Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The new Porter VIPorter is here - Introducing elite tiers plus changes in earning and redemption (now revenue based)

Nearly a month ago Porter Airlines announced that they were enhancing the VIPorter program. As of today those details are now out. As we knew from their teaser in August they would be moving to a revenue based program rather than flat rate points for earning and burning. They also said their will be Elite tiers and those are detailed here as well. What isn't detailed is the redemption side. Redeeming VIPorter points will be dyanmic, that is on a sliding scale. The more expensive the flight the more it will cost you in points to redeem.

As you can see from the graphic above the points earned on Porter flights will depend on what Elite Tier you are in. 5 Points per dollar for the base level, 6 points per dollar for the new Passport level (think silver) and 7 points per dollar for the new Priority level (think Gold). To reach these levels you must achieve certain spend levels with Porter and they will look at your spend this year to give you your elite status right away.

The Elite Status levels will give you benefits when flying Porter from Priority check-in to complimentary checked bags and seat selection if you hit the highest level.

Like we mentioned before we are not entirely sure of the number of points that will be required to redeem for flights. We know it will fluctuate with the actual cost of the ticket and you will have to option to pay part with points and part with cash. Since we are based in Calgary we don't have any VIPorter points to test out their booking engine to see what the redemption rates are like so we would love to have those of you who do fly Porter and have points do some dummy bookings and comment below to see what the true value of these points are!

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 16: Thanks to Noel who commented below we now know the rough value of a VIPorter Point is around 1 cent. In his example of using full points for a flight that had a total cost of $120, the full point requirement was 7,500 points + $47 for taxes/fees. So we know that the 7,500 points covers $73 of the ticket cost for a value of 0.97 cents per point. Now here is where things get good, as VIPorter member you earn a minimum of 5 points per dollar spent which equates to roughly a 5% return! If you are Passport level member that return is 6% and Priority sees 7%! Compare this to WestJet which pays 1 to 3% for Teal, and 5% for Silver and Gold. Granted WestJet has more options to earn such as credit cards, car rentals, vacations and hotel bookings but looking at flights only VIPorter comes out ahead especially for those with no elite status.

We do know that VIPorter points cannot be redeemed for flights on Interline fares (Emirates, JetBlue etc.) however  flights on those airlines that are booked through Porter will earn VIPorter points.

Finally it looks like you'll lose your VIPorter Points if you don't fly with Porter Airlines once every 2 years.

In summary it looks like VIPorter may have been feeling the heat from the likes of AC Altitude (of course) and more recently WestJet Reward elite levels as to why they felt the need to add Elite levels as well. In terms of moving to a revenue based model, it could have been expected as many airlines like Porter have gone this route.

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