Happy new year! Now that we’re in 2021, it’s time for a bit of housekeeping in each of your loyalty program accounts to prepare for another year of earning and burning.
If you’re an Aeroplan Elite Status member, you’ll see be able to choose your 2021 Select Benefits in your member portal upon logging into your Aeroplan account, and you’ll also see some new benefits added to the digital experience as well.
Choose Your 2021 Select Benefits
Aeroplan Elite Status benefits are divided into Core Benefits and Select Benefits. All members receive the Core Benefits associated with their status levels, and also have the option to choose from two separate bundles of Select Benefits based on which enhancements to the travel experience might matter to them the most.
As an Aeroplan Elite Status member, you’re now eligible to choose your Select Benefits for 2021 via the “Choose benefits” option under the “Benefits” tab of your dashboard.
The Select Benefits bundles available to each Aeroplan Elite Status level are summarized as below:
(Bundle 1 of benefits is the more meaningful set for most travellers. Bundle 2 offers either eUpgrades or Status Qualifying Miles in exchange for purchasing flights using Air Canada Flight Passes, so it won’t be relevant if you don’t typically travel using a Flight Pass.)
As an Aeroplan 50K member, I’m eligible to choose two out of four of the following benefits for my Bundle 1 of Select Benefits:
As you can see, I’ve gone ahead and chosen the set of two Status Passes, as well as 20 extra eUpgrade credits, for my Select Benefits.
Through the Status Pass feature, which will launch in March 2021, I’m looking forward to being able to share my status benefits with others when they’re travelling without me.
Meanwhile, it’s always useful to collect more eUpgrades, since they’re now closely integrated with Aeroplan reward tickets, and the “Latitude Attitude” strategy allows you to redeem Aeroplan points for a Latitude economy class ticket and upgrade instantly into business class.
(Speaking of which, eUpgrades will be moving to a December 31 expiry date as of 2021, whereas previously they came with an expiry date of February 28 the following year. Holders of a premium Aeroplan credit card may rollover up to 50 eUpgrades into the following year as a cardholder perk.)
I value the Status Pass and the eUpgrades higher than the alternatives. I’m not sure if I plan on organically requalifying for Aeroplan 50K status in 2021, so the lower requalification threshold isn’t too useful to me (not to mention that Air Canada will certainly be announcing some relaxed status qualification measures this year anyway).
Moreover, it’s not too often that I travel on paid Air Canada fares, so I wouldn’t find much value in the bonus Aeroplan points either.
For what it’s worth, I’ll also share with you how I’d choose my Select Benefits if I were any of the other Aeroplan Elite Status levels, keeping in mind that these are based on my own travel style:
- As an Aeroplan 25K member, I’d choose the 5 eUpgrade credits and 2 Maple Leaf Lounge One-Time Guest Passes.
- As an Aeroplan 35K member, I’d choose the 10 eUpgrade credits.
- As an Aeroplan 75K member, I’d choose the 35 eUpgrade credits, as well as either the 3 Status Passes or the Aeroplan 35K status for a friend – depending on whether I wanted to share my own stronger 75K benefits three times, or share relatively weaker 35K benefits with a single individual on an unlimited number of trips.
- As an Aeroplan Super Elite member, I’d choose the 50 eUpgrade credits, as well as either the 4 Status Passes or the Aeroplan 50K status for a friend – depending on whether I wanted to share my own stronger Super Elite benefits four times, or share relatively weaker 50K benefits with a single individual on an unlimited number of trips.
(If I didn’t envision sharing any benefits with others as a 75K or Super Elite member, then the Aeroplan Elite Wifi Plan with 12 months of unlimited onboard wifi might also be interesting to me.)
After selecting your Bundle 1 of benefits, you’re then invited to choose one benefit for Bundle 2. As mentioned above, Bundle 2 isn’t very useful if you don’t typically buy Flight Passes.
