In a big win for consumers, Ontario passed a law on December 5th, 2016 that now bans the expiration of rewards in the province. The Protecting Rewards Points Act which is part of Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act will come into effect in the next few months and will apply to all kinds of rewards or loyalty programs in Ontario offered by service providers such as Starbucks, Lufthansa and WestJet among others.
This bill was prompted by a widespread consumer outcry following plans by LoyaltyOne, which runs the Air Miles Loyalty Program, to void miles that were more than five years old. Under the new consumer agreement, this will not be possible not only for air miles but for many other rewards providers operating in the province.
The bill is also retroactive so all miles or points that expired on or after 1st of October will be credited to consumers’ accounts. In response to the passing of the bill, many companies including Starbucks have already indicated that their rewards programs will no longer have an expiry date, not only in Ontario but throughout Canada. So this bill could have a domino effect nationwide where companies across board get rid of expiry dates for rewards programs.
While the Ontario no-expiry rule has been passed and is now cast in stone, there will be some tweaks that will be ironed out over the next months. These will mainly be on the regulations of devaluing of points and account inactivity. So while there will be a no-expiry rule, there will also be some exceptions. If there are unfulfilled conditions on the duration of validity of points which are stipulated in the loyalty agreement, your points could still expire. This will mostly be the case with accounts that have been inactive for a stipulated duration of time which will be defined in the final “no points expiry” bill.