2015 Air Canada Altitude changes
Several changes have been made to Air Canada Altitude™ for 2015. These changes are being introduced following a thorough benchmarking exercise in order to competitively position Air Canada alongside the world's leading carriers. Air Canada remains committed to offering one of the world's best frequent flyer programs.
Minimum Air Canada Flight Requirement
The Minimum Air Canada Flight Requirement needed to reach Altitude status for 2016 is increasing. The Minimum Air Canada Flight Requirement refers to the minimum number of Altitude Qualifying Miles or Altitude Qualifying Segments that must be flown on flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada rouge in order to reach any Altitude status level.
500 Mile Minimum
The 500 Mile Minimum privilege will no longer be in effect. For travel from March 1, 2015 all Altitude members will earn a minimum of 250 miles for flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express, Air Canada rouge and Star Alliance™ member airlines.
eUpgrades to Business Class
For eUpgrade requests made on or after March 1, 2015, the number of eUpgrade Credits required to upgrade will be increasing. Furthermore, the number of eUpgrade Credits Altitude members can earn through Threshold eUpgrades is changing.
Click on the following geographic markets to see the number of eUpgrade Credits required for eUpgrade requests made as of March 1, 2015:
- Within Canada and between Canada and the U.S.
- Between Canada and sun destinations
- Between Canada and Europe, the Middle East or South America
- Between Canada and Asia or Australia
Introducing eUpgrades to Premium Economy
In early 2015, Altitude members will be able to access the comfort of Premium Economy using eUpgrade Credits when travelling on an eligible fare. eUpgrade Add-ons will not apply for these upgrades. Stay tuned for more information regarding eUpgrades to Premium Economy later this year.
Effective March 1, 2015, Altitude Super Elite™ 100K members will be entitled to share their eUpgrade privilege with one eUpgrade Nominee, while maintaining their ability to share their privileges with Travel Companions. The eUpgrade Travel Companion privilege allows members to upgrade one companion who is traveling on the same reservation. Plus, members can also upgrade one additional companion not travelling on the same reservation, but on the same flight, at the airport on the day of departure.
eUpgrade Validity Date
eUpgrade Credits earned on or after November 7, 2014 will be valid until February 29, 2016. Additionally, eUpgrade Credits earned on or after November 1, 2015 will be valid until February 28, 2017.
In early 2015, a new streamlined boarding process will be introduced to ensure that Altitude members get even more out of their Priority Boarding privilege.
Complimentary access to International Maple Leaf Lounges and Star Alliance Business Lounges
Altitude Elite™ 35K members will no longer have the option to choose complimentary access to International Maple Leaf™ Lounges and Star Alliance Business Lounges as part of their Select Privileges. Instead, members will be able to select a 50% discount on any Maple Leaf Club membership. As part of their Core Privileges, they will continue to enjoy the comfort and amenities of select Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges located in the domestic and trans-border departures zones of Canadian airports, along with those in Los Angeles and New York (LaGuardia).
Details on Maple Leaf Club Memberships.
Altitude Elite 50K members will not only enjoy complimentary access to more Preferred Seats with the purchase of a Flex fare for travel within North America, but will also receive a 50% discount on the Preferred Seat fee with the purchase of a Flex fare booked for travel from Canada to an international destination. The expanded access to Preferred Seats is currently available. More details.
Altitude Elite 35K and Altitude Prestige™ 25K members will enjoy access to more Preferred Seats at a 50% discount on the Preferred Seat fee with the purchase of a Flex fare for travel originating in Canada. The expanded access to Preferred Seats is currently available. More details.
Introducing Flight Rewards for Premium Economy
In early 2015, Aeroplan® and Altitude members will be able to redeem their Aeroplan Miles for seats in the Premium Economy cabin on Air Canada. Details will be coming soon.
Fuel Surcharge on Flight Rewards
For ClassicFlight Rewards made as of March 1, 2015, the flight reward fuel surcharges for travel within Canada and between Canada and the U.S. will be waived for Altitude members. This is applicable on flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada rouge.
