Why VIPorter is a raw deal

Posted on 07. Mar, 2013 by in Transportation

With my dad looking at taking a series of Porter flights in the next few weeks and months the topic of the cheapest way to get around by air came up. With Porter Airlines being the cheapest, and arguably fastest way of getting to downtown Toronto the consideration wasn’t whether to take Porter so much as whether their points program, VIPorter, was worth taking into consideration.

VIPorter is a a very simple rewards program in that you gain points by flying, and you redeem rewards when you have 7500 for a free flight. There are three different ticket price classes, firm, flex, and freedom, each with their own flight cancellation perks, and each with their own fixed amount of points per flight. This prompted an interest in finding the cheapest tickets in each ticket classes to maximize number of flights you can take with the least cost.

There are a series of given values used in the following charts:

Firm Flex Freedom
Free Flight Points 7500 7500 7500
Points/Flight 375 750 1500
Paid Flights till a Free Flight 20 10 5

The following chart outlines, for each of the three price tears, the ticket costs for each of the flights, the number of points earned from each, the money needed to get a free trip, and the cost per flight with the free trip.

 

 

Firm
Cost Points Points/$ free trip cost $/flight with free trip
193 375 1.9430051813 3860 3860
193 375 1.9430051813 3860 3860
193 375 1.9430051813 3860 3860
193 375 1.9430051813 3860 3860
287 375 1.3066202091 5740 5740
287 375 1.3066202091 5740 5740
258 375 1.4534883721 5160 5160
258 375 1.4534883721 5160 5160
287 375 1.3066202091 5740 5740
375
375
375
375
287 375 1.3066202091 5740 5740
193 375 1.9430051813 3860 3860

 

Flex
Cost Points Points/$ free trip cost $/flight with free trip
249 750 3.0120481928 2490 226.3636363636
249 750 3.0120481928 2490 226.3636363636
249 750 3.0120481928 2490 226.3636363636
249 750 3.0120481928 2490 226.3636363636
343 750 2.1865889213 3430 311.8181818182
343 750 2.1865889213 3430 311.8181818182
315 750 2.380952381 3150 286.3636363636
315 750 2.380952381 3150 286.3636363636
343 750 2.1865889213 3430 311.8181818182
343 750 2.1865889213 3430 311.8181818182
343 750 2.1865889213 3430 311.8181818182
343 750 2.1865889213 3430 311.8181818182
750
343 750 2.1865889213 3430 311.8181818182
294 750 2.5510204082 2940 267.2727272727

 

Freedom
Cost Points Points/$ free trip cost $/flight with free trip
377 1500 3.9787798408 1885 314.1666666667
377 1500 3.9787798408 1885 314.1666666667
377 1500 3.9787798408 1885 314.1666666667
377 1500 3.9787798408 1885 314.1666666667
609 1500 2.4630541872 3045 507.5
609 1500 2.4630541872 3045 507.5
405 1500 3.7037037037 2025 337.5
405 1500 3.7037037037 2025 337.5
609 1500 2.4630541872 3045 507.5
609 1500 2.4630541872 3045 507.5
609 1500 2.4630541872 3045 507.5
609 1500 2.4630541872 3045 507.5
609 1500 2.4630541872 3045 507.5
609 1500 2.4630541872 3045 507.5
377 1500 3.9787798408 1885 314.1666666667

Equations:

Points/$ = Points/ Cost

Free Trip Cost= 7500/(Points/$)

$/Flight with Free Trip = Free Trip Cost/(Paid Flights till a Free Flight + 1)

Thus the best value for money for the Firm class is the $193 ticket which gives you 1.94 points/Dollar, costing $3860 and 20 flights to get a free trip, and $183.8 for each trip (free flight included). For the Flex class it will cost $249 per trip, giving one 3.01 points/trip, requiring 10 trips and $2490 to get the free flight, and works out to $226 per trip when the free flight is factored in. The Freedom class will cost $377 per flight, at 3.97 points per flight, require 5 flights and $1885 to get the free trip, and works out to $314 per flight when the free trip is factored in.

These calculations don’t tell the whole story though. The implication so far is that you will only ever need to travel the exact number of times needed to get a free flight, which is an ideal case and not at all a common reality. One is also the assume that you will always choose the same class, a reasonable assumption for the majority of people. The assumption is also made that you only ever travel when the tickets are at the cheapest in each class, not a completely realistic assumption but a necessary one. Without this assumption a comparison of all possible price-point combinations would have to be made, seriously over-complicating the charts for the purposes of this comparison The errors would be the same when you consider that the prices of the different class tickets always change at the same time, meaning that your cost would have increased regardless of your choice.

The following is a series of charts, followed by a graph, which shows the breakdown of the different prices, per flight, for each of the three classes, adjusted to include free flights.

Each of these charts shows the number of flights paid for, the number of flights actually flown (including the free flights), the points gained from the flights, the decimal and usable number of free flights, the total cost of the trips paid for, the cost per flights paid for, and the cost per flight taken.

Firm

Flights Flights Taken Points Free Flights Exact Free Flights Total Cost Cost/Flight Cost/flight with free flight Quotient
1 1 375 0.05 0 193 193 193 1
2 2 750 0.1 0 386 193 193 1
3 3 1125 0.15 0 579 193 193 1
4 4 1500 0.2 0 772 193 193 1
5 5 1875 0.25 0 965 193 193 1
6 6 2250 0.3 0 1158 193 193 1
7 7 2625 0.35 0 1351 193 193 1
8 8 3000 0.4 0 1544 193 193 1
9 9 3375 0.45 0 1737 193 193 1
10 10 3750 0.5 0 1930 193 193 1
11 11 4125 0.55 0 2123 193 193 1
12 12 4500 0.6 0 2316 193 193 1
13 13 4875 0.65 0 2509 193 193 1
14 14 5250 0.7 0 2702 193 193 1
15 15 5625 0.75 0 2895 193 193 1
16 16 6000 0.8 0 3088 193 193 1
17 17 6375 0.85 0 3281 193 193 1
18 18 6750 0.9 0 3474 193 193 1
19 19 7125 0.95 0 3667 193 193 1
20 21 7500 1 1 3860 193 183.8095238095 1.0138169257
21 22 7875 1.05 1 4053 193 184.2272727273 1.0131888837
22 23 8250 1.1 1 4246 193 184.6086956522 1.0126154539
23 24 8625 1.15 1 4439 193 184.9583333333 1.01208981
24 25 9000 1.2 1 4632 193 185.28 1.0116062176
25 26 9375 1.25 1 4825 193 185.5769230769 1.0111598246
26 27 9750 1.3 1 5018 193 185.8518518519 1.0107464978
27 28 10125 1.35 1 5211 193 186.1071428571 1.0103626943
28 29 10500 1.4 1 5404 193 186.3448275862 1.01000536
29 30 10875 1.45 1 5597 193 186.5666666667 1.009671848
30 31 11250 1.5 1 5790 193 186.7741935484 1.0093598529
31 32 11625 1.55 1 5983 193 186.96875 1.0090673575
32 33 12000 1.6 1 6176 193 187.1515151515 1.0087925891
33 34 12375 1.65 1 6369 193 187.3235294118 1.0085339835
34 35 12750 1.7 1 6562 193 187.4857142857 1.0082901554
35 36 13125 1.75 1 6755 193 187.6388888889 1.0080598733
36 37 13500 1.8 1 6948 193 187.7837837838 1.0078420389
37 38 13875 1.85 1 7141 193 187.9210526316 1.0076356695
38 39 14250 1.9 1 7334 193 188.0512820513 1.0074398831
39 40 14625 1.95 1 7527 193 188.175 1.007253886
40 42 15000 2 2 7720 193 183.8095238095 1.0138169257
41 43 15375 2.05 2 7913 193 184.023255814 1.0134956019
42 44 15750 2.1 2 8106 193 184.2272727273 1.0131888837
43 45 16125 2.15 2 8299 193 184.4222222222 1.0128957974
44 46 16500 2.2 2 8492 193 184.6086956522 1.0126154539
45 47 16875 2.25 2 8685 193 184.7872340426 1.01234704
46 48 17250 2.3 2 8878 193 184.9583333333 1.01208981
47 49 17625 2.35 2 9071 193 185.1224489796 1.0118430792
48 50 18000 2.4 2 9264 193 185.28 1.0116062176
49 51 18375 2.45 2 9457 193 185.431372549 1.0113786447
50 52 18750 2.5 2 9650 193 185.5769230769 1.0111598246

