Aeroplan Elite Status: How Much Is It Worth?

Aeroplan Elite Status is the status branch of Air Canada’s loyalty program. By earning one of the five status tiers, passengers can enjoy an increasing suite of benefits and privileges. 

Qualification for status runs throughout the calendar year, and is sometimes aided or prolonged by promotions put forth by Air Canada. Passengers with elite status tend to gain more by travelling more often and engaging with the program, and stand to benefit less from the pursuit if they only travel a few times per year.

In this article, let’s sit down and think about how much the benefits associated with each status level are worth, in order to help you decide whether it’s worthwhile to pursue status in earnest.

Valuation Methodology

It’s important to note that the true valuation of Aeroplan Elite Status perks and benefits will of course be subjective to every individual, and will depend on the individual’s travel patterns and likelihood to maximize each of the benefits.

As no two travellers have the exact same trajectory towards status, it’s rather difficult to quantify the value for each benefit. Rather, we have endeavoured to use a middle-of-the-road approach, keeping our factors as static as possible.

All figures below are in Canadian dollars.

Travel Style

We’ll be valuing the status benefits from the perspective of a prototypical frequent flyer, whose travel patterns are largely as follows:

  • Travelling relatively frequently, to the tune of, say, three international round-trip flights and five North American round-trip flights per year
  • Booking flights with a mix of cash and points
  • Endeavouring to redeem Aeroplan points for flying in business class on international flights, whenever possible
  • Being content to travel in economy class within North America and save points for more valuable redemptions internationally

You might then scale these valuations up or down depending on your own travel patterns. For example, if you travel more or less frequently than what’s described above, you might raise or lower the valuations accordingly.

Meanwhile, if you mainly travel in economy class on international flights, then you’d get even more value out of Aeroplan Elite Status (since its perks often overlap with what’s offered by a business class ticket), so you’d scale up the valuations accordingly.

Priority Rewards

When it comes to valuing Priority Rewards, keep in mind that the eligible destinations and classes of service of a Priority Reward are based on your status at the time of earning the Priority Reward by crossing Status Qualifying Dollar (SQD) thresholds, rather than at the time of redeeming them.

Our valuation of Priority Rewards will assume that our prototypical frequent flyer is already holding a given status level during the year, rather than working their way up the status ladder. Thus, if you don’t currently hold a given status tier and would only earn less-powerful Priority Rewards as you attain it, you may choose to scale down the valuations accordingly. 

Furthermore, for the purposes of consistency throughout each tier and simplicity throughout the valuation process, we’ll only estimate the average value that a single Priority Reward can bring as if it were earned at the status tier.

For example, during our valuation of 75K status, we’ll assume that you have a single 75K Priority Reward at your disposal, rather than multiple less-powerful Priority Rewards earned at 35K and 50K on the way up the ladder.

These valuations assume that you redeem miles for business class on international flights, whenever possible.
We assume that you redeem Aeroplan points for business class on international flights, whenever possible

Aeroplan 25K: Solid Introductory Benefits

Let’s begin with the benefits offered by the entry-level Aeroplan 25K status.

Remember, if you don’t currently have any elite status, then you’ll be able to earn Aeroplan 25K by racking up 100,000 Aeroplan points through eligible sources via Everyday Status Qualification, or by applying for the US-issued Chase Aeroplan Card.

Priority Contact Centre

Unless you call Air Canada day and night, this benefit likely isn’t the most valuable. If you were to call Air Canada a handful times over the course of a year, you might save a few hours in the process.

Let’s value this benefit at $50/year.

Priority Reservation Waitlist

While most travellers won’t need to make use of the priority waitlist benefit, it can come in handy in the event of a flight delay or cancellation when you need to be booked on the next flight.

Let’s value this benefit at $50/year.

50% Discount on on Preferred Seats

There’s plenty of value to be found in securing extra legroom at the front of the plane when flying in economy within North America. However, since you still have to pay for the privilege at the 25K level, let’s value this benefit at $50/year.

Priority Airport Check-in

It’s always nice to have the priority check-in queue when you’re not flying in business class, especially if there’s a long wait at the regular queue. While you can always skip the queue by checking in online, if you need to drop off a bag or speak to an agent, you’ll enjoy expedited service at the airport.

Let’s value priority check-in at $40/year.

Air Canada priority check-in
Air Canada priority check-in

Priority Airport Standby

In the vast majority of cases, passengers won’t need to make use of a standby list. If you’d like to reach your destination sooner than what you have booked, then you’ll at least enjoy priority over flyers without status with this benefit.

Because it’s not necessary and rarely used by most, let’s call it a token amount of $20/year.

