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Jan. 8 - Air Canada Extends Flexible Policies
With travel in 2021 still in question, Air Canada announced two additional extensions to their Aeroplan award program. First, all rewards booked through Feb. 28 will be allowed to be changed or cancelled for free prior to departure. Second, the pause on points expiration has been moved to June 29. After that (unless they extend it again) points will expire like normal if your account becomes inactive for 18 months.
Dec. 14 - Chase and Air Canada Announce 2021 Partnership Including a U.S. Credit Card
Air Canada, which recently overhauled its Aeroplan rewards program, announced today that it will partner with Chase to launch a new U.S. credit card in late 2021. Additionally, in late 2021, Aeroplan will also become a transfer partner for Chase Ultimate RewardsⓇ. With Air Canada being a Star Alliance member, Aeroplan points allow travelers a lot of flexibility when it comes to partner award bookings, sweet spots and access to awards on United Airlines. A full breakdown of this news and how customers can make the most of the new Chase/Air Canada partnership is coming later today.
Sept. 14 - Emirates Launches Two New Mastercard Options
If you're an Emirates Skywards loyalist, the airline has some good news for you. Emirates now has two new co-branded credit cards for travelers to apply for: the Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard (annual fee $499) and the Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard (annual fee $99). Both cards are issued by Barclays.
The pricey Emirates Skywards Premium World Elite Mastercard comes with 40,000 Skywards Miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days. It also includes Emirates Skywards Gold status, a Priority Pass Select membership, and a Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit along with a slew of other benefits.
The lower cost Emirates Skywards Rewards World Elite Mastercard offers 30,000 Skywards Miles as a bonus and Silver status.
Both cards earn 3x on Emirates purchases (through Emirates.com or its sales office), 2x on other airfare, hotels and car rentals, and 1x on all other purchases.
Aug. 24 - Virgin Atlantic Offers Free COVID-19 Insurance And Other Major Loyalty Program Changes
Virgin Atlantic has announced big changes to its coronavirus response and its overall loyalty program. First, for travel between Aug. 24, 2020, and March 31, 2021, Virgin Atlantic is offering coverage of emergency medical expenses due to coronavirus for you and your travel companions. The insurance also covers repatriation and expenses due to denied boarding or quarantine. Various terms and coverage limits apply.
There have also be some significant updates to Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club loyalty program including:
The ability to earn tier points on award flights.
More versatility when it comes to the use of vouchers.
Extension for both elite status and voucher expiration dates.
We will have a full breakdown of these changes, what they mean for you and how to make the most of them later today.
Aug. 4 - Virgin Atlantic Files for Bankruptcy
Today, Virgin Atlantic filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in the U.S. Delta Air Lines owns 49% of the London-based airline. Chapter 15 is designed for bankruptcy situations where multiple countries are involved. It is unknown at this time what effect this filing will have on travelers or routing. Bankruptcy filings are often used for protection and can allow for a financial opportunity to save a business. We will update this story as it develops and report the impact on customers when those details are available.
July 14 - ANA Changes International Summer Service Through August
All Nippon Airways, or ANA, announced today they will suspend approximately 90% of their originally planned international flights through August due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, travel restrictions and customer demand for flights. ANA is the largest Japan-based airline and one of the largest airlines serving the Asia market. ANA is a member of the Star Alliance, making it a United Airlines partner, and is well known for its award redemptions in business and first-class cabins. Keep up to date with COVID-related airline policies with our guide.
June 3 - Etihad Airways Joins Aeroplan (Air Canada) as Airline Partner
Air Canada and Etihad Airways announced a new partnership that will allow travelers to earn and redeem miles between the two carriers. This is especially good news for those looking to experience Etihad's business class or first class suites because Air Canada is a transfer partner of both American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One. The path to an Etihad award seat just got a little bit easier. Read more on how to maximize this new partnership as we analyze the deal and award charts.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card