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Rundown of WestJet Rewards (updated January 3, 2020)

It has been almost a year since we last updated the WestJet Rewards rundown post. One of my family member has been using WestJet more extensively, which means I did some deeper research about their rewards program. Furthermore, several changes were made (mostly positive) to its elite status program, so this is a good a time as any to provide an updated post.

Also note the RBC WestJet World Elite MasterCard is offering a higher ($350 instead of $250) sign up bonus that expires on January 6, 2020, which I will provide more details below.

Expiry Policy

WestJet has two expiry policies to keep in mind:

  • No expiry for WestJet dollars earned directly from WestJet or partners purchases
  • Expiry on bonus WestJet dollars awarded through promotions, compensation, or limited-time promotional offers

WestJet Dollars

Note that 1 WestJet Dollar is worth $1 of cash back on WestJet purchases, so it is a very straightforward program. Because it is cash back based, you will not have to worry about blackout dates or calculating optimal reward redemption. The downside is that because it is fixed value, you cannot get more value than 1:1 ratio.

Though keep in mind that there are minimum redemption requirements:

  • Redeem minimum of 15 WestJet dollars for Economy, Premium or Business fares
  • Redeem minimum of 50 WestJet dollars for WestJet Vacation packages
  • Redeem entire base fare with WestJet dollars for a Member Exclusive fare for all guests on the booking

Airlines Partners

Airlines partners is what makes a frequent flyer program most valuable. It gives you two major boosts by allowing you to earn and redeem WestJet Dollars with partner airlines. Personally I bank my WestJet flights to earn Delta SkyMiles, since I do not fly WestJet very often.

Below is WestJet’s list of airline partners:

  • Air France
  • Delta Air Lines
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Qantas Airways

Note that there are limitations on what you can earn and redeem with these partners, which vary depending on route, distance flown, class of service and elite status.

Car and Hotel Partners

You can earn 1% cash back (in WestJet dollars) for every $1 spent on car rentals and hotel bookings through WestJet’s respective portals (car rental and hotel). Unfortunately you cannot currently redeem WestJet dollars for either.

Credit Cards

WestJet and RBC have teamed up to offer two competitive co-branded credit cards, one of which has a promotion that expires in a few days. Its World Elite version offers some interesting features and benefits that is beneficial to passengers who frequently fly on WestJet operated flights.

RBC WestJet World Elite MasterCard

  • $119 annual fee
  • $59 annual fee for a supplementary cardholder
  • Earn $350 WestJet Dollars sign up bonus (earn $250 Welcome bonus and earn $100 after the first purchase in the first 3 month) (if you apply before January 6, 2020)
  • Earn 2% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on WestJet flights or WestJet Vacation packages
  • Earn 1.5% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on all other purchases
  • Receive 1 annual round-trip companion voucher with choice of: $99 for Canada and the Continental United States, $299 for Hawaii, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean or $399 for the rest of the WestJet network (for base fare only, not including taxes, fees and charges)
  • Receive 1 free checked bag on all WestJet flights (for up to 8 guests)

RBC WestJet MasterCard

  • $39 annual fee
  • $19 annual fee for a supplementary cardholders
  • Earn $50 WestJet Dollars sign up bonus (after the first purchase)
  • Earn 1.5% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on WestJet flights or WestJet Vacation packages
  • Earn 1% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on all other purchases
  • Receive 1 annual round-trip companion voucher for a round-trip travel within Canada for $199 (for base fare only, not including taxes, fees and charges)

Note that the Companion voucher is newly added to the RBC WestJet MasterCard since my last post, which I think is a nice tough to this card.

As an added bonus, you can link your RBC credit cards to your Petro-Points account to receive 3 cents back on fuel purchases and 20% bonus Petro-Points.

RBC Travel Insurance

You can earn 1% cash back (in WestJet dollars) for every $1 spent RBC travel insurance, but you will not be able to redeem WestJet Dollars against the premium.

RBC Rewards / RBC Avion

Both RBC Rewards and RBC Avion allows you to transfer their points to WestJet dollars. You need to transfer transfer a minimum of 1,000 points to receive 10 WestJet Dollars, which means that every 1 RBC point is worth 1 cent.

There have been 15% – 25% transfer bonus offers. So I would always wait for a transfer bonus before converting your RBC points, which usually runs twice a year.

