Return fire in the points wars

Canadian Airlines says that Amex is the villain in this week’s developments that saw Amex Membership Rewards program members shut out of Canadian’s frequent flyer program. Travelers who had points saved in both programs were prohibited from transferring them from Amex to Canadian as of April 24, when Canadian terminated the contract. As a result, many people have points sitting in their Amex account that can’t be used for free travel.

Canadian says it  has been attempting to negotiate with Amex Bank of Canada to amend its agreement since it wasn’t “economically viable”. Canadian also says that it has offered to Amex Bank of Canada the ability to continue to convert Membership Rewards Points to Canadian Plus points until the end of the year 2000, under the same financial terms. This would give customers over seven months to convert their points.

“The inconvenience to customers resulting from Amex’s refusal to allow for an orderly wind down of the program is totally unnecessary,” said Paul Brotto, Canadian’s President. “Our offer to Amex to extend the program to year end under the same financial terms remains on the table. We urge them to consider their customers andhe options that remain open to them.”

This would be a fair and reasonable solution to the problem. Let’s see how Amex responds. As many consumers have noted, Amex’s offer of travel discounts for redeemed points just doesn’t compare to the free flight many people have saved years to receive.