The new Aeroplan Elite Status: How to get it and what are the perks

by Barry Choi August 28, 2020 / No Comments

When the new Aeroplan program was recently revealed by Air Canada, most people took a hard look at the new rewards chart. That’s understandable since travellers want to know if their points were being devalued. However, when you dig deeper, you’ll quickly realize there are a number of changes coming to Aeroplan – beyond just the rewards chart and points values – to be excited about. Like the new and improved Aeroplan Elite Status.

As a quick refresher, the old Aeroplan had different tiers of status. You could earn status with Aeroplan (Silver, Black, and Diamond), as well as Altitude Status with Air Canada (based on miles flown). Under the new Aeroplan, the programs have merged to make things easier to understand.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Aeroplan Elite Status.


How to achieve Aeroplan Elite Status

Aeroplan Elite Status is achieved by earning Status Qualifying Segments (SQS), Status Qualifying Miles (SQM), and Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD). Even though it may sound complicated, earning status is now easier under the new Aeroplan and you’ll get additional benefits. As you can imagine, not everyone will qualify for Elite Status, but if you do, you’re in for a treat. 

What are Status Qualifying Segments (SQS)?

SQS refers to how many individual flights you’re taking in a year with Air Canada or one of Aeroplan’s partner airlines. For example, if you were flying from Ottawa to Vancouver, you would earn 1 SQS. If that same flight had a stopover in Toronto, you would earn 2 SQS. This is important to know since you can easily increase the number of SQS you earn by choosing flights with stopovers.

What are Status Qualifying Miles (SQM)?

SQM are earned as a percentage of the distance you fly, based on a minimum distance of 250 miles. The percentage of SQM you earn depends on the type of fare you purchase. The multipliers are as follows:

  • Economy Basic – 0%
  • Economy Standard – 50%
  • Economy Flex – 100%
  • Economy Comfort – 115%
  • Economy Latitude / Premium Economy – 125%
  • Business – 150%

For example, the flight distance between Toronto and Los Angeles is 2,175 miles. So, if you were to book a round-trip Economy Standard flight, you would earn 2,175 SQM – or 1,087 SQM for each way.

What are Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD)?

As you’ve probably guessed, Status Qualifying Dollars is determined by the amount of money you’re spending on Air Canada or one of Aeroplan’s Star Alliance airline partners. It’s important to note that your SQD only applies to the base fare plus any carrier-imposed surcharges. It does not apply to taxes or third-party fees.

Let’s say the final price of a ticket adds up to $2,000 – with a base fare of $1,500 and $500 in taxes and third-party fees. In this example, you would earn 1,500 SQD.

On the topic of new Aeroplan credit cards

As part of the relaunch of Aeroplan from Air Canada, new co-branded Aeroplan credit cards are set to be released.

What we know so far is that carrying certain Aeroplan credit cards will make it far easier to achieve Aeroplan Elite Status. That’s because you’ll earn additional Status Qualifying Miles (SQS) and Status Qualifying Segments (SQM) based on your everyday credit card spending – instead of just when booking flights. 

Here’s how it breaks down:

1 SQS + 1,000 SQM For every $10,000 in annual purchases on the following cards:

  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite

1 SQS + 1,000 SQM For every $5,000 in annual purchases on the following cards:

  • TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
  • CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege

In short: you can accelerate your path to Aeroplan Elite Status considerably with an Aeroplan credit card.

For example, with the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, you would earn 1 SQS and 1,000 SQM for making $10,000 in credit card purchases each year. That’s the equivalent of spending at least $1,000 on flight tickets – just for making normal, everyday credit card purchases. This advantage really adds up when you consider you’ll earn bonus SQS and SQM for each $10,000 you spend annually, which means you’ll get closer to Elite Status the more you spend. Or better yet, when you share a credit card account with an authorized user and pool your spending with a partner or family member.


Aeroplan Elite Status tiers

Aeroplan Elite Status is broken up into five tiers: 25K, 35K, 50k, 75k, and super elite – each with their own qualification requirements and benefits.

25k Elite Status

How to achieve it: (25 SQS or 25,000 SQM) + $3,000 SQD

Benefits

  • Preferred pricing when redeeming Aeroplan points
  • Priority airport check-in, seat selection, and boarding
  • 2 Free checked bags
  • 2 One-time guest passes to Maple Leaf Lounges
  • 4 eUpgrade credits for eligible Flight Pass activities

35k Elite Status

How to achieve it: (35 SQS or 35,000 SQM) + $4,000 SQD

Benefits

  • 1 Priority Reward voucher to be used on an economy class flight within Canada and the US
  • Preferred pricing when redeeming Aeroplan points
  • Priority airport check-in, seat selection, and boarding
  • 3 Free checked bags
  • 2 One-time guest passes to Maple Leaf Lounges
  • 6 eUpgrade credits for eligible Flight Pass activities

50k Elite Status

How to achieve it: (50,000 SQM or 50 SQS) + $6,000 SQD

Benefits

  • 2 Priority Reward voucher to be used on an economy or premium economy class flight within North America
  • Preferred pricing when redeeming Aeroplan points
  • Priority airport check-in, seat selection, baggage handling, and boarding
  • 3 Free checked bags
  • Complimentary preferred seats
  • Maple Leaf Lounge Access
  • 3 One-time guest passes to Maple Leaf Lounges
  • 8 eUpgrade credits for eligible Flight Pass activities
  • 2 Status Passes as a select privilege (Available March 2021)
  • 1 Extra status pass (launch bonus)

