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Is Australia about to drop pre-travel COVID-19 testing?

March 23, 2022
4 min read
Cityscape of Sydney, Australia with Harbour Bridge
Is Australia about to drop pre-travel COVID-19 testing?
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Australia could be about to drop pre-travel COVID-19 testing, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has teased.

Currently, visitors hoping to head Down Under must prove they've had a negative test in the three days before their flight.

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However, as the country transitions toward living with COVID-19, the government wants to remove the requirement to entice more tourists to visit.

Speaking at an event in Queensland to promote the Great Barrier Reef and other holiday hot spots that have been hit by the country's border closures, Morrison said that the major rule change was “not far away.”

“When it comes to international borders, they’re open and there are no caps on flights for people to come,” he shared.

Related: Your points and miles guide to Melbourne, Australia

“In the very near future the health minister will be making some further announcements about things particularly involving pre-testing of flights for those getting on flights to come to Australia.

“That will be an important milestone that’s not too far away from us now.”

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The prime minister also announced a $60 million tourism package to lure visitors back to Australia.

“As the world reopens, and travelers get out and see the world again, we want to ensure that at the top of every must-see list is Australia,” he said.

Related: Canada dropping testing requirements for vaccinated travelers as of April 1

“I have been listening to tourism industry operators about what they will need to rebuild their international tourist businesses and this funding boost will deliver on these needs.”

He said the funding package was designed to get international travelers on planes and in Australia.

"The return of our international tourism market will support hundreds of thousands of tourism jobs, strengthen our economy, and back our world-class tourism operators and the many regions reliant on international visitors, like tropical North Queensland."

Australia has been one of the world’s most reclusive nations since the pandemic hit two years ago, with a border policy seemingly cast in solid rock.

Related: KLM plans to stop monitoring face masks this week – despite Dutch government rules

Since March 2020, the country had been all but closed off to foreign tourists, in one of the strictest and most sustained COVID-19 border policies the world has seen during the pandemic. At first, Australia would not even allow its own citizens to leave.

Then, on Feb. 21, 2022, the country finally ventured back out into the wild, throwing open its borders to vaccinated tourists -- so long as they didn’t want to go to Western Australia.

Related: I could have entered Australia at any time during the pandemic – here’s why I waited until now

A week later, Western Australia -- which had been shut off even to the rest of its own country -- let down its own drawbridge, allowing vaccinated tourists to enter, as well as Australians from other states.

What are the current restrictions to get into Australia?

All international travelers to Australia must show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding their flight, whether it’s a PCR or rapid antigen test. PCR tests must be taken within 72 hours before the flight’s scheduled departure, while rapid antigen tests must be taken within 24 hours.

Eligible visitors are also required to complete a Digital Passenger Declaration at least 72 hours before departure, which includes a declaration regarding their vaccination status. They will also be asked to upload their vaccination certificate.

Unvaccinated travelers who qualify for a travel exemption application will be required to quarantine at a hotel.

Featured image by Getty Images
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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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
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Best for the well-traveled foodie
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees