varig and Australian Airlines (I think the latter is a typo and should read Austrian Airlines but you never know anymore)

The Yanks get a beautiful selection: Aeromexico, Co, Delta, El Al, Hawaiian, Korean, Mexicana, Southwest, TWA, US Air, Virgin and even LATINPASS.Plus Hiltonhonors, priority club,best western, marriott and starwood.

The beauty of the era of the Internet is that companies are under immediate scrutiny when it comes to how they treat their customers.

Given the pittance that you have offerred, and the fact that the value of my Platinum card, sans Canadian involvement, is now perceived by me as virtually worthless, I have this AM for, and understand I have been approved for, a new CIBC Aerogold card.

I plan to begin immediately use it for all my travel bookings, in order to earn Aeroplan points, since I figure my Platinum Card and the American Express Membership Rewards service is now basically useless.

With up to $25,000 in travel bookings in the next month, I would expect that you hope to do more for your customers in the wake of this event than insult them.

I expect I will receive, within the next day or two, a nice, flowery letter from you, penned by your PR folks, on the wonderful new program you have extended to us upon the cancellation. Try as you might, you cannot put a "spin" on your insult.

Don't bother sending the letter; we know what you will say, how you hope to "spin" it, and already see through the "spin." Do something more concrete and real, than spin.

I look forward to hearing as to how American Express intends a remedy that recognizes an equivalent value in the Membership Rewards program as existed with the Canadian Airlines program.

Yours truly,

Sent via the Web, April 25

Dear Alan,

I was as stunned, I suppose, as you were at the Canadian Airlines pullout
from the American Express Membership Rewards.

I'm a platinum cardholder (xxxxxxx), and have accumulated
almost 1/2million Amex points. My plan was to use these for family trips
to Europe etc on Canadian.

You should put an equivalent program in place ASAP; otherwise, I'll feel
compelled to immediately transfer my $50,000-80,000 approx per annum
spending to an EnRoute or other card, for points on Air Monopoly. After
all, that's the way the world is working, isn't it?

You should know this: the value of points in your membership program has
collapsed from my perspective. Not only that, but your announcement
yesterday (your offer to allow an exchange of $100 in travel equivalehnt
for 10,000 points) is a joke), since it comes no where close in equivalent
value to flights on Canadian. Prior to the Canadian pullout, I could have
obtained 6 business class flights to Europe for a value of $18,000,
compared to your value of $4,000 with this "new" program.

I'll be booking approximately $25,000 in travel in June. My fall is equally busy. I'm
applying for an CIBC/Air Canada Visa card today in order to hedge my bets
and will plan to book on that card (and all subsequent expenditures)
unless you come up with a "better offer."

I trust you will keep people in the loop, but this feedback is probably

InTheAirGuy is offline  
Old Apr 25, 00, 12:39 pm
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 8,521
I actually have a very low opinion of American Express's customer service, based on my experiences with them since getting the card. But as with so many other things I never got around to writing about it (after escalating both one and two levels by phone on different occasions and still no return call from either). Now I'll have to write Mr. Stark, so he doesn't think I'm leaving because of the CP thing.

One thing I'll say in contradiction to davistev and intheairguy: while I expect any replacement program to be less generous than with CP in the past (because CP was probably very generous in its concessions to Amex and I'd bet >90% of MR points ended up in CPlus accounts), I'm sure there will be a better program than what they've announced.

But give them a chance! How long have they known about this? If CP (i.e. AC) really did just walk away from the negotiating table with no notice, what else could Amex have come up with in 48 hours!?

For instance, I still think that AA will slip in, in place of CP. But they don't participate in the U.S. Membership Rewards program! So this would be more complicated than just extending a participation which they had held back on to give CP a chance (which from other threads I understand they've done in other areas, e.g. not promoting AAdvantage to Canadians until the recent flood of mailings). Someone at AA (Carty maybe?) would have to approve participation in the Amex Canada program when they've decided not to participate in Amex U.S. That's not a decision that will be made lightly.

I'll probably end up moving my points into Starwood but for now (until I'm closer to cancelling, or rather not renewing, my account) I'll leave them in MR.

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Old Apr 25, 00, 3:03 pm
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YYZ. My comment about the travel agency service fee was strictly limited to the Platinum 2nd ticket free offer, and not what you have quite rightly pointed out, is a way to further erode the value of the new Amex MR coupon under the revamped scheme. I do agree, a $25 issuing fee on a ticket you are paying for in part with a $150 or $200 discount certificate reduces the value of the discount by up to 25%. So I agree with you on that count, and that it just fattens Amex's wallet.

