Air Canada’s most frequent flyers can qualify for its top tier status, Aeroplan Super Elite, by doing a lot of flying and spending a considerable amount of money with the airline each year. In return, they are rewarded with a suite of exclusive benefits and perks to distinguish themselves as Air Canada’s most loyal customers.
In this post in our series on Aeroplan and Aeroplan Elite Status, we will examine some of the many advantages that come with being a Super Elite.
Qualifying for Super Elite Status
You usually don’t earn the title of Super Elite without spending a lot of time in the air. As described in detail in our guide to Aeroplan Elite Status, Super Elites must surpass qualifying thresholds in the program to earn their bag tags.
In a calendar year, Super Elites must attain:
- 100,000 Status Qualifying Miles (SQM), or
- 100 Status Qualifying Segments (SQS)
- $20,000 Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD)
It is possible to earn SQM and SQS from your monthly credit card spend. One could argue that reaching the SQM and SQS thresholds is easier than ever, as credit card spend counts towards your SQM and SQS progress throughout the year.
|Credit Card||Best Offer||Value|
115,000 Aeroplan points
$599 annual fee
|115,000 Aeroplan points||$1,942||
115,000 Aeroplan points
$599 annual fee
|115,000 Aeroplan points||$1,921||
105,000 Aeroplan points
$599 annual fee
|105,000 Aeroplan points||$1,869||
75,000 Aeroplan points
$120 annual fee
|75,000 Aeroplan points||$1,476||
30,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass
First Year Free
|30,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass||$1,323||
20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass
First Year Free
|20,000 Aeroplan points + Buddy Pass||$1,071||
Up to 60,000 Aeroplan points
First Year Free
|Up to 60,000 Aeroplan points||$735||
Up to 50,000 Aeroplan points
First Year Free
|Up to 50,000 Aeroplan points||$662||
Up to 75,000 Aeroplan points
$599 annual fee
|Up to 75,000 Aeroplan points||$425||
Up until this year, Aeroplan members with addresses outside of Canada had a halved SQD requirement. This meant that they only had to earn $10,000 SQD, in addition to the regular SQM or SQS requirements, to qualify for Super Elite status.
This policy has since changed, and now everyone is subject to the $20,000 SQD requirement, regardless of address.
Aeroplan launched a unique promotion earlier this year, where SQM, SQS, and SQD earned on eligible paid flights were doubled. This essentially halved the SQM, SQS, and, most importantly, SQD, requirements, making Super Elite status more accessible than ever before.
Furthermore, if you hold Super Elite status in 2022, you can extend it for another year simply by earning 30,000 Aeroplan points on a co-branded credit card before November 30, 2022. This eschews all of the SQM, SQS, and SQD requirements and preserves your status without you ever having to step foot in a plane.
For those who dabble in US credit cards, an interesting development took place with the launch of the Chase Aeroplan Card. This card features the “Elite Status Level Up”, whereby after spending $50,000 on the card throughout the calendar year, your organically-earned status is bumped up one level for the next calendar year.
For example, if you hold Aeroplan’s base-level 25K status in 2022, and spend $50,000 on your Chase Aeroplan Card in 2022, you will enjoy Aeroplan 35K status for 2023.
Taking this a few steps further, if you organically qualify for 75K status and spend $50,000 on the card, you will be bumped up to Super Elite for the next year.
Super Elite Core Benefits
The full suite of benefits for Super Elites can be found on the Air Canada website and is also outlined in our guide to Aeroplan Elite Status. Super Elites enjoy the privileges afforded to all lower tiers and also get extra perks.
Core Benefits, which do not need to be selected, are awarded immediately upon meeting the SQM/SQS and SQD requirements. Here, the most valuable benefits include: free changes and cancellations for Aeroplan bookings, Concierge service, eUpgrade enhancements, and Priority Rewards benefits.
Free Changes/Cancellations on Aeroplan Bookings
Super Elites benefit from having free changes and cancellations to Aeroplan reward bookings. This opens up the possibility of doing speculative bookings at any time without having to worry about cancellation or change fees.
For the past two years, Aeroplan members benefitted from Aeroplan’s generous change and cancellation policy, and essentially enjoyed the same change and cancellation perks as Super Elites. As of July 5, 2022, this pandemic-related perk came to an end, and the regular schedule of fees for cancellations and changes applies to everyone except for Super Elites.
