WestJet Rewards has announced that it will officially extend the current status of their Platinum, Gold, and Silver members until December 31, 2022.
Simultaneously, WestJet is offering a bonus on qualifying spend for its elite members to help them boost their status qualification in 2021 and 2022, as well as introducing the ability for Platinum members to earn Business companion vouchers through their qualifying spend (including for use on WestJet 787 business class).
WestJet Status Extension Through 2022
Last year, WestJet had extended members’ status through to the end of 2021 in the midst of the pandemic. Since members’ travel activity is still curtailed, the airline is now offering a further one-year extension.
If you currently hold Platinum, Gold, or Silver status, you will keep your current status tier and benefits until December 31, 2022 (or until a higher tier is reached), and this change will be reflected in your account by June 10, 2021.
As a reminder, the current 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):
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.
Double Qualifying Spend Offer for Existing Status Members
Even though WestJet status has been granted a blanket extension through 2022, WestJet is also taking steps to incentivize members to achieve a higher status level with a Double Qualifying Spend for existing Silver, Gold, and Platinum members on travel for the rest of the year.
There’s no need to register – all of your WestJet flying activity will automatically qualify.
Normally, 100% of the base fare on any WestJet flights you purchase is counted as qualifying spend towards your WestJet status. If you currently hold WestJet Silver, Gold, or Platinum status, then for travel between June 4 and December 31, 2021, you’ll instead earn:
- 150% of the base fare on Economy fares
- 200% of the base fare on Premium and Business fares
The promotion excludes Basic fares or any travel whose base fare is booked using WestJet Dollars (including Member Exclusive fares).
As domestic travel picks up this summer and fall, existing 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.
While existing WestJet status members may find this promotion useful, I’m surprised that non-status members won’t be allowed to benefit from this promotion.
One would imagine that WestJet may want to take advantage of the ongoing uncertain climate around travel to poach more members from Aeroplan Elite Status, but the exclusion of non-status members indicates that their focus is on strengthening existing loyalty rather than cultivating it anew.
Business Companion Vouchers for Platinum Members
Here’s something exciting if you’re a top-tier WestJet Platinum member: you can now earn a set of two Business cabin companion vouchers upon earning an additional $6,500 in qualifying spend between June 4 and December 31, 2021.
The Double Qualifying Spend offer also stacks with this, meaning that you’d only need to spend $3,250 on Premium or Business fares to earn the two Business companion vouchers.
The two Business companion vouchers are distributed as follows:
- One Business companion voucher for travel within Canada
- One Business companion voucher for travel between Canada and Europe
Each companion voucher can be redeemed so that the second passenger only pays the taxes, fees, and other ATC (air transportation charges) when you buy a Business fare for the first passenger. Both companion vouchers are valid for use in 2022.
If you’re a top-tier WestJet Platinum member who would pay top-dollar for a seat on their Dreamliner business class (especially on a transatlantic route), then this promotion absolutely makes sense to pursue, since the savings on the second passenger’s Business fare can easily exceed the $3,250 in required qualifying spend to unlock the Business companion vouchers.
It’s nice to see WestJet finally introducing some kind of reward incentive into their Dreamliner business class product, as the airline has been fairly reluctant to offer any kind of high-value award redemption into their premium cabins until now – whether it’s through companion fares or redeeming Member Exclusive fares.
However, the overall appeal of this promotion remains fairly limited, since it’s only open to top-tier Platinum members. When WestJet considers further incentives for future travel, I’d love to see their lie-flat business class seats being offered as a potential reward on a wider basis.
Reminder: WestJet Status Now Based on Calendar Year Model
As announced last September, WestJet Rewards will transition to a standard calendar year model for members’ status qualification and benefit periods, instead of the current 12-month qualifying cycle that’s unique to each member.
On December 31, 2021, the qualifying period for all current and new members will come to a close. Then, on January 1, 2022, a new qualifying year will commence uniformly for all WestJet Rewards members, making it simpler track your progress and plan your qualifying activity through the typical January to December status qualifying cycle.
To be honest, it really didn’t make any sense for the qualifying cycle to be dependent on the very arbitrary factor of which month you signed up for your WestJet account.
A calendar-year system aligns much better with how most travellers think about their annual flying and loyalty activity, and is a much-needed move to simplify the program going into 2022.
WestJet Rewards is offering an elite status extension through 2022, accompanied by a Double Qualifying Spend offer for existing status members to boost their qualifying activity in 2021, as well as a new set of Business companion vouchers for top-tier Platinum members who reach a further threshold of qualifying spend.
These are welcome changes that follow in the footsteps of Air Canada’s extension of Aeroplan Elite Status.
However, by gating-off the Double Qualifying Spend offer from non-status members and the Business companion vouchers from everyone except Platinum members, WestJet may have missed an opportunity to make a bigger splash in the Canadian loyalty scene just as travellers around the country are reconsidering their options.
Going forward, I’d certainly expect any further initiatives from WestJet to carry more weight as they look to capture a larger slice of the resurgent demand for travel.