As we approach the end of the year, we’re seeing a number of reports of passengers receiving email offers from Air Canada to “buy-up” to the next Aeroplan Elite Status tier.
This type of paid status upgrade has been offered in years prior, and it appears to be sent out to passengers who are relatively close to reaching the next tier.
Air Canada Offers Targeted Paid Status Upgrade
The qualification period for Aeroplan Elite Status runs from January 1 to December 31 of any given year. With just one month left in 2022, some travellers may find themselves a bit short of the requirements to reach the next status level to enjoy throughout 2023.
According to reports in the Prince of Travel community and the FlyerTalk forum, it appears that Air Canada has sent out targeted offers to buy up to base-level 25K status for $299 (CAD), and passengers with 35K status to upgrade to 50K status for $999 (CAD).
The payments are processed through Points.com, but since there isn’t a public landing page for this offer, it’s likely bound to your specific account. If you’ve been selected for this offer, you must complete the purchase by December 12 to enjoy the new status in 2023.
Air Canada began offering these types of status buy-ups in 2016, although due to pandemic-related status extensions, it has been a while since they were last offered.
So far, we’ve been able to gather data points for status buy-ups from no status to 25K, and from 35K status to 50K. It’s possible that there are buy-ups to other tiers, so if you’ve received one, please reach out and we will update this post accordingly.
Furthermore, it appears that Air Canada may be sending the buy-up offer out to people who have made some progress towards reaching status in 2022, but who haven’t met one of the Status Qualifying Mile (SQM), Status Qualifying Segment (SQS), or Status Qualifying Dollar (SQD) requirements.
For example, one data point is from an Aeroplan member who currently enjoys 35K status, and thus far in 2022 has earned 30,000 SQM, 41 SQS, and around 6,000 SQD. Assuming that they’re over the 6,000 SQD mark, that means they’re short either 20,000 SQM or 9 SQS to reach 50K status.
With this offer, they can eschew the rest of the earning requirements and confirm 50K status for $999 (CAD).
Another data point is from an Aeroplan member who is much closer to 50K status, with 36,000 SQM, 46 SQS, and “well over” the SQD requirement. This member received the same offer.
Lastly, the lone report to buy up to 25K status was from a member who was just 2,500 SQM short of reaching 25K this year. Rather than hustling to earn the remaining SQM, they could accept Air Canada’s offer to buy up to 25K status for $299 (CAD).
Is Buying Up a Good Deal?
If you’ve received an offer to level up your status at a price, you may be wondering whether it’s a good deal or not. This is going to be entirely dependent on your personal situation, as if you travel often, you’re likely to get more value out of having a higher status than if you fly a few times each year.
In regard to the 25K status buy-up offer for $299 (CAD), keep in mind that you’ll receive a two free checked bags on all Air Canada flights, priority airport services, and up to 25 eUpgrades, amongst other perks.
Of these, the most valuable benefit could be the 25 eUpgrades, which you can use to upgrade to a higher class of service on Air Canada flights on cash bookings or Aeroplan redemptions. When used strategically, you could wind up savings thousands of Aeroplan points or a tidy sum of cash if you were going to book in the higher class of service to begin with.
If you’re able to squeeze more than $299 out of the upgrade purchase, then it could be worthwhile, but keep in mind that it’s possible to earn 25K status without flying at all. By earning 100,000 Aeroplan points each year through Everyday Status Qualification, or simply by holding the US-issued Chase Aeroplan Card, you can enjoy Aeroplan 25K status.
You’re also able to earn SQM and SQS through credit card spending, so if you’ve already met the SQD requirement for the year, it could be high time to consider adding an eligible Aeroplan co-branded credit card to your portfolio to help you reach the SQM or SQS threshold.
As for the 50K status buy-up for $999 (CAD), it will wholly depend on if you’ll be able to take advantage of all of the additional perks that you don’t enjoy at 35K status.
Recall that as of June 1, 2023, passengers with Aeroplan 35K status will no longer enjoy complimentary access to North American Maple Leaf Lounges. If you place a lot of value on lounge access, which you’ll also enjoy throughout the world with Star Alliance Gold status as a 50K, then it could be in your best interest to consider the offer.
Of course, you can continue to enjoy access to Maple Leaf Lounges by having a premium Aeroplan co-branded credit card, such as the American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card, which has an annual fee of $599 (CAD).
Otherwise, you can enjoy worldwide lounge access with an American Express Platinum Card, with an effective annual fee of $499 (CAD) after factoring in the $200 annual travel credit.
Moreover, as a 35K, you’ll enjoy up to 35 eUpgrades next year, while as a 50K, you can enjoy up to 40. If you’re able to save some money on cash or Aeroplan bookings by applying eUpgrades, then the extra allotment of 5 eUpgrades could be valuable to you.
If you tend to do cash bookings for work or leisure throughout the year, then you’ll also earn Priority Rewards as you accumulate SQD.
As of January 1, 2023, Priority Rewards earned by passengers with 35K and 50K status will take 50% off of an Aeroplan redemption in economy or premium economy within North America and to Sun destinations, so there’s no advantage with the buy-up if your sole reason is getting Priority Rewards.
Air Canada has sent out targeted status buy-up offers, seemingly to Aeroplan members who have made some progress towards reaching status this year. We have confirmed offers to buy up to 25K status for $299 (CAD), and to buy up to 50K status from 35K for $999 (CAD).
This isn’t the first time Air Canada has sent out buy-up offers, and it’s likely not the last. Whether or not it’s worth the upgrade will depend entirely on your expected travel patterns for 2023 – it could be worth the cost if you plan to take full advantage of the added perks, but not necessarily if you won’t be travelling very often.
Feel free to get in touch via the comments below if you’ve received an offer for a buy-up to another tier, and we’ll be sure to add it to this discussion.