Aeroplan Elite Status is Air Canada’s elite program for its most frequent flyers. There are many opportunities to earn and benefit from status, which can help to make your travels more seamless.
Having a thorough understanding of the program will benefit you greatly, whether you’re seeking to earn Aeroplan Elite Status for the first time or maximize it year-after-year.
This article will guide you through the elite program, including how to qualify for Aeroplan Elite Status, and the privileges that come with each tier.
How to Qualify for Aeroplan Elite Status
Qualifying for Aeroplan Elite Status depends on three factors:
- Status Qualifying Miles (SQM)
- Status Qualifying Segments (SQS)
- Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD)
You earn the various status tiers by reaching minimum levels of SQM or SQS, in addition to SQD, through your paid flying activity.
Status Qualifying Miles
SQM are earned as a percentage of the actual distance flown and on the fare purchased. Lower fares will offer a reduced percentage of SQM accrued, while higher fares will offer up to 150% SQM.
The destination to which you fly (within Canada, to the United States, to Sun Destinations, or to International Destinations) also plays a small role in the SQM earned. Economy (Basic) fares aren’t eligible for SQM accumulation.
For example, if you fly from Vancouver to Toronto on an Economy (Flex) fare, which earns 100% SQM, you’d earn 2,085 Status Qualifying Miles, since the distance between the two cities is 2,085 miles. If you booked a Premium Economy (Lowest) fare, you’d earn 2,606 SQM, which is 125% of the distance flown.
To estimate the distance between two cities, you can use a tool such as Great Circle Mapper.
You can also earn SQM on flights booked as part of an Air Canada Vacation Package; however, the rate at which you earn SQM is different than the earning rates for flight-only bookings with Air Canada.
Earning status through SQM often is easier for those who tend to fly longer distances, especially if you book on Economy (Flex) fares and up.
Keep in mind that the amount of Aeroplan points you earn on a flight largely mirrors the amount of SQM earned, although it’s important to point out that these are two very different things.
Status Qualifying Segments
SQS are determined by the amount of actual flight segments you have on a particular booking. Each separate flight you take counts as a single Status Qualifying Segment. Economy (Basic) fares aren’t eligible for SQS accumulation.
For example, if you fly from St. John’s to Toronto on a direct flight, you earn 1 SQS, but if you were to fly St. John’s–Montreal–Toronto, you’d earn 2 SQS. In some cases, it can be worthwhile to book milk-run routes in order to earn more SQS.
Qualifying for status through SQS can be easier for people who tend to fly more short-haul flights, or for those who always require a connecting flight to a major airport hub to get to their destination.
For example, if you don’t live in a city with a major airport, you always must connect through a larger hub to get to your destination. Therefore, you’ll always have at least two segments on a booking, and sometimes even more.
If you tend to qualify for status through SQS instead of SQM, you can consider booking Economy (Standard) fares, since you’ll always earn 1 SQS per flight. However, you’ll want to be mindful of the other benefits of higher fares, such as accumulating Aeroplan points, which could be worth paying for a higher fare.
For both SQM and SQS, you’re able to boost your earnings even more with an eligible co-branded credit card: you’ll earn 1,000 SQM and 1 SQS for every $5,000 spent on a premium Aeroplan credit card or 1,000 SQM and 1 SQS for every $10,000 spent on a core or small business Aeroplan credit card.
If you tend to be a big spender, you’ll be rewarded with easier qualification for Aeroplan Elite Status if you put a significant amount of spending on a co-branded credit card each year. The SQM and SQS earned through credit card spending also count towards Threshold Rewards.
Another benefit of holding a premium Aeroplan co-branded credit card is that you can rollover up to 200,000 unused Status Qualifying Miles each year. You’ll need to have a card by December 15 to benefit from the rollover, which happens early in the next year.
Status Qualifying Dollars
SQD are earned based on the amount of base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges paid for your Air Canada flight. You can also earn SQD on Star Alliance airlines ticketed on Air Canada 014 stock, Flight Pass purchases, Air Canada Vacation packages, and on eUpgrade add-on fees.
For example, in the below screenshot of a fare breakdown on an Air Canada flight from the Air Canada website, the total ticket cost is $873.73. However, you’d only earn $800 SQD, which is the sum of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges.
