The story of Aimia begins in 1984, with the creation of the Aeroplan program by Air Canada as an incentive program for its frequent flyer customers.
In the late 1990s, Air Canada began to explore the possibility of creating a domestic coalition loyalty program by spinning off Aeroplan into a separate company. The management team strongly believed that Aeroplan could become much more than a frequent flyer program.
Management took the first step toward this vision in January 2002 by spinning off Aeroplan into an entity separate from Air Canada.
Aeroplan grew quickly, signing on retail partners and diversifying its rewards offering to include non-flight rewards. Aeroplan had begun the journey to becoming the leading premium coalition loyalty program in Canada, a spot it still holds today.
The rapid traction and profitability that we gained in Canada with the coalition model provided the impetus for our international growth strategy beyond Canada.
To fuel our global expansion, management decided that completing an initial public offering (IPO) would help the new company gain marketplace credibility, access to capital and develop a solid, stable debt rating.
In June 2005, Aeroplan completed its IPO as an income trust. The transaction raised C$287.5 million in capital and earned Aeroplan an initial valuation of $2.0 billion, making it one of the largest business income trusts in Canada at the time.
To achieve our global vision, the company has since made two very important acquisitions: Loyalty Management Group (LMG) and Carlson Marketing.
The acquisition of LMG in 2007 included Nectar, the largest coalition loyalty program in the United Kingdom today, as well as LMG’s Insight and Communication (I&C) business, which has now become a world class proprietary data analytics business.
The acquisition of Carlson Marketing in 2009 was equally important. Carlson is one of the most storied brands in loyalty marketing, with a history that stretches back to 1938 with Curt Carlson’s launch of the Gold Bond Stamp Company. Carlson Marketing gave us geographic breadth, including access to the United States, the largest loyalty market in the world. In addition, Carlson Marketing added proprietary loyalty expertise to our core competencies tool belt and empowered us to create a unique full-suite of loyalty management services.
In 2011, Aimia acquired a minority equity position in Cardlytics, a US based leader in merchant-funded transaction-driven marketing for electronic banking.
Today, Aimia offers a global full-suite of loyalty management services, including Coalition Loyalty, Proprietary Loyalty and Loyalty Analytics. Aimia’s unique capabilities include proven expertise in converting frequent flyer programs to coalition loyalty programs and launching greenfield coalition programs. Aimia is also a leading innovator in the emerging digital and mobile space.
Aimia’s vision is to become the recognized global leader in loyalty management with a significant presence in the majority of G20 countries.