Between Purchase and Reward, It’s About the Journey – Loyalty Corner

What’s important to you is equally important to me, redeeming your Aeroplan Miles for experiences and rewards that will make lasting memories.  As I touched on briefly in my last post, the journey to earn Aeroplan Miles before you make a redemption with loyalty currency reminds me of a theme park line experience. I recently traveled to Walt Disney World with my family, and while I was there I started to think about the comparison between Walt Disney World and Canada’s Wonderland.

Perhaps, I’ve got a bit of national bias, but the rides at Canada’s Wonderland really are better than those at Disney. I’ve spent many great days at Canada’s Wonderland and look forward to the new rides as they get added each year.  Looking at them just on the basis of the rollercoasters I’d take the Leviathan over Big Thunder Mountain any day of the week.

But Disney has one clear advantage. Let’s say the decision to get in an attraction’s line represents the experience you have with a loyalty program to earn miles or points, and getting on the actual ride is the point of redemption of your miles or points.  When it comes to the period between getting in line and whipping through a ride’s curves, Disney wins, hands down.

The reason is that Disney has focused a great deal of time, creativity and money on its line. They’ve rethought something that, for most, is just a necessary evil. By the time you get to the head of a line at Disney, you’ve had several experiences related to that attraction. You’ve passed by one or two video screens geared toward getting you to think about, and immerse yourself, in the attraction’s world. By the time you’re ready to step onto the ride itself, you’re in a very different headspace than you were 30 minutes before.

In short, the Disney experience isn’t about the ride. Certainly the ride is important – it has to be good – but the reason Disney can get away with not creating a faster, bigger rollercoaster is because it creates better experience overall; the line, and the entire lead-up process, are part of that. The line is interesting and fun. The park is magical. They start the experience way back when you are researching and booking your family vacation.

In looking at the time between purchase and associated accumulation and redemption, the trick is to do what Disney has done – create games or experiences that keep you engaged and excited about the journey. Understand the customer journey and work hard to address pain points and add elements, partners and experiences that make it as fun and engaging as possible.

The airlines offer an example of how this can be done. Even during the periods when fliers haven’t earned a free flight or upgrade, they still have the benefit of boarding the plane early, and that is something people really value. Ultimately, it makes little difference: Everyone on that plane is going to leave and arrive at the same time. But the early boarding makes that line more fun and drives real value by making it less stressful to settle in, easier to store your bags and a chance to get comfortable before take-off.

Let’s go back to that line at Disney. Much in the way most kids’ games work today, you are rewarded for your investment of time, and the time before the redemption becomes enjoyable.  Our members win when the overall experience is more engaging. It’s interesting how the label “attraction” still applies. It’s a challenge and opportunity we’ve posed to ourselves.


Until next time,



2 Responses to “Between Purchase and Reward, It’s About the Journey – Loyalty Corner”

  1. Richard Me Neil April 9, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    My comments have nothing to do about the above. I wanted to comment on my experience with an aeroplan employee but I can not find the proper email add to do this. Yesterday April 8th I phoned your 800 number and was connected with a male in Montreal by the name of Kieth. Kieth and I were on the phone for just under an hour. To say that Kieth went above and beyond in providing service is an understatement. He was very attentive and helpful and Aeroplan should be made aware of this employee’s excellent work. Thank you Kieth and Aeroplan for solving my problem.

    • Aeroplan April 10, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for sharing with us, we’ll be sure to pass along your feedback. However you can also send us an email by clicking on this link:, log into your account and click Ask a Question. This will send us a secure email from your account.
      Have a great day