Air Canada Cuts Lounge Access for Aeroplan Elite 35Ks

Air Canada Cuts Lounge Access for Aeroplan Elite 35Ks

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Air Canada Aeroplan has announced some changes to one of its lower status tiers as of 2023. If you’re an Aeroplan Elite 35K member, it’s probably bad news. If you’re a higher tier elite member, it’s probably good news.

Aeroplan Elite 35K benefit changes

Aeroplan has five tiers of elite status — 25K, 35K, 50K, 75K, and Super Elite. As of June 1, 2023, Aeroplan Elite 35K members will be losing a major benefit — they’ll no longer have unlimited access to Maple Leaf Lounges. Members will continue to receive two Maple Leaf Lounge guest passes annually.

Currently Aeroplan Elite 35K members receive access to domestic and transborder Maple Leaf Lounges, whenever flying on an eligible same-day itinerary. For context, Aeroplan Elite 25K members don’t receive lounge access at all, while Aeroplan Elite 50K members get lounge access regardless of whether they’re traveling domestically or internationally.

In recognition of a major perk being taken away, Aeroplan Elite 35K members are getting some new benefits as of January 1, 2023:

  • Priority baggage handling — baggage for the member and a companion will receive priority tags
  • Additional eUpgrade credits — members will go from getting 10 eUpgrades per year, to getting 15 eUpgrades per year, which increases the number of flights you can upgrade
  • Priority Rewards will include all North America and Sun destinations — any Priority Rewards earned as an Aeroplan 35K member next year will be expanded to include bookings to all North America and Sun destinations, including premium economy, where offered (this is identical to what Aeroplan Elite 50K members get)
Lounge access is being cut for Aeroplan Elite 35K members

My take on Aeroplan Elite 35K status changes

This is a devaluation to Aeroplan Elite 35K status, plain and simple. Yes, there are some nice new perks being added to the status, but odds are that most Aeroplan Elite 35K members valued lounge access more than what’s being added.

Arguably Air Canada offering lounge access to Aeroplan Elite 35K members has always been a generous policy, especially in the context of North American airlines. That’s because Aeroplan Elite 35K doesn’t get you Star Alliance Gold status, which is typically the status required for lounge access.

The catch is that like so many airlines, Air Canada has been struggling with lounge crowding, and there’s only so much that can be done about that. Airlines have very limited space where they can expand at airports, so if they want to deal with crowding, the best way to do that is by limiting access.

Lounge access being cut for Aeroplan Elite 35K members should help considerably with lounge crowding, so this is a change that I suspect higher tier elites will appreciate.

This change should help with lounge crowding

Bottom line

As of June 2023, Air Canada is cutting Maple Leaf Lounge access for Aeroplan Elite 35K members. This has always been a generous policy on Aeroplan’s part, so I’m not surprised to see this being cut.

I suspect the primary motivation here is to help deal with lounge crowding. This will no doubt be a disappointment for Elite 35K members, though I imagine higher tier elite members might be happy about this change, as it should help with lounge crowding.

What do you make of these Aeroplan elite status changes?

Conversations (52)
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  1. Just Hototo Guest

    My visa Infinite Privilege can get me unlimited to the lounges, but honestly, foods there are getting worse. There was many times we chose to eat in restaurant before entering the lounge just for drinks.

  2. Russell Guest

    The excuse regarding lounge crowding is just that - an excuse. If you do not have access the counter attendants will happily sell you a pass - even if that means that Elite members are going to get told the lounge is at capacity.

  3. Jeff Guest

    Doesn't matter to me as I'm not even 25k but I do have an Amex Aero Reserve card so I get unlimited use of maple leaf lounges anway without needing status.

  4. Jo Beno Guest

    If you can't even smoke in the lounge then whats the point. Waste of time and money.

  5. John Guest

    That will be our departure from Aeroplan.

  6. Joe Guest

    I travel to Barbados frequently. In the past few years, Air Canada has removed the lounge from Barbados, converted to Rouge (eliminating proper Biz Class for Premium Economy that's still priced like Biz), lowered the number of bags allowed, and now they're eliminating one of only remaining benefits. WestJet here I come again.

  7. Ken Beattie Guest

    If indeed the reason is overcrowding, AC could consider offering 35k guest vouchers for specific food/ bar services within the airport. Thus clearing the people jam in their lounge and supporting the local businesses.

    1. Suzanne Guest

      Could be done based on need. I use them because I have an autistic adult who has trouble with the noise and chaos of the airport. If we can fly direct we would.

  8. JOsh. McDaniel Guest

    I for one am very happy about this ,.. the lounges are too crowded and there is no difference between the person who flies 400 thousand miles a year, and the IT guy who gets 3 business trips a year and qualifies for 35k..

