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5 things travelers need to know about the delta COVID-19 variant

June 30, 2021
3 min read
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Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that even fully vaccinated individuals — those who received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least two weeks prior — should still wear a mask as the delta variant spreads.

This differs from current guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which relaxed indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people this spring.

But the warning comes as the delta variant strain of the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide. The delta variant, first discovered in India, is quickly becoming the world’s dominant strain and has been traced to an outbreak of fully vaccinated adults in Israel, prompting that country to require people to wear masks again.

To find out more about the delta variant and what it could mean for your travel plans, TPG spoke with Dr. Jenny Yu, the senior manager of medical integrity at Healthline Media (which is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures), through email.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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Should people rethink their summer travel plans?

Dr. Jenny Yu: People should weigh these factors while traveling for the summer: vaccination status, health risks and local regulations. If you are vaccinated and continue to wear a mask, the risk of contracting the virus remains fairly low.

For families with children who are not vaccinated, mask-wearing is good protection. In addition, it's good to know where the hotspots of the delta variant are, and the local regulations of testing and quarantine for both vaccinated and nonvaccinated individuals so that there are no surprises to ruin travel plans.

Does my vaccine protect against this variant? Will I need a booster shot?

Dr. Yu: Data has shown that the [two-shot] mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are 88% effective in protecting against the delta variant. A recent study out of Washington University suggests there could be sustained protection against the virus. When and if we will need a booster is still to be determined.

How effective are the different vaccines against the delta variant?

Dr. Yu: The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are 88% effective after the two shots. The Astra-Zeneca/Oxford vaccine is 60% effective after the two shots. More data is needed for whether recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will need a second booster.

What are the concerns about the delta variant? Is it more contagious or severe?

Dr. Yu: The Ddelta variant is the more contagious of the variants. It can produce mild symptoms in even vaccinated individuals. It is most dangerous to unvaccinated individuals as they are likely to contract the virus.

What regions are currently experiencing outbreaks of the delta variant?

Dr. Yu: In the U.S., the Southeast and the Midwest have higher concentrations of the delta variant, with Missouri having the highest documented cases. Worldwide, the United Kingdom, South Africa, South America (Brazil) and Australia are seeing accelerated cases of the delta variant.

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.
4 / 5
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Recommended Credit

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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.

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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
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

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more