The Air Miles Reward Program is a loyalty program or frequent flyer program in Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain (under the brand Travel Club), the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar through which points are earned on money spent at participating merchants. Air Miles Reward Programs in each country are independently run.
In all countries where the program operates, the "Air Miles" name and logo are trademarks of LMG, the company which originated the concept, and which was acquired by Aeroplan in 2007. However, in many cases LMG is simply a licensor and not involved with the operations of local franchisees; more specifically, in Canada, the current operator of Air Miles is completely separate from its main rival Aeroplan. Likewise, Air Miles UK has no affiliation to LMG's newer Nectar brand.
The Air Miles UK website also provides an online shopping portal to a number of UK retailer partners including eBay.co.uk and Currys. Registered collectors can access retailers' websites via Air Miles Online Shopping and can collect points on purchases.
Airmiles can be redeemed for free flights with British Airways and many more scheduled airlines, Eurostar and ferry crossings, cruises, hotel accommodation, car hire, travel insurance, package holidays, spa & golf breaks and UK leisure activities.
While Air Miles is a subsidiary of British Airways, the airline runs a separate scheme for its frequent flyers called 'BA Miles'.
Air Miles was created during the mid 1980s by Alan Deller, Commercial Director of British Caledonian Airways and the partners of advertising agency Mills, Smith & Partners. These were Keith Mills, Brian Smith, William Kershaw, Nick Tomlin, Peter Badham and Geoffrey Bean. Liam Cowdrey joined Mills, Smith & Partners some months later.
Together they formed the Air Miles Travel Promotions Company Limited in 1986 and sold 51% of the UK operation to British Airways soon after.
Mills, Smith & Partners produced the consumer launch campaign ‘Stop dreaming. Start Collecting’ gaining a database of three million Air Miles collectors in the first three months.
Keith Mills later went on to found the Nectar loyalty card.
The Canadian AIR MILES Reward Program is Canada's largest loyalty program— AIR MILES reward miles can be earned at more than 100 participating sponsor companies in Canada. According to Alliance Data (the US parent of the Canadian company that launched the program in 1992 and continues to operate it), approximately two-thirds of Canadian households actively participate in the Program.
Air Miles collectors can redeem their reward miles for travel, entertainment and merchandise rewards.
In Canada, AMEX Bank of Canada, and the Bank of Montreal offer Air Miles credit cards and WestJet offers reward miles for on-line flight bookings. Participating airlines (for redeeming reward miles) include WestJet, Air Canada, Northwest Airlines/KLM, American Airlines, Lufthansa, as well as several regional airlines.
Major companies involved in Air Miles Canada include the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Shell Canada, Safeway in the western provinces, A&P/Dominion in Ontario, Rexall and PharmaPlus pharmacies in Ontario, Sobeys in the Atlantic provinces, and Rona. Air Miles' biggest customer is BMO Financial Group, which offers the miles through various credit card and banking products.
In the Middle East region Air Miles is operated by Rewards Management Middle East and is co-owned by the parent LMG and HSBC. Currently it operates in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain, but is in the process of expanding to more countries in the region. Air miles earned in Europe or Canada cannot be redeemed in the Middle East region, as the company operates independently there, but customers can earn Air Miles points across the different countries Air Miles Middle East that it operates in. In addition to Air Miles' retailer network in the Middle East region, users of HSBC credit cards that participate in the Air Miles program are credited Air Miles points for every credit card purchase transaction they complete worldwide.
Halfway through the 1990s, Air Miles was introduced with a lot of advertising. The popularity dropped halfway through the 2000s. In 2004, ABN AMRO terminated its program for giving Air Miles; also, Albert Heijn did the same in some of its branches to make room for more discounts on their products. At Shell gas stations, one still has the option to choose between Air Miles or stamps.
After the creation of Air Miles other companies made saving cards like Rocks, Freebees, and Power Points.