Porter Airlines has a loyalty program called VIPorter, which has been completely revamped. Today, we will do a quick rundown on how the program works. First of all, I will list some of the system wide changes:
- Points never expire so long as you fly once every 24 months
- Earn points on more Porter Airlines purchases including: change fees, checked bags, pet fees, unaccompanied minor fees, seat selection (does not include taxes, NAV surcharges, airport fees, administrative fees, or any other third party charges collected by Porter)
For more clarity about the expiry policy, points will remain active so long as the member travels on a flight operated by Porter at least once every 24 months after the date of his or her last Qualifying Travel. If a member does not complete a Qualifying Travel for a period of 24 consecutive months, all of the points will expire and cannot be redeemed nor reinstated.
This is actually a pretty strict rule, because even if you redeem your points, it doesn’t reset the 24 month clock. So be ready to fly once every 24 months to keep your rewards account active.
Another obvious change is the addition of elites statuses. In the past, there was no membership tiers. Below is a list of its 3 tiers, as well as the benefits and perks that come with it.
- Spend up to $1,499 per calendar year
- Earn 5 points for every $1 spent on all Porter purchases
- Spend between $1,500 and $2,999 per calendar year
- Earn 6 points for every $1 spent on all Porter purchases
- Priority check-in
- Priority baggage service
- Priority security lane
- Priority boarding
- Priority call centre service
- Priority flight re-accomodation (in case of delay)
- Spend $3,000 and up per calendar year
- Earn 7 points for every $1 spent on all Porter purchases
- All the priority accesses of viporter passport listed above
- Complimentary checked bag
- Complimentary advance seat selection
So far, the benefits of elite status looks decent. This is a good start to a very new elite program, so hopefully with time we will see some improvements. But it is another story when it comes to award redemption.
Below is an example of a flight between Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). First of all, let us start off with a benchmark. Below is how much it would cost in an “all-cash transaction”.
In terms of reward options, there are two choice. The first way is to: “pay with points plus tax”.
The second way is to pay in “dollars and points”.
As you can see, both reward flight redemptions options look horrible. That is a lot of extra cash that we have to dish out. It might take a little bit of playing around with to find some sweet spots. Unfortunately, VIPorter Points may only be applied toward base fare, and not toward any other fees, taxes or charges.
The new earning structure does allow its members to earn points more quickly. For example, that same $159 flight mentioned above would have used to earn us 375 points. But now, $159 x 5 would actually earn us 795 points, as a base member.
Even though we can now earn points much quickly, there is obviously some negative changes to the reward redemption schedule.