Today (Dec 9) we’re launching the 2011 Air Canada Top Tier Program. We’d like to highlight some of the biggest program enhancements for 2011 right here.
Launch of eUpgrades
If there’s been one common message from our Top Tier members over the past few years, it’s been this: “Enough with the wallpaper!” Last year as we began work on our electronic upgrade product – known as “eUpgrades” – we kept this in mind and entirely rethought how our Top Tier upgrades work. In the end, we landed on something whereby all of the upgrade currency – now “eUpgrade Credits” – can be used more freely by tying it more closely to the Economy Class fare paid. Some key items worth mentioning:
As mentioned in earlier communications, eUpgrade Credits can be used for travel starting March 1, 2011. Note that those Top Tier members qualifying in December & January will receive extra 2010 Top Tier upgrade certificates for use for travel through February 28, 2011. Note that these will not and cannot be converted into eUpgrade Credits – they are simply a goodwill gesture for members who would like to upgrade prior to the launch of eUpgrades.
Regardless of where your original booking was made, you will always be able to request an upgrade for an eligible flight online at aircanada.com through your eUpgrade account. You’ll also be able to view transaction history.
Versus the 2010 upgrade certificate program, there are no major changes to eligible booking classes / booking windows. While the Tango Plus booking class “U” is no longer grouped with booking class “M” (as on our 2010 Top Tier upgrade certificates), this is due to the fact that we are not selling booking class “U” on a regular basis.
Beginning with the launch of eUpgrades in the airport on March 1, 2011, all waitlisted upgrade requests will be automatically transferred to our airport standby list. This means that you will no longer have to re-request your upgrade upon check-in if it hasn’t already cleared.
Now, all Top Tier members will enjoy the privilege of sharing their credits with eUpgrade Nominees, allowing the nominee to upgrade, even when the member is not traveling with them. However, the sponsoring Top Tier member will always be required to request the upgrade on behalf of their nominee.
Just a note that eUpgrade Credits will be deposited into the Top Tier member’s account within 48 hours of choosing eUpgrade Credits as a Select Privilege. Until the account is credited, it will not be possible to access the account, so don’t be concerned if you can’t log into your account immediately.
Also, for any December 2010 threshold upgrade activities, we will continue to send paper upgrade certificates. This is due to a system limitation associated with the launch of the eUpgrade program. However, going forward, we will be able to offer credits with a longer validity period for threshold upgrade activities which take place towards the end of a qualification year.
For full details on the program (upgrade request process, eligible bookings, credits required, etc), we invite you to visit aircanada.com/eupgrades. We’ll be interested to see your feedback over the coming weeks, especially when the product launches in the airports, for travel on March 1, 2011.
New Super Elite Select Privilege: Maple Leaf Club for a Friend
Some of you may recall this as a Select Privilege we had a few years ago. We hope it's interesting to Super Elite members who are looking for options other than eUpgrade Credits and/or Bonus Miles.
New Prestige Select Privilege: 35% Discount on Maple Leaf Club
We recognize Maple Leaf Lounge access is valuable to our Prestige members, hence the additional Maple Leaf Lounge One-Time Guest Pass included in one of our Select Privilege options this year. Furthermore, as you may recall from last year, we introduced a 15% Maple Leaf Club discount for all Prestige members, but your feedback made it clear that this was not enough. Therefore, this year we will offer a 35% Maple Leaf Club discount, applicable to all Maple Leaf Club membership options, as a Select Privilege. This is well over double (in some cases triple) the discount offered by other airlines to their equivalent tier members when purchasing lounge membership.
Air Canada Minimum Flight Requirement
In order to better manage the cost of our program, and to ensure that we’re delivering benefits to our true frequent flyers, we have introduced a “minimum flight requirement.” This will be considered during your 2012 Top Tier qualification year (January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011), so it will not impact your 2011 Top Tier status.
The flight requirement is 5 Status Flight Segments or 10,000 Status Miles on eligible flights operated by Air Canada or on behalf of Air Canada by Jazz, Air Georgian Limited (doing business as Air Alliance), Exploits Valley Air Services LTD, Central Mountain Air and Sky Regional Airlines. Note that you can reach the Minimum Flight Requirement on Status Flight Segments, even if you qualify based on Status Miles – or vice versa. You will be able to track your qualification towards this requirement online at aeroplan.com beginning in the spring of 2011.
The minimum flight requirement counts as part of your regular qualification requirement, which remains the same for 2012:
* To qualify for Super Elite, you will need 100,000 Status Miles or 95 Status Segments.
* To qualify for Elite, you will need 35,000 Status Miles or 50 Status Segments.
* To qualify for Prestige, you will need 25,000 Status Miles or 25 Status Segments.
We hope that you’ll be pleased with the changes we’re introducing this year, and as we mentioned last year, we will continue to refine the program based on your comments and ideas going forward.