WestJet Rewards has just announced a status match campaign targeting elite members within Air Canada Altitude, Aeroplan, and VIPorter. Until May 23, you may earn Silver or Gold Elite status within WestJet Rewards simply on account of your existing status with a competitor:
To qualify for WestJet Rewards Gold, members must have status in: Altitude 35K, 50K, 75K, or 100K, or VIPorter Priority
To qualify for WestJet Rewards Silver, members must have status in: Altitude 25K, Aeroplan Black or Diamond, or VIPorter Passport
Your status will be valid until December 31, 2019, and you’ll have the opportunity to extend it for another year by meeting a qualifying spend of $2,900 (for Gold) or $1,700 (for Silver) in that timeframe.
If you qualify for the status match, all you need to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 23, 2019 containing the following:
Your first and last name
Your 9-digit WestJet Rewards ID (you can open a new account if you don’t have one yet)
A photo or scanned copy of your membership card in Air Canada Altitude, Aeroplan, or VIPorter showing your name, current status and valid dates (status must be valid till at least December 31, 2019)
Note that Aeroplan typically doesn’t issue annual membership cards with the status displayed on it, so if you’re matching to WestJet Silver from Aeroplan Black or Diamond, then simply submitting a screenshot of your Aeroplan account dashboard will work.
WestJet Status Benefits
If you match to WestJet Rewards Silver, you’ll benefit from a higher 3% WestJet Dollars earning rate on WestJet flights, four advance seat selection vouchers, free first and second checked bags on WestJet flights, Zone 2 priority boarding, and six airport lounge passes at WestJet-affiliated lounges in Canada and internationally (which was introduced at the start of the year).
If you match to WestJet Rewards Gold, you’ll earn 5% in WestJet Dollars on WestJet flights, six advance seat selection vouchers, free first and second checked bags on WestJet flights, Zone 1 priority boarding, and unlimited airport lounge access with up to five immediate family members travelling together.
Moreover, you’ll also have upgrade priority as a Gold member when flying with WestJet, giving you the chance at paid or complimentary upgrades to the swanky new WestJet business class on their Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Obviously, the more you fly with WestJet on a regular basis, the more useful these perks will be to you. I imagine that WestJet’s objective with the status match is to entice travellers who mostly fly with Air Canada or Porter Airlines to give WestJet a try instead.
VIPorter elite members in particular would probably enjoy a far more comprehensive flying experience on WestJet, benefiting from lounge access and upgrades to the Premium cabin (a wider seat with more recline and pitch, though a step below true business class seats), both of which are improvements upon Porter’s limited premium offering on its fleet of turboprops.
Meanwhile, Air Canada elite members might be tempted by this status match to switch some of their business over to WestJet, particularly when the fares are lower on the routes they fly, and continue to enjoy a level of elite benefits similar to what they’d have as an Altitude member.
While WestJet as an airline still has some way to go until it reaches the stature of Air Canada, it has been making significant improvements to its WestJet Rewards program and elite member treatment lately, and I’d expect that trend to continue.
Status Matching from Aeroplan Black or Diamond
What surprises me about this status match is that WestJet has included Aeroplan Black and Diamond – which you get by earning 50,000 or 100,000 status-qualifying Aeroplan miles per year – as eligible status levels to receive WestJet Rewards Silver. This is different from previous status match campaigns, when only Air Canada Altitude and VIPorter were included.
If you think about it, it makes sense for WestJet Rewards to be targeting elite members within other frequent flyer programs, since they themselves are a frequent flyer program. But Aeroplan can only partially be described as a frequent flyer program these days – they’re more of a consumer loyalty program that happens to have Air Canada and Star Alliance flights as one of their partners.
Sure, Aeroplan Black and Diamond status can be earned by flying with Air Canada or other Star Alliance airlines, but you’d imagine that the people who’ve earned Aeroplan status through flying would probably have qualified for Altitude status levels as well.
Meanwhile, in addition to flying, you can also earn Aeroplan Black or Diamond status by shopping through the Aeroplan eStore, completing surveys and offers, or simply by spending lots of money on your Aeroplan-branded credit card, like the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite or the CIBC Aerogold Visa Card for Business. Of course, credit card signup bonuses and miles transferred from Amex MR and Marriott Bonvoy are excluded, or else it would be way too easy.
The eStore in particular is highly lucrative, since it puts on promotional bonuses that go as high as 10x or 12x Aeroplan miles on certain retailers, multiple times a year. With those multipliers qualifying for Aeroplan Status as well, it’s not unreasonable to say that virtually anyone can achieve Black or Diamond status simply by being savvy about maximizing their eStore returns on their regular household spending throughout the year
So I’m surprised that WestJet has chosen to offer Silver status to Aeroplan Black and Diamond members, since it seems beyond the scope of their status matching travellers who truly fly frequently, although I assume it’s another play on WestJet’s part to poach Aeroplan loyalists during times of an “uncertain future” amidst the impending Air Canada transition, similar to their corny commercials with Gerry Dee.
In any case, I imagine that for those of you who maximize loyalty programs without actually spending a lot of money to fly, Aeroplan Black and Diamond status will be the most likely pathway for you to take advantage of this WestJet status match.
If you don’t already have at least mid-tier status with Aeroplan, I wouldn’t necessarily go too far out of my way to earn Aeroplan Black purely for this status match (although maybe if you were a few thousand miles short, you could give it an extra hustle before May 23 to get there in time).
But if you do hold Aeroplan Black or Diamond status, you may as well send in your request and earn WestJet Silver status for the year, even if you don’t fly with WestJet regularly. If you take at least one WestJet flight before the end of the year, you’re already coming out ahead; if not, you haven’t lost anything either.
With status match campaigns, the rule of thumb is always to take advantage of them even if you don’t have a pressing need for it.
Who knows – another status match promotion might pop up at any moment somewhere in the loyalty space, and they might well pay more attention to your WestJet Silver status than an Aeroplan Black status that could’ve easily be earned without ever taking a flight.
WestJet’s status match until May 23 is a great opportunity for you to curry some extra perks on your WestJet flights, like lounge access, priority boarding, and free checked bags, if you happen to hold one of the competing status levels. WestJet has been extra generous this time around by extending the status match to Aeroplan Black and Diamond members, which I imagine will be the easiest opportunity for most of my readers.