In celebration of the newly added Platinum status to WestJet Rewards, I thought this post was due for proper overhaul to include more details regarding its rewards program overall.
There is actually a lot of value to be had with WestJet Rewards. However, my hope is that they will either expand more towards the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program or eventually join a major airline alliance.
WestJet has two expiry policies to keep in mind:
- No expiry: WestJet dollars directly earned from purchase transactions with WestJet or its partners
- Expiry Dates: Apply to Bonus WestJet dollars awarded through promotions, compensation, or limited-time promotional offers
Note that 1 WestJet Dollar is essentially $1 worth of cash back. So they often refer to it as cash back. If you earn 2% cash back, it means you earned 2 WestJet Dollars, which can be used as $2 cash back against the purchase of a flight ticket.
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. Right now, WestJet’s list of partners is very small. They would need to grow this list to catch up to Alaska Airline’s model. This is their current list:
- Air France
- Delta Air Lines
- Qantas Airways
WestJet Dollars earned on partner airlines vary spending on distance flown, class of service and elite status.
Car Rentals and Hotel
WestJet and RBC have teamed up to offer two competitive co-branded credit cards:
- $119 annual fee
- $59 annual fee for a supplementary cardholder
- Earn $250 WestJet Dollars sign up bonus (after the first purchase)
- 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 (not including taxes, fees and charges)
- Receive 1 free checked bag on all WestJet flights (for up to 8 guests)
- $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
RBC Travel Insurance
You can earn 1% cash back for purchasing travel insurance with RBC, but you will not be able to redeem WestJet Dollars against the premium.
Normally, you need to transfer a minimum of 1,000 RBC Reward points to receive 10 WestJet Dollars. Watch for 15% – 25% transfer bonus offers before converting your points.
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. You may notice some negative changes to some of the levels from last time, but overall, I think they improved their program with the addition of a new tier in 2018.
This is the basic level that everyone starts with. This is for the first $2,999 in spending.
- Earn 0.5% cash back (in WestJet Dollars) on WestJet flights or WestJet Vacation packages
Qualify for the first level of elite status after spending more than $3,000 on WestJet flights within a qualifying year.
- 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 4 airport lounge vouchers
- Receive 4 advance seat selection vouchers
- Receive 2 free checked bags
- Receive Zone 2 boarding privilege
- Eligible for upgrade to Premium cabin on EconoFlex fares (subject to availability)
The qualification for Gold has been lowered from spending $6,000 to $5,000 on WestJet flights within 12 months. Note that you receive all benefits of Silver status, along with some key additional ones below:
- 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 10 airport lounge 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 early access to purchase an upgrade to Premium
This is the newly added tier, which is achieved after spending more than $8,000 on WestJet flights within 12 months. Note that you receive all benefits of Gold status, along with some key additional ones below:
- 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 10 advance seat selection vouchers
- Receive 10 airport lounge vouchers
- Receive 3 free checked bags
Receive 1 companion voucher valid for any round-trip WestJet flight. The first voucher is awarded after the first $4,000 in spending. Members earn another voucher for each additional increment of $2,000 in spending (i.e. after $6,000, $8,000, $10,000, etc.) during a qualifying year.
The companion voucher applies to the base fare of the member’s guest on the same itinerary on a WestJet Economy or Premium flight. Note that taxes, fees and charges are not included in the voucher.
In my previous final thoughts, I stated that I was going to monitor WestJet very closely. Personally, I have been banking my WestJet flights to earn Delta SkyMiles for the time being. I prefer SkyMiles because they never expire and I rarely fly with WestJet or SkyTeam alliance, so Delta makes the most sense for me (since their miles never expiry, regardless of activity).
I really would like to see WestJet expand its airline partners and be the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan of Canada. As a second option, I would like them to join SkyTeam airline alliance. It makes the most sense at this point since 3 of their 4 airline partners are part of that alliance. Also because they dropped American Airlines (OneWorld member) as a partner and Air Canada is part of Star Alliance.
Either way, I am happy to see WestJet add another elite status level!