Q&A: WestJet's Head of Rewards Reveals Tips, Tricks and The Secret Sauce

Q&A: WestJet's Head of Rewards Reveals Tips, Tricks and The Secret Sauce

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Last updated on March 31, 2019 Views: 547 Comments: 74

We are super excited to have the highly accomplished loyalty and marketing executive Sol Zia from WestJet Rewards with us for an in-depth Q&A!

WestJet’s credit card program is quickly distinguishing itself among its peers with a truly unique set of benefits in the Canadian marketplace.

We invited Sol to do a Q&A with GreedyRates to help us understand the secrets to maximizing the value of WestJet’s credit card program. The result is a masterly dissertation on how to squeeze hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars out of WestJet EVERY year. The best part is, WestJet’s happy to see you do it.

Q: What’s the goal of the WestJet Credit card program?

A: Like other programs, it’s pretty simple. It’s to enhance the earning opportunities for our members.

But what makes our card different, are the travel opportunities – first bag free and the companion voucher, those are amazing features. If you’re traveling as a family, or you like to travel with other people, you can’t beat the card.

Q: Who’s the WestJet credit card best suited for?

A: It’s designed for moderate to frequent travelers. It’s also for folks who are loyalty savvy that enjoy paying with points and cash. Families have a big affinity for the WestJet card. I love seeing them flash their card at the airport.

Q: How can cardholders get the most value from the WestJet credit card? What are some of the secrets out there?

A: The savviest cardholders sign-up for all our promotions. The secret sauce is getting the card, always using it when you book your flight, but signing up for every promotion that we have out there.

We have one for California that starts tomorrow, and you can earn up to 250 WestJet dollars. They’re free to register.

Q: Can you go into a bit more depth on how these promotions work?

A: They are typically destination based. If you were to book your flight, without your credit card and it was $100 to Boston, you would earn 1 WestJet dollar. Get the credit card, now you’re earning 3 WestJet dollars. Still ok, but you sign-up for the promotion and you save an additional 40 WestJet dollars. That’s a huge earn rate based on the cost of the flight. That is the secret sauce.

Q: Are those promotions available to cardholders only? Or to WestJet Reward members as well?

A: They’re available to all WestJet reward members. But if you’re using your card you’re getting that triple dip so to speak (credit card, loyalty rewards and promotion dollars).

Q: Which features are the most popular with cardholders? Talk to me about how cardholders use them.

A: Free first bag is hugely popular, as is companion voucher and then the earn rate – earning 2% when you use the card, so the double dip is the third feature. The welcome bonus is typically fourth place.

No one offers free bag and the companion voucher, especially with the new ability to use it for Europe, Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean. Folks love it and they’re redeeming for great destinations.

Q: You’re seeing a lot of uptake, even in the last 3 months?

A: We’re definitely seeing it in the redemption of those vouchers to sun destinations and to Europe. Folks are being really smart about it, they’re booking Plus seats (business class).

There’s no blackout or restrictions on those companion vouchers. Your companion is booked for $399 dollars (return) to London in that Plus seat, as long as you buy the first Plus seat (you can use your WestJet dollars). It’s a phenomenal deal.

Q: And when consumers buy a full fare ticket, it’s the same price they get at WestJet.com?

A: If you find a seat sale for Plus, you can use the companion voucher with it. It’s amazing value. Folks don’t believe it, because everyone’s skeptical, and I’m sure you’re readers are just as skeptical as everyone else. Everyone believes there must be a restriction, a blackout, but there really isn’t.

Depending on when you buy that seat to London, you could be saving upwards of $1,000. No cash back card, at 1.5% will ever give you that much return.

Q: Why should readers choose the WestJet credit card over any other card? How does the WestJet card beat out the alternatives?

A: I think it’s the flexibility of the card and its features.

You would choose the card because you travel enough where you can see the benefit of having that first bag free, for yourself and the other folks travelling on your same itinerary.

You travel enough times a year, and you travel with someone else, so you’re going to see the value in that companion voucher. That beats most other travel cards if that’s how you travel.

The third piece is, even if you don’t travel, but you buy travel for other people, you’re getting that return. Let’s say you travel twice a year, but you often buy a flight for your mom, grandma, or kids, you can redeem for anybody. You don’t have to be the primary traveler.

Q: Can you transfer WestJet dollars to other members?

A: We don’t see a lot of transferability because we have partial redemption. In Aeroplan, you have to have 25,000 points for long-haul, so there’s a lot more reasons economically to transfer and pool points.

Because we have partial redemption, if you’re buying 3 WestJet tickets and 3 people each have 75 WestJet dollars, each redeems partially.

We do have transferability like every other program, but very little take-up.

Q: Who do you view as your primary competitor in the travel card space?

A: The primary alternative in the marketplace to our card would be TD Aeroplan.

After that would be the bank led travel programs. But they compete on earn rate. Because they’re bank run and they don’t have any affiliation or ownership of an airline, they don’t have features like first bag or companion vouchers.

Q: The only other card offering companion fare would be Alaska Airlines?

A: Alaska’s a great program, but it’s really centered towards Western Canadians. If you live in Montreal or Toronto you’ve got to find an Alaska flight to use it.

