“Latitude Attitude”: The Best Way to Use eUpgrades for Business Class

Air Canada eUpgrades are a reward for Aeroplan Elite Status members, who can use them to upgrade into a higher class of service on Air Canada flights.

In this article, we’ll look at some optimal ways to use your eUpgrades, including arguably the most valuable way to combine them with Aeroplan points.

If you haven’t already, may I highly recommend that you read through our guide to eUpgrades before continuing, as this article assumes you have a reasonable familiarity with eUpgrades.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the best strategies for using eUpgrades in conjunction with Aeroplan points.

How to Determine eUpgrade Availability

Before diving in, let’s remind ourselves of how to determine eUpgrade availability, which is different from the regular award availability in premium economy and business class.

There are two ways to determine eUpgrade space on a particular flight.

The first is to do a Flight Availability search on ExpertFlyer. Under “Only Show Classes,” enter “R” (to find business class eUpgrade space) or “N” (to find premium economy eUpgrade space), or both.

If there is “R” or “N” space available on a flight, then there is eUpgrade space available to business class or premium economy, respectively. ExpertFlyer allows you to quickly determine which flights have eUpgrade space on particular aircraft throughout the day.

In the above results, we can see that AC101, AC185, AC103, and AC105 all have eUpgrade space to business class, as indicated by a number greater than zero next to the “R”. Only AC185 has eUpgrade space to premium economy, as indicated by a number greater than zero next to the “N”. 

AC107, AC111, AC115, and AC119 do not have eUpgrade space available at this time.

If you don’t have an ExpertFlyer subscription, thankfully, the Aeroplan search engine has made it a lot easier to seamlessly view eUpgrade availability as well.

After completing a search for points bookings, click on “eUpgrade” above the search results.

If you have logged in to your account, your status will auto-populate. Select the desired class of service to which you’d like to upgrade.

The search results show if there is confirmed eUpgrade space with an arrow inside a circle and the words “Eligible for eUpgrade” written below it. 

In the above case, our suspicions from the ExpertFlyer search are confirmed. There is eUpgrade space on AC101, AC185, and AC103. 

If there is not eUpgrade space, you’ll see a clock with the words “You will be waitlisted” written below it. 

Take note that if you are searching for a multi-segment journey, even if just one segment has eUpgrade space available, it will show “Eligible for eUpgrade” in the search results.

You’ll want to double-check this by clicking on the fare, as it will further break down which flights have eUpgrade space below.

After clicking on the Economy or Premium Economy fare, you are presented with the cost in points of booking an Economy (Standard), Economy (Flex), Economy (Latitude), Premium Economy (Lowest), or Premium Economy (Flexible) fare.

The eUpgrades required, and any add-on fee, for each fare are displayed at the bottom of the fare description.

How to Adopt the “Latitude Attitude”

One feature of Aeroplan that is of great interest to Aeroplan Elite Status members is the ability to redeem points for Economy (Latitude) or Premium Economy (Flexible) fares on Air Canada flights.

Recall that Economy (Latitude) and Premium Economy (Flexible) fares are the most expensive, and therefore least restrictive, fares among Air Canada’s Economy and Premium Economy fare families.

In addition to all of its other benefits, like free cancellations and preferred seat selection, Latitude and Premium Economy (Flexible) bookings also require the fewest amount of eUpgrades to upgrade to premium economy or business class.

Compared to Economy (Standard), Economy (Flex), and Premium Economy (Lowest), the savings in eUpgrade credits and the absence of any co-pay fees can be significant.

Furthermore, what’s special about Premium Economy (Flexible) and Latitude fares is that they can confirm an eUpgrade at any time, with no need to wait until the clearance window opens, as long as there is eUpgrade space available:

As you can see in the chart, all other fare types require you to wait until a clearance window of 3–14 days before your date of departure in order to clear eUpgrades into a higher class of service. However, Premium Economy (Flexible) and Economy (Latitude) bookings can clear at any time, including immediately after you’ve made your booking. 

With the above information in mind, there is a very interesting optimal strategy in play for booking business class flights using Aeroplan points:

  1. Search for eUpgrade space.
  2. Book an Economy (Latitude) or Premium Economy (Flexible) fare using Aeroplan points.
  3. Instantly confirm an eUpgrade to business class.

Yes, you will pay more in points than with other fares, but in many cases (especially if dynamic pricing is unfavourable), you will pay substantially fewer points than if you booked in business class to begin with.

Plus, you have the added bonus of free cancellations and changes, should your travel plans change. 

Let’s walk through a few scenarios to consider the optimal eUpgrade strategies on a few different Air Canada routes, taking the example of an Aeroplan 25K member with 20 eUpgrades at their disposal. 

Example 1: Toronto–Vancouver

For the first scenario, let’s consider one of Air Canada’s flagship routes: Toronto to Vancouver in a lie-flat pod seat.

