Credit Cards,  Featured,  News,  Points and Miles

What the new Aeroplan means for elite, credit card members

With the refreshed Aeroplan poised to launch November 8, 2020, Air Canada Altitude elite members and existing Aeroplan credit card holders are getting a glimpse on what this means for them for their status, spend, and loyalty. 

Old vs. new logo

Redesigned tiers

Members will see the unification of Air Canada Altitude and Aeroplan Distinction statuses, with the new currency being “points” instead of “Miles.” Points will be collected through spend and travel, while AQMs and AQDs will become SQMs and SQDs—Status Qualifying Miles and Status Qualifying Dollars, respectively. SQMs and SQDs will still primarily come from air travel to be counted towards elite status, however bonuses will be made available through credit cards with mid-range and premium cards seeing 1000 SQMs and 1 SQS (segment) awarded per $10,000 and $5,000 eligible annual spend, respectively. 

For everyday spenders, 100,000 Aeroplan points will qualify for 25K Aeroplan status. Elite levels will lose “Prestige” and “Elite” markers, simply being renamed to 25K, 35K, 50K, 75K, and Super Elite (100K). Status qualification will be instant and valid through next calendar year, and digital lounge passes will be deposited into the member’s Aeroplan account for use or printing. Rest assured, luggage tags and cards will remain mailed to elite members. 

Preferred pricing 

Elite members will have access to preferred pricing on redemptions. This means as an elite member, you can redeem points for reward flights and see additional savings on the number of points required to access a flight. 

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Revenue-based coming… higher earn for elites

Next year, Air Canada will be transitioning to revenue-based earn “later in 2021,” officially moving away from distance-based earn currently present on Aeroplan Miles. With that, Economy Basic fares will become eligible to earn Aeroplan points, while they are ineligible towards Status Qualifying Miles (SQMs) and Status Qualifying Dollars (SQDs). Simpler calculation of points means greater transparency with Basic fares earning 2x base fares (pretax and fees), and all fares above earning 3x. Additionally, members with status earn additional multipliers, with 25/35K, 50K, 75K, and Super Elite earning +1x, +2x, +3x, and +4x, respectively. In some cases, especially with sale fares, earn rates may see a decrease in the new revenue-based earn calculations compared to what’s currently in place.

Credit cards

A sample of the refreshed credit card suite.

A first look at the refreshed credit card suite features some alignment of ranges of cards offered by TD, CIBC, and American Express:

  • Grey-coloured, entry-level cards (TD Aeroplan Visa Platinum, CIBC Aeroplan Visa)
  • Slate-coloured, main-level cards (TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite, American Express Aeroplan Card)
  • Black or premium-level cards (TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege, CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege, American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card)

Slate cards (TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite, CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite, American Express Aeroplan Card)

  • 1 checked bag free on a revenue or reward ticket (for primary user, authorized user, and up to 8 travel companions)
  • 1000 SQMs + 1 segment per $10,000 eligible annual spend
  • Preferred redemption rates 
  • Enhanced insurance with the addition of Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance and Mobile Device Insurance   
  • NEXUS+ application fee reimbursement of up to $100 for the Primary Cardholder and Additional Cardholders
  • No expiry of Aeroplan points

Black cards (TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege, CIBC Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege, American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card)

  • 1 checked bag free on a revenue or reward ticket (for primary user, authorized user, and up to 8 travel companions)
  • 1000 SQMs + 1 segment per $5,000 eligible annual spend
  • Preferred redemption rates
  • Maple Leaf Lounge (and Air Canada Café) access in North America (for primary and authorized user)
  • Priority Airport services like priority check-in, security, boarding (for primary and authorized user)
  • Annual companion fare for $99 (offered when you spend a minimum of $25,000 annually)
  • Rollover elite miles/eUpgrade credits
  • Priority Upgrades
  • Enhanced insurance with the addition of Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance and Mobile Device Insurance   
  • NEXUS+ application fee reimbursement of up to $100 for the Primary Cardholder and Additional Cardholders
  • No expiry of Aeroplan points

Small business cards (TD Aeroplan Visa Business, CIBC Aeroplan Visa Business)

  • 1 checked bag free on a revenue or reward ticket (for primary user, authorized user, and up to 8 travel companions)
  • 1000 SQMs + 1 segment per $10,000 spend
  • Preferred redemption rates
  • 1 Maple Leaf Lounge pass for every $10,000 in spend, up to four per year
  • Enhanced insurance with the addition of Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance and Mobile Device Insurance   
  • NEXUS+ application fee reimbursement of up to $100 for the Primary Cardholder and Additional Cardholders
  • No expiry of Aeroplan points

Rollover SQM and eUpgrade credits

New to premium Aeroplan credit cards will include a unique feature that gives elite members ability to roll over SQMs and eUpgrade credits for the following year. So if you have unused SQMs from the previous tier you reached, the difference in SQMs will be moved to next year to give you a head start on elite qualification. 

For eUpgrade credits, members who have unused credits in their account can move them forward to pool with next year’s allotment to access even more premium cabin experiences.

More on the new Aeroplan from Master Travellr:

Winston is currently a freelance technology and travel broadcast journalist, consultant, and is the creator and founder of Master Travellr—Canada’s destination for travel news, guides, and budget recommendations.

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