April 9 Update: Air Canada & WestJet to hire back laid off employees, even discontinued grandfathered Mastercards get new benefits & Air Canada’s May flight schedule

Air Canada and WestJet will re-hire over 16,000 and 6,000 employees respectively thanks to the Government of Canada’s Emergency Wage Subsidy. Here is a statement from WestJet’s CEO Ed Sims:

“We are pleased to announce, after discussions with the federal
government, that we will bring almost 6,400 employees back on the
WestJet payroll, once the government has approved the Canada Emergency
Wage Subsidy program.” 

“This does not automatically mean that they will be coming back
to work as there may not be work there for them. But it does help them
make ends meet and I am grateful for the hard work by the Government of
Canada and of all governments across Canada to provide businesses with
the tools to continue operating in these challenging times. We will be
communicating with those WestJetters who are affected by this decision
as soon as we can.” 

and from Air Canada’s CEO Calin Rovinescu:

“The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is an extremely important
program to help employees and employers during this time of crisis, and
as one of Canada’s largest employers most affected by COVID-19, we want
to acknowledge the leadership of the Government of Canada in
introducing it,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive
Officer at Air Canada. 

“While our seat capacity and operations have decreased by more
than 90 per cent overnight, we are trying to keep as many of our
employees as possible during the crisis and this measure will certainly
help. Depending on wage levels, many furloughed employees will get a
somewhat higher amount under CEWS than they would otherwise receive
from Employment Insurance payments plus they will maintain their health
insurance and other benefits and stay more connected to our company
during the Program Period. Once the crisis passes and passenger demand
increases, we look forward to returning as many employees as possible to
active status as we resume normal operations,” concluded Mr.

Great news for those of you who have the grandfathered version of
what used to be Canada’s Top Travel Rewards Credit Card from years ago –
the Capital One Aspire Travel World Elite Mastercard.
Rewards Canada reader Leo T. asked if we knew if the card would also
receive all the new World and World Elite Mastercard benefits we
announced last week. He contacted Capital One who told him to contact
Mastercard. Well he decided to just try it out on the Boingo site and
Leo has confirmed that his card was eligible.

This should hopefully mean
it also gets all the other new benefits that come with premium Canadian
Mastercards. Read more about the new benefits here.

Top image via Mastercard

Air Canada has released their intended flight schedules for May and it sees international flights tripling from 30 per week to 90 as the airline slowly prepares for a hopeful early return to travel. Their
page shows a significant increase in flights within Canada although it is still not even close to what it was before the pandemic. Flights to the U.S. are also being increased but are once again being limited to departures from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. You can find all their scheduled flights for May here. (List below is sourced from  RoutesOnline).

Here are Air Canada’s planned international operations for May:

Montreal – Brussels 4 weekly A330-300 (service resumption)

Montreal – Fort-de-France 1 weekly A319 (service resumption)

Montreal – Frankfurt 1 daily 787-9

Montreal – London Heathrow 5 weekly A330-300

Montreal – Paris CDG 1 daily 777-300ER (400-seater)

Montreal – Pointe-a-Pitre 1 weekly A319 (service resumption)

Toronto – Bogota 3 weekly 787-8 (service resumption; Mainline replacing rouge)

Toronto – Bridgetown 1 weekly A319 (resumes on 16MAY20)

Toronto – Cancun 2 weekly A320 (service resumption; Mainline replacing rouge)

Toronto – Frankfurt 1 daily 777-300ER (400-seater)

Toronto – London Heathrow 2 daily 777-300ER (400-seater)/787-9

Toronto – Mexico City 1 daily A319

Toronto – Montego Bay 2 weekly A319 (service resumption; Mainline replacing rouge)

Toronto – Punta Cana 2 weekly A320 (service resumption; Mainline replacing rouge)

Toronto – Tokyo Haneda 4 weekly 787-9 (service resumption)

Toronto – Zurich 4 weekly 787-9 (service resumption)

Vancouver – Hong Kong 5 weekly 787-9

Vancouver – London Heathrow 5 weekly 787-8

Vancouver – Seoul Incheon 4 weekly 787-9 (service resumption)

Vancouver – Tokyo Narita 5 weekly 787-9

Image via Air Canada


Throwback Thursday – Here’s a throwback to 2012 when Rewards Canada
was featured as the Travel Website of the Week on Canada.com. Of note that’s when the WestJet RBC World Mastercard became a World Elite Mastercard. Read the old article here.

Remember to visit and bookmark our COVID-19 resource page
where we are keeping you up to date with all the latest airline, hotel,
lounges and loyalty program news, policies, closures and more.

Other resources on Rewards Canada to help you make the most of your points and miles right now:

Posts since our last update:


Ready to plan some travel for 2021? Contiki has released their 2021 trips and are allowing you lock in at this years prices. Find out more here.

Indigo plum PLUS members enjoy 2x plum points on all purchases* (Until April 30)

Enterprise: Student Travel Assistance – Waiving young renter fees and reducing the minimum age to 18 for rentals through May 31, 2020. Find out more here

Hello Fresh: save $65 in total, including free shipping on the first box! Find out more here.

Missfresh: Simplify your life with 45% off your first 2 consecutive orders with code SIMPLIFY45. Find out more here.

Rewards Canada receives a small commission when you use any of
the above offers. You don’t have to chose to use our links but we thank
you in advance if you do.

Canadian Bonus Offers

Best Western Rewards

– Receive a $25 Best Western Travel Card when you join the Best Western
Rewards program. Valid for select BCAA (British Columbia Automobile
Association) members. More… Targeted offer – may not work for everyone Unknown end dates

Other Bonus Offers

Etihad Guest

– Earn up to 5,000 Bonus Guest Miles when you were due to travel between
1 March and 30 June 2020, and when you cancel your booking for Etihad
Credit. More… Until Jun 30, 20

EVA Air Infinity MileageLands

– Triple Infinity MileageLands Miles when you rent with Avis for 3 or
more days in North America (exclude Alaska), Europe, Middle East,
Africa, Asia Pacific, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. More… Book by Apr 30 for rentals until May 31, 20

Marriott Bonvoy

– 1,000 Bonus Bonvoy Points for stays of 2+ nights at the Four Points by Sheraton St. Louis – Fairview Heights. More… Until Jun 6, 20

Preferred Hotel Group iPrefer

– Double iPrefer Points for stays at the Huntington Hotel San Francisco More… Until Dec 31, 20

Singapore Airines KrisFlyer

– Earn up to Triple KrisFlyer Miles when you rent a car for 3 or more
days with Budget in North America (excluding Alaska), Europe, Middle
East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. More… Book by May 31 for rentals until Jun 30, 20

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