Monday, September 15, 2014

WestJet Rewards to introduce new Elite Tiers and Benefits as of October 29;111838568;t

WestJet Rewards announced today another evolution to their program that sees it take another step to becoming a full fledged traditional style frequent flyer program. The evolution is the introduction of new Elite Status tiers much like those we see from the majority of frequent flyer programs. The Tiers are based somewhat on their previous 'Milestone' spending levels.

The new tiers are Teal, Silver and Gold. Teal is the base level that every member will be at and much like the previous 'Milestone' levels will see a $35 WestJet Dollars bonus and increased earn rate on WestJet flights and WestJet Vacation packages when a member reaches $1,500 in flight spending within a 12 month period.

Members will be awarded the Silver Elite Tier when they reach $4,000 in spending in 12 month period. The $4,000 level is actually a $500 drop from the previous 'Milestone' program where you would get a JetAway companion pass. Which means at $4,000 in spend not only do you get the companion pass you will also now get other Silver Benefits like a whopping 5% earn rate on WestJet flights, 4 business class lounge vouchers, 4 seat selection vouchers and your first checked bag for free.

The Gold Elite Tier is the highest tier and is achieved at $6,000 in a 12 month spending period. This is the same as the old 'Milestone' program where you would get a second companion pass. So in addition to the companion pass for Silver (or $4,000 in spend) you'll get another pass. Then additional companion flights to anywhere WestJet flies are awarded at $10,000 and each $5,000 in flight spend beyond that.  The increased earn rate of 5% seen at Silver is also the earn rate for Gold members. Gold members will also receive 10 business class lounge vouchers, four seat selection vouchers, Free first and second checked bags, No fee to change to an earlier/later flight on same day of travel, Priority security screening (at select airports) and advance boarding.

Elite Tiers come into effect as soon as you reach the specific spend level during your qualifying 12 month period and the Elite status remains with you until the end of the next qualifying year. So depending on when you earn status you will WestJet status for a minimum of 12 months but in reality could be as high as 23 months or more. Of course Silver and Gold members will be happy with the free check bag offerings seeing that WestJet's other news today was the announcement that they are implementing a first checked bag fee.

Overall this is a great addition to the WestJet Rewards program as they need to compete better with Air Canada Altitude, Aeroplan Distinction and other Frequent Flyer programs. It shows they are committed to evolving the program and are continually trying to get those people who travel frequently on business. Seeing that most major airports in Canada have third party business class lounges that are accessible with the vouchers that Silver and Golds will receive this will no doubt interest some travellers who like that benefit.

The one thing that surprised me however was no mention of upgrades for Silver and/or Golds to WestJet Plus seats. Perhaps WestJet is going to provide at-the-gate upgrades to Silvers and Golds (heck I received one being a base member late last year) as WestJet will always do their best to sell those seats beforehand or during check in to maximize their revenue. However from a loyalty standpoint, if I was running the WestJet Rewards programs I would at least offer Golds four free upgrades in their benefits package so as to encourage people at Silver level a further justification to reach the Gold level. I'm sure those extra few hundreds of dollars in WestJet spend would more than pay for the guaranteed upgrades.

Here is an overview of the tiers and the benefits associated with them:

To find out more about the new WestJet Rewards Elite Tiers visit;111838568;t

What are your thoughts on this newest evolution of the WestJet Rewards programs?

1 comment:

  1. LOL as useful as wet toilet paper, nice try WJ.