  9. Patty Friesen Guest

    Even with being a 50K member and having lots of e-upgrades, it’s very hard to get the upgrades. It’s certainly discouraging to keep up their status.

  10. Don Newans Guest

    Time to look at other airlines. A/C more interested in money than customers

  11. Paul Komaromi Guest

    Aeroplan membership at 25k and 35k is pretty much useless these days. I am not a frequent flyer these days as in the past thus my status level. But I have over 175k miles using my visa connected card in just 8 months and even by applying a portion of my mileage I still have to buy luggage, seat selection etc. at 3 different tiers even for basic level rather than burn all my miles...

    Aeroplan membership at 25k and 35k is pretty much useless these days. I am not a frequent flyer these days as in the past thus my status level. But I have over 175k miles using my visa connected card in just 8 months and even by applying a portion of my mileage I still have to buy luggage, seat selection etc. at 3 different tiers even for basic level rather than burn all my miles just for one ticket from YYZ to YVR. I.haven’t been able to use any e-ticket upgrades for years so they too have been useless. As for the lounge it too has been a wii hi Ike.
    From here on in, I will certainly stop supporting Air Canada and will be flying with Flair and Swoop where I just purchased 2 adult fare tickets with all the bells i(seat selection, priority boarding, extra baggage, etc ) which is less than half of one ticket (2 adult fares return for $820 vs one adult fare with AC for $1700.
    I keep asking myself WHY?

  12. Gutieres Guest

    I have abandoned the Aeroplan years ago even if i was a super elite for 10 years. Too many changes and always new restrictions and higher level of points to use to get something. I am now a singapore airlines member flying around 100,000 miles ++ per year

  13. 1st world problem Guest

    I get it. You think you are a special snowflake because you fly a lot. And you dont even want to see the poorer classes; the serfs in your peripheral vision. Classic NIMBY and elitist views. I use to fly every week. Then we all discovered zoom and its so much better. Perhaps you should try this too. I suspect most you dont need to fly nearly as much as you do. But you do...

    I get it. You think you are a special snowflake because you fly a lot. And you dont even want to see the poorer classes; the serfs in your peripheral vision. Classic NIMBY and elitist views. I use to fly every week. Then we all discovered zoom and its so much better. Perhaps you should try this too. I suspect most you dont need to fly nearly as much as you do. But you do because you want STATUS soooo badly you want people to believe you MUST be important here is the reality it is highly unlikely you are important
    like most people you can be replaced tomorrow plus you are just wasting company money and killing the planet.

    Why not just get rid of all the perks and lower prices. Then charge for the lounge. No status needed. Available to anyone that has actually needs the lounge. Lets see how many of you elite snowflakes will actually pay for it. Because my bet is your employers will not. Maybe its MM members that are clogging up lounges? Ever think about that.

    See you in the seats by the gate. #1stworldproblem

    1. The Reverend Guest

      Every now and then you come across a post so asinine, so lacking in self awareness, and so bordering on "they must be joking, nobody is THIS challenged" that you have to close your eyes, tilt your head to the heavens, and plead with whichever deity is listening to spare humanity from further pollution of the gene pool. This post.

      I can only muster the effort to ask this one question:. Why are you here?

    2. The Reverend Guest

      Common people! It should be easy to get top tier AC status since the Aeroplan search engine is so flagrantly rigged to route you on AC flights come hell or high water. Sure, the "dynamic pricing" will cost you everything you own (also, is it "dynamic" when the cost stays the same?..... E.g. OUTRAGEOUS?)

      Take a page out of 1st world problem's playbook and use your time more wisely (trolling)

  14. atll0707 New Member

    I still remember the days when the lounges were quiet, exclusive places. That is no longer the case. They all seem so hectic now that I barely want to go in. The Amex Centurion lounges are a case in point. With so many traveling now, the size of lounges no longer can accommodate the many people who qualify, and that directly devalues elite status. Upgrades have also been devalued. The modus operandi should be to...

    I still remember the days when the lounges were quiet, exclusive places. That is no longer the case. They all seem so hectic now that I barely want to go in. The Amex Centurion lounges are a case in point. With so many traveling now, the size of lounges no longer can accommodate the many people who qualify, and that directly devalues elite status. Upgrades have also been devalued. The modus operandi should be to find out who’s cheapest in the market, buy yourself a nice drink at the airport bar and simply walk on the plane.

  15. Austin Guest

    Every airline needs to reign in access to lounges. There are simply too many who qualify, and it should be reserved only for people who buy first or business class seats, or have much higher status. I actually think they should do away with credit cards that give access. If you get say two free passes a year that's one thing, but letting so many enter defeats the purpose of a lounge.

