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AC Lounge Access - physical locations and rules (2022 onwards)

AC Lounge Access - physical locations and rules (2022 onwards)

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Old Sep 19, 22, 7:40 am   -   Wikipost
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Last edit by: canadiancow
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This wiki will attempt to cover the ability to access various lounges operated by AC. Since many travellers are not familiar with the layout of Canadian airports, we will detail both physical access as well as rules.


Overview of lounges

AC has three types of lounges:
  • Maple Leaf Lounges (MLLs): essentially, regular lounges
  • Caf: caf-style lounge with limited access and grab-and-go
  • Signature Suites: essentially, only for long-haul international business class passengers

Locations & Physical Access

Lounges are in the following locations:



Note that most of the Canadian airports used by AC have separate areas for domestic, transborder ("TB", i.e. to the US), and international flights. MLLs are often referred to based on which area of the terminal theyre in, e.g. YYZ Dom is the domestic lounge in YYZ, YUL Intl is the international lounge at YUL. Except when connecting from a domestic flight to a TB/international one, you can only use a lounge in the area from which your flight departs. For instance, a passenger flying from YYZ to LGA cannot use the YYZ Dom MLL as CATSA will not allow them to access the domestic wing; a passenger flying YXE-YYZ-LGA could use the YYZ Dom MLL as they will already be in the domestic area on arrival.

YYZ, YVR, and YUL have segregated international departures areas. The international MLLs cannot be accessed before domestic flights. In other locations, a "domestic" MLL can also be accessed before international flights.

Please note that while the US is a separate country, it is NOT an "international" destination in the way most Canadian airports and AC are set up. You can NEVER access the international lounges when departing on a flight to the US.

Lounges in transborder areas are after US customs pre-clearance, and can only be accessed by customers travelling to the US.


Access Rules

MLLs - https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/...f-lounges.html

Can be accessed for customers holding a SAME DAY DEPARTING boarding pass (for a flight operated by AC or another *A member) based on:
  • Status
    • Aeroplan 35K (domestic and transborder only; no guests)
    • Aeroplan 50K and up (spouse, dependent children, and one guest)
    • Star Alliance Gold (one guest)
    • VA Velocity Platinum or Gold (one guest)
  • Class of service:
    • Business class (on AC or another *A carrier)
    • Premium rouge
  • Passes (passes may only be valid for certain locations, e.g. domestic/TB)
    • Given out to those with AC status
    • Given out to certain credit card holders
    • Purchased directly from AC as an add-on to the flight, either in advance or at the lounge
  • Credit cards (no passes required):
    • TD VIP
    • CIBC VIP
    • Amex Aeroplan Reserve cards

Domestic Lounges can also be accessed by those ARRIVING on an Air Canada Mainline, Rouge or Express flight, for those holding 50K status and higher.


Signature Suites

Signature Suites require both (a) an eligible fare and (b) an eligible destination. Your flight must be a flight operated by Air Canada that is departing internationally from Toronto or Vancouver. It doesnt matter whether you bought the ticket through AC or if youre on an AC codeshare, or if your itinerary has other international connections. Unless your flight is operated by Air Canada, and is departing internationally from Toronto or Vancouver, youre not eligible.

Eligible fares:
  • Paid business class (originally booked in J, C, D, Z, or P classes)
  • Business Class (Flexible) Aeroplan tickets

Eligible destinations
  • South America (Colombia and south)
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Australia

NOT accessible to:
  • Passengers in business class on any type of upgrades (eUpgrades, Last-Minute Upgrades, bid upgrades, Star Alliance Upgrade Awards)
  • Anyone booked in Business Class (Lowest) reward tickets - this includes any rewards ticketed by an Aeroplan partner, e.g. United MileagePlus, Miles & More, etc)
  • Passengers flying internationally with Air Canada, but who are not departing on an International Air Canada flight from Toronto or Vancouver. Example, if you are arriving on an International flight, but connecting to a US or domestic flight - you will NOT have access to the suite.

