Porter Revamps Loyalty Program
Don’t know about you, but I’ve traveled often on airline loyalty points. Especially for long-haul flights, loyalty programs save big bucks because all you pay are some minimal fees tacked onto base fares. Now, Porter has revamped its loyalty program, VIPorter. Let’s take a look under the hood to see if the advantages outweigh the compromises and losses.
Porter announced changes to its loyalty program on January 23/23, just a week ahead of the first departures for its new Embraer E195-E2 jet on Feb. 1.
According to Porter, “The program’s new structure expands membership levels, adds benefits and makes it easier for frequent economy travellers to earn the perks they value faster than with any other Canadian airline.” Well, that’s a judgement call, so it’s hard to measure. Which perks do travellers value most? But what about that “faster” points accumulation?
Basically, here’s how VIPorter works now: “VIPorter members earn a minimum of five VIPorter points for every dollar they spend with Porter, including on airfares, checked bags, flight changes and seat selection. Points can be redeemed for flights across the growing Porter network using either points-only or a combination of points and cash. Members may redeem as few as 5,000 VIPorter points for a one-way short-haul flight, and as few as 8,500 VIPorter points for a long-haul flight. A combination of points and cash enables passengers to discount their air fare. There are no capacity limits – if a seat is available for sale, points may be used to purchase the seat.”
Once a member reaches a certain threshold, becoming an “Avid Traveller,” VIPorter starts to pull away from the pack: “Once members reach $2,000 in qualifying spend in a calendar year, they become an Avid Traveller. This provides more benefits, which increase as they move through the four Avid Traveller membership levels. Additional perks include faster points accumulation, dedicated airport services, complimentary seat assignments, complimentary PorterClassic Stretch seats with more legroom, complimentary checked baggage and travel flexibility. Members can access these perks sooner than with any other Canadian airline.”
Here’s a complete list of the new perks:
- Earn minimum of 5 points per dollar on Basic economy fares, up from 2 points per dollar.
- There are now five membership levels rather than three, including the introduction of four Avid Traveller categories, with increasing benefits as members move through the levels based on their accumulated annual spend.
- Introduction of Head Start, which enables Avid Travellers to carry over any qualifying spend above the minimum required to qualify for an Avid Traveller level into the next calendar year. This feature gives members a head start on maintaining or growing their valued Avid Traveller perks. Head Start ensures members are fully recognized for every dollar they spend with Porter.
- Members with at least $3,000 in qualifying spend receive a PorterReserve certificate, giving them a confirmed PorterReserve all-inclusive travel experience. Unlike other airlines, the PorterReserve experience is fully confirmed at the time of booking a PorterClassic fare. Members earn more PorterReserve certificates for every additional $2,000 in qualifying spend within the year.
- Extension of Avid Traveller benefits for up to 18 months due to parental leave.
- VIPorter members enjoy Porter’s free, fast WiFi onboard its new E195-E2 fleet without advertising interruption. Members simply login to the onboard WiFi portal with their VIPorter number and password.
One last perk: Registration in VIPorter is free and new members earn a 500 VIPorter point bonus after their first flight. If you’re an existing member, you’ll get an email by Feb 1 explaining all this.
All in all, yes, Porter’s newly revamped VIPorter loyalty program passes the test and does indeed appear to offer more advantages to frequent travellers.