British Airways is pretty niche too, because not everyone is going overseas (and you have to spend $30K to get the companion ticket), you have to really play the game to redeem on Avios.

Q: Several bank travel card programs offer lounge access. The WestJet card does not. Any reason?

A: That’s a really good question, only because we ask that every year, and lounge access always ranks really low.

For the leisure traveler, lounge has just not popped as something they want on the card. If the demand was there, we would address it. But I can show you just how far down on the right demand is for lounge on one of our charts.

There are other higher demand flexible travel features that cardholders and members are asking for that we’re looking to add on.

Q: What are the top destinations that people like to redeem for?

A: Before we launched Caribbean, Mexico and London, it was Vegas. The top 5 hasn’t really changed, because we haven’t had enough time yet. But the trend is moving away from Nevada and Florida. Depending on when you want to travel the value is amazing.

WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard Summary:

  1. Annual companion ticket to any destination WestJet flies – one every year!
  2. 250 WestJet dollars welcome bonus after first purchase – no minimum spend required
  3. No black outs or seat restrictions on any flights, any time
  4. Free first checked bag for the primary cardholder and up to 8 additional guests on the same reservation!
  5. Comprehensive travel insurances including travel medical, trip interruption, auto rental collision & loss, purchase security and extended warranty
  6. 2% WestJet dollars per $1 spent on WestJet purchases
  7. 1.5% WestJet dollars per $1 spent on all other purchases
  8. Earn WestJet dollars twice, once with your credit card, and again with your WestJet Rewards ID when booking a flight and get an additional 5% in WestJet dollars

*This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.

Article comments

74 comments
Bob says:

If I purchase a member exclusive fare, using my Westjet dollars, and pay the taxes and fees with my Westjet World Elite Mastercard, will the first checked bag be free?
Thank you

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Bob,

Great question. To take advantage of the free checked bags perk with your RBC WestJet World Elite card, you’ll need to meet a few easy requirements that we think you have covered. Essentially, all that needs to happen in order for you to get your bags for free is for the primary cardholder to be present on the same itinerary, for the booking to be anything but a ‘group booking’, and for the Rewards ID to be on the itinerary during check-in. That’s it! There’s not even a caveat that you need to purchase the flight with your WestJet Dollars or, with your WestJet card, or even on WestJet.com.

The two most important requirements are that your Member ID is on the itinerary and that the flight is operated or marketed by WestJet. When you book a WestJet flight on Expedia or another site, there might not be a place for you to enter your Member ID so just call WestJet and have them manually add it into their system, and the free bags will apply. Enjoy!

GreedyRates

Andrew says:

With recent changes to Alaska Airlines partner airlines, using my accumulated mileage plan points is really inconvenient. Can I transfer those points to a new Westjet World Elite Mastercard?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Andrew,

Unfortunately, you cannot transfer your Alaska miles to the WestJet World Elite card. You’ll likely be able to spend them on a flight or pay for a flight partially wherever you need to go with these points, however, by using Alaska Air’s partner airlines. Then if you’ve got the Alaska Airlines card and want to cancel it, you can do so without fearing the needless loss of your miles. Do consider the impact of cancelling on your credit, however. If you have additional questions, let us know!

GreedyRates

Julie Schmidt says:

Hi,can the companion voucher be used for vacation packages? Thanks

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Julie!

Thanks for coming to GreedyRates with your inquiry on the annual companion voucher, free for cardholders with a WestJet World Elite Mastercard. We know it can be a bit complicated to navigate the voucher’s many conditions and caveats, but this one shouldn’t be too tough. Regarding vacation packages, the companion voucher is valid only on round-trip airfare marketed or operated by WestJet. Though flights are definitely part of a vacation package, you won’t be able to buy a package and then use your voucher on the flight part.
Here’s the part of the fine print you need to be concerned with: “Valid on all published Basic, Econo, EconoFlex, Premium, and PremiumFlex fares wholly marketed and operated by WestJet, including seat sales. Not valid on Member Exclusive, Business or BusinessFlex fares. The same fare type must be booked for both member and companion. The flight’s base fare may be paid in whole or in part with WestJet dollars. Not valid with group discounts and/or WestJet Vacations bookings.” Essentially that means that the voucher is flexible in some ways (e.g. the ability to use WestJet Dollars or get a one-way flight with it), but inflexible in others. Best of luck!
GreedyRates

Trina says:

Hi. I’m not sure if you’ll know the answer but I have the westjet credit card. If I take my cousin onto my itinerary and she gets my companion voucher is she allowed to use up her westjet dollars to pay for her base fare? I’ll be using some of my westjet dollars for my flight but I wasn’t sure if we could use her westjet dollars as well on the same booking.
Thanks!

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Trina,

Interesting question. There’s no doubt that you’re able to use your own WestJet Dollars on the flight and also the companion voucher for your cousin, but since you’re the one booking the flight then you’re also the only one who will have a chance to use their WestJet Dollars—not your cousin. There’s no way to split the payment between two tickets or allow her to pay a portion of the fare, as WestJet requires that both fares be purchased at the same time in order to use the companion voucher on one. It’s also impossible to transfer the voucher to your cousin, if you were wondering, and there is no transferring WestJet Dollars between accounts either.

