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Qualifying for Aeroplan Elite Status - overview/FAQ

Old Jan 4, 23, 8:47 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
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Air Canada also operates an unpublished VIP program.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 12, 22, 4:46 am
  #271  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: ARN
Programs: AC, Marriott
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Originally Posted by ChristiCyvr View Post
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.
There is no answer for codeshares, it varies
TechnoTourist is offline  
Old Nov 12, 22, 8:45 am
  #272  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 320
Thanks to the experts for your patience and the explanation. It sounds like I should only expect 313 SQM on the YEG-YYC leg, which would put me at 50,006 SQM for the year and allow me to squeeze through. But it certainly feels uncomfortable tight.

It sounds like there may be a chance I only get 100% on the YEG-YYC leg if it posts as Flex. And if the estimated distance YYC-PHX is out by 4 miles or more, I'll also fall short. Should I book a refundable YEG-YYC or YEG-YVR turnaround for late December just in case?
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Old Nov 12, 22, 9:09 am
  #273  
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Originally Posted by The Ivory Actuary View Post
Thanks to the experts for your patience and the explanation. It sounds like I should only expect 313 SQM on the YEG-YYC leg, which would put me at 50,006 SQM for the year and allow me to squeeze through. But it certainly feels uncomfortable tight.

It sounds like there may be a chance I only get 100% on the YEG-YYC leg if it posts as Flex. And if the estimated distance YYC-PHX is out by 4 miles or more, I'll also fall short. Should I book a refundable YEG-YYC or YEG-YVR turnaround for late December just in case?
I wouldn't bank on the YEG-YYC coming in at 125%. It's probably more likely that than 100%, but who knows.

The 1221 is solid though. When the calculator tells you the source is "Aeroplan", that means someone has given us the distance in the new (post-2020) program.

Rather than just booking a pure MR, can you change or upfare an existing ticket to add a connection or increase your SQM earning?
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Old Nov 12, 22, 9:22 am
  #274  
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Originally Posted by The Ivory Actuary View Post
...Should I book a refundable YEG-YYC or YEG-YVR turnaround for late December just in case?
I'd find the cheapest refundable MR you can as a backup. If you need it, sucks but that's life. If not, just cancel and move on.

Whenever I see a seat sale I just do a mass booking of commuter trips for work based on the dates with a refundable fare, then I decide the week before if I want to use it or not.
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Old Nov 12, 22, 1:39 pm
  #275  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 320
Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
I wouldn't bank on the YEG-YYC coming in at 125%. It's probably more likely that than 100%, but who knows.
Hmm, now you've got me worried. I went back over my travel history this year..

I did YEG-YYC-LHR in PE in October and was credited 313 SQM for the YEG-YYC leg. Looking back at my receipt, the fare class was B for YEG-YYC and A for YYC-LHR. Looks like the 125% COS multiplier on the YEG-YYC leg was from Latitude (B) (On this sample of size n=1,I had incorrectly concluded that when the class of service booked was not available, the higher COS bonus would apply to the entire booking).

For my upcoming to PHX, the fare class is showing as M for the YEG-YYC leg - which makes me believe I'll only get 250 SQM for the leg, leaving me 57 SQM short!

This is the only AC itinerary I have booked for the rest of 2022, and I'm flying with an infant so leaving at 6am to squeeze in a connection via YVR and DEN doesn't sound very appealing. Looks like I'd better find that super cheap MR or buy another $10,000 of gift cards on my Aeroplan Visa.

Sincere thanks to everyone who helped me catch this. I would have been so disappointed if I missed out by 57 SQM!

ETA: Ooooh, I could do YEG-YVR-PHX in business the whole way for the same price. It means a 6am departure out of YEG with an 18 month old, but that would definitely put me over the line. Also much less risky than doing a short MR to YVR around Christmas and having to call Mrs Actuary to say I'm stuck at YVR because of weather.
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Last edited by The Ivory Actuary; Nov 12, 22 at 2:01 pm
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Old Nov 16, 22, 2:40 am
  #276  
 
