Flying WestJet through Delta SkyMiles is probably the best travel hack for Canadian families. In this article, I will focus on my personal experience using Delta SkyMiles to purchase a WestJet flight ticket.

What’s the beauty in traveling on WestJet Economy Class?

Let us be honest, not a lot.

WestJet 737 Economy Class

Nothing glamorous about flying on a WestJet flight

In the world of credit card rewards, there is a lot of content around aspirational awards that allow you to travel places that are reserved for the top 1% of our population. However, for many of us, traveling like that could take years of effort, and success is never guaranteed.

Realistically, if you want to travel during peak holiday season with your family, Economy Class redemptions might represent the best opportunity for redemptions.

Recently, I found myself in a similar predicament.

Trip Background

As I have written about in the past, there are three main travels that I focus on:

  1. Solo trips around the world,
  2. Regional trips with my parents,
  3. Annual marquee vacation, for the entire family

I have access to travel agent rates, and stumbled upon an amazing discount for one of the most luxurious hotel brands across the world; Ritz Carlton Reserve. With a large travel agent discount, I also noticed that they were selling rooms during some peak travel dates, including around my father’s birthday.

For personal reasons, December 2023 will be an important occasion. I always planned on making it a celebration to be remembered, so I thought, let me make refundable reservations, and hope that we can make this trip a reality.

I started off with booking the Zadun, Ritz Carlton Reserve in Los Cabos on my desired dates.

Ritz Carlton Zadun Dining

Imagine having Bhature Choley at the Ritz Carlton Reserve

Booking Air Canada to Los Cabos

Once the hotel was booked, I noticed Air Canada was offering an award ticket in Economy, with a guaranteed upgrade to Business Class for two people for frequent flyers of Air Canada. I immediately booked that for the outbound.

For the third person, I booked a fully flexible Economy Class ticket, which would give us one of top priority for a potential upgrade on the day of departure. My total cost so far was 90,000 Aeroplan Points + $309 on flights. The cherry on top, two of us would be traveling in Business Class.

Booking WestJet to Vancouver

I was most troubled when booking the return flight. I took a peek on Google Flights for non-stop flights, and discovered the following price for three adults:

WestJet Pricing from Los Cabos to Vancouver

WestJet Pricing from Los Cabos to Vancouver

Honestly, as a working professional, no. At this pricing, the trip was not going to happen. Combine the cost of hotel, food and beverage, activities, no. Just, no.

I never cancelled any flight or hotel, I knew everything was fully refundable. The only cost was that I would not be able to use the 90,000 Aeroplan Points for another reservation. Instead, I decided to pray for a mistake to happen from now to December.

Using Delta SkyMiles on WestJet – My First Search

I always knew of the Delta – WestJet trick, but my first search was not very positive.

I saw a fare of around 22,000 Delta SkyMiles for a one-way ticket:

WestJet through Delta

WestJet through Delta

I have two sources of Delta SkyMiles:

  1. My brother, many years ago, had 31,000 orphaned Delta SkyMiles, or,
  2. I could transfer from American Express Membership Reward Points, either USA or Canada

I needed 66,000 Delta SkyMiles, and I only had enough for one person.

The other two people were problematic, I could either:

  1. Transfer 35,000 extra miles from my brother’s American Express Account, or,
  2. Transfer 58,700 American Express Membership Reward Points from Canada that would convert to 44,000 Delta SkyMiles for the other two tickets.

Honestly, neither option was attractive. I did not want to lock up so many of my points for a “maybe reservation” and went against it.

Background Reading about Delta

As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time reading news about different ways the travel world is changing around credit card rewards. Back in late last year, I was reading this article: Delta Air Lines: Looks like yet another SkyMiles devaluation.

The crux of the issue was, where there is a Delta option and a partner option, Delta will price the ticket at the same price as the partner airline. Typically, flying on partner airlines was significantly cheaper than flying Delta themselves. This was an important loophole for booking flights using Delta miles.

I remember thinking, okay, not ideal, but good to know that the partner loophole is no longer valid.

