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

Old Aug 16, 2022, 1:18 pm
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Last edit by: canadiancow
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:



Notes:
  • YYZ Transborder: there are 2 MLLs, a full MLL right after US CBP and a second, small MLL near the regional gates
  • YYC Transborder: AC provides access to the Aspire lounge for status and J pax (no passes/credit cards)
  • YTZ Caf: the Caf at YTZ is an Aspire lounge (accessible via Priority Pass and other programs) co-branded by AC
  • EWR: the MLL is a co-branding of the United lounge in Terminal A; access rules are not entirely clear


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

NEW Effective June 13, 2023
Access to Maple Leaf Lounges, Air Canada Cafs, and Signature Suites will be limited to three hours prior to scheduled departure time. Please note that this policy does not apply during flight connections or flight delays.


While it is not published at the time of writing this, the internal policy now exempts SEs and most passengers with reported disabilities (eg WCHR) from the three hour rule for Maple Leaf Lounges, but not the Signature Suite.

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
  • 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 MLLs in Canada, and MLLs in the USA, 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. The only exception is Emirates First Class - see below.

Eligible fares:
  • Paid business class (originally booked in J, C, D, Z, or P classes)
  • Business Class (Flexible) Aeroplan tickets - note that only Air Canada can ticket Flexible reward tickets; the website may incorrectly display a partner reward as Flexible
  • 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
  • Anyone booked on a reward ticket through a partner airline, 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.

Cafs

Can be accessed by those with a departing domestic boarding pass (no arrivals benefit for the Caf) 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 (there is no business class service from YTZ, but a business class boarding pass for the subsequent flight enables access)
    • 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 Caf, you will not be admitted. eGates have been updated to enforce the access policy.

While it is not published, the internal policy exempts SEs from that requirement, so you should be admitted.

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 (Including upgrades to J)
  • 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 Jan 1, 2022, 1:27 am
  #1  
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AC Lounge Access - physical locations and rules (2022 onwards)

Since there has lately been a proliferation of questions on lounge access, I'm going to start a new thread to try to make it clearer where the lounges are and which lounges people will have access to.

Please read the wiki before posting a question. It's quite comprehensive and addresses most situations.

Spoiler
 

Last edited by Adam Smith; Apr 20, 2023 at 1:07 pm
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Old Jan 14, 2022, 11:24 am
  #2  
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Am I allowed to access MLL on arrival with no onward ticket?

Is the new AC takeout cafe at YYZ worth checking out? I'll be departing from YYZ later tonight and planning to just chill at the domestic MLL and maybe check out the PP restaurants.
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Old Jan 14, 2022, 11:27 am
  #3  
 
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On arrival only for 50K, 75K, and SE at Canadian and US MLLs.

I do enjoy restaurant hopping with PP at YYZ and then washing all the food down in the MLL, lol
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Old Jan 14, 2022, 11:35 am
  #4  
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Originally Posted by asovse1
On arrival only for 50K, 75K, and SE at Canadian and US MLLs.

I do enjoy restaurant hopping with PP at YYZ and then washing all the food down in the MLL, lol
Oh, I had no idea. So MLL lounge access from my TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege doesn't give me access on arrival?

That's sort of what I'm thinking right now. The weather in Toronto looks terrific from my room at the Park Hyatt. However, my phone was showing an outside temperature of -6C. My plan as of now is to check out at 4 PM and head straight to YYZ. Then check out a few PP restaurants before settling down at the MLL. Not sure if there's any food genuinely worth trying, but definitely up for it though.
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Old Jan 14, 2022, 12:26 pm
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by lsquare
Oh, I had no idea. So MLL lounge access from my TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege doesn't give me access on arrival?

That's sort of what I'm thinking right now. The weather in Toronto looks terrific from my room at the Park Hyatt. However, my phone was showing an outside temperature of -6C. My plan as of now is to check out at 4 PM and head straight to YYZ. Then check out a few PP restaurants before settling down at the MLL. Not sure if there's any food genuinely worth trying, but definitely up for it though.
Don’t have the credit card, the language on their website says “relax before takeoff”, but the T&C says access in conjunction with a same day ticket. Inbound Business class alone definitely doesn’t get you in without the status, so wouldn’t be surprised for this to be consistent.

regarding PP restaurants I don’t really hop, Bar 120 has great $6 drinks and decent food. Need a lot of bev’s to get over the $37 so I can add a gratuity on my credit card. They also have a few nice servers one who consistently recognizes me and always gives a warm welcome.
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Old Jan 14, 2022, 12:38 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by yyzgigi
Dont have the credit card, the language on their website says relax before takeoff, but the T&C says access in conjunction with a same day ticket. Inbound Business class alone definitely doesnt get you in without the status, so wouldnt be surprised for this to be consistent.

regarding PP restaurants I dont really hop, Bar 120 has great $6 drinks and decent food. Need a lot of bevs to get over the $37 so I can add a gratuity on my credit card. They also have a few nice servers one who consistently recognizes me and always gives a warm welcome.
I'll most likely be hungry by the time I get to YYZ. I have a feeling restaurant food will be better than MLL food.

