In late 2020, WestJet had hinted at introducing the ability to exchange the annual companion voucher on the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard for lounge vouchers, which may be used to access the WestJet Elevation Lounge Calgary and other contract lounges across WestJet’s network.
This feature has been rolled out today as a permanent benefit, allowing you to exchange any outstanding companion vouchers on your WestJet Rewards account into a set of four lounge vouchers, which may be used by yourself or your guests to enjoy lounge access before your flight.
One Companion Voucher = Four Lounge Vouchers
WestJet Rewards members can visit this landing page on the WestJet website to exchange any companion voucher on their account into a set of four lounge vouchers.
Clicking the “Register now” button will submit the request, and you’ll receive the four lounge vouchers in your account within four days.
The lounge vouchers will have the same expiry date as the original companion voucher. If you have multiple companion vouchers on your account, then the one that has the nearest expiry date will be exchanged; you can choose to exchange more than one companion voucher, but you’ll have to submit your request multiple times in order to do so.
You can use the lounge vouchers to bring in guests to accompany you in the lounge as well; however, the passes may not be shared with others to use when travelling without you.
The lounge vouchers will be redeemable at WestJet’s flagship Elevation Lounge in Calgary, as well the Plaza Premium lounges in Vancouver, Toronto, Edmonton, and Winnipeg, and select lounges in Europe and the Caribbean – all upon presenting a WestJet boarding pass.
Finally, note that the ability to exchange for lounge access is only applicable to the companion voucher on the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard, and not the $199-level companion voucher on the base-level WestJet RBC Mastercard.
Should You Trade Companion Vouchers for Lounge Access?
We can think about which option is more valuable here.
The WestJet annual companion voucher allows you to book a second passenger’s flight for as little as a $119 base fare upon paying full fare for the first passenger. If redeemed wisely, the companion voucher can easily fetch hundreds of dollars of value, but only if you were already going to pay for those WestJet flights as a set of two passengers in the first place.
With significantly reduced demand for travel this year, many cardholders won’t be able to redeem their companion voucher for good value this year. If that’s the case, then the lounge access vouchers might be more appealing to you, since you’d be able to extract value from them even if you’re travelling on a cheaper route like Toronto–Montreal or Calgary–Edmonton.
Obviously, you’ll also prefer the lounge vouchers to the companion voucher if you’re a solo flyer and rarely travel as a party of two or more.
The most appealing place to redeem your WestJet lounge vouchers would be the WestJet Elevation Lounge Calgary, where you can enjoy a sit-down meal, a drink at the flagship bar, and a shower. It’s one of Canada’s leading airport lounges and a step above the Plaza Premium and other contract lounges that comprise the rest of WestJet’s lounge network.
However, don’t forget that you can also access the WestJet Elevation Lounge through Priority Pass, which is easily obtainable through several major Canadian credit cards, including unlimited access through the American Express Platinum Card and the American Express Business Platinum Card.
If you already hold a Priority Pass membership, then it would be of minimal incremental value to exchange the WestJet companion voucher into lounge vouchers. You’d be better off keeping your companion voucher in that case.
I do believe that WestJet will eventually fence-off the flagship Elevation Lounge from Priority Pass and limit access to its own status members and credit card holders, especially in the future when travel picks up again and the Elevation Lounge (which isn’t the largest in the world) gets a bit more crowded.
Doing so would also boost the value of the lounge access vouchers, and in turn the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard itself.
450 WestJet Dollars Offer Extended
Speaking of the co-branded credit card, it’s worth noting that the historically high offer of 450 WestJet Dollars on the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard has been extended to March 31, following its original expiry date of January 31.
There’s one caveat: the full bonus will only be earned upon spending $5,000 in the first three months, which is a fairly high minimum spending requirement.
Since the ability to exchange the companion fare into lounge vouchers is a permanent benefit, this makes the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard the only Canadian airline co-branded credit card in the “core” range that offers airport lounge access.
If you live in Calgary or pass through the airport often, the lounge benefit could move the needle for you to choose WestJet’s product over, say, the Aeroplan core cards by TD, CIBC, or American Express.
However, ultimately it’s the value of the rewards earned on each card that will matter most to cardholders. In that regard, WestJet still faces a monumental task to catch up to its rival, especially following the dramatic devaluation of WestJet’s Member Exclusive fares in 2020.
Also: Gift of Gold Benefit for WestJet Platinum & Gold Members
As of today, WestJet’s top-tier Platinum and Gold status members may exchange their milestone rewards for the ability to give the gift of Gold status to a friend or family member for a single round-trip flight.
WestJet Rewards members typically earn milestone rewards upon reaching $6,000+ in qualifying spend per year. These milestone rewards include a companion voucher (similar to the one earned on the World Elite Mastercard), guest lounge vouchers, advanced seat selection vouchers, etc.
Eligible members can now exchanges these milestone rewards for Gift of Gold vouchers via this landing page. In the future, they’ll also be able to select Gift of Gold vouchers directly as a milestone reward.
A recipient of a Gift of Gold voucher will receive Gold status treatment throughout their round-trip WestJet flight (defined as an itinerary from a single origin to a single destination, with up to two segments in each direction, and a duration of no more than 30 days), including priority check-in, a free first and second checked bag, lounge access for themselves and their family, and priority boarding.
If you have the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard, you’ll now be able to exchange your annual companion voucher into a set of four WestJet lounge access vouchers.
If you’re a solo traveller or you’ve been otherwise uncertain as to whether you’ll be able to get value out of the companion voucher this year, then perhaps the lounge vouchers might be a more appealing alternative.
This change brings greater optionality to the benefits of the WestJet RBC World Elite, which is always a welcome development, and it adds another reason to incorporate the card into your overall RBC credit card strategy.