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Looking towards next year, a large portion of my travel is in the APAC region that AC does not fly to. There's no chance that AC will ticket other *A flights that don't originate or terminate in Canada, eh? Mostly looking for ways to accrue SQD, will probably have enough SQM rolled-over from previous years.
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Old Nov 16, 22, 3:37 am
  #277  
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Programs: AC SE, Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite
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Originally Posted by mistytalon View Post
Looking towards next year, a large portion of my travel is in the APAC region that AC does not fly to. There's no chance that AC will ticket other *A flights that don't originate or terminate in Canada, eh? Mostly looking for ways to accrue SQD, will probably have enough SQM rolled-over from previous years.
I wish they would allow some sort of SQD roll over (maybe 1-5k) for folks that actually flew this year to maintain status....
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Old Nov 16, 22, 10:24 am
  #278  
 
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As a data point, last week I flew GRU-YUL-YYZ in PY(A). The YUL-YYZ booked as latitude B as there was no PY. I received 125% for all legs.
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Old Nov 16, 22, 10:58 am
  #279  
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
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I flew several itineraries that credited at 125%, but one at 100%. I am still trying to get the 78 SQMs/LQMs (the case has been handed over, according to customer service).

Originally Posted by 172pilot View Post
As a data point, last week I flew GRU-YUL-YYZ in PY(A). The YUL-YYZ booked as latitude B as there was no PY. I received 125% for all legs.
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Old Nov 16, 22, 11:17 am
  #280  
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Originally Posted by mistytalon View Post
There's no chance that AC will ticket other *A flights that don't originate or terminate in Canada, eh?
Generally, no. You can ask a TA or try to force something through with Matrix, but if you're trying to buy a TG flight from BKK to CGK, let's say, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to get that on AC stock.

Originally Posted by 172pilot View Post
As a data point, last week I flew GRU-YUL-YYZ in PY(A). The YUL-YYZ booked as latitude B as there was no PY. I received 125% for all legs.
Originally Posted by TTC900Rocket View Post
I flew several itineraries that credited at 125%, but one at 100%. I am still trying to get the 78 SQMs/LQMs (the case has been handed over, according to customer service).
J and PY fares aren't all going to ticket as Latitude on legs without a J/PY cabin though. Nothing in the fare rules or on the AC website says you're entitled to 125% on a Y segment just because you booked a J or PY fare.

For anyone booking such an itinerary, the safe assumption is 100% SQM, and be happy if you end up with more.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 10:39 pm
  #281  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Class of service bonus on Jazz

Hello,

If an AC domestic business class ticket has a segment in a plane with no J cabin, is 150% still awarded? For example: YYZ-YYC-YCD. The second segment is a rather long DH4 flight. I know it accrues 115% in comfort, but am not sure what happens if the ticket is business. Would I get 150% or 100% (because there is no business cabin)? I think I used to get 150% on my YXU-YYZ flights but I cannot remember and I stopped using YXU a long time ago. Thanks!

Last edited by cavitron; Nov 21, 22 at 10:39 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Nov 21, 22, 11:08 pm
  #282  
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It will not be 150% since you are not flying that segment in Business. You will likely get 125% as a Y/B fare.
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Old Nov 21, 22, 11:39 pm
  #283  
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Originally Posted by cavitron View Post
Would I get 150% or 100% (because there is no business cabin)?
Extensive discussion about that in the last few posts of this thread, which is why I moved your post here. Definitely not 150%; expect 100%, be happy if you end up with 125%, is my advice.
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Old Nov 23, 22, 11:28 pm
  #284  
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Toronto, ON
Programs: AC SE100K, Star Alliance - Gold, Bonvoy-Titanium, Hilton-Gold, Avis-President's Club
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Originally Posted by HerpaYvr View Post
I had 628SQD needed for my next Priority reward, like you, I wanted the 1 Plus 1 Bonus for 2, so I did YLW-YUL-YLW on a MAX in Flex and upgraded to J. Had dinner in Montreal, Mmmmm smoke meat sandwiches

For YYZ both YVR and YYC/YEG are usually cheap for Flex
with this, how much will i receive the sqd?


Sqd is $400 or $538?
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Old Nov 24, 22, 1:55 am
  #285  
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 31
Originally Posted by Flyingbunny88 View Post
with this, how much will i receive the sqd?
Sqd is $400 or $538?
You'll get 400 SQD from that flight.
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