Altitude Top Tier Program

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Why is Air Canada making changes to qualification to the Top Tier program?

The tier structure of the Air Canada Top Tier program has remained largely unchanged since the launch of Super Elite over a decade ago. To that end, in order to better recognize and reward our customers, we are introducing a redesigned Top Tier program in 2013, including a new name – Air Canada Altitude – for the program, along with the introduction of two new tier levels, and a realignment of some of the privileges offered upon earning 35,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 35 Altitude Qualifying Segments. These changes will enable Air Canada to continue to reward its most loyal customers and deliver one of the leading tier programs in the marketplace.

Do these changes affect my 2012 Air Canada Top Tier status?

These changes do not affect your 2012 Air Canada Top Tier Status. The new tier levels and the associated benefits are being introduced for the 2013 benefit year beginning March 1, 2013. The qualification levels mentioned can be achieved based on your eligible 2012 flight activities.

Learn more about the 2012 Air Canada Top Tier program.

When does Air Canada Altitude launch?

Air Canada Altitude – the new name for the Air Canada Top Tier program – will come into effect on March 1, 2013, the beginning of the 2013 benefit year.

What’s changing with Air Canada Altitude in 2013?

Benefits enjoyed by members who typically qualified for Air Canada Prestige and Air Canada Super Elite status will not be impacted. As mentioned, though, new benefits will be unveiled, with more details provided later in 2012.

Members who typically qualified for Air Canada Elite will notice a change to the qualification levels and some of the associated benefits:

  • Members who qualify with 35,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles will have a revised benefit program. Note that members who earn 35 Altitude Qualifying Segments will also have access to this tier status, an improvement from today where they would qualify for Prestige benefits.
  • Members who qualify with 50,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 50 Altitude Qualifying Segments, or 75,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 75 Altitude Qualifying Segments, will enjoy a benefit program similar to the 2012 Elite program, with additional incentives.
Why were the changes to the Top Tier program first announced with so much advance notice?

Given the introduction of two new tier levels, along with the realignment of certain benefits, Air Canada decided to announce the program in December 2011 in order to give members appropriate advance notice regarding the changes. As the qualification period for Air Canada Altitude status in 2013 begins January 1, 2012, we wanted to ensure that our customers had an overview of the new program ahead of this date.

What are the key changes to the 2013 benefit program for those members earning 35,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 35 Altitude Qualifying Segments?

With the changes for the 2013 program, members achieving this tier will be entitled to Star Alliance Silver recognition, which replaces Star Alliance Gold. To that end, as priority baggage handling is a core Star Alliance Gold benefit, it will no longer be offered to members achieving this tier level on Air Canada flights. In addition, members will have access to select Maple Leaf Lounges located in the domestic and transborder departure zones of Canadian airports, along with those in Los Angeles and New York, LaGuardia. However, members will still be able to choose complimentary access to international Maple Leaf Lounges and Star Alliance Business Lounges as a Select Privilege. Additionally, these members will be entitled to upgrades using eUpgrade Credits:

  • From Flex and Latitude fares, for travel within North America (including sun destinations)
  • From Latitude and select Flex fares, for travel to international destinations

Members will continue to enjoy such benefits as Air Canada priority airport & reservation services, Priority Rewards, three complementary checked bags on Air Canada flights and more.

Why are changes being made to benefits like Star Alliance Gold recognition and international upgrade eligibility for members earning 35,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 35 Altitude Qualifying Segments?

The decision to introduce these types of changes for members earning 35,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 35 Altitude Qualifying Segments (now known as Altitude Elite 35K) was not taken lightly. Given the economic realities of offering these types of benefits, while striving to maintain profitability for our premium products such as international Executive First service, we took this opportunity to reposition how we reward our members within our new tier structure. Realigning these benefits to members earning at least 50,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 50 Altitude Qualifying Segments was important both financially and competitively. That being said, we have retained many of the key benefits these members have enjoyed over the past several years, such as upgrades from Flex fares within North America, Priority Rewards and much more.

Why will members earning 35,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 35 Altitude Qualifying Segments not have access to international Maple Leaf Lounges?

This change relates to the management of capacity for the International Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges located in the international departures zones of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, as well as Maple Leaf Lounges located in Paris and London (both the London departure and Arrivals Lounge). These lounges have been unable to appropriately handle the volume of our high-value customers, which diminishes the premium experience we strive to offer. This change is also consistent with most other global frequent flyer programs which only allow lounge access as of the 50,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles. Despite this change, note that Altitude Elite 35K members will have the ability to access these international lounges when they choose international Maple Leaf Lounge and Star Alliance Business Lounge Access and/or Maple Leaf Lounge One-Time Guest Passes as part of their Select Privileges. Of course, these members will continue to have access to Maple Leaf Lounges located within domestic and transborder departure zones of Canadian airports, along with those located in Los Angeles and New York, LaGuardia.

The benefit program for members earning 50,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 50 Altitude Qualifying Segments seems very similar to the 2012 Elite program. What expanded benefits will reward my loyalty for flying more with Air Canada and the Star Alliance member airlines to achieve this tier?

For the 2013 program, members earning 50,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 50 Altitude Qualifying Segments (now known as Altitude Elite 50K) will be entitled to the benefits that they’ve come to enjoy with 2012 Elite status. On top of this, they will be rewarded with:

  • Improved upgrade priority
  • Additional eUpgrade Credits
  • Threshold incentives for achieving Altitude Qualifying thresholds
  • Expanded partner offers in the works
  • Other travel benefits in the works, which will be unveiled over the course of 2012
The benefit program for members earning 75,000 Status Miles or 75 Status Flight Segments seems very similar to the 2012 Elite program. What expanded benefits will reward my loyalty for flying more with Air Canada and the Star Alliance member airlines to achieve this tier?

For the 2013 program, members earning 75,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 75 Altitude Qualifying Segments (now known as Altitude Elite 75K) will be entitled to the benefits that they’ve come to enjoy with 2012 Elite status. On top of this, they will be rewarded with:

  • Improved upgrade priority and access to Preferred Seats
  • Additional eUpgrade Credits
  • Threshold incentives for achieving Altitude Qualifying thresholds
  • Accelerated earning of Bonus Aeroplan Miles for eligible flight activities
  • Expanded partner offers in the works
  • Other travel benefits in the works, which will be unveiled over the course of 2012
Why are the number of eUpgrade Credits awarded to Altitude Super Elite 100K members as part of the Threshold eUpgrade program being decreased?

Threshold eUpgrades offer all Altitude members unparalleled access to the Executive cabin. In particular, Altitude Super Elite 100K members can enjoy many system-wide upgrades through this program, unmatched anywhere in the industry. In the interest of preserving the profitability for our premium products such as international Executive First service, we took this opportunity to redistribute the number of eUpgrade Credits earned at the various threshold levels, offering an even larger bonus for those members earning over 200,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles each year. Additionally, they will be able to earn more eUpgrade Credits when choosing their Select Privileges.

Why will Altitude Prestige 25K members no longer have access to the eUpgrade Nominee privilege?

This change was introduced in order to better balance the upgrade for the companions of all Altitude members, and the availability of seats in the Executive cabin for Altitude members themselves. Altitude Prestige 25K members will continue to enjoy the benefit of being able to upgrade one travel companion, traveling on the same reservation with them.

How do these changes position the Air Canada Top Tier Program versus the frequent flyer programs of other major airlines?

Air Canada continues to offer an industry-leading reward proposition to members who earn 35,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 35 Altitude Qualifying Segments (now known as Altitude Elite 35K). Similar to other airlines, these members will enjoy priority services at the airport, such as priority check-in and priority boarding, along with Star Alliance Silver recognition when traveling across the Star Alliance network. Unlike most programs, though, our members will also enjoy complimentary lounge access with Air Canada through our network of North American Maple Leaf Lounges, along with the option to choose worldwide Star Alliance lounge access. Add to that an accelerated earning of Bonus Aeroplan Miles for eligible flight activities and three complimentary checked bags on all Air Canada flights, and our members enjoy privileges well beyond members with similar travel frequency who opt to fly with other airlines.

Furthermore, members achieving at least 50,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 50 Altitude Qualifying Segments (now known as Altitude Elite 50K) enjoy an unparalleled complimentary upgrade privilege on international flights with our eUpgrade program, unmatched at that tier level by any other major international carrier. Members achieving 100,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 95 Altitude Qualifying Segments also enjoy our exclusive Concierge service, along with the industry-leading Priority Rewards benefit which offers top access to Aeroplan Flight Reward seats for no mileage premium. All of this, complemented by our threshold programs, Star Alliance Gold recognition and other new benefits currently in the works, reflects how Air Canada delivers a highly competitive set of rewards, designed to recognize the unique needs of Canadian travelers.

How can I accelerate my qualification for Air Canada Altitude in 2013?

As part of the 2012 Air Canada Top Tier program, Air Canada Elite and Super Elite members have the option to choose Bonus Altitude Qualifying Miles as a Select Privilege. These Altitude Qualifying Miles can bring them towards higher recognition for the Air Canada Altitude program in 2013. Note that these Altitude Qualifying Miles do not count towards the Air Canada Minimum Flight Requirement.

Will I still need to travel a minimum amount with Air Canada in order to achieve Air Canada Altitude status in 2013?

Yes. In order to achieve Air Canada Altitude status in 2013 at any tier level, members will need to earn at least 10,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 5 Altitude Qualifying Segments on eligible flights operated by Air Canada or Air Canada Express (operated by Jazz, Air Georgian Limited (doing business as Air Alliance), Exploits Valley Air Services LTD or Sky Regional Airlines). Note that Altitude Qualifying Miles earned in conjunction with an Unlimited Flight Pass count towards the Air Canada Minimum Flight Requirement. However, Bonus Altitude Qualifying Miles earned through promotional activities do not.

Based on my flight activities over the course of 2012, can I still enjoy early Top Tier status recognition, prior to the 2013 benefit year?

Yes. Although we are introducing new qualification levels for the Air Canada Altitude program in 2013, you will still be able to enjoy early status recognition in the 2012 Air Canada Top Tier program. When you earn:

  • 35,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 50 Altitude Qualifying Segments, including the applicable Air Canada Minimum Flight Requirement, prior to October 15, 2012, you will be awarded 2012 Air Canada Elite status immediately, valid through February 28, 2013.
  • 100,000 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 95 Altitude Qualifying Segments, including the applicable Air Canada Minimum Flight Requirement, prior to October 15, 2012, you will be awarded 2012 Air Canada Super Elite status immediately, valid through February 28, 2013.

You will also qualify for Air Canada Altitude status in 2013, based on the total number of Altitude Qualifying Miles and Altitude Qualifying Segments earned by the end of 2012.

How can I ensure that I am receiving the most up-to-date information regarding the Air Canada Altitude program?

Details on the Air Canada Altitude program will be provided on an ongoing basis. To stay connected, ensure that:

How do these changes affect the status awarded as part of my qualification towards the Million Mile program?

Members who have earned Million Mile recognition will continue to enjoy benefits similar to those awarded upon their initial qualification:

  • If your status is to never fall below Elite, in 2013 you will be entitled to the same recognition as those members who reach Altitude Elite 50K. Of course, you will still be entitled to qualify for a higher level of recognition based on your annual flight activities
  • If your status is to never fall below Super Elite, in 2013 you will be entitled to the same recognition as those members who reach Altitude Super Elite 100K

The Million Mile Program will not change, including the special benefits awarded to qualifying members. All of the terms and conditions of the Million Mile Program continue to apply.

How is Air Canada Altitude different from the Aeroplan Program?

Air Canada Altitude is designed to recognize Air Canada's most frequent flyers with a range of priority travel services, lounge access and upgrades to Executive Class. Aeroplan is Canada's premier coalition loyalty program, which offers a wide range of ways to earn and redeem Aeroplan Miles with over 150 partners. Air Canada Altitude members will continue to benefit from Air Canada's partnership with the Aeroplan Program, and will still be Aeroplan members. As today, the Altitude Qualifying Miles earned on eligible flights with Air Canada and the Star Alliance member airlines, which counts towards Air Canada Altitude status, are also redeemable Aeroplan Miles.

How does this impact my accumulated Aeroplan Miles?

There is no impact to the Aeroplan Miles you’ve accumulated in the past, or will accumulate in the future. These miles will continue to give you access to a range of rewards, including flights, merchandise and more.

Remember, to achieve Air Canada Altitude status, you need to earn Altitude Qualifying Miles or Altitude Qualifying Segments on eligible flights operated by Air Canada and Star Alliance member airlines. Altitude Qualifying Miles are also Aeroplan Miles.