75k Elite Status

How to achieve it: (75 SQS or 75,000 SQM) + $9,000 SQD

Benefits

  • 3 Priority Reward voucher to be used on an economy or premium economy class flight worldwide
  • Preferred pricing when redeeming Aeroplan points
  • Priority airport check-in, seat selection, baggage handling, and boarding
  • 3 Free checked bags
  • Complimentary preferred seats
  • Maple Leaf Lounge Access
  • 3 One-time guest passes to Maple Leaf Lounges
  • 10 eUpgrade credits for eligible Flight Pass activities
  • 3 Status Passes as a select privilege (Available March, 2021)
  • 1 Extra status pass (launch bonus)

Super Elite Status

How to achieve it: (100 SQS or 100,000 SQM) + $20,000 SQD

Benefits

  • 4 Priority Reward voucher to be used on an economy or premium economy class flight worldwide
  • Preferred pricing when redeeming Aeroplan points
  • Priority airport check-in, seat selection, baggage handling, and boarding
  • 3 Free checked bags
  • Complimentary preferred seats
  • Maple Leaf Lounge Access
  • 4 One-time guest passes to Maple Leaf Lounges
  • 12 eUpgrade credits for eligible Flight Pass activities
  • Air Canada concierge service
  • 4 Status Passes as a select privilege (Available March, 2021)
  • 1 Extra status pass (launch bonus)

Aeroplan Elite Status benefits – explained 

Priority Rewards Voucher

A Priority Rewards voucher lets you get a 50% discount when booking a flight on Aeroplan points. For instance, while a one-way flight from Toronto to Vancouver would require at least 12,500 points as part of the new Aeroplan rewards chart, with the Priority Rewards voucher, you would only require 6,250 Aeroplan points. Priority Rewards effectively help you double the value of your Aeroplan points on select flights.

This reward can be used on flights from Air Canada as well as any of the over two dozen Star Alliance airlines, even during peak travel times. 

A Priority Rewards voucher can be used when flying to select destinations, depending on your Elite Status. For instance, 25k and 35k Elite Status members can use vouchers to save 50% on flights within Canada or the US, 50K members can use vouchers for flights to anywhere in North America, and 75k Status holders can use vouchers on flights to any destination in the world.

You’ll automatically receive a Priority Rewards voucher once you achieve 35k Elite Status, and can gain more vouchers as you climb the ranks to 50k, 75K, and so on. 

In addition to the Priority Rewards you earn when you reach each Aeroplan Elite Status tier, you can collect additional vouchers every time you cross one of the following Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) thresholds:

  • 4,000 SQD
  • 7,000 SQD
  • 10,000 SQD
  • 15,000 SQD
  • After that, you would get another voucher for every 5,000 SQD, up to a maximum of 50,000 SQD.

Each voucher applies per traveller, so if you want to get a discount for your group, you need a voucher for every passenger.

Preferred pricing when redeeming Aeroplan points

One of the benefits that applies to Aeroplan Elite Status members (as well as most Aeroplan credit card holders), is the promise of “preferred pricing.” While we don’t know the specifics of what that means exactly just yet, we can assume it has to do with Aeroplan’s dynamic pricing model.

As part of the new Aeroplan Rewards chart, we know that the number of points required to book an Air Canada flight is dynamic and can vary within a pre-set range. For instance, a one-way economy flight on Air Canada from Toronto to Los Angeles can require anywhere from 12,500 to 17,500 points depending on the season or route taken. 

With Elite Status or the right Aeroplan credit card, you’ll get “preferred pricing” and potentially increase your odds that the number of points you need to redeem is closer to 12,500, even during busier, peak travel seasons. The fewer points you need to book a flight, the more value you get. Though again, we’re still getting updates on the details around Aeroplan’s dynamic points redemption system.

Status pass

Starting in March 2021, once you cross into 50k Aeroplan Elite Status, you can share your Elite Status with anyone you want so they can leverage Elite Status perks even when they’re travelling without you.

Maple Leaf lounge access

Maple leaf lounges are touted as some of the best airport lounges and include food stations, comfortable seating, along with complimentary wi-fi and coffee, among other perks.

Lounge access benefits as part of the new Aeroplan Elite Status program is set to remain largely unchanged from Air Canada’s current Altitude Elite Status program. All Elite Status members will gain one-time guest passes for a guest of their choice to enter the lounge when flying on Air Canada or Star Alliance airline on the same day (though as a 25k or 35k Elite Status member, you won’t receive complimentary access for yourself but just guests). 50k Elite Status holders and above gain lounge access if they’re flying on Air Canada or Star Alliance on the same day. 

We’re still waiting on more details about Maple leaf lounge access and Elite Status benefits, and how exactly the two are connected.

Free checked bags

The benefits of free checked-in bags needs little explaining and the savings can really add up, especially when considering Air Canada charges about $30 for the first checked bag. The good news is you’ll also get a free first checked bag with all Aeroplan Infinite credit cards, as well as premium Privilege and Reserve credit cards.

eUpgrades

eUpgrades are credits that you can redeem on Air Canada flights for a variety of flight upgrades, like better seats. Some eUpgrades can help you earn discounts, requiring a combination of cash and credits.


What is the qualification period and how long does it last?

Starting in 2021, the qualification period will be from January 1 to December 31. As soon as you earn status in any given year, the benefits will be available to you right away and all of the following year. Let’s say you earned 35k status in August of 2021, you would get to keep that status until December of 2022.

In addition, if you have one of the new qualifying Aeroplan credit cards, you can rollover any SQM and eUpgrades that you still have in the bank. For instance, if you fly 42,000 miles in 2021, you would earn the 35,000 SQM required to achieve 35k Elite Status along with an extra 7,000 SQM. With an Aeroplan credit card, you would be able to carry forward that excess of 7,000 SQM into 2022, which would make requalifying for status easier. The same would apply to any eUpgrades you still have left, but SQS and SQD do not carry over.


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