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You will now need a negative COVID-19 test before flying to the US from the UK

Dec. 25, 2020
3 min read
You will now need a negative COVID-19 test before flying to the US from the UK
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Hours after United and Delta announced new COVID-19 test requirements for passengers traveling to the United States from the United Kingdom, the U.S. government said it would expand the mandate to all arrivals from the U.K.

The order, which will go into effect on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, will require all travelers from the U.K. to provide a negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours before departure, according to a statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Passengers must provide written documentation of the laboratory test result to their airline before boarding (either hard or electronic copies are acceptable, though we recommend keeping a paper copy on you just in case), and airlines must deny boarding to anyone without a negative test result.

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"This new order is consistent with the measures that have been taken so far to increase our ability to detect and contain COVID-19 proactively and aggressively," said the statement from the CDC.

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The new screening requirements follow a string of travel bans and flight cancellations designed to contain a troubling variant of the novel coronavirus, which is thought to be up to 70% more transmissible, the CDC said.

Earlier this week, British Airways agreed to require New York-bound travelers from London to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test, following a request from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Virgin Atlantic and Delta also imposed screening requirements for New York-bound flights, the Associated Press reported, followed by United on Thursday.

Gov. Cuomo also implored the U.S. government to take action by requiring a negative test for all travelers on flights arriving in the U.S. from the U.K. and to consider banning all travel from Europe.

“It’s high time the federal government takes swift action, because today that variant is getting on a plane and landing in [New York-JFK], and all it takes is one person,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.

Though the nationwide mandate doesn't go into effect until Dec. 28, some airlines are already requiring passengers to comply. Virgin Atlantic began requiring all passengers ages 6 and up to provide a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test on Dec. 24. According to The Washington Post, Delta's requirement is the same. United's testing policy, which goes into effect on Monday, applies to children 5 and older.

Air travel between the U.S. and the U.K. has already been drastically reduced, and with strict Tier 4 travel restrictions limiting travel to, from and within many parts of England (including London and the city's surrounding boroughs) dreams of a travel corridor linking New York City and London seem to have been dashed. In fact, despite a surge in the holiday season travel, the industry seems to be slipping back into a hibernation similar to what we saw in the dark, early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

And experts worry these new travel restrictions and testing requirements may be too late to curb the spread of the new strain, which was first identified in late September. If it hasn't already reached the U.S., the current screening measures may not be enough to contain it.

Featured image by Getty Images

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  • 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
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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