MAY 5, 2021

At Ovation, we remain committed to providing excellent service to our valued clients throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic. Click the link below to view our travel resources guide which includes traveler health & safety information, interactive risk maps, client communications, travel management best practices, webinar recordings, and more regarding COVID-19.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that it is extending the face mask requirement for individuals across all transportation networks throughout the US, including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through September 13. TSA’s initial face mask requirement went into effect on February 1 and had been set to expire on May 11. “The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” said Darby LaJoye, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the TSA Administrator. “Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic. We will continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to evaluate the need for these directives and recognize the significant level of compliance thus far.” The CDC recently announced that fully vaccinated travelers with an FDA-authorized vaccine can travel safely within the US; however, the CDC guidelines still require individuals to wear a face mask, socially distance, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. The extension of the face mask requirement is consistent with this most recent CDC guidance.

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), which wholly owns Ovation Travel Group, and is the world’s leading business partner for managed travel, has agreed to acquire Egencia, the managed corporate travel arm of Expedia Group. As part of the transaction, Expedia Group would become a shareholder in, and enter a long-term strategic commercial agreement with, GBT.

The proposed deal and completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals. In the meantime, the acquisition has no impact on the relationship, servicing, and travel programs for Ovation’s clients.

On April 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance for domestic travelers who have been fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine. Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine, and they don't need to test negative before or after their travels unless the destination requires it. States that still have travel restrictions may have exceptions for fully vaccinated travelers. Though some states continue to enforce travel restrictions and quarantines, in general more states have been moving toward looser travel restrictions or none at all in recent weeks. Even if some states have no restrictions on allowing leisure travel, all of their official websites have important COVID-19 safety information. For instance, some states still have mandates on face masks in public settings. Click "Read More" below for a comprehensive list of state-specific travel restrictions and safety mandates currently in place across the US as assembled by CNN.

European Union (EU) officials have proposed easing restrictions on visiting the 27-nation bloc as vaccination campaigns across the continent gather speed, reports USA Today. Travel to the EU is now extremely limited except for a handful of countries with low infection rates, but the European Commission hopes the new recommendations will help dramatically expand that list. “The Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for nonessential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation, but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorized vaccine," the EU's executive arm said. EU officials believe the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns will soon be a turning point in the fight against the virus, especially within the bloc and the border-free Schengen zone. Its proposal will be discussed with member states' ambassadors this week, and the European Commission hopes it could enter into force by June. EU nations also could individually decide to accept travelers immunized with vaccines listed by the World Health Organization for emergency use.

A coalition of US and European travel, airline, union, business, and airport groups have called for fully reopening the US-UK air travel market "as soon as safely possible," reports Reuters. In a letter to President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the groups said the leaders' planned meeting in early June "would be an ideal opportunity for a joint announcement of the full reopening of the US-UK air travel market for both US and UK citizens." The US has prohibited nearly all non-US citizens who have recently been in the UK from the US since March 2020. "The return of Transatlantic flying would not only have a significantly positive impact on our respective economies but will also reunite those who have been separated from their loved ones for over a year," said the letter, signed by the US Chamber of Commerce, Airlines for America, Global Business Travel Association, Air Line Pilots Association, Virgin Atlantic, Association of UK Airlines, Aerospace Industries Association, and others. "Safely reopening borders between the US and UK is essential for both countries’ economic recovery from COVID-19."

The US has restricted travel from India, citing a rise in COVID-19 cases in the country and the emergence of COVID-19 variants, reports Travel Weekly. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden's administration made the determination on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high COVID-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India," she said. The US action comes days after Biden spoke with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the growing health crisis in his country and pledged to immediately send assistance. The US has already moved to send therapeutics, rapid virus test and oxygen to India, along with some materials needed for that country to boost its domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines. The White House waited on the CDC recommendation before moving to restrict travel, noting that the US already requires negative tests and quarantines for all international travelers. Other restrictions are in place on travel from Brazil, China, Iran, South Africa, the European Union, the Republic of Ireland, and the UK, which are or have been hotspots for COVID-19.
Fairmont Austin, a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property, offers luxury in downtown Austin accommodations. The 37-story luxury hotel features 1,048 richly appointed guest rooms and suites, including Fairmont Gold. Guests experience personalized service, unique views, five restaurant and bar offerings, seasonally heated swimming pool on the 7th floor, and an award-winning spa.
Located in the heart of Uptown Dallas, Hotel Crescent Court features undeniable charm that is quintessentially Texan. The 186 recently renovated guest rooms and 40 suites feature Nespresso coffee makers, 55” oscillating TV’s, complimentary high-speed Internet, custom Molton Brown bath amenities, and floor-to-ceiling windows. On-site amenities include the luxurious 22,000 square foot Spa and Fitness Center. Hotel guests have access to the spa’s sauna, hot & cold plunge, steam room, and spa lounge, as well as the outdoor pool.

On-site dining options include world renowned Japanese restaurant Nobu, located right in the lobby, an on-site Starbucks, and Beau Nash cocktail lounge featuring more than 30 world-class champagnes and sparkling wines by-the-glass, as well as carefully curated craft cocktails and local beers. Hotel Crescent Court is minutes from Dallas Love Field and dozens of dining & entertainment options. Guests have access to complimentary house car transportation within a 5-mile radius.
California aims to fully reopen June 15th as the state has reached 20 million vaccinations, including 4 million in its hardest-hit communities. Masking and vaccinations will continue.

