Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Air Canada 2012 Top Tier Program

Air Canada recently announced the 2012 Top Tier program for those who have or will qualify for it.  The following is taken from the Air Canada site:

Enhanced Select Privilege: 2012 Top Tier Bonus

New this year, Top Tier members who choose the Top Tier Bonus as one of their Select Privileges will enjoy a 25% Aeroplan Mile Bonus on eligible flights operated by TAM. This complements the current range of airlines participating in the Top Tier Bonus, including Air Canada, Air Canada Express, Austrian Airlines, bmi, Continental Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS and United. Unlike in previous years, note that this year ANA will no longer participate in the Top Tier Bonus.

Super Elite Threshold Gift

New this year, Air Canada Super Elite members who achieve the 150,000 Air Canada Status Mile threshold before December 31 will be rewarded automatically with 15,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles. Members achieving the 200,000, 250,000, 300,000 or 350,000 Air Canada Status Mile threshold will continue to be able to choose from a range of exclusive gifts, including Bonus Aeroplan Miles, gift certificates and electronics.

Expanded upgrade eligibility for Prestige members

Air Canada Prestige members will now enjoy access to upgrades from all Tango Plus fares on flights within North America, including Sun destinations. This change will be effective for upgrade requests made as of January 1, 2012.

eUpgrades for the 2012 Air Canada Top Tier Program

eUpgrade Credits earned as part of the 2012 Air Canada Top Tier Program will be valid until February 28, 2013. Additionally, note that this year, an Aeroplan Member, regardless of their Air Canada Top Tier status, can only be identified as an eUpgrade Nominee by one Air Canada Top Tier member.

Not in the notice of change but on Air Canada's upgrade page:
Change to the ability for sharing eUpgrade Credits
Additionally, note that this year, an Aeroplan Member, regardless of their Air Canada Top Tier status, can only be identified as an eUpgrade Nominee by one Air Canada Top Tier member.

To view all  the details on the  2012 Top Tier program visit Air Canada

To learn even more on the 2012 program and some insight into some changes not listed above I recommend reading this FlyerTalk post


  1. I am sure some of you may have read the email from Air Canada detailing the changes implemented for earning top-tier status for 2013.

    Until now, Air Canada had the most liberal mileage accumulation scheme for achieving top-tier status, i.e., Star Gold or Elite. If you earned 35,000 status miles in a year you used to get Elite status with Air Canada and also Gold status with Star Alliance. Gold status is extremely important when you are flying with partner airlines since it affords you the same privileges as Elite status on Air Canada, namely, priority check-in (the queues these are extremely long these days since you have not only print your boarding cards, but also your baggage tags), priority boarding, and lounge access. Now you need to fly 50,000 (status) miles to get these benefits. With 35,000 status miles you only get the Elite status with Air Canada and the exiguous Star Alliance Silver status. The email states that Elite members will be able to choose some privileges among which is access to Star Alliance lounges, but it does not include priority check-in or boarding on partner airlines (you are stuck in the long winding airport queues).

    If you do not fly often (you can earn 50,000 status miles, only if you travel extensively), then it's a bad day for you. I know it is a bad day for me.

  2. Few more comments about the changes:

    1) The worst hit people are like me, who travel often, but not frequently. The 35K threhold allowed me to plan for trips such that I could choose the routes and fares that allowed me to achieve this goal. During this process I would forgo getting good deals.

    2) These changes align Air Canada with other Star Alliance partners. To the best of my knowledge there are no other major airlines that had such a low threshold for Gold status.

    3) Perhaps, it makes it easier for frequent flyers (50K + miles) to be better rewarded - easier upgrades, less time in the check-in and boarding queue - now that Gold status is exclusively for 50K+ miles travelers only.

    4) Flyers who fly less than 50K miles are the most affected. Based on the sense of Super Elite and Elite flyers who fly more than 50K + miles is that there were too many Elite members in any given flight. They are happy with this change as they think this will somehow enhance their status. Not really! On the domestic front, Elite members still get all the privileges of the old system (Maple leaf lounge access, priority boarding, priority check-in, 3 complimentary checked bags, etc.), Elite members loose out on these good stuff on international routes where flights are operated by other airlines. Elite members, however, are unable to use their e-upgrades on Tango Plus fares on international routes operated by Air Canada.

    5) Elite members are the most concerned. They think that they are not being rewarded enough for their loyalty and are being relegated to Prestige status under the guise of Elite label. I would differ from this notion. It is true Elite status has been downgraded, but on the domestic front it is still good. Many Super Elite members posited that Elite status was for domestic frequent flyers and Super Elite status was for mostly members flying on the international routes. Not true. I mostly earned my Elite status flying on international routes. The fact is that you have to fly quite often domestically to get Elite status, but if you make a couple long distance international routes getting Elite status was not a problem. Perhaps Air Canada should have set their Gold status threshold at 45K, which would have been more fair to all loyal passengers.

  3. a question ... if I am 16 miles short of 35K - do you think AC will extend my Elite Status again for 2012 ??

    1. 16 miles short? why not just pay $48 for refilling gasoline from Esso?

    2. They have to be elite status qualifying miles, which unfortunately are not the same as the basic Aeroplan miles earned from Esso

  4. There is a very good chance they will. It is not guaranteed but in the past many people who were within a few hundred (I even heard of one at 1,500) miles short were granted status. Only being 16 short, I would imagine you will get it.