On a random date within the eUpgrade validity period, the search results show the following possibilities to either book or upgrade into business class on AC185 on the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner:

  • Standard: 7,200 Aeroplan points + 11 eUpgrade credits + $250 add-on
  • Flex: 18,200 Aeroplan points + 10 eUpgrade credits
  • Latitude: 25,200 Aeroplan points + 4 eUpgrade credits
  • Premium Economy (Lowest): 19,300 Aeroplan points + 4 eUpgrade credits
  • Premium Economy (Flexible): 31,300 Aeroplan points + 2 eUpgrade credits
  • Business Class (Lowest): 93,200 Aeroplan points

Let’s forget about the Standard fare, because even though it has the lowest cost in points, the $250 co-pay fee strips away much of the value.

The Flex fare is slightly less expensive than the Premium Economy (Lowest) fare, and it requires an additional 6 eUpgrade credits compared to Economy (Latitude), so this option can also be ruled out.

The Premium Economy (Lowest) fare offers a good value proposition, but since you are subject to the eUpgrade booking window of upgrading within four days of travel for an Aeroplan 25K member, you decide to consider Economy (Latitude) and Premium Economy (Flexible) instead.

In this case, the Economy (Latitude) fare wins out, as it costs fewer points than the Premium Economy (Flexible) fare, but comes with the same seat in the end. And, of course, it saves you a cool 68,000 Aeroplan points compared to booking business class directly.

Taking a look at the corresponding cash fares on this flight, we have:

  • Latitude: $1,219
  • Premium Economy (Flexible): $1,705
  • Business Class (Lowest): $1,440

As you can see, the redemption value for Economy (Latitude) is very solid, at around 5 cents per point (cpp); moreover, the ability to book business class for only 25,200 points + 4 eUpgrade credits represents significant savings compared to booking business class directly using either cash or points.

Example 2: Toronto–Honolulu

For the second scenario, let’s look at a flight from Toronto to Honolulu. A search brings up the following results:

  • Standard: 16,900 Aeroplan points + 11 eUpgrades + $250 add-on
  • Flex: 28,900 Aeroplan points + 10 eUpgrades
  • Latitude: 35,900 Aeroplan points + 4 eUpgrades
  • Premium Economy (Lowest): 62,300 Aeroplan points + 4 eUpgrades
  • Premium Economy (Flexible): 75,300 Aeroplan points + 2 eUpgrades
  • Business Class (Lowest): 113,600 Aeroplan points

Again, let’s forget about the Standard fare due to the $250 add-on fee.

At 28,900 Aeroplan points plus 10 eUpgrade credits, the Flex option is decent. Compared to business class, Premium Economy (Lowest) is OK (but not great) at 62,300 Aeroplan points plus 4 eUpgrade credits.

But, due to the constraint of the booking window, we instead look to the Latitude and Premium Economy (Flexible) fares for the ability to instantly confirm an upgrade.

While the Premium Economy (Flexible) fare requires only 2 eUpgrade credits, the cost is much higher than the Economy (Latitude) fare.

On the other hand, the Economy (Latitude) fare saves 77,700 points and comes with the added flexibility with free cancellations compared to the Business Class (Lowest) fare. 

So, in this case, we can say aloha to the Latitude fare using Aeroplan points, and then use 4 eUpgrade credits to instantly confirm our spot in business class. 

For comparison, let’s look at the cash fares:

  • Latitude: $1,659
  • Premium Economy (Flexible): $1,338
  • Business Class (Lowest): $1,653

Therefore, booking Latitude for only 35,900 points (plus about $80 in fees) equates to a satisfactory redemption value of 2.1cpp for your Aeroplan points, while 35,900 points + 4 eUpgrades is a highly attractive price point to book business class compared to shelling out 113,600 points for the same seat.

Example 3: Montreal–Athens

Let’s look at a flight from Montreal to Athens. Often, the greatest value you can glean from using eUpgrades is on long-haul, international flights – on these flights is when having a lie-flat seat makes a world of difference.

A search turns up the following results:

Here, we see a steady progression of cost in Aeroplan points. The economy fares break down as follows:

  • Standard: 47,500 Aeroplan points + 21 eUpgrades + $750 add-on
  • Flex: 59,500 Aeroplan points + 18 eUpgrades + $500 add-on
  • Latitude: 79,500 Aeroplan points + 11 eUpgrades
  • Premium Economy (Lowest): 154,700 Aeroplan points + 12 eUpgrades + $200 add-on
  • Premium Economy (Flexible): 167,700 Aeroplan points + 11 eUpgrades
  • Business Class (Lowest): 265,200 Aeroplan points

For this comparison, let’s forget about both Standard and Flex fares due to the hefty eUpgrade and add-on requirements. Both Premium Economy fares seem quite high, so we can forget about those, too.

