This week, the Canadian-U.S. border opened for the first time since March 2020. Finally, families can reunite, and eager travellers no longer have to take twisted air routes to get to U.S. destinations.
There’s just one problem: to return to Canada, you need a negative COVID-19 test. And not a rapid test, but a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. These tests are expensive, ranging from $150 to $300, and their results often take longer than a day to process. For many Canadians, that was a major disappointment, as it only prolonged the difficulty of taking short trips to the U.S.
That could change, however, with Air Canada and Switch Health’s most recent invention: self-administered COVID-19 tests.
A portable test? Really?
Yes, just in time for the border restrictions to ease, Air Canada and Switch Health have launched a series of portable COVID-19 tests.
According to a press release provided by Air Canada, the portable COVID-19 test complies with the Canadian government’s travel requirements. That means, instead of looking for a PCR test at a foreign medical facility, then waiting for your results to come back, you can take the test from the ease of your home. Results are ready in less than 45 minutes, and you can view them online.
As long as you’re an Aeroplan member, you can buy these tests from Switch Health’s website or Aeroplan’s online store. They’re not available to non-members, at least not yet.
The RT-LAMP test kit costs $149, and it should arrive within seven business days after you order it. Switch Health does have a two-pack Rapid Antigen test for a lower price of $79. But the Canadian government will not accept this test as reentry into Canada.
How much can you earn?
Not only can these tests help you travel back and forth between the U.S. and Canada, but they can also help you earn a substantial amount of Aeroplan points.
For the RT-LAMP test, you’ll earn 500 points per kit. The Rapid Antigen test (again, not accepted for reentry into Canada) will also earn you 500 points per kit, and the RT-PCR kit, which you must send to Switch’s laboratories for processing, will give you a lucrative 1,000 points.
That means, if you have a family of four, you could earn 2,000 points just for getting the RT-LAMP tests. You already have to get these tests, so earning around $40 in cash back is just icing on the cake.
Again, the portable COVID-19 tests are for Aeroplan members only, and Air Canada said they have a limited quantity of tests. If you’re planning to travel to the U.S. soon, and you don’t want to worry about getting a PCR test for reentry, hop over the Air Aeroplan’s online store before they sell out.