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

Old Aug 16, 22, 1:18 pm
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Last edit by: yowcat
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
Additionally, AC shares an arrivals lounge with UA at LHR for eligible customers.

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. (Passengers connecting in YVR between a domestic and US flight and following the connections path will enter the international departures area prior to the US area and although can physically access the international MLL, you will not be admitted and will be directed to the US area).

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


Access Rules

MLLs

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; until June 1 2023 - no access on or after)
    • Aeroplan 50K and up (spouse/partner, dependent children, and one guest)
    • Star Alliance Gold (one guest)
    • VA Velocity Platinum or Gold (one guest)
    • Emirates SkyWards Platinum or Gold (one guest)
  • Class of service:
    • Business class (on AC or another *A carrier)
    • Premium rouge (on flights within Canada, to the U.S and Sun destinations, indicated by cabin code J on your boarding pass)
  • Passes (passes may only be valid for certain locations, e.g. domestic/TB - Assume your pass is not valid for any International Lounge)
    • 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, only for MLLs located within Canada and the US. No access to LHR, CDG, or FRA lounges):
    • TD VIP (one guest through 31 December 2023)
    • CIBC VIP (one guest through 31 December 2023)
    • 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 advertised as Signature Class, 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
  • First Class (Flexible) Aeroplan tickets when travelling on an Air Canada segment in Business Class
  • Emirates First Class (one guest)

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

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)
    • Emirates SkyWards Platinum or Gold (one guest)
  • Class of service:
    • Business class
    • Premium rouge
  • Credit cards:
    • TD VIP (one guest through 31 December 2023)
    • CIBC VIP (one guest through 31 December 2023)
    • Amex Aeroplan Reserve cards
Passengers arriving on a domestic flight with a connection to a US or international destination, although you can physically access the cafe, you will not be admitted. eGates have been updated to enforce the access policy.

LHR Arrivals Lounge

AC shares an arrivals lounge with UA at LHR, accessible to the following customers upon exiting the baggage hall in Terminal 2:
  • Business Class
  • Aeroplan Super Elite (one guest) when arriving on an Air Canada flight.
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AC Lounge Access - physical locations and rules (2022 onwards)

Old May 22, 22, 10:48 am
  #46  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: is everything
Posts: 42
We are on a AC business ‘P’ flight from YYZ to SFO that was booked by United as part of a ticket to get to Tahiti. There is no corresponding UA code share flight. Would we be eligible for the SS? Thanks!
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Old May 22, 22, 12:19 pm
  #47  
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC*S100K ACMM / HH Diamond
Posts: 2,834
No, you won't have access.

For lots of reasons, including (but not limited to) the fact that you won't even be in the right part of the airport.

The flight to SFO will be from the US departure area and the signature suite is in the international departure area.
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Old May 22, 22, 4:14 pm
  #48  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 446
Originally Posted by The Lev View Post
AFAIK it is only the segment that is relevant - it is akin to buying a business class ticket on the outbound and economy on the return, which would also gain you entry.
I can attest to this being correct. OH recently flew on a flex/lowest J award. I believe much venison carpaccio was consumed...
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Old May 24, 22, 3:58 pm
  #49  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Programs: AC SuperElite // Marriott Gold Elite
Posts: 27
SS Access with Z class Business

Hello all - I know that having booked an Aeroplan Business Lowest redemption, I don't get SS access. However, I had a schedule change & was rebooked by the agent on different flights and everything is now showing in Z class (once in awhile being SE still has some pull). So...any thoughts on whether that might now work for SS access? Per the eligible fare classes, Z should work. It's not make or break as we'll be connecting and won't have a lot of time anyway but I'd like to bring my wife in as she hasn't been though I've been in many times pre-pandemic (when I used to go to Asia/Europe/Middle East every couple of weeks). I'll likely try anyway, but any thoughts or past experience with something similar is appreciated.

