You can earn Air Canada elite status from your sofa — here’s how

Apr 21, 2020

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In light of the coronavirus outbreak and the associated drop in demand for travel, we’ve seen airlines make unprecedented moves. Aside from parking their fleets and cut their route network, most major carriers have made significant updates to their loyalty programmes.

For one, American, Delta and United have all extended elite status through 31 January 2022. But that’s not all. Many carriers have introduced interesting and creative offers to get customers to engage with the programmes — and spend on their cobranded credit cards.

Related: Complete guide to airline elite status during the coronavirus outbreak

But it’s our neighbour up north that’s been leading the trend in terms of devising these innovative offers. It all started on 6 April, when Air Canada announced sweeping elite status extensions. As part of the offer, Air Canada elites who requalify for elite status in 2020 can share elite status with a friend or family member for free — one of the more unique aspects of these announcements.

In the announcement, Air Canada also unveiled a promotion where it will award one Altitude Qualifying Mile for every five Aeroplan miles that a member donates to select charities by 30 April 2020. These Altitude Qualifying Miles will count towards advancing an elite’s 2021 elite status tier and earning status to gift to a friend or family member — though this is capped at 25,000 AQMs.

And today, the carrier is back to announcing another creative — and generous — promotion for all Aeroplan members. The promotion is broken down by whether you’re a current elite member, so let’s start by assuming you’re not.

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Earn Air Canada Altitude Prestige 25K without flying

If you’re currently just a casual flyer or member of Aeroplan, chances are you’re not an elite member with the airline. Well, for the first time ever, you can now earn entry-level Altitude Prestige 25K status without doing any flying.

Between 20 April and 31 May, all you need to do is earn 50,000 Aeroplan miles from any source, and you’ll be granted the status for the duration of 2021. This includes miles earned from the Aeroplan online shopping portal (the Aeroplan eStore).

In my mind, this is an incredibly generous offer to drive engagement with the programme while travellers are stuck at home. Unfortunately, however, the Altitude Prestige 25K status isn’t particularly rewarding.

When flying Air Canada, you get priority reservation support, priority seat selection, priority airport services, two free checked bags, two Maple Leaf Lounge one-time passes, 20 eUpgrade credits and more. Additionally, this status tier confers Star Alliance Silver status, which can be enjoyed when flying on any Star Alliance carrier, including United.

As mentioned, however, Star Alliance Silver status isn’t too rewarding, though it offers priority airport standby and reservations waitlist.

Even though this isn’t the most lucrative promotion, I’m a big fan of the creativity here. If you occasionally fly with Air Canada, this is definitely a worthwhile offer to consider. Perhaps you’d clear some upgrades on domestic Canadian and trans-border flights, and the airport priority and free bags can add up.

Earn higher Air Canada Altitude status without flying

This promotion only gets more interesting. If you’re a current Air Canada elite, Aeroplan has an offer to boost your status.

There are five different thresholds to pass, each with a different bonus. Every Aeroplan mile earned during the promotional period (20 April 20 to 31 May) counts. And the promo is cumulative, so if you earn 250,000 Aeroplan miles, you get all the gifts outlined above.

Frankly, if you’re an Air Canada elite seeking higher status, this is an awesome promo. I’d definitely consider earning at least 250,000 Aeroplan miles since the Elite 75K status level is quite rewarding. It’s Air Canada’s second-highest elite tier, and includes many more benefits than the lower levels. Plus, it includes Star Alliance Gold status, which affords you access to United Clubs whenever you fly, regardless of destination.

Note, however, that you can’t double dip by becoming an Altitude Prestige 25K in the aforementioned offer, and then partake in this status boost offer.

Bottom line

Though flyers around the world are grounded, Air Canada is out with an interesting — and potentially lucrative — offer to engage its loyalty members. If you’re not currently an Air Canada elite, you can earn Altitude Prestige 25K status — which includes Star Alliance Silver — simply from a mileage transfer. And if you’re already an Air Canada elite, you can boost your status by earning Aeroplan miles.

Even if you don’t engage much with the Aeroplan programme, hopefully we’ll see other airlines match and introduce similar offers from their loyalty programmes.

All photos by the author.

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