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US will reportedly require all travelers to get a COVID-19 test 1 day before travel

Dec. 01, 2021
3 min read
US will reportedly require all travelers to get a COVID-19 test 1 day before travel
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The U.S. is reportedly preparing to significantly narrow the testing window for travelers flying back to the United States, regardless of vaccination status, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The new rule will require all travelers, vaccinated or not, to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no later than one day before departure. The current policy, which has been in place since January, has been three days before departure. The policy goes into effect for flights departing at or after Dec. 6, 2021.

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The move comes days after the omicron variant was deemed a “variant of concern” — the most severe category — by the World Health Organization. The variant may be more contagious than others and contains several spike protein mutations that may make it less responsive to COVID-19 vaccines. There are also signs it may be more virulent than other variants.

The White House had previously stated it didn't anticipate implementing further travel restrictions because of the new COVID-19 variant.

However, the Post is reporting that the Biden Administration is considering requiring U.S.-bound travelers to get another test within three to five days after arriving in the U.S., and is also considering requiring travelers -- even those who test negative -- to quarantine for seven days following international travel. It's unclear how that policy would be enforced. Several jurisdictions, including New York City, have had various quarantine policies for domestic and international travel at points during the pandemic.

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Last week, the Biden administration suspended entry to the United States by travelers from eight South African nations, including South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The temporary ban applies to those who have been in the affected countries within 14 days of attempted entry to the U.S. and does not include American citizens or permanent residents. Non-U.S. citizens coming from the impacted countries are restricted from entering the U.S. with limited exceptions.

But the new testing requirement is the first policy to affect U.S. citizens and applies to all travelers whether they're vaccinated or not. As we've previously reported, unvaccinated U.S. travelers now must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before departure. This policy went into effect in early November.

It's unclear whether U.S. airlines have been informed of the new policy, as they are required to verify travelers' negative COVID-19 test results. But what is clear is that travelers, vaccinated or not, will have to arrange for COVID-19 testing with little flexibility, which can already be difficult for travelers in more remote destinations or places with testing shortages. Self-testing still appears to be an option, with several popular companies such as Abbott selling testing kits.

Featured image by China News Service via Getty Ima
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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  • 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.
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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