I also had a good experience where the MLL encouraged me to grab some of the takeout wraps for my flight to YYZ. From experience, lounges generally don't permit food and drinks to take out for consumption.
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Old Mar 17, 2022, 9:43 am
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Hey!

First time posting so I am sorry if I post something incorrect. That being said I have a quick question. My wife and I are in a Flexible Booking in I class. Flying from YYZ to SJO, which satisfies the international/South American portion of the requirement. That being said the wording is a little tricky and wanted some confirmation to see if anyone on a felxible reward I class ticket has made it in before. Part of the terms and conditions mentions:

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. (We are a flexible ticket).

The part that confuses me is the next part:
All bookings in R class (including, but not limited to, eUpgrades, Last-Minute Upgrades, and AC Bid Upgrades), Aeroplan flight rewards booked as a Business Class Lowest Reward or a First Class Lowest Reward, Star Alliance Upgrade Awards, Business Class flight rewards booked and ticketed by partner airlines, and I (including Star Alliance Upgrade Awards), as well as bookings made during irregular operations where the customer was not originally booked and confirmed in one of the eligible booking classes, will be excluded.

So even though its a flexible reward, because its booked in I, we are excluded?

Any further information or personal experiences would help!

Thank you so much!
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Old Mar 17, 2022, 10:01 am
  #8  
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Originally Posted by Daniel Zea
First time posting so I am sorry if I post something incorrect.
Welcome to FT

Flying from YYZ to SJO, which satisfies the international/South American portion of the requirement.
Unfortunately, no. I think most geographers would tell you Costa Rica is in North America anyway, but AC definitely doesn't see it as South America (to AC, that would be south of Panama). You'll have access to the international MLL, but not the Signature Suite.
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Old Mar 17, 2022, 12:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam Smith
Welcome to FT



Unfortunately, no. I think most geographers would tell you Costa Rica is in North America anyway, but AC definitely doesn't see it as South America (to AC, that would be south of Panama). You'll have access to the international MLL, but not the Signature Suite.
It's also not marketed as Signature Class.
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Old Mar 20, 2022, 8:55 am
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CIBC Infinite Privilege Card - MLL Access

So Mrs. Dokes, flying on an AP Reward ticket booked on my points tries to enter the Trans-border MLL at YYZ yesterday afternoon. She shows her AC boarding pass and her VISA Infinite Privilege card and the agent tells her she can't enter because her AP # isn't on the boarding pass. Mrs. Dokes offers to provide her AP # and shows the agent the website showing that she has lounge privileges with her VISA card and should be admitted, agent still says no. Agent gets another agent who agrees with the first one, so not to make a scene Mrs. Dokes leaves.

Has anyone else had this experience and who should we complain to? AC? AP? CIBC?
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Old Mar 20, 2022, 10:30 am
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Originally Posted by billdokes


who should we complain to? AC? AP? CIBC?
Nobody

https://www.cibc.com/en/personal-ban...lege-card.html

Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege
  • Relax before your flight

    Access select Maple Leaf Lounges™ and Air Canada Cafs™1, 2 and bring 1 guest with you before December 31, 20221
1The 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.
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Old Apr 1, 2022, 12:39 am
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To confirm, now that long-haul Rouge is a thing of the past, do YYZ-BOG pax get SS access? I know the website says all South American pax get access, but I come from the world of United, who says that BOG and UIO are "inferior" South American destinations that aren't eligible for Polaris Lounge access.
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Old Apr 1, 2022, 1:45 am
  #13  
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Premium rouge to South America was marketed and sold as premium economy.

If you buy a mainline A fare, you're not getting in. If you buy P, you are.
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Old Apr 1, 2022, 9:50 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by dkc192
To confirm, now that long-haul Rouge is a thing of the past, do YYZ-BOG pax get SS access? I know the website says all South American pax get access, but I come from the world of United, who says that BOG and UIO are "inferior" South American destinations that aren't eligible for Polaris Lounge access.
Yes YYZ-BOG business class with all the usual fair rules has access. I recommend the lounge meal before departure, the current meal on board is very condensed and rushed. Bring a dogy bag, snacks where not available. Nothing is served prior to landing.
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Old Apr 6, 2022, 11:56 am
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If I flew YVR -> YYZ -> BOG in Business would I be eligible to go to the YVR lounge and the YYZ lounge on the outbound? What about the YYZ lounge on the way back?
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