Cafe

Can be accessed by those with a departing domestic boarding pass (no arrivals benefit for the Cafe) based on:
  • Status
    • Aeroplan 50K and up (one guest)
    • Star Alliance Gold (one guest)
  • Class of service:
    • Business class
    • Premium rouge
  • Credit cards:
    • TD VIP
    • CIBC VIP
    • Amex Aeroplan Reserve cards
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Old Sep 23, 22, 12:44 pm
  #211  
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Originally Posted by CA_Traffic View Post
Does anyone know if the YYZ TB "Express" lounge is back to its regular/posted hours? It's been hit or miss on the last few times I was through the commuter gates area, and it would be great to avoid the starbucks lineup for a coffee before my next morning flight.
The AC lounge by gate F99 (I think the one you are referring to) was open prior to an 8am flight we had from there a few weeks ag.
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Old Sep 23, 22, 5:00 pm
  #212  
 
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In reality the solution is for some express options open during peak hours. Class segregation due congestion is poor business.
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Old Sep 23, 22, 7:23 pm
  #213  
 
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Originally Posted by Civet View Post
In reality the solution is for some express options open during peak hours. Class segregation due congestion is poor business.
So offering Y, PY, and J is poor business?
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Old Sep 26, 22, 8:07 pm
  #214  
 
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Originally Posted by theranj View Post
WHAT and HOW is the question
Was very annoyed 1.5 weeks ago when we couldn't get in at YVR MLL Domestic, as well as last Spring when we get to YYZ MLL Int'l to see a huge line (they had just opened)...don't see anything getting better anytime soon. I would assume any changes to access would need to be announced ahead of time (maybe not the 2-year notice AMEX did for Centurion Lounge access), but a change in Credit Card access may need some notice for those who complain about the annual fee.
Premium credit card holder with MLL access cannot be excluded , since this benefit is part of the credit card T&C, which is a binding contract. The terms could be changed for the future, but probably not for the current year.
If anything, the people that can be excluded from the MLLs are the elites )at least the lower tiers), since they do not this access guaranteed as part of any contract.
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Old Sep 26, 22, 8:56 pm
  #215  
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Originally Posted by Covidian98 View Post
Premium credit card holder with MLL access cannot be excluded , since this benefit is part of the credit card T&C, which is a binding contract. The terms could be changed for the future, but probably not for the current year.
If anything, the people that can be excluded from the MLLs are the elites )at least the lower tiers), since they do not this access guaranteed as part of any contract.
Nope. The cardmember agreement (the binding contract) contains no reference to the MLL benefit.

MLL access would fall under the "Additional Services" provision, of which I have bolded the key passages below.


We may make available additional services or benefits which will be subject to separate terms and conditions. Examples of services or benefits include insurance, assistance services, rewards programs and merchant offers.

We may receive compensation from additional service providers and our compensation may vary by provider and product. Your account will be charged for any fees or premiums that may apply for services and benefits.

Services and benefits that are provided by third parties are subject to the terms and conditions set by the third party and any dispute must be settled directly with the third party. Services and benefits may be changed or cancelled with or without notice. We are not responsible for any service or benefit not directly provided by us.


If AC and/or Amex did materially alter the MLL access benefit, you could make an argument that they should refund some portion of your annual fee for having changed the offering relative to what was advertised when you signed up last renewed. You could try to argue that the agreement itself is unfair and that you shouldn't be held to it. But MLL access itself is not part of the cardholder agreement.

Putting my moderator hat on for a moment, I am going to note publicly for the benefit of all on the forum (since this has occurred a few times recently) that I take a very dim view of people who refer, in definitive terms, to things as "illegal", or in breach of certain contracts, etc. If you want to comment based on your views or what you think a document says, that may be fine, but legal-ish posts that are factually incorrect with regards to the document(s) they supposedly relate to are liable to be be deleted and may generate warnings and/or suspensions. Acting like a lawyer without having consulted the relevant documents nor making an effort to understand them and represent them accurately, is not helpful (general premise of FT rules), and may also run afoul of rule 15 regarding deceptive, dishonest, or knowingly inaccurate information.
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Old Sep 27, 22, 12:52 am
  #216  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Pls dont hate me I have a TD aeroplan infinite privilege with no other status, to access MLL do I show my credit card or just scan my sad economy boarding pass?

never used MLL before except for an aeroplan business class reward ticket well over 10 years ago so no clue how it works

thanks!
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Old Sep 27, 22, 9:00 am
  #217  
 
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Originally Posted by WJ_Fan_147 View Post
Pls dont hate me I have a TD aeroplan infinite privilege with no other status, to access MLL do I show my credit card or just scan my sad economy boarding pass?

never used MLL before except for an aeroplan business class reward ticket well over 10 years ago so no clue how it works

thanks!
Make sure your Aeroplan # is on your reservation, then just scan your Boarding Card.
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Old Sep 27, 22, 9:42 am
  #218  
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Originally Posted by WJ_Fan_147 View Post
Pls dont hate me I
No one's going to hate you for following all the rules and getting things legitimately.

