Thursday, September 17, 2020

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 includes:

  • 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 days.
  • 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 results.



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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