The Economy (Latitude) fare comes with the ability to instantly confirm the upgrade, is fully refundable, and doesn’t have a pesky add-on fee. Furthermore, it saves a whopping 185,700 Aeroplan points compared to the Business Class (Lowest) fare. 

For comparison, the cash fares are as below:

  • Latitude: $1,839
  • Premium Economy (Flexible): $2,216
  • Business Class (Lowest): $8,692

In this case, the Latitude redemption fetches a value of 10.9cpp compared to the cash fare for business class. Since Aeroplan points are easier to come by than cash, this winds up being the most attractive option.

Conclusion

Given the many ways to earn Aeroplan Elite Status and thereby eUpgrades, including by never setting foot on a plane, it’s now more feasible than ever before to pay for economy class and wind up in a better class of service.

In particular, the possibility of instantly confirming an eUpgrade on an Economy (Latitude) or Premium Economy (Flexible) fare gives you flexibility, peace of mind, and more points to keep in your account for future consideration.

For many Aeroplan members, the ability to use points and eUpgrades for business class via the “Latitude Attitude” is likely to be one of the strongest motivations for pursuing Aeroplan Elite Status, especially when the dynamic pricing of business class fares shoots up in the astronomical range.

95 Comments
  1. Cheryl

    Hi TJ and Ricky. I carefully followed your advice on using e-upgrades (25K) with success. Unfortunately on our last two trips we experienced losing them at the gate.
    1. YYJ -YVR-YYZ – July 30 two people (both 25K) travelling together with confirmed upgraded J seats on YVR-YYZ leg. I was not only downgraded but looked like I had been removed from flight as my name appeared on standby list. Zones started to board but I was waiting as agent said she was working at trying to get J class back. Seat assigned was economy 19C. Agent was successful at getting a J seat back. On boarding the person in my original seat seemed to be an employee as a few people stopped to talk to her (not in uniform)

    2. Next trip – Aug. 4 KEF-YUL-YYZ – 2 people – booked Jan 1, 2022 with upgrade to J on YUL-YYZ leg (AC 415) confirmed Jan 6. Get to gate in YUL and our names were called up to desk and we were handed 2 new boarding passes with our seats changed to 35D and 35E. When I asked the agent about why..she just said that someone with higher status were given the seats. When I looked at the upgrade list it looked like 3 people with the same last name but different initials were upgraded. How is it we got bumped out?

    Any insights would be appreciated –is there any value in e-upgrades if there is so much uncertainty as to whether you will actually be able to use them??
    Thanks!

  2. farnorthtrader

    Trying to figure out if there is any way around my conundrum:
    We have 10 (count em 10) e coupons for past flights that Air Canada has messed us up on, 8 for $500 each and 2 for $100 each.
    I also have 52 e upgrades.
    I am looking at using latitude booking to Bangkok for two of us. I can book it for 51,200 Aeroplan points each plus $771.66 plus 13 e upgrades.
    Ideally, I would like to use two of the e coupons for each of us, so that it would cost us nothing. Unfortunately, as best I can tell, if I want to use the e-upgrades, I will only be able to use one of the e-coupons, so it will instead cost us $1043.32, because if my wife is on a separate PNR I can’t use the e-upgrades and if she is on the same PNR, then I can only use one e-coupon because I can only use two payment methods.
    Is this right or is there some way to use both the e upgrades and more of the e-coupons?

    1. T.J. YQQ

      You’ll want to check for eUpgrade availability on the AC BKK route first. I don’t think there’s a way to combine more than one voucher on a booking. You’re correct that you won’t be able to use eUpgrades on different PNRs in advance (you’d have to do a day-of upgrade at the airport).

      1. farnorthtrader

        Wasn’t ideal, but I do have it booked and upgraded now. Booked two of us YEG to BKK for 136,600 Aeroplan and $893 (which $500 was covered by e-coupon because you can only use one on an aeroplan booking, so $393 in real money) and 26 e-ups. Would have been 436,200 to book directly into business class. We lose business class HKG to BKK for 2 and a half hours on Thai, but a small price to pay for 300,000 aeroplan points

  3. Justin

    I used the latitude attitude to confirm an upgrade into rouge business class yul to las. 1 hour before departure on my first leg YYZ to yul I was bumped out of business into economy on my yul las leg. Gate agents at yul were surprised and couldn’t offer a reasonable explanation. They refunded my eupgrade credits automatically but seems I used latitude points for a (sub) standard experience. Needless to say I was very disappointed with this experience. Happen to anyone else?

    1. bohemian

      Yes, it’s important to understand that, like any e-upgrade, you may be seated in your original cabin class for a variety of reasons, including rescheduled and down-gauged flights.

      In this example, it doesn’t matter if you upgraded from a revenue Lat/PY or a reward booking.

      I still think that this is a strategic and effective way to get an instant upgrade, but understand that there is no guarantee that you will be seated in J until the aircraft leaves the ground.

