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What Is Air Canada VIP Status?

In recent years, we’ve covered airline and hotel loyalty status in detail, with guides on how to qualify and maintain status. But what if there’s a status that you can’t obtain by any clear-cut path?

In this post, let’s take a look at Air Canada’s elusive VIP Status.

What Is Air Canada VIP Status?

Air Canada VIP Status is an invitation-only, highly selective status that cannot be attained by any regular means. Unlike Aeroplan Elite Status, which can be reached through a number of means, there is no published guide to Air Canada VIP Status.

In fact, very little is publicly known about the program, as the airline purposefully doesn’t publish any information about its VIP program. This keeps the exact nature of the program reserved for those who are selected to enjoy it and away from the prying eyes of the masses.

Air Canada isn’t alone in having an invitation-only status. American Airlines has Concierge Key Status, United Airlines has United Global Services, and Delta has Delta 360 Status. I’m sure there are many other airlines with similar statuses around the world, too.

Similar to being invited to the American Express Centurion Card, Air Canada VIP Status is offered on a “Don’t call us we’ll call you” basis. 

As there is a dearth of official information available about the program, we did some investigatory journalism and gleaned some information from various sources.

Let’s have a look at what we could come up with.

How to Qualify for Air Canada VIP Status 

The only way to qualify for Air Canada VIP Status is to be adorned with the status by Air Canada. There are no official Status Qualifying Miles, Status Qualifying Segments, or Status Qualifying Dollars tiers, nor is there any known minimum spending requirement. 

In practice, this likely means that you’re important enough that the airline wants to give you extra special treatment. While I’m sure many Super Elites expect a certain level of preferred treatment due to their loyalty to Air Canada, those with Air Canada VIP Status are likely to be VIPs of some sort.

Perhaps you’re the head of a large organization who spends a significant amount of money with Air Canada on corporate travel, and the airline wishes to thank you with an invitation-only status.

Perhaps you’re a celebrity or public figure who flies commercial instead of private, and Air Canada wishes to give you discretionary, personalized treatment during your travels.

By all indications, this boils down to celebrities, CEOs, and influential figures, but of course, it could be anyone.

This includes people who wouldn’t normally qualify for Aeroplan Elite Status, but who hold power over choosing with which airline their company will book travel. Even if the individual doesn’t earn a lot of Status Qualifying Dollars, the aggregate amount spent on corporate travel is enough to warrant consideration for Air Canada VIP Status. 

Even though a very small subset of Air Canada’s customers enjoy VIP Status, let’s have a look at some of the supposed perks that come along with the status, aside from the extra special luggage tags, of course. 

What Are the Benefits of Air Canada VIP Status?

Similar to qualifying for Air Canada VIP Status, the list of perks and privileges that come with it are also not published. I am grateful to some anonymous sources for their input to the below discussion.

What we can surmise is that the perks include all of the perks and privileges that Super Elites enjoy, as well as some additional benefits. This includes a number of priority airport services and a very generous checked baggage allowance.

As Ricky mentioned in his write-up of the Air Canada Signature Suite in Vancouver, there is a private dining room reserved for VIPs within the lounge. There are also private rooms in other Maple Leaf Lounges, which are likely available for VIPs during their visits for an added level of privacy.

Air Canada Signature Suite Vancouver – Private dining room
Air Canada Signature Suite Vancouver – Private dining room

With Air Canada’s recent resumption of a chauffeur service, I imagine that VIPs will be given priority to be brought across the airport tarmac to the Signature Suite.

Similar to Super Elites, VIPs enjoy a generous eUpgrade allotment and the additional ability to nominate at least one eUpgrade nominee. Air Canada VIPs have eUpgrade priority clearance over any other status tiers.

So, if there is one seat available for upgrade at the gate, a VIP would have priority over any Super Elites on the list. 

VIPs have a more exclusive access to Air Canada’s Concierge service, too. This team of employees looks after Super Elites, VIPs, and those flying on certain Air Canada Signature Class booking classes.

