Air Canada is revamping its elite program and adding two new tiers to the Top Tier program, which will be renamed Altitude next year. The Air Canada Altitude program will launch on March 1, 2013 with a total of five tiers, starting at Altitude Prestige 25K that requires 25,000 status miles or 25 status flight segments.
Altitude Prestige 25K members receive 25 percent bonus miles or a 35 percent lounge discount and will continue to be able to upgrade one travel companion, but will no longer have access to the eUpgrade nominee privilege.
The second tier, Altitude Elite 35K, requires 35,000 status miles or 35 status flight segments. Elite 35K members can receive a 35 percent flight bonus or 10 eUpgrade credits, and are given Star Alliance Silver status, instead of Star Alliance Gold like current Elite members, and will no longer receive priority baggage handling and lounge access when flying on Star Alliance airlines. These flyers will also no longer receive access to international Maple Leaf lounges, but will continue to receive entry to North American Maple Leaf Lounges. Altitude Elite 35K members will also be able to choose lounge guest passes as a Select Privilege.
Altitude Elite 50K requires 50,000 status miles or 50 status flight segments. Elite 50K members can receive 50 percent bonus miles or 30 eUpgrade credits as Select Privileges, plus improved upgrade priority, expanded partner offers, threshold incentives and other travel benefits that haven’t yet been announced.
Altitude Elite 75K requires 75,000 status miles or 75 status flight segments and offers 75 percent bonus miles or 40 eUpgrade credits as Select Privileges, along with access to preferred seats, expanded partner offers, threshold incentives and other travel benefits to be announced.
Alitude Super Elite 100K, earned after flying 100,000 status miles or 95 status flight segments, can choose to receive 100 percent bonus miles or 50 eUpgrade credits as Select Privileges. Super Elite 100K flyers earn fewer eUpgrade credits as before, while members earning over 200,000 status miles will earn more eUpgrade credits.
To requalify for elite status in 2014, Elite 50K members and above can select to qualify with 5,000 fewer miles or five fewer segments as one of their optional benefits. Other Select Privileges members can choose include Maple Leaf Lounge passes, eUpgrade credits, bonus miles and other options.
To qualify for any elite status level, members will need to fly a minimum of 10,000 status miles or five status segments on eligible Air Canada or Air Canada Express flights, including status miles earned from flying on an Unlimited Flight Pass. Current elite members of the 2012 Top Tier program will continue to receive their elite benefits through Feb. 28, 2013.
Bottom line: It’s been over a decade since Air Canada has made any changes to its elite program. Altitude Elite 35K members are losing Star Alliance Gold status and will now need to fly 50,000 miles or 50 segments to receive Star Alliance Gold benefits. Air Canada announced the changes and restructured tiers in time for members to plan accordingly for the rest of their elite-qualifying flights in 2012. Visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?7367 to view additional details about the changes.