Aeroplan Announces Changes to 2013 Elite Program

Aeroplan has followed a really good best practice in announcing changes to their elite levels going forward. It’s almost the start of 2012 and they’ve announced what benefits flying in 2012 will accrue for the 2013 program year.

Members fly all year based on the offers that airlines make, and I’ve always found it disingenuous for an airline to pull the rug out from members after they’ve done the flying and right before they’re supposed to get the benefits.

So a real kudos to Aeroplan which recognizes this, and decided to do any rug pulling with full advance notice. That’s respectful of their members.

There’s going to be more (five!) levels going forward — 25,000; 35,000; 50,000; 75,000; and 100,000.

There’s no change to the 25,000 mile flyer level. The 35,000 mile flyer level will no longer be Star Alliance Gold. Star Alliance Gold will now be awarded at the 50,000 mile level.

Here’s the frequently asked questions on the changes.

Update: Yes, I know, Aeroplan is the points program and Air Canada provides benefits. I used the term Aeroplan colloquially, though of course one must accrue their flight miles with the Aeroplan program in order to earn benefits, and even the benefits announcement on the Air Canada website is under the ‘aeroplan’ subdirectory, further elite benefits are integrated into and listed on the Aeroplan website as well. So while Aeroplan was spun off into a separate corporate entity, and these distinctions are important to them, I think the colloquial use remains appropriate and certainly communicates to members reading what they need to know. I don’t think anyone thought that I was referring to United status, for instance, rather than status benefits provided through Air Canada! Just sayin’…

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Aeroplan hasn’t announced anything. Status is purely with Air Canada. Aeroplan is a different company, one which imposed fuel surcharges without notice.

  2. @Lars for what it’s worth, Aeroplan is the separate company which passed on fuel surcharges imposed on it by Air Canada without notice.

  3. Gary, this is probably a “rookie” question, but I cant seem to find the answers on MP or FT, so I am hoping you can help. A lot of AC Elites who typically log around 35-49K are threatening to switch to UA mileage plus. If you make the switch, can you still use your AC Elite level perks (like lounge access and eUpgrades) if your are earning UA miles? For example,in 2012 if I am flying on AC metal, but put down my UA Mileage Plus number for mileage accrual (hoping to make UA Premier Exec in 2013), would I still get lounge access and priority boarding as a AC Elite?

  4. Now that BMI is gone, AC has raised Star Gold qualification, where should we credit miles? I am not sure how easy it is to redeem on A3

  5. Aegean’s rules aren’t great, especially for changes… Where to credit your miles depends on whether you value easy status vs use of miles, what fares you fly (for premium cabin bonuses), etc. I’m liking United Mileage Plus except for the easy Star Gold. Some will actually like Turkish and Asiana for Star Gold though of course Aegean is the gimme.

  6. @Rachel T you do not need to credit your flying in order to gain lounge access based on your 35k Air Canada Star Alliance Gold status. Some lounge agents might even say that you do, but you do not — you just need to show your elite card with Star Alliance Gold status and your same-day Star Alliance boarding pass. So whether you credit to Aeroplan or not, you’ll get your lounge access.

    Similarly with Priority Boarding, I doubt you’ll have any problem just flashing your member card if questioned.

    But your Air Canada upgrade certificates may be a little trickier — you probably need to confirm the upgrade and then remove the frequent flyer number from the reservation to make sure that the flight doesn’t credit to Aeroplan. Which can be a tricky maneuver.

  7. Thanks for the info Gary! I am not giving up on AC just yet. I live in Canada and most of my flying is to and from the US, so the changes aren’t going to hit me that hard if I only hit 35K. But if there are more changes in the future, I may jump to UA.

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