Air Miles beefs up security for cash miles program after points stolen
Program will resume in-store cash miles program, after suspending it due to theft
Air Miles collectors will once again be able to use their cash miles to buy products at participating stores, starting on Wednesday.
The rewards program suspended in-store redemptions on March 23 after it discovered thieves had managed to steal cash miles from some collectors. The theft happened in a "small number" of cases when points were used to buy products in stores, said Air Miles at the time.
The program gave no indication if it has any leads or information on who stole the miles. But to prevent any further theft, Air Miles is beefing up security measures when people redeem their cash miles at participating retailers.
- Air Miles alerts members someone is stealing cash miles
Starting Wednesday, collectors will face a daily spending limit of $50 per account. They will also no longer be able to use their points to get gift cards in stores.
Also, all members must now enter their PIN number online to find out how many miles they have in their account.
Air Miles is also encouraging collectors to "lock" their cash account. When they want to redeem miles, they can go online or use the program's automated phone system to unlock their account using their PIN number.
"At this time when Air Miles, like so many brands, is being targeted by online criminals, we believe we must continue to make Air Miles cash account security a priority," said head of Air Miles, Blair Cameron, in a statement.
When members collect miles, they can designate them as either dream or cash miles. Dream miles can be used to get rewards like vacations and merchandise. Cash miles are used solely to get products from participating retailers, such as gas at Shell, groceries at Sobeys or drug store items at Rexall.
Air Miles says it has been working diligently with retail Partners, law enforcement, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre on the theft case. The program did not indicate where it's at in its investigation.
Air Miles says the rewards program has more than 11 million active collector accounts.
In February, Loblaw experienced a similar problem with the theft of points.
The grocery store giant warned PC Plus rewards collectors to strengthen their passwords after points were stolen from some members' accounts.
Loblaw said the breach stemmed from people using weak username and password combinations.