Air Canada: All Points Earned Or Transferred In Count Towards Elite Status & Other Bonuses

With less travel this year there are going to be fewer elites flying. Airlines are extending current elite status through next year, but that alone isn’t going to make up for it. There will be fewer flights, so the elites-to-seats ratio may even be proportional. But airlines are going to need their most engaged customers to come out of the current crisis.

Frequent flyer programs have done an amazing job of turning marketing from an expense into a profit center. But without travel, members are less engaged in the programs. And that means less spend with credit card partners, too.

It takes creative effort to get members continuing to earn in the program when they aren’t likely to redeem right away. But that earning means cash now – and is even more valuable than ever both because of the premium on cash for struggling businesses and because the redemption expenses won’t come until later.

That’s why it makes so much sense to sell miles at a discount, to bonus credit card spending even more, and to bonus transfers of points into the program (because the program gets paid for their points by the partner a member is transferring out of).

Air Canada is out with their approach to earning elite status from home, and it’s a strong take on these important principles. Registration required.

  1. Earn 50,000 miles between now and May 31, and you’ll receive the first tier of elite status. (This will not be counted as credit towards higher levels of status.)

  2. Or if you are already elite, here’s the bonuses you can earn:

    If you’re an Altitude Elite 50K member and you earn 250,000 Aeroplan Miles during this offer, you’ll receive a total of 4,500 (1,500 + 3,000) Bonus [qualifying miles], 20 eUpgrade Credits, $1,000 Bonus Altitude Qualifying Dollars (AQD) and a one-time status upgrade to Elite 75K.

Copyright: ronniechua / 123RF Stock Photo

Here’s what existing Aeroplan elite members can earn:

This is all in addition to the offer through April 30, 2020 where every five Aeroplan miles donated to a charity fighting the COVID-19 cwill earn one Bonus Altitude Qualifying Mile (AQM) – up to a maximum of 25,000 qualifying miles.

What’s cool about the new offer running through the end of May is that all points count including points from credit card initial bonus offers, credit card spend, and points transferred into the program (as well as points from other partners like online shopping).

Transfers from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One, Barclays, Diners Club, CIBC, ICBC, Cathay United Bank, and more count, as do hotel and transfers.

Bonus elite qualifying miles from this promotion will be credited by August . Bonus qualifying dollars will be credited by December 15, 2020. For 100K and 75K elite tier members, earning 250,000 miles during this period will generate 25,000 bonus miles towards million mile status.

The Aeroplan team are no dummies with this promotion though – if you cancel a new credit card before the end of 2020, return merchandise or have other reversed transactions they may remove the bonus qualifying miles or dollars from your accounts and any other benefits you’ve received. This is their “anti-gaming” provision.

I like what American has done (earn million mile status from credit card spend) and Hyatt (with extra elite nights for card spend and new card acquisition, plus those nights count towards built-in benefits every 10 nights in the program). However this may be the most aggressive promotion for broad-based activity in a travel loyalty program we’ve seen so far.

Anyone who expects to fly Air Canada a reasonable amount in the future should take advantage of this. I expect that points transferred into Air Canada’s Aeroplan will retain strong value. In the current crisis it’ll be difficult to devalue redemption opportunities (at least right away) and especially so for Air Canada which received the cash to buy back its loyalty program from its card issuing partners, who will want to ensure the program remains attractive enough to encourage spend.

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 is being massively devalued in 2020 when AC formally takes over.

    Buyer beware.

  2. It’s gonna be a bait and switch. Everyone knows it! If Traffics picks up and they will stick it hard to you.

  3. If you don’t have status with AC (Aeroplan), how high can you achieve in status with this offer?

  4. Didn’t Aeroplan shutdown accounts for people who booked cheap hotels during a promotion they ran?

    It doesn’t seem like this is a very good idea if they are arbitrarily closing accounts for people who participate in their promotions.

  5. @Gary – Thanks for the answer! So, first tier status is the highest you can get with this offer then. Hmmm… I guess that I have to think about this then.

  6. Meh. Now if one could get to the Elite 50K level and Star Alliance Gold, that would be attractive.

  7. @Gary –
    re: “I like what American has done (earn million mile status from credit card spend)”

    It sounds nice, as an announcement… but yeah, no… I would have to spend $650,000+ USD on my AA branded credit card to get to lifetime Platinum, with a timeframe of this year? I just can’t see that EVER happening.

    On the other hand, if I could transfer my AmEx miles into AA… I would have to consider that. However, that would put me in HUGE risk if AA did go bankrupt due to COVID-19.

  8. 35K is the first tier of AC Altitude status, which gets you Star Alliance Silver. 50K is the first tier for *A Gold.

  9. @Rich No, the first tier for Altitude is Prestige 25K (then 35K, 50K, 75K and 100K).

  10. @Gary – I know it’s not an ideal transfer rate, but do you know how long it takes to transfer from IHG points to Aeroplan miles?

  11. @Gary – Do you know how long does it takes to transfer IHG pts to Aeroplan miles? I know it’s a bad deal, but I have a ton of IHG pts. I called the Amabassador line and they quoted me 36 weeks, which does not make any sense.

  12. So if transfer in 100K Amex MR points, you’d get $1000 (CAD presumably) bonus AQD and what level of status ?

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