There appears to be one enduring truth in the Canadian loyalty landscape these days: where Air Canada goes, WestJet will follow.
Indeed, in keeping with the recent double status-qualifying earning promotion by Air Canada, WestJet is taking similar steps to incentivize its status members with a Double Qualifying Spend promotion for existing Silver, Gold, and Platinum members on summer travel.
Double Qualifying Spend Offer for Existing Status Members
WestJet members will need to register for the promotion before the doubled qualifying spend earnings kick in.
Normally, 100% of the base fare on any WestJet flights you purchase is counted as qualifying spend towards your WestJet status.
Under this promotion, if you currently hold WestJet Silver, Gold, or Platinum status, then for travel booked through July 5, 2022 and completed through September 6, 2022, you’ll instead earn 200% of the base fare on your travel towards your status-qualifying spend.
The promotion excludes Basic Economy fares or any travel whose base fare is booked using WestJet Dollars (including Member Exclusive fares).
As travel picks up this summer across WestJet’s domestic and international route networking, WestJet status members should keep this promotion in mind, as it may be possible to easily reach the next tier up simply by strategically booking a few flights throughout the rest of the year.
However, while existing WestJet status members may find this promotion useful, it’s unfortunate that non-status members won’t be allowed to benefit from this promotion. If you don’t currently have status, you’d need to organically achieve at least Silver status first before benefiting from the double qualifying spend on your subsequent travel.
It’s clear that WestJet isn’t necessarily interested in growing its loyalty pool, but rather is focused on strengthening its existing base – and indeed, looking to avoid having its members tempted away by Aeroplan Elite Status and its similarly strong promotions.
What Does WestJet Status Offer?
As a reminder, the qualification criteria for WestJet Platinum, Gold, or Silver status are as follows:
Members simply need to meet these spend requirements to achieve status; there are no additional segment or mileage requirements to meet.
In addition to flying, it’s also possible to earn status-qualifying spend via the Status Lift benefit on the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard, although the value proposition in doing so isn’t the strongest.
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.
In my view, WestJet status is most useful for travellers based in or around WestJet’s hub in Calgary or who fly frequently on routes served only by WestJet, but there isn’t much of a broader attraction to the program.
Many of the status benefits are attainable through other means. For example, a free first checked bag is available to any WestJet RBC World Elite cardholder, while access to WestJet’s flagship Elevation Lounge in Calgary is supplied via the American Express Platinum Card or Business Platinum Card by American Express on an unlimited basis as part of the Priority Pass network.
Moreover, WestJet appears to lack ideas on how to spruce up their loyalty and elite status programs, often rolling out very similar loyalty initiatives to Air Canada’s a few months after the fact.
To truly compete for loyal flyers, WestJet needs to innovate and bring forth new ideas to the market, rather than relying on a strategy of copycat moves in the shadow of its larger rival.
WestJet loyalists will have an opportunity to level-up to a higher status tier thanks to this summer’s Double Qualifying Spend promotion on flights booked by July 5 and flown by September 6.
The promotion is valid on all WestJet routes in any booking class except Basic Economy, and registration is required before the bonus amounts take effect.
Given their track record so far, what might we see from WestJet next – a status extension with a certain level of co-branded credit card spend?