Based on the flying we have planned for this year, we have signed up for the Air Canada Status Challenge. Compared to other airlines, Air Canada doesn’t have a status match but has a status challenge. A status challenge requires you to complete requirements prior to receiving status vs a status match which gives you the benefits for the year immediately upon approval. If you have airline status with another airline, contact them to ask for additional information via email. From our experience, as Alaska Airlines MVP 75K, we were offered Air Canada 50K if we flew 18,500 Altitude Qualifying Miles or 18 segments in a 90 day period.
After we submitted the email, we received an automated response informing us that we would receive a response in 2-3 weeks with the next steps. Due to the back and forth and delay to respond to the request, you should allocate about 5 weeks of time to sign-up and receive confirmation of your enrollment.
We received our confirmation e-mail with a note indicating it can take up 4 weeks for us to receive the status once we complete the challenge. With this in mind, it is best to have yourself enrolled by January 1 to maximize the amount of time you will have the status during the year, taking into consideration how lengthy the entire process is.
Tip: Plan in advance and wait until everything is confirmed before starting to fly to earn your Altitude Qualifying Miles.
In order to maximize earning the required qualifying miles, we started to book Flex Fares to earn 100% of miles flown. Higher fare classes will earn higher Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQM), i.e Latitude fares earn 125% of miles flown. If you plan on flying short distances, then that’s 9 return flights for a total of 18 segments.
Once you complete the status challenge, you will obtain 50K status which offers you the following benefits.
In order to achieve higher status, like 75K or 100K, you will still need to complete the requirements for Altitude Qualifying Miles (AQM) and Altitude Qualifying Dollars (AQD); the bump up to 50K doesn’t give you 50,000 AQMs. One major downside to the Air Canada Altitude program is the amount of AQDs required for 100K Super Elite, it’s double that of 75K making it very difficult to achieve unless you’re buying business class fares on long haul flights or Latitude Flight Passes.
For more information about the Air Canada Altitude program, visit their website: https://altitude.aircanada.com/status/overview.
We are still committed to the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program because of the options it offers, like redeeming for flights on Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and other partners. We always try to diversify our points portfolios to have the most options, and this is especially important in light of the changes that are coming to Air Canada’s reward program in 2020 where we predict it will transition to a dollars system, meaning the points required will be in line with the cost of the flight, not a standard rewards chart.
Have you completed the Air Canada status challenge? If so, what airline elite status did you have? Are you concerned about the changes to Aeroplan and Air Canada’s new rewards program?
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