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How to maximize Aeroplan 25K elite status from the new Aeroplan credit card

Jan. 17, 2022
10 min read
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Air Canada has launched a new credit card for American consumers that offers a generous welcome bonus and attractive benefits, one of which is receiving Aeroplan 25K elite status through the end of 2023.

That's almost two years' worth of elite status just for signing up for the Aeroplan Credit Card.

Here's a rundown of the card's other benefits, the perks that Aeroplan 25K status confers and how to maximize them when flying Air Canada and its partner airlines.

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(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Maximize Air Canada credit card benefits

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Even if you don't fly Air Canada on a regular basis, the Aeroplan Credit Card has several perks that can give travelers excellent value:

  • Welcome bonus . New cardholders earn 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
  • Free Aeroplan 25K elite status for up to two years. Enjoy the benefits of elite status for the rest of the current year and all of the following year when you're approved for the card.
  • Earn Aeroplan elite status and benefits. You'll receive Aeroplan 25K elite status each year that you spend $15,000 in a calendar year. Existing elite status members can earn a one-level boost to 35K or higher when spending $50,000 each year. When you spend $100,000 in a calendar year, you'll receive even more benefits, including 50% off Priority Rewards and companion benefits.
  • Free checked bags. The first checked bag is free for you and up to eight companions traveling on the same itinerary. Air Canada charges $30 per bag each way, so these savings can add up quickly. For a family of four, that's a savings of $240 on a round-trip flight.
  • Earn up to 3 points per dollar on purchases. You'll earn 3 points per dollar at grocery stores, dining (including delivery services) and eligible Air Canada purchases. All other eligible charges earn 1 point per dollar. There is no cap to the number of Aeroplan points that you can earn with this card.
  • Bonus points based on spending. In addition to earning points on every transaction, you'll receive 500 bonus points for every $2,000 you spend. This benefit can add up to 1,500 points per month to your Aeroplan account.
  • Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or Nexus membership. Every four years, you'll be reimbursed up to $100 for your application fees for any of these three trusted traveler programs. This is the only U.S. credit card that reimburses Nexus membership, which can be a huge time-saver when traveling to Canada.
  • No foreign transaction fees. Some banks charge up to 3% on international transactions, but you won't pay any with the Air Canada credit card.
  • Travel protection benefits. This card offers numerous travel protections to keep you safe while traveling. These benefits include trip cancellation or interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, an auto rental collision damage waiver and roadside assistance.
  • Pay Yourself Back®. You'll be able to use your Aeroplan points to cover travel purchases from airlines, hotels, car rentals and more. Each Aeroplan point is worth 1.25 cents towards these purchases, and you can redeem up to 50,000 points each year to cover those transactions. Although we value Aeroplan points at 1.5 cents each, some cardholders can find value in this benefit.

Related: Lounge access, upgrades and more: Why I matched my elite status to Air Canada

Aeroplan 25K benefits that you can maximize

Receive one-time guest passes to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Aeroplan 25K elite status is the first level of status that you can earn with Air Canada. Normally, to qualify you must earn 3,000 Status Qualifying Dollars and either 25,000 Status Qualifying Miles or 25 Status Qualifying Segments in a calendar year.

Now, you'll receive this status for up to two years when you apply for the Aeroplan Credit Card -- the calendar year in which you open the card and the following one. After that, you can retain the status based on your annual spending.

The benefits you receive as an Aeroplan 25K member include:

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Priority services

Aeroplan 25K members receive priority phone access and are ranked above non-elite passengers on the waitlist when there's a full plane. These perks can be highly beneficial when trying to reach customer service or when a flight has been delayed or canceled. With priority access, you'll be among the first to have your flight rebooked.

These members can select seats at the front of the economy cabin on Air Canada flights and are eligible for priority boarding. By getting on the plane quicker, you'll have first access to the overhead bin space and more time to settle in before takeoff.

50% discount on Preferred seats

You and your travel companions on the same itinerary will save 50% when upgrading to Preferred seats on Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada Rouge. Preferred seats include extra legroom and typically cost $17 to $299 per person each way.

