JUNE 2, 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 Biden administration says many American citizens holding recently expired US passports will be allowed to return home from abroad on that document until the end of year, reports Travel Weekly. Citing delays in passport renewals caused by COVID-19, the State Department said certain passports that expired on or after January 1, 2020, will be honored for reentry into the US until December 31, 2021. "US Customs and Border Protection officers will accept for admission certain expired US passports, thereby assisting US citizens who have been affected by appointment backlogs at embassies and consulates overseas caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," the department said in a notice issued earlier in the week. The department cautioned, though, that recently expired passports aren't valid for international travel from the US or for travel between third countries that is not directly linked to return travel to the US. "Recently expired passports cannot be used to travel from the United States to an international destination or to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection en route to the US or to a US territory," the department said. It added that not all expired passports will be eligible for the waiver, and urged Americans to check their status online before finalizing travel arrangements.

Air traveler volumes during Memorial Day weekend hit the highest levels since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the latest sign of recovery for the travel industry, reports CNBC. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened an average of 1.78 million travelers from Friday through Monday, hitting a peak of 1.96 million travelers screened on Friday, May 28. Those volumes are more than six times higher than a year ago, but still 22% below Memorial Day weekend in 2019.

American Airlines has announced that it is expanding its preflight COVID-19 testing program with new self-administered and more in-person testing options to make travel easier and safer. Travelers can now order an Abbott BinaxNOW™ Home Test through telehealth provider eMed. These 15-minute, self-administered tests are supervised virtually by an eMed Certified Guide 72-hours before a traveler's return to the US. eMed is a CDC-accepted administrator of rapid antigen tests that can be taken abroad and receive electronic documentation for reentry to the US with a negative test result. Travelers can order a set of six tests for $150 directly from eMed on American's website or pick up individual “Home Tests” at select pharmacies. The cost includes the supervision of an eMed Certified Guide who will join the individual during a telehealth visit to lead them through the testing process. The test result is available in as little as 15 minutes and is documented in Abbott’s NAVICA™ app available on smart devices. Additional shipping costs may apply. For travelers wanting an in-person test before departing the US, American is expanding its partnership with CareNow nationwide, allowing travelers to schedule a test at one of CareNow’s nearly 160 locations when traveling to select destinations on American. Travelers who choose to use the VeriFLY app can also upload their test results into the app.

Delta Air Lines has announced that it is updating its in-flight entertainment options, adding new movies, TV shows, and podcasts, as well as offering LGBTQ selections to honor Pride Month in June. “We want customers to have even more to look forward to onboard this summer, and that starts with giving them the very best entertainment at their fingertips,” Jaclyn Gonzales, Manager – In-Flight Entertainment, said in a statement. “From hit movies to premium TV shows, we’ve worked hard to make sure a great experience awaits onboard.” The summer refresh features more than 200 films, with 21 new releases that span a range of genres including action, comedy, documentary, drama, and family.

A digital COVID certificate system intended to ease travel within the European Union (EU) became operational in seven countries on Tuesday — ahead of schedule — offering a preview of what could become a standard for post-pandemic global mobility, reports The New York Times. Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Poland, and the Czech Republic made the certificates available to their citizens and are accepting them for visitors. The European Commission said the system would be in use for all 27 EU countries as of July 1. The long-term goal is for all people within the EU to have the certificates and for visitors from outside the bloc to be able to receive one upon arrival. Providing them to outsiders could be tricky, however, considering that not all countries have been giving people secure vaccination documents. The European Commission is in talks with the United States about how to verify the vaccination status of American visitors. It has also asked EU countries to start waiving testing and quarantine demands for people who are vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19, and to stop requiring quarantines for people with a negative COVID-19 test.
Bold, locally connected, and soulful, C. Baldwin, Curio Collection by Hilton delivers a special hotel experience in the heart of Houston's financial district. The accommodations offer a boldly stylish décor, floor-to-ceiling windows, glamorous textures and 55-inch multimedia TVs. Premium rooms and suites provide enhanced views of the city. A special collection of 14 corner guest rooms has been curated to feature Peloton bikes for those looking to enjoy a workout in the privacy of their room. Sip handcrafted cocktails in the spacious, step-down bar amid the lobby social scene. Work out in the well-equipped fitness center or stroll through the social green space.

