WestJet and Royal Bank of Canada are teaming up to create a new loyalty rewards program named Ampli.
“It’s a very significant deal for Canada and for Canadians,” WestJet CEO Ed Sims told BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman in an interview.
“There’s a lot of instability, there’s a lot of volatility in the loyalty market right now in Canada, particularly involving airline partnerships” he added, noting the space has typically been dominated by intermediary companies like Air Miles and Aeroplan.
RBC and WestJet said in a joint statement Wednesday that the rewards program will debut next year and provide members with exclusive bonuses and offers from merchants. The companies did not specify the merchants, but said additional partners will be announced in the coming months.
"The Canadian loyalty landscape is ready for disruption, and Ampli is a fundamental shift in the business model," RBC President and CEO Dave McKay said in a statement.
"We are bringing together top Canadian brands to help them reach consumers more efficiently and effectively. We will also provide consumers with opportunities to earn rewards and save money like never before."
“We believe actually that by dealing directly with the major financial partner, we pass the value that would have typically been given to an intermediary, directly back to our guests,” Sims said.
“So it’s a very big deal.”
Ampli’s launch comes as Air Canada and loyalty rewards company Aimia prepare to sever their Aeroplan partnership in 2020. At that time, Air Canada plans to start its own rewards program.
Sims said his company has had the concept for a “completely seamless” loyalty scheme for many years but was able to “turbo-charge” its arrival amid Aimia’s fallout with WestJet’s key competitor.
“With everything that’s been happening with Aimia, we realize there’s an opportunity because there is a legacy element within those arrangements for our closest competitor by which we need to take first-mover advantage,” he said.
The loyalty program isn’t the first partnership for RBC and WestJet, which previously joined forces to offer the WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard.