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The following is from Saturdays Ask Journeys column. It fills in some of the information left out of my earlier blog.

A reader asked . I understand Westjet is coming up with its own reward points program. What will it be like and does it mean I can no longer book Westjet through my Airmiles reward points?

My response was…

You will still be able to use your Air Miles points for Westjet after their program is started. Air Miles will simply be buying seats form Westjet as they do for any number of airlines they currently use on behalf of their members.

However, you cannot collect Air Miles points directly from Westjet when you book with them. If you use an Air Miles credit card like the specific American Express or MasterCard partner cards to book your flights, you will collect points on that purchase the same as all other purchases on your card; but you will not be able to use your Air Miles Collector Card with Westjet.

What Westjet has done, and I think they will be extremely successful with it, is launch their own credit card in partnership with RBC.

It is a unique program whose points are cash, which can only be redeemed for Westjet flights or Westjet Vacations packages.

There are two different card options, each have a different annual fee and each returning a different percentage with every purchase.

Because it is a cash-based program, you will not be faced with blackout periods or advance booking requirements.

While cardholders cannot use the dollars collected for more than $500 on a Westjet Vacations package, there are no restrictions on flight purchases at all.
I don’t know what the future plans for the program are, but it looks like the most transparent program in existence at this time.

No product options, no seat sale restrictions, and no hassles based on flight availability. If it’s in the system you can book it.
Westjet may have a winner in this one.