Ovation travelers receive 1,000 bonus Hilton Honors points per stay from June 7 – July 31, 2021 (must be booked with the Ovation preferred rate).
Fairmont Austin is a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property, and it is rated #1 on Trip Advisor. Experience resort-style amenities within a sophisticated city center hotel. Fairmont Austin’s service professionals await the opportunity to ensure guest expectations are exceeded and their time in the Texas Hill Country is unforgettable. Guests experience personalized service, unique views, five restaurant and bar offerings, and a seasonally heated swimming pool on the 7th floor.
After a long winter hibernation, Ink 48 Hotel reopened its doors on May 11, 2021 and is excited to welcome Ovation travelers back to its hotel. This 4-star/4-diamond hotel is conveniently located in Midtown West Manhattan, New York City. Oversized King rooms start at 275 sq. ft. and soaring ceilings resemble spacious loft apartments rather than standard hotel rooms. The hotel’s award-winning rooftop bar, The Press Lounge, is the perfect spot for entertaining clients or grabbing an after-work drink surrounded by panoramic views of Midtown`s skyline. The privileged location is close enough to restaurants and nightlife and only 10 minutes walking to Times Square, Javits Center, and famous Hudson Yards.
Ranked “Top 10 Best New Hotel” on USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards, Lotte Hotel Seattle is Downtown Seattle’s newest luxury hotel. Lotte Hotel Seattle is prominently situated in the business district on Fifth Avenue and just minutes away from the city’s famous tourist attractions such as Pike Place Market, Columbia Tower Observatory, and Smith Tower. Boasting an artistic yet modern design, the 189-room hotel has 33 suites and highlights breathtaking views of Elliott Bay or the city’s skyscrapers. The hotel also houses The Sanctuary, the nation’s oldest Beaux-Art style architectural building founded in 1908, in addition to a selection of meeting spaces for events of all sizes, a signature restaurant and lounge, spa, and business center.
Located on Chicago’s famed Michigan Avenue, along the Magnificent Mile, the 4-diamond all-suite Omni Chicago Hotel puts guests in the heart of The Windy City. World-class shopping, stunning views, and premium culinary destinations are all steps away. Downtown Chicago landmarks like The Loop and Millennium Park, home of Cloud Gate, otherwise known as the Chicago “bean” are just a short walk. The comforts of the all-suite, city-inspired, luxurious accommodations provide the ultimate downtown retreat.
She’s back! The Newbury Boston debuts at last following an unprecedented transformation. Originally opened in 1927 as one of the first Ritz Carlton hotels in the US, this iconic Boston landmark has reopened in the heart of Back Bay directly across from the beloved Boston Public Garden. The property features 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 the restoration of the beloved Street Bar which have been mindfully restored.

To celebrate the return of this Icon, Ovation travelers will receive the following inclusions through September 6, 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 p.m.
The Watergate Hotel sits perfectly along Washington, DC’s Potomac River, offering stunning views of the Georgetown waterfront and neighboring Kennedy Center.

Spacious rooms and suites, many with private balconies, offer a retro chic design with contemporary comfort. Other hotel amenities include a heated indoor pool, Argentta spa, and 24-hour fitness center.

The award-winning rooftop lounge, Top of the Gate, is now open. A unique, open air location to meet with clients or colleagues while enjoying the city’s best handcrafted cocktails and seasonal light fare menu.

Walk, Metro, or taxi to downtown offices, White House, National Mall, and more. Located in Foggy Bottom, next to the historic Georgetown center with popular restaurants, shopping, and waterfront.

Ovation travelers receive 10% off Food and Beverage (excluding alcohol) for stays through August 31, 2021.
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.