Essentially, WestJet wants you to use the voucher in one way exclusively, and they’ve done their due diligence in restricting it so that it’s impossible to use otherwise. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s better than calling WestJet and waiting on the line for the same answer. Best of luck and we hope you two enjoy the trip.

GreedyRates

Degi says:

Hi. thanks for this great article and answering most of the questions. I do have a couple more questions regarding this card. I have just received my card yesterday and used it last night. I was wondering when would be the welcome bonus points would kick in?
also about the companion voucher, is it like something physical I’ll receive in the mail after 4-6 weeks opening the account? we’re planning for Europe trip in October, wondering would it make a huge difference to use the voucher (given there are certain fares are not applicable to using voucher), also i’m not clear on the (399 round trip fare)+tax+applicable fees= around how much? or just go ahead book now while they’re having a sale?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Degi!

No problem at all, we’ll answer your questions as thoroughly as we do for everyone else! Regarding the perks that come with your new RBC WestJet World Elite card, the bonus WestJet Dollars and the companion voucher both come after you receive the card, but not by much. You can normally expect to wait 4-6 weeks from the date you were approved before these benefits land in your account—and digitally, we should add. This means that the voucher itself isn’t a physical coupon but something you use while booking online. Because you can only use it on WestJet flights, you’ll be automatically logged into your account during booking and then can choose to add it to a flight with a simple click.

Generally, the voucher makes flights with two people cheaper than they would be otherwise, but in our personal experience it’s not worthwhile enough to justify skipping out on a sale or waiting an extra month to book. During this time, prices generally rise enough to offset what you’d save anyway, so book now and save the voucher for something special later on. Maybe a vacation with you and your significant other!

GreedyRates

Mike says:

I live in the UK , my wife is Canadian and travels there at least twice a year. Am I eligible for a west jet credit card. I am retired but meet the income requirement

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Mike,

Because you distinguish between yourself and your wife as from the UK and Canadian, we venture to guess that you don’t have citizenship nor residency in Canada. Unfortunately, you’ll find that most credit cards including the RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard require applicants to be residents for approval eligibility. Even your wife may not be able to get the card, given that it specifies residents as eligible, and we gather you two live abroad and not in Canada. It works like this because when the card issuer receives your application, the primary thing they’re looking at to determine your eligibility is the health of your credit in Canada—and nowhere else.

Not only this, many banks require you to maintain a Canadian address and bank account before approving you for credit. Your best bet is to find a good card in the UK that offers zero foreign transaction fees and travel rewards that are redeemable for flights between the UK and Canada. This way, you can discount you and your wife’s travel and also reduce expenses when you or she visits her home country. Best of luck!

GreedyRates

John says:

I just want to confim that if we apply for the card and are approved, none of the benefits (insurances, purchase security) or perks can be denied if income levels no longer meet the $80,000.

The GreedyRates Team says:

John,

Thanks for the intriguing question! We imagine your real concern is what would happen should you (or your spouse) lose your job while holding a credit card with a high annual income requirement. The answer lies in how banks determine your creditworthiness, and so it’s important to know that your income is just one of many factors that go into their perspective. As long as your account is in good standing, there’s no reason they’d cancel the card just for having a variable income in the short-term, as long as it was high enough when you applied. They also can’t just take away single perks from you. If you’re a cardholder you have them all.

If they were able to cancel cards for losing a job or having a lower income than the prior year, you’d see retirees getting their cards cancelled after retiring, even though they have assets, credit history, and more. In other words, you’re safe. Enjoy the card (regardless of your job status) and come back if you have other questions.

GreedyRates

Rowena says:

hello, Im thinking about getting the card. I have one question. If I purchased a premium plus ticket, can I use the companion voucher for the same ticket class? thanks

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Rowena,

Thanks for the great question about the WestJet World Elite card’s annual companion voucher. We think you’ll be able to use the voucher but aren’t familiar with a Premium Plus fare offered by WestJet. Do you mean PremiumFlex? Here’s what WestJet’s page says on the matter: The companion voucher is “…valid on all published Basic, Econo, EconoFlex, Premium, and PremiumFlex fares wholly marketed and operated by WestJet, including seat sales.” It isn’t valid on Member Exclusive, Business or BusinessFlex fares.

All companion vouchers for any fare must be used on the same fare anyway, since you need to be headed to the same destination (same itinerary) as the person using the voucher. We also did a quick search online and only found references to Plus fares and not Premium Plus, so in our opinion, you’re good. Enjoy the card and let us know if you have any further inquiries!

