The arrival of the Scène+ card worries several Quebec IGA customers

The arrival of the Scene+ card has many Quebec customers worried ;cois d’IGA

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IGA's decision to drop Air Miles in favor of the Scene+ program has Quebec consumers worried. 

A large number of customers have contacted me to express their concerns about this announcement, which dates back to mid-June, and which is not conspicuous by its transparency. 

Empire, the parent company of IGA, acquired one-third ownership of the Scene loyalty program (other co-owners are Scotiabank and Cineplex). In Quebec, the grocer wants to eject Air Miles at the beginning of next year.

The announcement has made some people unhappy, because Air Miles notably allows you to make purchases directly at the grocery store or to obtain savings on gas, benefits that matter to millions of consumers. 

Ontarian Restaurants

However, except for Harvey's, the Scène+ card only allows consumption in restaurant chains concentrated in… Ontario.

On the other hand, the Scène+ card is honored at Cineplex, but like the Quebec's theatrical cinema industry is dominated by independents and by Guzzo, Cineplex is absent in many cities. 

“This change mainly confirms that the Air Miles program is less generous, with 1 mile per $20 purchase. You have to accumulate a lot of miles to be able to take full advantage of them. With Scene+, 1 point equals 1 cent; 10,000 points equal $100”, explains Jean Maximilien Voisine, president of Milesopedia, a reference site on loyalty programs and credit cards.

Loss of altitude

Air Miles has recently lost major customers: RONA, Bureau en Gros and the LCBO, the Ontario equivalent of the SAQ. Air Miles is still offered by Shell, but in Quebec this network belongs to… Empire. 

Note that Esso has chosen PC Optimum, a more popular program than Air Miles, according to R3 Marketing and Lightweight.

Dropping Air Miles makes sense for retailers, who now want to control information about their customers' buying habits more tightly. Conversely, Scotiabank and Cineplex wanted to improve Scene+ by attracting a grocer, which is very close to consumers.

In late June, Sobeys Chairman Michael Medline said in a statement that it will “soon” be possible to use Scene+ for grocery shopping. Why not officially announce it in stores?  

Tips 

  • On has often repeated: bonus points are not RRSPs, do not accumulate tens of thousands of them. Even if it is prohibited, the managers of these programs have some tricks to reduce the value of the points over time.
  • Best advice? Liquidate all your Air Miles by the holidays, especially at Jean Coutu.
  • In my opinion, the most appropriate reward programs, especially with inflation, are those that allow you to make store purchases or cash back.
  • Jean Maximilien Voisine suggests getting one of the seven available Scotia credit cards associated with the Scene+ program, which will enhance this reward program.
  • At the time of going to press, you could still buy gift cards with miles at Sobeys or IGA. Your miles will retain their value.