How to Use Air Canada Same-Day Standby

Priority Zone 2 Boarding

This is quite a valuable benefit that allows you to access overhead bin space in advance of other passengers and avoiding having to gate-check your bag. During busy travel periods, where the last passengers to board struggle to find an available spot for their bag, priority boarding can really pay off.

Let’s say $100/year is a fair valuation for this perk.

25K members get Zone 2 priority boarding

Note that you can also get Zone 2 priority boarding included on Air Canada flights by holding a premium Aeroplan co-branded credit card, such as the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card

Complimentary Checked Baggage (Two Pieces at 23kg Each)

Without status, Air Canada charges around $30 for the first bag and $50 for the second bag for trips within North America, depending on the fare you purchase and your destination.

If we assume that you check an average of 0.5 bags per trip (that is to say, sometimes you check a bag, whereas other times you’re able to limit yourself to a carry-on) on a total of five round-trips (which makes for 10 individual journeys), that adds up to $150/year.

Note that core-level Aeroplan co-branded credit cards (such as the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card) also provide a free first checked bag as part of their benefits, so if you’re a cardholder who already gets a free checked bag, you’d discount this status benefit accordingly.

20 eUpgrade Credits

eUpgrades are a currency given to Aeroplan Elite members that can be used to upgrade to a higher class of service.

eUpgrades are best redeemed when combined with the “Latitude Attitude” strategy of booking Economy (Latitude) fares using Aeroplan points and then confirming an instant upgrade into business class.

A set of 20 eUpgrades would allow an Aeroplan 25K member to upgrade a total of five transcontinental flights within North America over the course of the year, since each upgrade requires 4 eUpgrade credits on this route. 

eUpgrades allow you to book business class for the price of economy

Now, we’ve previously conducted in-depth valuation exercise of eUpgrades, and arrived at a valuation of $90 per eUpgrade credit as a ballpark number, which we’ll use throughout this valuation. This pegs an allotment of 20 credits at a total valuation of 20 × $90 = $1,800.

25K Select Benefits

Aeroplan Elite Status members get to choose Select Benefits every year that are over and above the Core Benefits that they receive.

As a 25K member, you get to choose 2 out of 3 among the following:

  • Five extra eUpgrade credits
  • Two one-time Maple Leaf Lounge passes
  • 25% bonus Aeroplan points on paid flights with Air Canada and select Star Alliance partners

For most travellers, the first two choices are likely the most worthwhile.

Now, five extra eUpgrade credits allows you to unlock a sixth instant upgrade to business class on a transcontinental flight. However, taking the full set of 25 eUpgrade credits together, you also have the possibility of upgrading on two long-haul international Air Canada flights at 11 eUpgrade credits per direction.

Based on our previous valuation exercise, the extra five eUpgrade credits can be valued at roughly 5 × $90 = $450.

Then, the two one-time Maple Leaf Lounge passes should come in handy at some point along your travels, perhaps when you’re flying in economy class on a simple short-haul trip. I’d value them at $30 apiece, for a total of $60.

If you were to select the 25% bonus Aeroplan points for paid flights, let’s assume that you pay for Flex fares and earn exactly 25,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) – the qualification threshold for 25K status – exclusively on Air Canada flights.

In this case, you’d wind up with an extra 6,250 Aeroplan points with the 25% bonus, which corresponds to a value of $131 using our Points Valuations.

However, since it’s also possible to earn 25K status without paying for flights, we’ll assume that you choose the first two Select Benefits, bringing the total valuation for the Aeroplan 25K Select Benefits to $510.

Adding it all up, we arrive at a valuation of $2,770 (CAD) for one year’s membership as an Aeroplan 25K.

Aeroplan 35K: Incremental Improvements

Next up is Aeroplan 35K, the second-lowest elite level within the program. 35K is widely regarded as relatively minor incremental improvement upon 25K, so does that reputation hold true when we take a closer look at the benefits?

To begin, note that 35K members enjoy all of the privileges associated with 25K. We’ll begin with the $2,770/year valuation from before, and then think about any incremental benefits that 35K offers.

Third Checked Bag at 32kg

After the first and second checked bags, Air Canada usually then charges heftier fees for “additional bags” at over $100 (CAD) per bag.

While this benefit can therefore easily be worth hundreds of dollars if you routinely check three bags when you travel, we must accept that most people will rarely need to do so.

On balance, the incremental bag allowance can be valued at $100/year for the rare occasions when you might need it. Of course, if you can leverage the extra baggage allowance during a cross-country move or by checking your family’s bags under your reservation, this could result in a higher valuation.

Priority Security Clearance at Canadian Airports

This benefit can be replicated at Toronto Pearson by holding the Amex Platinum, Amex Business Platinum, Amex Aeroplan Reserve Card, or the Amex Aeroplan Business Reserve Card; at Montreal Trudeau, Vancouver, Ottawa, or Toronto Billy Bishop by holding a Visa Infinite Privilege credit card; and at all Canadian airports by holding a NEXUS card.

