It Could Be Time to Add Egypt Back to the Bucket List

Sep 20, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Over the weekend, Egyptian archeologists unearthed a new sphinx — just the latest in a series of exciting new discoveries in a nation famous for its ancient wonders.

The more than 2,000-year-old sandstone statue was found in the temple of Kom Ombo, near the city of Aswan. And though its stature is rather diminutive compared to its more famous man-headed, lion-bodied cousin, the Great Sphinx of Giza — it’s 14 inches tall, rather than 66 feet — it may be just another reason to visit Egypt now.

Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities via CNN
Photo courtesy of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities via CNN

Returning tourists

According to Reuters, Egypt’s tourism numbers surged 41% in the first half of 2018 — a strong indicator that the sector is recovering after the 2011 revolution and years of subsequent upheaval.

Safety remains a concern. Many travelers, however, have booked trips to Egypt, or visited recently.

Jarrad H., for example, visited during a long layover. “We hired a private guide and driver for insanely little,” he said in a post on the Facebook TPG Lounge. “[We] felt perfectly safe and taken care of by them.”

Court B., who “didn’t feel super safe,” also hired an inexpensive driver and armed guard through a Marriott in Cairo this June. Despite her security concerns, she “loved” the trip.

Favorable prices

Drivers and guards aren’t the only things that are affordable in Egypt right now. At this time, a single US dollar will get you nearly 18 Egyptian pounds.

And with contagion concerns stemming from the currency disasters in Argentina and Turkey, Egypt is vulnerable to an “exchange rate crisis” of its own, the Financial Times said. For this reason, travelers interested in even deeper savings should watch the exchange rate carefully for the next 12 months.

There are also attractive discounts on cruises and attractions. Uniworld is currently offering up to $1,649 off a 12-day Nile sailing this year.

New attractions and hotels

In December, a St. Regis will open its doors in Cairo, offering Nile river views, subtle Egyptian decor and luxe elements, such as nightstands with mother-of-pearl inlay and marble and mosaic-clad bathrooms. Cash rates aren’t available yet, but the Category 5 property can be booked for a standard rate of 35,000 Marriott Rewards points per night.

As with many hotels in Egypt, the nightly room rate is significantly lower than comparable properties in other destinations. The St. Regis New York, for example, is a Category 7 property requiring an average of 70,000 points per night.

Hilton, meanwhile, has announced plans to add 2,500 hotel rooms and “take on seven more projects” in Egypt by 2022.

Of course, Egypt’s famed attractions remain a major draw for tourists around the world. In addition to the classics — the Pyramids of Giza and Great Sphinx of Giza chief among them — the nation just opened the 4,000-year-old Tomb of Mehu to the public.

And before the end of the year, Egypt expects to open the 5.2 million-square-foot Grand Egyptian Museum: the largest museum on Earth devoted to a single civilization, according to CNN.

TPG reached out to the Egyptian Tourism Authority for information on viewing the sphinx statue, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Featured image of tourists in front of the Giza pyramid complex near Cairo in March 2018 by FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.