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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 24, 22, 7:56 pm
  #61  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: YYZ
Programs: Aeroplan, TD.
Posts: 455
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
Not only are you not allowed, but you would not have access to international departure anyway.
Fair enough thanks.
Ramz is offline  
Old May 25, 22, 1:45 am
  #62  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, UA Gold, Bonvoy Tit LT Sil, Hyatt Glob, HH Diamond, Accor Silver
Posts: 41,122
Originally Posted by Ramz View Post
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.
Translation: "We didn't want to pay what AC wanted for a non-stop with SS access"

It wasn't the only option. It was the only option you were happy with.
canadiancow is offline  
Old Jun 4, 22, 6:05 pm
  #63  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: London and Madrid
Programs: AA Exp., Bonvoy something, UA 2MM, Hyatt Globalist, Columbia Record & Tape Club Triple Diamond VIP
Posts: 551
Signature suite and chauffeured transfer if ticketed on United?

Im traveling YUL-YYZ, connecting to DUB in paid business class (listed as P class on my receipt). The ticket was issued on UA stock.

Does anyone know if Ill be eligible to use the Signature Suite or for the chauffeured transfer to the Signature Suite from a domestic flight? In the past, my tickets have always been purchased through AC but for since my return from LHR to SFO is on United, I ended up buying from UA.

Thanks in advance for your insider knowledge!
embarcadero1 is offline  
Old Jun 4, 22, 7:15 pm
  #64  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC SE MM, UA MP 1K, Hyatt Globalist, SPG Platinum, hhonors Gold
Posts: 3,336
Originally Posted by embarcadero1 View Post
Im traveling YUL-YYZ, connecting to DUB in paid business class (listed as P class on my receipt). The ticket was issued on UA stock.

Does anyone know if Ill be eligible to use the Signature Suite or for the chauffeured transfer to the Signature Suite from a domestic flight? In the past, my tickets have always been purchased through AC but for since my return from LHR to SFO is on United, I ended up buying from UA.

Thanks in advance for your insider knowledge!
The ticket stock doesnt matter. You will have access to the lounge. Limo service is not guaranteed, but you may also be selected to receive.
yyzgigi is offline  
Old Jun 5, 22, 9:17 pm
  #65  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: PDX
Programs: AS/UA/DL
Posts: 33
Does anyone have information related to the following? We have Business Class Flexible Reward tickets in I class booking on AC equipment from SFO to YYZ with a two hour layover followed by a night flight on AC equipment from YYZ to GRU. Since the flight reward tickets were booked through the United Airlines website using MileagePlus miles, it looks like we are excluded from the Signature Suite by the following language. Am I reading it correctly? Thank you.

Only Aeroplan flight rewards booked as a Business Class Flexible Reward or a First Class Flexible Reward in J, C, D, Z, P, I booking classes are eligible for access. . . . Business Class flight rewards booked and ticketed by partner airlines, . . . will be excluded.
John Portland is offline  
Old Jun 5, 22, 9:24 pm
  #66  
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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: 41,122
Originally Posted by John Portland View Post
Does anyone have information related to the following? We have Business Class Flexible Reward tickets in I class booking on AC equipment from SFO to YYZ with a two hour layover followed by a night flight on AC equipment from YYZ to GRU. Since the flight reward tickets were booked through the United Airlines website using MileagePlus miles, it looks like we are excluded from the Signature Suite by the following language. Am I reading it correctly? Thank you.
They're not "busines flexible" if they were booked through a partner.
canadiancow is offline  
Old Jun 5, 22, 10:16 pm
  #67  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: PDX
Programs: AS/UA/DL
Posts: 33
The booking for this reservation that is displayed on the Air Canada website, accessed by using the Air Canada booking code, and the printed itinerary from the Air Canada website, prominently state that these are “Business Class (flexible) tickets.” These words appear in large print taking up about 1/3 of the page just beside the flight information.
John Portland is offline  
Old Jun 5, 22, 10:29 pm
  #68  
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: YEG, SFO, VCA, JR JY-13
Programs: AC 25K x2, AC 75K
Posts: 698
Originally Posted by John Portland View Post
The booking for this reservation that is displayed on the Air Canada website, accessed by using the Air Canada booking code, and the printed itinerary from the Air Canada website, prominently state that these are “Business Class (flexible) tickets.” These words appear in large print taking up about 1/3 of the page just beside the flight information.
I know what you're talking about, but the fare brand displayed part of an overall murky naming scheme, it really sucks how confusing it is. This happens when booking through non-AC channels. If a Business Class Flexible reward was booked through Aeroplan (the fare brand eligible for YYZ SS), it would say: "Business Class - Flexible Reward". Note the hyphen and the word "reward". Also note the capitalization because it's an actual brand of fares that you can purchase (your other option would be Business Class Lowest)

Because you didn't book through Aeroplan, it's simply showing a slightly different naming convention to refer to your unrestricted business class award, that Air Canada acknowledges that they will transport you on.