To earn SQD on flights with Star Alliance-member airlines, you must have an Air Canada ticket number that begins with the numbers “014”. This means that you have to buy your ticket through Air Canada, and not through other airlines.
For example, if you buy a ticket for a Lufthansa flight from Toronto to Frankfurt on the Air Canada website, you’ll earn SQD on that flight, since your booking is made on Air Canada ticket stock. However, if you book the same flight on the Lufthansa website, you won’t be eligible to earn SQD, since you’ll have a Lufthansa ticket number.
For eUpgrade add-on fees, you’ll earn the full amount of SQD for your add-on fee, and only if your eUpgrade is confirmed. For example, if there’s an add-on fee of $75 and your eUpgrade is confirmed, you’ll earn $75 SQD.
SQD may also be earned on Flight Passes. If you purchase a fixed amount of flight credits, you’ll earn a fixed amount of SQD each time you use a Flight Pass segment. The amount of SQD earned excludes government-imposed taxes and fees.
If you purchase an Unlimited Flight Pass, you’ll earn SQD on the date of purchase, and then on each monthly installment for the duration of your unlimited Flight Pass. The amount of SQD earned corresponds to the price paid before sales taxes.
For Air Canada Vacations packages, you’ll earn 25% SQD based on the total cost of an eligible vacation package per member, inclusive of taxes and fees. An eligible Air Canada Vacations package means one consisting of a package with flights included, or a Flight & Cruise package with travel completed by the member.
Except for the case of Unlimited Flight Passes, SQD are posted after the date flown, not on the date of purchase. Economy (Basic) fares are not eligible for SQD accumulation.
There are currently no other ways to earn SQD (e.g., through credit card spending) other than by spending on eligible flights, eUpgrade add-on fees, Flight Passes, and Air Canada Vacations.
There are five Aeroplan Elite Status tiers: 25K, 35K, 50K, 75K, and Super Elite.
To obtain status, you need to fulfill either the SQM or SQS requirements, in addition to the corresponding SQD requirement, in a calendar year. In other words, you need to earn either the SQM or SQS threshold, as well as the SQD threshold, to earn status.
- Aeroplan 25K: 25,000 SQM or 25 SQS, and $3,000 SQD
- Aeroplan 35K: 35,000 SQM or 35 SQS, and $4,000 SQD
- Aeroplan 50K: 50,000 SQM or 50 SQS, and $6,000 SQD
- Aeroplan 75K: 75,000 SQM or 75 SQS, and $9,000 SQD
- Aeroplan Super Elite: 100,000 SQM or 100 SQS, and $20,000 SQD
For example, to reach Aeroplan 35K status, you need to either obtain either 35,000 SQM or 35 SQS in a calendar year, as well as reach a minimum $4,000 SQD.
This all needs to happen between January 1 and December 31 to qualify for status, since Air Canada uses the calendar year for status qualification.
Everyday Status Qualification
The Aeroplan Everyday Status Qualification feature allows you to earn Aeroplan 25K status without ever having set foot on a plane.
If you earn 100,000 Aeroplan points in a calendar year through eligible sources, you’ll receive Aeroplan 25K status.
Eligible sources include the points you earn from spending on a co-branded Aeroplan credit card, flying with Air Canada and partner airlines, and earning through travel and retail partners, such as the Aeroplan eStore.
However, it’s important to note that credit card welcome bonuses and points transfers from other programs don’t count towards Everyday Status Qualification.
Chase Aeroplan Card + Elite Status Level Up
The US-issued Chase Aeroplan Card brings a new angle to earning and levelling up your Aeroplan Elite Status strategy.
Upon signing up for the card, Aeroplan members automatically receive Aeroplan 25K status through to the end of the next calendar year.
Moreover, after the first year(s) of instant 25K status, cardholders are able to retain 25K status every year by spending $15,000 (USD) on the Chase Aeroplan Card during a single calendar year.
Cardholders can also earn an Elite Status Level Up to Aeroplan 35K status or higher upon spending $50,000 (USD) in the calendar year.
The Elite Status Level Up takes into consideration whatever status level you’ve organically earned during the year of hitting the $50,000 (USD) spending threshold. Then, as of January 1 and through to December 31 of the following year, your status will be bumped up one level higher.