Last edited by stuartma; May 24, 22 at 4:12 pm
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Old May 24, 22, 4:40 pm
  #50  
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Programs: AC 50K, MB Titanium, National EE, UA Silver
Posts: 212
Originally Posted by stuartma View Post
Hello all - I know that having booked an Aeroplan Business Lowest redemption, I don't get SS access. However, I had a schedule change & was rebooked by the agent on different flights and everything is now showing in Z class (once in awhile being SE still has some pull). So...any thoughts on whether that might now work for SS access? Per the eligible fare classes, Z should work. It's not make or break as we'll be connecting and won't have a lot of time anyway but I'd like to bring my wife in as she hasn't been though I've been in many times pre-pandemic (when I used to go to Asia/Europe/Middle East every couple of weeks). I'll likely try anyway, but any thoughts or past experience with something similar is appreciated.
Try it and let us know.
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Old May 24, 22, 5:00 pm
  #51  
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Join Date: Sep 2012
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Programs: AC SE MM, UA Gold, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Silver
Posts: 41,125
Originally Posted by stuartma View Post
Hello all - I know that having booked an Aeroplan Business Lowest redemption, I don't get SS access. However, I had a schedule change & was rebooked by the agent on different flights and everything is now showing in Z class (once in awhile being SE still has some pull). So...any thoughts on whether that might now work for SS access? Per the eligible fare classes, Z should work. It's not make or break as we'll be connecting and won't have a lot of time anyway but I'd like to bring my wife in as she hasn't been though I've been in many times pre-pandemic (when I used to go to Asia/Europe/Middle East every couple of weeks). I'll likely try anyway, but any thoughts or past experience with something similar is appreciated.
Per the rules, no, you don't have access.

You can very easily book business lowest in Z. It's not eligible.
canadiancow is online now  
Old May 24, 22, 6:36 pm
  #52  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: YYZ
Programs: Aeroplan, TD.
Posts: 455
Hello we will be at YYZ for 5hrs before our flight to LHR via YUL. Can we use the Signature suite lounge when we are flying Domestic? we are on award ticket business class. Thanks.
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Old May 24, 22, 6:48 pm
  #53  
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: YOW
Programs: AC 75K
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Originally Posted by Ramz View Post
Hello we will be at YYZ for 5hrs before our flight to LHR via YUL. Can we use the Signature suite lounge when we are flying Domestic? we are on award ticket business class. Thanks.
No the business leg must be departing directly from YYZ.
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Old May 24, 22, 6:55 pm
  #54  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: YYZ
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Originally Posted by WesternCDN View Post
No the business leg must be departing directly from YYZ.
Sorry we are starting out from YYZ to LHR via YUL
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Old May 24, 22, 7:01 pm
  #55  
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
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Originally Posted by Ramz View Post
Sorry we are starting out from YYZ to LHR via YUL
Yes, the long-haul business leg to Europe, South America, Asia etc must originate in YYZ. If you were flying YUL-YYZ-LHR, or just YYZ-LHR, you would have access if you were on an eligible business class fare.
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Old May 24, 22, 7:18 pm
  #56  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: YYZ
Programs: Aeroplan, TD.
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Originally Posted by WesternCDN View Post
Yes, the long-haul business leg to Europe, South America, Asia etc must originate in YYZ. If you were flying YUL-YYZ-LHR, or just YYZ-LHR, you would have access if you were on an eligible business class fare.
Just to be clear even though we are flying domestic to YUL then LHR we can use signature suite lounge??
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Old May 24, 22, 7:20 pm
  #57  
m.y
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Originally Posted by Ramz View Post
Just to be clear even though we are flying domestic to YUL then LHR we can use signature suite lounge??
​​​​​​That is incorrect, no access to SS on the domestic leg.
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Old May 24, 22, 7:34 pm
  #58  
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: LAX
Programs: AS MVPG 75K, AC SE
Posts: 270
Originally Posted by m.y View Post
​​​​​​That is incorrect, no access to SS on the domestic leg.
While that is the policy, I think there should be some exceptions. Someone flying signature to BRU shouldn't be completely ineligible for the SS if they don't want to connect in Europe.

Edit: didn't think about the international departures area issue

Last edited by Quail; May 24, 22 at 7:56 pm
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Old May 24, 22, 7:47 pm
  #59  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: YYZ
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Originally Posted by m.y View Post
​​​​​​That is incorrect, no access to SS on the domestic leg.
That's not what I wanted to hear..LOL we should be allowed in and not penalized because its the only option we had to book to LHR via YUL and the other options were either a mixed cabin or huge amount of points to redeem for business class.
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Old May 24, 22, 7:53 pm
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Ramz View Post
Just to be clear even though we are flying domestic to YUL then LHR we can use signature suite lounge??

Not only are you not allowed, but you would not have access to international departure anyway.
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