Air Canada Announces Changes to Aeroplan Elite Status Benefits

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This week, Air Canada announced updates to some of the benefits associated with various tiers of Aeroplan Elite Status.

Going forward, there are new benefits offered to Aeroplan 25K and 35K members when flying with select partner airlines, and Aeroplan 75K and Super Elite members have had one benefit discontinued.

As a reminder, these come in addition to the previously announced updates to the Aeroplan Elite Status program that came into effect this year.

New Benefits for Aeroplan 25K and 35K Members

Air Canada has announced new benefits for Aeroplan 25K and 35K members.

Aeroplan 25K and 35K members can enjoy priority services when flying with United Airlines and select Lufthansa Group carriers, which include Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Swiss, Air Dolomiti, and Discover Airlines.

With United Airlines, eligible 25K and 35K members are now able to use the “Premier Access” line when checking in at the airport, which can help to expedite the check in process. When it comes time to board, they’ll also enjoy Group 2 Priority Boarding. 

Aeroplan 25K and 35K members have new benefits with select partner airlines

Furthermore, Aeroplan 25K and 35K members will be able to use the dedicated “Business” line when checking in at the airport with select Lufthansa Group carriers.

As long as your Aeroplan number is attached to your reservation, you’ll be able to enjoy these benefits without taking any further steps.

As a reminder, Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite members enjoy Star Alliance Gold status, which includes enhanced priority airport services, including check-in, boarding, and more.

Air Canada Discontinues Guaranteed Reservations Benefit

Aeroplan 75K and Super Elite members have had one long-standing benefit discontinued.

Going forward, 75K and Super Elite members will no longer have a guaranteed reservations benefit. 

As a reminder, this perk offered eligible members a guaranteed reservation in economy on eligible Air Canada flights with the purchase of an Economy (Latitude) fare.

This meant that in the event of a full flight, Air Canada would guarantee a seat for a 75K or Super Elite member, which meant having to bump another passenger off the flight.

Aeroplan 75K and Super Elite members no longer have guaranteed reservations as a benefit

The reason given by Air Canada for the change is that the benefit was introduced over a decade ago when airlines commonly overbooked flights, which is no longer the case.

Plus, Air Canada mentioned that it’s a benefit that’s rarely used by eligible members, and that it also unfairly impacted other customers.

The discontinuation of this benefit does not affect the airline’s ability to accommodate passengers in the event of a flight disruption.

Air Canada’s Latest Changes to Aeroplan Elite Status

It’s worth noting that these latest changes don’t affect all members with Aeroplan Elite Status, and depending on your travel patterns, they may not affect you at all.

Priority check-in and boarding for 25K and 35K members on flights with United Airlines, as well as priority check-in on flights with select Lufthansa Group carriers, is a nice added perk that can help reduce time in lines at the airport. 

Aeroplan 25K and 35K members can enjoy Premier Access check-in for United flights

Having priority boarding with United Airlines is also a nice enhancement, since you can board and claim overhead bin space before others.

Overhead bin space is likely to become more sparse than ever, especially since many airlines, including United Airlines, have recently increased the cost of checked baggage fees.

If you happen to also have Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite status, keep in mind that you can also enjoy extra benefits when flying with United through the RewardsPlus partnership.

As for the loss of the guaranteed reservations benefit for Aeroplan 75K and Super Elite members, I don’t imagine many people will notice that it’s gone.

On the other hand, if you needed to get somewhere at the last minute and flights were full, I can understand that you might miss the assurance of getting on a flight.

However, it’s been in place for over a decade, and it was just as unfair to other passengers then as it was until it was removed.

Under Canada’s Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) and other passenger rights schemes, Air Canada is obligated to compensate passengers in the event of denied boarding (“bumping”). 

In addition to rebooking the bumped passenger on another flight, either with itself or with a competing airline (depending on the situation), Air Canada would be on the hook for the following amounts of compensation to each passenger for the inconvenience, as per Canada’s APPR:

  • $900 if the passenger arrives at their destination less than six hours late
  • $1,800 if the passenger arrives at their destination more than six hours but less than nine hours late
  • $2,400 if the passenger arrives at their destination nine hours or more late

If the guaranteed reservations benefit was rarely used, then I don’t see it having a large impact on Air Canada’s bottom line, and I don’t imagine this being the reason for removing it as a perk. This is especially so, since a last-minute Economy (Latitude) fare is likely very expensive to begin with, especially on long-haul international routes.

Rather, stories about passengers with disrupted travel plans pop up across media platforms all the time, and it’s usually when passengers feel that they’ve been treated unfairly by airlines for a variety of reasons. 

By removing the guaranteed reservations benefit, Air Canada is also removing a clear way for passengers to get bumped (however rarely), and any negative fallout that might happen from there.

Again, I don’t believe that Air Canada has had to bump a significant amount of passengers due to the guaranteed reservations benefit, but removing it seems like a reasonable thing to do.

Conclusion

Air Canada has announced some changes to the benefits offered at various tiers of Aeroplan Elite Status.

Aeroplan 25K and 35K members now enjoy priority check-in and boarding on flights with United Airlines, as well as priority check-in with select members of the Lufthansa Group.

Aeroplan 75K and Super Elite members no longer have guaranteed reservations as a benefit, which was offered for over a decade.

These updates come in addition to changes announced in Fall 2023, which came into effect in January 2024.

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