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Americans are desperate to travel as vaccines roll out, fueling speculation that a travel boom is imminent

March 12, 2021
3 min read
Doctor writing COVID-19 vaccination record card after vaccination on patient.
Americans are desperate to travel as vaccines roll out, fueling speculation that a travel boom is imminent
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After more than a year of lockdowns, quarantines, and staying still as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world, travelers are ready to take to the skies again.

Google searches for "fully vaccinated travel" increased more than 750% on March 8, according to the internet giant, with searches for "CDC guidelines for travel" increasing about 650%.

The search data come as more than 33 million Americans have been fully vaccinated — meaning they've received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the new Johnson & Johnson shot — according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. Another 31 million are partially vaccinated, according to the CDC, meaning they've received one of two required doses.

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Notably, according to Google, there are a few top destinations that eager travelers are hoping to visit first — and those spots are largely grouped by home region.

The most searched-for flights for residents of most East Coast and Midwest states was Florida, according to Google. Much of the central U.S. and the entire West Coast searched for flights to Las Vegas, as did Hawaii residents, while the Mountain states — and residents of Nevada, Arizona, and Oklahoma — were largely searching for flights to Hawaii. Alaskans looked most for flights to Anchorage, while residents of the Sunshine State searched for flights to New York.

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Airline executives and analysts largely expect domestic travel demand to return before international, with an accelerated vaccine rollout expected to lead to a boom in domestic travel this Spring into Summer. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden reiterated his statement from last week saying there will be enough doses of the various vaccines for all Americans to be immunized by the end of May.

More:Americans can now visit 90+ countries and territories — here’s the complete list

Earlier this week, the CDC issued its first guidance for vaccinated Americans, urging them to continue to be cautious. Fully vaccinated people can now gather indoors maskless with other fully vaccinated people, or with unvaccinated people from one other household. The CDC still advises people not to travel, and to take protective measures before any necessary travel.

Nevertheless, guidelines and restrictions are expected to loosen as more Americans become vaccinated, offering a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel — and making now a tempting time to start looking for flights.

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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BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
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 on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
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.

    Earn 60,000 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.