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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Why The Platinum Card from American Express is the best card to use for booking WestJet flights


Earlier this year I let you know about how we used The Platinum Card from American Express to save thousands of dollars on some last minute WestJet flights, read all about that there. At the time of booking those flights I thought this is a pretty good deal - even if we didn’t redeem points. Then after I wrote the redemption story it really confirmed in my mind that The Platinum Card is the best card on the market for booking WestJet flights with - yes even better than the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard. Don’t get me wrong - the WestJet Card is an amazing Card that both my wife and I hold in our wallets thanks to its benefits but outside of select scenarios we’ll stick to using the Platinum Card for booking WestJet flights via American Express Travel.

Here’s why the card is best the to book WestJet flights with:

One of the benefits of the Platinum Card from American is the International Airline Program. This benefit provides discounts for premium travel on a whole bunch of airlines including WestJet. Those airlines are:


This discount is extended to the cardholder and up to seven guests travelling on the same itinerary.

As mentioned above the discount is mainly for premium classes like Premium Economy, Business and First class. WestJet however differs as the discount seems to work on regular economy class fares as well. This does not include the absolute lowest Basic Economy fares which we as a family don't book anyways. The last flights we booked with WestJet (in the redemption story) were last minute economy class flights and the Platinum Card provided $800 in savings just from the discount alone. This was before using points to redeem via Amex’s Fixed Points for Travel Program and our $200 annual travel credit to bring the price down another $3,000.

I reached out to American Express to see if there is a set discount rate with WestJet but there isn't. It actually varies based on fare class, dates, etc.

I thought I would see what the pricing would look like on other WestJet flights by utilizing the Platinum Card's International Airline program via American Express Travel and follow with examples below.

To be sure you are getting the discount you'll want to make sure your search results show "International Airline Program - Platinum Cardmember Benefit" in the results:


 

Economy Class booking examples:

Calgary to Toronto April 8 to 12

American Express Travel with the Platinum Discount:

And via WestJet:


As you can see it is just over $14 cheaper per person for the same flights when booking with the Platinum Card via American Express travel. Not a huge difference but still some savings to be had.

However when you look at last minute bookings the savings can become more significant:

Calgary to Toronto February 12 - 15, 2020

American Express Travel with the Platinum Discount:


WestJet:
 



It's when you get to the premium classes that the discount becomes even more visible:

 

Premium Economy Booking Example:


Toronto - London Gatwick April 22 - 29, 2020

American Express Travel with the Platinum Discount:

WestJet:

As you can see it is $124 cheaper with American Express Travel for this flight in Premium Economy.

And here's where the discount really makes a difference:

 

Business Class Booking Example:


Toronto - London Gatwick April 22 - 29, 2020

American Express Travel with the Platinum Discount:

WestJet:

The same flights, times, etc. but $572 cheaper when you use the Platinum Card from American Express via American Express Travel. Are you starting to see why this card is one of the best for booking WestJet flights?

Sure the Platinum card has a $699 annual fee but that can be more than made up for in one booking alone depending on your fare class, number of travellers and more. Our own experience of saving over $800 in one booking is just one great example! You can then also choose to use the your $200 annual credit off the card as well for these flights.

On top of the discounts there are other factors to take into account that make this method of booking very attractive. First off is Membership Rewards Points earning - the Platinum Card earns 2 points per dollar spend on travel so these bookings will earn that amount. You can also choose to redeem points against these bookings with either the Fixed Points for Travel program or  Use points for purchases options. Both of which you'll still earn the 2 points per dollar on the full travel booking amount:

We earned the full amount of Membership Rewards points despite using points and the travel credit against these charges

What about WestJet rewards earn and elite status benefits? Those are all intact even when you book via American Express Travel. On our last flights we enjoyed our full WestJet dollars earn (5% for being Gold):
WestJet dollars earned on that recent Amex Travel booking

And even our qualifying spend was applied:

You can also call up WestJet after you book your flights via American Express Travel  to easily apply any seat selection vouchers that you may have. You'll also enjoy any WestJet elite status benefits that you may have so long as you have added your WestJet Rewards member number to your reservation. Amex Travel lets you easily add it during the booking process. If you do hold the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard then by making sure you have your WestJet Rewards membership number on the booking made via Amex you'll still enjoy the first bag free benefit.

Now there are some scenarios where I would book direct with WestJet and not use the American Express Travel / Platinum Card combination.

Those scenarios are:
  • Member exclusive fares - these are the set fare rates for select routes that you can book with WestJet and have to pay for with your WestJet Rewards dollars.
  • Companion vouchers - The vouchers that come with the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard can only be redeemed via WestJet (call in or online)
  • WestJet dollar redemption  - you can only redeem your WestJet dollars towards flights via WestJet directly (call in or online)
  • Sale Promo/Coupon codes offered by WestJet - these are those promo codes you'll find at certain times of the year that come in your email or are featured on their seat sale pages. You cannot use these codes via American Express Travel. There is also a promo code from Perkopolis that some people use (technically you are supposed to be a Perkopolis member to take advantage of it) which provides similar discounts on Economy or Premium Economy flights as seen above from Amex however their code does not appear to work on Business Class.
Personally, outside of the four options listed above I think I am going to be booking all my WestJet flights via Amex travel with the Platinum Card from American Express to make sure I am saving some money on those flights!

How about you - do you book your WestJet flights via American Express Travel and use The Platinum Card from American Express to take advantage of the savings? If not, tell us why! If you do, give us some examples of how it did save you some cash! Let us know in the comments section below.

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