Air Canada Now Participating in Star Alliance Upgrade Program

by on December 8, 2010 · 5 comments

in Aeroplan, Air Canada, star alliance

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Good news for Star Alliance members who want to upgrade on Air Canada- they can now redeem miles for upgrades through the Star Alliance upgrade program.  This is somewhat of a surprise, because they are one of the hardest airlines to upgrade on. They don’t hand out free upgrades to top tier elites, like the legacy US airlines, instead making their frequent flyers pay for them with high fare classes and limited system-wide upgrades.

Under the new rules announced here, you can upgrade Air Canada flights booked in Latitude Y,B classes using your Star Alliance miles. An added benefit of upgrading on Air Canada is access to the Maple Leaf Lounges.
For example, to upgrade a North American Air Canada flight, it would cost 10,000 United miles each way, pending available upgrade space.

Requesting an upgrade

  • To booka Star Alliance Upgrade Award, make sure you have your Air Canada booking reference handy, then contact:

    Your frequent flyer program will have details regarding how many miles are required for each flight segment you wish to upgrade.

Codeshare flights and flights departing from the following airports are not eligible for Star Alliance Upgrade Awards:

United States

  • Philadelphia, PA (PHL)
  • Portland, OR (PDX)
  • Seattle, WA (SEA)


  • Cayo Coco (CCC)
  • Cayo Largo del Sur (CYO)
  • Ciego de Avila (AVI)
  • Havana (VAV)
  • Holguin (HOG)
  • Santa Clara (SNU)
  • Varadero (VRA)

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Alex

    Sorry to rain on the parade, but there is nothing good about what they have done with the upgrade program. It’s actually quite outrageous. Under the guise of changing to an electronic system, they have severely downgraded the various options for getting upgraded. Just as an example, if you are Elite, you can get at the most 35 Upgrade credits under the new system. If you go to their site for calculating how to use these credits, you’ll be shocked. Say, you want to go to Australia on a regular Tango Plus ticket. It will cost you 40 credits to get upgraded both ways, meaning that you couldn’t make that trip EVEN IF you use ALL of your credits for the entire year. In previous years, you always got 2 special system-wide certificates which would have allowed you to go to Australia + have all the other (at least 6) coupons left. This is just one example. Take a closer look, everyone. You lose every time.

  • The Points Guy

    Alex- totally agreed that they devalued the Top Tier program and will be writing about that. This post was in reference to them participating in the star alliance upgrade program which is a totally different thing.

  • janine

    Hi. Agreed that they REALLY gouged the upgrade program. Plus, now the points upgrades are on latitude fares. Last I looked for fares, they had raised latitude fares to only a couple of hundred dollars less than executive to many destinations; e.g toronto to sydney; toronto to san francisco. Air Canada is, I believe, going to raise the ire of their best travellers with these practices.

  • The Points Guy

    I agree- but I guess there such little competition on these routes that their flyers will cough up the extra $. Only time will tell if people walk

  • Ben

    Points Guy,
    I booked my ticket on United, and it is a AC code share flight. I have about 300,000 current miles available on US Airways. How do i use my miles to upgrade? I am flying LAX-Toronto. How much miles should i expect to spend? Thanks.

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