    2. Lynnie

      Yup happed to my friend on the YYZ – YVR route too but due to an equipment swap 🙁 It really, really sucks!

  4. Vsol

    If eUpgrades expire on January 15, how can you use them for planned flights later in 2023? Do you wait til you get them back in 2023 if you still have status?

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Any eUpgrades earned between July 1 and December 31, 2022 won’t expire until the January 2024.

  5. Alexei Martchenko

    Hi Ricky,
    My wife has 25k status, so we used the Aeroplan points to get her the Altitude class fare YYZ-FCO. We tried to upgrade right away, eupgrades were taken off right away, Air Canada put the upgrade on the waitlist. We tried to call and got the explanation that that everyone goes on the waitlist and depending on the status upgrade is given. Is it a trick Air Canada playing?

    1. Rachel YYZ

      You’ll want to look for “R” (eUpgrade space) space, which will show up when searching for award seats on the Air Canada website – toggle the Eupgrade button on. It’ll show an orange clock and say “waitlist” or a green checkmark with “available” if available.

      1. Alexei Martchenko

        Thanks Rachel! How do you do it though when Air Canada website doesn’t even open “sign in” page. Can you do it on the mobile app?

        1. Rachel YYZ

          The AC site does have issues sometimes, try using incognito.

  6. Cards

    Hi, We (Elite status 25k) are travelling to Swiss via Air Canada from mid July to early Aug. We have booked Latitude seats via Aeroplan points, and ready to do eupgrade. We want to do epgrade as late as possible because we are still waiting for Japan to open and cancel our Swiss trip. Would you please share when should we execute the eupgrade online so that we won’t lose the opportunity to fly in business class to Swiss?

    1. T.J. YQQ

      If there is eUpgrade space available, you should confirm the upgrade right away. Otherwise, you’ll be waitlisted and won’t know if you have a confirmed seat until you’re at the airport waiting to board your flight. If you’re flying from Toronto, there is eUpgrade space available on the 19th of July.

      1. Cards

        Thank you TJ. I did a search of the Toronto-Tokyo trip next year, even the farthest available date June 8, 2023 has to be waitlisted. How come that could happen? I was thinking to book the latitude once the flight is bookable, and then eupgrade to business class. Can u please share some tips on how can I do it?

        1. T.J. YQQ

          There’s no guarantee Air Canada will release eUpgrade space on the flight. My plan would be to set ExpertFlyer alerts for “R” class and then upgrade if they come in (assuming you have eUpgrade credits that will be valid for that date of travel).

  7. Thomas Widstrand

    This was a helpful article- thanks. I found a good deal on premium economy flexible and no clearance period but am new to this so didn’t know about the search function/expert flyer hack so hit a waitlist. Is there any chance they will add an R class later on? Or is it all done as you mentioned earlier when check in closes. And if so in what order? Does some one who also bought the premium flex but is at 50 or 75k automatically bump me closer to departure? I am at the top of the list but not sure what this really means. Thanks!

    1. Rachel YYZ

      Yes, there is a possibility that R space will be added later closer to departure and you should clear automatically if that’s the case if you’re at the top of the list. If someone with a higher status than you joins the waitlist, you’ll be bumped down accordingly.

    2. T.J. YQQ

      We just published an article about the waitlist and how it works – check it out 🙂 There’s a chance that they’ll add more R space in advance of the flight, but there’s no guarantee.

  8. Tekguy26

    Great article. I’m a mere peasant with 25K status. One thing scenario regarding familes that wasn’t covered is, what if your booking has minors (under 12)? I believe Air Canada requires minors to be seated next to an accompanying adult. How would this work if both parents are upgraded, but the 2 minors are now unaccompanied.

    1. Rachel YYZ

      If you and your companion (I assume under 12) were on the same PNR, you would either clear or not clear together.

  9. Tricia

    Thanks for the info on e-upgrades, they are clearly designed to be confusing. Do you know what order they are processed in if you are waitlisted? For example, I’m waitlisted on business class YVR-YYZ later this month, and I see that business class is now totally full and I couldn’t buy a seat if I wanted to. Given that I won’t get upgraded to business, I know they will automatically go to the next best available seat, so premium economy (where there are still open seats). I’m wondering if it makes sense to cancel my e-upgrade request for business and resubmit for PY. I believe they process the PY upgrades first, then the spillover business upgrades but am finding that hard to confirm.

    1. T.J. YQQ

      From what I know, the upgrades are all processed at the same time (automatically, just after the check-in closes). I don’t think there’s a way of improving your odds, as anyone who was ahead of you for a business class upgrade will be ahead of you for PY too. This is a good question, though – I’ll do some digging.

  10. J.M

    I fly mainly between YVRYYZ and YVRYUL and flights are booked by my company through travel agency typically 24 to 36hrs prior- most times they are flex U and flex H with my recent eup being 4 points to business class. Do you have any tips or suggestions to get a better chance of clearing waitlist with 35k status. So far I am at 63 points, whats the best way to utilize? Thank you

    1. T.J. YQQ

      If you have any control over the flight times, then you could look to see in advance which flights have the most seats in business class left using ExpertFlyer. Especially with YVR-YYZ, which is a very popular route, you’ll be competing against many others. If you have an Aeroplan co-branded credit card (like the American Express Aeroplan Reserve), it could also help.

  11. John Bucher

    So just to. be sure, if I do not get status this year, my euprades do not roll over to next year.
    So I should use them this year

  12. harryrosenbaum

    I have a comment about the incomplete information. Aeroplan does not provide the ability to search for class (R or N), it is just economy latitude. If you purchase a latitude ticket with points (you can’t search for a R or N seat) you will not be upgraded to business class using e-upgrades unless a R or N seat is available. Aeroplan’s response when I assumed that if upgrades were available when using Aeroplan it does not mean you will be upgraded with e-upgrades unless an R or N is available. These are Aeroplan’s words “When you purchase a latitude fare, there is no clearance window for eUpgrade requests. If there are no seats available in R or N class to be upgraded to, the eUpgrade request will be wait-listed.” Your Latitude Attitude ideas are incomplete.

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Hi Harry. You can indeed search for upgrade space on Aeroplan – click on the eUpgrade toggle in the search results and you’ll be shown which flights have space available for instant upgrades and which don’t. You can also use tools like Expert Flyer for this. All of this is in the article.

      1. harry

        Hi:
        We are going from CDG to YWG via YYZ. Instantly upgraded to business YYZ-YWG but waitlisted for CDG-YYZ because our ticket was not a R or N class which you cannot find out from Air Canada site

  13. Tim

    If one were to book a latitude flight, upgrade it to business class with the upgrades, and then cancel the flight for a refund, would the upgrades be refunded as well?

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Yes – you’d get everything back.

  14. Carrie

    Hi! Thanks for all the tips especially the “Latitude Attitude” trick. I have a few flights to book this year and will be trying it out to upgrade to Business with points and eupgrades. I was just playing around with it and can you confirm that if I book economy latitude when it says eupgrades available that I will be upgraded immediately? Also, if I’m booking a family of four but only one of us has elite status and eupgrades available, can I still book the four of us on one booking and be able to use the upgrades for myself and one other person on the booking? ie. can I upgrade myself and my husband to business leaving my teenagers in economy on the same booking? 😁
    One last question… I reached 25K status in mid November with the 100,000 EDQ method. Since I got my AMEX Aeroplan reserve card in July, I should still get a bump to 35K since I spent over the 10,000 required, correct? It hasn’t shown up yet.
    Thanks!

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Yes, if there is eUpgrade space available and you have eUpgrades valid for the date of travel, you can upgrade instantly. I’m not sure about the booking of 4 and then only upgrading 2. You can always just do 2 separate bookings. Your status bump should have been processed by now.

      1. Carrie

        Thanks! I booked my first eupgrade tickets! Just an update that my status bump didn’t show up so I called Aeroplan and had to explain at length that I was given 25K status in early November for reaching 100,000 EDQ and that I should still get the bump to 35K for the $10,000 Amex promotion. The agents aren’t always aware of these promotions but I eventually got it.

  15. Alex YYZ

    Hi guys.
    If I book 2 tickets for 2 family members (I won’t be flying) – will I be able to Eupgrade them?
    And if I make two separate bookings for the same flight, one booking is for me and p2, and another booking for p3 + p4 – will I be able to eupgrade all of us (on those two separate bookings of the same flight)?

    1. T.J. YQQ

      For the first case (2 family members, you’re not travelling), you won’t be able to eUpgrade them as you need to be travelling. If you are a Super Elite, you can nominate one person to use your eUpgrades on separate bookings.

      For the second case, you will be able to upgrade yourself and P2 but you won’t be able to upgrade P3 and P4 together. You can request an upgrade for either P3 or P4, but not both, and it must be done at the airport on the day of travel.

  16. j

    the display options eupgrades doesn’t show up for me. Is that because i currently have no eupgrade credits or status? I’m looking ahead and curious if eupgrades are available on some flights

    1. T.J. YQQ

      That sounds about right. You can search for “R” space on ExpertFlyer or on cowtool 🙂

  17. Kevin Hong

    Doesn’t it make more sense to use the standard fare instead of the latitude fare? In your Toronto – van example the difference is +11,000 points, -7 eupgrades, -$250.

    If you use your points mainly for international business class travel not on shitty air canada planes then your valuation of points is much higher than $250 and 7 eupgrades ($420). 11,000 points vs $670, the points win if you can get value at above 6 cents per point which you can when flying business on partner airlines on a lot of routes.

  18. RP

    Have you had any experience booking Latitude and being waitlisted for business? When do they generally clear? Is there a chance it clears 2 months before departure date?

