Having status with an airline, even low tier status, is one of those things that doesn’t seem like a big deal on paper but when you have it, it seems to make a world of difference for how you experience travel.
If you happen to have status with an airline like WestJet, Air Canada will provide you with a status challenge so that you can easily achieve status for a fraction of the effort it takes to earn status.
The Air Canada Status Challenge is fairly simple. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:
- Take a photo of your membership card which clearly shows the expiration date of your status. If your rewards program doesn’t provide a membership card (like WestJet), you can provide a screenshot of your app that shows your status and expiration date.
- Send an email to [email protected] and request a status challenge. Remember to attach your screenshot or photo of your current status. Make sure to include your Aeroplan/Altitude number so they can register your challenge.
- You will receive a confirmation email from Air Canada confirming your status challenge and the requirement to earn your status.
Terms and Conditions of the Challenge
The terms and conditions that were included in the email reads as follows:
- This Altitude Challenge is for the Altitude status outlined above. To reach any other Altitude status, you will need to meet the published qualification levels outlined at http://altitude.aircanada.com. If you are unable to earn the required number of AQM or AQS outlined above within the 90 days challenge period, your Altitude status will not change.
- Please ensure that all contact information is up to date on your Aeroplan Profile, including your mailing address, e-mail and phone number(s).
- Flight activities which are eligible for this offer are flights operated by Air Canada, Air Canada Express and Air Canada rouge which earn AQM and AQS. In order to be eligible for this offer, AQM and AQS must be posted to your Aeroplan account during, and flights must depart within, the 90-day challenge period.
- Exclusions – AQM and AQS earned for the following activities are not eligible for this offer: Air Canada-marketed codeshare flights operated by other airlines, travel on other Star Alliance members airlines, Aeroplan Flight Rewards, the purchase of Unlimited Flight Passes, and special bonus offers and promotions. Other restrictions may apply.
- In subsequent years following this Altitude Challenge, in order to reach any Air Canada Altitude status you will be required to meet the published qualification levels outlined at http://altitude.aircanada.com. Altitude Challenges will only be offered at most every five years, or at Air Canada’s discretion.
- At its sole discretion, Air Canada reserves the right to revoke Altitude status awarded in conjunction with an Altitude Challenge. All Terms & Conditions of Air Canada Altitude apply, and can be reviewed at http://altitude.aircanada.com.
What to Expect
Interested in what status you will get to challenge before sending out your request? Well, that’s a bit of tough question because it can change at any time but here’s the challenge you would receive if you have WestJet status (at time of writing):
WestJet Silver – Challenge to Air Canada Altitude 25K with 4 Altitude Qualifying Segments (AQS) within 90 days.
WestJet Gold – Challenge to Air Canada Altitude 35K with 6 Altitude Qualifying Segments (AQS) within 90 days.
WestJet Platinum – Challenge to Air Canada Altitude 50K with 18 Altitude Qualifying Segments (AQS) within 90 days.
I should note that Air Canada may make your challenge easier or harder depending on how much value they see from you as a potential loyal member, meaning the more you spend and fly, the easier it’s going to be to get status.
It should also be noted that the status at Altitude 50K and above results in Star Alliance Gold status, which is extremely valuable, which is why it is much harder to qualify for. Unfortunately, Air Canada will not provide a status challenge if you hold status with any other Star Alliance partner.
I’ll be honest, the benefits at Altitude 25K and 35K aren’t anything to write home about but they do get you a few of benefits that I personally value and one benefit that’s of HUGE value. Priority boarding, lounge access and eCredits, which are Air Canada’s currency to bid for upgrades into business class, are the benefits that are nice to have but the one benefit that provides real value, especially for travel hackers, is the YQ waiver on award flights within Canada and between Canada and the US. If you look back at my recent post on Fuel Surcharge (YQ), you’ll understand why it’s of such importance.
For a full breakdown of the benefits at each tier, go to Air Canada’s Altitude page for more details.
How to Earn WestJet Status Quickly
Normally, earning WestJet status can be a challenge because there is no way to do it outside of flying with WestJet and spending a lot of money, however, there is currently a promotion that WestJet is running that gets you Gold status with one flight. Sure, the flight is a round-trip business class fare on the new 787-9 Dreamliner, which can run on the expensive side (~$3,500+) but if you were planning on flying that route in business anyways, why not take advantage?
Currently, the promo is running from September 23-30th, 2019 and you are required to travel between October 23rd, 2019 and March 15, 2020, but these dates can change so I would encourage you to check the promotion using the official link here.
I have personally flown WestJet’s Business Class twice on its Calgary to Toronto transcon. Having flown both Air Canada’s Signature Business Class and WestJet’s, I can honestly say without bias that the WestJet product (both hard and soft) is vastly superior. I’ll dig up some photos and do a review on it shortly but suffice it to say, I was very pleasantly surprised with my experience. It’s only my opinion but I would say that WestJet ranks amongst the best for business class offerings to Europe from a North American airline.
Having status is key to enjoying your travel experience. Once you have status with an airline, it’s fairly easy to leverage it to get status with other airlines. Keep your eye out for ways to match or challenge for status using tools such as Status Matcher or blogs like mine.
Once you experience travel with status, it’s hard to go back. Using your noggin can help you stretch that status indefinitely.