Kudos to Air Canada for thinking outside the box when it comes to status extensions in a way that will encourage further travel once COVID-19 passes, not discourage it.
Matching an increasing number of carriers, Air Canada will extend Altitude status for flyers in 2021. The status you earned in 2019 for the 2020 program year will carry over to the end of 2021.
And while that alone would have been praiseworthy, Air Canada has taken it a step further. If you still end up flying enough to re-earn status in 2020, you can keep it and gift that status to someone else.
Air Canada provides the following example:
Example: If you earned Elite 35K status for 2020, you’ll keep that status through the end of 2021.
- Based on your 2020 flight activities, if you earn at least 25,000 AQM (or 25 AQS) and 3,000 AQD, you’ll be able to nominate a friend or a family member for Prestige 25K status in 2021.
- Based on your 2020 flight activities, if you earn at least 35,000 AQM (or 35 AQS) and 4,000 AQD, both you and a friend or family member you choose will enjoy Elite 35K status for 2021.
- Alternatively, based on your 2020 flight activities, if you earn at least 50,000 AQM (or 50 AQS) and 6,000 AQD, both you and a friend or family member you choose will enjoy Elite 50K status for 2021.
What you flew in 2019 (for 2020 status) doesn’t matter too much when it comes to sharing status. Rather, whatever you earn in 2020 can be shared with a friend or family members. You’ll still keep the higher status if you earned it last year, but the level of status you share is dependent upon 2020 travel.
I think this is particularly innovative because it encourages more travel on Air Canada. Let’s face it, granting only a status extension with no strings attached actually disincentivizes loyalty, at least on a short-term basis.
I like Air Canada’s approach here because it is generous and encourages more business. Keep in mind summer 2020 changes to Aeroplan are still on the table (and we don’t know what those will look like), but Aeroplan miles currently do not expire and there are no fees for cancelling and redepositing award bookings.