For example, if you organically earn Aeroplan 75K status, and spend $50,000 (USD) on your Chase Aeroplan Card in the same year, you’ll enjoy top-tier Super Elite status through the entirety of the following year.
Once you’ve reached Aeroplan Elite Status for a given year, you’ll enjoy it through to the end of the next calendar year.
For example, if you qualify for Aeroplan 50K status in August 2023, you’ll enjoy the status benefits through to December 31, 2024.
Note that eUpgrades have a validity period until mid-January. If you have confirmed an eUpgrade in the first couple of weeks of the new year, but haven’t renewed your status for that year, the eUpgrade still remains valid.
If you qualify for a status tier that’s higher than the one you currently hold by October 15, you’ll enjoy the Early Recognition benefit.
You’ll be able to choose a batch of Select Benefits for your new status tier before the end of the year, and then you’ll get another set of Select Benefits early in the following year.
For example, if you currently have Aeroplan 35K status, and you cross the Aeroplan 50K status threshold on October 1, you’ll enjoy Aeroplan 50K status through to the end of the year, and you’ll get to choose Select Benefits shortly after October 1. Then, you’ll get to choose another set of 50K Select Benefits early in the new year.
If you’re eligible for Early Recognition, be sure to consider which Select Benefits would be most useful, since you can get another batch in the next benefit year. For example, you may want to select a Wi-Fi plan as an Early Recognition Select Benefit as a 75K or Super Elite.
Note that the eUpgrade Select Benefit will only be 10 under the Early Recognition period for all members, and you’ll only receive 1,500 bonus SQM when choosing the lower requalification Select Benefit during Early Recognition.
Core Benefits and Select Benefits
Now that we’ve explored how to qualify for Aeroplan Elite Status, let’s explore what you get for all of your hard work.
There are two sets of perks that are available to Aeroplan Elite Status members: Core Benefits and Select Benefits.
Core Benefits do not need to be chosen, and you’re automatically afforded a range of perks that depend on the status tier reached. The full range of Core Benefits can be found on the official Aeroplan Elite Status website, and the main ones will be highlighted in the discussion below.
All Aeroplan Elite Status members receive the following Core Benefits upon qualifying for any tier of status:
- 20 eUpgrade credits
- eUpgrades and bonus SQM for eligible Flight Pass activity (as of January 1, 2024)
- Priority services with Air Canada (check-in, call centre, boarding, etc.)
- 2 extra Aeroplan points per dollar spent at the Aeroplan eStore
- Earning a minimum of 250 Aeroplan points on eligible Air Canada and Star Alliance flights
In order to enjoy status benefits on a flight, be sure to attach your Aeroplan number to your flight. You can do this during the booking process, or afterwards on the “Manage My Booking” page.
Select Benefits are bundles of options that must be selected by each Aeroplan Elite Status member once per year. We’ll explore the options in the below section, as they’re different at each tier.
Select Benefits must be chosen by December 31 each year. To choose them, login to your Aeroplan account, select the “Benefits” tab, look for the “Choose button, and then proceed with your selections.
If you neglect to select them by the deadline, you’ll forfeit them for the remainder of the benefit validity period.
You may wish to delay selecting your benefits until at least July 1 of each year, especially if you choose extra eUpgrades as one of your benefits.
The primary reason is that eUpgrades earned on or after July 1 of each year will have a longer validity period than those earned between January 1 and June 30.
For example, if you choose eUpgrades as a Select Benefit between January 1 and June 30, 2024, those eUpgrades will be valid until mid-January 2025.
However, if you choose eUpgrades as a Select Benefit after July 1, 2024, those eUpgrades will be valid until mid-January 2026. Therefore, you’ll have first dibs on eUpgrade space throughout 2025 by choosing your eUpgrades after July 1.
If you choose to receive bonus Aeroplan points as one of your Select Benefits, it will apply retroactively to flights taken prior to your selection at the status level you hold at the time of choosing your Select Benefits.
For example, if you flew on a number of eligible paid flights between January and July, and choose bonus Aeroplan points for eligible paid flights as one of your Select Benefits in July, you’ll earn bonus Aeroplan points on all eligible flights taken between January and July, as well as any eligible paid flights through to the end of the year.
