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Forgot to take a COVID-19 test before traveling? You can get one at this Florida airport

Sept. 29, 2020
3 min read
Forgot to take a COVID-19 test before traveling? You can get one at this Florida airport
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These days, your negative COVID-19 PCR test results are just as important as your passport for entering most of the 40-some countries still allowing U.S. travelers to enter.

But travelers are still reporting that test results can be hard to get in a timely fashion, especially within the narrow windows required by some particularly stringent countries. Worse yet would be forgetting to get a test altogether: In most cases, you'll either be denied boarding, or have to plan to go straight into a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

Fortunately, travelers departing Tampa may soon have an 11th-hour option. The Tampa International Airport (TPA) announced Monday that, starting in October, COVID-19 testing will now be available to anyone who can show proof of current or past travel within 72 hours of test time. The testing facility is located inside the main terminal near the Airside F shuttle stop, and is offered in partnership with BayCare Health System.

Tampa travelers can choose between the rapid antigen test for $57, or the more complex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nasal swab test for $125. It's worth noting that PCR tests are more accurate, and most international countries do not accept rapid tests for arrival clearance.

Related: Here's where to find a coronavirus test facility before you fly

Tests are available on walk-in basis seven days a week beginning Oct. 1, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. Rapid antigen test results are available in 15 minutes, and are most accurate within five days of the onset of symptoms.

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Unfortunately, you'll still want to plan ahead if you're traveling abroad: PCR test results take up to 48 hours.

Tampa claims it is the first airport in the U.S. to provide on-site testing for anyone. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has on-site testing for airport and airline workers.

And it isn't the first dedicated facility to provide COVID-19 testing.

New York City recently launched a testing lab in the city to help expedite the wait times for processing test samples, although the facility isn't open to the general public. The Pandemic Response Lab (PRL) is now up and running in the Alexandria Center for Life Science at East 29th Street and First Avenue, and currently handles approximately 3,000 samples per day.

The PRL expects to process up to 20,000 samples per day by November and eventually scale to 40,000 per day, in anticipation of what many disease experts fear will be another wave of coronavirus infections as winter approaches. The city of New York currently tests more than 200,000 residents for COVID-19 each week as of mid-September, according to the New York Times, and the new lab will help cut down on processing times for test results.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images

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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.
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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