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Help me decide between Westjet and Air Canada status for 2014 (short hauls)

Help me decide between Westjet and Air Canada status for 2014 (short hauls)

Old Feb 25, 14, 10:15 am
  #1  
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Help me decide between Westjet and Air Canada status for 2014 (short hauls)

I have done alot of research on this topic, but am coming to you for advice since the Air Canada website is quite confusing.

I fly very regularly between YYC and YEG (20-30 return flights a year), with an additional 10 return flights to other locations, mainly YQU and YVR. All of my flights are short haul (maybe 1 or 2 in a year are to YYZ or EWR)

I currently use Westjet, and get the following perks for spending more than $6K per year (which I easily hit):

Buy one Get one free flight Anywhere in Canada. My percieved value: $400
Buy one Get one free flight anywhere WJ flies: my value $800
Westjet Dollars: Approx $300
A bunch of Plaza Premier Lounge passes

Looking into it, it appears that on segments I would be a 50K Elite flyer with Air Canada. I would buy a flight pass, which would save me a bunch of $ compared to WJ.

What would you suggest? What benefits/value would I get from Air Canada? Obviously upgrades are nice, but 95% of my flights are on one class planes. I like the BOGO's that WJ offers because it makes some vacations with my girlfriend that much cheaper.

Thanks

Last edited by CanuckFlyHigh; Feb 25, 14 at 11:31 am
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Old Feb 25, 14, 10:40 am
  #2  
 
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If you would save a bunch of money with AC flight passes, it makes sense to switch to AC and just use the saved $$ to pay for a 2nd ticket instead of the BOGO WS ticket to me.

With E50K you'd have Star Gold which is good for UA and international travel for lounges and a free bag.

And on a personal note, you'll probably find that many on here prefer AC hard product to WS - between YEGYYC though I wouldn't say there's an advantage with Q400 service from both mostly DH81/3 from AC (not pleasant). I can see AC frequencies (today, AC 18 vs WS 7)being more convenient, YEGYVR/YYZ better product on AC for sure.

Be aware there would be a year while earning status with AC but not yet having it where you wouldn't have a free bag to USA. WS is considering eliminating the free transborder bag though so gamble whichever way you want.
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Old Feb 25, 14, 11:17 am
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I'd probably stick to WJ simply because there are more jet service between YYC and YEG, rather than AC's Dash 8's ( which I dislike). Walking across the tarmac in -30 is no fun.
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Old Feb 25, 14, 1:57 pm
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Moving to AC would allow the OP the opportunity to play Aerolotto for an upgrade on longer domestic flights (score one point for AC). However, it sounds like the majority of OP's travel will wind up being on single-class prop planes. Personal opinion is that Jagboi's right - Westjet's 737 beats AC's Dash 8 every time, so score one point Westjet. Tie game.

OP already gets a bunch of lounge passes each year, while AC status gets the MLL. So that's a wash. Game still tied.

OP identifies about $1,500 in return value from current Westjet travel each year. So the question is, will AC save $1,500 a year when buying all travel at Flex or higher fare classes required to score that coveted 50k status? If so/not, then there's the answer.
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Old Feb 25, 14, 2:05 pm
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I wouldn't count on YYC-YEG staying 737. That is a really expensive route to do with getting a jet to cruise and dealing with airframe cycles.

This summer 5/9 will already be Encore. I'd bet it won't be long before all flights are Q400.
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Old Feb 25, 14, 5:17 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Symmetre View Post
Moving to AC would allow the OP the opportunity to play Aerolotto for an upgrade on longer domestic flights (score one point for AC). However, it sounds like the majority of OP's travel will wind up being on single-class prop planes. Personal opinion is that Jagboi's right - Westjet's 737 beats AC's Dash 8 every time, so score one point Westjet. Tie game.

OP already gets a bunch of lounge passes each year, while AC status gets the MLL. So that's a wash. Game still tied.

OP identifies about $1,500 in return value from current Westjet travel each year. So the question is, will AC save $1,500 a year when buying all travel at Flex or higher fare classes required to score that coveted 50k status? If so/not, then there's the answer.
Doesn't need to be Flex. OP would qualify on AQS.
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Old Feb 25, 14, 6:10 pm
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Originally Posted by Symmetre View Post

OP identifies about $1,500 in return value from current Westjet travel each year. So the question is, will AC save $1,500 a year when buying all travel at Flex or higher fare classes required to score that coveted 50k status? If so/not, then there's the answer.
There is also the question of the benefactor of the $1500 WJ perks, vs. the $1500 AC Savings...
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Old Feb 25, 14, 6:11 pm
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Originally Posted by winnipegrev View Post
I wouldn't count on YYC-YEG staying 737. That is a really expensive route to do with getting a jet to cruise and dealing with airframe cycles.

