We’ll continue updating this page with resources and information as new details emerge on how Canadian leaders and businesses are responding to COVID-19.
Coronavirus has been disrupting travel plans around the world for several months now, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The Government of Canada has even issued a global travel advisory to limit non-essential travel outside of the country. This means you might need to cancel or rebook a trip that you booked using miles or points, and in some cases those plans have already been canceled for you.
It can be tricky to recover your miles or points once you’ve used them, depending on your provider. That said, many frequent flyer and airline loyalty programs are taking special measures to make sure you can cancel or rebook your trip due to coronavirus. Find out what you’ll need to do with each program to get your miles or points back.
How to recover travel miles or points with frequent flyer programs
There are four main frequent flyer programs in Canada. Each one has a different policy to deal with flight cancellations due to coronavirus.
- Aeroplan. You’ll be able to cancel any flight you booked using your Aeroplan Miles up until March 31, 2020 (it’s unclear what happens after this date). You can cancel free of charge by visiting Aeroplan.com and logging into your online account. When you cancel, you’ll receive all of your Aeroplan Miles back in your account along with a full refund of any taxes, fees and surcharges you paid for your flight.
- AIR MILES. You won’t be able to cancel your booking with AIR MILES outright, but you’ll be able to change your dates without paying an additional fee (up until April 30, 2020). This one-time waiver will impact changes on existing bookings made through AIR MILES, but it may not be valid for flights booked after March 13, 2020.
- Avion. You can cancel any flight booked with your RBC Avion Points for travel up to April 30, 2020. You’ll just need to send an email to RBCRush@service.rbcrewards.com with some mandatory information such as your travel dates, itinerary, name and email address. From there, RBC will work with your travel provider to get you a full refund or a travel voucher for future use. Any claims for travel after April 30, 2020 will be considered at a later date.
- Aventura. You’ll need to file a claim with CIBC’s Rewards Centre to recover your Aventura Points. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with information about the flight you want to cancel. Your claim will be processed according to its urgency, and an Aventura Travel Assistant will contact you to give you the information you need to recover your points.
How to recover travel miles with airlines
Most airlines will not allow you to recover your miles or points directly, but you will be able to change your booking or receive a flight credit for future travel. In some cases, your points or miles may be returned to you if these options aren’t available. Learn more about the coronavirus policies issued by some of the biggest airlines flying in and out of Canada below.
|Air Canada||If you booked your flight before March 31, 2020 and you want to cancel it, you can do so with no cancellation fee. You won’t necessarily get your miles or points back, but you will receive a full travel credit that you can use towards future flights. This credit will be valid for travel before March 31, 2021.|
|Alaska Airlines||Depending on your travel dates, you may be able to change your flights for no additional fee (as long as new travel is completed by February 28, 2021). In some cases, you can also cancel your trip and deposit the funds into your My Account wallet or receive a flight credit for future travel (though this option isn’t available for Saver fares). |
|American Airlines||You can rebook your flights without change fees if you purchased your tickets before March 1, 2020 for travel through May 31, 2020. You also won’t pay change fees to rebook a trip that you paid for between March 1 and April 15, 2020 for any future date of travel. |
|China Southern Airlines||It’s possible to get a refund of your ticket price if you cancel your flight with your original ticketing agent before your flight departs. In this case, China Southern Airlines will waive the service charge for your refund.|
|Delta Airlines||Delta Airlines has waived its change and cancellation fees for any flights departing before May 31, 2020. If you decide to cancel, you won’t get a refund but you will get the price of your unused ticket applied toward another flight booking. |
|Emirates||You won’t get a refund for cancelling your flight, but you will be able to extend the validity of your ticket up to 24 months from the date you made your original booking. You can also choose to take a travel voucher for the price of your ticket. |
|Lufthansa||If you hold a ticket for a cancelled or an existing Lufthansa Group flight, you can keep the ticket without having to commit to a new flight date right away. Existing bookings will be cancelled automatically, but your ticket and ticket value will remain unchanged. All tickets booked up to April 19, 2020 can be rebooked until August 31, 2020 free of charge. |
|Qatar Airlines||You can alter your booking date for free or cancel your plans and receive a travel voucher. You’ll also be able to request a refund if you don’t want to fly anymore. This applies to any flight you’ve booked for travel up to September 30, 2020.|
|United Airlines||You can cancel or change your booking by signing in to “My Trips” on united.com. From there, you can rebook your travel dates or cancel your trip to receive a flight credit to use at a future date. United Airlines has waived its change and cancellation fees but you may need to pay the fare difference at the time of booking.|
|WestJet||You’ll be able to cancel any flight you’ve booked with WestJet by contacting its customer service centre directly. You won’t be able to recover your points or miles, but your trip will be refunded to you as a travel credit (valid for 24 months). Vacation refunds will be returned as WestJet dollars. |
How to recover points or miles with hotels
Several big hotel chains have implemented similar policies to protect customers from losses due to coronavirus. The common thread seems to be that any reservations booked up until April 30, 2020 can be cancelled or changed for no fee, with 24 hours advance notice. Once your booking is reversed, your miles or points should be returned to your account.
|Best Western||Future reservations can be cancelled with no fees as long as the changes are made by April 30, 2020 and at least 24 hours before scheduled arrival. |
|Hilton||All reservations scheduled for arrival by April 30, 2020 can be changed with no fee or cancelled for a full refund. Changes must be made 24 hours in advance. |
|Hyatt||Hyatt says guests with reservations scheduled for arrival up until April 30, 2020 can change or cancel at no charge, provided the change is made at least 24 hours in advance.|
|Marriott||Marriot will allow changes and cancellations for all existing reservations up to April 30, 2020. The only stipulation is that cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. |
|Radisson||You can modify or cancel your reservation for free for stays up until April 30, 2020. That said, you may be subject to paying a difference in rate where applicable.|
|Wyndham||Guests travelling with new or existing bookings for stays in any Wyndham hotels through April 30, 2020 can cancel or change their reservations at no additional charge (as long as the cancellation is made 24 hours in advance).|
What if I booked with a third-party provider?
Many customers book travel through third-party providers like Expedia or Kayak. In this case, you’ll need to go through the third-party provider to change your flights or initiate a refund or travel credit. Many third-party providers have flexible refund policies for coronavirus, and most will work with your travel provider on your behalf to make sure you’re covered for losses.
With most third-party sites, you should be able to cancel any flights scheduled to depart before April 30, 2020 without having to pay a fee. You’ll typically receive a credit with the airline you initially booked with to redeem for future travel.
Many travel providers are making concessions for travellers struggling to cancel flights and rearrange travel plans due to coronavirus. Use this guide to find out how you can recover your points or miles for trips you’ve booked through your frequent flyer program or loyalty points program.
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