Therefore, we can value this benefit around the same as the cost of getting a NEXUS at $60/year, keeping in mind that the value can be justified multiple times over by even a single instance in which you’re late to the airport and manage to catch your flight thanks to your priority security clearance.

Priority security queue at Toronto Pearson
Priority security queue at Toronto Pearson

Domestic and Transborder Maple Leaf Lounge Access (Until May 31, 2023)

This is a very useful benefit for a traveller who primarily flies in economy class within Canada and the US, who wouldn’t otherwise be entitled to lounge access.

If you took advantage of it at every opportunity throughout the year, $150/year would be a fair valuation.

Of course, this benefit can also be replicated by holding a premium Aeroplan credit card, so it’d be worth $0 to you if you’re a premium cardholder in addition to an Aeroplan 35K member.

Note that Maple Leaf Lounge access will no longer be a 35K benefit as of June 1, 2023.

Elite 35K members get access to domestic and transborder Maple Leaf Lounges
Aeroplan 35K members get access to domestic and transborder Maple Leaf Lounges until May 31, 2023

35K Select Benefits

You get to choose 1 out of 2 out of the following:

  • 15 extra eUpgrade credits (until January 1, 2023, 35K Elites can choose 10 eUpgrades as a Select Benefit)
  • 35% bonus Aeroplan points on your paid flights with Air Canada and select Star Alliance partners

Given the utility of eUpgrades, it’s usually best to place a greater emphasis on the 15 extra eUpgrade credits, which combines with your base-level 20 for a total of 35 eUpgrade credits in the year. 

Having 35 eUpgrades opens up the possibility of redeeming them on an even longer long-haul round-trip with Air Canada (such as to Asia or the Middle East), which requires 13 eUpgrade credits to upgrade from Economy (Latitude) into business class per direction. 

Based on our previous valuation exercise, the incremental ten eUpgrade credits (compared to the 25 eUpgrades you get as an Aeroplan 25K member) can be valued at roughly 10 × $90 = $900.

If you were to select the 35% bonus Aeroplan points on paid flights, and assuming that you earn exactly 35,000 SQM – the qualification threshold for 35K status – you’d earn an extra 12,250 Aeroplan points.

Using our Points Valuations, we arrive at a value of $257 by choosing this Select Benefit. The incremental value compared to the 25% bonus points at the 25K level is therefore $257 – $131 = $126.

In this case, choosing the extra 15 eUpgrade credits is almost always the better choice, as you stand to get much better value than selecting the 35% bonus.

35K Priority Rewards

Earning Priority Rewards under the Aeroplan program is accomplished by accumulating Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD).

Technically, it’s possible to earn Priority Rewards as a 25K member too. But since 25K status requires only 3,000 SQD and you don’t earn your first Priority Reward until you earn 4,000 SQD, most elite members will probably only earn Priority Rewards when they achieve 35K status.

As a 35K member, you can redeem a Priority Reward for 50% off an Aeroplan award in economy or premium economy within North America and to Sun destinations. Note that 35K Priority Rewards earned prior to January 1, 2023 are only eligible for economy flights within Canada and the United States.

Here are a handful of different ways you could redeem a Priority Reward for good value:

  • Get 50% off a simple round-trip within North America at around 25,000 points, thus saving around 12,500 points
  • Get 50% off a dynamically priced round-trip within North America at around 50,000 points, thus saving around 25,000 points
  • Get 50% off a round-trip to a Sun destination at around 40,000–80,000 points, thus saving around 20,000–40,000 points
  • Get 50% off an Economy (Latitude) flight on a wide-body aircraft (with the intention of using eUpgrades for an instant upgrade into a lie-flat seat) at around 50,000 points, thus saving around 25,000 points

Sometimes, premium economy ends up being either surprisingly cheap or surprisingly expensive under Aeroplan’s dynamic pricing model, too, which can skew the calculations here.

On average, let’s say that a single Priority Reward voucher earned at the 35K level might save you about 25,000 Aeroplan points, which we’d value at $525 based on our Points Valuations.

Adding the values of the 35K benefits to the incremental benefits of 35K, we arrive at a valuation of $4,505 for one year of Aeroplan 35K.

Aeroplan 50K: Star Alliance Gold Gives More Weight

Mid-range Aeroplan Elite Status is known as Aeroplan 50K, and is the first status level that corresponds to Star Alliance Gold, giving you access to a similar level of benefits when travelling with other Star Alliance members across the world. So how does this development translate into our valuation of 50K status?

