Toronto-based Porter Airlines has announced that it will relaunch its VIPorter loyalty program on February 1, 2023. The date coincides with the inaugural flights of the airline’s new fleet of Embraer E195-E2 jets.
As part of the relaunch, the loyalty program will have expanded membership levels, more benefits, and accelerated earning possibilities for frequent flyers.
Let’s take a look at the refined loyalty program, including its suite of new status tiers.
Porter Airlines has announced major changes to its VIPorter loyalty program, set to come into force on February 1, 2023.
To begin, VIPorter members will earn at least 5 VIPorter points per dollar spent with Porter. This includes eligible spending on flights, baggage fee, flight changes, and seat selection.
Interestingly, passengers earn points at the same rate across all fares. With most airlines, lower-tiered fares will only earn a percentage of the total distance flown, or something similar.
With Porter, you’ll earn at least five points per dollar on any fare, which is another nod to the airline’s vow to treat passengers better than other airlines.
After earning VIPorter points, members will be able to redeem them for Porter flights either exclusively with points or with a combination of points and cash. It’s not yet clear what the cost will be to combine cash and points, but we’ll be sure to examine it in detail once it goes live.
As the airline grows, it has announced plans for members to earn and redeem points on other services, as well with future partner airlines.
When it comes to redemptions, the lowest cost for a short-haul flight is set at 5,000 VIPorter points, and as few as 8,500 VIPorter points for a long-haul flights. Like many loyalty programs, such as Aeroplan and Air France/KLM Flying Blue, as long as a seat is available to be purchased with cash, members may also use points to book the seat.
At this point, it remains unclear how much routes will cost, and what the pricing model will look like. As the program rolls out, we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the ins-and-outs, and how to maximize VIPorter.
As part of the refined loyalty program, Porter has also made changes to its status program, which will be known as “Avid Traveller”.
Upon reaching $2,000 (CAD) in qualifying spend in a calendar year, members will move from the base-level “Member” tier to the “Passport” tier.
Porter has announced that there will be a total five tiers, Member, Passport, Venture, Ascent, and First, with qualification requirements as follows:
As members move through the tiers, they will enjoy a wider range of perks and benefits.
These perks include accelerated points earning rates, priority airport services, free seat selection, complimentary upgrades to PorterClassic Stretch seats (more legroom), free checked baggage, and greater flexibility with travel plans.
Passengers with Passport and Venture status will earn 6 VIPorter points per dollar spent, and travellers with Ascent and First status will earn 7 VIPorter points per dollar spent.
Porter Airlines has also announced a number of other perks that will be available to all Avid Travellers with at least Passport status.
Head Start allows Avid Travellers to roll over up to $3,000 of unused qualifying spend to the next calendar year, which will allow members to get a jump start on the next year’s status. If you were to roll over $3,000, you’d have already qualified for Venture status for that year.
After spending $3,000 (CAD) in a calendar year, Avid Travellers will receive a PorterReserve certificate, which provides them with a complimentary all-inclusive travel experience. The PorterReserve experience will be fully confirmed at the time of booking a PorterClassic fare.
After this, Avid Travellers will earn additional PorterReserve certificates for every additional $2,000 (CAD) in qualifying spend in a calendar year.
If an Avid Traveller is on parental leave, their benefits will be extended for up to 18 months. Note that other Canadian airline loyalty programs also offer this as a benefit.
While all passengers on Embraer E195-E2 jets enjoy free Wi-Fi, Avid Travellers can enjoy the service without any advertisements. The process is automatic, and Avid Travellers will simply need to access the Wi-Fi through their account.
Passengers with Horizon status will enjoy one free checked bag, and passengers with Ascent or First status can enjoy two free checked bags.
Lastly, of note is that up to 10 passengers travelling on the same reservation will enjoy the same Avid Traveller perks.
Full details of the program are available on the Porter Airlines website. The airline also plans to email members by February 1, 2023, informing them which Avid Traveller tier they qualify for under the new iteration of the program.
If you haven’t signed up for a VIPorter account yet, be sure to sign up before your next flight. You’ll also earn 500 VIPorter points after taking your first flight.
On the whole, these are all positive changes for VIPorter. The airline’s loyalty program hasn’t been of too much interest in the past, so it’s great to see that Porter is looking to revamp its program as it grows its fleet and network.
With the ability to fly longer routes on its new fleet of Embraer E195-E2 aircraft, passengers can choose to fly with Porter instead of other mainline and ultra-low-cost carriers. With a guarantee of not being in the middle seat, free Wi-Fi, complimentary meals, and drinks served in glassware, Porter brings a refreshing approach to economy-class travel.
On the earning side, it’s nice to see the airline offer a base earning rate of 5 VIPorter points per dollar spent on all fares. Passengers who choose to book lower fares aren’t penalized, while passengers who book higher fares will simply earn more points.
Anyone with Avid Traveller status will also enjoy an elevated earning rate of up to 7 VIPorter points per dollar spent. In the absence of any co-branded credit cards or other meaningful ways to earn VIPorter points, the extra multipliers provide a tangible benefit to reward members for their loyalty.
We don’t yet know what the redemptions will look like, but we’ll be sure to take a look at it when the time comes.
As for the status tiers, the spending thresholds are relatively low compared to other Canadian airline status programs. Earning Passport status will result in many of the same benefits that travellers with First status enjoy, aside from complimentary seat selection and checked baggage inclusions.
The higher tiers of status don’t necessarily offer the same suite of perks as someone with top-tier status with a major airline, and it would be great to see more meaningful benefits on redemptions in the future.
Lastly, keep in mind that there is a current Amex Offer for Oxford Properties gift cards, which you can use to earn an effective 10% discount on Porter flights. Be sure to register and take advantage of the offer if you plan on flying with Porter at some point in the near future.
Porter Airlines has announced that it will refresh its VIPorter loyalty program as of February 1, 2023. This is also the date of the inaugural flights of its brand-new Embraer E195-E2 aircraft.
It’s great to see Porter Airlines looking to add appeal to its loyalty program. As the airline grows its fleet and expands its network, it’s entirely possible that passengers will be curious to give the airline another look.
When the program launches in earnest, we’ll be sure to take a deep dive into its intricacies, especially on the redemption side.
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