  16. J-F Gauthier Guest

    This is SO welcome. Lounges at YYZ are incredibly crowded, even more so than the regular terminal, with people incessantly peering in every corner to find a seat.
    When too many people have access to a perk, it’s not a perk anymore.

  17. Frances Guest

    disappointed to say the least - I get that the lounges are overcrowded but why still allow access to Aeroplan credit card holders while cutting genuine frequent flyers.

  18. michael pacitti Guest

    Finally, the lower level free riders that keep jamming the system will be gone. They should incorporate types of lounge.

  19. Paul Ignacik Guest

    What's the difference? I can't even access my aeroplan account at all and there is no contact available to troubleshoot it.

    Just another ripoff and I will be canceling my Aeroplan visa card as a result

    1. PD Guest

      Yes i will be cancelling my Visa Infinite Privilege not worth what we pay. Can pay for atleast 4 lounge Access. Their eupgrades are fake as well. When you want to get an upgrade you have to pay for a higher clas ticket or it is not eligible Aeroplan rip off ever since Air Canada too over

  20. Alex R Guest

    Guess I'll be traveling with West jet form now on

  21. MrMiles Guest

    As a AC SuperElite and MM flyer I’ve been commenting all year to AC that they need to curtail lounge access because of overcrowding. Glad to hear they have finally acted. It’s about time. Next move is to get them to stop selling J-Class upgrade for cash instead of making them available for Aeroplan members through their E-Upgrade policy. Pretty sure their Aeroplan marketing doesn’t say “earn benefits so we can sell them from under your feet at the last min”.

    1. Pauline Guest

      Oh boy, do I hear you. 50k status with over 100 eUpgradeCredits and still waiting to hear if I will be upgraded from Premium Economy to Business Class for my flight to Paris 4 days from now. They’re now trying to get me to bid for an upgrade for cash. What good are the eUpgradeCredits if they’re trying to sell the seats elsewhere within my accessibility window?

  22. Roger Grondin Guest

    This might be the last straw for me. I travel extensively internationally and have found it hard now to earn my SQDs. I've blow through the SQM limits, but as most of my flights are with AC partners with no SQDs awarded.

    For years I was a super elite member, now I have issues reaching the 35k. Aeoplan/AirCanada rewards plan was already useless, this change makes it more so. I will get my Gold status...

    This might be the last straw for me. I travel extensively internationally and have found it hard now to earn my SQDs. I've blow through the SQM limits, but as most of my flights are with AC partners with no SQDs awarded.

    For years I was a super elite member, now I have issues reaching the 35k. Aeoplan/AirCanada rewards plan was already useless, this change makes it more so. I will get my Gold status with another airline's point system. Access to the Lounge is never an issue btw, as I normally travel Business Class.

    I was also surprised recently when I purchased tickets as a wedding present. I paid for the tickets, but was not allowed to collect the points.

  23. GiFe36 Guest

    How is 50k easy to get? 50 k miles or 50 flight segments and 6k spent. If you fly to NYC, Chi, and Bos regularly, hard to achieve miles, you need segments. I wouldn't say easy. Always relative to work schedule. 50 flights a year is a good chunk of flying.

  24. Murph Guest

    I’m a 35k member. For my job, I travel within Canada about every 3 weeks. My job takes me to almost every province. And to the US about 3-4 times per year. Therefore I use AC a fair bit and qualify for 50k on $ spent, but usually just miss for miles/segments. I tend to overpay for flights to use AC instead of a less expensive alternative. I consider the lounge access the perk that keeps me loyal. Without it, I’m going to be forced to consider other options.

    1. Steve Fleck Guest

      I'm about the same as you for travel. Prior to the pandemic, I would typically pull up just short of 50k status. Now this first year back to normal it's the same. I'll be just short again this year. I do like the Lounge access - but I noticed a HUGE difference from before the pandemic to starting earlier the year - the Lounges were always VERY crowded and busy whereas before they had never been that way.

  25. Stephen Bot Guest

    Perfect.

    It's the star alliance gold members that matter. No star Alliance gold member wants to stand in line for a lounger in Canada. Which happens all the time.

    1. Cedric Guest

      Agreed but 50k is way too easy to get with AirCanada.

  26. Darren C Diamond

    Yes, *G should be a minimum for entry, not *S (25Ks and 35Ks).

    The AC lounge in LGA is very nice but the AC YYZ lounge is a dump. The full-fare F AC Signature Suite is awesome but sometimes I use e-upgrades TATL so I am stuck in the dumpy, crowded main int'l lounge, the café, or the express. Thankfully 35Ks will no longer be allowed unlimited entry in those but they still get 2 passes, just as 25Ks can (as a Select Benefit).

