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You'll soon be able to add digital vaccine cards to Apple's mobile Wallet

Sept. 22, 2021
3 min read
You'll soon be able to add digital vaccine cards to Apple's mobile Wallet
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Update 10/25/21: Apple has released iOS 15.1 with support for digital vaccine cards.


It’s shaping up to be a busy week for Apple.

On Monday, the tech giant released its latest slew of software updates for iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches that are packed with travel-friendly features. Later this week, on Friday, the company’s hottest new products, including the iPhone 13 lineup, along with a new iPad and iPad mini, will hit the shelves.

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And if that wasn’t enough, Apple just unveiled another enhancement coming to iPhones that could streamline the pandemic-era travel experience. In an upcoming software update, iPhone users will be able to add their COVID-19 vaccination records as a card in the Wallet app, according to an update posted to the company’s developer website.

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(Image courtesy of Apple)

Once stored in the mobile wallet, these verifiable records can be used as proof of a completed dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, instead of carrying around the paper-based vaccination certificate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With Apple’s Wallet integration, it’ll be easier than ever to quickly show your digital vaccine card as you enter a place of business, like a gym, restaurant, airport lounge or even a hotel, that requires one.

In fact, I recently attended the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens, New York, which required all spectators aged 12 and older to show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. The lines to enter the venue were noticeably longer than before the pandemic, primarily because of bottlenecks with vaccine verification. If Apple’s digital solution takes off, it could help streamline this entire process.

Lines to enter the U.S. Open were longer than usual due to vaccine verification. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Apple is relying on the SMART Health Cards specification to verify your vaccine information, which as of press time, is only being used by health agencies in four states: California, Louisiana, New York and select locations in Maryland. Additionally, if you were vaccinated at a Walmart, Sam’s Club or CVS Health pharmacy, your vaccine information is likely stored in the SMART Health Card system. You can find a full list of participating providers here.

For now, Apple is currently testing the Wallet integration in a beta build of iOS 15.1. There’s no timeline available yet for when the feature will roll out, but we’ll be sure to update this post when it goes live. In the meantime, you can download and store your COVID-19 vaccination info and other verifiable health records, including test results, in the Health app if you’ve upgraded to iOS 15.0.

This isn’t the only travel-focused upgrade coming to Apple’s Wallet app. Later this year, you’ll be able to add a digital version of your driver’s license or state ID to the app. After authenticating via Face ID or Touch ID, your digital ID will be accepted at TSA airport checkpoints.

(Image courtesy of Apple)

The first states partnering with Apple on digital IDs were recently unveiled. Those in Arizona and Georgia will be able to add their documents first, with the service rolling out to customers in Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah soon.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Apple)
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.

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Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
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Best starter travel card
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

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases