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Qualifying for Aeroplan Elite Status - overview/FAQ

Old Jan 4, 23, 8:47 am
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Last edit by: ffsim
How can I qualify for elite status on AC?

There are four main ways to qualify for status:
  • Earn a sufficient number of SQM/SQS/SQD (sometimes collectively referred to as SQx on FT) to qualify for status
  • Achieve Everyday Status Qualification, which requires only earning 100K qualifying Aeroplan points (EDQ) in a calendar year to earn 25K status
  • Be gifted status from an existing member. Super Elite may choose as a select benefit to gift an E50 package and E75 can gift an E35 package
  • Through the Chase Aeroplan credit card, which:
    • Grants 25K status for the year in which its first obtained, and the following year; after that, 25K status can be maintained by spending US$15K on the card in a calendar year
    • Allows you to boost your status one level by spending US$50K on the card in a calendar year
There are also reports of status being given through the following methods. There is no published criteria or even rhyme or reason that has been detected given limited data points..
  • Some have received E25 through their Canadian credit card provider. TD specifically did issue some E25 packages one year

For further questions on Everyday Status Qualification or the Chase cards, please see the threads dedicated to those topics, which are linked above.


What are the levels of status?

The Aeroplan Elite program has five published levels of status:
  • 25K
  • 35K
  • 50K
  • 75K
  • Super Elite

Before the late-2020 revamp of the Aeroplan program, the 25K level was formerly known as Prestige 25K, the three middle tiers were known as Elite 35K / Elite 50K / Elite 75K, and Super Elite was Super Elite 100K. You may see the terms P25K, E35K, E50K, E75K, and SE100K on FT as references to the former branding (sometimes minus the K, e.g. P25).

Air Canada also operates an unpublished VIP program. Unlike UA GS, AA CK, and DL 360, it is not possible to qualify for VIP through flying. ACs VIP program is targeted at a different audience that would not normally qualify for a high level of status through their own level of flying. For example, they might award VIP status to the CEO of a large corporation that buys a lot of travel from AC. Those curious about the VIP program can visit that thread; no discussion of the VIP program will be permitted in this thread.


What are the qualification requirements?

For the level you want to qualify for, it is necessary to the requirements for:
  • SQM OR SQS; and
  • SQD

The requirements are:
  • 25K: 25,000 SQM / 25 SQS / 3,000 SQD
  • 35K: 35,000 SQM / 35 SQS / 4,000 SQD
  • 50K: 50,000 SQM / 50 SQS / 6,000 SQD
  • 75K: 75,000 SQM / 75 SQS / 9,000 SQD
  • Super Elite: 100,000 SQM / 100 SQS / 20,000 SQD

Beginning in 2022, all members must meet the SQD requirements. (Prior to 2022, non-residents only had to achieve 50% of the SQD requirements).


What are SQM, SQS, and SQD, and how do I earn them?

SQM are Status Qualifying Miles. You earn them by taking flights with AC or Star Alliance airline partners. They can also be earned by spending money on certain Aeroplan credit cards.

For flights, SQM are equal to approximately the distance between the two airports, multiplied by the earning rate for the fare type purchased. For example, Aeroplan calculates the distance from YYC to YYZ as 1,669 miles. A flight in Flex would earn 100% miles, i.e. 1,669 SQM. A flight in Standard would earn 25% miles, i.e. 417 SQM.

Certain credit cards award 1,000 SQM for each $10,000 spent on Core credit cards or $5,000 spent on the Premium "Black" credit cards.

Premium credit cards allow you to roll over up to 200K SQM over the level you qualified for in the previous year. For instance, if you flew 56,700 SQM and qualified for 50K status, you would roll over 6,700 SQM to the following year. Please see this thread for more information about the rollover benefit.

SQS are Status Qualifying Segments. You earn them by taking flights with AC or Star Alliance airline partners. They can also be earned by spending money on certain Aeroplan credit cards.

Each qualifying flight earns 1 SQS; there are no multipliers.

Certain credit cards award 1 SQS for each $10,000 (Core credit cards) or $5,000 spent (Premium credit cards).

There is no SQS rollover.

SQD are Status Qualifying Dollars. These are equal to the base fare plus carrier-imposed surcharges for the ticket. Or you can think of SQD as the total amount paid for the ticket minus taxes and 3rd party surcharges (e.g. airport improvement fees). On receipts from AC, the amount listed as Air Transportation Charges will equal the total SQD for the ticket.

On itineraries with more than one segment, SQD are allocated across the segments based on distance, regardless of what you paid for each segment. For example, if you purchase a YYC-YYZ round trip, each segment (YYC-YYZ and YYZ-YYC) will earn 50% of the SQD, even if you paid different amounts for the two segments. Lets say you paid $300 for YYC-YYZ and $500 for YYZ-YYC (excluding GST, AIFs, etc). The total SQD would be 800, and each segment would earn 400 SQD.

SQD are earned only from flying (one-time promotions aside). Only flights themselves, eUpgrade add-ons, and unlimited flight pass monthly payments qualify. Fees for extra services (e.g. baggage fees, seat selection, on-board purchases, etc) do not count towards SQD.

There is no SQD rollover.


Do all flights qualify for SQx?

No. Many flights do not earn SQx.

Basic Economy fares on AC earn no SQx, although they do earn Aeroplan points.

Points tickets redeemed from Aeroplan or a Star Alliance partner airline do not qualify, even if paying with a mix of cash and points.

Points redeemed from 3rd party loyalty programs (e.g. Air Miles, RBC Avion) have a mixed track record. Be very cautious relying on ANY ticket you purchased through a "points" programme even if previous tickets have earned SQx or the website says it will. The companies operating this can (and have) changed the way they source tickets without notice. The Air Canada Aeroplan T&C explicitly say anything points related does not earn SQx and thus any dispute will almost certainly be denied.
  • Air Miles have generally never posted
  • RBC Avion used to consistently earn SQx but many flights booked now don't earn (see thread)
Certain fares are also ineligible, e.g. consolidator fares, K fares on Lufthansa. If the fare class is not listed on the AC website, it is not eligible for accumulation.

In recent years, AC has added a number of non-Star Alliance partners. Flights on most of these partners only earn Aeroplan points (i.e. no SQx), and some only earn Aeroplan points on certain routes (e.g. Cathay Pacific).

SQD can only be earned on:
  • Flights operated by AC
  • Flights operated by *A partners, ticketed by AC

To illustrate, lets use an itinerary consisting of (i) YYC-EWR, operated by AC, and (ii) EWR-CHS, operated by UA. If this itinerary were purchased from AC, both flights would earn SQD. If purchased from UA, only the YYC-EWR flight would earn SQD.


How do I know how many SQx Ill earn for a given itinerary?

AC doesnt tell you when you book a ticket, but its relatively simple to calculate. The AC website lists all partners, eligible fares, and accumulation rates.

To make life easier, some FTers have built a tool to calculate SQM/SQD earnings, discussed in this thread: Calculator for SQM, Aeroplan miles, & SQD

Important caveat for flights involving partners: miles earned always depends on the operating carrier. This is the airline whose aircraft you are sitting on when you fly. Sticking to the YYC-EWR-CHS example from above, you would earn miles according to the AC accumulation chart for YYC-EWR, and according to the UA chart for EWR-CHS, regardless of which airline sold the ticket and whether the flight is a codeshare.

This can create confusion in several ways:
  • During the booking flow on the AC website, AC displays only the earning rates for AC flights. You may buy a Flex fare thinking you will earn 100% miles, only to find out that on a partner flight you were booked in a fare class that earned less. For instance, if you buy a business class fare involving an intra-Europe flight on Lufthansa in a P fare, the website will show that you'll earn 150% miles, but you will earn only 50% on the Lufthansa leg
  • When booking codeshares, it may be impossible to know the operating carrier's fare class. For instance, the AC website may sell you UA's EWR-CHS flight as "AC5678" and show you an M fare when you select Flex. But you may actually be actually be booked on a UA Q fare and only earn 75% miles
  • When booking AC flights through a partner airline, you may not know the fare brand (Flex, Latitude, etc). United might show you an H fare on YYC-EWR, but this could map to Flex, Standard, or Comfort, and your earning would be impacted accordingly


What are Premium and Core credit cards?

Premium cards are the highest tier Aeroplan credit cards that have an annual fee of around $600 Amex Reserve cards or Visa Infinite Privilege cards from TD or CIBC.

Core cards are mid-tier Aeroplan credit cards with an annual fee of around $120 Visa Infinite from CIBC or TD, the Chase card, or Amexs basic card.
(Much of this Wiki post is based on the Adam Smith FAQ)


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Qualifying for Aeroplan Elite Status - overview/FAQ

Old Jul 17, 22, 1:30 pm
  #136  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 627
Suppose I earned 250k SQM and 20k SQD this year. That's good for SE until the end of 2023 plus one banked year.
Let's say that I want to keep SE for as long as possible, so I will aim to fly 100k SQM and 20k SQD in 2023. That gives me SE until the end of 2024, and I still have one banked year.

I do not currently have a premium CC. But my understanding is that a premium CC allows me to carryover SQM in excess of the status qualification amount.
If I were to obtain one before the end of this year, then is this thinking sound:
- In 2022, my 250k SQM means I roll 150k SQM over so I start 2023 with 150k SQM and 0 SQD.
- I earn 100k SQM and 20k SQD in 2023, giving me 250k SQM and 20k SQD, giving me SE until the end of 2024 but now I have two banked years.
- I roll 150k SQM over to 2024, and repeat.
So once I hit 250k SQM, each subsequent year where I naturally earn 100k SQM and 20k SQD banks me yet another year of SE from the 150k rollover (not to mention all the threshold bonuses as soon as I get the 20k SQD).

Am I missing something here?
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Old Jul 17, 22, 1:41 pm
  #137  
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 55
Originally Posted by vancouver25k View Post
Suppose I earned 250k SQM and 20k SQD this year. That's good for SE until the end of 2023 plus one banked year.
Let's say that I want to keep SE for as long as possible, so I will aim to fly 100k SQM and 20k SQD in 2023. That gives me SE until the end of 2024, and I still have one banked year.

I do not currently have a premium CC. But my understanding is that a premium CC allows me to carryover SQM in excess of the status qualification amount.
If I were to obtain one before the end of this year, then is this thinking sound:
- In 2022, my 250k SQM means I roll 150k SQM over so I start 2023 with 150k SQM and 0 SQD.
- I earn 100k SQM and 20k SQD in 2023, giving me 250k SQM and 20k SQD, giving me SE until the end of 2024 but now I have two banked years.
- I roll 150k SQM over to 2024, and repeat.
So once I hit 250k SQM, each subsequent year where I naturally earn 100k SQM and 20k SQD banks me yet another year of SE from the 150k rollover (not to mention all the threshold bonuses as soon as I get the 20k SQD).

Am I missing something here?
This is right, and my plan as well. This is my first year earning any status, and with rollovers and banked years I should be able to be SE for the next decade+ unless the system changes.

Why do people make it sound like achieving SE is hard or something?
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Last edited by Adam Smith; Jul 17, 22 at 1:55 pm Reason: Remove snark
User8181416 is offline  
Old Jul 17, 22, 1:51 pm
  #138  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 217
I've been trying to find this info about the 250k. Is there an official link from Ac/Aeroplan?
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Old Jul 17, 22, 1:51 pm
  #139  
Moderator, Air Canada; FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: YYC
Programs: AC SE MM, DL PM, WS Silver, BA Bronze, Marriott Titanium, Hilton/Radisson Gold, Accor Silver
Posts: 14,940
Originally Posted by vancouver25k View Post
Am I missing something here?
​​​​​​​No, although if this proves too popular, AC will clearly shut it down, e.g. by reducing the maximum rollover, increasing the SQM required for a banked year, etc.

Originally Posted by User8181416 View Post
Why do people make it sound like achieving SE is hard or something?
Achieving status has never been hard, provided you had no constraints on time or money.

If you have $20K to throw at re-qualifying for SE every year, that's great. Many people don't have the money and/or the time to do that.
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Old Jul 17, 22, 1:57 pm
  #140  
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, UA Gold, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Silver
Posts: 41,080
Originally Posted by User8181416 View Post
This is right, and my plan as well. This is my first year earning any status, and with rollovers and banked years I should be able to be SE for the next decade+ unless the system changes.

Why do people make it sound like achieving SE is hard or something?
Bear in mind that for the first third of this year, every flight you took counted double. For the next third, every flight to/from Europe counted double.
canadiancow is offline  
Old Jul 18, 22, 12:29 am
  #141  
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: SFO, JFK/LGA/EWR
Programs: Alaska 100K, Hyatt Globalist, Marriott Titanium, *A Gold w/ Asiana Diamond, Krisflyer Gold, AC 50K
Posts: 613
As an American, the thought of traveling to the Great North was too off-putting 'cause of cold temps, weather issues at airports, etc... 'til summer... plus there was Omicron, the PCR tests, and random tests on arrival. However, now that I'm starting to figure out the eUpgrade system and consider pursuing status for next year, I find myself wishing I had more than my paltry ~3.5k SQMs bankrolled thus far!
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Old Jul 23, 22, 7:43 pm
  #142  
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 8
Embarrassed that I couldnt find a definitive answer through google, but do AC flights booked with AP points redemption or mix of cash and points on AC website accumulate SQM? I fare in my case if that matters.

What about if flying on another star alliance airline but also booked with points through AC website?

Thanks
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Old Jul 23, 22, 8:43 pm
  #143  
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: YOW
Programs: AC 75K
Posts: 559
Originally Posted by DumbQuestion View Post
Embarrassed that I couldnt find a definitive answer through google, but do AC flights booked with AP points redemption or mix of cash and points on AC website accumulate SQM? I fare in my case if that matters.

What about if flying on another star alliance airline but also booked with points through AC website?

Thanks
No, you dont accumulate any SQx for flights booked using points.
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Old Jul 24, 22, 3:54 pm
  #144  
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Location: Toronto
Programs: AC 50k
Posts: 20
I see a lot of replies where folks have mentioned it's possible to get J for $0.1 per SQM.

I still haven't cracked how to use ITA yet but cursory searches via google flights doesn't get me anywhere close to there - or when it's closer (0.15-0.1) it's with a Tier 3 airline that I wouldn't really consider a real J experience.

Am i missing something - or is the $0.1 for J limited to the Tier3 *A airlines (with the best of the bunch being TAP who is maybe T2-2.5)?

Is there airlines I should watch for, or are folks generally able to make it work with say UA (who are more fare competitive than AC right now for instance) for a true J?

Welcome some feedback/tips as I try to plan trips for Q4/Q1 and ideally get a good J deal to then select the destination.

I know all the travel restrictions into asia have mostly cut that area out so I've been looking at south america/europe primarily.
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Old Jul 24, 22, 4:45 pm
  #145  
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Originally Posted by liquidpop View Post
Am i missing something - or is the $0.1 for J limited to the Tier3 *A airlines (with the best of the bunch being TAP who is maybe T2-2.5)?

Is there airlines I should watch for, or are folks generally able to make it work with say UA (who are more fare competitive than AC right now for instance) for a true J?
Keep your eyes peeled on the Premium Fare Deals section on FT.

They happen, but it's not like $0.1 deals are falling from the sky every day.
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Old Jul 25, 22, 11:06 am
  #146  
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 8
Do mixed cabin cash bookings accumulate SQM in total for the booking fare or are they prorated to the % in each cabin. For example, if I book YYZ-FRA-DXB (through AC, premium economy lowest) and YYZ-FRA is in premium economy (operated by AC) and FRA-DXB is economy (operated by LH), do I get the 125% SQM rate for the entire trip or just the YYZ-FRA segment?
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Old Jul 25, 22, 11:26 am
  #147  
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In that example, I'm 100% confident you'd earn based on economy for FRA-DXB. But my confidence is due to it being operated by LH.

I've seen it go both ways on an all-AC booking, but I have no recent data.
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Old Jul 25, 22, 11:33 am
  #148  
 
Join Date: Jul 2022
Posts: 8
Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
In that example, I'm 100% confident you'd earn based on economy for FRA-DXB. But my confidence is due to it being operated by LH.

I've seen it go both ways on an all-AC booking, but I have no recent data.
Interesting, so its a bit of a crap shoot from the travellers perspective. I wonder why they cant just tell you at the time of booking how much SQM you will earn on your trip.
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Old Jul 25, 22, 11:38 am
  #149  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
In that example, I'm 100% confident you'd earn based on economy for FRA-DXB. But my confidence is due to it being operated by LH.

I've seen it go both ways on an all-AC booking, but I have no recent data.
Hold on there though. Have you actually seen Y segments earn as PY on AC, or are you just alluding to the fact that Latitude happens to earn the same as PY? I know we've seen J/PY fares on Y-only aircraft sometimes book in to Latitude and sometimes in to Flex, but I think we've consistently seen them credit as what they've booked in to.

For instance, on a J fare on a connecting flight with only Y cabin available, I've seen 125% earnings if it credited as Latitude or 100% showing as Flex, but never 150%.

Originally Posted by DumbQuestion View Post
Interesting, so its a bit of a crap shoot from the travellers perspective. I wonder why they cant just tell you at the time of booking how much SQM you will earn on your trip.
They could; they just haven't been bothered to build it. Which is why we built a calculator.
​​​​​​
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Old Jul 25, 22, 11:50 am
  #150  
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Hold on there though. Have you actually seen Y segments earn as PY on AC, or are you just alluding to the fact that Latitude happens to earn the same as PY? I know we've seen J/PY fares on Y-only aircraft sometimes book in to Latitude and sometimes in to Flex, but I think we've consistently seen them credit as what they've booked in to.

For instance, on a J fare on a connecting flight with only Y cabin available, I've seen 125% earnings if it credited as Latitude or 100% showing as Flex, but never 150%.
​​​​​​
I swear I got 150% on an all-Y segment once or twice, but it was years ago. After they went hard on branded fares, but before 1A.
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