Therefore, by waiting to choose your Select Benefits, you won’t lose out on any bonus Aeroplan points you’d earn through the bonus Aeroplan points Select Benefit.
The lowest status tier, Aeroplan 25K, is reached by earning either 25,000 SQM or 25 SQS, as well as a minimum of $3,000 SQD in a calendar year. You can also earn Aeroplan 25K status through Everyday Status Qualification, which requires you to earn 100,000 Aeroplan points in a calendar year.
While the range of perks is limited as compared to higher tiers, there’s definitely value to be found with the status, especially since you can reach this tier without flying at all.
In terms of Core Benefits, beginning with this level, you’ll enjoy a number of priority services with Air Canada: front-of-the-line call centre access, a separate check-in area or queue at the airport, and boarding the plane before most people.
25K members can enjoy complimentary Preferred Seats at check-in, subject to availability, on all fares except for Economy (Basic). These include exit-row seats and seats at the front of the economy cabin, which typically come with a fee.
Furthermore, if a flight is full, you’ll have priority standby over others without status if you have purchased an eligible fare.
You’ll also enjoy two free 23kg checked bags on Air Canada flights, and complimentary handling of your sports equipment. So, for your winter ski trips or your summer cycling or surfing trips, you won’t have to shell out extra money to bring your gear with you.
20 eUpgrades will automatically be deposited into your account as a Core Benefit, which you can use to upgrade to a higher class of service on a booking. We’ve written extensively about eUpgrades, and I encourage you to review the information to maximize the value you can get from them.
If you earn a Priority Reward as a 25K member, it’ll be valid for use on economy class bookings in Canada and the United States. As a reminder, Priority Rewards knock 50% off the cost of an Aeroplan redemption, and can be very valuable.
You’ll also get Star Alliance Silver status, which extends your priority reservations waitlist and priority airport standby benefits to flying with other Star Alliance partners in any class of service, but doesn’t really offer much else.
For Select Benefits, Aeroplan Elite 25K members have the option of choosing two of the following:
- 25% bonus Aeroplan points with Air Canada and select airline partners
- 5 eUpgrade credits
- 2 Maple Leaf Lounge one-time guest passes
From these, the best options are generally the 25% bonus Aeroplan points and the five eUpgrade credits. If you neither travel often nor hold a credit card that offers free lounge access, the Maple Leaf Lounge passes could be worth considering.
Aeroplan 35K is reached when you obtain 35,000 SQM or 35 SQS, as well as a minimum of $4,000 SQD in a calendar year. In addition to the aforementioned Core Benefits for 25K, there are a few additional perks that come with 35K.
At this level, members enjoy priority security clearance via dedicated lanes in many airports worldwide. While this can also be obtained with a business class ticket or by holding a premium Aeroplan co-branded credit card, it can be a very useful perk when flying during peak travel season or in providing a streamlined travel experience.
Two one-time Maple Leaf Lounge passes are automatically deposited to your Aeroplan account, and these may be transferred to anyone of your choosing, or used for yourself.
Your complimentary baggage allowance also increases to three checked bags at 32kg each, and they’ll be marked with priority tags. This can be a big money saver if you tend to fly with a lot of luggage, or even if you’re moving across the country or overseas.
As with 25K members, 35K members may select Preferred Seats at no cost at the time of check-in for all flights and all fares except for Economy (Basic) fares.
Priority Rewards earned by Aeroplan 35K members are valid for 50% off Aeroplan redemptions in economy and premium economy across North America, including Sun destinations.
For Select Benefits, 35K members can choose one of the following:
- 35% bonus Aeroplan points with Air Canada and select airline partners
- 15 eUpgrade credits
Between these, you’ll want to weigh up how much you value having some extra Aeroplan points in your account, or how much use you can get out of an extra 15 eUpgrade credits. Since you can only choose one, consider which benefit you’re likely to get more value from.
When used strategically, eUpgrades can be quite valuable for saving on Air Canada business class. However, you may find more utility from using Aeroplan points on partner airlines.
Aeroplan 50K is reached when you earn 50,000 SQM or 50 SQS, as well as at least $6,000 SQD. If you’re a member of the Air Canada Million Miler program, you’ll also enjoy this status for the rest of your life, no matter how little or how much you fly.