As before, we’ll take the $4,505/year valuation of 35K and build upon it using the incremental benefits of 50K.

More About Star Alliance Gold

Maple Leaf Lounge Access

As an Aeroplan 50K member, you and your immediate family get access to all Maple Leaf Lounges, including international ones, compared to only domestic and transborder lounges with no guest privileges as a 35K (until June 1, 2023).

Having said that, if you primarily travel in business class internationally, then you’d get lounge access before your flight anyway, so we can restrict the valuation of this incremental benefit to another $150/year, with the understanding that it’d be higher if you primarily travel in economy class internationally.

Note that even if you were a premium Aeroplan credit card holder, this benefit would still have some incremental value, since your premium credit card only gives access to Maple Leaf Lounges within North America.

Elite 50K members get access to international Maple Leaf Lounges as well
Aeroplan 50K members get access to international Maple Leaf Lounges as well

One More Maple Leaf Lounge Guest Pass

As a 50K, you get three one-time Maple Leaf Lounge passes per year, instead of two.

However, you’re already able to access lounges on your own and with family members, so these extra passes are really only useful for bringing in guests who aren’t your family members.

You could always generously gift these guest passes to others, especially as they sit in your Aeroplan dashboard with easy digital access. Let’s call it an extra $20 towards the valuation.

Air Canada Café Access

Elite 50K is the first level where you get complimentary access to the Air Canada Café in addition to Maple Leaf Lounges. There’s only one Air Canada Café at the moment in Toronto, although Air Canada intends to roll out more locations as time goes by.

While the Café is an interesting concept with barista-made coffee and a nice selection of other beverages, it’s not necessarily substantially better than domestic Maple Leaf Lounges, and isn’t of use to you if you don’t ever depart from Toronto.

Let’s give this benefit a token value of $50/year.

Star Alliance Gold Lounge Access, with One Guest

Assuming that most of your international travel is in business class and already comes with lounge access, the incremental benefit here is that you’re allowed to bring in one guest with you to the lounge.

In addition, select lounges around the world have separate spaces for Star Alliance Gold members that are usually nicer than the spaces for business class passengers – one example is the Whisky Club at the Swiss Senator Lounge in Zurich.

Plus, Star Alliance Gold is always a good fallback option for lounge access in case you can’t find business class award space and are stuck in economy. In places like Europe, where short-haul business class products are essentially the same as economy but with the middle seat blocked out, paying the premium for business class doesn’t make sense.

$200/year would be a rough valuation for Star Alliance Gold lounge access, again with the understanding that it’d be higher if you primarily travel in economy class internationally.

Get access to the Whisky Club 28/10 by Swiss with Star Alliance Gold
Get access to the Whisky Club 28/10 by Swiss with Star Alliance Gold

Star Alliance Gold Benefits

As a Star Alliance Gold member, all of these benefits which we discussed previously are now valid on Star Alliance flights, not just Air Canada flights.

These benefits largely overlap with those of a business class ticket, but will definitely prove useful on the occasions when you find yourself in economy class. I’d peg these benefits at $200/year for those who frequently redeem points for business class, with further potential upside otherwise (as above).

50K Select Benefits

You get to choose 2 out of 4 among the following:

  • 20 eUpgrade credits
  • Two Status Passes
  • 50% bonus Aeroplan points on your paid flights with Air Canada and select Star Alliance partners
  • A lower requalification level the following year

The first three options probably provide the highest tangible benefit, as you can easily earn the 5,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) or 5 Status Qualifying Segments (SQS) from the lower requalification level through credit card spending.

The extra 20 eUpgrade credits would combine with your base allotment of 20 for a total of 40 eUpgrade credits, allowing you to upgrade 10 transcontinental flights, up to three long-haul flights, or some mix of the two.

Based on our previous valuation exercise, the incremental 5 eUpgrade credits (compared to the 35 eUpgrades you can get as an Aeroplan 35K member) can be valued at roughly 5 × $90 = $450.

The value of a Status Pass is quite subjective. With a free checked bag, priority airport services, and Maple Leaf Lounge access for any fellow passenger of your choosing and up to eight other passengers on the same reservation, the realized value could fluctuate anywhere in the three- or four-figure range.

Conservatively, though, let’s say that a valuation of $100 per Status Pass is fair, especially if you can bestow the benefits to someone close to you who happens to be travelling as a larger group. After all, there’s always great satisfaction to be found when sharing the incredible benefits of the game we play with our closest loved ones.

At this point, the 50% bonus Aeroplan points on paid flights starts to become meaningful, as long as you tend to earn status through flying.

If you were to select the 50% bonus Aeroplan points and earn exactly 50,000 SQM – the qualification threshold for 50K status – on Air Canada flights, you’d earn an extra 25,000 Aeroplan points.

