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Saturday, August 8th 2020

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YLW." - Chris Myden

Tip: When buying a Westjet flight, it's worth checking their 'Member Exclusive' fares first

Westjet member exclusive fares

In this article I'll explain how buying 'Member Exclusive fares' on the Westjet website can sometimes be cheaper than buying a flight the normal way.

Many people are unaware of this, and it can sometimes even be a better deal to buy a member exclusive fare than to buy a 'companion fare' that comes with the Westjet credit card.

But you don't need a Westjet credit card to buy Member Exclusive fares. All you really need is a free Westjet Rewards account. In other words, anyone can buy them.

Here's how the strategy works...

Method #1 - Buying a Westjet flight the normal way

I look on Westjet.com, or Google Flights, or wherever, and see that a flight from Kelowna to Halifax from July 8 to July 15 will cost me $670 CAD roundtrip.

Now let's see what happens when I try searching for the exact same flight, using Westjet's 'Member Exclusive Fares'...

Method #2 - Buying a Westjet flight through their 'Member Exclusive Fares'

- Go to Westjet.com and put a checkmark beside 'Member Exclusive Fares'

- Search for a flight from Kelowna to Halifax, July 8 to July 15

- The first important thing to note is that the prices shown in the calendar view that pops up at this point are *not* the member exclusive fares. They are just the normal fare prices.

- I click on the 'Get Flights' button, and because I put a checkmark beside 'Member Exclusive Fares' my search result *now* shows me a calendar view of the member exclusive fares.

Continuing on, I can see that the exact same roundtrip flight from Kelowna to Halifax would cost me $250 Westjet dollars (WSD) plus $86 Canadian dollars in taxes/fees.

You can *only* buy Member Exclusive Fares using Westjet dollars. At least, the base fare needs to be purchased using Westjet dollars. The taxes & fees can be paid with regular old money.

At this point you may think to yourself "That's great, but I don't have 250 Westjet dollars."

Ah, but here's the thing. You can buy Westjet Dollars, at nearly a 1:1 ratio. In other words, Westjet Dollars are nearly at par with real money.

You just go to the Buy WestJet dollars page and click on 'Buy Westjet dollars'.

NOTE: I've found that you may need to be logged into your Westjet Rewards account first, to get much further. If you don't have a Westjet Rewards account yet, you would need one anyways in order to buy Member Exclusive Fares.

Anyone can sign up for a Westjet Rewards account for free.

Ok, so you've logged into your Westjet Rewards account and have made your way to the Buy WestJet dollars page. You can see a dropdown menu that looks like this:

One annoying thing is that you can only buy Westjet dollars in pre-defined amounts. In our example, we need 250 Westjet dollars, so we need to buy 200 WSD and then buy another 50 WSD.

We can see that this will cost us $215 and $55 real Canadian dollars respectively.

Going back to our search for a flight from Kelowna to Halifax, we remember that the Member Exclusive fare costs us $250 Westjet dollars plus $86 Canadian dollars.

So in reality, Method #2 ends up costing us $270 Canadian dollars (our cost to buy the Westjet dollars) plus another $86 Canadian dollars in taxes/fees, for a total cost of $356 real Canadian dollars.

Contrast that with purchasing the exact same flight the normal way in Method #1, which would have cost us $655.

Nearly a $300 savings!

Does this always work?

No. It really depends on how great of a difference there currently is between the normal fare price, and the 'Member Exclusive' price.

While 'Member Exclusive price' may sound like it's always going to be a great deal, this is not always the case.

For example, a search for Kelowna to Las Vegas, Jun 3-10, shows a Member Exclusive price of 250 Westjet dollars plus $87 Canadian dollars, which is very close to the 'real' current price of $345 Canadian dollars. You would be better off just buying it the normal way.

Overall, I find that this strategy works best for flights within Canada, on more expensive routes & dates (flights that are often $500+ roundtrip).

If you find one with a significant price difference, please let me know.

Also keep in mind that when you purchase a Member Exclusive fare, you do not earn any Westjet Dollars. On a $500 flight, most people would usually earn about 3 to 10 Westjet Dollars when buying it the normal way, depending on whether or not they used the Westjet credit card. So I wouldn't say it's really a significant factor to consider.

Also note that Westjet Dollars are not refundable. And a maximum of $3000 WestJet dollars can be purchased in a single year.

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