For the most frequent travellers who attain elite status year after year, how does an airline recognize their long-term loyalty?
While we’ve covered Air Canada’s Aeroplan Elite Status extensively, in this article, we’ll take a peek at the Air Canada Million Mile program, which effectively functions as Air Canada’s lifetime elite status program.
Qualifying for Million Mile Status
To qualify as a “Million Miler”, you must have flown at least 1,000,000 Lifetime Qualifying Miles with Air Canada.
Miles earned by flying with Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, and Air Canada Express any time after 1988 count towards Million Mile status.
Any Status Qualifying Miles (SQM) earned as a bonus from purchasing an Economy (Comfort), Economy (Latitude), Premium Economy (Lowest & Flexible), and Business Class (Lowest & Flexible) fare, or with the purchase of an Unlimited Flight Pass, also count.
Note that all other SQMs earned through Aeroplan co-branded credit card spending or flying with Star Alliance airlines don’t count as Lifetime Qualifying Miles.
To check your progress, log in to your Aeroplan account and click through to “My Aeroplan.” Under the “Status” tab, scroll down to the bottom of page to see how many Lifetime Qualifying Miles you’ve earned.
One Million Miles
Under the Air Canada Million Mile Program, there are four Million Mile Status thresholds: 1,000,000, 2,000,000, 3,000,000, and 4,000,000 miles.
Upon reaching 1,000,000 Lifetime Qualifying Miles, you’ll receive a welcome package with a membership card and special luggage tags.
While luggage tags are indeed a nice gesture, the main benefit of reaching this mark is that you’ll enjoy Aeroplan 50K Status for the rest of your life. So, you’re spared the hustle of reaching SQM/SQS and SQD thresholds ever again.
Having ongoing 50K status will afford you a number of perks, including:
- Complimentary Maple Leaf Lounge and Star Alliance Gold Lounge access for yourself and a guest
- Priority airport services
- Up to 40 eUpgrades each year
- Three checked bags at 32kg each on Air Canada and Star Alliance flights
At the very least, you can rest assured that your airport experience will be less frustrating with priority check-in, priority security, priority boarding, and priority baggage services.
Having access to lounges of your choosing is another great benefit of 50K status. Not only can you and a guest access any Maple Leaf Lounge, you can also choose to lounge-hop at your leisure to any Star Alliance lounge worldwide.
Why not enjoy a Singapore Sling at a Singapore Airlines lounge, then pop into a Lufthansa lounge to enjoy a warm pretzel and beer, before stopping by a Turkish Airlines lounge for some pide, and then finally to a Maple Leaf Lounge for some Canadian comforts?
Million Milers also enjoy having up to 40 eUpgrades at their disposal each year. 20 of these come as a Core Benefit and the other 20 may be selected as a Select Benefit.
Lastly, having a hefty baggage allowance means that you’ll likely never have to pay baggage fees again with Air Canada. If you’re on a trip with family members, you can check in all the luggage under your name to save on baggage fees.
Two Million Miles
Upon reaching 2,000,000 Lifetime Qualifying Miles, your status will always be at least Aeroplan 75K, and a person of your choice will enjoy Aeroplan 50K Status for the rest of their life, too.
For doubling up from 1,000,000 miles, you get a bump in status, and someone else gets to reap the benefits from all of your air travel.
The differences between 75K and 50K aren’t that stark. As a 75K, you get a complimentary preferred seat on Economy (Flex) fares in all markets, guaranteed reservations in economy class, and a better offering for your Select Benefits (see below).
If you earn Priority Rewards through paid flights, as a 75K member, they’re valid for economy and premium economy bookings worldwide, whereas for a 50K member, they’re only good for the same classes in North America and Sun destinations.
When choosing to whom you’ll gift lifetime Aeroplan 50K status, there are several considerations:
- You could gift it to a young person who’ll then be able to enjoy the benefits over a long period of time. It’d be important to consider how much they’re likely to travel, but that may change over the course of their lifetime.
- If you’re a maximizer who often travels on points or cash bookings with your significant other, then it could be worthwhile to gift the status to the person with whom you most often travel. If both select eUpgrades as one of their Select Benefits, then you’d have 95 eUpgrades to use between both accounts over the course of the year.
- This could be boosted further if the 75K gifts 35K status as another one of their yearly Select Benefits to a third family member. This would add another 30 eUpgrades to the total available eUpgrades across three accounts, which can cover a lot of ground over the course of a year for a family.
Three Million Miles
At the threshold of 3,000,000 Lifetime Qualifying Miles, you’ll forever be an Aeroplan Super Elite.
After having spent 3,000,000 miles in the sky with Air Canada, having Super Elite status for the rest of your life is well deserved. After all, even if you just met the minimum requirements for qualifying for Super Elite every year, it’d take you up to 30 years to rack up enough qualifying miles (excluding bonus miles).
Even with lifetime Super Elite status, you’d still need to earn Priority Rewards by meeting Status Qualifying Dollar (SQD) thresholds every year.
However, these are the most powerful Priority Rewards anyone can earn, as they halve the amount of points required for Aeroplan business class reward bookings on Air Canada or any partner airline. While you’d have to spend at least $7,000 with Air Canada to earn two Priority Rewards, it could very well save you the equivalent in points or cash.
For Select Benefits, you could enjoy 70 eUpgrade credits per year, which could then be combined with your lifetime 50K nominee’s 40 eUpgrade credits, for a household total of 110.
And if you’d like, you can nominate another person for 50K status as a Select Benefit, which could up your household’s total annual available eUpgrades to 150.
Four Million Miles
The final tier in Air Canada’s Million Miler program is reached after 4,000,000 Lifetime Qualifying Miles. At this point, you’d have circumnavigated the globe just over 160 times. Does it even matter how many miles you’ve flown after this point?
Upon crossing this threshold, the only thing that changes is that the person whom you nominated for lifetime 50K status will now be bumped up to 75K status. You’ll continue to enjoy top-tier Super Elite status for life.
This isn’t a huge change from the 3,000,000-mile threshold, especially since the person who does the flying doesn’t have any changes to their benefits. You also don’t have the option of nominating someone other than your initial nominee for 75K status, which could be argued that it would be a more valuable perk for reaching this milestone.
Air Canada’s Million Mile program recognizes those who have flown a significant amount with the airline over the years, by rewarding them with lifetime Aeroplan Elite Status.
Depending on how often you travel, having lifetime status could be immensely valuable, or it could just be a nice perk to use every now and then when you decide to travel.
Whether or not it’s worthwhile to fly with a specific airline over the long term depends on the perks offered. Many other airlines have similar programs, so it would be worthwhile to do some research into which program you find most valuable.