Using our Points Valuations, we can value the extra 25,000 points you’d earn at $525, which is nothing to scoff at. The incremental value compared to the 35% bonus points at the 35K level is $525 – $257 = $268.

At this point, the two optimal Select Benefits are 20 eUpgrades and the extra Aeroplan points, which combine for a value of $718. 

Note that if you’ve been gifted 50K status, or if you tend to earn status through segments rather than miles, then the Status Passes may be the better option than the bonus Aeroplan points, thus scaling the valuation slightly downwards.

50K Priority Rewards

As with Priority Rewards earned as a 35K, you have the ability to redeem your Priority Reward voucher on economy class and premium economy flights to all destinations in North America, including Sun destinations. 

Certainly, the optimal use-case is to book a round-trip flight in economy or premium economy with a Priority Reward, and then apply eUpgrades to the booking to fly in business class. Even if you were to remain in the original cabin of service, you’ll still save a tidy sum of Aeroplan points this way.

50K members can also redeem Priority Rewards on premium economy flights within North America and to Sun destinations

Since the 50K and 35K Priority Reward can both be redeemed for the same set of flights, the 50K Priority Reward won’t add any extra value at this point. 

Putting it all together, and siding with the more valuable combination of Select Benefits, we arrive at a total valuation of $5,843 for the year as an Aeroplan 50K member.

Aeroplan 75K: Marginal Extra Benefits

Aeroplan 75K is the penultimate status tier with Air Canada. 75K members are treated to all of the benefits of 50K status and below, which we arrived at a valuation of $5,843 per year.

Let’s build on this valuation as we consider the incremental benefits of Aeroplan 75K.

Guaranteed Reservations in Full-Fare Economy Class

This benefit allows Aeroplan 75K members to guarantee seats for themselves and a companion when a flight is fully booked or oversold.

When you take advantage of this benefit, other passengers will be bumped off the flight to accommodate you and your companion.

The catch is that you must book a full-fare economy class ticket in the “Y” booking class, which is often many times more expensive than the cheapest fare bucket, and one that leisure travellers rarely book.

Indeed, this benefit is most useful to a particular set of business travellers who must be on a certain flight, so most leisure travellers would not value the benefit at all. $0 it is. 

Complimentary Preferred Seats on Flex Fares

Securing exit-row seats with extra legroom at no additional cost can definitely be valuable on long-haul international flights, but the requirement to book in Flex fare buckets (which are usually a small percentage more expensive than the cheaper Standard fares) dilutes the value somewhat.

Still, considering that a preferred seat can cost up to $199 in certain markets, let’s peg the value at $100/year on average, even if the benefit isn’t used very often.

Elite 75K members get complimentary preferred seats on Flex fares.
Aeroplan 75K members get complimentary preferred seats on Flex fares.

75K Select Benefits

As a 75K member, you get to choose 2 out of 6 among the following:

  • 35 extra eUpgrade credits (on top of the 20 eUpgrade credits that all status members receive)
  • Gifting Aeroplan 35K status for a friend
  • 12-month Aeroplan Elite Wi-Fi Plan
  • Three Status Passes
  • 75% bonus Aeroplan points on your paid flights with Air Canada and select Star Alliance partners
  • A lower requalification level the following year

Here’s where the most meaningful benefits of Aeroplan 75K kick in, although it may be tough to select only two of these benefits.

Since 75K members could receive 55 eUpgrade credits in total, which is 15 more than the 40 eUpgrade credits that 50K members receive, the incremental value of 15 eUpgrades is 15 × $90 = $1,350.

The other possible Select Benefits are more subjective in their valuation, and the ideal choice will depend on each individual elite member’s unique needs. Among them, the Air Canada Wi-Fi plan, the Status Passes, the gift of Aeroplan 35K status, and the 75% bonus Aeroplan points usually offer the most tangible benefit.

Again, the 5,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) and 5 Status Qualifying Segments (SQS) can easily be earned through credit card spending, so the lower requalification level doesn’t usually make sense to select.

A 12-month Wi-Fi plan would otherwise cost you $65.95 per month if purchased directly from Air Canada, meaning that this benefit can be effectively valued at $791 for the year, if you’d like to use the onboard Wi-Fi whenever you’re flying with Air Canada.

When valuing the benefits of Aeroplan 50K, we had estimated a fair value of $100 per Status Pass, especially considering the satisfaction of bestowing valuable benefits upon our closest loved ones. Since 75K members get three Status Passes, one more than 50K members’ two, the incremental value here could be an extra $100. 

But how do we value the benefit of being able to gift Aeroplan 35K status? We had previously valued the benefits of 35K status at $4,505/year, but that’s how much they’d be worth to the friend or family member, not to you as a current Aeroplan 75K member.