Furthermore, at the same time, the ClassicFlight Rewards fuel surcharges for travel between Canada and other international destinations will be waived for Super Elite 100K members on flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada rouge.
Flight Reward change fee waivers
Aeroplan® Flight Reward change fee waivers for Super Elite 100K members will be no longer be available for changes made on or after March 1, 2015.
Priority Rewards will be limited to ten (10) reservations per eligible Altitude member, per benefit period beginning March 1, 2015. Super Elite 100K members are able to book a combined total of ten reservations in both Economy and Business Class. In the event that Aeroplan ClassicFlight® Reward seats are completely booked, Priority Rewards offer access to additional seats on flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada rouge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following a thorough benchmarking of major international airlines' upgrade practices, the number of eUpgrade Credits required to upgrade is being adjusted. While the requirements for eUpgrade requests made as of March 1, 2015, will be higher than those currently in market, Air Canada Altitude members will still benefit from one of the most flexible and generous complimentary upgrade programs in the industry. Most airlines limit complimentary international upgrades solely to their highest membership tier, and often severely limit the number of upgrades a member may request over the course of a year. Furthermore, most airlines typically only allow complimentary upgrades from full fares (equivalent of Air Canada's Latitude and Premium Economy fares) on international markets.
Air Canada also allows all Altitude members to upgrade from a wide array of eligible booking classes with the use of eUpgrade Credit amounts that are established according to market and mileage zone. This includes the ability to upgrade from Flex fares on international flights through the use of eUpgrade Credits and Add-ons, allowing Altitude members the flexibility to choose where and when they wish to use their eUpgrade privilege.
For eUpgrade requests made as of March 1, 2015, all Altitude members will now be able to upgrade from the M and U booking classes on international markets, as well as from the M, U, and H booking classes on the domestic, transborder and sun markets. The inclusion of these booking classes within the 'higher Flex' eligibility category actually decreases the number of credits required to upgrade flights on certain markets when compared to 2014. This also increases eUpgrade eligibility for Prestige 25K and Elite 35K members, who were not eligible to upgrade from these booking classes prior to March 1, 2015.
Although the number of eUpgrade Credits required for most upgrades to Business Class will be increasing, there will not be any changes to eUpgrade Booking Windows, nor will Air Canada remove any of the currently eligible fares. Prestige 25K and Elite 35K members will gain the ability to upgrade from U booking classes on international flights, which they are not currently able to do.
All Altitude members will also be able to upgrade from U and H fares for fewer credits than they do today for domestic, transborder and sun markets.
The number of eUpgrade Credits a member can earn through their Select Privileges is not changing. However, we have revised the credits awarded through the Threshold eUpgrades program. These changes were made in order to better align with other major international airlines' upgrade policies in terms of how many complimentary upgrades would normally be earned each year.
No. Any upgrade requests by 2014 Altitude members made prior to March 1, 2015 will be honoured, even if travel is after March 1, 2015. All current upgrade eligibility and transferability rules will apply through February 28, 2015.
While our plan is to have eUpgrades to Premium Economy available in early 2015, we are working hard to launch before the end of 2014. This change will allow you to request eUpgrades on all Air Canada flights featuring a Premium Economy cabin, as well as on all Air Canada rouge flights featuring a Premium rouge cabin, including those to international destinations such as Europe, Asia and South America.
Minimum Air Canada Flight Requirement
The change to the Minimum Air Canada Flight Requirement is to ensure that Air Canada properly recognizes frequent flyers who show strong loyalty to the Air Canada brand. This policy is similar to those found in many other frequent flyer programs, and continues to allow for the ability to earn Altitude Qualifying Miles on the extensive network served by the Star Alliance member airlines.
There is no impact to Altitude qualification for the 2015 benefit year (starting March 1, 2015) — the 2014 Minimum Air Canada Flight Requirement rules continue to apply. Should you reach a higher Altitude status over the course of 2015, we will continue to recognize you right away through our Early Recognition privilege based on the current Minimum Air Canada Flight Requirement (10,000 AQM / 5 AQS).
For the 2016 benefit year (starting March 1, 2016), members will qualify based on flight activities made between January 1 and December 31, 2015, which will include the new Minimum Air Canada Flight Requirement.
For example, if you currently hold Elite 35K status and have already qualified for Elite 35K status in 2015, your status in 2015 will not be impacted by the above changes. Should you increase your flying and reach 50,000 AQM in June 2015, but have only flown the equivalent of 10,000 AQM on flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express or Air Canada rouge, you will earn Elite 50K status for the remainder of 2015. However, in order to secure your Elite 50K status in 2016, you will need to earn a minimum of 25,000 AQM or 25 AQS on flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express or Air Canada rouge.
As lounge occupancy grows, many of our lounges are at capacity levels. And while we continue to invest in many lounge expansion projects, the reality is that in many locations, additional space is simply not available. At the same time, benchmarking shows us that our eligibility polices are still over-indexed as compared to many of our competitors. In particular, access to lounges is not a privilege offered by most international airlines at the 35,000 qualifying miles level. We have therefore modified our policy whereby Elite 35K members will continue to have access to Maple Leaf Lounges located in the domestic and trans-border departure zones, as well as those in Los Angeles and New York (LaGuardia). However access to International Maple Leaf Lounges or Star Alliance Business lounges will no longer be available as a Select Privilege. Instead, an option to purchase a Maple Leaf Club membership with a 50% discount will be introduced.
Our Altitude members have requested time and again that fuel surcharges be waived for Aeroplan Flight Rewards. In an effort to ensure the sustainability of such a privilege, the decision was taken to replace the Aeroplan Flight Reward change fee waivers with what members have told us they consider a much more significant benefit: the waiver of the fuel surcharges on eligible redemptions. For reservations made as of March 1, 2015, all Altitude members will therefore benefit from a waiver of the fuel surcharges on ClassicFlight Rewards for travel on flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada rouge within Canada and between Canada and the U.S. Additionally, at the same time, Super Elite 100K members will enjoy a fuel surcharge waiver on ClassicFlight Rewards for travel between Canada and international destinations on flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada rouge.
The relationship of miles earned and flying behaviour is an important element of our program. On certain short-haul routes, this relationship is skewed when the number of miles earned is rounded up. This change will help to better align the program earning capacity with the distance flown (and fare family purchased).
As of March 1, 2015, you will earn a minimum of 250 miles on flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express, Air Canada rouge and the Star Alliance member airlines. You will however be able to benefit from promotions such as Earn Your Wings, a promotion exclusive to Altitude members, and other special Altitude offers that will allow you to accumulate thousands of Bonus Aeroplan Miles.
The Priority Reward privilege is one of the most unique elements of the Air Canada Altitude program. Very few other airlines in the world offer a similar benefit, likely because the cost to the airline is very high. Our members have told us they highly value this privilege, and we remain committed to preserving it. That said, we have noticed a small number of occurrences where extremely high volumes of Priority Reward claims are disproportionally increasing the overall cost of providing this privilege. By implementing a maximum of 10 Priority Reward reservations per year using this privilege, we estimate that the vast majority of members (indeed over 95%) will be entirely unaffected. This cap will help us maintain a benefit we know is widely appreciated by our very best members.
Compare the Program
As the leading international North American airline, Air Canada continues to deliver privileges to its members that are commensurate to its status as a 4-star airline. In addition to unique privileges such as a global Concierge service, Priority Rewards and exclusive partner offers, Air Canada Altitude continues to offer one of the most flexible and generous upgrade programs within the industry, access to many of our lounges starting at 35,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles/35 Altitude Qualifying Segments as well as a significant complimentary baggage allowance. Consult the chart outlining how the privileges awarded to Air Canada Altitude members compare to those awarded by a cross-section of other leading European, Asian and American airlines.