Originally Posted by Ace Cdn
I am just guessing here but because your Westjet dollars account has a monetary value they must charge the HST even if the dollars you use are the ones you accumulated. In other airline programs they are points and they don't have a monetary value per se.
Actually, miles often do have a stated value, but a ridiculously small one. Like 0,01 Cent or so. :-) (Like a Pengö -> see Wikipedia for the fascinating and horrible story of that Hungarian currency)
The WestJet Rewards program terms say "Except as specifically provided in these terms and conditions, WestJet dollars have no cash value, and are not exchangeable for cash. WestJet dollars are not available for purchase."
While WestJet Dollars can have a value when buying tickets (if you have at least 25 of them or a WestJet credit card), the tax on this value has already been paid when these WestJet Dollars where earned. (Alternatively, WestJet could give a 1% discount right away which would result in a lower tax.)
Same is true for a lot of other voucher or points. When I eat six meals at Burger King, I get the 7th one for free. Cash value somewhere around $5-6 - and no tax will be charged on the free meal.
What if WestJet let us use the WestJet Dollars for free meals. Tax?