Skip to content

Confirmed: EU recommends restrictions on US travelers as delta variant spreads

Aug. 30, 2021
4 min read
Confirmed: EU recommends restrictions on US travelers as delta variant spreads
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.

The European Union on Aug. 30 recommended that member states reimplement travel restrictions for U.S. visitors.

The move is the result of the continued spread of the coronavirus in the United States. The recommendation, which is not mandatory, means the U.S. has been removed from the EU’s “safe list.” Israel (one of the world’s most-vaccinated countries), Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia were also removed from the list.

“Following a review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on nonessential travel into the EU, the Council updated the list of countries, special administrative regions and other entities and territorial authorities for which travel restrictions should be lifted,” the Council of the EU said in a statement.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The EU reopened to fully vaccinated American tourists in June. U.S. travelers could avoid mandatory quarantine by showing a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination. (Travelers must be fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved in the EU, including Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer.) If countries decided to reimpose restrictions, unvaccinated U.S. travelers could be subjected to testing and quarantine requirements. The new restrictions would not apply to vaccinated travelers, according to The New York Times.

When the EU reopened to vaccinated American tourists this summer, the hope was for an influx of eager travelers during the peak tourism season. European countries reliant on tourism, including Iceland, France, Spain, Croatia, Portugal and Greece, reopened their borders to U.S. citizens early on.

But individual member nations can decide when to relax — or tighten — entry requirements.

The EU recommendation comes as the highly transmissible delta variant surges throughout unvaccinated pockets of the United States. Just 52% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. The U.S. reported nearly 180,000 new cases on Aug. 27, the highest figure since late January.

Still, the travel industry was largely upset with the move, with many calling the recommendation “disappointing.”

Sign up for our daily newsletter

“The European Union’s recommendations are a step backwards, and clearly disappointing to the U.S. airline industry which has worked diligently to safely resume transatlantic service,” the trade group Airlines for America (A4A) said on Aug. 30.

Restrictions will likely further hurt the EU’s travel sector, which is already reeling from the pandemic.

The U.S. Travel Association, an organization that represents the travel industry, urged the EU to remain open to vaccinated Americans and encouraged the U.S. to reopen for travel. The U.S. remains closed to much of Europe as part of the Trump administration's ban on travelers from Schengen-area countries.

“This is a disappointing development following the boost in inbound visitation by vaccinated travelers that many EU countries experienced this summer,” U.S. Travel Association executive vice president Tori Emerson Barnes said in a statement. “Travel is a crucial component of the global economy and will be necessary for a full recovery from the economic devastation of the pandemic.

Despite the potential impact on tourism, some EU members may already be enhancing travel restrictions and testing requirements.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global trade association of airlines, echoed Emerson Barnes in a statement, saying that travelers "who are fully vaccinated should be free to move without restriction."

Featured image by SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett
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.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

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

1 - 10X points
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

80,000 bonus points
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®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
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

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