For example, on this flight from Toronto to Los Angeles, the upgrade to a Preferred seat would be $30 to $31 instead of $60 to $62 with your Aeroplan 25K 50% discount.

(Screenshot courtesy of Air Canada)

Priority airport services

At the airport, 25K elites enjoy faster service at check-in and priority boarding when flying Air Canada.

If you decide to take another flight, you'll receive priority standby on that plane. This feature puts you ahead of other passengers who are trying to score that coveted empty seat on an otherwise full flight.

Free checked bags

25K members receive their first two checked bags free regardless of which fare they purchase. Air Canada charges $30 per person each for the first checked bag. For a family of four, this is a savings of $240 on a round-trip flight.

Additionally, Air Canada waives special handling fees for sports equipment, like bikes or surfboards. Checking a bike typically costs $50 to $59, while a surfboard, paddleboard or similar equipment costs $100 to $118 each way. This benefit can save a ton of money for active travelers who bring their own gear with them.

eUpgrade credits

Each year, you'll receive 20 credits that you can use to upgrade your flight. The cost to upgrade your flight depends on the type of ticket purchased, which class you want to upgrade to and the distance of your flight.

For example, if you upgrade a Flex ticket to business class, you'll need up to 10 eUpgrade credits each way for a flight of more than 1,500 miles within North America. Award tickets cost 10 credits to upgrade, while cash tickets range from two to 10 credits, depending on the booking class for your ticket.

You have until Jan. 15 of your benefit year to redeem your eUpgrade credits.

Earn a minimum of 250 points per flight

Regardless of the distance that you travel, you'll earn a minimum of 250 points per flight. Normally, points are earned based on the distance that you fly and the fare class purchased. This minimum makes it easier to earn additional points on your short-haul flights.

Star Alliance recognition

As an Aeroplan 25K member, you receive Star Alliance Silver status, which entitles you to the priority reservation waitlist and priority standby at the airport when traveling with member airlines.

This benefit is especially important if you fly on Air Canada's partner airlines, such as United, regularly. If you don't have elite status with those partner airlines, Star Alliance Silver status can expedite your service if something goes wrong with your itinerary. You'll be one of the first passengers to capture a seat on the next flight if your original one is delayed or canceled, which can be critical when weather or other factors interrupt an airline's schedule.

Maple Leaf Lounge passes

Each year, 25K elites receive two one-time guest passes to Air Canada's Maple Leaf Lounges located in the domestic and U.S. zones of Canadian airports, as well as those in Los Angeles (LAX), New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Newark (EWR). Passes can be used with a confirmed same-day departing ticket for scheduled Air Canada flights.

Additional benefits that you can personalize

In addition to these standard benefits, you also get to pick three select benefits from a list of five options. You'll choose two out of these three options:

  • One-time guest passes to the Maple Leaf Lounge. Receive two one-time guest passes that you can use to enjoy the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges in Canada, Los Angeles or New York (LGA and EWR).
  • Elite status bonus certificate. Earn a points bonus of 25% on eligible flights with Air Canada and select Star Alliance partners, like Copa Airlines, United Airlines and Lufthansa.
  • Additional eUpgrade credits. You can elect to receive five bonus eUpgrade credits on top of the 20 you already receive for reaching 25K status.

Finally, you'll also pick one benefit from these two choices based on eligible Flight Pass activity (i.e., the purchase of various flight bundles):

  • eUpgrade credits. Receive four additional credits for future upgrades.
  • Bonus Status Qualifying Miles. Earn 750 SQM for every eligible Flight Pass activity toward elite status for the following year.

Related: The most compelling new airline card: Review of the Chase Aeroplan Credit Card

Bottom line

With so many benefits, there are multiple ways that cardholders can maximize the 25K elite status from the Aeroplan Credit Card. If you apply now, you'll receive this elite status for the remainder of 2022 and all of 2023. Plus, you can extend your status or reach higher levels of status and benefits with your annual spending — making this one of the easiest ways to achieve airline elite status.

Official application link: Aeroplan Credit Card with a welcome offer 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.

Featured image by THE POINTS GUY
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.