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Air Canada becomes first North American airline to extend elite status through 2022

March 31, 2021
4 min read
Air Canada A321 Landing at Calgary Airport
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As reported by View From The Wing, Air Canada is the first North American airline to extend elite status through 2022 in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The airline first extended 2020 elite status last April when the virus first started to wreak havoc on the travel industry. While vaccines have started to roll out around the world, the virus has continued to spread in Canada and other parts of the world. This had continued to keep many travelers grounded — especially as the U.S.-Canada border remains closed — so it makes sense that Air Canada is further extending status for travelers.

In this article, I'll give you a quick overview of Air Canada's latest status extension and discuss other changes announced.

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Air Canada elite status extended through 2022

Air Canada elites will enjoy elite status benefits for another year. (Photo by Joel Serre/Shutterstock)

As discussed, Air Canada has further extended elite status through 2022. This includes those who earned status in 2020 and 2019, giving them an extra year to enjoy elite status benefits.

As you'd expect, an elite who earns a higher elite status tier this year will be able to use their upgraded benefits for the remainder of 2021 and all of 2022.

Air Canada will let elites choose Select Benefits like bonus Aeroplan points, eUpgrade credits, and Status Passes in early 2022. This is a great perk, especially since Select Benefits are usually seen as a bonus benefit on top of standard elite status benefits.

Priority Reward vouchers also extended

The airline is also extending unused Priority Reward vouchers earned in 2020. These upgrades will be extended through Oct. 2022 and can be used any time until that expiration date.

As a reminder, Priority Rewards vouchers are earned when you hit specific SQD milestones. You can use them to book Aeroplan awards with a 50% points discount. Each status tier earns different vouchers that can be used in different cabin classes. For example, Aeroplan 25K members can use their vouchers for 50% off economy flights, while Super Elites can use vouchers for business class tickets.

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Aeroplan points won't expire in 2021

Further, Air Canada will pause the expiration of Aeroplan points until Jan. 31, 2022. After this date, the standard 18-month points validity will apply. You can keep your Aeroplan points active by earning or redeeming a single point. The extension will reflect in member accounts in the coming weeks.

Related: How to keep your points and miles from expiring

"Status Jumpstart" added for some members

(Photo courtesy of Air Canada)

Aeroplan members who qualify for any elite status tier in 2021 (through flight activity) will have their Status Qualifying Miles (SQM), Status Qualifying Segments (SQS), and Status Qualifying Dollars (SQD) earned in 2021 rolled over to 2022. This will apply to any member who earns at least 25,000 SQM or 25 SQS, plus $3,000 SQD ($1,500 for non-Canadian residents) in 2021.

For example, an Aeroplan 35K member that earns 27,000 SQM, 10 SQS and $3,500 SQD will start the 2022 status year with their Aeroplan 35K status and the same number of SQM, SQS and SQD in their account. In turn, this will make it far easier for Aeroplan elites to earn or upgrade status in 2022 (for the 2023 status year) without worrying about losing their current status tier.

Related: How to earn Air Canada elite status without flying

Bottom line

This is the most generous status extension we've seen so far, and I'm hopeful that U.S. airlines will follow suit in the coming weeks. The travel industry is showing signs of a strong recovery as vaccines rollout around the world, but most business travel is still grounded. This means that many elites will be unable to extend their status in 2021, so further extensions are badly needed.

Feature photo by Heather Dunbar/Shutterstock

Featured image by (Photo by Heather Dunbar/Shutterstock.com)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023