In addition to the aforementioned Core Benefits for 25K and 35K members, 50K gives you Star Alliance Gold status.
This extends many of your elite privileges when you’re flying with other Star Alliance airlines, including priority airport check-in, baggage handling, boarding, and access to all Star Alliance lounges worldwide for yourself and one guest.
At 50K, you can also enjoy unlimited complimentary access to Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges and Air Canada Cafés. You may also invite immediate family members (your spouse plus up to five dependent children) and one guest with you at no charge.
You’ll also get 3 Maple Leaf Lounge one-time passes to give away to friends or family members.
50K and higher members also enjoy complimentary access to Virgin Australia lounges when travelling on an Air Canada or Virgin Australia flight, as well as Emirates Business Class Lounges when travelling on an Air Canada or Emirates flight out of Dubai (DXB).
Aeroplan 50K members may select Preferred Seats at no cost at any time for flights within North America, and at the time of check-in for all other flights, on all fares except for Economy (Basic) fares. This affords you a bit of extra legroom and access to the front of the economy cabin without any extra charges.
If you earn a Priority Reward as a 50K member, it’s valid for 50% off Aeroplan redemptions in economy class or premium economy within North America and to Sun destinations. Note that this is the same as the benefit offered to Aeroplan 35K members.
At 50K, you’ll also have access to Threshold eUpgrades and gifts. These are earned when you cross an additional SQM or SQS threshold between tiers.
For example, after reaching 60,000 SQM or 60 SQS, you’ll receive an additional 10 eUpgrades, 2,500 rollover SQM, and 2,500 bonus Aeroplan points.
For Select Benefits, 50K members can choose two of the following:
- 50% bonus Aeroplan points with Air Canada and select airline partners
- 20 eUpgrade credits
- Lower requalification level (5,000 bonus SQM and 5 bonus SQS as of January 1, 2024)
- 2 Status Passes
From these choices, I’d consider the 50% bonus Aeroplan points and the 20 eUpgrade credits as the most valuable options. After all, if you’re flying 50,000 or more miles per year, a 50% bonus isn’t insignificant, while the 20 eUpgrades can offer great value when used strategically to access higher classes of service.
Status Passes may be a good option to give to a group of people travelling on the same booking, but you’re likely to find better value in the other two options.
If you choose the lower requalification level as a Select Benefit, as of January 1, 2024, you’ll receive a boost of 5,000 SQM and 5 SQS, instead of having the SQM and SQS thresholds lowered by the same margins.
Keep in mind that you can earn 1,000 SQM and 1 SQS for every $5,000 spent on a premium Aeroplan co-branded credit card, or for every $10,000 spent on a core Aeroplan co-branded credit card. Therefore, you may be able to get the same benefit offered by lower requalification through credit card spending, and you could benefit more from the other options.
However, if you’re someone who struggles to meet the SQM or SQS requirements for 50K status (or higher), the lower requalification level used in tandem with the SQM/SQS boost offered through co-branded credit card spending could be the easiest way to bring yourself across the thresholds.
The second-highest tier, Aeroplan 75K, is reached when you earn 75,000 SQM or 75 SQS, as well as at least $9,000 SQD in a calendar year. While the benefits for 75K largely mirror those of 50K members, there are a few additional perks in which some people may find extra value.
Aeroplan 75K members can choose Preferred Seats at no cost at any time for all flights and all fares, excluding Economy (Basic) fares.
For 75K and Super Elite status holders, Air Canada will guarantee an economy class seat for you and one travel companion on any Air Canada flight booked in a full-fare economy (“Y” booking class) at least six hours prior to departure.
Guaranteeing you a seat means that someone else will be denied boarding. This comes at an additional cost to Air Canada under Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations, EU261, or under the Montreal Convention. You’ll be en route to where you need to be, albeit at a cost to you (with a full-fare ticket) and to the airline (in having to pay compensation to the denied passenger).
At this level, Priority Rewards are valid for 50% off an Aeroplan redemption in economy class and premium economy worldwide.
For Select Benefits, 75K members can choose two of the following six options:
- 75% bonus Aeroplan points with Air Canada and select airline partners
- 35 eUpgrade credits
- Lower requalification level (5,000 bonus SQM and 5 bonus SQS as of January 1, 2024)
- Aeroplan 35K status for a friend
- 12-month Wi-Fi plan
- 3 Status Passes
The Select Benefits at 75K get a bit more interesting. Prior to making your selection, it would be wise to review your past, current, and future travel plans to see where you can extract the most value.