A better example to reinforce my point would be through a recent experience where I booked an economy class ticket via Expedia. You might know that Air Canada has Flex (a restricted economy fare) and Latitude (an unrestricted economy fare) fare brands when booking directly through AC. When you book a full fare (Y/B) through an online travel agent, and look up the reservation on AC's site, it'll show up as "Economy (flexible)" (note no hyphen, parentheses, no Economy "Class", and no proper noun for fare brand) because the website doesn't infer the fare brand at this point when showing the fare you booked...probably because I wasn't presented with the brands when booking through non-AC

Your business class ticket happens to be a flexible ticket that UA sold you, but it's not the Business Class Flexible fare brand that AC sells you allowing you entry

Of course, all this is moot if you have a paid business class fare to an eligible Signature Suite destination, regardless of who issued the ticket. Air Canada can obviously detect that, and you deep down in your heart would know you'd be able to enter

Last edited by asovse1; Jun 5, 22 at 10:42 pm
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Old Jun 7, 22, 11:23 am
  #69  
 
Join Date: May 2022
Location: YYZ
Programs: AC 25K/Black Card
Posts: 18
YYZ MLL Entry Requirements

Good afternoon,
Was flying out of YYZ to LIS a few weeks ago in Lufthansa economy class. I have a CIBC Aeroplan Visa infinite privilege card, which as I understand entitles me to MLL lounge access in Toronto. However, after talking with the international MLL agents, I was denied entry because my ticket was booked with Lufthansa, not AC. However, I don't see anything about this in the Credit Card Terms and Conditions (it just states that you need to have a valid ticket w/ Star alliance). I was wondering if this has happened to anyone else / if it was a valid reason to deny entry.
PS. after reproaching them and showing the terms they let me in... but still said it was technically against the rules.
Bobert59 is offline  
Old Jun 7, 22, 11:43 am
  #70  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: YVR
Programs: AC E75K, WJ Gold, NEXUS, Marriott Gold
Posts: 274
Did you link your Aeroplan # with your Lufthansa booking?
ChrisA330 and canadiancow like this.
trek604 is offline  
Old Jun 7, 22, 12:30 pm
  #71  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: YOW
Programs: AC E50K *G
Posts: 6,991
Originally Posted by Bobert59 View Post
they let me in... but still said it was technically against the rules.
Lounge agents are human, and we don't like to admit mistakes, so we add little excuses to save face.
zorn is offline  
Old Jun 7, 22, 12:54 pm
  #72  
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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: 41,122
Originally Posted by trek604 View Post
Did you link your Aeroplan # with your Lufthansa booking?
I think this is an important question.

The terms are definitely clear, but why did the system say no?
canadiancow is offline  
Old Jun 7, 22, 1:08 pm
  #73  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: YVR
Programs: AC Super Elite, Bonvoy Titanium
Posts: 4,498
I'd write in on this - you probably won't get anything but it'll give them a chance for retraining. I had similar issues at the YVR transport MLL years ago every time I tried to guest a pax on another *Alliance flight than mine (agent insisted they had to be on the same flight). Wrote in a couple times, and then it never happened again.

(side note, I believe the official *Gold rules for partner lounges have changed that they have to be on the same flight, but AC still allows any *Alliance flight)
yvr76 is offline  
Old Jun 7, 22, 1:12 pm
  #74  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: YVR
Programs: AC E75K, WJ Gold, NEXUS, Marriott Gold
Posts: 274
Before writing in the important question to answer is if the AP# was linked on the LH res.

Relax before your flight

Access select Maple Leaf Lounges™ and Air Canada Cafs™1, 2
1 The Aeroplan number of the person accessing the benefit must be included in the qualifying reservation, and the name on the airline reservation must be identical to the name on the Aeroplan account of the traveller.

https://www.cibc.com/en/personal-ban...lege-card.html
trek604 is offline  
Old Jun 7, 22, 1:25 pm
  #75  
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 629
Originally Posted by yvr76 View Post
(side note, I believe the official *Gold rules for partner lounges have changed that they have to be on the same flight, but AC still allows any *Alliance flight)
I was able to, travelling on AC a couple of weeks ago, guest a colleague travelling on UA the United Club at SFO T3 using my AP *G. The only condition the lounge gatekeepers gave was that my colleague had to leave when I did because he was my guest.
vancouver25k is offline  

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