    1. Jamie

      Hi RP,

      Did you get your waitlist cleared? and how long did it take? I am in the same boat right not and is curious. Or cancel that booking and rebook a less desirable routing that I can get instant eUpgrade.

    2. T.J. YQQ

      Personally, I don’t have any experience waitlisting for an upgrade. What I’ll usually do is put an Expert Flyer alert on for an “R” class. If the alert comes in, then I know I can go online and upgrade instantly.

  19. Mike De Paoli

    Hey quick question! Appreciate the post on the Latitude trick.
    I’m an E75K and used it to book YVR – YYZ – VIE and then CDG – YYZ – YVR.
    Latitude / upgraded. 54,000 points. Pretty awesome.

    My question is if it’s possible to change the return flights after the trip has began? ie) while in Europe, change the return to fly from a different city than CDG to YVR and just pay the difference in points if any?

    Thanks,
    – Mike

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Hi Mike!

      That’s a great deal!

      That should be doable. Aeroplan has a difficult time dealing with changes to bookings with confirmed eUpgrades, so expect a bit of a lengthy call with them.

      In general, I usually book one-way flights to make cancelling/rebooking easier.

  20. Derek Hodel

    Hi TJ. Great article, though still feels like an advanced degree is required to understand all the details! I’ve pored through this article, the comments and other articles looking to answer a few questions — I earned 50K status in 2017, 2018, and 2019 before everything went down the tubes in 2020… Questions: 1) points earned from my 2020 Altitude bonus selection expired on Feb 28, 2021; I had the Amex Aeroplan Reserve as of Dec 2020; if the points are ever rolled over (still no), when will the new expiration date be? 2) I received 20 eUpgrades on Jan 1, 2021 with my automatic, pandemic-era status RENOMINATION, but they expire on Dec 31, 2021, not Feb 28, 2022; is this right? 3) if I choose 20 eUpgrades as my 2021 status benefit, will they expire in Dec 21? or Feb 22? Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Hi Derek! The eUps should rollover by the end of March, so in the near future. With new Aeroplan, AC amended the benefit year to align with the qualifying and calendar year, so earned and rolled over eUps will expire on December 31st going forward. So, the ones you earned through the pandemic expiring on December 31st are correct. The eUps chosen as part of your Select Privileges will expire at the end of December, too. I hope this helps – please reach out if you have any more questions.

      1. dh

        Thanks for the speedy reply, TJ. It’s disappointing, though, as I was hoping to upgrade some latitude awards in Feb 2022, when things should be back to normal. Based on what you said, I don’t see a route to usable eUpgrades for 2022, short of requalifying this year, which seems unlikely. 🙁

        1. T.J. YQQ

          It looks like some folks’s eUps are rolling over to the end of Feb 2022, so you may have some for those bookings next year after all.

  21. Jay*

    I imagine there must be some finesse finding availability? I have scoured various routes on AC direct metal (TPE, NRT, LHR, DEL, PVG, ZRH) over various dates/seasons of the year, and consistently seem to just find eUpgrades to PY. Only luck I seem to have with availability for eUpgrades to J seem to be on flights within North America. 🤔 (easy for Hawaii)

    1. Jay*

      Figured out my issue, scroll down. 😒

  22. Sam LC

    Hi T.J. Thank you for your great article! I have 20 eUpgrade credits are expiring on the Feb 28th. Can I use them to book a reward flight before the 28th and change it afterwards? Do I lose the eUpgrade credits when I change to a new travel date?

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Hi Sam! Unfortunately, your eUpgrade credits will disappear when you change to a travel date that is beyond their original expiry date. If you have or acquire a premium Aeroplan credit card, though, you can rollover the eUpgrades for another year.

      1. Neil

        Hi T.J
        Can you still rollover the eUps with premium card if you don’t earn elite status again for the next year (2023). Unless there is another Amex spend your way to elite status offer this year my wife and I will be turfed back to persona non grata status and forfeit ~100 eUPs from our 35K status earned for this year.

        Neil

        1. T.J. YQQ

          I reached out to Air Canada, and they confirmed that you’d need to requalify for status to be eligible for rollover and using eUpgrades.

  23. Victoria

    If someone has 25k status this year and the premium credit card that allows upgrade credit rollover, if you don’t requalify for 25k or higher for the next year so you lose them entirely or you would still keep them and use them but you would just have no status? I ask because if I have last years promo credits expiring in May that rollover to the following May due to my credit card. If I upgrade a flight using those that rollover in to 2022 but come December I don’t have status does that confirmed upgrade get cancelled?

    1. Ricky YVR

      You can still redeem eUpgrades after you’ve lost status, but you won’t be able to take advantage of the instant-confirmed upgrades for Latitude and Premium Economy (Flexible) fares; those are for Aeroplan status members only. Your eUpgrades will begin to clear at T-7 days regardless of which fare category you book.

