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Aeroplan Status Program Will End Next Year Ricky November 13, 2019

Aeroplan Status Program Will End Next Year

Aeroplan has just announced that their in-house status program will be discontinued as of 2020, as the program looks set to be transformed into a brand-new Air Canada-led loyalty program.

Until the end of 2019, you continue to have the opportunity to earn Aeroplan Silver, Black, or Diamond status, and you’ll be able to enjoy the perks of those status levels throughout some of 2020. When the new loyalty program launches later in 2020, some Aeroplan status perks – like Market Fare discounts and lower Aeroplan reward fees for Diamond members – will be discontinued. 

Furthermore, as of January 1, 2020, Aeroplan status will cease to exist beyond the current year’s benefit period, and Aeroplan members will no longer be earning status for the following year based on the miles that they earn under the current scheme. 

The full quote from Air Canada reads as follows:

As we plan for the launch of a more rewarding Aeroplan in 2020, we’re reimagining how we can best recognize our most loyal Aeroplan members. In preparation for this, over the course of next year, we’ll be winding down the Aeroplan status program. Here’s what this means for you:

There’s still time to qualify for 2020 Aeroplan status

Members can qualify for Aeroplan status in 2020 based on the eligible miles they earn through December 31, 2019. Beginning in January 2020, you will no longer be able to qualify for Aeroplan status.

Continue to enjoy Aeroplan status benefits in 2020

Members who earn 2020 Aeroplan status will continue to have access to many of the benefits they enjoy today. Please note that the following benefits will no longer be offered when we relaunch Aeroplan later in 2020:

Market Fare Flight Reward discounts, available to all Aeroplan status members.
Preferential Rates on Flight Reward Fees, available to Aeroplan diamond status members.

What Is Aeroplan Status?

Aeroplan status has essentially been a way for the program to reward members for earning a certain number of reward miles per year. Members who earn 25,000, 50,000, or 100,000 qualifying miles in a calendar year will earn Aeroplan Silver, Black, and Diamond status respectively.

With few exceptions, the “easiest” ways of racking up Aeroplan miles, such as credit card signup bonuses and Membership Rewards transfers, have never counted as qualifying miles for the purpose of earning status – it would be trivial to transfer in 100,000 Amex MR points per year and retain your Diamond status, after all. Instead, what counts is stuff like mileage earned on credit card spend, flights credited to Aeroplan, or Aeroplan eStore earnings. 

(There were a few periods over the years when some credit card signup bonuses would seemingly mistakenly count towards status as well – I recall this being the case on the CIBC Aerogold for Business a few years back. More recently, the personal CIBC Aerogold’s “additional” signup bonus of 5,000 miles, which you earn after spending $1,000 in the first three months, has counted for my Aeroplan status this year as well, even though it’s technically part of the overall signup bonus of 20,000 miles on this card.)

Aeroplan status is not to be confused with Air Canada Altitude status, which is Air Canada’s separate frequent flyer elite program that rewards its most loyal travellers. In the lead-up to Air Canada’s new loyalty program, the general consensus has been that Air Canada Altitude, or something similar to it, will be the single elite status program that the program uses going forward, and with today’s announcement, that outcome is looking even more likely. 

What Are the Best Perks of Aeroplan Status?

Honestly, the perks at the Silver and Black status levels aren’t much to write home about. You’ll get discounts on Aeroplan Market Fare redemptions of up to 20% and 25% respectively, which may or may not move the needle for you when determining whether a Market Fare redemption is worthwhile.

Aeroplan Diamond status is where the bulk of the benefits lie. The Market Fare discount of up to 35% can open up quite a few compelling redemptions: in particular, on short-haul domestic flights, it often brings down the cost of a Market Fare to something very close to the Fixed Mileage levels, while charging you much lower taxes and fees.

Then you also have the Preferential Rates on Flight Reward Fees: as a Diamond member, you’ll pay $75 per person per direction to change an Aeroplan reward ticket (instead of $100 per person per direction for everyone else), and you’ll also pay only $30 per person in cancellation fees when you cancel a ticket online (instead of $150 per person for everyone else). 

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Finally, the other very useful perk of Aeroplan Diamond status is reduced wait times when calling the Aeroplan contact centre, which can make the difference between waiting 5–10 minutes on hold and waiting 45 minutes to one hour on hold. Indeed, recently it seems that the Aeroplan contact centre is so swamped with calls that many regular members haven’t even been able to make it into the hold queue, whereas Diamond members have reported still being able to enter the queue and connect after a 10–15 minute wait.

Some Aeroplan Status Perks Will Be Going Away

While members who earn Aeroplan Silver, Black, or Diamond status this year will continue to enjoy the above benefits in the early part of 2020, it has been confirmed that some of the benefits will be phased out once the new loyalty program launches “later in 2020”. In particular:

  • The Market Fare discounts, which are enjoyed by all Aeroplan status members to varying discount levels, will be phased out

  • The Preferential Rates on Flight Reward Fees for Diamond members will be phased out

To their credit, Air Canada is being very fair in giving us a heads-up on these changes at this time, instead of doing so when the 2020 status benefit year has already commenced, since the discontinuation of these benefits may well influence how aggressively members decide to pursue Aeroplan status for the rest of this year. 

While these changes appear negative on the surface, we can’t really make any meaningful judgments just yet since we have no idea what any part of the new loyalty program will look like yet.

I’d expect everything about the new program, including the Market Fare pricing levels and the change and cancellation fees on reward tickets, to be subject to change when the new loyalty program launches, so only then will we be able to compare the before-and-after impact of any changes that are announced in the interim.

What Will Happen to Your Aeroplan Status?

While we can’t draw any definitive conclusions, we can make some reasonable predictions – and derive some strategies based on those predictions – as to what might happen to the combined Aeroplan/Air Canada elite status program when the new loyalty program arrives, and in particular what the treatment of Aeroplan members who hold Silver, Black, and Diamond status will look like at that time.

If we work on the assumption that Aeroplan status will be folded into the current Air Canada Altitude elite program (or an equivalent of that), then it strikes me as quite unlikely that there will be a direct mapping relationship between the two when the transition takes place. 

For example, there’s no way that Aeroplan Diamond members would be “matched” to the equivalent of Air Canada Altitude’s Super Elite 100K, which currently requires either 100,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 95 Altitude Qualifying Segments, in addition to spending $20,000 in Altitude Qualifying Dollars. 

Being matched to Air Canada’s most coveted top-tier elite level from a measly Aeroplan Diamond status, which anyone can earn solely via some smart shopping on the eStore and without ever stepping on a flight, is nothing more than a pipe dream.

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On the other hand, I don’t think Aeroplan status will be worthless either, based on the fact that today’s announcement on the future of Aeroplan status went so far as to reassure members that “with our new loyalty program, we’re making it a priority to recognize our most engaged members – and not just our most frequent flyers”. 

It seems very likely to me that Air Canada will take a middle ground between the two extremes and introducing a way to “bridge” your Aeroplan status into some kind of status level in the new program, and I’ll be very intrigued to see what kind of format that follows.

In the meantime, one thing is for certain: the higher your Aeroplan status in 2020, the higher your odds of getting the best deal out of this one-time transition from the old program to the new. All other things being equal, members who earn Aeroplan Diamond status for 2020 are probably going to emerge out of the transition with the best arrangement in terms of status perks compared to Black, Silver, and non-status members.

So for the remainder of 2019, your focus should be on earning 100,000 qualifying miles over the course of the year, and therefore achieving Aeroplan Diamond status, if at all possible – we don’t know what you’ll get out of it on the other side, but we can be reasonably confident that it’ll be better than if you didn’t achieve it.

Thankfully, there are currently some very easy opportunities for racking up the status-qualifying miles via the Aeroplan eStore. Until November 18, the eStore is offering 7x miles on most retailers; in addition, from November 25 until December 2, the eStore will offer up to 10x miles on many popular retailers as well, such as Apple, Hudson’s Bay, and Amazon. 

Make sure to use the eStore for all your holiday shopping during these periods, and you’ll be getting yourself quite some distance towards playing the Aeroplan Diamond gambit going into 2020. 

Conclusion

The Aeroplan status program has given us plenty of memories over the years, from CIBC Aerogold for Business signup bonuses mistakenly counting towards status back in the old days, to the AC Conversion Card rendering status qualification an effortless affair, to the more recent frantic end-of-year eStore purchases in a late bid to requalify.

The program will be ending after the 2020 benefit year as Air Canada looks to introduce a brand-new elite status scheme, and furthermore, some of our favourites out of the frankly mediocre pool of benefits, like Market Fare discounts and lower change and cancellation fees for Diamond members, will be phased out as well.

We’ll be hearing more from Air Canada in early 2020, but in the meantime, it makes sense to try to qualify for Aeroplan Diamond status if possible, since that will probably result in the best outcome for you once the dust settles on the newly-introduced status program. 