On the other hand, let’s suppose there are two adults and two children in your household. By granting 35K status to your significant other, you’d wind up with a possible total of 90 eUpgrades at the family’s disposal – up to 55 from the 75K status, and up to 35 from the 35K status – which could then be used to instantly upgrade all four family members on two separate bookings.

Such a manoeuvre could move everyone from economy class into Air Canada Signature Class on a trip to Europe using 88 eUpgrades, and there’s no doubt that the savings in cash or points would be astronomical.

Since not every traveller stands to benefit from a partner with status, let’s value the gift of 35K status at 25% of the overall 35K valuation, giving us a value of roughly $1,126 for the gift of Aeroplan 35K. Indeed, your valuation of the 35K gift may increase substantially if you’re able to save cash or Aeroplan points by using the eUpgrades strategically.

Lastly, if you were to earn exactly 75,000 Status Qualifying Miles on Air Canada flights – the qualification threshold for 75K status – you’d stand to earn an extra 56,250 Aeroplan points by choosing the 75% bonus Aeroplan points Select Benefit.

Once again using our Points Valuations, we could value the extra Aeroplan points you’d earn at $1,181. The incremental value compared to the 50% bonus points at the 50K level would be $1,181 – $525 = $656.

Taking the two most highly-valued options of eUpgrades and the 35K status gift as our Select Benefits, we have a total of $1,350 + $1,126 = $2,476 for the year.

With the “Latitude Attitude”, eUpgrades can unlock consistent and exceptional value.

75K Priority Rewards

As a 75K member, you have the ability to redeem your Priority Reward voucher on economy class and premium economy flights to all destinations worldwide.

The optimal redemption is to book an economy or premium economy flight to Europe or Asia, which can price out anywhere in the range of 50,000–140,000 points round-trip (thus saving you 25,000–70,000 points).

Remember, sometimes premium economy ends up being either surprisingly cheap or surprisingly expensive under Aeroplan’s dynamic pricing model, too, which can skew the calculations here.

Take into consideration the ability to combine a 50%-discounted Aeroplan redemption with eUpgrades to upgrade into business class, and let’s call it an average savings of 50,000 Aeroplan points per Priority Reward voucher, which we’d value at $1,050.

With a single 75K Priority Reward voucher, the total benefit is worth $1,050, and the incremental value compared to a 50K member’s singular Priority Reward voucher is therefore $1,050 – $525 = $525.

Putting it all together, we arrive at a total valuation of $8,944 for the year as an Aeroplan 75K member.

Aeroplan Super Elite: Outstanding Top-Tier Benefits

Finally, top-tier elite status with Air Canada is known as Aeroplan Super Elite, and is widely recognized as one of the most powerful status levels among the major North American loyalty programs.

Let’s take a look at what exactly makes Super Elite status such a prized possession among Air Canada’s most frequent flyers.

Aeroplan Elite Status: The Benefits of Being a Super Elite

Super Elite members get all the perks associated with Aeroplan 75K and below, which we’ve agreed is worth $8,944/year. Let’s then consider the incremental benefits.

Complimentary Preferred Seats on Any Fare

Without the requirement to book in Flex class as we saw for Aeroplan 75K members, Super Elite members can secure themselves preferred seating on any Air Canada flight for no charge, including on Aeroplan redemptions in economy class.

Preferred seats on international flights usually cost $100+ and sometimes as much as $199. Then again, many Super Elites wouldn’t be too keen on flying economy class internationally all that often, so let’s value this benefit at a token $50/year.

Free Snack & Alcoholic Drink in Economy Class

Super Elite members are entitled to a free snack and alcoholic drink, which would be otherwise valued at around $5–10 each, when travelling in economy class.

Some Super Elites may elect to fly in economy class on shorter flights, and this could be a fairly useful benefit when doing so. Let’s give this a valuation of another $50/year.

One Additional Maple Leaf Lounge Guest Pass

You already have unlimited access to Maple Leaf Lounges for yourself and your immediate family, so the extra guest pass will only be useful for bringing in guests who aren’t family members.

And you would’ve already had three guest passes when qualifying for Aeroplan 50K, so the one extra pass likely makes no material difference to the valuation. 

Access to the Arrivals Lounge at London Heathrow

Super Elites and one guest may visit the Arrivals Lounge upon landing in Heathrow to freshen up before heading into the city. While this is a cool benefit, it’s specific to only one airport, so let’s give it a token valuation of $20/year.

Super Elites can access the Arrivals Lounge in London Heathrow

No Change or Cancellation Fees on Aeroplan Bookings

A special Aeroplan perk for Super Elites is a waiver on all change and cancellation fees, which allows members to easily make speculative bookings and hold desirable award space at no cost.