GreedyRates

Ethan says:

Why are are my earned WestJet dollars on everyday purchases not showing up in my WestJet rewards profile?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Ethan!
Appreciate you coming to GreedyRates. If you’re inquiring about specific account-side details within the WestJet Rewards program, we’re always going to point you towards RBC or WestJet customer service. Unfortunately, we don’t have access so we can’t be of much help, but we know they can. Good luck!
GreedyRates

D says:

If I was to order the secondary card under the WestJet MasterCard do they also get the one voucher per year?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi D,

Good question—from the way you asked, we assume you’re looking at obtaining a secondary version of your current RBC WestJet World Elite card for your spouse. In terms of the card’s bigger introductory perks like the 250 WestJet Dollar bonus and the annual companion voucher, these are only awarded to the primary cardholder. Adding a secondary cardholder is useful because they’re able to access the primary cardholder’s credit and collect WestJet Dollars on their purchases to the same WestJet account. This is useful for households, which usually split their purchases between the two spouse cards.

You can get another primary WestJet World Elite card, but it’ll mean paying a full annual fee of $119 instead of $59 to add a secondary cardholder. It also means applying for and being approved for a new credit limit separate from your current one, but in return you’ll receive the best rewards twice and still earn Dollars to the same account. You’ll also be able to complement each other by using the vouchers twice together every year!

GreedyRates

Sam says:

Can I use a westjet reward MasterCard to book a flight that is for reward members only or do I have to enough west jet dollars

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Sam,

Great question. If you’re referring to the Member Exclusive Fares part of WestJet’s website, then know you absolutely do need to spend your WestJet Dollars to buy any of these fares. They impose this restriction because these special fares are offer extra value and are also inclusive to WestJet partner airline destinations as well. The ability to use your WestJet Dollars to fly international is the main draw here, as you’ll only be able to see the full list of international destinations and fares when selecting Member Exclusive Fares from the booking dropdown online. If you were referring to something else or need further assistance, just get in touch with us at info@greedyrates.ca and we’ll be able to provide more personal help!

GreedyRates

Lisa says:

Using my RBC World Elite Westjet card, may I book a flight for my adult daughter and use my available voucher to include her young daughter on this same flight/same itinerary? I am not travelling on this particular trip as they would be coming to visit me.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Lisa!

Great question, and thanks for posting it on GreedyRates! If you’re looking to make use of the awesome annual companion voucher from WestJet, then it’s crucial to know this perk’s limitations. One of the biggest is that the primary cardholder (we assume that’s you) needs to be on the trip in order for the companion voucher to be used. If it were you and your daughter on the trip then you could surely avail of the voucher, but since you aren’t present, they can’t take advantage. However, there’s nothing stopping you from booking a flight in her name using your WestJet Dollars, for example. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

GreedyRates

Pauline MacLean says:

Can you use WestJet dollars for hotel or car rentals booked through WestJet?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Pauline,

Thanks for the awesome question! WestJet Dollars can be redeemed online at WestJet’s rewards website, but we aren’t aware of any options for redemption on hotels or car rentals. If you take a look at WestJet’s site, you’ll see that there are countless flights and vacation packages offered for WestJet Dollars, but that’s about the extent of it. It may be confusing because WestJet does have hotel partners, but these are the brands and locations that allow you to collect additional WestJet Dollars when booking with the card—not places where WestJet Dollars can be redeemed for stays. Car rental companies are similar, so if you’re looking for a way to use your rewards on hotels or rental vehicles, then you may want to get a rewards card that complements your WestJet World Elite card in this regard.

Almost any American Express travel-centric charge card will allow you this benefit, as Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for an impressive range of goods and services most important to travellers. For example, the Amex Gold Rewards card can be used on everyday purchases and will quickly accrue points that are more flexible than WestJet’s. You can charge any travel-related expense (hotel, rental car, cruise, flight, vacation, etc.) to the card and then pay for it with your points once it hits your monthly statement. This would be a great companion card for your WestJet World Elite and should be considered if you want comprehensive rewards utility.

GreedyRates

Izzy says:

Why I can’t book online trip for my mother in law with my west jet Id
It’s said guests doesn’t match WestJet rewards id.i did book for her last year without any problems just wonder did something change or I have to phone and book flight for her.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Izzy,

Interesting questions you’ve presented us with. Our guess is as good as yours, but here it is. Are you booking for yourself and your mother in law, or just your mother in law? If you put only her name on the itinerary and then try to add your personal WestJet ID to get some sort of benefit, then it may recognize that she isn’t the primary cardholder and throw up an error. Think closely about the difference between the last time you booked like this and the current situation: is there any significant departure in how you’ve arranged the booking, who is travelling, where, or for how long? Many factors could cause trouble, but we have no way of knowing which.

Our best guidance is just to call WestJet and inquire about what you’re trying to accomplish. They can help assist you through the booking process or inform you if what you’re attempting isn’t supported by the card or rewards program. Good luck!

GreedyRates

Laura says:

You guys are so impressive, with your patient and helpful responses, regardless if it’s relevant or pertinent to your website or not!

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Laura,

Your appreciation is music to our ears! Thanks for reading and be sure to get in touch if you need anything from us in the future. Also…while we do occasionally speak about the Canadian cards not featured on our site, we like to think of ourselves as curators of the best and most lucrative credit cards, and therefore gravitate towards those we know for certain are quality. Glad you recognized it!