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16 Comments
  1. Avatar
    M

    Starting April 1, 2020 I’m seeing miles needed for flights has doubled. 50,000 for long haul domestic economy flight and 100,000 for business class. Interesting how that wasn’t revealed earlier!!

  2. Avatar
    Richard

    I currently don’t have a Aeroplan credit card. Would you recommend applying for one now and try and get Diamond status or wait for the new program, as there maybe some great signup bonuses?

  3. Avatar
    Bob

    about e-store aeroplan. if I buy 3 iphone and I return one at apple store a week later. Do you think that the aeroplan points earned will be removed from my account for this iphone returned?????

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      Only one way to find out.

  4. Avatar
    Gill herold

    I haven’t found any information on one of my greatest point earning strategy. I book my hotel stays through aeroplan during their 2 times the miles… being a diamond person this means 8 times the points. For example, on our last trip to Spain I earned over 80,000 points on our hotel stays. Great score. We have 2 trips planned for 2020… waiting for the 2 times point offer to book hotels. I am wondering if this perk will be still available in 2020 or if I should book now at the regular rate of 4 times the points. Anyone have thoughts on this.

  5. Avatar
    Heather Hamilton

    Hi Ricky,
    I want to cancel my TD Infinite Aeroplan card and then reapply to get the new cardholder benefits. How long do I need to wait after cancelling the card to reapply for the new benefits?

  6. Avatar
    Randy

    My eyes are not so good. Did you show us your transaction statement with all your credit card numbers showing?

  7. Avatar
    Ryan

    Hi Ricky, how certain are you about the "November 25 – December 2 up to 10X promotion" from estore? I couldn’t find any info online. If you are certain about this I will hold off buying stuff until Nov 25. Thanks!

  8. Avatar
    Joe blow

    10x redemption means $10k spend at estore retailers. And gift cards don’t count. Makes sense if you were already planning to spend that money, but a tough hill to climb if not.

    Most of my Aeroplan miles are earned in a way that doesn’t count towards status, so I’m still 95k short. Um, yeah..

    1. Avatar
      Ricky

      Sounds like somebody needs to be shopping for a new $9.5k iMac with all the trimmings.

  9. Avatar
    bingo

    What a shame, I’ve been able to put a lot of spend through the eStore, and have earned more miles than I could ever have with the eStore multipliers, along with the 3x eStore multiplier.

    Shame

  10. Avatar
    David

    I originally tried to have my CIBC Aventura card changed to a CIBC Aerogold but they only offered a 2500 for product switching. Somehow I got my second year annual fee waived on my Aventura. Now it’s nearing the second year. Seeing this article I am pretty close to getting to the next tier level for Aeroplan so I figured I’d try opening an Aerogold and then as soon as I reach the two year mark on my CIBC Aventura I’ll have them close my Aventura and merge my credit history to my new Aerogold. I am going to try and complete the 10,000$ in the first year spend bonus on the Aerogold. Seems like a fun challenge.

    I am hoping to to have at least some status by the end of this year so that when they end the program maybe something will have transferred over to Air Canada. It does not have to be top tier but something to show our loyalty to the program. Aslo having a taste of whatever Air Canada has to offer could win over some Aeroplan loyalists to the new Air Canada program. I have really come to value and enjoy Aeroplan over the last few years I hope they don’t ruin it. As of now, they are giving notices way ahead of time. It seems as they figure things out they let members know and have given us time to respond and take action. That’s really appreciated. I mean imagine they made changes overnight or less than a month’s notice as Avios recently did. Overall it seems like they’re being straightforward with negative and positive changes. As long as they keep that up I’ll stick with Aeroplan.

  11. Avatar
    Drake Miller

    I think this could possibly be a possible gain. Aeroplan diamond and the other Aeroplan statuses are only moderately useful and provide pretty low value benefits with very few market fare sweet spots. I think any mapping to any level of Altitude status would be a significant win. If Aeroplan Diamond mapped to Aeroplan 35k that would be a significant win.

  12. Avatar
    John

    if I use apple’s student portal to buy things with aeroplan 10x, will I get the miles? Terms and conditions say that EPP is excluded but not the student store. Thanks!

  13. Avatar
    Timbo2

    If these new upcoming 2020 benefits were to be as good as (or better) than the benefits to disappear, you can be sure Aeroplan would have gleefully noted this. Another option may be that, with the launch of the new program an estimated six months away, they don’t yet know. Either does not bode well for current members. Death by a thousand cuts………

Ricky

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