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Act fast: Friday is the last day to order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the government

Aug. 29, 2022
4 min read
at-home covid test
Act fast: Friday is the last day to order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the government
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.


As of Sept. 2, American households will no longer be able to order free at-home rapid COVID-19 tests online through the government, so be sure to do so by then if you are still eligible to receive more tests.

Although these tests alone don’t meet the requirements outlined by most travel entities and countries with travel restrictions, you can use these tests for travel by purchasing an add-on virtual proctoring service.

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As of Aug. 29, each household is eligible for up to 16 tests. If you haven't already received the maximum number, head to covid.gov/tests and click on “Order Free At-Home Tests,” as illustrated below.

COVID.GOV

From there, you'll be directed to the United States Postal Service to order the tests.

USPS.COM

Simply enter your contact and shipping information before selecting “Check Out Now.”

USPS.COM

Once you click on “Check Out Now,” you'll be asked to review your order to verify your shipping address and contact information is correct before hitting "Place My Order."

USPS.COM

After that, you should receive confirmation, via email and on screen from the USPS, explaining that the eight tests will be mailed in two packages of four tests, along with the subsequent tracking details related to each package.

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USPS.COM

It may take a few minutes to receive a confirmation email.

USPS.COM

Related: How to save money on pricey rapid COVID-19 PCR tests

If you haven’t ordered tests from the U.S. government before, you can submit up to three orders per household, for a total of 16 tests.

The White House initially distributed 500 million tests in January, declaring that families were eligible to order up to four at-home tests in both January and February.

But as of Sept. 2, the government is suspending the free at-home COVID-19 test program "because Congress hasn't provided additional funding to replenish the nation's stockpile of tests," per a note on the online ordering portal.

Bottom line

U.S. public health officials are warning of a possible testing shortage this fall, which means you'll want to get ahead of that and order tests, such as the ones available from the government for free.

Remember that these tests can be used when traveling to countries that require incoming passengers to submit negative predeparture tests by purchasing an add-on proctored service, as TPG credit cards editor Senitra Horbrook detailed on a recent trip.

If you've already ordered the maximum number from the government's testing program, rest assured there are a variety of at-home proctored tests available for travelers, including Abbott’s BinaxNow COVID-19 Home Test and Ellume’s COVID-19 Home Test.

Lastly, remember that you can submit the cost of these tests for reimbursement through major insurance plans.

For even more information on using at-home COVID-19 tests, read:

Featured photo by Angus Mordant/Bloomberg/Getty Images.

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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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
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  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
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  • 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.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
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