Aeroplan Loyalty Program
Collaborating with the Air Canada team to create a digital solution to get members engaging with the Aeroplan website and mobile app every day using their existing programs, perks, benefits and partners
View Prototype

Project Overview

As part of my course at BrainStation, we were given the opportunity to collaborate with the Design Team at Air Canada to help solve one of their design problems.

Considering travel-focused incentive programs naturally fall off our radar during this time, engagement with their loyalty program has significantly decreased. We were given the challenge to create a digital solution within a tight timeframe (5 days) to get come up with a solution to get members engaging with the Aeroplan website and mobile app every day using their existing programs, perks, benefits and partners.

To tackle this problem, we followed the Design Sprint process

Mapping the Problem

Defining Assumptions

Before tackling the problem, we defined assumptions we had about Air Canada and Aeroplan members. With endless assumptions, we narrowed it down to focus on:

01 People feel encouraged to use a product through gamification strategies

02 People are incentivized by rewards

03 People feel encouraged by loyalty programs to keep interacting with a brand

04 People like being part of a loyalty programs but do not know what value they get out of it

05 People don’t feel Aeroplan rewards are attainable

Mapping the Journey

We then mapped a typical journey that a customer would take when engaging with loyalty programs from various brands—from sign up to redeeming points or unconsciously allowing points expire.

Understanding Loyalty Rewards Members

Developing a Research Plan

After defining goals, assumptions and mapping the journey, we quickly wrote up a research plan, ensuring we cover three main topics including:

01 Brief introductions to gain context of what people value in brands

02 Engagement with existing loyalty rewards programs

03 Perceptions toward Air Canada's Aeroplan

Participant Criteria

Existing members of loyalty programs

Canadian resident

After interviewing 4 people, I mapped out insights with an affinity diagram to understand common themes and patterns.

Interview Takeaways

I was then able to highlight the top 3 interview insights that would be a guiding compass throughout the sprint to refer back to when ideating on a solution.

01 People become part of loyalty programs at stores they already frequent
The main reason why people are engaged with certain loyalty programs and not others is because they already frequent those specific stores that have loyalty programs.

02 People value being part of loyalty programs because of dollar discounts
We observed that understanding the cash value of these points is very important when deciding to partake and be engaged in loyalty programs.

03 Brand options to collect and redeem points from play a huge role in engaging with Aeroplan

Customers had the perception that Aeroplan points can be collected and redeemed only through travel or purchasing from specific stores that people don't normally frequent. This was a huge deterrent and one of the reasons why they don't engage with Aeroplan that much.

Narrowing Down the Scope

With these findings, we then defined challenges and opportunities and transformed these into 'how might we' questions to help us define a problem to focus on for this sprint. Formulating "How Might We" questions were vital in focusing on a problem without being too solution focused. With our own respective HMW questions, we each voted on which problems to scope in on, then determined top themes and developed a final "How Might We" question.

How might we encourage people to collect points on everyday purchases in order to develop meaningful brand engagement with Aeroplan?

Defining Business Constraints

Consulting with the Air Canada Team

Before diving into finalizing our ideas and tackling the rest of the Sprint, we had the opportunity to meet with the Air Canada team to talk about limitations and further considerations of the project to ensure we were on the right track. We were then given these guidelines:

01 The Aeroplan shop site cannot be integrated within the Air Canada app

02 We can be generous with points, but be strategic with its use

03 There is no dollar equivalent to points, these vary depending how points are used, be value-oriented rather than dollar-oriented

04 Introducing new strategies to collect points that seem easy to execute is encouraged!

Sketching Ideas

Inspiration, Crazy 8's and Concept Wireframes

With one main How Might We question to focus on and clear constraints to work with, we moved on to sketching rough ideas for our design solution.

Before sketching, we did a quick competitor analysis to understand existing patterns that are widely used by other brands, specifically focusing on brands that have engaging loyalty programs such as Shoppers, Sephora, Urban Outfitters and more.

Deciding on a Solution


As seen with the sketches above, our team voted on which ideas we wanted to pursue further. We were then able to condense all our ideas to a cohesive task flow and delve into storyboarding and crafting a persona.

Storyboarding & Developing a Persona

With a solution in mind, we crafted a persona and a relatable storyline to better show how our solution helps solve problems we initially defined.

Finalizing the Prototype

Day 4 was spent crafting a prototype and fleshing out our idea with the main features we voted on. The final output for the day was a working prototype to use and conduct one round of User Testing on.

User Test Plan

With the help of some team members, I wrote a User Testing plan, making sure we included a specific scenario and touched on key tasks in the prototype including:

01 Finding the "7-day Challenge"

02 Completing day 1 and day 7 challenges

03 Checking updated point balance

04 Checking progress on their goal

We were able to conduct 1 round of user testing on 4 participants and gained valuable insights about our design solution.

View full Prototype

Presenting our Idea

The final day was spent presenting our solutions to the Air Canada team, which was well received! They highlighted how our initial idea was a feasible solution to implement with leveraging the "quick wins" and actions that a user can do to be a more engaged Aeroplan member.

Design Impact

How does our solution address the problem? Our solution:

01 Has a focus on being goal-oriented

Emphasizing where your points can take you and what you can achieve with them

02 Emphasizes discoverable brands

Making everyday brands more visible with the Aeroplan app

03 Strategically utilizes gamification

Adding game mechanics to encourage you to return to the app and check off challenges

Next Steps

Lock next challenges

One of the most common feedback we received was whether a user can finish all tasks at once. To add intrigue, we found that locking the next task and showing inactive states for a challenge would be a more effective way to encourage re-engagement.

Include clearer feedback

It was common for users to constantly seek feedback on whether or not a challenge was accomplished, which can be done by adding a simple modal indicating clear user feedback.

Restructure the challenge mechanics

We found that users didn't find the challenge itself as satisfying to accomplish when they were still a while away from collecting all the points for their item goal. It would be worthwhile to revisit the challenge mechanics to make this experience better for users.

What I Learned

Use assumptions to move forward

With time constraints and limitations in resources of knowing in-depth analyses of the target audience, I learned the importance and value of using assumptions strategically. Working as a group with varying perspectives there were times it was difficult to understand which direction we were headed, but setting assumptions early in the process was important to help us all move forward with an idea. The idea may or may not yet be strong nor effective, but it was important to move forward and test these assumption in the process through interviews and user testing.

Communication is Key

As an introvert it was not always easy for me to be immediately vocal about my opinions, but maintaining an open and honest environment in the team was important to work effectively and efficiently. One strategy that was helpful for us was defining our strengths and weaknesses early on in the project to be able to lean on those and divide and conquer. Throughout the sprint, giving timely updates with our work was helpful in being able to understand whether we were on track with our project. Most importantly, starting each day with defining and refining our project goal and How Might We question was an important process when communicating our feedback and opinions.

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