Flex

Flights Flights Taken Points Free Flights Exact Free Flights Total Cost Cost/Flight Cost/flight with free flight Quotient
1 1 750 0.1 0 249 249 249 1
2 2 1500 0.2 0 498 249 249 1
3 3 2250 0.3 0 747 249 249 1
4 4 3000 0.4 0 996 249 249 1
5 5 3750 0.5 0 1245 249 249 1
6 6 4500 0.6 0 1494 249 249 1
7 7 5250 0.7 0 1743 249 249 1
8 8 6000 0.8 0 1992 249 249 1
9 9 6750 0.9 0 2241 249 249 1
10 11 7500 1 1 2490 249 226.3636363636 1
11 12 8250 1.1 1 2739 249 228.25 1
12 13 9000 1.2 1 2988 249 229.8461538462 1
13 14 9750 1.3 1 3237 249 231.2142857143 1
14 15 10500 1.4 1 3486 249 232.4 1
15 16 11250 1.5 1 3735 249 233.4375 1
16 17 12000 1.6 1 3984 249 234.3529411765 1
17 18 12750 1.7 1 4233 249 235.1666666667 1
18 19 13500 1.8 1 4482 249 235.8947368421 1
19 20 14250 1.9 1 4731 249 236.55 1
20 22 15000 2 2 4980 249 226.3636363636 1
21 23 15750 2.1 2 5229 249 227.347826087 1
22 24 16500 2.2 2 5478 249 228.25 1
23 25 17250 2.3 2 5727 249 229.08 1
24 26 18000 2.4 2 5976 249 229.8461538462 1
25 27 18750 2.5 2 6225 249 230.5555555556 1
26 28 19500 2.6 2 6474 249 231.2142857143 1
27 29 20250 2.7 2 6723 249 231.8275862069 1
28 30 21000 2.8 2 6972 249 232.4 1
29 31 21750 2.9 2 7221 249 232.935483871 1
30 33 22500 3 3 7470 249 226.3636363636 1
31 34 23250 3.1 3 7719 249 227.0294117647 1
32 35 24000 3.2 3 7968 249 227.6571428571 1
33 36 24750 3.3 3 8217 249 228.25 1
34 37 25500 3.4 3 8466 249 228.8108108108 1
35 38 26250 3.5 3 8715 249 229.3421052632 1
36 39 27000 3.6 3 8964 249 229.8461538462 1
37 40 27750 3.7 3 9213 249 230.325 1
38 41 28500 3.8 3 9462 249 230.7804878049 1
39 42 29250 3.9 3 9711 249 231.2142857143 1
40 44 30000 4 4 9960 249 226.3636363636 1
41 45 30750 4.1 4 10209 249 226.8666666667 1
42 46 31500 4.2 4 10458 249 227.347826087 1
43 47 32250 4.3 4 10707 249 227.8085106383 1
44 48 33000 4.4 4 10956 249 228.25 1
45 49 33750 4.5 4 11205 249 228.6734693878 1
46 50 34500 4.6 4 11454 249 229.08 1
47 51 35250 4.7 4 11703 249 229.4705882353 1
48 52 36000 4.8 4 11952 249 229.8461538462 1
49 53 36750 4.9 4 12201 249 230.2075471698 1
50 55 37500 5 5 12450 249 226.3636363636 1

