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

 

Old Apr 24, 00, 10:00 am
  #1  
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AMEX PULLS OUT OF CP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Canadian Airlines Pulls Out Of American Express Membership Rewards Program


MARKHAM, ON, April 24 /CNW/ - Amex Bank of Canada said today that it has
moved quickly to protect the interests of its Cardmembers after Canadian
Airlines pulled out as a partner in its Membership Rewards program.
American Express says it is immediately bringing forward plans to revamp
the travel component of its Membership Rewards program to allow members to use
their points towards a range of travel options, including tickets for any
airline for any destination in the world.
Cardmembers will be able to redeem their points for travel certificates
which can be applied to up to 50% of the value of their purchases of air
travel, package vacations, hotel stays, car rental, or other travel related
services through any of Amex Canada Inc.'s 85 retail travel offices throughout
Canada.
In addition, at the end of the year Cardmembers enrolled in Membership
Rewards will receive a points loyalty bonus of 10% on the points they earn
between May 1st and December 31st.
American Express says that it has been planning these and other yet to be
announced improvements to the Membership Rewards program for some time. But it
said the move to bring forward their announcement to today was prompted by
Canadian Airlines decision to pull out of the program.
Canadian Airlines informed American Express that, effective immediately,
it would stop accepting transfers of Cardmember's Membership Rewards points
into the Canadian Plus frequent flyer program.
Alan Stark, President & CEO of Amex Bank of Canada commented: "We are
very surprised by Canadian's move, but with the continuing uncertainty over
the airline's future, we had already come up with exciting plans to strengthen
the travel options in our Membership Rewards program."
He said that Canadian Airlines had been a partner in the program for
eight years, and that the current program was expected to be in place until
the end of 2002.
Mr. Stark pointed out that American Express pays a "significant sum of
money" to Canadian Airlines each month for points redemptions - revenue that
Canadian will now lose.
"It's a strange business decision for an airline in trouble to turn its
back both on an ongoing source of revenue and on many of its best customers,"
commented Mr. Stark.
"But our main concern had to be to protect the interests of the
Cardmembers in our program, and that is what we have done."
He added, "While we regret their decision, we feel it will have more of
an impact on Canadian Airlines and their customer relationships than it will
on American Express or our Members," said Mr. Stark.

New travel reward for the Amex Membership Rewards Program
---------------------------------------------------------

Membership Rewards enrollees will be able to redeem their points for
travel certificates that can be used at Amex Canada Inc. retail travel offices
for up to 50% of the value of their purchases. Enrollees will receive a $100
travel certificate for every 10,000 point redemption, which can be used
towards the purchase of airline tickets, train tickets, tour packages,
cruises, hotels, car rentals and travel insurance packages.
The addition of this new reward option makes the program even broader and
more flexible than other card or frequent flyer programs. American Express
Cardmembers will be able to:

- Book travel without the restrictions of blackout periods
- Use certificates for a much wider range of travel options
- Use certificates for discounted travel offers
- Use certificates for friends or family, or give as a gift

Along with these improvements, Membership Rewards enrollees will continue
to have the option of transferring their points into the frequent flyer
programs of Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Cardmembers will also
earn a 10% points loyalty bonus at the end of the year.
In all, the Membership Rewards program offers over 150 reward choices for
travel, leisure, dining and entertainment. It also continues to be one of the
fastest points earnings programs available, with one point for virtually every
dollar spent and an optional program on selected cards to accelerate the rate
of points earning.
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Old Apr 24, 00, 10:45 am
  #2  
MD
 
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I can't say that I am terribly surprised. From my understanding, CIBC and AC have a fairly extensive exclusivity agreement that would have prevented Canadian's participation in the longer term. I expect that we will shortly hear that Royal will be cancelling their Cdn Plus Visa.

By the way, I was very annoyed that Amex has started adding the 3500 point surcharge on all pont transfers.

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Old Apr 24, 00, 2:18 pm
  #3  
 
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I can confirm that this has happened. Just called MR and tried to move points to CPlus. No dice. AMR should note that this is a perfect time to gain some more Canadian customers. If MR still insist on charging 3500 points for transfer to FF programs, they can kiss my business goodbye.

