Portugal is now open to American tourists with a negative COVID-19 test

4d ago

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.

A handful of European nations popular with American travelers have reopened their borders to vaccinated U.S. citizens already, including Iceland, France, Spain, Croatia and Greece.

Now, we can add another country to the ever-expanding list: Portugal.

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

Portugal on Tuesday, June 15 said that nonessential travel — which includes tourism — from the U.S. to mainland Portugal is now allowed for travelers with proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The update appeared on the site for the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Portugal

Travelers headed to Portugal must provide proof of a negative nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), such as a PCR test, taken within 72 hours before boarding. Rapid tests are also accepted but must be performed within 24 hours of boarding. This applies to all travelers except those under 2. This rule goes into effect on June 15, 2021. 

However, the government said the measure would be reviewed every two weeks and currently expires at midnight on June 27. Portugal has recorded over 858,000 positive cases of the coronavirus and more than 17,000 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. And just over 22% of the population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Portugal’s decision comes amid a near-constant drumbeat of European nations reopening to Americans.

The vaccine campaign in the U.S. has largely been a success, allowing the country to finally get a handle on the pandemic. Reported cases have been falling consistently for weeks, and states and cities across the country have been lifting pandemic-related restrictions throughout the spring.

As a result, many European nations that are heavily reliant on American tourism have decided it’s time to open their tourism sectors back up to those Americans who have been completely vaccinated against COVID-19.

Initially, it was thought that Portugal would reopen first to fully vaccinated Americans. Last week, Reuters reported that the country’s economy minister, Pedro Siza Vieira, said Portugal was planning an imminent opening of its borders to Americans who had a full regimen of vaccines (and had completed their final vaccine dose at least 14 days prior to entering the country).

According to Reuters, just over 135,000 Americans visited Portugal last year, down from about 1.2 million in 2019. And, the southern European nation was newly placed on the United Kingdom’s “Amber List,” which means U.K. citizens returning home from Portugal are required to complete a 10-day quarantine — a big setback for the Portuguese tourism recovery effort.

Portugal is currently open for visitors from other EU nations that are considered to have low infection rates, but travelers must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival and may have to contend with stricter regulations upon returning home.

Getting to Portugal

Before the pandemic, TAP Air Portugal, the country’s flag carrier, was adding routes to the U.S. from both Lisbon (LIS) and Porto (OPO) at a rapid clip. While most of the routes to Lisbon — and one between Newark (EWR) and Porto — have survived the pandemic, many are operating at reduced frequencies due to the Portuguese border being basically closed for more than a year.

Earlier this spring, we saw TAP offer business-class fares to Portugal and beyond for under $1,000, and though those prices aren’t currently available, there are some relatively affordable premium fares to consider in the next couple of months. For example, you can fly between Boston (BOS) and Lisbon for about $2,100 round-trip on select dates from July through the end of the year, or from $2,600 on select dates this summer from Newark to Lisbon.

(Screenshot from Google Flights)

If you’re fine in coach, there are certainly deals to be had. Both TAP and its Star Alliance partner, United, are offering round-trip, nonstop tickets from Newark to Lisbon for less than $400 and round-trip, nonstop flights from Washington-Dulles (IAD) for around $450 later in the summer.

(Screenshot from Google Flights)

If you want to burn the points you’ve hoarded throughout the pandemic, there are plenty of options for getting to Portugal. TAP is a member of the Star Alliance, meaning searching for awards through United MileagePlus is a good place to start. While there doesn’t appear to be availability on many of TAP’s nonstop flights to Lisbon, flights are available in business class from 69,000 miles each way on a combination of Star Alliance carriers.

(Screenshot from United. Airlines)

Additional reporting by Victoria M. Walker.

Featured photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

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 spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • 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 $75 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 Pre✓®.
  • 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
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% 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.