WestJet Elite Status

WestJet calculates elite status qualification a little differently from other airlines. They base it on a qualifying year, rather than a calendar year. Most airlines reset their qualification period on January 1st, but WestJet calculates it based on when you signed up. So the day you sign up, it is day 1 of a 12 month qualifying period.

Note that qualifying spending includes:

  • 100% of base fare on WestJet flights
  • 20% of base package price on WestJet Vacation packages

Below are some key highlights of each tier to watch for.

Teal ($0 – $2,999 in spending per qualifying year)

This is the basic level that everyone starts with.

  • Earn 0.5% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on WestJet flights or WestJet Vacation packages
  • Earn cash back with partner airlines based on mileage and class of service

Silver (spend $3,000+ per qualifying year)

Silver is WestJet’s lowest elite status tier, which offers some handy benefits:

  • Earn 3% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on WestJet flights
  • Earn 1% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on WestJet Vacation packages
  • Earn 50% additional cash back on partner airlines
  • Receive 6 airport lounge vouchers (4 personal, plus 2 guests)
  • Receive 4 advance seat selection vouchers
  • Receive 2 free checked bags
  • Receive Zone 2 boarding privilege
  • Eligible for upgrade to EconoFlex, PremiumFlex and Premium fares (subject to some destination restrictions and availability)

Gold (spend $5,000+ per qualifying year)

Note that you receive all benefits of Silver status, along with more. I listed some of the key benefits to watch out for below, the main difference from last time is now you have unlimited airport lounged access (compared to only 10 vouchers last time I updated):

  • Earn 5% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on WestJet flights
  • Earn 1.5% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on WestJet Vacation packages
  • Earn 75% additional cash back on partner airlines
  • Receive unlimited airport lounge access (including immediate family, plus 2 guest vouchers)
  • Receive 6 advance seat selection vouchers
  • Receive Priority/Zone 1 boarding privilege
  • Receive priority security screening (at select airports)
  • Receive priority support number
  • No fee for same-day flight changes at check-in
  • Receive highest priority for upgrade to EconoFlex, PremiumFlex and Premium fares

Platinum (spend $8,000+ per qualifying year)

This is the most recent newly added tier to WestJet rewards, which I think was a good move on their part. Personally, I find that rewarding big spenders with more benefits makes a loyalty program more valuable. The biggest change is the unlimited airport lounge access (compared to 10 last time)and unlimited advanced seat selection (compared to 10 last time).

Also note that you receive all the benefits of a Silver and Gold member. Below are some of the additional highlights to watch for:

  • Earn 8% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on WestJet flights
  • Earn 2% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on WestJet Vacation packages
  • Earn 100% additional cash back on partner airlines
  • Receive unlimited advance seat selection vouchers (plus 6 guest vouchers)
  • Receive 3 free checked bags
  • Receive highest priority for upgrade to EconoFlex, Econo, PremiumFlex and Premium fares

Milestone Awards

In addition to elite status, you can also receive milestone rewards during your qualifying year. These benefits are purely based on qualifying spending.

  • Spend $4,000 and receive a WestJet-wide companion voucher
  • Spend $6,000 and receive another WestJet-wide companion voucher
  • Spent $8,000 and receive choice of:
    • WestJet-wide companion voucher
    • 4 guest lounge vouchers
    • 6 guest advance seat selection vouchers
  • Spend every $2,000 increment beyond the first $8,000 and receive choice of:
    • WestJet-wide companion voucher
    • 4 guest lounge vouchers
    • 6 guest advance seat selection vouchers

Note that to use the companion voucher, members must purchase one WestJet-marketed and operated flight in Economy or Premium for travel anywhere WestJet flies in North America, Central America, the Caribbean or Europe and the second guest on the same itinerary will only pay the taxes, fees and charges.

Going Forward

I think WestJet has done an amazing job revamping their elite program and has a strong partnership with RBC. I personally see a lot of parallels with WestJet and the popular Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. Neither of which is part of an major airline alliance, but find ways to offer value on their own.

Going forward, if I had to pick only one thing to improve on, I would really like to see WestJet expand and enhance their partnership with other airlines to increase the value of their program.

What would you like to see from WestJet going forward?

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Pointshogger aims to provide analysis and updates on earning loyalty reward points and maximizing the value of your points. We hope to inspire our readers to experience the joy of travel and make the most out of what they've already got!

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