  24. SS

    Thank you for this!! I just booked Toronto to Vancouver for 18,000 points and then used 10 of my eupgrades which are about to expire. Thanks!

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Nice! I’d say that’s a wonderful redemption for your eUps.

  25. Mike

    Thanks for the analysis, I am sure I would not have figured it out on my own. I fly long distance (YYZ – Asia) so need a lot of miles obviously when I head home. Latitude (economy) + eupgrades is an awesome idea/suggestion that I will be sure to use in my next travels.

  26. Mae

    Hello,
    I reached 25k last Spring and my e-ups expire next year (Dec 31, 2021). If I get the Amex Reserve card by the end of Dec 2020, what will be the “new” expiration date of my 20 e-ups?
    Thanks

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Hmm, I also reached 25K last spring but my eups expire at the end of February. My guess would be that your eups would be extended for another benefit year, but best to double check with Air Canada for a 100% answer.

  27. Mae

    Hi TJ,
    What would happen if I book a Y Latitude ticket that I upgrade to J and then there’s a schedule change? Would I retain my J seat (since I’m ticketed into Y) and if not that would be a huge drawback of using e-ups instead of securing a J ticket right at booking especially for a long-haul flight. Would hate to go to Asia in Y again lol.
    Thanks

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Hi Mae! With the myriad of schedule changes and cancellations these days, this is a great question. This recently happened to a booking I made for some clients (YUL-YYZ-YYC-OGG, Aeroplan Latitude with eUpgrade). They were rebooked (automatically) to business on all flights. I can see this being an issue if the aircraft is downgraded (say from a 787 to a 320), as there are fewer J seats available. Remember that with schedule changes, you can rebook on pretty much any other flight combination within a few days. I hope you don’t run into any issues, though.

  28. wally

    I haven’t been able to find it anywhere on the Aeroplan website, but is there an upgrade chart with aeroplan points, rather than eupgrade? For example YYZ to TPE on EVA was an upgrade of 25,000 aeroplan points one way. Thanks.

    1. Ricky YVR

      That’s the Star Alliance Upgrade Awards, which hasn’t been launched yet under the new Aeroplan and will be coming in 2021.

  29. Tim B.

    I booked the Latitude fare using points and even though it showed availability for e-upgrades as per this article, I wasn’t able to apply them. It said that my fare was ineligible.
    I then called Air Canada and the agent didn’t even see that I booked a Latitude fare. I then called Aeroplan to confirm that I indeed booked the Latitude fare as per email confirmation and yes, that was the case. However, after one hour on the phone, the Aeroplan agent said that even though it’s a Latitude fare, the class of servcie wasn’t Latitude but basic and I was only quilified for the upgrade 4 days prior to departure. She agreed that it all was very confusing and promised to file a report.

  30. Dino

    Can I use the eUpgrade ticket on the booking for my parents? I am not going with them. Thanks,

    1. T.J. YQQ

      If you are a Super Elite, you can have one nominee who can use your eUpgrades when you aren’t travelling with them. Otherwise, no, you can’t upgrade anyone else unless you’re travelling with them.

  31. Mike

    Thanks TJ, you just helped me save 60k aeroplan. We had 4 tickets to HNL in J booked under the old program for 160k. I was able to cancel and rebook under two separate reservations in Y Latitude for 25k points each, then used e-ups to confirm J for all 4 of us! (I’m 50k and my wife is 25k). 100k points all in. 2 seats were confirmed instantly, and the other two were initially waitlisted but confirmed about 30hrs later.

    1. T.J. YQQ

      That’s fantastic to hear Mike! Nice work!

  32. Robert Gilbert

    Hi T.J. Great article. Thanks! You wrote that “If you have eUpgrades about to expire on a coming February deadline, one way to prolong their lifespan would be to ensure you’re holding onto one of these premium cards during the period between December and March.” So since I missed on the waiting list 10K bonus points (was not registered 🙁 …) there is no rush to get it, and thus I was thinking of getting the Premium Amex late December (around Christmas time). Would this be ok as per above or would I need to get the card early Dec?? Thanks!!

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Hello Robert. It’s not entirely clear by which point you need to have the card in order to qualify for eUpgrade rollover. I would have the card by the end of this year, just to be sure, as Air Canada has also mentioned that the benefit year will be synced to the calendar year going forward.

      1. Robert Gilbert

        Thanks for the kind reply T.J. Much appreciated!

  33. Willy

    Great article. Thanks TJ! Will I be able to use eUpgrades for Air Canada flights booked using other frequent flyer programs (e.g. ANA)?

    1. T.J. YQQ

      It looks like only AC redemption flights booked from Aeroplan are eligible for eUpgrades.

  34. Stephen

    The statement “If there is “R” space available on a flight, then there will be eUpgrade space available” is incomplete.

