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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 Oct 2, 20, 12:23 pm
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Originally Posted by Plumber View Post
Other interesting point is that when upgrades some down to the gate, companions on your reservation get your status at the gate for priority.
I can see this benefiting some while many solo flying SEs would not be happy.
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Old Oct 2, 20, 1:03 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by Plumber View Post
Other interesting point is that when upgrades some down to the gate, companions on your reservation get your status at the gate for priority.
My reading of it was that companions will clear with you regardless of when it happens not just at the gate. .

"...upgrade requests for companions travelling on your reservation will clear with the priority of your Altitude status including at the airport."
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Old Oct 2, 20, 1:04 pm
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by FlY2XS View Post
My reading of it was that companions will clear with you regardless of when it happens not just at the gate. .

"...upgrade requests for companions travelling on your reservation will clear with the priority of your Altitude status including at the airport."
That is correct but the part of at the airport is new.
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Old Oct 2, 20, 1:35 pm
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by mileageking View Post
I can see this benefiting some while many solo flying SEs would not be happy.
Don't see how much this would affect SEs. It is we LEs (aka Lowly Elites) who just had a bunch of folks slipped in line ahead of us on the upgrade list.
AND before anyone chimes in that nobody will be flying, this is the new standard and will still be in place once aircraft volumes get back close to normal. Remember, with reduced flights, that will happen long before total flying volumes return.
In essence this is stretching out the benefit differences for the mid tiers. The eUpgrade credits and ability to upgrade are one of the biggest differentiators amongst them from my point of view, and this just made them more valuable to many.
I can see why they did it, just disappointed that it is to my detriment.
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Old Oct 2, 20, 1:52 pm
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Plumber View Post
That is correct but the part of at the airport is new.
Yes, this is an important distinction. It always worked this way in the reservations system.

During EYW, I've sometimes had an E35K on my PNR sponsor the upgrade though. Does this mean my priority is now 35K at the gate?

That's a general issue I've seen. On United, if non-GS PlusPoints are applied to a PNR with a 1K and a Platinum, both pax are treated as Platinum. It doesn't matter where the points came from.

On AC, before the gate, the sponsor's status was all that mattered. If that carries through to the gate, it could be detrimental in some cases.

That being said, it's going to make me feel a lot better about going to the gate with a UA*G on my PNR.

You win some, you lose some.
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Old Oct 2, 20, 2:54 pm
  #21  
 
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So pls help me out because I don't understand exactly what has changed. If you try to upgrade companion at the Airport today, they are priorized by their own status not yours?
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Old Oct 2, 20, 4:51 pm
  #22  
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Originally Posted by FlY2XS View Post
So pls help me out because I don't understand exactly what has changed. If you try to upgrade companion at the Airport today, they are priorized by their own status not yours?
If SE and a companion are on the same PNR, the companion does not inherit SE status, and so you can have the two people and number 1 and 9 on the list.

After the changes, they'll both have the same priority, so they'd be 1 and 2.

If you're talking about someone on a separate PNR, it's by their own status, and that is not changing.
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Old Oct 2, 20, 6:24 pm
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by Plumber View Post
Interesting- starting Tuesday Oct. 6 you can request the upgrade when you book your flights... then the upgrades clear automatically at your upgrade window ( remains 14 days for Se in NA and 7 days for SE for Intl.) or later if no upgrade seats are available at the upgrade window.

At upgrade window, upgrades clear by fare first (Lat and Prem Econ. Flexible) then by status (For same status members Priority is done by fare).
I guess I am disappointed by this - because as an avid FT member, I know the rules and have usualy manage to grab scarce R space at the opening second of my window. Now it will be easy for everyone!
Presumably the automatic clearing at the window will also be based on time of booking (where the other factors mentioned above are equal)?
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Old Oct 2, 20, 6:40 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by tomvancouver View Post
I guess I am disappointed by this - because as an avid FT member, I know the rules and have usualy manage to grab scarce R space at the opening second of my window. Now it will be easy for everyone!
Presumably the automatic clearing at the window will also be based on time of booking (where the other factors mentioned above are equal)?
Could be time of booking, could be time of request (which may not be the same), could be arbitrary.

But you're now talking about a situation where they've cleared it down to R1, and then there are two people with the same status, credit card, and fare class. Yes, it can happen, but I wouldn't be too worried.
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Old Oct 2, 20, 8:11 pm
  #25  
 
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I wonder what will happen to the eUp requirements for an Economy award ticket that's currently booked into an X fare bucket that behaves like Flex but isn't.

Will it require a co-pay like Flex, or like Standard?
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Old Oct 2, 20, 8:15 pm
  #26  
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Originally Posted by YOWgary View Post
I wonder what will happen to the eUp requirements for an Economy award ticket that's currently booked into an X fare bucket that behaves like Flex but isn't.

Will it require a co-pay like Flex, or like Standard?
"Behaves like Flex" ?

X is lower than Standard.
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Old Oct 2, 20, 8:31 pm
  #27  
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One interesting point from the new eUp chart as regards the overall new program: seems that although reward tickets will now book in to essentially the same families as revenue tickets, there won't be a Comfort bucket for reward tickets? Although it also looks like they'll be rolling out Comfort internationally.
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Old Oct 2, 20, 8:58 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
One interesting point from the new eUp chart as regards the overall new program: seems that although reward tickets will now book in to essentially the same families as revenue tickets, there won't be a Comfort bucket for reward tickets? Although it also looks like they'll be rolling out Comfort internationally.
It's not really clear what Comfort would entail on a reward, given what Flex already has.

I noticed the international part too, but I wouldn't assume the presence of Comfort in the chart means there are any plans to actually roll it out. Just that the loyalty team is being more proactive than usual :P
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Old Oct 2, 20, 9:20 pm
  #29  
 
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Could be time of booking, could be time of request (which may not be the same), could be arbitrary.

But you're now talking about a situation where they've cleared it down to R1, and then there are two people with the same status, credit card, and fare class. Yes, it can happen, but I wouldn't be too worried.
Yup, having to SEs in PY lowest on the same fare class (there's only 2), how do they determine which which one gets it? I'm assuming the Aeroplan black card can come into play as well, but I'm guessing it would still be who requested it first (i.e. from the original booking)

Also like that the add-ons are pretty reasonable from PY, and there's the same schedule for all international flights.
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Old Oct 2, 20, 9:27 pm
  #30  
 
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If I read this right, it's Y/B/O (likely processed by status, but all the way down to P25K), and then processing by status (SE MM, SE, E75 MM E75 etc.) with priority given to Aeroplan black card holders and booking class (in sequence) if status is the same.

But unlike T < 24, where check-in is a tie-breaker, there's no clear timing tie-breaker here (like request time), and it's not clear what role status plays in to Y/B/O.

As of October 6th, 2020, you can request an upgrade at any time. Once your clearance window opens, if upgrade space is available, your upgrade will be confirmed. If no upgrade seats are available, you will be automatically put on a waiting list for an upgrade. If a Business Class seat becomes available up to 24 hours prior to your flight, upgrades will be assigned as follows:
  • Altitude members holding a reservation with Latitude (Y and B booking class) and/or Premium Economy Flexible (O booking class) fares
  • Altitude members holding a reservation in all other eligible booking classes
    • For members holding the same Altitude status, priority is given to the member holding highest eligible booking classes
https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/...s/request.html
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