Don't Forget to Reward Yourself!
A fraction of 190 or so followers on my Instagram know that my wife and I went on a trip to UK and France this summer. There was no way we were going to pass up a chance to attend a wedding in France. To add, as an Indian immigrant to Canada, there is probably a higher chance of us winning the lottery than getting invited to a wedding in France. Maybe that's an exaggeration but it was the sentence I used to convince my wife to go on another bank draining trip.
So here I was, scouring the interweb for some travel deals and noticed Europe is super busy in the summer, especially August. All the tickets ranged from $1,100 to $2,000 per person depending on the travel dates. Since we couldn't ask the lovely couple to move the wedding date, the trip had to envelope this date. Finally it dawned on me that I had just gotten the Westjet RBC Rewards Card, and was I ever glad to that I did.
Typically most cards give you rewards points that you redeem in lieu of your own money. However, in addition to rewards points, the Westjet Mastercard gives you an annual voucher which in my opinion is perfect for these peak time travels. It maximizes the savings because the card gives you a significantly reduced rate of travel for your companion with one regular priced ticket. Now I am not going to detail all the various levels of these rates, you can check them out on the actual website, but what I will do is highlight my experience with using this voucher.
For travel to Europe, the companion voucher reduces the second ticket cost to $399 plus taxes and fees. As mentioned earlier, the regular prices were approx. $1,100 to $2,000 each. This meant that the companion voucher was probably the best bet for a price reduction.
When I looked into using the voucher the breakdown was as follows:
First Ticket at full price = $1,158.94 out of which $917 was the flight fare and $241.94 was the taxes and fees.
The second ticket with the voucher = $640.94 (same taxes and fees as the first ticket)
Hence, the total savings was $518 which is remarkable considering the card only costs $119 per year. Even if I got the card just for the voucher I saved $399 overall.
The rewards points accumulated over the year are sufficient to cover the $119 annual fee.
Suffice to say that the best friend's wedding combined with a $518 discount was more than enough for us to click the book now! button and we took on another adventure.
I'll end this post with a couple of comments about the services:
The companion voucher only works on routes serviced by Westjet and not their partner airlines i.e. for Europe the only options are flying to Paris, London and sometimes Dublin.
However, the thing with Europe is that you can get really cheap sometimes even under $50 return trips within the continent. So think about taking Westjet as a landing gear into Europe.
In my opinion, the benefits of the voucher are maximized during peak prices. For example, last year we took a trip to Europe as well and we scored a return trip deal to Amsterdam for only $1,200 for the two of us. This was just before the peak season.
These are about 9-hour direct flights with the only complimentary services being the in-flight entertainment, soft-drinks and a snack. Mostly everything else is for purchase including food.
There is a charge for check-in baggage; however, with the Rewards Card, first checked baggage is complimentary.
Hope this helps plan your next adventure. More tips and experiences to follow!