TD to get Aeroplan but CIBC may keep half

Canadian consumers could be in for a bonanza of special credit card offers now that Aimia Inc. has confirmed TD Bank has won its Aeroplan business away from CIBC, some industry members said.While CIBC hopes to hang onto half its Aeroplan credit cardholders if discussions still underway result in an agreement by Aug. 26 other card companies see Aeroplan’s move to TD as an opportunity to win new business.

β€œThis is a unique circumstance. It’s probably the biggest shakeup in the card loyalty rewards market for a decade or more,” said David Barnes, vice-president marketing and communications for American Express Canada.β€œWhat you’re going to see is a lot more marketing activity and enticements for people to come over to our card. First year free, quite rich welcome bonuses, those are the kind of tools you’ll see people using generally,” Barnes said in an interview.American Express is a supplier of Aeroplan-affiliated charge cards.

Aimia announced early Monday it had reached an agreement that confirms TD Bank as its primary credit card partner for a 10 year period, starting Jan. 1, 2014.β€œWe are delighted to confirm TD as our new financial credit card partner,” Aimia group chief executive Rupert Duchesne, said in a statement.But, in a new twist on the contentious switch, Aimia also said talks were continuing with both TD and CIBC about β€œa broad framework” that would see CIBC hang on to nearly half its card holders, mainly customers who also have accounts or other relationships with the bank.

β€œIf an agreement is reached, CIBC, TD and Aimia could avoid costly legal wrangling, which we believe could potentially include an application for an injunction by CIBC that would prevent TD from starting its Aeroplan loyalty program, even after CIBC’s agreement with Aimia expires on December 31, 2013,” Desjardins analyst Michael Goldberg said in a research note.A three-way agreement could limit the cost both for CIBC and TD of acquiring and keeping Aeroplan cardholders, analyst John Reucassel, with BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients. Cardholders will either stay with CBIC or enjoy a seamless transition to TD, Reucasse said.

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