Awesome: Air Canada Makes It Easy To Earn Status From Home

Filed Under: Air Canada, Great Deals

While people aren’t flying much right now, there’s plenty of opportunity for loyalty programs to engage with members while they’re at home. In that sense I have to give Air Canada a ton of credit, because they just announced a creative and lucrative promotion.

Air Canada has already extended status and more

Before I talk about what’s new, I wanted to recap what Air Canada already announced a couple of weeks ago:

  • Air Canada Altitude status is being extended by 12 months
  • Members who requalify for status this year (without the extension) can gift their status to someone else
  • Air Canada is making it possible to earn elite miles from home

The airline has greatly expanded opportunities in that last category just now.

Air Canada has a creative way to gift status

Air Canada’s “Travel at Home” promotion

As part of Air Canada’s effort to engage members while they’re at home and give them ways to earn miles, they’ve launched a new promotion that will help members reach Altitude status without leaving home.

Below I’ll share a few of the things that are possible through this promotion. However, note that Air Canada plans to roll out more opportunities to earn elite status in the coming weeks.

Earn 50K miles and get Altitude Prestige 25K status

Between April 20 and May 31, 2020, members can easily earn Air Canada Altitude Prestige 25K. The status will be updated by July 31, 2020, and will be valid through 2021.

In order to qualify, members have to register and earn 50,000 Aeroplan miles through everyday activities. Eligible activities include the following:

  • Miles earned through Aeroplan credit card welcome bonuses
  • Miles earned through Aeroplan credit card spending
  • Miles earned through the Aeroplan eStore
  • All other activity credited to a participant’s account, including points transferred from eligible credit card and hotel partners

In other words, just transferring 50K points to Aeroplan would earn you status.

Existing Altitude elite members can get a status boost

Between April 20 and May 31, 2020, Air Canada Altitude elite members who register can boost their status with eligible mileage earning activity, as follows:

  • Earn 15,000 miles, get 1,500 bonus AQMs
  • Earn 30,000 miles, get 3,000 bonus AQMs
  • Earn 70,000 miles, get 20 eUpgrade credits
  • Earn 100,000 miles, get 1,000 bonus AQDs
  • Earn 250,000 miles, get an Altitude status upgrade, up to Elite 75K

The eligible activity is the same as it is for the promotion for non-elite members. In other words, if you earn 250K miles you’ll receive a one-tier status upgrade, which is pretty awesome.

Get Altitude status for donations

As was previously announced, through April 30, 2020, Air Canada is offering something pretty generous to those who donate miles. For every five Aeroplan miles that a member donates to a charity engaged in fighting COVID-19, they will be awarded one Altitude Qualifying Mile (AQM).

This is limited to a maximum of 25,000 AQMs, which would be earned after donating 125,000 Aeroplan miles. That can either count towards your status this year, or if you already have status, can help you gift status to a loved one.

Air Canada 787 business class

Bottom line

Very well done, Air Canada Aeroplan. What a great way to engage members while they can’t travel. I love the way the promotion is structured, as you can benefit from this whether you have status or not.

I’d love to see more programs offer promotions like this. For example, years ago we saw US Airways offer a “Grand Slam” promotion, where you could earn bonus miles for completing various mileage earning activities with partners. One would think that this would be the ideal time for a promotion like that, where members are encouraged to accrue miles through all non-flying means possible.

Will you be taking advantage of this Aeroplan promotion?

  1. @ Ben — Not stealing money from customers by refusing refunds would be better. Why earn status with an airline that won’t hesitate to violate the law by refusing refunds? I haven’t even flown Air Canada yet, and I already despise them.

  2. @Gene the Canadian government made changes legislation to allow airlines to no longer provide refunds in March. I received a credit for a flight to Australia, with a 24 month validity which I though was pretty reasonable under the circumstances.

  3. Hmm, so if I am currently SE100k and that status is automatically extended through next year…then am I reading this right in that there would be no benefits to doing this? Only worthwhile for people who have 59k status or less at the moment?

  4. Ben: I really appreciate you highlighting this promotion, as it is unique and very tempting. However, the blog post is a bit too complimenting of Air Canada in my view. What is the point of earning Aeroplan miles when one cannot redeem one’s miles or count on Aeroplan picking up the phone when last-minute changes are needed to a ticket? As you already know, many people (including myself) have NEVER been able to get through on the phone since the systems migration in early December 2019 (way before COVID19), with the phone immediately going to a message from Aeroplan’s director of customer service. What’s more, many accounts (including mine) have been unable to search for Star Alliance award availability online since the migration. I don’t understand why the Canadian authorities haven’t fined Air Canada/Aeroplan for the egregious fraud of not allowing many customers to actually use their miles or to get help with their award tickets. What is the point of highlighting this promotion when one cannot use one’s miles? Please don’t enable this sham of a company by giving them free publicity UNTIL they fix their unethical business practices.

  5. Oh goodness gracious – a new “grand slam” promotion would be amazing. That’s right when I got into the miles game and I used it to get Gold status that year!

  6. What is the highest level that you can achieve with this promotion? I have no status with AC/Aeroplan.

  7. LOL…

    The ACDS Club are out quickly and in full force!

    That’s “Air Canada Derangement Syndrome” in case you didn’t know the acronym.

    “Gene” admits he has never even flown on Air Canada, but is outraged that you would give an attaboy to them about a great program offering because of what he presumably has read from the other ACDS Club members.

    “JMM” is suing them over an obscure flight cancellation in Central Asia that didn’t get communicated.

    And “Daniel” had a hard time getting then on the phone… you should email “JMM” he got through 4 times apparently!

    Reading you guys is a bright spot in my day!
    Such imaginations and outrage. I wonder if you are real sometimes! It all goes pretty easy for me when I travel, hiccups sort themselves out some how. I think your problems say more about you then anything!

