Now that we’re in 2022, 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 be able to choose your 2022 Select Benefits in your member portal upon logging into your Aeroplan account.
However, there are a few unique considerations around whether you should select your benefits now, or if it makes more sense to wait.
You Can Now Choose Your 2022 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 automatically as of the turn of the year, 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 2022 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.)
Which Select Benefits Should You Choose?
Among the Select Benefit choices, I’d certainly recommend choosing the allotment of extra eUpgrade credits as one of your benefits (or your only benefit as an Aeroplan 35K member).
It’s very valuable to collect more eUpgrades, since the “Latitude Attitude” strategy allows you to redeem Aeroplan points for an Economy Latitude ticket and upgrade instantly into business class. With direct bookings in business class often pricing out at dynamically high levels, the Latitude Attitude can be an invaluable strategy.
Meanwhile, picking the second Select Benefit for Aeroplan 25K, 50K, 75K, and Super Elite members will depend on your own preferences as a traveller.
Someone who frequently takes paid flights might value the bonus Aeroplan points on Air Canada flights, someone who wants to share their benefits with their loved ones might like the Status Passes or the status gifts, etc.
For what it’s worth, I’ll also share with you how I’d choose my Select Benefits if I were any of the 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 50K member, I’d choose the 20 eUpgrade credits and the 2 Status Passes.
- 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 50K benefits with three separate passengers, or share relatively weaker 35K benefits with a single individual for all their travel.
- 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 50K benefits with four separate passengers or with a single individual for all their travel.
Should You Choose Your Select Benefits Now, Or Wait?
Here’s another interesting angle to the Select Benefits: should you pick them now, or is there perhaps an advantage to waiting until later on?
There’s potentially a very attractive reason to wait until the second half of 2022 to pick your Select Benefits, and it relates to a change to Air Canada eUpgrades that was quietly made at some point in 2021.
In the past, eUpgrades that were earned at any point in a given year would have a validity period within that year itself.
For example, everyone should’ve already received their base-level 20 eUpgrade credits as part of their Core Benefits if they earned or retained status for 2022.
You’ll see that these credits were deposited with an expiry date of January 16, 2023 (keeping in mind that eUpgrades’ general expiry date have moved from December 31 to January 16 of the following year).
However, this policy has changed going forward. The validity period of eUpgrades is now determined as follows:
- Any eUpgrades earned between January and June of a given year have a validity period within that year itself.
- Any eUpgrades earned between July and December of a given year have a validity period through the following year.
What does this mean in practice? Well, if you were to wait until July 1, 2022 to choose the allotment of eUpgrades as your Select Benefit, then those eUpgrades would arrive into your account with an expiry date of January 16, 2024, rather than January 16, 2023!
And remember: travel must take place within eUpgrade credits’ validity period for those eUpgrades to be applied.
So, come the second half of 2022, if you’d like to use the Latitude Attitude to confirm upgrades into business class for your 2023 travels, then you’d need those valid-through-2023 eUpgrades in order to do it.
Effectively, by delaying your Select Benefit decision until July 2022, you can get a valuable head start on snagging the coveted “R” space and confirming your instant upgrades across Air Canada’s 2023 business class flights. You’d be able to access the 2023 upgrade availability six months before everyone else!
Of course, if you have an immediate need for eUpgrade credits for trips in the first half of 2022 (or trips in the second half of 2022 for which you want to confirm upgrades before that), then you might still decide to choose your Select Benefits now and earn those eUpgrades as soon as possible.
But if you’re all set for your 2022 travels, and would prefer to beat others to the upgrade space when it comes time to plan 2023 trips, then waiting until July 2022 to pick your Select Benefits might be your best bet.
What About the January 2022 Status Bump?
For this year, there’s one more unique wrinkle to the question of when to choose your Select Benefits, thanks to the “Spend Your Way to Elite Status” promotion on the Aeroplan premium credit cards that we saw in the second half of 2021.
Aeroplan members who took part in this promotion will see a one-tier status bump by January 31, 2022. Some members appear to have already received their status bump, while others appear to be still waiting.
If you’re still waiting for your status bump, but you have the opportunity to pick Select Benefits now under your existing status level, then it makes sense to go ahead and choose some benefits now!
After all, when you get bumped up to a higher tier of status, you’ll get the opportunity to choose your Select Benefits again for your new status level.
At that time, you can then think about whether you’d like to choose your new status level’s Select Benefits immediately, or wait until July 2022 to earn eUpgrades that have a longer validity period.
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 it’s important to take some time to think through your choices – and also think through when your want to make your choices, given the nuances regarding eUpgrade validity periods outlined above.
Personally, I’ll likely be waiting until July 2022 to pick my Select Benefits, so as to earn eUpgrade credits that are valid for instantly confirmed upgrades from Latitude Economy into business class through all of 2023.