Upcoming Changes to Aeroplan 35K Status for 2023

Air Canada has announced upcoming changes to Aeroplan 35K status that will take place next year.

As of January 1, 2023, Aeroplan 35K members will be able to select 15 eUpgrades as part of their Select Benefits (up from 10), have their baggage marked with priority tags, and Priority Rewards will cover economy and premium economy to North America and Sun destinations.

As of June 1, 2023, Aeroplan 35K members will no longer enjoy complimentary Maple Leaf Lounge access. Rather, they’ll have to be travelling on an eligible business class fare, hold a premium co-branded credit card, or use one-time passes to access the lounges.

Changes to Aeroplan 35K Status

The only status tier to incur changes for 2023 is Aeroplan 35K. There haven’t been any announcements regarding changes that will affect Aeroplan 25K, 50K, 75K, or Super Elite members.

There is one major negative change, and other positive changes that will take effect next year. 

Aeroplan 35K Status to Lose Complimentary Lounge Access as of June 1, 2023

Of the changes, the most major is the loss of lounge access for Aeroplan 35K members. As of June 1, 2023, Aeroplan 35K members will no longer enjoy unlimited complimentary access to Maple Leaf Lounges in Canada and the United States, as they currently do.

This is undoubtedly a loss for the status tier, and I’m sure that this benefit will be sorely missed by those who stand to lose. Going forward, complimentary unlimited lounge access will only be a perk for anyone with Aeroplan 50K status and above.

As of June 1, 2023 Aeroplan 35K members will no longer enjoy complimentary Maple Leaf Lounge access

After June 1, 2023, Aeroplan 25K and 35K members will have to access Maple Leaf Lounges by other means. This includes travelling on a business class ticket booked with Aeroplan points or cash, being a cardholder of premium co-branded credit card that offers unlimited lounge access, or using one-time lounge passes.

While this change is negative, anyone who has recently been to or tried to access a Maple Leaf Lounge may think otherwise. Indeed, Maple Leaf Lounges are often at capacity, which results in very crowded spaces and lengthy line ups to enter in the first place.

Furthermore, with generous status extensions and promotions that made getting Aeroplan Elite Status quite easy, I imagine more people have status now than ever before. Likewise, with great offers on co-branded credit cards that offer lounge access, I also imagine that more people have Maple Leaf Lounge access available to them than ever before.

It remains to be seen if removing lounge access for the 35K status tier will help to reduce crowding going forward. There’s still a lot of time between now and then, though, so be prepared for possible line ups if you’re travelling during a busy time of the day.

Positive Changes to Priority Rewards, Baggage, and Select Benefits

There are a few positive changes that will come into effect next year, too. As of January 1, 2023, Aeroplan 35K members can choose more eUpgrades as part of their Select Benefits, will have priority baggage privileges, and can use Priority Rewards for economy and premium economy flights to North America and Sun destinations.

Until the changes take place, Aeroplan 35K members had a choice of either a 35% bonus for Aeroplan points earned from flying or 10 additional eUpgrade credits from Bundle 1 of their Select Benefits. As of January 1, 2023, the choices will be either a 35% bonus for Aeroplan points earned from flying or 15 additional eUpgrade credits.

If you were to select the 15 eUpgrade credits, you’d have access to a total of 35 at your disposal. This is enough to upgrade to business class using the “Latitude Attitude” for two long-haul flights, as well as four cross-country flights in Canada. 

Use eUpgrades to fly in Air Canada Signature Class at a fraction of the price

If used wisely, those eUpgrades can save a tidy sum of Aeroplan points and elevate your travel experience.

Priority baggage is a minor upgrade to Aeroplan 35K status for 2023. It doesn’t always ensure that your bags are amongst the first to come off the carousel, but it may result in a smoother landing experience.

The changes to Priority Rewards are also an improvement over their current form. As a reminder, Priority Rewards can only be earned by paying cash for flights, and they can be used to knock 50% off the cost of an Aeroplan redemption in specific classes and to specific destinations.

Currently, Priority Rewards earned by 35K members reduce the cost in points by 50% for economy travel within Canada and between Canada and the United States. Priority Rewards for 25K and 35K members are the same.

This is destined to change, and as of January 1, 2023, 35K Priority Rewards will reduce the cost in points by 50% for economy and premium economy travel in North America and to Sun destinations.

Aeroplan 35K Priority Rewards earned after January 1, 2023 can be used on premium economy Aeroplan redemptions

Note that the Priority Rewards must be earned on or after January 1, 2023 to be eligible for use in these situations. Any Priority Rewards earned in 2022 will only be eligible for economy flights within Canada and between Canada and the United States.

This change is quite positive, as many Aeroplan members redeem points for travel within the continent. Reducing the cost by 50% can be meaningful, especially during times when dynamic pricing has inflated the cost.

Including premium economy is also a nice improvement. While you won’t find the cabin on all flights, it’s available any time a lie-flat Signature Class seat is available, which is on high-volume flights on wide-body aircraft between Canadian hubs and popular North American destinations. 

Keep in mind that you can use eUpgrades on economy and premium economy fares, so you might wind up scoring a business class seat at a steep discount this way.

Reminders for 2022 Aeroplan Elite Status

If you haven’t yet chosen your 2022 Select Benefits, be sure to do so before December 30. If you don’t make your choice by then, you’ll lose out on some potentially very valuable perks.

Furthermore, any eUpgrades chosen as Select Benefits after July 1 will be valid through to January of the year after the next year. For example, if you were to choose eUpgrades before December 30, 2022, they’ll be valid until January 15, 2024, giving you first access to the coveted eUpgrade space throughout 2023.

Be sure to check the expiry date of any Priority Rewards and Status Passes in your account, too. If they expire on December 31, 2022, make sure to use them by then.

Any Priority Rewards earned between July 1 and December 31, 2022 will be doubled. Air Canada will begin processing these in November, so keep an eye out for your bonus Priority Rewards if you haven’t seen them yet.

If you’re heading to Australia, recall that Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite members can enjoy complimentary access to Virgin Australia lounges when travelling in any class of service. This is a new benefit for 2022, and it can be very helpful for better airport experiences in Australia. 

Should you have any leftover eUpgrades at the end of the year, if you are already or become a cardholder of a premium co-branded credit card, up to 50 eUpgrades and any extra Status Qualifying Miles will be extended for another year.

The rolled over benefits will appear in your account by the second week of February, and you must apply and be approved by December 15, 2022 to enjoy these rollover perks.

Lastly, 2023 membership kits will be mailed out in early 2023.  

Conclusion

Air Canada has announced some changes to Aeroplan 35K status that will take place in 2023. As of June 1, 35K members will no longer enjoy complimentary Maple Leaf Lounge access in North America. 

As of January 1, 2023, Aeroplan 35K members will be able to select more eUpgrades as part of their Select Benefits, enjoy priority baggage on Air Canada flights, and have a wider scope of cabin classes and destinations to use their Priority Rewards.

Be sure to check for the expiry of any benefits in your Aeroplan account, and don’t forget to choose your Select Benefits before December 30. 

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