For many, the 75% bonus Aeroplan points and the 35 eUpgrade credits could offer the most value; however, the 35K status for a friend or the 12-month Wi-Fi plan options could be valuable choices, too.
Gifting 35K status could be put to good use for someone who flies frequently with Air Canada throughout the year. For couples or families, this could also be a strategic choice for increasing the number of eUpgrades at your household’s disposal, since the 35K giftee would enjoy 20 eUpgrades as a Core Benefit, as well as 15 bonus eUpgrades is chosen as a Select Benefit.
If you tend to work when you fly, the Air Canada Wi-Fi pass would save you around $800 as compared to buying a monthly plan.
And if you know a group of people travelling together, the Status Passes could help them elevate their travel experience and save money on baggage fees, too.
As for the lower requalification level, the same approach described for the 50K status applies here, too.
Aeroplan Super Elite
Air Canada’s highest status (that can be earned) is Aeroplan Super Elite. This status level is obtained by earning 100,000 SQM or 100 SQS, as well as earning at least $20,000 SQD, in a calendar year.
In addition to all aforementioned benefits, Super Elites are afforded several additional perks for being the airline’s most loyal customers, including the following:
- Super Elites get complimentary Preferred Seats on all fares anywhere Air Canada flies.
- Super Elites and one guest can also access the Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow.
- Free cancellation and free changes to all Aeroplan bookings.
- Super Elites receive a free beverage (including alcohol) and a free snack when travelling in economy class on Air Canada flights.
- An eUpgrade nominee, who may use the Super Elite’s eUpgrades when travelling separately
- 2 Status Passes, which can be gifted to anyone of their choosing
Further, Super Elite Priority Rewards are valid towards 50% off a redemption in business class on Air Canada and any partner airline worldwide. We’ve outlined how to maximize this perk in detail, and it can indeed be a very powerful and valuable benefit.
Perhaps the most intriguing benefit for Super Elites is the Air Canada Concierge service. These employees offer a personalized, bespoke service to Super Elites, which includes handling special requests, proactively monitoring flight cancellations and connections, and ensuring your travel experience is as comfortable as possible.
We have heard from some Super Elites who have remarked at the lengths to which the Concierge has gone to assist. This includes digging through the bowels of airports to locate missing luggage, holding up planes so they can make a tight connection, and developing a personalized experience unavailable to most travellers.
For Select Benefits, Super Elites can choose two of the following six options:
- 100% bonus Aeroplan points with Air Canada and select airline partners
- 50 eUpgrade credits
- Lower requalification level (5,000 bonus SQM and 5 bonus SQS as of January 1, 2024)
- Aeroplan 50K status for a friend
- 12-month Wi-Fi plan
- 4 Status Passes
As with the Select Benefits for 75K members, the best value will depend on your individual preferences.
Your Aeroplan balance will expand very quickly with a 100% bonus. And if used in conjunction with a Priority Reward, your points are even more valuable.
50 eUpgrade credits can save you thousands of dollars if used strategically to upgrade to a higher class of service, especially since you’ll be at the top of the eUpgrade waitlist.
50K status is a very generous gift for a friend or family member, especially if the giftee can leverage the generous lounge access benefits and eUpgrade allotment.
As for Wi-Fi, since you spend so much time in the skies as a Super Elite, you could save around $800 by choosing it. On the other hand, you’re likely to get more tangible value out of the other benefits.
Again, lower requalification may be a good option if you need some help crossing the finish line; however, the other Select Benefits are likely to be more valuable, and you can use co-branded credit card spending for a similar outcome.
Lastly, since you get 2 Status Passes as a Core Benefit as a Super Elite, choosing an extra four as a Select Benefit likely isn’t the most valuable option.
The Aeroplan Elite Status program rewards Air Canada’s most frequent travellers with a variety of perks and privileges.
Core Benefits offer a range of priority services and enhanced travel options, while Select Benefits cater to individual preferences.
No matter how you prefer to engage with Air Canada and Aeroplan, having status can help you get more out of the program.
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