GreedyRates

Jen says:

If my annual companion voucher expires end of March 2019, and I use it now, will I get my next companion voucher April 2019 or do I have to wait a year from when I spent it? Would my next one be one year from now?
Basically, is it not very ideal to wait 10 months to spend it?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Jen,

Appreciate the great comment, we’re glad to be of help. Essentially the voucher is meant to be as predictable as possible, and it therefore arrives in 4-6 weeks after you’ve first been approved for the card, and then on your account opening anniversary from then on. Since your voucher expires at the end of March 2019, that means you must have opened your account in March, so you can expect to receive the next voucher then as well—not 12 months after you’ve used the last one. This also means that your existing voucher will be rendered null and void when you’re issued the new one in April, so it’s in your best interest to use the voucher within the next month.

Then, you’ll be issued another one which you can use immediately, thereby allowing you to avail of two vouchers almost back-to-back, if you like. We hope our explanation was easy to understand. For any other questions just comment back and we’ll respond as soon as possible. Thanks again.

GreedyRates

Steve Pippy says:

Can I transfer unused airmiles to westjet Dollars?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your inquiry about the transferability of airline travel rewards. Usually, you won’t be able to shift points from one program to another, even if they’re related somehow like Aeroplan and Air Miles (both Air Canada). While partnerships would allow you to earn rewards by flying on partner-operated flights, this isn’t the case with Air Miles and WestJet. You may be able to spend Air Miles on a flight that’s similar to the WestJet flight that you want, but otherwise you’re out of luck. Sometimes, customer service agents can come up with some creative solutions though, so as a last resort we’d call over there and inquire—they’ll often go to great lengths to keep a customer. Good luck!

GreedyRates

Shellbea says:

If I use a RBC West Jet elite card do the purchases go towards my west jet tier levels? Or is that only on $$ spent on West Jet travel?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Shellbea,

Thanks for your comment on the RBC WestJet World Elite card. You’re referring to the four WestJet tiers that the travel rewards program offers to its members who reach certain spending milestones, which we don’t often mention ourselves. This could be a good opportunity for a refresher, and to address your question as well. WestJet cardholders and members who spend more than $8,000 earn Platinum status, from $5,000 is Gold status, from $3,000 is Silver and then anything below is Teal. These tiers represent the opportunity to earn accelerated WestJet Dollars on many spending categories, earn additional free checked bags and other boarding privileges, plus airport lounge access as well.

WestJet makes it clear, however, that only spending on WestJet travel or experiences will get you further towards the spending milestones required to advance tiers. The whole 100% base fare of eligible WestJet marketed flights and 20% of the base package price on WestJet Vacations applies. In fact, most of the benefits related to the tier program are travel-purchase-related anyway, with accelerated WestJet Dollars earnings coming from flights, hotels, rental cars and other travel spending. If you look at WestJet’s Tier Comparison page on their site, you’ll see that the earnings rate on everyday purchases using the World Elite card is the same 1.50% for all tiers.

GreedyRates

Brenda says:

If you have 3 companion tickets can you use them at once like take my family with the 3 vouchers

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Brenda,

Interesting question. If you’re referring to the annual companion vouchers offered via the RBC WestJet World Elite Mastercard, then getting ahold of three of these vouchers at the same time is difficult if not impossible. First, only the primary cardholder gets the companion voucher (he or she must also be present when it’s used, incidentally), and supplementary cardholders don’t. Second, the vouchers can’t be saved up over time because they each have a year-long expiration date, and when the date comes your voucher is simply replaced with another one that lasts until the next year. This encourages you to use them as you receive them.

While it is possible for one family to get two vouchers, by equipping both spouses with primary versions of the WestJet World Elite card, this is an expensive proposition because you’ll need to pay two annual fees and get approved for two individual credit limits (two primary cards can’t share the same limit). In this case, it would be possible to use both at once, but getting three vouchers this way may not be possible, because there’s usually only two people in the family that are eligible for an unsecured card. It’s also relevant to know that WestJet tries to limit the number of promotions that can be redeemed at once, so your best bet is to use your WestJet Dollars instead. Good luck and happy travels!

GreedyRates

Brad Holmes says:

Can Ibuy a Lounge pass with my westjet dollars

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Brad,

Thanks for the unique inquiry! Wouldn’t it be great if you could pay for entry into the VIP airport lounge with your card’s specific rewards points, like Air Miles, WestJet Dollars, Amex Membership Rewards or BMO Rewards points? Airport lounges are sometimes associated with one travel rewards programs, like Amex Centurion lounges or Air Canada’s Maple Leaf Lounge, but that doesn’t mean you can pay with the relevant type of rewards. Integrating rewards into these experiences (other than free vouchers or membership status) would be complicated and expensive, so most will just take cash or credit if you aren’t a premium member or don’t have a voucher. This is why cards that offer free lounge access in the form of vouchers are so valuable, because otherwise you’re paying out of pocket. Thanks again.

GreedyRates

GEORGE GIRARD says:

CAN YOU USE YOUR COMPANION VOUCHER AT THE SAME TIME AS YOU USE YOUR WESTJET DOLLARS

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey George,

Great question. It’s one of the most logical things to think about when applying for the RBC WestJet World Elite card, because the bonus includes both $250 WestJet Dollars and the annual companion voucher, so to maximize its value they should be usable simultaneously. Thankfully, that is the case, and even the Director of WestJet Rewards has confirmed it in the WestJet tips and tricks article above. We’ve had some readers report that they had to call WestJet support to make it happen, as they weren’t able to figure out how to apply their rewards directly to the booking. However, the option is there, and if you’re still struggling to make it work, just call and have a friendly WestJet employee take care of it for you. Thanks again for coming.

