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Act quickly: Air Canada relents, will finally refund canceled flights

April 13, 2021
4 min read
Air Canada Boeing 777
Act quickly: Air Canada relents, will finally refund canceled flights
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Some say patience is a virtue.

Well, if you've been holding out hope that Air Canada will refund a ticket that was canceled due to the pandemic, then patience has paid off. The Montreal-based carrier is finally relenting.

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Air Canada refunds for canceled flights

Despite nearly a year of denying refunds for canceled flights, the carrier has come full circle. Effective immediately, all non-refundable flights purchased before April 13, 2021, for travel on or after Feb. 1, 2020 that were canceled — for any reason — are eligible for a refund. This includes tickets that were voluntarily canceled — not just those that the airline axed.

"Customers can now submit refund requests online or through their travel agent and we are committed to processing refunds as fast as possible," said Air Canada chief commercial officer Lucie Guillemette in a statement.

To claim your refund, you'll want to head to www.aircanada.com/refund now. The form will accept submissions until June 12, 2021, just under two months from now. If you are eligible, I'd recommend getting your request in now, since the airline will likely get flooded with requests over the coming days.

You'll receive the travel funds back to your original form of payment. This policy also applies to Air Canada Vacations packages.

If you booked through a travel agency, you'll need to contact them directly to arrange a refund. Air Canada has authorized all travel agencies to process refunds, and it will not recall any sales commissions on refunded tickets.

New flexible booking policy

Going forward, the carrier is also implementing a new booking policy for tickets purchased on or after April 13, 2021.

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Refunds will be granted only when the airline cancels or reschedules your flight by more than three hours. That's why I'd recommend waiting until the last minute to cancel your ticket, in case the flight ultimately ends up getting delayed or canceled right before departure.

Alternatively, customers can select an Air Canada travel voucher or Aeroplan points with a 65% bonus during irregular operations.

If you're making voluntary changes, the standard fare rules apply. Most tickets are non-refundable and you'll need to check your ticket for a possible change fee.

For all new or existing bookings made through May 31, 2021, for travel until May 31, 2022, Air Canada is offering a one-time change-fee waiver in case you need to adjust your travel plans.

Why the change is happening now

For many TPG readers, this change is great news. When I covered the change and cancellation beat during the height of the pandemic, I'd hear from countless readers about nightmares with Air Canada.

I'm not alone. The U.S. Department of Transporation also received thousands of complaints about Air Canada's stingy refund policy.

According to the DOT, you’re entitled to a refund for a canceled flight if your flight is to, from or within the United States. Air Canada denied refunds for affected flights and "believed that our position is consistent with U.S. law having examined this question in depth."

So, why the change of heart?

Well, the airline just secured a significant financial package from the Canadian government that includes up to approximately $1.4 billion CAD ($1.1 billion) earmarked for traveler refunds.

In addition to committing to the revised refund policy, Air Canada has also agreed to resume flights to many regional destinations that were suspended due to the pandemic, maintain employment at levels no lower than those on April 1, 2021 and other concessions.

Featured image by Air Canada Boeing 777 (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023