Thailand says it will reopen to travelers in October — here’s what you need to know

Jun 17, 2021

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Several countries, mostly in Europe and the Caribbean, have reopened to fully vaccinated travelers in recent weeks. But much of Asia has remained off-limits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thailand, however, said it’s ready to welcome travelers with open arms by mid-October.

The plan is to reopen the popular Southeast Asia country to fully vaccinated travelers “without quarantine or other inconvenient restrictions,” said Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on June 17, according to the Associated Press.

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Lamai Beach in Koh Samui, Thailand
Lamai Beach in Koh Samui, Thailand. (Photo by Jon Arnold/Getty Images)

Chan-ocha said Thailand’s goal was to reopen the country within 120 days.

The measure comes not a minute too soon for local tourism operators. Tourism is one of the nation’s largest gross domestic product drivers (GDP), and preventative measures against COVID-19 resulted in a huge blow to the industry. Chan-ocha also cited economic concerns for reopening the tourism-dependent country.

“I know this decision comes with some risk because, when we open the country, there will be an increase in infections, no matter how good our precautions,” the prime minister said on Wednesday, according to the AP.

But, if the country wants to avoid delays in reopening, it’ll need to combat a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases. Thailand has recorded over 200,000 positive cases of the coronavirus and over 1,500 deaths. Over 93,000 of the positive cases were from the past month. Just over 2% of the country is fully vaccinated, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

Some areas in Thailand have already begun to reopen to travelers, so if you’re planning to travel to the country this year you may want to start looking into your hotel and flight options.

Where to stay in Thailand

(Photo courtesy of The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok)

If you have a large points balance, or just earned a big welcome bonus, there are several ways to use your points in Thailand. The country has pretty affordable cash rates for hotels, however, so you may want to save your balance for another destination.

And, starting July 1, the popular island of Phuket will welcome fully vaccinated international visitors without quarantine. And as an added incentive to attract tourists, the Tourism Council of Thailand is considering a “one night, one dollar” promotion that would offer foreign visitors $1 per night hotel rooms.

How to get to Thailand

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

If you’re flying from the U.S., you may not find much flight availability but Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have flights.


Emirates recently launched the Emirates Skywards card with Barclays. You can also transfer points from the major transferable points programs (Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Capital One Miles) to Emirates Skywards at a 1 to 1 ratio. With Marriott Bonvoy, you can transfer points at a 3 to 1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred.

If you were flying from New York-JFK to Bangkok (BKK) in Emirates business, for instance, a one-way ticket would cost you 131,000 Skywards. Out of Los Angeles (LAX), that price would jump to 145,000 Skywards.

Screengrab from Emirates


Etihad Guest is a transfer partner of three major U.S. transferrable points programs: Amerian Express Membership Rewards, Capital One and Citi ThankYou. Transferring miles from these credit cards is the easiest way for American travelers to quickly earn Etihad Guest miles.

Economy flights to Bangkok are also pretty affordable for flights originating from the U.S., with flights starting at just under $700 for October dates.


If you have American AAdvantage miles, the program allows one-way redemptions and you’ll avoid the high fuel surcharges British Airways and Iberia would impose.

As the situation on the ground can always change, it’s best to book your award tickets and hotels now, because you can always cancel later down the road if necessary.

Featured photo by Peerapas Mahamongkolsawas/Getty Images

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