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Capital One Canada and Delta End Credit Card Partnership

delta capital oneChange continues in the Canadian credit card landscape. In the last few years we’ve seen TD acquire the Aeroplan credit card program, CapOne win the Costco deal, RBC take on Shoppers DrugMart, Scotia buy into Canadian Tire, Target disappear, and who knows what’s going to happen to Sears Canada’s program with Chase. Now we’re seeing the much smaller Capital One Canada Delta Gold and World card exit stage left.

The program may have shut down because it just never realized the size required to make it worth CapOne’s focus, and CapOne decided not to renew. Or, perhaps Amex Canada is taking over the program on renewal because Amex has the Delta program in the U.S. – a conjecture which would make sense.

Regardless, the program was not without its challenges from the outset. Canada is a small marketplace, and international carriers cannot fly domestically. So Delta’s Sky Miles program was really only good for those looking to travel exclusively to the United States. However, the challenge for Delta in Canada, was that both Air Canada and Westjet have a lot more direct flights from Canada to the United States. Why would anyone limit themselves to Delta, when they could belong to an airline loyalty program like Aeroplan that flies them everywhere Delta does – and much more.

In all likelihood, only the most die hard Canadian Delta frequent fliers were attracted to the card – likely a very small demographic. Most Canadians likely had far more earn and redeem opportunities with either Aeroplan, Westjet or one of the many new flexible Canadian travel credit cards that allow you to redeem points for any travel charge on your credit card statement.

All that said, there is a precedent for niche American carriers doing well in Canada – which may serve as a blueprint for success. The Alaska Air World Elite MasterCard has done phenomenally well in Canada. Perhaps, a winning value proposition has something to do with it. The Alaska Air program offers a 25,000 mile sign-up bonus, a companion ticket for $121 USD that can be used to fly to Hawaii, and only comes with a $75 annual fee. It also flies to places, in frequencies that Air Canada and Westjet do not. Cardholders can also use their Alaska Air Mileage Plan points to fly on American Airlines, Delta, British Airways, Air France, KLM and a host of other Qualifying Partner Airlines at fantastic mile transfer rates. Alaska Air also puts its weight and enthusiasm behind marketing the credit card program in plane and at the gate – something we did not see on Delta flights in Canada.

We do hope someone picks up the Delta co-brand program, if for no other reason than to keep a semblance of competitiveness in the marketplace. We would love Canadians to benefit from higher credit card sign-up bonuses spurred by intense competition – in the United States welcome bonuses are almost double that of Canadian credit cards.

 

6 comments

  1. I loved my Capital One Delta Skymiles card. At 2 points per $1 spent, who couldn’t find a spring or winter getaway to the Southern US or an over seas flight? The really nice thing was no black outs and could book any seat any time right from Delta’s main website.

    My Visa is a CIBC Aeroplan one and sure Air Canada may have more direct flights to the US but you cant get the seat you like when you like. Aeroplan over the past few years has become a night mare to find seats with.

    I would be all over that AMEX card if they teamed up with Delta.

    I would also say I was VERY surprised that Capital One cancelled the account rather than rolled it into another one of their cards or at least tried to keep my good business. Mine was a World Elite card with approx. $150,000 a year in spending on it.

    • Hi Tim,

      It was a very good program. It just never got the volume that made it attractive to CapOne – that could be Delta or CapOne’s fault. If you look at the Alaska Airlines program in Canada, it’s doing very well by comparison. But Alaska Airlines markets the program heavily at the gate, on flights, on it’s site, etc… The promising news is that American Express should have plenty of motivation to find new partners in Canada.

      GreedyRates Staff

  2. I appreciate the tip on the Air Alaska Card, I guess I was one of the few who really liked this card and I’m a bit lost as to where / what to replace it with. With 2 points per dollar, low to no taxes on domestic Delta flights out of Buffalo and Toronto (admittedly this card seemed best fit for Canadians in big cities and/or even better those of us close to major US cities / airports) and some of the cheapest international flight options with their partners Korean Air, KLM & Aeroflot. If Amex was more widely accepted the Gold Rewards would be the perfect fit, I collect Aeroplan, Avios & Delta SkyMiles so I’m thinking the RBC British Airways Visa Infinite or TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, but neither offer the benefits of this card IMO

    • Hi Tanner,

      It was a good card with a very strong earn rate. I think in the end it just didn’t fly enough routes, and those that it did fly, we’re also covered by Air Canada – making it’s appeal limited to too small a population for CapOne.

      On another note, I wouldn’t dismiss the Amex Gold Rewards card. First, if you collect Aeroplan, you get 25,000 Aeroplan miles as a welcome bonus, with no fee in the first year, and you only have to spend $500 in the first 3 months. That only makes it worth getting. We would also recommend getting TD’s Aeroplan Infinite card, which currently has a limited time only special on GreedyRates until Oct 30th, for 25,000 Aeroplan miles, no fee in the first year, and all you have to do is active and keep the card open and in good standing for the first 90 days – BOTH are great deals. You’ll end up with 50,000 miles, no annual fee and all you had to do was spend $500!

      Best,

      GreedyRates Staff

    • I was sad when I got the letter regarding the Capital One World Delta Skymiles card. I used it for almost all purchase and got many miles especially the 2miles per $1 and the 10K additional bonus miles when you spent enough each year. I also have the Amex Gold Aeroplan card but it is just not the same. I’m hardly using the Amex once I got the Delta one. I live next close to Detroit (Delta hub) and I fly Delta as much as I fly Air Canada so it was working out perfectly. I hope Delta will have another card to earn sky mile. I hope if it’s Amex, it would be better than the Aeroplan one!!!

      • Hi Gabe,

        We also thought the Delat CapOne MasterCard offered quite a bit of value to Canadian Delta frequent fliers. There just weren’t enough of them. I think the challenge Delta faces in Canada is they just don’t fly enough routes to offer enough versatility for Canadian travellers when compared to Aeroplan, WestJet and now many of the fly anywhere, anytime travel cards. We’ll see if someone else picks up the program.

        GreedyRates Staff

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