While the Concierge team proactively looks after Super Elites who are affected by IRROPS, VIPs have the option of being escorted through the airport by a member of the Concierge team, should they so desire. 

Air Canada Concierge Hut, YUL

Once at the gate, VIPs may choose to board the aircraft prior to anyone else. I imagine that anyone who is easily recognizable would choose to do so, to avoid any extra attention from other passengers.

I suppose arranging to be the last one to board would also be desirable on some aircraft, to avoid gawking by every person walking past them.

It’s likely that the flight crew is made aware of the VIP’s presence, and I imagine that they are looked after prior to anyone else in the cabin throughout the flight.

It’s very possible that there are more perks and privileges that VIPs enjoy. Due to the difficulty at which information about Air Canada VIP Status is obtained, though, it may be a while before we can confirm the information.

Conclusion

Air Canada’s VIP Status is an unpublished status tier. The airline has confirmed its existence in the past, but purposefully does not provide any information about the program.

Many of the perks appear to be similar to those afforded to Super Elites, albeit with an extra level of discretion and service.

For me, the most intriguing aspect appears to be the additional services provided by the Concierge team and the private spaces within some of the more private spaces at the airport.

I’ll likely never be adorned with this status, but I’d be intrigued to speak with anyone who has it.

Keep an eye out for those elusive VIP tags next time you’re at the airport.

5 Comments
  1. Richard

    I met one of these Unicorns. That’s how I learned about the existence of the Program. I saw his tag on his luggage. Now I had no idea who he was, even after he told me his name. (I later looked him up: CEO of a touring arts company).
    Anyway, we met if you can believe it in a non-AC lounge in Montreal where the perks were better.
    What I learned was that AC giveth and taketh away. He was given the status for one year only during which time AC would determine if he steered more biz there way or not.
    I enjoyed chatting him up. He was happy to have the special status from AC but wasn’t willing to play ball with AC in any way that wasn’t in the best interests of the Company.

  2. Timbo2

    I wonder if this was offered to Canadian Cow ??

  3. DenB® YTO

    In addition to being unpublished, the perks are somewhat unstructured. I have just a little indirect knowledge, from a person who enjoyed this status 4 years ago, without flying AC much. This person was Chief of a very large (well-known) financial services entity which used airlines a lot. VIP status was conferred as a result of negotiations between AC and the company’s Corporate Travel dept. I’d imagine the negotiations went something like this: “glad we got all the terms agreed on our multimillion-dollar contract, guys, just one tiny detail to add: the following people in our C-Suite will need Concierge service, a never-queued phone contact 24/7, proactive automatic IRROPS support, airport escort, 3 checked bags, pre-boarding…”. I’d imagine the CorpTravel people had a specific list of benefits they required for their overlords and I’d expect AC’s response in these situations is typically “of course, done”. This company’s annual air travel budget was in the millions and AC hoovered up the majority of it. Sucking up to big suits is a small price to pay for that level of sales, especially when about three quarters of it is competitive with Westjet domestically and with big legacy carriers internationally. Lots of the tickets are full-fare.

  4. NK

    Very interesting article T.J. Some of us strivers be drooling yo.

    I have a co-worker who lost his elite status years ago who never bats an eye when I offer him lounge passes, because he could go there if he really wanted to, seems to always be the first on the plane and other perks, and quietly smiles about my always nee perks. I guess what caught my attention was the time he told me Air Canada called him back to offer him some very nice suites on a simple trip to Ottawa. When I said “Air Canada reps don’t call you back” he laughed and mentioned something about all the sheer amount of travel he did with Air Canada over X amount of years. I also know he used to represent the Canadian govt abroad to foreign dignitaries but also said he’d fly with AC instead of other private means.

    Could be my bud falls into this category. It’s all so very James Bond!

    1. NK

      (Meant to say ‘always new perks’ and ‘very nice seats on a simple trip to Ottawa’)

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