Friday, November 20, 2009

WestJet delays the launch of their Frequent Flyer program

According to an article in the Financial Post the highly anticipated launch of WestJet's Frequent Flyer program has now been pushed back to 2010. Latest reports had the program launching late November/early December but due to the ongoing issues with WestJet's new reservation system that date has been changed to January. WestJet wants to make sure their new reservation system is stable and working properly before launching the program.

The program itself that has been delayed numerous times is taking a page out of the Travel Rewards Credit Card industry by allowing members to redeem points for full or partial travel with no black out dates. Basically you will put your points/dollars (the proper term for WestJet's reward currency has not been released yet) towards the purchase of any ticket at the going rate from WestJet. Many Travel Point and Hybird Credit card programs do the same, for example redeeming 5000 points for a $50 credit towards any travel that is booked. Of course the more points/dollars you have the bigger the discount towards that travel.

What is good about programs like these is that you don't have to have a lot of points to redeem and get some sort of reward versus the set point programs like most frequent flyer programs where you need a minimum amount of points to redeem for a flight.

The main downfall of the credit card type or WestJet type of program is that value is lost when you have to redeem for expensive/non-seat sale flights as you may have to redeem more points versus the set point programs which require the same amount of points for a flight regardless of what it is selling for (of course this is the best case scenario not taking into account black out dates, availability etc)

We will continue to keep you up to date on all the happenings with the WestJet program as soon as they are released and like many of our readers we wait with anticipation.

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