GreedyRates

DOUG says:

Am I correct that the annual companion pass cannot be used for a multi city flight, say Calgary to LAX and then San Diego back to Calgary? Do I need to book a true round trip ie Calgary to LAX and LAX to Calgary?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Doug,

The WestJet companion flight is designed to work best with WestJet marketed or operated flights that are direct round trips, and the voucher covers both legs of the trip (departure and return) of the person flying with you, if you’re the primary cardholder. You can also use it to cover a one-way trip, but again, it has to be a WestJet flight and fit into one of the categories listed on WestJet’s site ($99 within North America, $299 to Mexico/The Caribbean, $399 elsewhere etc.). Once you use it for a single leg of your trip it’s considered used up, so if you then take another flight with a different airline to get to your destination, it won’t apply to any WestJet flight you take to return to Canada (full price).

Also, the destination cities are relevant to whether or not your round-trip is through WestJet. To use your example, if you take WestJJet to LAX from Calgary and then a different airline from San Diego back to Calgary, you could use your voucher on the first flight only. No round-trip booking will make you travel to a different city to catch your return flight, so we can’t see a scenario where you’d be able to cover both legs of the trip with the voucher, even if both are WestJet flights. Hope that makes sense!

GreedyRates

Sharon says:

Am I able to use the companion pass towards a WestJet vacation to the Caribbean? Not just a flight.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for the interesting question. There are a few criteria to become familiar with when redeeming the WestJet annual companion flight voucher, which will help you use it as efficiently as possible. First, to use the voucher the flight must be operated or marketed by WestJet exclusively—no third-party airlines, so if you’re taking a flight that isn’t WestJet you’re out of luck, even if you paid for it with the World Elite Mastercard. Second, flights eligible for the companion voucher are round-trip, but if you need to use it for a single-leg journey that’s also fine: It will just be used up after the first flight, and not applicable to the second WestJet flight if there is another flight between them. So, if your trip to the Caribbean is round-trip with WestJet you’ll be able to use the card.

If you’re referring to WestJet all-inclusive vacation packages, then you can’t use the voucher. All the fine print concerns flights only. The voucher really only has a single purpose, to discount the WestJet flight of someone travelling with the primary cardholder, and it has no exchange, transfer, or monetary value. If we misunderstood your inquiry let us know, but otherwise enjoy your vacation and save the voucher for another trip in the future. Thanks again!

GreedyRates

danielle says:

I have the westjet card and I am the primary. I have a second card for my husband. Are we paying two annual fees?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Danielle!

If you’ve got the WestJet World Elite Mastercard, then the annual fee for the primary card/cardholder is $119.00. If you get a secondary card for your spouse, for example, then you’re paying another annual fee on top of the original $119.00, of $59.00. This applies to each secondary card you have—so if you have just one, your total annual fees between them are $178.00. Thanks for reading!

GreedyRates Staff

Mike says:

Does each cardholder then have the ability to use the companion voucher?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Mike,

The RBC WestJet World Elite card has some very nice perks, and as you’ve noticed the companion voucher is one of the most enticing. However, like most of the other benefits granted by the card, you’ll need to be the primary cardholder to take advantage of them. For the companion voucher this holds true as well, and the only way you can use it is if the primary cardholder has purchased the WestJet flight himself/herself and is on the same itinerary as his/her companion. Then the price of the companion’s flight is discounted, depending on the destination.

For example, if the primary cardholder and the companion are flying together on a Basic fare to North Carolina, Texas, Calgary, or somewhere in the WestJet network within North America, your companion flight is $99 instead of whatever the price was initially quoted at. Yet, please notice that the use of the voucher hinges on your presence, the flight being operated by WestJet, and cannot be applied to a Business class fare. It also can’t be combined with other promotions. Generally, it may seem restrictive until you remember that the perks are free with the card, and that the card itself is mostly for those who rely on WestJet for travel exclusively.

If you’d like to let us know which airlines you prefer, what kind of rewards you like, your purchasing habits and other details (even via email at info@greedyrates.ca) we’d be happy to supply some more tailored card recommendations. Thanks again.

GreedyRates

Carolyn Everett says:

WHICH CANADIAN BANK HAS DEBIT CARD POINTS WITH WEST JET West?
HOW TO GET BANK TO START ONE?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Carolyn,

We appreciate the question about WestJet Dollars and how to earn them using Canadian credit cards. Many credit cards offer these rewards and membership to the WestJet rewards program, but debit cards rarely have rewards. A debit card (and by extension, most debit transactions) is for withdrawing funds that you have already deposited in the bank, so you’re not borrowing money (credit) from the bank and therefore won’t owe them anything in terms of fees. Part of the way that banks help cardholders offset the cost of these fees and interest is rewards.

