September 17 Update: WestJet providing refunds for cancelled Europe flights, Air Canada provides complimentary COVID-19 insurance coverage & Hawaii set to reopen on October 15


WestJet continues to make some headway in regaining
consumer confidence as they are now providing refunds for travellers who
had flights booked to or from Europe between March 1 and October 31.
Europe makes up a very small portion of WestJet’s overall traffic and
with strict policies in place from the EU on cancelled flights WestJet
probably realized it is best to go this route. Prior to this WestJet was
already providing refunds for U.S. and U.K. travel. Still noticeably
absent however are the lack of refunds for flights within Canada (which
make up the biggest part of the revenue pie for WestJet) as well as
Latin America and Sun Destinations (another major revenue source).
(Source: The Star)

Here’s some recommended reading or listening for you about refunds with WestJet: My experience getting a refund from WestJet for cancelled U.S. flights and Rewards Canada Podcast Episode 70 – August 10, 2020 COVID-19 and the airline refund situation in Canada


Air Canada has followed in the footsteps of WestJet
and other airlines from around the globe in providing complimentary
COVID-19 insurance coverage for international travellers. Just like we
mentioned when WestJet starting offer it this insurance does not replace
regular travel insurances as it is only specific to testing positive
for COVID-19 while abroad. You ‘ll want to make sure that you test
yourself before you travel (Within 15 days of depature) so that you have
proof of being negative because if there is any proof of you showing
any symptoms within 15 days of your departure and you test positive
while being abroad you won’t be covered. (Source Air Canada)

The Manulife COVID-19 Emergency Medical Certificate of Insurance (the “Plan”)
is available for new international, round-trip bookings made in Canada
between September 17 and October 31, 2020, inclusive, for travel
completed by April 12, 2021. If, when abroad, customers test positive
for COVID-19, the Plan will provide eligible customers coverage that

  • Up to CDN $200,000 per insured for COVID-19 treatment medical expenses.
  • Up to CDN $150 per person per day for quarantine costs (meals +
    accommodation); Up to CDN $300 per family per day up to a maximum of 14
  • Up to CDN $500 for expenses related to return home if the
    advisory from the Canadian government goes from Level 3 to Level 4
    while at destination.


For those of you who are flying to and or from the U.S. this will be welcome and exciting news for you. American Express Centurion lounges will
begin to reopen in October (PHL & SEA are first on 10/5) with the Centurion Lounge Commitment
incorporating new health and safety practices including served food
instead of buffet style. On top of that they have announced they will
be expanding and enhancing the lounges at New York La Guardia and Las
Vegas airports. (Source American Express)

  • The Centurion Lounge at LGA will double in size
    and relocate to a space post-security within the airport’s brand-new,
    state-of-the-art Terminal B. The new lounge will feature a family room,
    additional workspaces, private telephone rooms, and views of the New
    York City skyline.
  • The footprint of the first-ever Centurion Lounge, opened at LAS
    in 2013, will be expanded from nearly 9,000 square feet to over 13,400
    square feet. The newly designed lounge will feature additional
    multi-purpose areas, new private telephone rooms, newly designed
    reception and workspace areas and more.

Recommended reading: Rewards Canada’s Guide to Business Class Lounge Access

In what may be welcome news to many of us Canucks, the Governor of Hawaii announced
that the state is set to reopen on October 15. Travellers will have to
provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of
arriving to avoid the mandatory 14 day quarantine period. (Source: Hawaii Governor’s Office)

Pre-travel testing enables travelers to avoid a mandatory 14-day
quarantine if they are tested no earlier than 72 hours before their
flight arrives with an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test
(NAAT), performed using a nasal swab, and can show proof of negative
test results from a CLIA certified laboratory. Travelers also will have
their temperatures checked upon arrival and must fill out a travel and
health form. Upon arrival in Hawai‘i, passengers unable to provide
proof of an approved negative test will be required to go into
quarantine for 14 days or until they can provide proof of negative test


I have now added the Top 5 Cash Back Welcome offers to the Rewards
Canada home page so that you can easily find the latest and greatest
offers. Visit the page here.

Finally this may not be of interest to most of you but just in case any potential clients are reading this I completed a small update to our Consulting
page. I added in the latest conference I spoke at just before the
pandemic hit and since September is Rewards Canada’s anniversary I
updated it to 19 years of tracking, researching and writing about
loyalty programs and promotions. Also added in was ‘Legal Advice’ as
that’s another B2B industry we have had experience in. Check out our Conuslting Page here.

Airline Schedule Updates
A summary Canadian operations based on data from RoutesOnline and other
sources. Remember that many of these route plans are subject to change
and right now they are changing frequently!

Philippine Airlines has reduced service out of
Toronto and Vancouver to 2 flights and 4 flights per week respectively
until the end of November. (Source RoutesOnline)

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.


Posts since our last update:


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Rewards Canada receives a small commission when you use any of
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