WestJet to add frequent-flier program

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WestJet Airlines, a Calgary-based flyer serving cities in Canada, the US and Mexico, will launch a frequent-flier program in 2009.

In an interview with newspaper The Globe and Mail, WestJet president and CEO Sean Durfy said the new loyalty program would be in place by the second quarter of 2009. The airline's Web site also noted that customers will no longer be able to earn Air Miles reward miles for flights booked at WestJet.com after December 31. Under the new, WestJet-branded program, money spent on WestJet flights will earn members a certain number of points, which can then be spent on any WestJet flight at any time or on WestJet Vacations.

WestJet's steady expansion and upgrades have placed the airline in competition with Air Canada for business travelers. The new loyalty program is expected to make WestJet even more appealing to the regular flier, bestowing greater prizes and points as one's spending with the airline increases.

Continuing its 2009 growth push, WestJet will expand its service to San Francisco, San Diego and other cities, for a total of 55, and is exploring alliances with other airlines as well. A loyalty credit card is also in the works, Durfy said.

Representatives of WestJet could not be reached for comment as of press time.

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