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It's time to drop COVID-19 testing for international travel

Feb. 10, 2022
3 min read
It's time to drop COVID-19 testing for international travel
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Brian Kelly, The Points Guy, published his perspective on the state of COVID-19 testing for international travel in his Feb. 5, 2022 newsletter. Subscribe to receive his weekly newsletter every Saturday.


As countries around the world start to realize that COVID-19 isn’t going away, some of the strictest countries have begun to ease up on their COVID-19 restrictions. For example, the United Kingdom will end COVID-19 testing for vaccinated travelers and reduce testing requirements for those that are unvaccinated beginning Feb. 11.

Find out what travel could look like as COVID-19 becomes endemic here.

Last week, the travel industry encouraged the White House to do the same and I completely agree with them.

Not all tests are created equal

Today there’s a huge risk to traveling abroad. If you test positive while abroad, you could be forced either to pay for a costly quarantine or, in some cases, be required to go to a government quarantine facility for an unspecified amount of time.

We all know that testing isn’t perfect. In fact, this week I took an at-home BinaxNow test that came back positive for COVID-19 even though I had no symptoms, am vaccinated and boosted. But when I went to get a PCR test later that day, I was negative. If that BinaxNow test was done while I was abroad, I would have been unable to come home even though I don’t actually have COVID-19 per the more strenuous and reliable PCR test.

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Read what happened when TPG tested four popular COVID-19 tests here.

Air travel and international travel

Traveling on a plane where masks are still required — and I agree they should be required, at least for a little while longer — and where transmission has been proven to be very low thanks to HEPA filters is one of the safest places to be. Requiring people to test before you go on a plane where you’ll be wearing a mask the whole time doesn’t really accomplish a whole lot besides adding undue stress to travelers, including the cost to find testing.

International travel isn’t going to rebound until we make it as easy to travel out of the country as it is to travel domestically. Today you could go from one COVID-19 hot spot in the U.S. to another without needing to take a test first, so why should you be required to test when you’re in other countries? Especially when a lot of other countries have lower rates of COVID-19 than we do here in the U.S. To me, it’s security theater.

I think everyone needs to protect themselves, wear their masks on planes and get vaccinated. But I agree that it’s time that the U.S. government stops punishing international travelers with the requirement to test before returning to the U.S., especially when the tests aren’t 100% reliable.

Featured image by Getty Images/iStockphoto
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.
3 / 5
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The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees