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We shouldn’t have to tell you this, but please don’t travel if you have COVID-19

Dec. 18, 2020
5 min read
We shouldn’t have to tell you this, but please don’t travel if you have COVID-19
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Here at TPG, we try to stay on top of travel trends involving aviation, loyalty, cruising and all segments of the industry. But recently, a new trend has emerged that is — to be blunt — one of the most irresponsible, selfish and dangerous things you can do in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.

It pains me to have to write these words, but given what we're seeing in the news and across social media, it's sadly necessary: Do not travel this holiday season if you have COVID-19.

Earlier this week, news broke that a United flight had to divert for medical reasons, and passenger accounts on Twitter indicated that the affected traveler (who ultimately passed away) was positive for COVID-19. The details aren't entirely clear. Was the positive test recent? Was the death caused by the coronavirus, or was there another medial condition?

Related: How to fly safe during the pandemic; Tips and 11 things you need to know for holiday travel

Regardless of those details, there are many other examples of travelers knowingly boarding a plane with COVID-19. One was banned for life by JetBlue in March. Another couple was arrested flying back to Hawaii in November.

And these are not isolated incidents.

Here's a snapshot of examples I've seen in the TPG Lounge and across other travel groups in recent days:

A photographer traveled in Texas for a wedding, and after spending all day shooting it, a bridesmaid said the groom tested positive the night before, “But everything was cool because he had no symptoms.”
"If masks work (as everyone screams about requiring them), then why can’t you fly with COVID, as long as you wear a mask?"
"Realistically health is no one else’s business. Traveling has always been a leading cause in illness spreading, if you don’t like it don’t travel."

Possibly the worst offender came in a Disney-themed private Facebook group. One member who was planning to visit Disney World in Orlando next week tested positive and asked for what to expect with refunds and change options. Among the advice doled out? Responses encouraging her to just wear a mask, take Dayquil and simply just go anyway.

Stop. Just stop. It doesn't matter if you're asymptomatic. It's irrelevant if you feel like you can handle getting sick. And it's beside the point if you think COVID-19 is just like the flu. (It's clearly worse, by the way.)

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By hitting the road this holiday season as a known COVID-positive traveler, you not only risk infecting others; you could kill one (or more) of your fellow Americans.

It could even be one of the friends or family members you're going to see. You may not have any underlying medical conditions that put you more at risk of hospitalization or death, but what about your parent who's a cancer survivor? What about your aunt or uncle with high blood pressure? Are their lives worth you getting on that plane?

Yes, I know that canceling a trip at the last minute isn't always easy. Heck, it could even be costly. Most airlines are offering free changes through at least the end of the year — or have eliminated most fees permanently — but that may not be the case with other providers. You may have grabbed a great deal on a prepaid rental car, or maybe you're past the window to cancel your hotel stay without a penalty.

But here's the thing — It. Doesn't. MATTER.

Dealing with the hassle of changing your plans or incurring a minimal fee is a small price to pay to protect others. And I promise that if you call a company and say, "I've tested positive for COVID-19 and need to cancel a nonrefundable travel purchase to protect others," you have a very high likelihood of getting your money back.

Related: Are rapid COVID-19 tests the way to get everyone traveling again?

If you start feeling sick, don't travel. If you're exposed to someone to someone with COVID-19, don't travel. And if you get a positive test result for COVID-19, don't (under any circumstances) travel.

These recommendations — echoed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and virtually every other governmental agency, mind you — probably seem wholly unnecessary. But sadly, that's the reality in the ninth month of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yes, we're facing a global health crisis, even with the recent start of vaccine rollout.

However, we're also facing a global stupidity crisis, and no shot in the arm can treat that.

This isn't about you. It's about your fellow citizens. Don't travel with the coronavirus this holiday season.

Featured image by Getty Images/Cultura RF

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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
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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.

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
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