Air Canada extends elite status to 2022, with some flights this year doubling to 2023.

Gary Leff on the 31st. March 2021.

Less than two weeks ago, I explained why airlines should renew their elite status next year and start over with their customers. We’re already seeing that: Air Canada Aeroplan has just announced that all elite status will be extended until the end of 2022.

This means that instead of trying to get their elite status back in 2021, customers will retain their status during a pandemic, with many travel restrictions and a landing for business travel, if they fly next year.

Also at Aeroplan this year the miles do not expire on, but they do on the 31st. Suspended until January 2022. It’s not just the right thing to do, it’s the smartest thing to do.

  • Aeroplan customers are valuable and expensive to acquire. By suspending mileage, they avoid referring these customers and encourage them to start over (or not start at all) with a competitor’s program.
  • Business travelers who move around a lot won’t be flying much this year. Business travel doesn’t start until the end of the year, but by then it’s too late for most to reset their status, and how long can they travel on long-haul routes anyway? These are the last customers you want to lose. They won’t all come back, but renewing the status of those who don’t is not very expensive and is worth it on a portfolio basis.

Of course, Aeroplan members can reach a higher status than they have now. And early next year, the program will again give an electoral advantage to elites, even if the status is renewed rather than newly acquired.

Unused priority rewards vouchers earned in 2020 will be extended through October 2020 at the end of this year. The 2021 e-Extensions will not be renewed, but new e-Extensions will be published in 2022. And since one of the 2021 optional benefits has been reduced for the following year, anyone who chooses to do so will be eligible again (more on this process later).

For those who achieve regular status this year (25,000 miles or 25 segments plus $3,000/$1,500 for non-Canadians), the miles, segments and dollars earned this year also count toward qualifying in 2022. This is in addition to the status miles that elites with eligible co-branded credit cards can claim – so some flights in 2021 may count twice towards status in 2021.

I don’t expect that kind of generosity from US airlines, although I think it makes sense. American Airlines calls elite members to sell them qualifying miles. Presumably an extension of status would mean that this money would have to be repaid.

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