I went with the eUpgrades since I’d value them more highly than the SQMs if I somehow were to buy a Flight Pass sometime this year (even though I almost certainly won’t).
Once the Select Benefits are chosen, they cannot be changed, so feel free to take your time and mull over the decision if you’re on the fence between a few options (which is more likely for Aeroplan 75K and Super Elite members, given their choice of two out of six Select Benefits) and aren’t in a rush to use them.
Digital Maple Leaf Lounge One-Time Guest Passes
All Aeroplan Elite Status members may receive Maple Leaf Lounge One-Time Guest Passes, valid for access to domestic and transborder Maple Leaf Lounges located in Canada and the US:
- Aeroplan 25K members may select two lounge passes as a Select Benefit
- Aeroplan 35K members receive two lounge passes each as a Core Benefit
- Aeroplan 50K and Aeroplan 75K members receive three lounge passes each as a Core Benefit
- Aeroplan Super Elite members receive four lounge passes as a Core Benefit
From the Aeroplan 35K level upwards, members already enjoy complimentary access to domestic and transborder Maple Leaf Lounges in Canada and the US, so the one-time guest passes are mostly intended to be shared as a gift for other travellers at the elite member’s discretion.
In previous years, these one-time guest passes would be physically mailed out to the elite member’s address during the first few weeks of the year. Starting in 2021, however, the one-time guest passes are digitized and available for download directly from the member dashboard.
Since these passes can be used by anyone who presents them upon entering a Maple Leaf Lounge, you can simply download the pass as a PDF and share it with your friends and family prior to their eligible flights.
Everyday Status Qualification
The start of 2021 also marks the launch of the Everyday Status Qualification benefit, in which members can earn Aeroplan 25K status by racking up 100,000 Aeroplan points through eligible sources between January 1 and December 31.
For Aeroplan 25K members who might’ve gotten a taste of Elite Status through last year’s Travel at Home promotion, but otherwise wouldn’t fly enough to qualify for status the regular way, Everyday Status Qualification may well represent the best route towards extending your status into 2022 and beyond.
According to the Air Canada website, eligible sources include credit card spending, flying activity, eStore purchases, retail partner activity, etc., but excludes all of the following:
- Points accumulated through sign-up or welcome bonuses associated with Aeroplan credit cards
- Points accumulated through conversion from other programs
- Points accumulated as a benefit of Aeroplan Elite Status, including but not limited to the Aeroplan Elite Status bonus with partner airlines, or bonuses earned through the Aeroplan eStore for holding Aeroplan Elite Status
- Points accumulated as part of a flight activity not operated by Air Canada or the Star Alliance member airlines
- Points purchased, or received as a gift
- Points transferred between member accounts
- Points reinstated following account inactivity
- Points redeemed as part of a Points + Cash reservation
- Points accumulated as part of contest prizes, or for participating in Aeroplan research
Starting today, all eligible Aeroplan points you earn will count towards the 100,000-point calendar year threshold for Everyday Status Qualification.
(I don’t see a tracker for Everyday Status Qualification on the online dashboard just yet, but I imagine this is something that’s in the works.)
In a follow-up post, I’ll share with you some of the best strategies for racking up eligible Aeroplan points and earning Aeroplan 25K status without having to qualify through flying activity.
As it’s January 1, 2021, Aeroplan Elite Status members now have the ability to choose their Select Benefit bundles for the upcoming year. Once these bundles are chosen, they cannot be changed, so feel free to take some time to arrive at your decision if you aren’t travelling anytime soon.
The new year also marks the depositing of Maple Leaf Lounge guest passes into elite members’ accounts, as well as the official launch of the Everyday Status Qualification benefit for this calendar year.
I’d expect further announcements regarding Aeroplan Elite Status to trickle through over the course of early 2021, including whether any benefits earned in 2020 (such as eUpgrades or Maple Leaf Lounge passes with a February 2021 expiry date) might be extended, and what 2021’s reduced elite qualification levels will look like.