I just got off the phone with a Cdn GOLD res agent who tells me they are not booking the Platinum 2nd ticket free flights, and that the Empress Club memberships extended to Platinum card holders is also likely to vanish very soon. However, she did caution that nobody totally knows what the severing of the Amex relationship will mean for a few days yet, as the details are clarified from HQ to res staff.

She, like me, had just transferred most of her points last week to book some FF tickets for her parents, so was personally relieved.

Another Amex note: Those of us with CP tickets booked under the Amex discount program, and who want to make changes to the flights or itineraries, are limited to CP metal flights, and these tickets cannot be used -- except for purposes of operational changes -- on AC metal flights, either AC or CP codeshares.
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Old Apr 25, 00, 3:04 pm
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Duplicate posting. FlyerTalk is awfully slow today!

[This message has been edited by Shareholder (edited 04-25-2000).]
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Old Apr 25, 00, 6:12 pm
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After reading the above, I feel your pain and share your anger; but I cannot control my urge to comment:

"God love you, my wonderful northern friends. Many of us in the States have not just 'come to the conclusion', but have known for years (since our Revolution) that Canadians 'are indeed a passive lot'"!

But in this instance, "Keep Up The Fight! Don't let the Americans (i.e., AMEX) result in your 'getting screwed'".

I couldn't help myself. Please forgive me. And let me continue to play Liar's Poker. How else can I make expenses when I am north of the border?
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Old Apr 25, 00, 8:08 pm
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
Posts: 4
I too am completely frustrated by the inadequate response of American Express.

I followed InTheAirGuy's lead and sent my comments to Mr. stark and to Canadian Plus as well.

I was in the process of doing my pre May 1 point transfer on Monday morning, when I was told by Amex rewards that "Oh you can't convert to CPlus any more".

All I can say is EVERYONE must write to both Amex and Canadian Plus and let them know they screwed up big time.

I don't think Canada deserves a national carrier if this is the way a Loyalty program is supposed to work.

I do hope American Airlines makes an effort to pick up more of the Canadian Market. I can just see Air Canada's Aeroplan behind all this and I want their to be another alternative.

Screwed in Toronto
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Old Apr 25, 00, 11:20 pm
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Hey InTheAirGuy, I couldn't have said it better myself - hang on!! Seriously, good going mate. Yes you are indeed correct about the power of the internet and especially this forum to get the news out and to wipe away any attempt at a whitewash.

Just maybe all AMEX Canada needs is some time to negotiate with other carriers. I hope this to be the case but then again I also had faith in Phillips and Laidlaw.

Maybe it is time to link the Canadian card to the Australian operation or to do something a little more imaginative than what was offered. Come'on AMEX go wild and think outside your little box.
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Old Apr 26, 00, 9:04 am
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 540
Originally posted by Shareholder:
Any word on the status of the Amex discount on CP awards (suppose this is gone since it was linked to Rewards program), the 1K bonus for buying a CP ticket with an Amex card, or the Platinum card benefits like the 2 for 1 CP ticket?
I can further confirm that the 2-for-1 coupon issued yearly to the Platinum Amex card holders are now invalid. My father took his to an AMERICAN EXPRESS TRAVEL AGENCY and they've refused him from using it. News reports that this is still "up in the air" is incorrect.

From the Amex Canada web site, lists Amex feeble response. Point (6) specifically says that the 3,500 transfer fee remains in place, along with the minimum of 10,000 points per transfer (instead of 0 fee and 5,000 points minimum). How can Amex even begin to argue this since their point of the fee in the first place was "too many people are transferring to CPlus". You will also notice that point (10) in the "contents" page "How does Amex intend to keep my business" is not answered in the body of the web document.

I know I was quoted in today's Globe and Mail with what I've posted here. I know the reporter printed exactly what I said here, but I didn't mean it to sound like I'll forgive Amex if they'll just drop the 3,500 points fee, and it would be business as usual. I am hoping that AA AAdvantage will take over CPlus' place with Amex MR, but that is unlikely as AMR has an existing relationship with Citibank in the US, and Citibank Canada is becoming more agressive with their card products.

