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Air Canada eUpgrade program (October 2020 onwards) [read wiki BEFORE asking question]

Air Canada eUpgrade program (October 2020 onwards) [read wiki BEFORE asking question]

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Old Sep 27, 22, 4:19 pm   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: Adam Smith
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Q: What is an eUpgrade?
A: eUpgrades (sometimes referred to as eUps) are a benefit of elite status with AC that allow elites to upgrade to a higher cabin (business class / Signature class, a.k.a. J, or premium economy, a.k.a. PY or PE).

Q: Are eUps automatic, like on Delta/AA/United?
A: No, you have to request one online or with a phone agent. You have to have sufficient eUpgrade credits, with an expiry date at least equal to the date of your flight, to make the request. If you dont request an eUp, AC has no problem letting you sit in your original cabin, even if it means letting seats in J/PY go out empty.

Q: How many eUpgrade credits do I need for my flight?
A: Here's the official eUp chart (last updated by AC on Oct 2 2020; current as of at least July 2022)

Q: When can I request an eUpgrade?
A: You can request an upgrade as soon as you book the flight with the exception of the travel companion benefit (person on same flight but not on same PNR; see below for details). Travel companion eUpgrade requests need to be made by airport staff after the flight opens for check-in.

Q: When can I confirm (or "clear") my eUpgrade?
A: You have to be within the "clearance window" that applies to your status and fare type. The windows are detailed in the AC eUp requirements document.

Q: Can you be more specific?
A1, for flexible fares (Latitude and Premium Economy Flexible): You can confirm an eUpgrade immediately after booking, SUBJECT TO UPGRADE SPACE BEING AVAILABLE.
A2, for non-flexible fares (Standard, Flex, Comfort, Premium Economy Lowest): You have to be within the clearance window in the document linked above, which ranges from 3-14 days, depending on fare brand, route, and status.
Exception: if you have no status, you can only clear an upgrade on a flexible fare 3 days in advance, and on a non-flexible fare cannot clear before the gate

Q: The AC website tells me whether my upgrade request will be confirmed or waitlisted. Is it reliable?
A:
No. The website may tell you youll be waitlisted, when in fact your upgrade will be confirmed right away. Or it may say theres space available even though youll be waitlisted. This is true of both the upgrade availability displayed during the booking flow as well as the eUpgrade website. The only exception being that if youre outside your clearance window, the website should pretty reliably tell you that youll be waitlisted.

Q: I see a lot of people talking about "R space" or "R0", what does that mean?
A:
In short, R is the fare bucket Air Canada uses to make eUpgrade space available. If R is greater than zero, there are eUp spaces still available. If R = 0, then anyone who's requested an eUp will be waitlisted.

Q: I only want to upgrade to Premium Economy?
A:
Replace "R" with "N".

Q: Im waitlisted on a flight thats R0. Will AC release more R space before the flight? Do I have to wait until the flight to find out whether Im upgraded?
A:
AC might release more R space tomorrow (or clear your upgrade without creating any R space). Or they might never clear any more upgrades on that flight. If youre still waitlisted, your upgrade may clear at the gate.

Q: What does at the gate mean?
A:
The upgrade list is typically processed 5 minutes after check-in for the flight closes. Check-in generally closes 45 minutes before domestic flights and 1 hour before international flights, meaning the upgrade list gets run at T-40 or T-55, as applicable. Even if your upgrade doesnt clear at that point, its theoretically possible to still be upgraded, if someone else in the cabin doesnt show up, although once you board, its unlikely an agent will come on and upgrade you even if a spot did open up see this thread.

Q: How can I find the R space for my flight?
A:
Using a paid service like ExpertFlyer. If you ask nicely and don't overdo it, many FTers with EF accounts will help you in the Official Fare Bucket Check Request Thread.

Q: So, WHEN should I check for R space for my flight?
A:
This depends on both your status, and what kind of fare you have, so please read and keep in mind the confirmation windows mentioned above.
But if you have (or are about to purchase) a flexible fare (Latitude and Premium Economy Flexible), then by all means check nowsince your upgrade could also clear immediately. If your plans are flexible, this can be a useful strategy to help find specific flights that could clear immediately well before the normal confirmation windows.

If you dont have one of the flexible fares mentioned, R space viewed on something like ExpertFlyer is only useful when you get close to your confirmation window. Checking before that is probably a waste of time.

Q: I heard a rumour that paid Latitude fares can eUp even when R=0. Is this true?
A:
Sometimes; it's complicated. Senior execs at Aeroplan have said that in some cases a Latitude or PE Flex cash fare might clear an eUp even when R=0, but they've also been very clear that they will not be releasing the exact method by which this is determined, and that the same thing is less-often true for award Latitude / PE Flex. In other words, it may happen but don't assume it.

Q: My flight shows R=1 (or more), and I'm within my window, but my upgrade has not cleared.
Answer depends on how close you are to the flight.
  • Within 36 hours of departure Your upgrade can't clear until the gate.
  • More than 36 hours from departure: Cancelling the request and then requesting again may solve it. Or you may be able to solve it by phoning in. Or you may not, because it's AC.

Q: What are my chances of clearing an eUp for [FLIGHT] on [DATE] if I have [STATUS]?
A:
All we can do is make an educated guess. Lots of business travel gets booked last minute, or pilots need to reposition, or any of a dozen other things that might turn J9 into J0 just before departure.

Q: But the seat map shows [x] seats occupied. Surely that means my odds are [good][bad]?
A: STOP LOOKING AT THE SEAT MAP. STOP LOOKING AT THE SEAT MAP. STOP LOOKING AT THE SEAT MAP.

Seriously, stop looking at the seat map. The seat map is not an accurate guide to the number of seats available in the cabin. Many people do not select their seats when booking, which can mean more seats have been sold than show as occupied on the seat map. On the other hand, due to IT glitches, seats are sometimes shown as blocked when there are waitlisted eUps or staff members on passes (see this thread for details). So the seat map may show more seats available than there truly are, or fewer. Or it may be correct. Theres no way to know for sure.

So stop looking at the seat map.

Q: I see people talking about "Aerolotto", what is that? Can I bet eUps?
A:
Aerolotto is a slang term for waiting at the gate to see if your eUp clears, or you're stuck in the original seat you paid for.

Q: Im booked in economy on an aircraft with both PY and J cabins. Can I request an upgrade to both?
A:
No, you can only request an upgrade to one cabin.

Q: Can I confirm an upgrade to PY, then request an upgrade to J?
A:
Nope. Once you confirm a PY upgrade, thats it.

Q: If I dont clear my upgrade to J, can I get upgraded to PY?
A:
Yes, if your upgrade doesnt clear until the gate, you will be on the list for both J and PY.

Q: When do eUps expire?
A:
If earned before July 1 of a calendar year, they will expire January 16 of the following year. After that, they will expire January 16 of the year after that. For example, an eUp earned on June 10, 2022 would expire on January 16, 2023. An eUp earned on July 3, 2022 would expire on January 16, 2024.

Q: I want to use my eUp credits to upgrade somebody else. Is this possible?
Are they on the same booking (PNR) as you?
  • Yes: You can upgrade a maximum of two passengers on a booking. If the booking has more than two passengers, you can't request an upgrade for any of them, before the day of travel. You can split the booking so that it has at most two passengers, then upgrade it, although splitting bookings can come with other negative consequences.
  • No, but theyre on the same flight: You can request the upgrade at the airport on the day of travel; AC refers to this as upgrading a "travel companion".
  • No, and theyre not on the same flight: No, unless youre Super Elite. If youre Super Elite, you can designate a nominee, and you can upgrade this person on any flight theyre on. Your nominee selection stays in effect until the end of the status year, and you only get one per status year. You cannot upgrade anyone else on your nominee's PNR.

Q: What's the maximum number of people I can upgrade on a flight
Are you Super Elite?
  • No: 3 (yourself + one person on the same PNR + travel companion)
  • Yes: 4 (yourself + one person on the same PNR + travel companion + nominee)
Q: If I request an eUp and it doesn't clear, I don't lose the credits or the co-pay, right?
A:
Correct. You're only charged if you get upgraded.

Q: I want to upgrade my flight on date X, but all my eUps expire on date Y, where Y < X. Can I upgrade?
A: NO. To eUp any flight, at any time, you need to have credits that are still valid on the date of the flight.

Q: Can I use eUps on partner flights?
A:
No, only on flights operated by aircraft with "Air Canada" written on the outside.

Q: Can I use eUps if I credit my mileage on an Air Canada flight to another airline?
A:
To request an eUpgrade, your Aeroplan number has to be on the file. Crediting to another FFP requires changing your Aeroplan number after check-in.

Q: Can I use eUps on an Air Canada operated flight that was booked through a partner?
Answer depends on what type of booking you have made.
  • Revenue tickets (i.e. not points): Yes, but with some complexity as to when and how you can request the upgrade.
    Is your AC flight a codeshare (a flight marketed by the other airline but operated by AC, e.g. marketed as UA5678, operated by AC as AC1234)?
    • No: you should be able to request it as usual via the eUp site
    • Yes: you can eUpgrade that -- but not before the day of the flight. You may only request an upgrade with an Air Canada agent at the airport, or at the departure gate on your day of travel.
  • Points tickets (United MileagePlus, Avianca Lifemiles, etc): No. These tickets cannot be upgraded.

Q: Are eUps guaranteed once they're confirmed?
A:
Not quite. For example, you won't get bumped out of an eUp just because somebody with higher status requested one after yours was confirmed. However, in very rare circumstances, such as if your plane gets swapped for one with a smaller business cabin, you might lose your eUp.

Q: What is the priority for upgrades?
A:
Upgrade priority at the gate, as written by canadiancow:
  1. Cabin: If you're in PY, you're ahead of everyone in Y
  2. Status: SE 2MM+ with credit card > SE 2MM+ > SE MM with credit card > SE MM > SE with credit card > SE > 75K 2MM+ with credit card, etc. If two passengers are on the PNR, the priority might be based on the highest status, regardless of who requested the upgrade, per this post
  3. "Fare": Brand comes first (PF > PL; LT > CO > FL > ST), so a low Comfort fare is higher priority than Flex M. Within a brand, fare class matters. If you bought your ticket through another airline, and you don't have a brand, they infer a brand based on the fare class.
    Fare class hierarchy:
    • PY fares: O > E > N > A
    • Y fares: Y > B > M > U > H > Q > V > W > S > T > L > K > G
  4. Check-in time: As indicated by your sequence number

Upgrade priority prior to the gate is similar, with possible exceptions for full-fare (Latitude / Premium Economy Flexible) bookings. In the old system, a 25K on a Latitude fare would be ahead of a SE on a Premium Economy Lowest fare prior to the gate. Time of upgrade request replaces check-in time.
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Old Sep 22, 22, 1:31 pm
  #2956  
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Programs: Aeroplan
Posts: 125
Is it possible to see the green checkmark on the upgrade list while still sitting in the lounge and get the lounge dragon to just print your new boarding pass to avoid the mess at the gate altogether with the 100 people crowding the desk waiting to board while the gate agent is trying to do upgrades and musical chairs ?
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Old Sep 22, 22, 1:37 pm
  #2957  
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Originally Posted by TheViperOne View Post
Is it possible to see the green checkmark on the upgrade list while still sitting in the lounge and get the lounge dragon to just print your new boarding pass to avoid the mess at the gate altogether with the 100 people crowding the desk waiting to board while the gate agent is trying to do upgrades and musical chairs ?
Yes, though some don't like to do it.

But your mobile BP should update.
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Old Sep 22, 22, 1:43 pm
  #2958  
Moderator, Air Canada; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
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Originally Posted by TheViperOne View Post
Is it possible to see the green checkmark on the upgrade list while still sitting in the lounge and get the lounge dragon to just print your new boarding pass to avoid the mess at the gate altogether with the 100 people crowding the desk waiting to board while the gate agent is trying to do upgrades and musical chairs ?
You should get an e-mail and/or text message about the upgrade clearing too.

As the cow said, some lounge agents don't like to do it, but I think if you just tell them you're having problems with your phone and would like to print a BP, rather than mentioning your upgrade clearing, you'll be less likely to encounter resistance.
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Old Sep 22, 22, 2:36 pm
  #2959  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 147
Thanks for the thoughtful responses.
I might as well do my upgrade request now as suggested.
i did try to cancel my request when I saw there was only one seat left. For some reason it didnt happen. Probably me as I was a bit stressed as our connecting flight was very late.
I understand some of the issues but clearly not well enough. Not being able to merge the files back seems to be a key obstacle.
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Old Sep 22, 22, 3:01 pm
  #2960  
Moderator, Air Canada; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
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Originally Posted by john2003 View Post
I might as well do my upgrade request now as suggested.
i did try to cancel my request when I saw there was only one seat left. For some reason it didnt happen. Probably me as I was a bit stressed as our connecting flight was very late.
It doesn't always work online anyway, or perhaps the issue was you were too close to then flight. An agent can definitely do it, so if that's what you're trying to do, best to talk to someone.

I understand some of the issues but clearly not well enough. Not being able to merge the files back seems to be a key obstacle.
Unfortunately this is another fundamental problem with the way the back ends of these systems are built. AC, UA, WS, I don't think anyone can actually merge a PNR. Amadeus (what AC uses) allows them to be linked, which does actually convey some useful benefits, although sadly not the ability to eUp someone.
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Old Sep 23, 22, 9:54 am
  #2961  
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 10
While it is clear from the FAQ that AC is happy to let J/PY seats go empty, I am curious to know *in practice* how common it is for those with status (which) to get moved up without an eUp request when J/PY seats are empty? New to AE since April (75k at moment) and I am finding the co-pay quite steep for Flex international bookings. Personally I've only once been bumped to J on AC LHR-YUL back when I was crediting to UA, curiously one month after a strongly worded complaint to AC about another flight.
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Old Sep 23, 22, 10:40 am
  #2962  
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Originally Posted by mileender View Post
I am curious to know *in practice* how common it is for those with status (which) to get moved up without an eUp request when J/PY seats are empty?
Exceptionally uncommon.

It's only done for operational issues (weight and balance, overbooked in the back, etc.), and staff have priority over passengers (who have not requested an eUp) in those scenarios.
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Old Sep 24, 22, 1:17 pm
  #2963  
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Join Date: Dec 2019
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How long does it typically take for the SQD from an eUp co-pay to post? Figured it would post at the same time as the flight did, but nope. Few days I suspect?
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Old Sep 24, 22, 1:45 pm
  #2964  
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We're sorry, we're not able to process your eUpgrade request at this moment. This may be because:
  • We've encountered a technical issue
  • Your flight is outside the eUpgrade credits validity period
  • There has been a recent change to your Aeroplan Elite Status
The flight is in December. I have hundreds of credits. I was SE. I am SE. I will still be SE.

I called in, and the agent ran into a similar issue... or so she thought. It did actually go through when she made the request.
canadiancow is offline  
Old Sep 24, 22, 3:26 pm
  #2965  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Once again making me wonder how much load is being put on agents / Concierges for stuff that should 'just work' on the website or in the app.

Let alone actual customer frustration and/or stress.
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Old Sep 24, 22, 5:21 pm
  #2966  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by sha8192 View Post
It turned out that they wanted to downgrade P2 back to Y, quoting system issue where the upgrades were given by mistake. I immediately pointed out that the two pax didnt make it because they missed checkin deadline, but the staff said they were at the gate and checked in.
The check-in cut-off time is when the computer will close the flight for check-in. But flights can always be re-opened for check-in if necessary. Likely what happened is the other passengers arrived in FRA on another flight and they could not fully check in at their origin airport, so had to do it at the transfer desk or the gate, which happened after the upgrades processed. But they are fully entitled to the seats in the O cabin if they were already confirmed in it.
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Old Sep 25, 22, 4:07 pm
  #2967  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 27
I have 93 e-upgrades that expire in January. I don't have space for any more travel this year and I'm only 75K, so I don't think I can transfer them to someone else. Any suggestions of how I can spend them? Is there any other way to spend them?

One note - we're flying to Brazil in October and have a layover at YYZ. We booked our tix with latitude + e-upgrades so it seems like we don't have access to the signature lounge... can we use e-upgrades to get in the signature lounge?
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Old Sep 25, 22, 4:11 pm
  #2968  
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Programs: Aeroplan
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Originally Posted by jman8888 View Post
I have 93 e-upgrades that expire in January. I don't have space for any more travel this year and I'm only 75K, so I don't think I can transfer them to someone else. Any suggestions of how I can spend them? Is there any other way to spend them?

One note - we're flying to Brazil in October and have a layover at YYZ. We booked our tix with latitude + e-upgrades so it seems like we don't have access to the signature lounge... can we use e-upgrades to get in the signature lounge?
Getting a premium Aeroplan credit card will allow you to carry over 50 to next year so long as youve qualified for some form of status next year (at least 25k).

You could generously offer to upgrade one person at the gate each time you fly with your credits. Other than that you cannot transfer them to someone else.
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Old Sep 25, 22, 4:14 pm
  #2969  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 27
Flying with my wife every time we fly, so I don't think I could even offer someone an upgrade at the gate...
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Old Sep 25, 22, 4:15 pm
  #2970  
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Programs: Aeroplan
Posts: 125
Originally Posted by jman8888 View Post
Flying with my wife every time we fly, so I don't think I could even offer someone an upgrade at the gate...
You can upgrade one other person in addition to your wife day of at the gate only. Spread the Xmas cheer around if you truly cant use them.
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Last edited by TheViperOne; Sep 25, 22 at 4:30 pm
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