WestJet has come out with its latest offer on the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard, as well as introducing a new permanent benefit on the card in the form of Status Lift.
450 WestJet Dollars Upon $5,000 Spend
Until January 5, 2022, the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard will return to its previous record-high welcome bonus of 450 WestJet Dollars, which can be redeemed as $450 towards any WestJet flight. This is broken down as follows:
- 250 WestJet Dollars upon first purchase
- 200 WestJet Dollars upon spending $5,000 in the first three months
Compared to the previous April 2021 offer of 350 WestJet Dollars with no minimum spend, this one provides 100 more WestJet Dollars as part of the full bonus, but you do need to spend a fairly sizeable $5,000 to unlock it.
In addition to its usual benefits like a free first checked bag on WestJet flights for yourself and up to eight other passengers and complimentary Boingo wifi, the card will also continue to offer a $0 companion voucher as a temporary benefit.
As a reminder, the limited-time $0 companion voucher looks as follows:
- Pay a $0 base fare, plus taxes and fees, for the second passenger when you pay full price for the first passenger on a round-trip flight in economy class, within Canada, the US, and Mexico
- Pay a $119 base fare, plus taxes and fees, for the second passenger when you pay full price for the first passenger on a round-trip flight in premium class within Canada, the US, and Mexico
- Pay a $399 base fare, plus taxes and fees, for the second passenger when you pay full price for the first passenger on a round-trip flight in economy class or premium class to Central America, the Caribbean, or Europe
While the welcome bonus of 450 WestJet Dollars lasts until January 5, the $0 companion voucher is scheduled to end sooner on December 5, 2021, as it’s very much a competitive response to the Air Canada Buddy Pass on the Aeroplan co-branded credit cards.
The companion voucher is generally considered one of the most appealing features on the WestJet RBC World Elite, allowing you to save hundreds of dollars on peak-season travel as a party of two or more.
And if you don’t find value in the companion voucher, you can always convert it into a set of four WestJet lounge passes for use at the flagship WestJet Elevation Lounge in Calgary.
New Status Lift Benefit on the WestJet RBC World Elite
Speaking of competitive responses to Air Canada, WestJet is also introducing the Status Lift, a new permanent perk on the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard that allows cardholders to spend their way to WestJet status.
As a reminder, qualification for WestJet status is based on your qualifying spend on WestJet flights every calendar year, with the following spend thresholds required for each status level:
The status benefits can be found on the WestJet website. Silver members get free first and second checked bags, priority check-in, and airport lounge vouchers, Gold members get unlimited lounge access, and Platinum members get the highest priority for upgrades. All status members receive a boost to the WestJet Dollars earning rate when flying with WestJet, with Platinum members topping out at an 8% earn rate.
The new Status Lift benefit allows you to get closer to WestJet status with your spending on the co-branded card:
- Between now and December 31, 2021, as part of a special introductory offer for the Status Lift benefit, you’ll earn $500 in qualifying spend for every $5,000 spent on the card, up to three times. If you were to spend $15,000 on the card before December 31, you’d earn $1,500 in qualifying spend, which gets you halfway to WestJet Silver status.
- Then, onwards from January 1, 2022, as part of the permanent Status Lift benefit, you’ll earn $500 in qualifying spend for every $15,000 spent on the card, up to three times. If you were to spend $45,000 on the card in a year, you’d earn $1,500 in qualifying spend, which gets you halfway to WestJet Silver status.
Note that the spend calculation for Status Lift is based on your monthly statements that post during the calendar year.
So if your December 2021 statement posts on, say, December 27, 2021, and you make a purchase on December 28, that wouldn’t count towards your 2021 Status Lift in that year because it’d show up on your January 2022 statement.
The WestJet website and mobile app will be updated shortly to show a Status Lift tracker, and members will also receive emails when they earn a Status Lift.
Is It Worth Pursuing WestJet’s Status Lift?
WestJet has obviously put a great deal of thought and consideration into its new Status Lift benefit on the co-branded RBC credit card. Let’s take a closer look at how it compares to the competition and whether it makes pursuing WestJet status worthwhile.
Spend-based incentives towards elite status has been a major component in the US credit card market for many years, but has only recently made its way to Canada with Aeroplan’s co-branded credit cards at the core, premium, and small business tiers.
WestJet’s version of this perk allows cardholders to earn up to half of the lowest Silver status tier based on their credit card spend. For the rest of 2021, $15,000 of spending will be enough to achieve this, although $45,000 of spending will be required in 2022 and going forward.
How does this compare to the Aeroplan side? Well, Aeroplan allows you to earn entry-level 25K status via the Everyday Status Qualification benefit by racking up 100,000 Aeroplan points in a calendar year through eligible sources.
If you were to focus on credit card spend alone, you’d need to spend $50,000 on a comparable core Aeroplan card (with a $120–139 annual fee vs. WestJet’s $119 annual fee) to get to the equivalent halfway mark – a shade over WestJet’s $45,000 in required spend.
Despite appearing slightly more favourable on this intra-market comparison alone, however, WestJet and Air Canada remain fairly far apart in the bigger picture if you’re on the fence about pursuing status with one airline or another.
Indeed, there are many more ways to earn Aeroplan 25K through Everyday Status Qualification beyond flying and spending – for example, by shopping through the Aeroplan eStore or by getting coffee at Starbucks.
With WestJet, even with today’s introduction of Status Lift, you’re still limited to flying or spending your way to status – and only being able to spend halfway towards the first status tier at that, whereas Aeroplan lets you spend all the way to 25K.
Furthermore, once you consider Air Canada’s wider route network and significantly more powerful loyalty program, it’s clear that Aeroplan 25K status is, on average, a lot more useful than WestJet Silver status as things stand.
For that reason, I don’t believe it’d be worthwhile for the average infrequent traveller to pursue WestJet Silver status by concentrating their spending on the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard. If you had to pick one airline with whom to pursue entry-level status, it would still have to be Aeroplan 25K via the Everyday Status Qualification benefit.
Nevertheless, if you’re particularly loyal to WestJet – perhaps you’re based in Alberta where the regional route network is more favourable, or you favour WestJet’s very competitive onboard and ground product over Air Canada’s – then Status Lift provides you with a meaningful way to boost your WestJet status qualification every year by simply spending on the co-branded credit card.
The welcome bonus on the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard has been bumped back up to 450 WestJet Dollars for the fall of 2021. Thanks to the free first checked bag and ongoing $0 companion voucher, this card remains an excellent choice for nabbing the welcome bonus if you fly with WestJet with any degree of regularity.
At the same time, WestJet has also added a new permanent benefit on this card in the form of Status Lift, which allows cardholders to earn $500 in status-qualifying spend up to thrice a year.
For the rest of 2021, you can earn halfway towards entry-level Silver status with $15,000 spent on the card, whereas from 2022 onwards it’ll require spending $45,000 on the card.
While WestJet’s new spend-based status accelerator is better than nothing, I can’t help but feel that they could’ve done a lot more with the concept.
I’m hoping WestJet will introduce some kind of offering to compete against Aeroplan’s Everyday Status Qualification in the future, in which members might be rewarded with lower-tier status by engaging with WestJet through a wider range of channels.