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Old Apr 26, 00, 9:31 am
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All in all, that Q&A is not only a joke, but offensive. The non-answer to most questions is a bunch of fluff about how they have this great new travel benefit. 'Course, anyone with at least a 2-digit IQ can quickly see that it's a pretty empty offer.

I wouldn't mind if they simply said "We're still figuring out what to do. Maybe there's nothing we can do. Sorry." But this response is almost as bad as CP/AC's behaviour. The difference between offensive and reprehensible, I suppose.
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Old Apr 26, 00, 9:48 am
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Here's a link to the article in the Globe and Mail:

It probably expires on May 1.


Point junkies feel betrayed by Canadian-Amex breakup


Wednesday, April 26, 2000

A sense of betrayal is setting in as tens of thousands of award-point junkies adjust to Monday's disheartening announcement from American Express.

Effective immediately, said the charge card giant, its Membership Awards program will no longer include Canadian Airlines as a partner. The card company accused the airline of pulling out. Canadian, in turn, said the breakup was all the fault of Amex. Many industry observers suspect the real culprit may be Air Canada -- currently in the process of taking over Canadian. But it is denying any involvement....

[This message has been edited by Ken hAAmer (edited 04-26-2000).]
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Old Apr 26, 00, 9:49 am
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Saw GLOBE article this morning -- every so often we get McArthur's stories in the national edition -- and the various comments.

Think the overall message was Amex's new program leaves an awful lot to be desired. I noticed on the Amex forum a posting about a new enhanced U.S.-based Rewards program which sounds similar to the one they are offering us up here, but seems at least 2 to 3 times more generous in the conversion value of points to dollars towards flights. In fact, it appears to permit transfer of points to full value of flights on any airline, no "service charge" on cashing in points, etc. However, there is a 21-day advance booking requirement and Saturday overnight stay needed, according to posting. [Sorry, can't provide link since I am no computer expert.]

It will be interesting to see what Amex offers those of us with now worthless 2 for 1 Platinum coupons. [I actually would have preferred keeping DESTINATIONS, the magazine, over the certificate, but...] As for other benefits of Platinum, it will also be a waiting game.

POST runs a story this morning speculating on the future link between CP and AIR MILES, also under renegotiation. Likely to be renewed, according to story, but with seasonal discounts removed or award "prices" going up. Of course in this case, AIR MILES has some bargaining leverage since it has a lot more cardholders and similar deals with NW/KLM, AA and UA. Since all seats are Y-class, it could quickly sign a deal with Canada3000, Royal or WestJet, albeit lots of folks in smaller centres would have no air link into the key airports from which these carriers operate.

All told, this whole matter seems to focus on the super-discounted "unpublished" fares CP has offered to its "partners" to keep them on board.

Wonder if I will still be able to get Cdn+ points for my move with AJM Campbell later this summer, or if that too is being renegotiated?
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Old Apr 26, 00, 10:00 am
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And the National Post link:


Free flights on Canadian Airlines likely to become less frequent

Deal with Air Miles close: Monopolistic practices are going to shaft the public'

Ian Jack and Peter Fitzpatrick
National Post

OTTAWA and TORONTO - Canadian Airlines Corp. and Air Miles are close to a deal that will salvage the popular frequent flyer program but likely make it tougher to collect free flights.

The agreement, expected within days, is the latest signal it will not be business as usual for customers of Canadian, now run by Air Canada.

On Monday, Canadian executives abruptly cancelled a frequent flyer arrangement with American Express. That move left travellers angry and confused, and some of them blamed Air Canada's near-monopoly for the turn of events....
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Old Apr 26, 00, 10:33 am
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I think we all agree that what happened was Amex playing hardball with CP as usual, stupidly overlooking the fact that they're really dealing with AC now. I've always assumed the Points Accelerator option was financed by CP (like, the bonus points go to Amex for free).

Saw coverage of this story on CBC last night (The National). It included an interview with ?Doug Post? of AC regarding the much longer times to get through and claim awards these days. His answer makes some of the recent stupid comments seem practically respectful of our intelligence (or, he's pegging customers' IQ down into single digits now).

Why are the waits so long? (I apologize for paraphrasing). Well, now that both CP and AC flyers have the option of using both CP and AC for their award travel, they're making much greater demands. With all the extra destinations, where we were satisfied to fly Vancouver to Toronto, now we're asking about Vancouver to Toronto to Europe to Africa! And of course that takes much more time to check out.

What a stupid response.

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