Indeed, Super Elites have expressed their delight with this benefit. Aside from the money saved, they can also change to a different flight that better suits their schedules, rebook on a flight whose cost in points has reduced, or move to a flight with eUpgrade space if their original flight no longer has any.
Given the ongoing dynamic nature of travel, if your plans change, getting all of your points, eUpgrades, and taxes/fees back without incurring any additional fees provides additional peace of mind.
On paper, the Concierge service is a team of specially trained employees that assist with special requests and aim to make the travel experience as seamless as possible for Super Elites.
They look after everything from proactively rebooking flights during IRROPS, assisting with last-minute hotel and restaurant bookings, and generally tailoring the travel experience.
In practice, though, the Concierge team frequently goes the extra mile for assisting Super Elites. On various online forums and blogs, I’ve seen them described as “angels” and “heroes” who do incredible work.
Personally, I’ve seen Concierges greet Super Elites onboard aircraft, introduce new Concierges to begin building a relationship, and meet them at the gate with new boarding passes for a tight connection.
There are stories of the Concierge team searching the bowels of the airport for lost luggage, holding an aircraft at the gate for a tight connection, and fast-tracking Super Elites through security and customs to make a flight. When travel plans go awry, the Concierge team ensures that they go as smoothly as possible.
Concierges are of particular benefit during peak travel periods or inclement weather, when phone lines are slammed, lineups are impossibly long, and getting assistance is next to impossible. Rather, Super Elites have a team of individuals behind the scenes dealing with things so they don’t have to.
Indeed, many Super Elites I’ve spoken with remark at how useful Concierges can be. One quick phone call, email, or conversation at the airport is all it takes to have someone field your request. I imagine that the personal greetings and relationship building is a nice perk for those who value such service, too.
Should there be an otherwise long lineup at a priority check-in area, most airports have Concierge ‘huts’ nearby, where Super Elites can check-in and make any requests.
Note that customers travelling in Air Canada’s Signature Class on paid bookings are also eligible for Concierge services on the day of departure at the airport. But, they are limited to Concierge check-in assistance in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver and assistance with at-risk connections to another Signature Class flight.
Unlike all other Aeroplan Elite Status tiers, Super Elites can nominate one person each year as their eUpgrade Nominee. This allows the Nominee to use the account holder’s eUpgrades on their own, without the Super Elite being on the booking reference.
The eUpgrade Nominee can only use the Super Elite’s eUpgrades for themselves, and not for any companions booked on the same reservation as them.
All other Aeroplan Elite Status members can only share their eUpgrades with one other passenger on the same booking, as well as one other passenger for an upgrade request on the day of travel at the airport.
Many people gripe about not being able to use their eUpgrades for family members on separate bookings – indeed, this benefit is reserved for Super Elites.
Super Elites also have the longest eUpgrade clearance window. Aside from a Premium Economy (Flexible) or Latitude fare booking, on which anyone can instantly confirm an eUpgrade, Super Elites can request and clear an eUpgrade 14 days prior to departure for North America and Sun destination bookings, and seven days prior to departure for International bookings.
eUpgrade Nominees are treated to the same clearance window as Super Elites.
For families or groups, this means that three people can instantly confirm an eUpgrade if they make a paid or reward booking in Latitude or Premium Economy (Flexible), or if they are within the extended eUpgrade clearance window: the Super Elite and one additional passenger on one booking, and the eUpgrade Nominee on another.
At the airport, they could then request an additional eUpgrade for one more passenger, theoretically bringing the total number of passengers travelling together on eUpgrades from a single account to four. In practice, I imagine this would be difficult to achieve (especially during peak travel or on highly sought-after routes), but in theory, it’s possible.
Under usual pricing, Latitude cash fares tend to be significantly higher than Standard or Flex fares, whereas Latitude fares on Aeroplan bookings don’t tend to be as proportionally expensive. In comparison to booking four (or more) passengers in business class, and with preferred pricing on Aeroplan redemptions, this benefit can result in huge savings.
Super Elites enjoy waived add-on fees when using eUpgrades on bookings with lower fare classes. On international bookings paid for in cash or with Aeroplan points, there are add-on fees ranging from $200–500 on most Flex, Comfort, and Premium Economy (Lowest) fares.
Super Elites who book these fares have the add-on fees waived, resulting in savings of hundreds of dollars.
Lastly, Super Elites are usually among the top of the list for waitlisted eUpgrade requests. Nominees do not enjoy the same waitlist ranking privileges as their nominating Super Elite.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages for Super Elites with Aeroplan is with the most powerful Priority Rewards available to Aeroplan Elite members.