Super Elites may also leverage this benefit to avoid paying the $30 phone booking fee on new Aeroplan bookings, simply by making a simple booking online and then calling in to change to their actual desired booking for no cost.

Considering that the standard change and cancellation fees are not insignificant under the Aeroplan program, and that these fees can add up very quickly if you’re booking for a large group, it’s fair to value this fee waiver benefit at no less than $500/year. 

Two Status Passes

Super Elite members receive a base allotment of two Status Passes, and are also able to choose a further set of four Status Passes as part of their Select Benefits.

We had previously pegged the value of a Status Pass at $100 each, so the two Status Passes here would be worth $200/year.

Super Elite Select Benefits

As a Super Elite member, you get to choose 2 out of 6 among the following:

  • 50 extra eUpgrade credits (on top of the 20 eUpgrade credits that all status members receive)
  • Gifting Aeroplan 50K status for a friend
  • 12-month Wi-Fi Plan
  • Four Status Passes
  • 100% bonus Aeroplan points on your paid flights with Air Canada and select Star Alliance partners
  • A lower requalification level the following year

As above, we can think about these choices one by one, forgetting about the lower requalification level for the same reasons described above.

Super Elite members receive a total of 70 eUpgrades per year for upgrading into business class, which is another 15 more than what Aeroplan 75K members get. At our valuation of $90/eUpgrade credit, the incremental value here is a further 15 × $90 = $1,350.

As before, we continue to value a Wi-Fi plan at $791 and a Status Pass at $100 each, meaning the extra allotment of four Status Passes as a potential Select Benefit would be worth $400. 

Now, gifting Aeroplan 50K – and therefore Star Alliance Gold – to a friend or family member?

That’s quite a generous gift indeed, and if we use the same approach as we did for Aeroplan 75K, we might value this at 25% of $6,100, the value we had established for Aeroplan 50K’s benefits. That comes to about $1,525/year.

After all, if a Super Elite were to gift 50K status to their significant other, the household would wind up with 110 eUpgrades at their disposal. That’s enough for two round-trip flights anywhere that Air Canada flies, using 104 eUpgrades (13 per long-haul segment) on Economy (Latitude) or Premium Economy (Flexible) fares.

Assuming that you earn the exact Super Elite qualifying threshold of 100,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) exclusively on Air Canada flights, selecting the 100% bonus Aeroplan points would result in an extra 100,000 points over the course of the year.

When put against our Points Valuations, 100,000 Aeroplan points corresponds to a value of $2,100. The incremental value compared to the 75% bonus points at the 75K level would be $2,100 – $1,181 = $919.

If we took the two most valuable options into consideration, the eUpgrades and the 50K status gift, we’d get a total of $1,350 + $1,525 = $2,875/year for the Select Benefits.

Not only do Super Elite 100K members enjoy Star Alliance Gold themselves, they can gift it to a friend or family member too.
Not only do Super Elite members enjoy Star Alliance Gold themselves, they can also gift it to a friend

Super Elite Priority Rewards

As a Super Elite member, you have the ability to redeem your Priority Reward voucher on business class flights worldwide – the most powerful possible usage for Priority Rewards.

Clearly, the optimal use-case is to book business class flights to far-flung destinations around the world:

  • A simple round-trip or multi-city trip can price out anywhere in the range of 110,000–230,000 points round-trip, thus saving you 55,000–115,000 points.
  • A complex round-the-world trip with multiple one-way bounds and up to 16 segments can price out as high as 360,000+ points – thus saving you as much as 180,000+ points!

Of course, whether or not you can unlock those 180,000+ points in savings depends on whether or not you’re inclined to embark on crazy round-the-world itineraries, which most Super Elites likely don’t do.

If we instead assume “reasonable” usage of a single Priority Reward voucher on the most expensive business class tier to Asia with stopovers in both directions, then each voucher would unlock average savings of 120,000 Aeroplan points, which we’d value at $2,520. 

Therefore, the incremental value compared to a 75K member’s single Priority Reward voucher (which we had valued above at $1,050) is $2,520 – $1,050 = $1,470.

Air Canada Concierge

The Concierge team provides dedicated and personalized service to Air Canada’s most valued customers. By all accounts, they have been known to go above and beyond to make a Super Elite’s travel experience as smooth as possible.

Concierge staff may save the day for a Super Elite by holding up their next flight during a tight connection, walking them from the curb to the aircraft when you’re running late, or greeting them with new boarding passes at the airport when their onward itinerary has been affected by a delay or cancellation.

Everyone will value this level of personalized service differently, but many Super Elites swear by the Concierge team, as though they wouldn’t fly with Air Canada without them.

Let’s peg this benefit at $500/year, and we invite any fellow Super Elite members to let us know in the comments if that’s too high or too low.

The Concierge team is on hand to provide Super Elite members with as smooth a journey as possible

Discretionary Benefits

Finally, there will no doubt be some intangible benefits associated with being one of Air Canada’s star customers.

You’ll receive the utmost priority treatment everywhere, from speaking to ticketing agents to getting through to the Air Canada and Aeroplan contact centres ahead of everyone else.

Throw in the priority meal orders in business class, the fact that every Maple Leaf Lounge staff member likely knows who you are, and the all-round “smug satisfaction” factor of being a top-tier elite member, and we can value the discretionary benefits at a further $250/year. 

Adding it all up, we arrive at a total valuation of Aeroplan Super Elite at $14,859 for the year.

That may seem like a generous valuation at first glance. Indeed, the bulk of it comes from the sheer power of the Select Benefits and the business class Priority Rewards – if you don’t happen to have an optimal use for these, your valuation of Super Elite could be dramatically lower. On the other hand, if you are able to squeeze even more value out of them, then your valuation of Super Elite could be much higher.

But when you consider that Super Elite requires spending $20,000 per year on Air Canada flights, a set of benefits worth $14,859/year seems like a good representation of Aeroplan Super Elite’s standing as one of North America’s best top-tier statuses.

The Value of Aeroplan Elite Status

Through a close examination of the benefits of each status level, we’ve arrived at “fair values” for the benefits offered at each of the Aeroplan Elite Status levels:

  • Aeroplan 25K: $2,770
  • Aeroplan 35K: $4,505
  • Aeroplan 50K: $5,843
  • Aeroplan 75K: $8,944
  • Aeroplan Super Elite: $14,859

Obviously, there’s a lot of room for the valuations to swing up or down based on your individual travel patterns. But overall, we believe these valuations make for reasonable fair values that fall somewhere between the price at which Air Canada would be willing to sell them outright, and the price at which we as savvy travellers would be willing to buy them outright.

Indeed, looking at the Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) requirements for achieving each status level, Air Canada would like to see members spending $3,000, $4,000, $6,000, $9,000, and $20,000 to be granted each status tier. With the exception of Super Elite, where our valuation didn’t quite reach the price of admission, the corresponding SQD requirement is mostly on par with our valuation.

Considering that you can get 25K status without spending a dime with Air Canada, there’s a strong case to be made to earn 25K status year over year and come out well ahead.

Our current valuation of 35K status is above the Status Qualifying Dollar (SQD) requirement. However, with the upcoming changes to the benefits in 2023, and in particular losing Maple Leaf Lounge access, that value may stand to change in future years. 

Interestingly, our valuation of 50K status is almost exactly in line with the SQD requirement. Of course, it would require quite a bit of finesse to spend exactly $6,000 to earn the status, but our valuation suggests that it can be very worthwhile to take the jump from 35K to 50K. 

Aeroplan 75K’s benefits aren’t materially more generous than what you get at the Aeroplan 50K level, with the exception of the ability to use Priority Rewards on worldwide premium economy flights and thus saving more Aeroplan points as a result.

However, the ability to gift 35K status to someone else and the increased number of eUpgrades boosts the value upward.

On the other hand, it’s a major jump up to Aeroplan Super Elite, which offers some of the greatest benefits out of any North American loyalty program.

The extremely powerful Priority Rewards, which can slash 50% off the cost of a business class redemption, the generous number of eUpgrades, and the ability to gift 50K status to someone else greatly enhance the Super Elite benefit package.

By keeping a finger on the pulse of promotions, and also by pairing your flying activity with the right credit card, it’s indeed possible to reach any of these status tiers without taking the usual path. For example, in 2022 we saw a promotion that would double the Status Qualifying Miles, Status Qualifying Segments, and Status Qualifying Dollars earned on Air Canada flights.

If you were to cram as much of your flying activity into this period as possible, you’d essentially have halved the regular earning requirements. If you wound up a bit short in Status Qualifying Miles or Segments, you could easily plan out your credit card spending to close the gap over the rest of the year.

Conclusion

Air Canada rewards its most loyal passengers with one of five tiers of Aeroplan Elite Status. While some benefits are given to all status tiers, the most powerful are reserved for those towards the top of the ladder.

By carefully weighing up the benefits of each status tier from the perspective of a frequent traveller, we’ve estimated a fair value that you can use to guide your pursuit of Aeroplan Elite Status. In most cases, we’ve found that the fair value aligns closely with the Status Qualifying Dollar (SQD) requirement associated with that tier. 

For those who are on the Aeroplan Elite Status hamster wheel, we hope that these valuations are useful in planning out your journey strategically.