  27. Rob Durant Guest

    Finally!
    As a super elite million miler, I often find myself skipping the lounge because it is too busy.
    It use to be a nice quiet get-away and I find myself finding an empty gate are to sit and wait for my flight.
    They can pull back on how many lounge passes sold per day,

  28. dmg9 Guest

    The Lounge -

    Please all and you please none.

  29. George 50K Guest

    That decision is unreasonable!
    On every flight AC thanks all the Aeroplan members, and encouraging people to join.
    For what ??
    Definitely one of the perks is the lounge. Quiet, more comfortable seating, relaxing.
    Maybe I don't travel at the "prime" times, but I have only seen the YVR lounge with lines.
    So for the Super Elite, let them in .. keep a few seats available, AC knows how many...

    That decision is unreasonable!
    On every flight AC thanks all the Aeroplan members, and encouraging people to join.
    For what ??
    Definitely one of the perks is the lounge. Quiet, more comfortable seating, relaxing.
    Maybe I don't travel at the "prime" times, but I have only seen the YVR lounge with lines.
    So for the Super Elite, let them in .. keep a few seats available, AC knows how many people in an terminal have the access.
    Might have to pay for other lounges to have access. And not fly AC.
    BTW I am 50K

  30. Robin Guest

    I think part of the overcrowding problem is related to premium Aeroplan credit cards providing access (regardless of status). I hope I am wrong but I wonder if it will only have a relatively minor effect.

    1. Todd Scheven Gold

      You're not wrong.

    2. Pauline Guest

      How is that any different from buying memberships to Maple Leaf lounges? [I know they are currently suspended due to overcrowding.] Have you seen what these premium cards charge? At least $699 p.a.

  31. Gene Guest

    I remember when lounges were only available to actual fare paying first and business class passengers. Good times!!

    1. tipsyinmadras Diamond

      Resentful of elite benefits for loyalty much?

  32. Dex Guest

    Who gives a crap. The lounge quality at Pearson is second rate at best. Rather pay to access Plaza (yes bya a Aeroplan 35k member).

  33. Tom Guest

    Completely agree! All the NA airlines give too much access to the lounges. It’s awful and not very worthwhile for those that fly over 200K/year. It’s actually much more pleasant to wait at the gates these days . Of course FCL is better but I inexistant in Canada sadly. Only LX out of YUL.

    1. tipsyinmadras Diamond

      US airlines in particular are in fact extremely stingy with lounge access - very few other places I can think of where airlines don’t even give their own top elites lounge access.

  34. Marco Guest

    Thank God I left Aeroplan long time ago. I joined Aegean from Greece and I love it..I get my gold every year and I can access any Star Alliance lounges around the world.

  35. GT Guest

    With respect to those who travel and gain points, as a 100k++ traveller per year plus a 2MM lifetime on AC I do not appreciate being told that the Lounge is full when I am travelling through. I wondered why it was so busy. Now I know and appreciate AC amending this.

  36. Never In Doubt Guest

    Super Elite?

    Apparently, Double Secret Probation Elite didn’t make the cut.

  37. Terry Quinn Guest

    The E75 and SE flyers are the ones flying the most and giving AC their revenue base. In my view these two tiers should be able to access the lounges regardless of capacity issues. This would require AC to put in electronic "gates" to the lounges for better access control.

  38. Cedric Guest

    You can get acess to the maple leaf lounge with a credit card...so not sure this will help with over crowding.

  39. Air Canada 35K status holder Guest

    This is very sad, not enough Air Canada prices are highter, but the ecrwdits do nothing to bump up your ticket, as so many credits are required PLUS you still have to add over $150 dollars to your already high ticket price. Very sad news, not everyone gets company paid flights, this is inot appeing at all. Guess it is time to take a harder look at Westjet.

  40. Paul Guest

    Air Canada living up to its customer motto “We’re not happy until you’re unhappy.”

  41. Anthony Diamond

    It's funny - I've long said the only way to reduce lounge crowding on a broad level is an economic recession. It looks like this upcoming recession may not even be enough to truly reduce lounge crowding based on what we see in terms of travel demand...

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Just Hototo Guest

My visa Infinite Privilege can get me unlimited to the lounges, but honestly, foods there are getting worse. There was many times we chose to eat in restaurant before entering the lounge just for drinks.

0
Russell Guest

The excuse regarding lounge crowding is just that - an excuse. If you do not have access the counter attendants will happily sell you a pass - even if that means that Elite members are going to get told the lounge is at capacity.

0
Jeff Guest

Doesn't matter to me as I'm not even 25k but I do have an Amex Aero Reserve card so I get unlimited use of maple leaf lounges anway without needing status.

0
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