The New Brunswick government has announced the return of the rebate program for travel within the province along with an exciting change. It’s now available to all residents of Atlantic Canada – not just New Brunswickers. If you are thinking of possibly travelling within the region when it becomes permissible again, this is definitely something you should factor into your decision.
Explore NB Travel Incentive Program Phase 3 (May 27 – October 31, 2021)
In 2020 New Brunswick introduced a rebate offer to entice residents of the province to spend their travel dollars close to home. The program was renewed later in the year after being deemed a success.
When it was announced last year I thought maybe Nova Scotia might come out with a similar program. It did not. It will be interesting however to see if they offer something this year. (All due respect for the marketing expertise of the decision-makers involved, but last year’s Somewhere Over The Rainbow commercial, while pleasant, may not have been all that effective in inspiring locals to explore their own backyard. I could be wrong, but a good bargain seems a much stronger incentive, at least in my opinion.)
The Explore NB Travel Incentive Program allows travellers to submit receipts for eligible expenses up to a maximum of $1000 to receive a 20% rebate ($200).
A paid overnight stay is required. In addition, applicants can submit receipts for food, activities and travel as long as they qualify under the list of Eligible and Ineligible Expenditures.
Here’s some info from the website:
Adults (aged 19 or over at the time of the travel) who are Atlantic Canadian residents.
Terms and Conditions
1. A paid overnight stay at an eligible accommodation is mandatory. Any New Brunswick accommodation listed on the sites listed below will be eligible:
- Other recognized accommodation sites.
- Accommodations only found on Facebook Marketplace and/or Kijiji are NOT eligible.
- Self-isolation stays at designated hotels are not eligible for the Explore NB Travel Incentive rebate.
2. Applicant’s name must be on the accommodation receipt (supplied from accommodation receipt or in the case where that is not possible, handwritten).
3. All receipts must be issued by a New Brunswick business for a product or service provided in the province.
4. All expenditures claimed must be incurred on the day of check-in at the accommodations, and no later than the day of check-out. (Pre-paid deposits are acceptable.)
5. Applicants may submit receipts from multiple paid stays on the same claim.
6. Only expenses per the eligible/ineligible expenditure table will be considered.
7. Each accommodation receipt must contain:
- The business name and location
- dates of stay/date of purchase
- description of purchase (1 night’s stay – meals at restaurant)
- amount paid must be clearly identified on the receipt. The receipt must show the expense has been paid in full (show a zero balance).
8. Only individual receipts of $10 or more will be considered.
9. The eligible time for incurring expenses is from May 27th – October 31st, 2021
10. The provincial government reserves the right to audit any claim.
- Applications can be received any time from July 5 – November 30, 2021.
- Applications will be processed on an ongoing basis, starting July 5th.
- The online application portal will be available on the website on July 5th, 2021 at 8:30 a.m.
- Multiple applications will be accepted from one applicant, but the maximum rebate for any one individual remains at $200.
It seems the website now provides a greater amount of detail than what was released in 2020. That should make it easier for travellers to comply with the requirements and receive their 20% rebate. (I suppose there was a learning curve last year and the the program should run a little more smoothly this time.)
In addition to the opportunity to get a rebate on your travel expenses, if your NB getaway includes a stay at a chain hotel, be sure to register for any applicable loyalty promotions.
Here are a few promos that go into the summer:
Choice Privileges – Earn 8000 points (or a $50 gift card for various retailers) after every two stays until August 9.
IHG Rewards – Earn 2x the points on your second stay, 3x on third stay+ until August 16
Hilton Honors – Earn up to 3x the points on stays through September 6
Best Western – Earn a $20 Best Western gift card (Nov. 30 expiry) for each night (up to 5) through September 6
Also keep an eye out for promotions from Marriott and Wyndham in case either of those programs come out with something good. And remember to read the terms and conditions very carefully. [UPDATE: Wyndham now has a promo out to earn 6500 bonus points for each stay (up to three) of two nights or more which runs until Sept. 6.]
For non-chain accommodation, always check the website for the accommodation to see if they offer any special packages or deals for booking direct and not through a third party. Otherwise, consider booking through a site like Hotels.com where you can earn stamps toward a future free night.
Reopening of travel between the four provinces of Atlantic Canada will depend on the progress made in the ongoing battle against COVID-19. If positive trends continue, free movement within the region will hopefully return at some point this summer. When that time comes, the Explore NB rebate program will likely inspire some folks to head to New Brunswick for their getaway. As for me, despite my stint at Mount Allison, I haven’t really spent much meaningful time in New Brunswick as a tourist so it would be fun to plan a possible future visit.