For many people, this was heralded as a massive devaluation of Delta SkyMiles. I did not heed any thought to this news and thought, it is okay, I will use my Delta SkyMiles for WestJet flights within Canada. This loophole was still available through Delta SkyMiles.

This news was a significant contributing factor to my next email I got in my inbox.

Email Alert for a Price Sale

I got an email from Thrifty Traveler, indicating that Delta was having a fare sale to Los Cabos, including during peak travel season.

Immediately, my mind got curious. Delta SkyMiles is known to align their award pricing with the cost of a revenue ticket, around 1c per mile. With Delta having a sale on cash tickets, that would also mean a sale on award tickets.

I took a quick peek and stumbled across this pricing (I took this screenshot after booking two adults):

Delta Pricing From Los Cabos to Vancouver

Delta Pricing From Los Cabos to Vancouver

If you notice the first two options were a Delta flight. But the third option was a WestJet flight, which ironically, was priced the exact same as the Delta SkyMiles option.

That massive devaluation people were concerned about? Turns out, represents a huge opportunity for families to travel together in Economy Class!

Booking WestJet for two people

Hold on a moment while I do a happy dance.

a room with a large window overlooking the ocean

The rooms at Zadun, a Ritz Carlton Reserve property

15,000 SkyMiles each, for one person on the return flight. Happily, my brother had over 30,000 Delta SkyMiles, so I would only need to transfer approximately 15,000 Delta SkyMiles to make the redemption possible.

Right away, without thinking of it, I booked my parents on the return flight. The beauty of Delta SkyMiles award tickets is that they are fully refundable, if you do not book the Basic fare class. It was important for my parents to be home the most efficient way possible.

While I did see four seats available, I also was not certain if those four seats would be available for long, especially since, my brother was sleeping in India.

I also needed another 14,000 Delta SkyMiles before I could book myself onto a flight.

Waiting for my brother to wake up

I immediately sent the following message to my brother:

a blue rectangle with black text

Luckily for me, he woke up before the third seat could disappear.

He woke up, and he immediately transferred the miles from his American Express to Delta SkyMiles.

Was I a big fan of this transfer? Probably not. There are many better ways of using your American Express Membership Reward Points than to use them to fly WestJet. But I also value time spent with family, and nothing is more important to me then coming home on the same flight, regardless of airline and class of service. Even more important, this route would be the fastest way home, as it was the only non-stop flight between Los Cabos and Vancouver for that day.

Booking the third person

Error Occurred. I tried again, maybe I typed my credit card wrong. Error occurred.

Uh oh.

When I see this message, I immediately think to a phenomena called phantom award space. That is, award space that appears on the website, but does not actually appear when you try and book it. Not particularly a wide-spread issue, but an issue none the less.

So, I thought okay, I am happy my parents are on the non-stop flight, let me book myself on the Delta flight in Economy and pray.

Error occurred.

To be honest, this third error was a relief. I now felt this was a website issue. Delta should not ever error out when selling a seat on their own flight.

I called up Delta, and told the staff to book me onto the Delta flight instead (absolutely convinced the third seat was a phantom seat). And while the call center representative was booking, I instead suggested, how about we try the non-stop first.

It worked. She got the ticket issued immediately on the non-stop flight on WestJet.

Total Paid: US$200 + 45,000 Delta SkyMiles.


For 45,000 Delta SkyMiles + US$200 for the three of us, we were now flying the return flight, non-stop from Los Cabos to Vancouver.

My total out of pocket cost was about $600 round trip, + 135,000 miles. But for flights, that was charging us over $4,000 for a one way ticket, these savings were incredible to me.

Delta truly allowed me to enable my family to take a trip during peak travel season, when I least expected to find any deal at all.

This is the view I’ll be cherishing, while I think back to a month-long period, where I was almost certain, this trip was never going to happen.

a pool with palm trees and a building on the beach

I cannot wait to celebrate December 2023 at one of the most gorgeous resorts in Los Cabos