This summer 5/9 will already be Encore. I'd bet it won't be long before all flights are Q400.
I prefer the Q400. Less idiots taking 30 minutes to board a plane.
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Old Feb 25, 14, 6:23 pm
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I prefer the Q400 too. Way more comfortable and more room than the WJ 737. Significantly quieter than the old dash 8s (sat next to engines last week, no noiser than a jet)

After a year of limited flying I will be a lot more, and the majority will be AC as they have way more frequency, more comfortable planes and great staff.

Currently debating an Amex platinum to have lounge access and exec check in until status kicks back in.
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Old Feb 25, 14, 6:55 pm
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I always do this route with AC, and have done it a few times with WestJet, so here is what I think:

Yes, WestJet has nicer planes usually (AC's DH4s are nice too), but for me, it comes down to frequency. 40 minutes on any plane is fine, as far as I'm concerned. AC has hourly flights, while WestJet doesn't. If WestJet's times work for you though, not really important.

I'm going to assume that these are short carry-on only trips, so AC's priority check in is useless. Do you have nexus or fly WestJet plus? If so, AC's priority security is useless. In fact, I find nexus gets me through even faster than AC priority.

As for lounges, do you think you'd use the MLL often? I find that I rarely use the MLLs just because the flights are so short, I'm inclined to arrive later at the airport and go straight to the gate. Certainly could be a perk though.

The nice thing about having AC status is that if your flight is cancelled or you're on standby, you have priority over other pax, which can mean the difference between going home and spending hours in the airport.

I will say this though- In the winter, I have terrible luck with AC on YEG-YYC. I've had many frustrating experiences waiting hours and hours for delayed AC Dash 8's to fly out, when WestJet's 737's are departing on time. Seeing as the route is going to Encore more and more, I think this "semi perk" will disappear.

Because I regularly fly across Canada and the USA, AC makes sense for me. For you, it sounds like either airline could be good. I think you have to decide whether AC's perks would be of any use to you based on your travel.
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Old Feb 25, 14, 8:47 pm
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Originally Posted by CanuckFlyHigh View Post
I fly very regularly between YYC and YEG (20-30 return flights a year), with an additional 10 return flights to other locations, mainly YQU and YVR. All of my flights are short haul (maybe 1 or 2 in a year are to YYZ or EWR)
That's almost enough to make SE on segments.
Start soon with AC and you'll get early status recognition on your way up the food chain.
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Old Feb 26, 14, 11:43 am
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Originally Posted by tracon View Post
That's almost enough to make SE on segments.
Start soon with AC and you'll get early status recognition on your way up the food chain.
But what's the benefit to having SE on short hauls? The OP said he was doing single class planes, so no upgrades. The lounge in YYC is nothing special, and on a 40 min flight I doubt the OP is wanting to hang around the lounge.

Making SE on segments in a DH-3 seems like a form of torture to me.
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Old Feb 26, 14, 11:52 am
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Originally Posted by Jagboi View Post
But what's the benefit to having SE on short hauls? The OP said he was doing single class planes, so no upgrades. The lounge in YYC is nothing special, and on a 40 min flight I doubt the OP is wanting to hang around the lounge.

Making SE on segments in a DH-3 seems like a form of torture to me.
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It was a good point upthread. Walking outside in YEG is no fun in the winter but I'd rather do a 10 minute boarding that way than the 30 mins it takes to load a 737.

At the YEG meet-up a few weeks back someone should have asked the esteemed EIAA why they haven't embraced their DH8 service and installed small jetbridges similar to YTZ.
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Old Feb 26, 14, 1:27 pm
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Thanks for everyone's comments. You are right, I don't care about lounge access. I show up 35 minutes before departure time and Nexus my way onto the plane.

I truly don't think I would make SE on segments - it would be a stretch, and I would rather not put myself through that. I would most likely be elite.

So from what I am reading, it really comes down to dollars.

I personally gain $1500-$2500 from flying WJ, which is nice to go on vacations, OR
My company gains $X by purchasing a 30 pack of flight passes for 5K which saves quite a bit of money considering I usually book my WJ flight last minute.

The WJ perks are pretty nice - A buy one get one free to any of their Caribbean destinations during spring break is a great perk, and we often use the buy one get one Canada for a direct flight from YYC to YHZ near christmas- so often the value of these perks can approach $2500 per year.

That being said, if I can do 30 Air Canada return flights @ $333 all in, or 30 Westjet flights at $400 all in, I save my company $2100 bucks.
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Old Feb 26, 14, 3:50 pm
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Originally Posted by CanuckFlyHigh View Post
That being said, if I can do 30 Air Canada return flights @ $333 all in, or 30 Westjet flights at $400 all in, I save my company $2100 bucks.
It comes down to how you feel about your company!
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