This is another of those little quirks in the frequent flyer universe which I didn’t know about, until reader Tony flagged it for me.
Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Club is a way of buying lounge access at Air Canada and Star Alliance facilities around the world.
Importantly, you do not have to be flying Air Canada to use it. Any Star Alliance carrier will do.
There are various membership levels as you can see on the Maple Leaf Club website here. I am focussing on the Maple Leaf Club Worldwide option as that is the option which includes Heathrow.
You pay C$599 (£310) per year to join. You will receive 5,500 Aeroplan miles as a welcome gift. Alternatively, you can redeem 79,000 Aeroplan miles.
This covers lounge access for you AND a guest for unlimited visits.
For an extra C$270 (£140) you can add your partner and they can presumably bring their own guest.
There are 210 Star Alliance lounges covered, including 41 in Europe, many of which are in places where Air Canada does not fly!
If you fly through Heathrow Terminal 2 a lot on Star Alliance carriers but do not have airline status, this may have some interest to you. A Priority Pass may be cheaper, of course, and that gets you into the excellent Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2. The Air Canada lounge, accessed with your Maple Leaf Club card, is out in the T2B satellite.
On the other hand, at many airports, the official Star Alliance lounge will be substantially better than the contract lounge used by Priority Pass. Priority Pass will also charge you extra for taking in a guest unless you have the version issued with American Express Platinum.
Maple Leaf Club may work best for someone who has a large amount of Air Canada Aeroplan miles they are struggling to use. You aren’t getting great value (£310 of goods for 79,000 miles is pretty yuck) but you will enjoy the benefits every time you access a lounge.