a bed in a plane

The best perks are always rewards without hassle. Air Canada just took significant steps in making eUpgrades, a key perk of their Altitude loyalty program, easier to use than ever, with more fares to upgrade from, and less manual effort to request one. Here’s what you can expect from Air Canada’s eUpgrades starting October 6th, 2020.

a white airplane flying over water

Air Canada Expands Upgrades

Airlines have always been stingy with upgrades, often requiring even frequent flyers to book into an expensive fare, just to be able to cash their perks in. Now, Air Canada is saying enough of that. From October 6th, all Air Canada fares except basic economy will be upgradeable using eUpgrade certificates.

For points enthusiasts, there’s one big bonus too. All Aeroplan flight rewards are now upgradeable useing eUpgrades, which means you don’t even technically need to “buy” a fare to upgrade using one of your perks. Air Canada quietly allowed eUpgrades on most fares for the last few years, but it’s now official policy.

Requesting eUpgrades Is Easier Too

For reasons unknown, Air Canada’s system made people manually request their upgrades from the date their upgrade window opens. So if you’re a top elite member whose upgrades can clear from 14 days out, you’d need to wait 14 days out and send the request. Those days are over.

From October 6th, members can automatically request eUpgrades during booking, or at any point after, and the flight upgrades will automatically clear if available, once the upgrade window opens, or up to departure. Basically, you can now book and be done with it. If your upgrade goes through, they’ll let you know.

Air Canada Business Class Bed

Air Canada Companion Upgrades Are Changing

Travelers are often in different minds about how companions should be treated as to upgrades, but when you’re the one traveling with one, the answer is pretty simple. Air Canada is changing companion upgrades, and from November 8th, companions of elite members will clear with the same priority as the elite member.

In other words, a companion of a top tier elite on the same reservation will clear before a mid tier elite on their own. Statistically, companion upgrades are rare, so it’s really not a big deal for solo travelers, but is a big help for those who occasionally bring a companion.

Name Change: Altitude Becomes Aeroplan

Air Canada and Aeroplan have had a complicated relationship. First they were one in the same, then Aeroplan was sold and become something else and now they’re close again. Rather than have Aeroplan for points, and Altitude for elite status, the program is rolling into one.

Going forward Aeroplan will adopt the same tiers in Air Canada’s ‘Altitude’ loyalty program, and offer Aeroplan 25K, 35K, 50K, 75K, and Super Elite.

Even better, Priority Rewards are becoming a thing, which can save 50% off the price in miles you pay in any cabin, even when you book airline partners. Elite frequent flyers starting at the 35K level will earn these incredibly lucrative rewards which make Aeroplan miles more valuable.

Another game changer with the new program is Status Pass, where anyone with Altitude 50K and above can share their elite benefits with a friend or companion when not traveling together. A limited number of these passes will be available, allowing any traveler to make their perks more worthwhile for people they care aboutl

Good Moves From Air Canada

Airlines are on the charm offensive, looking to lure travelers back into the skies with customer friendly policies. It’s hard to think of anyone who will mind. Air Canada’s new changes make its upgrades among the best in the business, and the ability to upgrade reward flights booked with points adds a generous dimension to the idea of loyalty.

If you’re sitting on some Air Canada upgrades, or are soon to earn some, they’re more worthwhile now than before, and with fewer people flying, the chances of cashing one in when you want to are greater than ever.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. Forget the upgrades, how about refunds for flights lost…vouchers are useless, as who knows when and where we will fly again.
    Be like most other airlines and refund OUR money!

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