Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Club is a way of buying lounge access at Air Canada and Star Alliance airports around the world. Is it worth joining?
The Maple Leaf Club is another of those little quirks in the frequent flyer universe which you probably don’t know about. Importantly, most of the time you do not have to be flying Air Canada to use it. Any Star Alliance carrier will do.
How does Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Club work?
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 London Heathrow.
You pay C$665 (£380) per year to join.
This covers lounge access for you AND a guest for unlimited visits.
Importantly, you usually do NOT need to be flying Air Canada to use the lounges. As long as it is an official airline lounge, as opposed to a third party lounge, you only need to be flying on a Star Alliance carrier. Contract lounges ARE restricted to Air Canada same-day ticket holders.
There are the Heathrow Terminal 2 lounges which are included:
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
- Singapore Airlines Silver Kris Lounge Business Class
- United Airlines Lounge
- Lufthansa Business Lounge
If you are flying Lufthansa a lot from London Heathrow, this offer is likely to be particularly attractive.
For an extra C$305 (£174) you can add your partner and they can presumably bring their own guest.
There are 230 lounges covered including over 50 in Europe, many of which are in places where Air Canada does not fly!
Can I redeem Aeroplan miles for Maple Leaf Club membership?
For the Worldwide card, it costs:
- 72,000 miles for a standard membership
- 105,000 miles for a standard membership for you and your partner
This is not a terrible use of Aeroplan miles. You are getting 0.53p per mile. A flight redemption would get you far better value but as far as non-flight redemptions go, this is fair value.
Is Maple Leaf Club membership worth it for UK residents?
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. Maple Leaf Club membership gets you into four different Terminal 2 lounges, however.
You should also remember that, at many airports, official Star Alliance lounges 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 are getting £380 of goods for 72,000 miles which is acceptable, and you will enjoy the benefits every time you access a lounge.
The sign-up page is here.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (January 2021)
As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
The Lounge Club list is slightly shorter than the Priority Pass list. Additional visits are charged at £20. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card. There is no annual fee in Year 1 and a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.