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Jasmin: Sometimes, the best use of miles isn’t the most obvious. Last year, I was struggling to find the best award flights to get my family to Calgary, Canada for a family reunion.
After having little luck looking for flights using Air Canada Aeroplan miles, I remembered you can use Delta miles to book award tickets on Canadian airline WestJet. Delta and WestJet are even expanding their partnership, which could make it even easier to redeem miles in the future.
WestJet is a fun, customer-friendly airline that flies to cities in Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and more. For example, you can fly WestJet non-stop from airports like New York (LaGuardia) and Fort Lauderdale to Toronto. And then continue on to Vancouver. WestJet serves 25 US cities, and I’ll list them below.
I’ll share how I saved money AND added convenience booking WestJet award flights using Delta miles!
My First Award Flight Plan Hit a Costly Stumbling Block
Flights to or within Canada are often more expensive than what we’re used to in the US. For example, the cash price for the 4 of us to get to Calgary in peak season (August) was almost $2,300 round-trip.
At first, I’d hoped to book myself and the kids to Calgary on Air Canada using Air Canada Aeroplan miles. Air Canada Aeroplan is an AMEX Membership Rewards transfer partner, so getting the miles would be easy.
Although we can fly out of Buffalo or Rochester, New York, the only non-stop options are from Toronto (~3.5 hours drive away).
But there were very few award seats available from our possible US departure airports. And even from Toronto, the departure times, connections, taxes, and fuel surcharges were outrageous!
Note: There were more available award seats on different flights when I searched for 1 person. It’s harder to find award seats for a family of four.
For the 4 of us, round-trip coach flights would have cost 100,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles (transferred from AMEX Membership Rewards) plus ~$583 in taxes and fees. No thank you!
But then I remembered the option to use Delta miles for WestJet award flights.
Using Delta Miles Allowed Us to Fly Non-Stop…and With MUCH Lower Fees!
I had just over 100,000 Delta miles in my account, most of which I’d earned from the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express. And Delta is also an AMEX Membership Rewards transfer partner.
Delta no longer publishes an award chart. So I wasn’t sure what to expect for pricing.
You can search for WestJet award flights on the Delta website the same way you search for any award flight. Enter your departure and destination airports, travel dates, and number of passengers. Be sure to select “Delta and Partner Airlines” to include flights on partners like WestJet.
I first searched for flights between Rochester, New York, and Calgary. The cheapest flights were on Delta and Delta Connection, and cost 65,000 Delta miles plus ~$60 per person (or 260,000 Delta miles plus ~$240 total for the 4 of us).
But when I searched for flights between Toronto and Calgary, the results were much better. There were many more options, and I found non-stop coach award flights for 30,000 Delta miles plus ~$56 per person, or 120,000 Delta miles plus ~$224 total.
Because I didn’t have quite enough Delta miles in my account, I transferred 18,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points to Delta. The points transferred instantly, and AMEX charged me an excise fee of ~$11, because Delta is a US airline.
Is Flying WestJet an Option From Your Home Airport?
Link: WestJet Flight Schedules
Link: WestJet Destinations
WestJet flies to 25 US destinations, some of which are seasonal:
- Dallas – Fort Worth
- Fort Lauderdale
- Fort Myers
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- Myrtle Beach
- New York (JFK and LaGuardia)
- Orange County / Anaheim
- Palm Springs
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- West Palm Beach
If you’re not in a city served by WestJet, there are still options to use Delta miles to connect to a WestJet city. For example, I found an itinerary from Atlanta to Quebec City with a connection in Montreal and flights on Delta and WestJet.
And WestJet doesn’t just fly to Canada and the US. They have dozens of destinations in the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico. And they’ve expanded to Europe, with flights to France, Ireland, and the UK.
Redeem Delta Miles for WestJet Flights
1. Paying for the Trip
Through the Delta website, I booked 4 round-trip, non-stop coach flights from Toronto to Calgary using 120,000 Delta miles plus ~$224.
I used my Citi Prestige® Card for the taxes and fees. When you pay a portion of your fare (even the taxes on award tickets) with the Citi Prestige, you’re covered for situations like trip delay, baggage delay, trip cancellation, and lost luggage.
And Citi Prestige benefits are sometimes better than similar premium cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. For example, you’ll be reimbursed for trip or luggage delay after 3 hours, compared to 6 hours with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
I’ve submitted a trip delay claim with Citi Prestige in the past, and it was simple and straightforward.
2. Finding My Reservation and Getting Assigned Seats
Delta emailed me a confirmation shortly after I booked. But the reservation did NOT show up in my WestJet account, because my WestJet frequent flyer number was not attached to the booking.
And, like many partner award bookings, Delta’s confirmation number was different from WestJet’s. So I couldn’t search for my itinerary on WestJet’s website.
I called WestJet at 888-937-8538 to attach my reservation to my account and choose seats for our flights.
Normally, WestJet charges a fee to book seats in advance, and the amount depends on the route and seat. But I discovered WestJet will assign seats for free if you’re traveling with children aged 12 and under. Sweet!
Earn More Delta Miles
Or consider transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points from cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Gold Card, or The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express to Delta at a 1:1 ratio.
Transfers are instant, but don’t forget the excise fee when you move AMEX Membership Rewards points to US airlines.
If you prefer, you can transfer Starwood points to Delta at a 1:1 ratio. And you’ll earn a 5,000-mile bonus for every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer.
Booking WestJet award seats using Delta miles was a straightforward process. I booked 4 round-trip coach award tickets from Toronto to Calgary for 120,000 Delta miles and ~$224 total.
I would have paid 5,000 fewer miles per person booking flights on Air Canada with Air Canada Aeroplan miles. But I saved ~$359 in taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges (~$583 with Air Canada – ~$224 with Delta / WestJet).
And as a single mom with 3 kids, flying non-stop on a fun airline, at times that suit us, is well worth the extra 20,000 Delta miles!
Have you flown WestJet or booked WestJet flights with Delta miles? I’d love to hear about your experience!