This is the reason why debit and cash-like transactions such as cash advances, item returns, and balance transfers don’t earn rewards in the same way credit transactions do. That’s ok, because you may be eligible for some of the awesome RBC cards that are accepted everywhere, so you can collect WestJet Dollars on virtually all your purchases no matter where you shop. The RBC WestJet World Elite card offers 250 WestJet Dollars just for signing up, and then you’ll earn 1.50% on everyday purchases and 2.00% on WestJet flights and vacation packages. An annual companion flight voucher is also included, as well as free checked bags for the primary cardholder and his or her travelling companions.

Thanks for the comment. If you have any follow-up questions about WestJet or the card, let us know!

GreedyRates

Ray says:

Is there a transaction fee when you use your WestJet RBC MasterCard in Europe. EX: if I bought a pizza in Italy using my WJ RBC Mastercard would there be an additional charge.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Ray,

Thanks very much for your question about the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard. You’re referring to whether or not the card exempts cardholders from foreign transaction fees, which are incurred when the bank has to deal with multiple currencies in any single transaction. Unlike cards such as the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, or the Rogers World Elite Mastercard, RBC’s WestJet card does not let you escape these fees and charges the industry standard 2.50%.

If you’re in Italy and your pizza was the equivalent of CAD$20.00, then a 2.50% fee on that price would see your final bill total CAD$20.50, not including tip obviously. This doesn’t seem like much, but if you’re travelling for a while it can add up fast. No one wants to add 2.50% to the cost of their whole trip, just because they had the wrong card. Check out the ones mentioned earlier and let us know if you have questions about them. Thanks!

GreedyRates

Jim says:

When are the West Jet Dollars credited to my account? Say I spend 2000 on my card for
household spending in a month, when are those earned dollars credited to me?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Jim,

If you’re talking about the bonus WestJet Dollars that you receive for being a new cardholder, then they’ll hit your account within 2-3 statement periods after your account was created. The same goes for your companion voucher. However, if you’re curious about when WestJet Dollars that you earn for everyday spending hit your account, then the answer depends on what you’re purchasing. The card offers an accelerated rate of rewards for purchasing travel through WestJet, and if you’ve done so then you can expect your 2.00% in WestJet Dollars to arrive 30 days after your trip has concluded. When spending on everyday purchases (for which the card earns 1.50%), your rewards will be in your account within 30 days of the purchase.

We called WestJet to confirm these details, and they informed us that you might even see your WestJet Dollars in your account earlier than this. There is an incentive for them to deliver these rewards as soon as possible—so that you can spend them—so we encourage you to try the card out and see for yourself. Come back and let us know how you like it, of course, but also the delay that you’ve recorded between your purchase and the receipt of your Dollars. Thanks very much.

GreedyRates

judy says:

Can I buy a ticket for my son with my westjet dollars

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Judy,

Thanks for the question about whether you can use your WestJet Dollars to purchase a flight for your son. The answer is, of course! It’s your money and your rewards, so the only thing you need to do is book the trip yourself with WestJet, using WestJet dollars, and put his name on the reservation. That’s it. Here’s exactly what WestJet says on the matter:

“Can I use my WestJet dollars to book a flight or vacation package for someone else?
Yes. To ensure security of your WestJet dollars account, a booking made using your WestJet dollars must be made by you and directly with WestJet.”

There are no rules stipulating that you need to travel with him or be at the airport when he gets his boarding pass. Enjoy—we hope his trip goes well! Let us know if you need anything else.

GreedyRates Staff

priya Leblanc says:

I am interested in opening West jet credit card. I need phone number to contact regarding some questions I have before I apply for west jet credit card,

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Priya,

If you need some specific questions answered about the WestJet card, just reply to this comment with your questions and we’ll clear everything up for you. If you’re inquiring about something other than the card’s specific perks or nuances, or the application process, then you’ll want to speak with a bank agent.

GreedyRates

Courtenay says:

Can you explain the 1.5% WestJet dollars per $1 spent? For example, if I spent $2000/mo on the card, how many WSD would I be earning?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Courtenay,

We’d be more than happy to explain the 1.50% earnings rate for WestJet Dollars on the WestJet World Elite card. Basically, the card helps you save money on your purchases by earning rewards (in this case, WestJet Dollars) that can themselves be spent on travel. If you book airfare or other travel accommodations with the card then you’ll get 2.00% of the total purchase price back in WestJet Dollars, which helps you save up for your next vacation or business trip. Everything else that you buy that isn’t a “travel-related purchase” will collect 1.50% back in WestJet dollars. If you spent $100 with the card, that’s $1.50 immediately deposited directly into your WestJet account.

If you spent $2,000 with the card each month, then you’ll earn 30 WestJet Dollars each month, or $360 in your first year. Add in the $250 welcome bonus you’ll receive as a first-time cardholder, and that’s $610 in your first year—likely enough for a full short-haul trip right there. The annual companion voucher increases the value you get each year. We hope that our analysis helps you make sense of the card and determine whether it’s suitable or not. If not, we’re prepared to make other suggestions based on your precise criteria. Just respond with a short description of your financial situation and what you’re looking for in your next card and we’ll get right back to you!