Priority Rewards are earned by crossing SQD thresholds. So, one Priority Reward is earned at each of the $4,000, $7,000, and $10,000 SQD thresholds, as well as every $5,000 thereafter. Priority Rewards must be earned rather than being granted, as they were under the legacy Altitude program.
At a minimum, qualifying for Super Elite with a $20,000 SQD threshold would result in five Priority Rewards. Each of these Priority Rewards can be used to cut in half the number of points required for a booking for one person.
Super Elites are the only members who can use their Priority Rewards on business class rewards with Air Canada and any partner airline for bookings anywhere in the world.
For example, if the regular cost of a flight from Toronto to Hong Kong was 82,000 Aeroplan points in business class, a Super Elite’s Priority Reward would cut that amount to 41,000 Aeroplan points.
For travellers who seek to maximize their flight time and push the boundaries of what’s possible with Priority Rewards, this can be a very powerful tool to cover a lot of ground – up to six one-way bounds and 16 segments on a round-the-world business class ticket – for half the price.
Further, being able to redeem them for flights with any partner airline is a very valuable benefit. With a fixed price for flights with partner airlines, it is a more predictable way to calculate value in terms of points saved on a booking, as opposed to dynamic pricing with Air Canada flights.
Depending on individual travel styles, some find Priority Rewards to be more valuable than others. For those who tend to travel mostly within Canada, the amount saved on a round-trip booking between Winnipeg and Toronto may not result in as much savings as when cutting in half the dynamic value for a highly sought-after long-haul business class route, such as Sydney–Vancouver.
Priority Rewards have to be used for each person on a booking, and therefore must be rationed accordingly. This is unlike the legacy Priority Rewards, where one would cover all passengers on the same booking. This was of great benefit to couples, families, and groups of people travelling together.
While there can be significant value garnered from Priority Rewards, it will depend on your travel patterns. Of course, it’s impossible to design a program to appease everyone, so it’s up to the Super Elite to find value given what is available to them.
Super Elite Select Benefits
For the annual Select Benefits, Super Elites can choose two of the following six options:
- 100% bonus Aeroplan points with Air Canada and select airline partners
- 50 eUpgrade credits
- Lower Requalification Level (95,000 SQM or 95 SQS)
- Aeroplan 50K status for a friend
- 12-month Wi-Fi plan
- 4 Status Passes
I most commonly select the 100% Aeroplan bonus and 50 eUpgrade credits when I am selecting or recommending benefits for clients. These choices help Super Elite members organically grow their Aeroplan balances (as long as they pay for flights), and bolster their eUpgrade coffers to use throughout the year.
For the Select Benefit of 50 eUpgrades, Super Elites who wait until after July 1 to make their selections will enjoy eUpgrade validity throughout the following year. This means that if you select 50 eUpgrades in July 2022, they will be valid until January 16, 2024, giving first dibs on eUpgrade space for the following year.
For the 2022 benefit year, Lower Requalification Level might not be a great choice, as you can extend your status simply by earning 30,000 points on a co-branded Aeroplan credit card. And in general, with the ability to earn SQM and SQS through credit card spending, I would argue that this Select Benefit doesn’t make sense for most.
I suppose the remaining three options can be beneficial in the right circumstances.
Gifting Aeroplan 50K status to your better half or someone with whom you travel often could equip you with an additional 40 eUpgrade credits to use between the two of you. If they were also selected as an eUpgrade nominee, the dynamic duo would have at least 110 eUpgrade credits to use throughout the year (assuming the Super Elite selects eUpgrade credits as their other benefit).
Wi-Fi is nice to have, but as monthly plans start at around $65, it would be important to gauge whether or not you can get more value out of other options, which I would argue is very possible.
In my opinion, Status Passes would be a last resort, as many of the benefits can be obtained by redeeming for a business class ticket. Furthermore, Super Elites are given two complimentary Status Passes each year anyway.
Being a Super Elite with Air Canada comes with a number of perks and privileges. As the airline’s most loyal customers, they are afforded benefits above and beyond what other Aeroplan Elite Status members are offered.
Super Elites enjoy a streamlined travel experience with priority everything, fast-tracking to the front of the line, and a personalized Concierge service. They also have the most powerful Priority Rewards and the greatest flexibility with eUpgrades.
I always enjoy hearing from Super Elites about their opinions on the new program as compared to the old program, as well as stories about Concierges going above and beyond.