10000 MR points = $100 is a terrible deal. 25000 MR points would have got you a reward flight within Continental US/Canada, but $250 wouldn't even get you to Toronto-Montreal on a busy day, and the 50% limit also bites. Is the similiar to the MR+ program in the US ?
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Old Apr 24, 00, 2:48 pm
  #4  
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Don't know how many of you follow stocks. I am sure this had a big effect on CP's stocks. It was at a low of $0.25 this morning, it's at 0.87 as i write this. It closed at 1.15 when it last closed.

Seems like CPlus is going down soon!!
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Old Apr 24, 00, 3:08 pm
  #5  
MD
 
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Actually, I doubt that the lower price has much to do with this news at all. Trading had been suspended as Canadian made its announcement of its debt restructuring, where unsecured creditors were to get 12 cents on the dollar and shareholders (the 18percent that did not tender their shares to AC - dummies) would likely get no consideration. The logical reaction would be to sell sell sell. If you look at the intraday values, the stock opened at $0.25 before the Amex announcement, and proceeded to climb for the first hour before levelling off at the $0.87 range.

I do agree though, that Canadian as a corporate entity will not be around for the long term. Either its creditors will agree to its plan and Cdn will emerge from Bankruptcy protection as a wholloy owned subsidiary of AC, or they won't and Canadian will go bankrupt. Personnally I think that your friend Mr. Milton will do what it takes to secure the approval from the creditors to avoid the political fallout that would ensure if Canadian flames out.

On the other hand, if Canadian does fail, it makes the issue of seniority in the unions that much easier to deal with...

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Old Apr 24, 00, 3:14 pm
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Airline employees in Canada, and to a lesser degree American Express employees, would do well to stand clear. My morning so far:

09:45 PDT Check e-mail, FlyerTalk, etc. See post about CP/Amex divorce.

10:00 PDT Call CP E/P desk to inquire. Am told the story is "under verification" but probably not true.

10:15 PDT Call Amex to attempt automated points transfer, but instead get agent. Amex agent advises that CP, without notice or warning, unilaterally began refusing points transfers.

10:30 PDT Start firing off e-mails to journalists around the continent.

12:30 PDT Call CP E/P desk again, primarily on other business, but also ask again. Am told that that effective 90 minutes ago (11:00 PDT) you can no longer transfer MR points to CP. [This is particularly vexing to me, as the first thing on my to do list today was transfer some points and book one last BA First award.] CP agent advises that Amex without notice or warning, unilaterally decided to pull out of the CP program. CP's attempts to negotiate a graceful exit were rebuffed.

My guess -- they're both lying. But it appears (combined with the new "amenity" kits) that we're well on our way to a "world class airline" in Canada. (See my next report on "loyalty.")

With regard to Amex MR, it's now a virtually useless program, with no airline affiliation (in Canada) and they're so called "awards" being of essentially no value (see Hsi above.) Apparently Amex thinks FFers are as studid as the airlines do.

Nevertheless, as I've stated elsewhere, I always have options. So in a few days, my CP account will have enough points from other sources that I'll still have plenty of time to book the BA award. But now I have 100K+ "orphanned" MR points.

I'm advised that tommorow's "Report on Business" (Globe and Mail) will have a story, and most likely so will the National Post.
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Old Apr 24, 00, 5:04 pm
  #7  
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This is really no surprise! But, Amex Platinum card members must be very unhappy! I expect that the Royal Bank visa CP card will go as well.

Next to go is CPs participation in Air Miles


[This message has been edited by Flyaway (edited 04-24-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Flyaway (edited 04-24-2000).]
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Old Apr 24, 00, 10:09 pm
  #8  
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Sorry to hear about you're "missing the plane" on this KH. In anticipation of the 3.5K "charge" starting next month, I moved 25K across from Amex to CP last Monday and they were posted by Wednesday. [Like many, I had moved 20K in 5K increments across prior to CP's J-class award increases at year end to redeem 4 J-class tickets under the Amex discount program.] All this leaves me with about 4K in my Rewards account, plus any current charges on my Amex card coming through next month.

The new Amex program doesn't sound very attractive, so it may be time to reactivate my Delta account and transfer Amex into Delta, and then move Delta miles into HHonors points.

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?

Suppose time will tell.

EMPRESS, the "collapse" of CP has nothing to do with this, as MD has noted, this is just the logical process of the bankruptcy and reorganization with creditors set out in court last week.

[This message has been edited by Shareholder (edited 04-25-2000).]
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Old Apr 24, 00, 10:35 pm
  #9  
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Thanks for the explanation MD...

Luckily, I transfered all the remaining points from MR to CP last week when I booked a reward ticket. I was trying to avoid the 3.5K charge.

Does anyone think that Milton & friends is behind this again...!? I do..
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Old Apr 24, 00, 11:59 pm
  #10  
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Bloody Hell!
AMEX better improve their package to keep loyal card-members. I am not about to "drop" into an AMEX travel agency in Canada to book a ticket at 50% off with points redemption (at an outragous rate as well). I have 100K of AMEX points, I use this card everywhere in China and elsewhere. Although my card is registered as a "Canadian Card" it is essentially a global card as my statements are sent to China directly but billed in Canadian Dollars rather than US or RMB. This "package" does not help me at all.

I think my only use now is to transfer the miles to Continental and take a few flights to Guam, Palau and Micronesia on Air Mike.

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. http://home3.americanexpress.com/uk/...lines_body.asp

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)http://home3.americanexpress.com/argentina/Personal/Cards/rewards/rewards_travel.asp

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. http://home3.americanexpress.com/Rew...ch_partner.asp

I can't get access to Singaporean, Taiwanese or Hong Konger sites while I am physically in China but I am sure their selection has got to be better than Canada.

I have fired off my email to AMEX Canada. I am hoping for some sort of reply. It will take an increase in Airline partners and the elimination of redemption mile charges to keep me in this program. Otherwise it will be time to re-activate my CIBC Visa card.



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Old Apr 25, 00, 7:48 am
  #11  
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I don't think Canadians were getting screwed, rather I think the CP plan was so generous (2.25 CP points per US$ spent) that there was no need/reason to offer much else.

It will be interesting to see if AA steps in. I don't think they're part of the American Amex plan, but as part of their push to re-establish a Canadian presence, this would be the idea opportunity.

andrew
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Old Apr 25, 00, 9:45 am
  #12  
YYZ
 
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The contingency plan for AMEX doesn't cut it either. I tried to book a 2 for 1 ticket and have it issued at an AMEX travel agency a couple of weeks ago, only to have them tell me that there was a surcharge of $25.00 / ticket! That would equate to 2500 Membership Rewards Points. Seems like they'll get their surcharge from you one way or another.

Very P.O'd!
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Old Apr 25, 00, 10:20 am
  #13  
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YYZ, you really cannot blame the travel agencies (Amex included) for charging you $25 to issue each ticket. The airlines have pared back their commissions to such a low level that all have implemented a $25 to $35 per ticket charge. There is staff time and a cost to issue a ticket. And afterall, for a free ticket that could be worth several thousand dollars, $50 is not outrageous.

It seems Amex may have been playing hardball with CP, but they should also have known CP's new management (i.e. Milton and company) were not going to respond in kind. Which is what they did. (Where to disgruntled Amex cardholders go for domestic travel: to AC, so they win either way and reduce CP's liabilities to Amex and others who bought ticekts at bulk discounts.) AC knows Amex has to play by its rules now, like it or not, since they are the only game in Canada.

I suspect we will see more incentives to use U.S. and non-Canadian carriers in Amex's revamped Rewards and Platinum program, as well as its other card promotions. This could in the end work to our benefit, so let's watch. I agree that the revamped program leaves much to be desired as outlined in the media release yesterday.

