Amex Cardmember Class Action Settlement

On October 2, 2000 a settlement received Court approval in class action suits filed by Amex Cardmember groups in each of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia. Cardmembers in these provinces had filed class action suits seeking multi-million dollar damages against Amex after Canadian pulled out of Amex’s Membership Rewards® program and would no longer honour the two-for-one “companion ticket” certificates provided to Platinum Card® member. Cardmembers groups in the three provinces had also launched class action suits over Canadian’s withdrawal from the Membership Rewards program based primarily on their inability to transfer Membership Rewards points into the Canadian Plus Frequent Flyer program.

Under the terms of the settlement relating to the two-for-one offer, Amex reached an agreement with Canadian for the latter to issue new companion ticket certificates, redeemable on Canadian and Air Canada to qualified cardmembers for a period ending May 31, 2001. The class action suits relating to Canadian’s withdrawal from the Membership Rewards program were settled by providing cardmembers with a 20 per cent discount on points redeemed for Membership Rewards Travel Certificates between January 15 and July 15, 2001.

Representing the plaintiffs in all three jurisdictions were teams from Gowlings consisting of: Marzia Frascadore (Montreal), Malcolm Ruby and Catherine Roberts (Toronto), and Geoff Howard (Vancouver).

Representing Amex Bank of Canada was a team from Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP headed by Deborah Glendinning with representation in Montreal from Julie Chenette of McCarthy Tétrault and in Vancouver from David Harris of Berardino & Harris.