Freedom

Flights Flights Taken Points Free Flights Exact Free Flights Total Cost Cost/Flight Cost/flight with free flight
1 1 1500 0.2 0 377 377 377 1
2 2 3000 0.4 0 754 377 377 1
3 3 4500 0.6 0 1131 377 377 1
4 4 6000 0.8 0 1508 377 377 1
5 6 7500 1 1 1885 377 314.1666666667 1.0856760375
6 7 9000 1.2 1 2262 377 323.1428571429 1.0734366036
7 8 10500 1.4 1 2639 377 329.875 1.0642570281
8 9 12000 1.6 1 3016 377 335.1111111111 1.0571173583
9 10 13500 1.8 1 3393 377 339.3 1.0514056225
10 12 15000 2 2 3770 377 314.1666666667 1.0856760375
11 13 16500 2.2 2 4147 377 319 1.0790855731
12 14 18000 2.4 2 4524 377 323.1428571429 1.0734366036
13 15 19500 2.6 2 4901 377 326.7333333333 1.06854083
14 16 21000 2.8 2 5278 377 329.875 1.0642570281
15 18 22500 3 3 5655 377 314.1666666667 1.0856760375
16 19 24000 3.2 3 6032 377 317.4736842105 1.0811667724
17 20 25500 3.4 3 6409 377 320.45 1.0771084337
18 21 27000 3.6 3 6786 377 323.1428571429 1.0734366036
19 22 28500 3.8 3 7163 377 325.5909090909 1.0700985761
20 24 30000 4 4 7540 377 314.1666666667 1.0856760375
21 25 31500 4.2 4 7917 377 316.68 1.082248996
22 26 33000 4.4 4 8294 377 319 1.0790855731
23 27 34500 4.6 4 8671 377 321.1481481481 1.0761564778
24 28 36000 4.8 4 9048 377 323.1428571429 1.0734366036
25 30 37500 5 5 9425 377 314.1666666667 1.0856760375
26 31 39000 5.2 5 9802 377 316.1935483871 1.0829122943
27 32 40500 5.4 5 10179 377 318.09375 1.0803212851
28 33 42000 5.6 5 10556 377 319.8787878788 1.0778873068
29 34 43500 5.8 5 10933 377 321.5588235294 1.0755965037
30 36 45000 6 6 11310 377 314.1666666667 1.0856760375
31 37 46500 6.2 6 11687 377 315.8648648649 1.0833604689
32 38 48000 6.4 6 12064 377 317.4736842105 1.0811667724
33 39 49500 6.6 6 12441 377 319 1.0790855731
34 40 51000 6.8 6 12818 377 320.45 1.0771084337
35 42 52500 7 7 13195 377 314.1666666667 1.0856760375
36 43 54000 7.2 7 13572 377 315.6279069767 1.0836835715
37 44 55500 7.4 7 13949 377 317.0227272727 1.0817816721
38 45 57000 7.6 7 14326 377 318.3555555556 1.0799643017
39 46 58500 7.8 7 14703 377 319.6304347826 1.0782259473
40 48 60000 8 8 15080 377 314.1666666667 1.0856760375
41 49 61500 8.2 8 15457 377 315.4489795918 1.0839275469
42 50 63000 8.4 8 15834 377 316.68 1.082248996
43 51 64500 8.6 8 16211 377 317.862745098 1.0806362706
44 52 66000 8.8 8 16588 377 319 1.0790855731
45 54 67500 9 9 16965 377 314.1666666667 1.0856760375
46 55 69000 9.2 9 17342 377 315.3090909091 1.0841182913
47 56 70500 9.4 9 17719 377 316.4107142857 1.082616179
48 57 72000 9.6 9 18096 377 317.4736842105 1.0811667724
49 58 73500 9.8 9 18473 377 318.5 1.0797673452
50 60 75000 10 10 18850 377 314.1666666667 1.0856760375

Equations:

Points = Flights Paid * Points per Flight

Free Flights = 7500/Points

Exact Free Flights = QUOTIENT( Free Flights)

Total Cost = Flights Paid * Cost / Flight

Cost/Flight = Total Cost/Flights Paid

Cost/ Flight with Free Flight = Total Cost/(Flights Paid +1)

Having calculated all these values the conclusions reached are represented graphically by the chart bellow which shows the breakdown of the costs per flight for any given number of flights between 1 and 50.
Cost per flight graph of the three price classes of Porter tickets Freedom (yellow), Flex (red), and Firm (blue).

Based on the results shown in this chart on can see that, though it might seem like a better choice to buy the more expensive tickets in the attempt to get more free flights faster, its is still significantly cheaper to buy the cheapest ticket. As such, and as one could suspect, there really isn’t any noticeable savings gained from the VIPorter program over an extended period of time.

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