Guests can explore San Francisco’s vibrant culture and natural beauty from this waterfront hotel featuring balcony bay view rooms. The hotel is located close to the city’s most celebrated hot spots and steps away from the iconic Embarcadero, the Ferry Building, and Union Square.

Guests can enjoy sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay or the Embarcadero district from many of the 821 rooms—including 45 suites. Water View rooms offer premium views of the waterfront and historic Ferry Building, in addition to such perks as voice-activated controls. For plenty of private workspaces, ideal for remote work and school, guests should opt for a Balcony Suite.
Experience the sun, sand, and sea of South Beach at the renowned Loews Miami Beach Hotel. The oceanfront resort offers a luxury haven of sophisticated style and beachfront chic, complete with all the comforts of home. From elegant two-story presidential suites with panoramic ocean and city views, to VIP SOAK Cabanas, each with a private rooftop sundeck…premier service and luxe amenities are always in store. Savor Miami-inspired flavors at five restaurants and lounges including Lure Fishbar for seafood, sushi, raw bar, and hand crated cocktails. Enjoy the hotel’s iconic poolscape with direct beach access, or recharge at the award-winning Exhale Spa. Shop designer brands at Splash boutique, or simply lounge in the comfort of the resort’s 790 guestrooms, including 69 suites. It’s all at guests’ fingertips at Loews Miami Beach Hotel, where the comfort and well-being of guests is always top of mind.
Park Avenue Hospitality Returns May 12th.

The quintessential Loews Regency New York is reopening its doors and is ready to welcome guests back. Situated boldly on New York’s Park Avenue, the hotel is conveniently located where Midtown meets the Upper East Side. Each of the 379 guestrooms and suites seamlessly blend Art Deco design with modern sensibilities, craftily merging form and function to complement over 60 years of service expertise. Guests can experience the allure of New York City at The Regency Bar & Grill or Julien Farel Restore Salon & Spa. Loews Regency New York sets a new standard in luxury and with a legacy of hospitality expertly orchestrated and masterfully performed.
There are a variety of curated add-on experiences when staying at Park Hyatt Chicago:
  • Exclusive Swim. Enjoy an hour of private access to the 25-yard indoor lap pool, with wide-open skyline views. The pool area will be sanitized before and after the swim, and with pool amenities upon request ($200).
  • Picnic at the Park. Heading to Ravinia, Millennium Park or Oak Street Beach? Allow NoMI to prepare the meal to-go – includes use of tote & blanket, beverages, European cheeses, macarons, and choice of house made charcuterie or signature Parisian-style sandwich, for two. ($125).
  • NoMI Garden Dining. Savor the experience of a premium city view table for two, a bottle of sparkling wine, and choice of renowned seafood tower or sushi tower for two, all with superb downtown views ($200).
  • NoMI Wine Cellar. Raise a glass to an exclusive wine cellar table for two, appetizers, and a customized wine tasting ($250).
Riggs Washington, DC is a destination for the modern traveler, located in the historic former Riggs National Bank building on the corner of 9th and F Street. Paying homage to the building’s legacy, each of the property’s 181 guest rooms and suites is reminiscent of a private safety deposit box, while serendipitous details throughout the hotel draw on a narrative inspired by the golden age of banking. The heart and soul of the hotel is the ground floor Café Riggs - a modern, all-occasion restaurant in the tradition of the grand brasseries of Europe.
The ART, a hotel offers the perfect blend of refined comfort and intimate service. Contemporary design, high-touch amenities, and original works of art that grace two galleries spill into the hallways and adorn every guest room, combine seamlessly to provide guests a highly experiential stay.

Modern presentation. Classic technique. Refined flavors conjured from fresh, local ingredients. This is the artistic vision behind FIRE Restaurant, Lounge and Terrace. Guests can mingle with colleagues or meet special someone for a meal, cocktails, or after-dinner drinks on the terrace, gathered around a mesmerizing fire pit feature.
The Newbury Boston debuts this month following an unprecedented transformation. Originally opened in 1927 as one of the first Ritz Carlton hotels in the US, this iconic Boston landmark reopens in the heart of Back Bay directly across from the beloved Boston Public Garden. The property’s dramatic public spaces, 286 redesigned guestrooms (including 90 suites), 16,000 square feet of stunning event space, and new food and beverage experiences in partnership with Major Food Group, including a rooftop restaurant and the restoration of the beloved Street Bar have been mindfully restored.

To celebrate the return of this Icon, Ovation travelers will receive the following inclusions through September 6th, 2021:
  • Complimentary Room Upgrade
  • $100 Food & Beverage Credit to be savored in The Street Bar, The Library, or through In-Room Dining
  • Breakfast for two each morning
  • Early Check-in at noon
  • Late Check-out of 4 pm
Ovation Travel Group is wholly owned by American Express Global Business Travel (GBT). GBT is a joint venture that is not wholly owned by American Express Company or any of its subsidiaries (American Express). “American Express Global Business Travel”, “American Express", and the American Express logo are trademarks of American Express and are used under limited license. “American Express Meetings & Events” is a division of GBT.