WestJet has enjoyed a close relationship with Delta Air Lines, a major US network carrier, since 2014.
While the proposed joint venture between the two airlines is currently on hold, WestJet and Delta are moving forward with launching reciprocal status benefits that allow WestJet’s frequent flyers to enjoy their status benefits when travelling with Delta, and vice versa.
Starting today, WestJet Silver, Gold, and Platinum members will enjoy free checked bags and priority airport services when travelling on Delta flights, while Gold and Platinum members will also be able to access Delta SkyClub on transborder and international itineraries.
WestJet Rewards Status Benefits on Delta Flights
The following chart from the WestJet website summarizes the new benefits that are available to WestJet’s Silver, Gold, and Platinum members when travelling on Delta:
Let’s go through each of the benefits in greater detail:
- Complimentary preferred seats: Access to free preferred seat selection on all Delta fares except Basic Economy.
- Complimentary baggage allowance: WestJet Silver and Gold members get two free checked bags when flying with Delta, while WestJet Platinum members get three free checked bags.
- Priority check-in and priority baggage drop-off: Gold and Platinum members are invited to use the SkyPriority check-in lane. Silver members are eligible to use the Silver Medallion check-in lane, or the SkyPriority check-in lane at airports that do not have a dedicated Silver Medallion check-in lane.
- Priority baggage handling and priority security line access for Gold and Platinum members
- Priority boarding: Gold and Platinum members will be invited to board through the Delta SkyPriority lane. Silver members are eligible for boarding with Main Cabin 1.
- Delta Sky Club access: Available to Gold and Platinum members prior to a same-day transborder or international itinerary that includes a segment between U.S. and Canada operated by Delta, WestJet, or any of their respective affiliates or contract carriers (excluding Swoop). Lounge access is not applicable on a wholly domestic reservation within the United States.
In terms of being able to share these benefits with fellow passengers:
- The preferred seats, free checked bags, and priority check-in, baggage drop-off, baggage handling, and boarding are available to the WestJet Rewards status member and up to eight guests on the same reservation.
- Delta Sky Club access is available to the member and one guest travelling on the same flight.
- The priority security queue is available to the member only.
It’s worth expanding on the rules for Delta Sky Club access: WestJet’s Gold and Platinum members can access the lounge when they’re flying on a transborder or international itinerary that includes at least one Delta or WestJet segment between the US and Canada.
So if you’re flying from Los Angeles to Calgary with WestJet, or from Toronto to Atlanta to São Paulo with Delta, then you can visit the Delta Sky Clubs in Los Angeles and Atlanta, respectively.
But if you were simply flying from Atlanta to Los Angeles, you wouldn’t be eligible for Delta Sky Club access, since that’s a domestic itinerary wholly within the United States.
And if you were simply flying from Atlanta to São Paulo, you also wouldn’t have access as a WestJet Rewards member, since your itinerary doesn’t contain a US–Canada segment.
How to Earn WestJet Rewards Status
As a reminder, WestJet Rewards is a purely spend-based status program, and the current qualification criteria for WestJet Platinum, Gold, or Silver status are as follows.
With most Canadians’ travel activity likely being curtailed in 2021, I’d love to see WestJet introducing more creative ways to achieve status this year, whether it’s a repeat round of their Double Qualifying Spend offer on the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard or some other way to earn status without necessarily having to fly.
Previously, WestJet Rewards had also offered a status match program as well. With more meaningful benefits when travelling on Delta now available as part of the WestJet Rewards status package, you might be interested in matching any other airline status to WestJet Rewards if the status match program comes back in the future.
Delta Medallion Status Benefits on WestJet Flights
While it’s perhaps less relevant from Canadian frequent flyers’ perspectives, I think it’s also worth touching upon the new benefits for Delta Medallion status members when flying with WestJet.
Delta’s Gold Medallion, Platinum Medallion, and Diamond Medallion members will enjoy access to the WestJet Elevation Lounge Calgary with the same eligibility rules: they must be flying on a transborder or international itinerary that includes at least one Delta or WestJet segment between the US and Canada.
(The benefit is only available at the Elevation Lounge in Calgary, not WestJet’s other contract lounges in Canada and internationally.)
In addition, Delta’s top-tier elite members will also enjoy free seat selection, free checked bags (two for Gold Medallion members, three for Platinum Medallion and Diamond Medallion members), and priority check-in, baggage drop-off, baggage handling, security screening, and Zone 1 boarding prior to their WestJet flight.
Meanwhile, Delta’s lower-tier Silver Medallion members will also be able to spruce up their WestJet travel experience with priority check-in and baggage drop-off at the airport.
Also: Reciprocal Lounge Access on WestJet and Delta Business Class Tickets
At the same time as introducing reciprocal status benefits, WestJet and Delta are also announcing reciprocal lounge access benefits for their customers who book transborder or international business class tickets.
For example, if you book a WestJet 787 business class flight on a routing like Los Angeles–Calgary–London, you’ll have access to the Delta SkyClub prior to your first flight departing from Los Angeles.
In return, if you book a Delta One business class flight on a routing like Sydney–Los Angeles–Calgary–Saskatoon, you’ll have access to the WestJet Elevation Lounge in Calgary prior to your final flight to Saskatoon.
WestJet and Delta are taking their close relationship to a higher level and offering reciprocal status benefits for their members. These types of inter-airline relationships are more commonly seen in the US and abroad, so I find it pretty cool that one of our Canadian airlines is getting in on the action.
For WestJet Rewards Platinum and Gold members, free checked bags, priority airport services, and Delta Sky Club access will significantly improve the flying experience when flying Delta to and from the US.
With this development, I imagine that some Air Canada elite members who make frequent transborder journeys – particularly those based in Western Canada – might be swayed into moving over into the WestJet/Delta ecosystem instead.
As we continue to move through a travel-light 2021, I’d expect both of Canada’s airlines to make it easier to achieve or retain status this year, which should hopefully give many more of us an opportunity to sample WestJet and Delta’s new offerings when it’s time to fly again.