As for the Canadian Rewards program being worse than elsewhere in the world, each country has a program tailored to its domestic market needs. Partners are selected in part for their competitive attractiveness, but also may be limited by other commercial agreements. Until it instituted its 3.5K redemption charge, I feel we got good value from the program: not only points transfer valued at 2.25 per US$1 spent (thanks AW) but also a 15% to 20% discount on awards, particularly valuable on business class FF ticket bookings. And often the 1K bonus for using the Amex card to buy your tickets on CP was worth more points than the trip itself.

Yes, I agree the news came as a shock, and very suddenly. And I suppose had I not done my transfer last week, I'd have exploded like KH, and had fewer nice things to say about Amex. But from press stories today, it seems a bit like a "pox on both your houses" as two titans clashed and we little folk on the ground were hit by the debris. I will be upset if the Platinum program changed over the weekend too, and I cannot get a second ticket free on CP. (But I know I can use the U.S. program which offers greater airline choice, albeit I would have to buy a J of F class ticket to take advantage of it.)

Fair warning: Anybody planning to redeem AIR MILES on CP had better do it today. I suspect that will be the next shoe to drop. Afterall, CP basically is no longer carrying passengers at less than the cost of operating a seat on a given flight. That's been AC's secret for success, and why the new limitations on upgrades. CP is now in a position to ensure this can be implemented as their policy too.

By the way, Wall Street Journal has just reported that CP's new board have approved the creditor's plan which sees secured note holders getting 92-cents per dollar owed. No word of what unsecured creditors get (12-cents was rumour last week).
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Old Apr 25, 00, 11:26 am
  #14  
YYZ
 
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Shareholder,

No you can't blame the travel agencies (which was not my intention), but since I got over 100,000K in membership rewards points, I will have to deal with AMEX travel agency according to the news release (unless I want 16 dinner for two's at the KEG!!:> ). The point is, it still will be coming from my pocket, so I am not fully impressed with the solution. Better than nothing I suppose, but still, I will have to pay for that service whereas with an award ticket, it was free. Since I will only be able to get up to 50% off, two tickets to Vancouver from YYZ would cost me on the lowest fare (probably around $450, IF LUCKY). So that would cost me $500 (assuming two tickets purchased), + $50.00 service charge, + 20,000 membership rewards points. And no changes will be permitted on the ticket. I would much have preferred to pay 50,000 points, and not have it cost me a penny, and be more flexible with my travel plans.

Oh well, live and learn... I guess I am more P.O.'ed because I was going to transfer all my points before the end of this months because of that 3,500 surcharge. CIBC Aerogold, here I come.

By the way, I talked with a customer service rep. and apparently they do not know whether the Companion Ticket will be honoured or not. Not looking good though because she told me it was in the same contract as the Membership Rewards points transfer, that was deemed null and void (even though signed until 2002). At least I already booked my companion ticket travel (but don't travel to May, so I hope they honour that ticket!)
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Old Apr 25, 00, 11:26 am
  #15  
YYZ
 
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Shareholder,

No you can't blame the travel agencies (which was not my intention), but since I got over 100,000K in membership rewards points, I will have to deal with AMEX travel agency according to the news release (unless I want 16 dinner for two's at the KEG!!:> ). The point is, it still will be coming from my pocket, so I am not fully impressed with the solution. Better than nothing I suppose, but still, I will have to pay for that service whereas with an award ticket, it was free. Since I will only be able to get up to 50% off, two tickets to Vancouver from YYZ would cost me on the lowest fare (probably around $450, IF LUCKY). So that would cost me $500 (assuming two tickets purchased), + $50.00 service charge, + 20,000 membership rewards points. And no changes will be permitted on the ticket. I would much have preferred to pay 50,000 points, and not have it cost me a penny, and be more flexible with my travel plans.

Oh well, live and learn... I guess I am more P.O.'ed because I was going to transfer all my points before the end of this months because of that 3,500 surcharge. CIBC Aerogold, here I come.

By the way, I talked with a customer service rep. and apparently they do not know whether the Companion Ticket will be honoured or not. Not looking good though because she told me it was in the same contract as the Membership Rewards points transfer, that was deemed null and void (even though signed until 2002). At least I already booked my companion ticket travel (but don't travel until May, so I hope they honour that ticket!)
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