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No more quarantine option for visitors, and other changes to Alaska's COVID-19 entry requirements

Aug. 17, 2020
4 min read
No more quarantine option for visitors, and other changes to Alaska's COVID-19 entry requirements
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Over the last few months, a number of states and countries have introduced mandatory COVID-19 testing in advance of travel as an alternative to a 14-day quarantine.

But now, the trend is moving toward a shorter timeframe between testing and travel; the elimination of a quarantine option for leisure travelers; and the introduction of a second mandatory test -- taken after you arrive at your destination.

Along those lines, America's most northern state, Alaska, has new rules when it comes to entering the state during the pandemic.

These entry adjustments are interesting not only because of the obvious implications for travel to Alaska but also because this could serve as a potential model for Hawaii. Hawaii has delayed its reopening to tourism because of a surge of COVID-19 cases in the Aloha State, and has even reimplemented some restrictions for interisland travel.

But the 50th state has said it's actively looking to the 49th state for learnings on testing as it relates to travel. After all, both states share similar geographical advantages and disadvantages when it comes to COVID and travel.

Visit TPG’s guide to all coronavirus news and updates

As of Aug. 11, all nonresidents of Alaska must arrive with a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure, or proof of a pending test result from a test taken within 72 hours. This information is to be uploaded into the Alaska Travel Portal. A nonresident no longer has the option to enter into a 14-day quarantine as an alternative to testing. The option for testing within five days of arrival has also been eliminated.

If a nonresident of Alaska arrives without a preentry test, testing on arrival is available for $250 per test. Travelers taking a test upon arrival will be required to quarantine while waiting on test results. Parents take note that testing is not required for children 10 or younger

Returning Alaska residents may still quarantine for two weeks, or they can take the test on arrival at no cost to them.

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Related: Best ways to get to Alaska using points and miles

In addition to the pre-travel or on-arrival testing, Alaska is also asking that travelers be tested again after being in Alaska for seven to 14 days. Until that second test is complete, the state is asking new arrivals to be extremely vigilant about limiting their interactions with others and strictly adhering to social distancing mandates.

Related: State by state guide to coronavirus and travel in the U.S.

When looking to how this may eventually play out in Hawaii, an obvious barrier to Hawaii simply replicating Alaska's testing model is that the number of visitors arriving by air is significantly higher.

In 2018, Hawaii had almost 10 million visitor arrivals by air, while Alaska had fewer than 10% of that number arrive by air (notably, more than 1 million additional visitors arrive by cruise ship to Alaska in a normal year).

Gov. David Ige of Hawaii expressed concern around the feasibility of testing visitors as they arrive at Hawaii's airports because of the scale and workload that would entail, with almost 1 million visitors arriving by air each month during normal times. This explains why testing upon arrival has been ruled out at Hawaiian airports for the time being.

Related: What it's like to fly in the U.S. right now

If you decide to follow the guidelines and make the trip, here is a look at the best times to visit Alaska, as well as some winter travel ideas if you decide to pack a parka and make a trek to try and enjoy the northern lights in Alaska this fall or winter.

Additional reporting by Melanie Lieberman

Featured image by Getty Images/EyeEm

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  • 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
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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.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    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

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  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    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
    Excellent

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