What changes to WestJet's Rewards program means for you

What WestJet Rewards program changes mean for you

Some points devalued, but some benefits increase—including the number of free checked bags to two

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WestJet, the second-largest airline in Canada, announced today it’s making changes to the popular WestJet Rewards program. Although there is a minor devaluation for entry-level users, overall the changes enhance WestJet’s loyalty program by offering users more perks and rewards.

This is an interesting time for WestJet to announce improvements to their loyalty program as many Aeroplan (Air Canada’s loyalty program) users are still not sure what will happen to the value of their points. Since WestJet Rewards is basically a cash-back program, it’s easy for Canadians to understand since they don’t need to worry about points or blackout dates.

These announced changes won’t come into effect until late 2018 or early 2019, but here are some answers to some key questions about what’s changing with WestJet Rewards.

What will happen to my earn rate?

Teal members will now earn 0.5% in WestJet dollars on every WestJet flight which is down from 1%. Although this is a devaluation, keep in mind that you’re a teal member as soon as you join the rewards program, so this is still a great benefit.

Silver and Gold members will still earn 3% and 5% respectively in WestJet dollars on every WestJet flight, but there’s now a new Platinum tier where you’ll earn 8%.

Regardless of your tier, if you use the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard, you can earn an additional 2% in WestJet dollars on WestJet purchases.

How do you achieve tier status?

Teal is the entry-level tier which you’re enrolled into right away. To reach Silver, you need to spend $3,000 on WestJet purchases. Gold tier now starts at $5,000 on WestJet purchases, which is down $1,000 from the previous spend threshold of $6,000. As for Platinum, you’ll get that status once you reach $8,000 in spending.

Are there any additional benefits?

All the benefits that were included before with all three tiers remain, but there are a few additional benefits for some tiers.

Silver tier:

  • Additional free checked bag (total of two)
  • Priority check-in and bag drop
  • Zone 2 boarding
  • Access to complimentary upgrades when purchasing EconoFlex fares

Gold tier:

  • Two additional seat selection vouchers
  • Early access to purchase an upgrade to Premium
  • Higher priority for complimentary upgrades when purchasing EconoFlex fares

Platinum tier:

  • 8% back in WestJet dollars on WestJet flights and 2% back on WestJet Vacation packages
  • Three free checked bags
  • Unlimited advanced seat selection
  • 10 lounge passes
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority check-in and bag drop at select airports
  • Highest priority for complimentary upgrades with the purchase of EconoFlex fares
Are there any changes to milestone awards?
WestJet milestone awards still start when members reach a spend of $4,000 on WestJet purchases, but a small significant improvement has been implemented. You’ll now get a WestJet-wide companion voucher whereas the voucher was only good for travel within Canada before. You’ll get another companion voucher anywhere WestJet flies for every incremental $2,000 spend

Will there be any other changes coming?

In early 2019, WestJet will be announcing additional enhancements for their top-tier members such as enhanced lounge benefits, additional priority service, anticipated benefits with their airline partners, and more.

How does this compare to Aeroplan?

It’s impossible to compare directly to Aeroplan since that’s an entirely different program that’s based on points. With WestJet Rewards, you’re earning cash-back so you don’t need to worry about blackout dates or not having enough points to make a redemption. You only need 15 WestJet dollars in your account to make a redemption.

With Air Canada recently buying Aeroplan, it’ll be interesting to see what announcements they make later. For now, consumers can feel comfortable knowing that WestJet Rewards is a loyalty program designed for casual and frequent fliers.

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