Aeroplan Members Share A Milestone: 300 Million Aeroplan Miles To Charities

It started quietly seven years ago, with one web page online inviting Aeroplan loyalty program members to share their Aeroplan Miles with seven Canadian charitable partners. Seven years on, Aeroplan Members have donated more than 300 million miles to NGO’s in Canada and around the world to complete their missions. Currently, Aeroplan’s Beyond Miles program has 10 partner organizations and more than 400 Charitable Pooling Accounts, but the range of causes supported is also impressive. To name a few examples: high-schoolers travelling to volunteer on an international project for Free the Children; Ballet Jörgen Canada bringing dance to communities across Canada; and Veterinarians Without Borders supporting healthy animals and communities. Beyond Miles Builds A Community of Giving Beyond Miles is a Canadian social purpose initiative of Aimia, the international loyalty group and Aeroplan’s parent company. Aimia started out in 1984 as Aeroplan, the frequent flyer program for Air Canada. Since then, Groupe Aeroplan, now Aimia, has gone global, owning a portfolio of loyalty management programs including Nectar in the UK and other programs in Chile, Italy and more. The Aeroplan member base in Canada is a force within Aimia, numbering 4.6 million members. And the Beyond Miles program has evolved its engagement with this group, especially online. With a full Beyond Miles microsite and more social media activity, “we have identified a community of giving within Aeroplan’s overall customer base,” says Alden Hadwen, Director, Community Engagement, Canada at Aimia. The interactive website has also facilitated some program innovations. The program began with partners selected by Aeroplan based on feedback from its members, but members can now support a range of charities in the arts, education, environment, health and youth program and more. “It’s been an evolution. Members are showing a lot of support for smaller charitable organizations in their own backyard that have meaning for them. There is now fifty/fifty support between partners and smaller organizations such as Oceans Initiatives,” according to Hadwen. Once a charity is on board, they can receive donations of miles throughout the year, and they are also allowed to conduct a 30-day marketing campaign to gain a target of miles once a year – with Aeroplan contributing the last 10% of the miles to reach their goal. That means a lot of social media outreach within the Beyond Miles community of giving. “It’s about peer-to-peer fundraising, marketing, sharing concern, and helping each other, all through the context of Aeroplan. It’s a real fulfillment of what we have been trying to achieve,” says Hadwen. It can also stimulate some fun educational outreach with school groups and others. On World Oceans Day, June 8, for every image of a whale uploaded to Aeroplan’s Facebook site, Aeroplan will donate miles to Oceans Initiative’s pooling account to support their mission to protect marine life and the study of whales and other sea mammals. It isn’t always about flights though. Charitable organizations can use the donated miles for hotels, rental cars or infrastructure needs. For example, NGOs can redeem donated miles for refurbished recycled computer equipment. Aeroplan also offsets 100 per cent of all carbon emissions from flights taken by Beyond Miles partners using donated miles. 70 Miles Donated for Every New Twitter Follower and Retweet of anniversary message on May 17 To celebrate another major milestone, the 7th anniversary of the Beyond Miles program, Aeroplan is donating 70 miles to the Beyond Miles program for every new Twitter follower or RT of @BeyondMiles on May 17. More about Beyond Miles: More about Aeroplan: More about Aimia: