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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Air Canada also operates an unpublished VIP program.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 Nov 8, 22, 12:34 am
  #256  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
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I've got a flight at the end of the year that I'm hoping will take me to 35K (Leaving YVR on 29th Dec & arriving BNE on 31st Dec on AC). Am I safe to assume that I'll hit 35K before end of the year? Not sure if there's the usual day or so for the pts to be credited. I basically dont want the pts to spillover into the next year.
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Old Nov 8, 22, 1:07 am
  #257  
 
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Originally Posted by msx7t View Post
I've got a flight at the end of the year that I'm hoping will take me to 35K (Leaving YVR on 29th Dec & arriving BNE on 31st Dec on AC). Am I safe to assume that I'll hit 35K before end of the year? Not sure if there's the usual day or so for the pts to be credited. I basically dont want the pts to spillover into the next year.
Even if it posts late, it should post day of departure and count for this year.
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Old Nov 8, 22, 1:08 am
  #258  
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Originally Posted by msx7t View Post
I've got a flight at the end of the year that I'm hoping will take me to 35K (Leaving YVR on 29th Dec & arriving BNE on 31st Dec on AC). Am I safe to assume that I'll hit 35K before end of the year? Not sure if there's the usual day or so for the pts to be credited. I basically dont want the pts to spillover into the next year.
It won't matter. The SQx will be credited to the date the flight departed, i.e. December 29, 2022, regardless of when it posts.
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Old Nov 11, 22, 11:46 am
  #259  
 
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I recently booked a 014 AC marketed flex ticket - all UA operated, but US/Canada segments are AC codeshare. At time of booking, aircanada.com indicated 100% SQM for the flex booking, but the cowtool PNR viewer indicates 25% earnings on the US/Canada segment and 75% on the US/US segment as per the UA booking class. Could someone clarify what will actually happen in this situation?
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Old Nov 11, 22, 2:01 pm
  #260  
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Originally Posted by mileender View Post
I recently booked a 014 AC marketed flex ticket - all UA operated, but US/Canada segments are AC codeshare. At time of booking, aircanada.com indicated 100% SQM for the flex booking, but the cowtool PNR viewer indicates 25% earnings on the US/Canada segment and 75% on the US/US segment as per the UA booking class. Could someone clarify what will actually happen in this situation?
aircanada.com frequently lies with regards to SQM earning on partner carriers (including codeshares). I'm afraid what the cowtool says is what you will likely be credited with.

Although buried in small print somewhere i think AC admits that the 100% SQM for Flex only applies to AC metal, I am still surprised no one has ever filed a class action lawsuit against them to put an end to this nonsense.
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Old Nov 11, 22, 2:03 pm
  #261  
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I'm pretty sure the cowtool also has a tooltip on those earnings that makes a remark about assumptions and codeshares.

But yes, "brand earnings" only apply to AC operated flights.
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Old Nov 11, 22, 3:23 pm
  #262  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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I think I'll just hit 50K for 2023, but I'll be cutting it fine. Maybe too fine? I would appreciate if anyone can spot a logical gap in my plan.

Currently have 46,857 SQM and $9.9k SQD for the year.

I have an upcoming flight in mid-December YEG-YYC-PHX in paid business. According to the cowtool I should expect 2,211 SQM from that itinerary. 250x1.5 for YEG-YYC (which is single class economy but I bought a business fare so I think the COS bonus still applies) and 1224x1.5 for YYC-PHX.

That brings me to 49,068 SQM and I've just put $10,000 through my 'core' Aeroplan credit card, which should get me a further 1,000 SQM on the statement date, just pushing me over to 50k.

Anything stupid I'm overlooking? I'd rather not have to do a mileage run if I can avoid it, but I also don't want to fall short of 50k by 5-10 SQM.
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Old Nov 11, 22, 4:33 pm
  #263  
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Originally Posted by The Ivory Actuary View Post
I have an upcoming flight in mid-December YEG-YYC-PHX in paid business. According to the cowtool I should expect 2,211 SQM from that itinerary. 250x1.5 for YEG-YYC (which is single class economy but I bought a business fare so I think the COS bonus still applies) and 1224x1.5 for YYC-PHX.
That doesn't sound right. Those segments will likely end up as Latitude or Flex and get 125% or 100%. The cow or I might need to look at that.
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Old Nov 11, 22, 5:33 pm
  #264  
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Would an EL fare in M credit 100%?

I think for AC the calculator completely ignores the fare class if there's a brand available.
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Old Nov 11, 22, 6:05 pm
  #265  
 
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
That doesn't sound right. Those segments will likely end up as Latitude or Flex and get 125% or 100%. The cow or I might need to look at that.
If I booked business, why would I not get the 150% COS multiplier?

Previous bookings in PE which included a YEG-YYC segment have credited at 125%, which I assumed was the PE multiplier. But if I understand your post, it may have been the Latitude multiplier?
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Old Nov 12, 22, 12:36 am
  #266  
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Originally Posted by The Ivory Actuary View Post
If I booked business, why would I not get the 150% COS multiplier?
Because you're not flying in business class for that segment - when there is no business class you get "downgraded" to a Latitude booking class.

Last edited by The Lev; Nov 12, 22 at 6:59 am
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Old Nov 12, 22, 1:20 am
  #267  
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Originally Posted by The Lev View Post
Because you're not flying in business class for that segment - when there i no business class you get "downgraded" to a Latitude booking class.
I'm the days before branded fares, it seemed you were always put in Y, i.e.e Latitude, but I believe we've also seen some J fares show up as Flex M on all-Y legs, hence my comment about 125% or 100%.
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Old Nov 12, 22, 1:33 am
  #268  
 
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
I'm the days before branded fares, it seemed you were always put in Y, i.e.e Latitude, but I believe we've also seen some J fares show up as Flex M on all-Y legs, hence my comment about 125% or 100%.
I fly quite a bit of paid J and in the winter time a lot of the routes out east get expressed to Q400. I havent seen the Flex M yet always Y or B Latitude so far.
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Old Nov 12, 22, 2:02 am
  #269  
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The problem is it's not "Flex M". It's still a business class fare. Flex only exists for economy fares.

I've definitely bought P fares that had segments booked in M class on a DH4. But nothing even remotely recent. My last experience in 2019 credited at 100%.

It wouldn't be too difficult to fix the calculator, but we need to make sure we have the correct logic.
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Old Nov 12, 22, 4:32 am
  #270  
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Originally Posted by The Lev View Post
aircanada.com frequently lies with regards to SQM earning on partner carriers (including codeshares). I'm afraid what the cowtool says is what you will likely be credited with.

Although buried in small print somewhere i think AC admits that the 100% SQM for Flex only applies to AC metal, I am still surprised no one has ever filed a class action lawsuit against them to put an end to this nonsense.
I usually book directly with UA rather via AC codeshare. UA allows me to know the fare class before paying and I can manually calculate how much SQM I will get. If I book from AC codeshare, I do not know how to find out the fare class before payment. If someone enlightens me I would greatly appreciate it.
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