    Yes, that is generally true. However, Latitude fare (Y,B) or Premium Economy Flexible fare (O) upgrades are based on the availability of P class; for North American and Caribbean flights, upgrades are based on the availability of Z class.

  35. Lisa

    Thanks T.J. I found this article very helpful.

  36. Matthew

    My apologies. Call me a Luddite, but I understand nothing from these explanations. Do you mean I have to buy a cheaper ticket which I then can use with e-upgrades to fly business class? I note that AC seems to have as part of its new scheme greatly increased the number of points required for simply booking a ticket using points, that few seats are available even 8 or 10 months in advance and that living in Ottawa I continue to be offered rotten, circuitous routings to get where I want to go in, say, Asia. I have about half a million points in the bankI have more points than thar with BA, which has similarly (and seemingly intentional) opaque rules and retains outrageous service fees and surcharges on “free” tickets.. Is their some third party company that can do such bookings for me (presumably for a fee) when I finally want to fly again hopefully sometime nexr year

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Every program has different strengths and weaknesses. With nice balances in your Aeroplan and Avios accounts, you should have lots of flexibility. May I suggest combing through Ricky’s guides to the new Aeroplan series and to Avios redemptions. Also, check out Ricky’s points consulting if you’d like help with bespoke redemption itineraries 🙂

  37. Julius

    Reading the T&C of the new VIP, one has to have earned status in the prior year as well as the current year in order for the eUpgrades to rollover. E.g, I have 20 credits expiring in Feb 2021 from 25K status earned in late Nov 2019. I have not earned status for 2020.

    Are statuses from 2019 extending through the 2020 year and so will expire in Feb 2022? If so, does this count for VIP purposes as holding the status in the current year such that it will extend the eUpgrades expiring in Feb 2021 to Feb 2022?

    Looking to travel May 2021 but the credits expire Feb 2021 and I’m not sure if I should apply for a VIP card just to have these extend. If these credits extend in March, there’s a good chance that there won’t be any room available for upgrades on flights occuring 2 months later.

    Thanks!

    1. JustSam

      I’d also love to get a clarification on this. I believe all statuses are being extended till the end of 2021 regardless. If I pick up a VIP card by feb 28 2021 do I extend the expiration of up to 50 credits though dec 31 2021? Thanks

      1. T.J. YQQ

        Hi Sam. I can’t seem to get a clear answer to this question. Air Canada have indicated that the benefit year will be synced to the calendar year under the new program, so I’d have the card by the end of the year just to be sure. I’ll update the post if I hear otherwise.

    2. T.J. YQQ

      In April, AC indicated that your 2020 status will be honoured for 2021. Early in the new year, you should receive another e-mail to choose your Select Privileges and you will be given another 20 eUpgrade credits (that expire in February 2022).

      If you think that you can find value in the eUpgrade credits, then applying for a premium Aeroplan card may be a good strategy.

      If you redeem Aeroplan points for a Latitude fare, you can always cancel for free if there aren’t any eUpgrade seats available for your trip (or you can change to a flight with availability with any difference in fare).

  38. Dave Empringham TOR

    Thanks TJ, can you upgrade using e-credits on a partner Star Alliance reward ticket?

    1. T.J. YQQ

      eUpgrades can only be used for Air Canada flights. I’m fairly certain that redemptions booked with partner airlines are not eligible for eUpgrades.

  39. T.J. YQQ

    Thanks Stu. The more I learn about eUpgrades, the more I seem to find more value in them. I’m glad you are, too.

  40. loganre17

    Great explanation! When upgrading a Latitude to a Business Fare, is your fare coded appropriately so that you can enter the Signature Suite on intl bookings?

    1. T.J. YQQ

      It looks like only fares coded as J, C, D, Z, or P get access to the Signature Suite. eUpgrades get recoded to R, so it doesn’t look like it will work.

  41. Mitch

    It is definitely a change for the better to have a more granular selection of aeroplan rewards, assuming one understands the system. Combining Latitude with a priority reward is a potentially great way to achieve outsized value from the new program.

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Great point! Once long-haul flights resume, halving a Latitude fare and instantly confirming an eUpgrade could be incredible value.

  42. Stu

    Super clear explanation on how e-upgrades work. I doubt I would have figured all this out on my own. Good to see that the new program finally makes e-upgrades useful to me. Thanks TJ!

    1. T.J. YQQ

      Thanks Stu. The more I learn about eUpgrades, the more I seem to find more value in them. I’m glad you are, too.

    2. Jane

      Great article T.J. Do you know if you need to hold the Aeroplan privilege / reserve cards by December to rollover e credits or can I apply in January for the card? I wasn’t sure from reading whether one needs to hold the card for the full Dec – March period or just part of it.

      1. T.J. YQQ

        Hi Jane. I can’t seem to get a clear answer from Air Canada for this question. They have indicated that the benefit year will be synced to the calendar year under the new program, so I’d have the card by the end of the year just to be sure. I will update you if I hear otherwise.

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