Aeroplan, the loyalty program of Air Canada, came out with a pretty cool set of benefits for its members. In addition to extending the status of all existing members for another year (just like Delta and United, one of Aeroplan’s members) there are several unique perks I haven’t seen elsewhere.
I have never been an Aeroplan elite member, but I do keep miles in their program because Aeroplan is an excellent redemption option if you earn Membership Rewards points from American Express.
Earning and Keeping Elite Status
Be assured that anyone who already earned Aeroplan Altitude status for 2020 will see it extended automatically through 2021 with no requirement to earn it again this year. That would have been difficult with all the current travel restrictions in place.
If you are able to earn status, don’t feel like your efforts have gone to waste. Aeroplan will let you gift whatever status you earn this year to someone else. So if you have Elite 50K status, that will be extended through 2021. But if you manage to fly enough this year to at least qualify for Elite 35K status, you can give that to a friend or family member.
But wait, that’s not all! You can continue to progress toward elite status even while you sit at home on the couch. Every 5 Aeroplan miles that you donate to a charity fighting the current crisis (through April 30, 2020) will earn you 1 Altitude qualifying mile. You can earn up to 25,000 Altitude qualifying miles that will count toward your 2021 status.
Earning Altitude status still requires enough Altitude Qualifying Dollars, but for non-Canadian members (the majority of this site’s readership) that threshold is 50% lower. You could theoretically transfer Membership Rewards points from American Express to Aeroplan, donate to charity, and get yourself a good chunk of the way toward elite status. A full list of Aeroplan Altitude benefits is available online.
Change and Cancellation Policies
Like many other carriers, Air Canada is offering change fee waivers for disrupted flights. You can also get a waiver on the redeposit fee for award bookings made with Aeroplan miles. Any award ticket can be cancelled through April 30 to receive all the miles back in your account without a fee, as well as a refund of any taxes or fees.
And if you have miles currently sitting in your account, you don’t have to worry about them expiring through May 14, 2020. That’s not a very big window, but hopefully things calm down by then and you will feel more comfortable making plans for future travel. Remember, you don’t have to fly by May 14, just book your ticket.