Canadian Express?

Canadian Express?

It looks like Canada’s CIBC will have a little competition for Aeroplan members’ wallets after all.

Not long after Air Canada announced that CIBC would retain the rights to issue the loyalty program’s credit card, the head of Amex Bank of Canada announced that American Express and Air Canada had reached an agreement to provide the first Aeroplan Amex card.

President Beth Horowitz made the announcement on June 3, just three weeks after CIBC had agreed to pay more for Aeroplan miles in exchange for the credit card rights.

“We’re confident the CIBC Aerogold Visa card will remain the No. 1 travel reward card in Canada,” CIBC spokesperson Susan McDougall told the Canadian Press.

McDougall pointed to the greater acceptance rate of Visa and the convenience of being able to carry over a balance, a perk not available on most American Express cards.

The airline’s bankruptcy, announced earlier this year, had prompted court-appointed monitor Ernst & Young to open bidding for the credit card contract. Five large institutions, including CIBC and Amex, submitted bids along with $5 million refundable deposits.

As part of the deal, American Express will provide Air Canada with a sizeable cash infusion, to be reimbursed as miles are sold. CIBC had already provided the airline with $350 million in such financing.

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