Skip to content

Amazon now sells cheap UK government-approved PCR tests for travel

Dec. 15, 2021
4 min read
Amazon now sells cheap UK government-approved PCR tests for travel
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Online retail giant Amazon now sells lower-cost COVID-19 PCR tests. The tests will cost £34.99 ($46.24) each, but will also be sold in discounted bundles, and crucially will be approved by the U.K. government for travel.

The price point is a key aspect of the Amazon program, given that prices for PCR tests can vary widely, with some costing as much as £150 ($200) for some 24-hour services.

For the latest travel news, deals, and points and miles tips, please subscribe to The Points Guy daily email newsletter.

The tests are approved by the U.K. government and can be used for the U.K.'s Day 2, Day 5, Day 8, and Test to Release" protocols. The tests have already have appeared on Amazon's U.K. site and are now listed on the government’s approved list of COVID test suppliers.

Amazon's tests will be processed at the company's lab in Salford, U.K. which was organized last year to process tests for its employees.

The retailer also set up a lab in the U.S., where it started selling home testing kits in the summer to American shoppers via its website. The tests will be sold in various packages that are all listed on the shopping website. Amazon's Test to Release, while included in the U.K. government's list of approved services is not currently listed on Amazon's website as a clear option.

The company actually began selling testing kits in the U.K. earlier this month but was not approved for travelers at that point.

It is hoped that the arrival of Amazon into the COVID-19 test market will bring some stability and security to a retail arena that some say is chaotic and ripe for consumer price-gouging. People traveling to the U.K. who have used some of the lower-cost tests approved by the government have complained that the turnaround times are incredibly slow and that some smaller companies' test results don't even arrive.

On the listing for the test on its website, Amazon says its test results will come back "within 24 hours of your sample arriving at the laboratory."

Sign up for our daily newsletter

However, it is worth being aware of Royal Mail closures ahead of time if you're looking to make use of the test during the festive season. Due to reduce postal services during the holiday period you will be unable to register Amazon test kits from Dec. 23-27 and Dec. 30 through to Jan. 2, 2022. Amazon advises not buying their product if you want or need to test on these days.

U.K. officials have been criticized for failing to properly regulate the test market, which has regained its importance for travelers as the omicron variant threatens to derail the Christmas travel season. Mandatory PCR tests have been re-implemented to track and hopefully contain the spread of the latest strain of the coronavirus.

Related: Traveling soon? Here’s where you can quickly get a COVID-19 PCR test for travel

According to the Guardian, a number of PCR testing deals -- including some offering tests for less than £1($1.32) — have been removed from the government site set up to help travelers find COVID-19 tests. Those offers were taken down because of complaints that some testing deals were misleading consumers, as well as service that was called "exceedingly poor."

Lord Tyrie, the former chairman of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), last week referred to the COVID test marketplace as a “rip-off jungle”.

The CMA has reportedly warned 25 PCR providers to sort out their issues or risk formal investigations.

Despite all this, some travel industry observers say the system is in disrepair and in need of better oversight. The arrival of a large company like Amazon with a better grasp of logistics is thought to be the kind of stabilizing move that will ultimately benefit consumers.

“We welcome Amazon’s new offering. Reliability and transparency are vital, so we hope that the company will meet the standards set by LTIO members," said Francis Ingham, the independent director of the trade group Laboratory and Testing Industry Organisation.

Featured image by Amazon COVID-19 RT-PCR Test Sample Collection Kit (Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

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

2 - 10X points
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

75,000 bonus miles
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

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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.

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
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

    75,000 bonus miles
  • 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