    Have a great day!

  8. Ben: I’m confused by “…earn Air Canada Altitude Prestige 25K. The status will be updated by July 31, 2020, and will be valid through 2021…”

    I checked the terms and conditions.
    When in 2021? If they mean January 01, 2021, this promotion isn’t very useful.

    Also, would I put more equity into this program, given that Air Canada has not divulged details of their new program?

  9. @LawrenceH
    25k is the highest you can achieve, both due to the timing of when you get your 25k Status, and because of the fine prints for the other promo.

    “Through 2021” has only one meaning.

  10. So if someone got the status with this method then couldn’t they get a status match with other programs that accept Air Canada status? If it was through 2021 this could prove useful assuming travel conditions improve. The issue is going to be given this is a promotion if that is an exclusion under the status match terms & conditions for other programs.

  11. Question – I’m ever so slightly tempted by this promotion to transfer 50,000 AMEX points to Aeorplan, although I probably won’t since its so hard to know how soon I’ll be flying again (only fly for pleasure).

    The main benefit I see of having Air Canada Altitude Prestige 25K that I can’t figure out the benefits of is if I would get me a baggage allowance (either a free carry-on and/or checked bag) when flying on a United Airlines Basic Economy ticket. I can’t figure out what benefits you get by having Star Alliance Silver when buying these tickets that often result in ~$100 in savings when my partner and I are flying together. Does anyone know what benefits (if any) this status would get someone on a United Basic economy ticket flying domestically in the US?

  12. @David
    Thank you for the clarification! I am a little tempted on this deal, but I am not swayed by this.

  13. Air Canada is one of the worst in terms of customer service due to almost monopoly in Canada. I am still waiting for them to address my complaint happened 7 weeks ago for a flight delayed for 16 hours due to mechanical reason everyone heard in the announcement, but employees at the layover destination denied the reason even it was confirmed by the flight crews with us but still refused to provide any assistance or compensation so some people spent the night sleeping on the ground of the airport and wait for the flight the next day.

  14. @Josh Only if you want to earn some bonus miles and eUp credits. Otherwise, I think you’re right. Other benefit might be earning a lower status and gifting it to someone (if you’re feeling generous?)

  15. This promotion is somewhat useless, as it allows you to earn AQM, but you can’t earn any Altitude status without also spending big $$ on Air Canada for AQD. So in this case, I could quickly/easily earn enough AQM to bump myself up to Altitude 50K (for *A gold), but there is no way to spend money with AC right now (since it’s impossible to fly) and earn AQD, unless I threw a bunch of money into AC gift cards for later?

    That basically makes this promotion useless, unless you somehow already spent thousands of dollars with Air Canada earlier this year and didn’t earn enough AQM/AQS in the process (which is essentially impossible).

  16. @Josh
    Correct. There’s not much here for SE100K’s, as our status is secure through 2021 and there’s nowhere up to go. But that’s a fairly small number of people, on the order of 10,000 or so out of the millions of Aeroplan members.

    P25K status/ *Silver gets you two free checked bags on Air Canada flights only, not Star Alliance partners. The only real benefit to *Silver in my view is priority standby, which would come in handy with IRROPS. Unless you intend to fly with Air Canada, I don’t see much point in making an effort to obtain P25K status. Altitude status really begins to pay at the E50K/*Gold level.

  17. @Dave
    Gift cards won’t do it as you only earn AQD when you fly. The spend requirement for E50K is only $6,000. Consider that for SE100K it’s $20,000.

    Depending on where you sit now and what your plans are for post-Corona, this could still be a useful promotion. You could earn or manufacture 100,000 miles, for which you’d get 4500 AQM and 1000 AQD, plus 20 eupgrade certificates, then donate 125,000 miles for 25,000 AQM, which puts you 20,500 AQM and 5000 AQD short of E50K. It’s not for everyone, but it could work for some.

  18. Bad initiative. This will boost the number of elites who will end up hogging the lounges. Status should be earned through flying only.

  19. I doubt there are many people who can take advantage of this promotion. The only real way is to transfer points from another more valuable program? Alternatively, if you’re able to spend enough to earn 50K miles in a month, chances are you don’t really need a status upgrade.

  20. I have had a aeroplan card for many years and I have just found out they will be canceling my point as I have not flown since March 2019. Aeroplan does not have many members in fact Costco is canceling their association on April 30th 2020. I will never fly air Canada again unless I have no choice. I fly at least 7 times a year to and from palm Springs but rest assured I will now only use westjet.

  21. The only advantage for 75K and SE100K would be the 25K AQM’s I think they are offering for 250,000 points earned by May 31, 2020. Not a great deal, but it does give you 25K AQM’s towards MM.
    I am 50K and I transferred over 250K Amex miles, which I think is a high price to pay but if I get 75K for a year and a half I am happy. As bad as everybody trashes AC, one thing i did learn is when you have status (75K is the highest I had) they treat you very well and I have nothing but good experiences for the year and a half I traveled almost every week..
    Now in my role now I might not use it much but for the 2-6 trips I may take with my family over the next year and a half it will probably be worth the points (we might get upgraded, bumped etc…). And the free luggage, gifting 35K to my wife plus lounge access, although I feel the Amex Plat lounges are a far better spot to get something to eat. Not to mention the priority you have when bad occurs and you are getting put on standby due to cancelled flights etc….

    I also want the jump because I enjoy flying for work and if I move into something different down the road it is nice to start with the status already earned and not have to wait three or four months to get there.

    Also, don’t forget they are bringing the Aeroplan program back to AC (July 1) so who knows, it might be worth have the status bump and points over there in the long run. Although I like have points spread out to cover all my options.

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