GreedyRates

Uwe says:

I am planning an eighteen day trip to various cities in Europe in August 2019. WestJet thankfully flies to London but our last city that we’ll visit is Rome and WestJet doesn’t fly out of Rome so we must fly with a competitor. That said, is it worth while to use my WestJet dollars and companion voucher for a one way flight to London? Does this make economic sense?

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Uwe,

Good questions. We understand that Rome isn’t a WestJet location, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use your WestJet dollars for some part of your trip. However, the companion voucher cannot be used in the same flexible way as WestJet Dollars, unfortunately. While you’re able to buy a one-way ticket with WestJet Dollars, for example, the companion voucher is officially called the ‘Annual round-trip companion voucher’ because it can only be used on round-trip flights.
When redeeming your WestJet Dollars, remember that you can pay for your flight partially only if the fare is an Econo, Flex, or Plus flight. Member Exclusive fares must be paid in full with WestJet Dollars. Otherwise, you won’t run into any unanticipated issues. In our opinion, unless you have enough to pay for a one-way ticket in full, you should save your WestJet Dollars for a single-destination trip with a friend or family member.

GreedyRates

GAB says:

do I get points when I buy canadaian tire gas on my elite card

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi GAB,

We’re grateful for your inquiry on whether the WestJet RBC World Elite Mastercard applies its 1.50% cash back rate to gas purchases at Canadian Tire. We checked into the fine print and it seems like the “all-purpose” flat cash back rate stands: you’ll definitely get 1.50% back when you buy gas with the card, no matter where. Just remember that for 2.00% cash back, you’ll need to buy travel from WestJet, and 1.50% comes from virtually everything else (except cash transactions like paying for fees or taxes, ATM withdrawals, etc.).

GreedyRates

BB says:

Could you explain the difference between lounge Access and lounge voucher.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi BB,

No problem! Lounge access typically means that you’ll receive a Priority Pass or LoungeKey membership. These are the two programs that connect most of the world’s airport lounges and place them under a single umbrella, so that anyone who is a member can get inside, no matter where they are. If you pay for membership to either Priority Pass or LoungeKey, then you’ll always be able to access the lounge but will still need to pay the entry fee each time you go in. Many credit cards give membership for free (it’s usually around $99 per year), while onetime entry is usually about $20.

If your card comes with membership and lounge vouchers, it means that not only do you avoid the yearly membership fee, but you also have one or more single-use passes that get you into the lounge at no cost. If you only have the membership, then you can get in, but you still need to pay when you do so. This is how it works with all members from the highest rung on the ladder to the lowest, and we’re not aware of any credit cards that offer free membership and also free, unlimited lounge access. Hope that clears it up for you!

GreedyRates Staff

Pat says:

See if I can phrase this properly. To get WestJet status, you have to do a yearly spend. Spend so much money. If you use Airmiles or BMO WORLD ELITE points to purchase the flight, does this count towards your yearly spend? I have the RBC WestJet card but have other points that have to be used. Thanks.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hi Pat,

Great question. With the WestJet World Elite Mastercard, if you can spend $3,000 dollars
within the first 12 months of membership, you’ll attain Silver Status with WestJet—that’s
correct. However, this only counts for cash purchases made with the WestJet card itself, on
things like retail goods, groceries, gas, or whatever else. You cannot spend WestJet Dollars, and
certainly not another program’s rewards points, and expect this to count. Remember that
$3,000 over the course of 12 months is just $250 per month, which is a pretty easy target to hit.
Thanks very much. Let us know if you need any further assistance!

The GreedyRates Team

Paul says:

If I get a Westjet ID for my child will he or she earn westjet dollars simply by using the ID on a flight that I as a westjet member book?

GreedyRates says:

Hi Paul, thanks for the interesting question! Unfortunately, WestJet only gives WestJet Dollar rewards to cardholders, not other WestJet members on the same itinerary. In our article, the statement “[The promotion is] available to all WestJet reward members. But if you’re using your card you’re getting that triple dip so to speak (credit card, loyalty rewards and promotion dollars)” means that any WestJet member that purchases flights, even without their credit card, can earn rewards for it. Dependent children on the trip itinerary aren’t eligible because they aren’t purchasing anything.

The other statement about sharing WestJet Dollars concerned splitting the redemption cost of a round-trip flight with other WestJet members. You can also redeem points for the flights of relatives, but they won’t earn WestJet Dollars for it. Hope that helps!

GreedyRates Staff

Carolyn says:

What are those dollars that expire every year used for? Not the westjet dollars that do not expire! Anything??

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey Carolyn,

Thanks for your question about the WestJet World Elite card. Don’t worry about your WestJet Dollars expiring unless your account is inactive, as WestJet allows you to use most Dollars earned these days as frequently as you wish, without fear that they’ll be deleted just for being saved up! We think you’re referring to the annual companion voucher, which does expire if you don’t use it each year. However, it’s then replaced with an identical voucher valid for the following year, on the same day that the old one expires. For this reason, you should try to use it each year if possible, but don’t be too frustrated if you don’t find an occasion: it costs you nothing. Best of luck and have safe, cheap travels!

GreedyRates