Business

Air Miles beefs up security for cash miles program after points stolen

Air Miles collectors can resume using their cash miles to buy products in stores, Wednesay. In-store redemptions were suspended following theft reports, but Air Miles has beefed up security.

Program will resume in-store cash miles program, after suspending it due to theft

As a security measure, Air Miles is now imposing a daily limit on the amount of points people can use to get in-store rewards. (Air Miles)

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.

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.

Air Miles members can use cash miles to get rewards like free groceries. (Air Miles)

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.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sophia Harris

Business reporter

Sophia Harris covers business and consumer news. Contact: sophia.harris@cbc.ca

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now