American Airlines debuts vaccine passport feature within mobile app

May 20, 2021

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.

Flying with American Airlines? Get your vaccine card ready.

On Thursday, the Fort Worth-based carrier announced that it’s adding a vaccine passport capability to its health passport mobile app, Verifly. Flyers can now securely upload their CDC vaccination card before a trip, which will then be verified and processed before departure.

Verifly is an independent mobile app that American has deployed since November 2020 to streamline the check-in and document verification process before departure, including international entry requirements, COVID-19 tests and now vaccines. It can be downloaded for free on both the Apple App Store and Google Play store.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

In explaining the news, Preston Peterson, American’s director of customer experience innovation, told TPG that “we’re now shifting into this phase… where countries are really opening up, but it’s more based on vaccines. We need to adapt to that shift and make sure that we’re providing an opportunity for our customers to use their vaccine status to get into a country or a destination if they choose to.”

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

At launch, the vaccine passport feature will only be available for travelers headed to the Bahamas, El Salvador and Guatemala. In addition to accepting U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccination cards, Peterson told TPG that the carrier is working with Verifly to accept international vaccine records as well.

With ever-changing entry requirements, American’s committed to expanding the feature to other international destinations. In fact, this paves the way for American to support the much-anticipated travel corridor expected to launch shortly between the U.S. and the European Union.

“We are laying the groundwork for that,” Peterson said in reference to the news that Europe could soon be open to fully vaccinated Americans. “We’re happy to have this challenge to be able to provide our customers with more destinations to travel to this summer,” he continued.

On Wednesday, European Union countries confirmed that they’ll open to fully vaccinated Americans this summer. The agreement will allow fully vaccinated travelers entry to each of the EU countries without the need for a further COVID-19 test result or quarantine on arrival. A similar corridor between the U.S. and U.K. has reportedly been in the works for at least a month, but no formal announcement has been made yet.

American Airlines does not require vaccination for travel on its planes, except when it’s mandated by the destination country. When using the Verifly app for pre-departure screening, travelers can proceed through online or mobile check-in without needing to stop at a counter at the airport. If there are issues that require a visit to an agent, you’ll need to stop at a physical check-in desk, though Verifly customers can use a dedicated priority lane at 11 airports, including five of its 10 hubs.

(Screenshot courtesy of American Airlines)

In recent weeks, there’ve been reports of travelers providing falsified COVID-19 test and vaccine documents to airlines and immigration officials during travel. Asked about how Verifly actually verifies the CDC paper stock, Peterson couldn’t get into the specifics, but he did reassure travelers that “we will meet and comply with the requirements of the destinations of where we travel.”

American isn’t the only U.S. carrier to support mobile vaccine passports. United’s all-in-one travel-ready center includes the ability to upload test results and vaccine certificates prior to travel. Delta hasn’t announced a dedicated vaccine passport feature.

In addition to now supporting vaccine cards for international travel, the Verifly app can be used by AA travelers returning to the U.S. All travelers two years and older entering the U.S. are required to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than three days before departure, in addition to a signed attestation form.

By using the Verifly app, flyers can bypass a stop at the check-in counter and be assured that their documents were already verified before getting to the airport. Nevertheless, Peterson still recommends traveling with paper copies of test results and vaccination certificates.

At the end of the day, “we don’t control the immigration process in the various countries,” he said.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.