I’ve been covering the decline of Air Miles for a while now, and it hasn’t been pretty. The program has been losing partners left and right, and frankly, their ripostes to the strokes of their biggest competitor, Scene+, don’t exactly inspire any confidence.
However, it looks like there’s at least some sign of life at Air Miles, because three new retail partners have just signed on with Air Miles.
Are Air Miles’s fortunes turning toward a brighter future, or is this development just a vain attempt at remaining relevant?
New Partnerships with Delivery Services
The new partners that are joining Air Miles are Goodfood, Natura Market, and Peter and Paul’s Gifts. Each of these companies are offering promotional Air Miles bonuses until various points in 2023.
Goodfood is described as being a chef-inspired meal kit which delivers premium ingredients in refrigerated (or frozen) boxes straight to your door.
Having sampled some of their products before, I can attest that they taste quite good, but I remain a bit skeptical: the prices of Goodfood boxes, even with promotional codes, hover at or above the $10 per serving mark.
On top of that, Goodfood’s stock price isn’t doing so well, so they may be a partner for a long time, or simply a blip on the radar. The food speaks for itself, regardless of price, but earning 45 Air Miles per $85 spent until January 3, 2023 feels a bit weak.
On the other hand, Natura Market is a similar concept to Goodfood, albeit with natural and fresh groceries, as well as wellness products. These items are packed into a refrigerated box and also sent to your door, earning you 50 Air Miles per $100 spent until April 30, 2023.
I haven’t sampled Natura Market, but I have taken a look at their prices. $47 for a six-pack of ramen seems a little steep, even if it does activate your chakras (or something similar).
Finally, there’s Peter and Paul’s Gifts, which also earns 50 Air Miles per $100 spent until April 30, 2022. Headquartered in Vaughan, this company specializes in gift baskets, which look to be of high quality.
It’s rare when anyone complains about chocolates and wine delivered to their door on Christmas or Valentine’s Day; however, this delight might only be applicable to a small portion of the country.
Since the company is located entirely within Toronto and the GTA, it means that the footprint of this decision is quite small, as only people looking to buy gift baskets in the GTA can benefit from the promotion without paying extra for shipping.
Moreover, I don’t know if Air Miles’s partnership is enough to entice the savvy consumer away from another merchant. In fact, you might not even be aware of this new partnership, as Peter and Paul’s Gifts is yet to even have the Air Miles logo displayed anywhere on their website.
These changes don’t look like they’re significant enough to save Air Miles, but they are a good indicator that somebody at the company wants to at least try to self-resuscitate.
Is This the Start of Air Miles’s Turnaround?
The biggest issue that has sat at the heart of Air Miles for the past few months is the following: why be loyal to this program?
Air Miles’s parent company, Loyalty Ventures, Inc., spent the summer of 2022 losing one of its most important partners, Sobeys, followed immediately by Staples.
To twist the knife in further, Empire Company, which owns Sobeys, Safeway, and several other grocery retailers, immediately joined up with Scene+, which to this day has held much more promise for the future.
This means that it’s kind of hard to earn Air Miles, and sadly, the overall state of the program remains poor, especially with Dream Miles remaining lacklustre in value compared to their Cash Miles cousins.
Unfortunately, those Cash Miles, which provide $10 in value for every 95 Air Miles redeemed, are now running out of redemption partners, severely curtailing their utility.
As I’ve noted before, Air Miles needs a serious turnaround strategy, and the new food delivery services that have joined the program are but a modest first step in the right direction. More drastic measures are needed if the program is to remain at all relevant.
Air Miles has added a trio of new retail partners, which is its first attempt to self-resuscitate after a disastrous summer season.
The program’s new food and gift box partners in Goodfood, Natura Market, and Peter & Paul’s Gifts deliver some utility to consumers, but the high price of goods limits their accessibility and overall appeal. If Air Miles wants to survive, it will need to add better partners – and fast.
Until next time, don’t dump your mealkits in too much cooking oil.