Air Canada’s (AC) move to a revenue based loyalty program and introduction of Altitude Qualifying Dollars (AQD) in addition to Altitude Qualifying Miles/Segment (AQM/AQS) had left many members dissatisfied, as they feared missing status. End of 2016, several Altitude members complained about not meeting the high AQD requirements put in place. Some scrambled for creative mileage runs to meet the requirements, while others shared their grievance with AC and requested an exception to their case.

This past weekend, AC threads on every forum were flush with a new offer allowing Altitude members (targeted) to buy a status upgrade. Through this offer, AC’s response to its members that missed status seems to be – ‘you were close enough but we can’t make an exception. Buy your status instead’.

Buy Air Canada Status

The targeted emails seem to be for members that have missed their status by a small margin. The offer allows Altitude members to pay a fixed amount and enjoy the next level of status until February 28, 2018!

Below is a sample email to buy-up Prestige 25K status

Buy Air Canada status

Offer to buy Prestige 25K status. Thanks to Jim Shinkewski for sharing the email offer.

Based on the information being shared in several forums, I have complied the following list;

Altitude StatusBuy-up Offer
Member to Prestige 25K$379 - $499 CAD
Elite 25K to Elite 35K$479 - $799 CAD
Elite 35K to Elite 50K$899 CAD
Elite 50K to Elite 75K$999 CAD
Elite 75K to SuperElite 100K$1599 - $1999 CAD

Note that members can only pay to upgrade one level of status. A quick glance at the qualification requirement to reach Altitude status:

Buy Air Canada status

Qualification requirement for Altitude status

Is it worth it?

It depends on your travel pattern for the year and the class of service you fly. Just at a glance, the ‘sweet-spot’ of this offer seems to be folks that can pay $1599 CAD for a Super Elite/100K status – since that comes with the best suite of privileges. My favorite being a waiver on carrier surcharge (YQ , also known as scamcharges or “taxes”) for ‘Canada to International’ reward tickets.

For the rest of the status groups, it will depend if the upgraded privileges offer enough to justify the dollar tag associated with the buy-up.

Take Away:

Its hard to determine the exact criteria used by AC to target its membership. I have read/heard from several members that were just as close to a status but did not receive the said offer. Personally, I feel that this offer is yet another display of  bottom line over loyalty. Or at the very least, a tacit acknowledgment from AC, of the demanding AQD requirements. Its remains to be seen how many members buy into this offer, because ‘voting with your wallet’ is a sure way of getting a corporation’s attention. I hope AC can look past the short-term revenue gains and fix the Altitude Qualification Requirements going forward.

Did you receive a buy-up offer from AC? Will you pay for a higher status? Please share with a comment below.

Major HT to the AC FlyerTalk thread