Some people might hate the rules though
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Old Sep 27, 22, 9:58 am
  #219  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
Originally Posted by WJ_Fan_147 View Post
Pls dont hate me
No one's going to hate you for following all the rules and getting things legitimately.

Some people might hate the rules though
a.k.a. Don't hate the playa, hate the game
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Old Sep 28, 22, 12:38 pm
  #220  
 
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith View Post
Nope. The cardmember agreement (the binding contract) contains no reference to the MLL benefit.
I am not sure to what extend the offer may be considered part of the agreement? For example, the Amex Aeroplan Reserve offer has a list of terms and conditions at the bottom.

Relevant to this discussions, the T&C's include the following (applicable statements bolded):

3 A Basic Cardmember and eligible Supplementary Cardmember(s) are each entitled to complimentary access to any Maple Leaf Lounge located in Canada and the United States, including International Maple Leaf Lounges in Canada and the United States when travelling on an international itinerary. Access excludes Air Canada Signature Suites and lounges operated by third parties, such as Star Alliance member airlines. Guests of Basic Cardmembers or Supplementary Cardmembers may enter upon paying an applicable fee. Access will be granted in conjunction with a same-day, confirmed ticket on a flight marketed or operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, under the Air Canada Express brand, or any Star Alliance member airline. Anyone under the age of majority entering a Maple Leaf Lounge must be accompanied by an adult with access to the lounge. Age of majority is determined by the jurisdiction in which the Maple Leaf Lounge is located. Benefit may only be used as described, and otherwise cannot be transferred. Access is subject to space availability. See www.aircanada.com/lounges-termsandconditions for applicable Maple Leaf Lounges Terms and Conditions.

Access may explicitly be limited due to space constraints at Air Canada's discretion, according the T&C's cardholders accepted when they applied.
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Old Sep 28, 22, 12:47 pm
  #221  
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Originally Posted by YVR4Ever View Post
I am not sure to what extend the offer may be considered part of the agreement? For example, the Amex Aeroplan Reserve offer has a list of terms and conditions at the bottom.

Relevant to this discussions, the T&C's include the following (applicable statements bolded):
The "binding contract" is the cardholder agreement. The T&Cs for lounge access are ancillary; as described under the "additional services" section that I explained above, additional services may be subject to their own T&Cs. Which is what you're referring to.
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Old Oct 1, 22, 9:18 am
  #222  
 
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Originally Posted by vancouver25k View Post
At LAX, you can use UA club and AC MLL. At YVR, you can use the MLL.
Just to confirm, the AC MILL lounge at LAX has neither showers nor outdoor space?
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Old Oct 2, 22, 9:47 am
  #223  
 
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We will be flying NRT to YVR on NH in J and then self-connecting to a DL flight. Will the NH arrival qualify us to use the MLL in the transborder terminal? If not, is there a way to use the international MLL after dropping bags for our DL flight but before making our way to the transborder terminal?
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Old Oct 2, 22, 9:53 am
  #224  
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Originally Posted by mcrw00 View Post
We will be flying NRT to YVR on NH in J and then self-connecting to a DL flight. Will the NH arrival qualify us to use the MLL in the transborder terminal? If not, is there a way to use the international MLL after dropping bags for our DL flight but before making our way to the transborder terminal?
Please consult the wiki, which has answers to all of your questions.
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Old Yesterday, 7:04 am
  #225  
 
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Are we 100% certain it's the credit card holders who are crowding the lounges, and not also a combination of the following issues:
  1. the schedule remains a shadow of its former self
  2. getting to the airport earlier due to airport issues
  3. longer connections due to schedule and concern over airport issues
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