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.
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.
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.
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.