Last summer, Aeroplan announced an overhaul to their program, including a restructuring of their Aeroplan Elite Status tiers. Aeroplan Status and Air Canada Altitude were merged, retaining some features of each while introducing other new innovations.
Among these features, Air Canada had promised that it would be possible to earn Aeroplan 25K Status through everyday transactions, although this wasn’t available when the new program first launched.
Now, it’s finally here: Air Canada has officially confirmed that Everyday Status Qualification is live.
Earn Aeroplan 25K Status Without Flying
Aeroplan members who earn 100,000 Aeroplan points from eligible transactions will automatically qualify for Aeroplan 25K Status.
Once you qualify, you’ll have status for the rest of the current calendar year, and through the end of the following year. For example, if you earn 100,000 points between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021, you’ll have Aeroplan 25K Status until the end of 2022.
Although this feature is just being released today, all eligible transactions backdated to January 1 will count towards the current qualifying year. Retroactive transactions might not register until the end of May, but rest assured that Aeroplan will honour them.
You’ll be able to track your progress towards Everyday Status Qualification on your Aeroplan dashboard. However, it’s only visible for members who don’t currently have status. Hopefully this will change in the future, as current status members might also wish to secure at least Aeroplan 25K status the following year through this channel.
Not every Aeroplan point you earn counts toward Everyday Status Qualification. The following transactions are eligible:
- Flight activity: cash tickets on Air Canada, or on partner airlines with mileage credited to Aeroplan
- Spending with Aeroplan co-branded credit cards
- eStore base points, including limited-time bonuses of up to 10x points, specific to each retailer
And these activities are excluded:
- Credit card welcome bonuses
- Points converted from other programs, such as American Express Membership Rewards
- Buying, gifting, or transferring points between members
- eStore bonus points awarded on the basis of Aeroplan Elite Status
- Points + Cash tickets
- Contests and other promotional bonuses
Eligible transactions will be flagged with “EDQ” in your Aeroplan activity log:
If you plan on maintaining Aeroplan 25K Status through everyday spending, it would be better to use an Aeroplan credit card and earn everyday-qualifying points directly. Instead, if you used an American Express MR-earning card, you wouldn’t earn everyday-qualifying activity when you transfer those rewards to Aeroplan.
Previously, it was possible to earn Aeroplan Diamond Status by earning 100,000 Aeroplan miles each year, but there was no way to achieve Air Canada Altitude status without flying. I’m glad to see that this feature has carried over, even as the program has rejigged various tier benefits.
Benefits of Aeroplan 25K Status
Let’s be real – Aeroplan 25K Status is the lowest tier, and it’s not going to blow your mind. You’ll be at the back of the priority line, always behind members at higher tiers (which can only be reached by accruing Status Qualifying Dollars via paid flights).
Still, Aeroplan 25K Status offers some useful perks to elevate your travel experience.
For one, it duplicates many of the benefits of holding a premium Aeroplan credit card, such as priority check-in, standby, and boarding, as well as some enhanced baggage handling options. If you’d prefer to avoid paying a $599 annual fee every year, you can maintain these benefits through Everyday Status Qualification instead.
You’ll also get two Maple Leaf Lounge passes each year, free checked bags on Air Canada flights, and preferred pricing on dynamic award tickets. However, you can easily find those benefits on mid-tier credit cards (both Aeroplan and otherwise, depending on your lounge preference), with much lower annual fees which are often waived for the first year.
Furthermore, all Aeroplan elites earn an extra 2 points per dollar spent on all eStore purchases, as well as 20 eUpgrade credits each year (with the option of an additional five eUpgrade credits as a Select Benefit). When used effectively, these can both offer solid value, which otherwise can’t be replicated with a credit card.
Other Ways to Earn Aeroplan 25K Status
Overall, I’d say the benefits of maintaining Aeroplan status are worth the effort. But I imagine that many Aeroplan members already have 25K Status, and won’t need to use this method to qualify – at least not right now.
Over the past year, there have been tons of other ways to achieve Aeroplan status for free, without flying.
Perhaps the biggest opportunity was the Travel at Home promotion in Spring 2020, when the travel industry was at its lowest point with the COVID-19 pandemic at its worst. Members could earn the old Altitude Prestige 25K status by earning 50,000 Aeroplan miles between mid-April and the end of May.
Notably, in a huge departure from their usual policy, credit card welcome bonuses and transferred MR points were eligible. I’d say this was the easiest way ever to earn airline status, one I can only hope we’ll see again!
Later, when the new program was launched, members were able to match from either the old Aeroplan Status or the old Altitude status. Old Aeroplan Silver, Black, and Diamond all matched to new Aeroplan 25K, with the new tiers mapping to the old Altitude structure.
Although the ability to earn “old Aeroplan Status” was phased out by the end of February 2020, I was still able to rack up enough qualifying activity in the first two months of the year, and even as a lowly Silver was fortunate enough to be status-matched to the new Aeroplan 25K.
Finally, as the pandemic has raged on, Air Canada has extended status for its elites, first extending 2020 Altitude status until the end of 2021, and then again extending 2021 Aeroplan status until the end of 2022. That means that if you had originally reached Aeroplan 25K through the Travel at Home promotion, you don’t need to use Everyday Status Qualification to maintain your benefits next year.
Instead, Everyday Status Qualification is a good entry point for newcomers who have just begun engaging with the Aeroplan program. I also see it as a potential tool in future years for thrifty Miles & Points collectors to maintain travel benefits without heavy flight activity or premium credit cards which may come at a high cost.
Generally speaking, I see Everyday Status Qualification as a way to “spend your way to status,” and not much more than that. Still, it’s a solid proposition, and a great way to maintain a base level of Air Canada benefits without having to earn status by buying cash fares or flying relentless mileage runs.
I’m hopeful that we might see additional ways to earn status without flying this year, as a full rebound of the travel industry is still a long way off. Fingers crossed for a Travel at Home redux, perhaps with credit card welcome bonuses and MR transfers eligible once again, and ideally with opportunities to attain higher Aeroplan Elite Status tiers.