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Major US travel companies pressure Biden to reopen international borders, starting with UK

May 12, 2021
5 min read
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Executives from some of the United States' largest travel entities have urged U.S. President Joe Biden to open international travel to the U.K. and other low-risk countries.

In conjunction with the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) -- a nonprofit that represents the travel industry -- representatives from companies like Wyndham Hotels; United Airlines; Disney Parks, Experiences and Products; Expedia Group, Inc.; and Carnival Cruise Line asked for The President's help in a three-page letter.

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A letter from the U.S. Travel Association and several top travel executives implores U.S. President Joe Biden, pictured, to reopen America to international travelers. (Photo by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

What they're asking

"As leaders of America's travel and tourism industry, which has been the hardest hit sector of the economy, we respectfully urge your administration to seize this opportunity and quickly develop a roadmap to safely reopen international travel to the United States by this summer," the letter reads, noting that international travel is estimated to take as long as five years to recover if nothing is done.

The letter also implores The President to take three key steps to speed up the reopening process.

First, it recommends that Biden work with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to establish a public health corridor (PHC) between the U.S. and the U.K. this month. The USTA says that move alone could support as many as 300,000 jobs and bring more than $4 billion to the U.S. economy.

The letter asks Biden to work with U.K. Prime Minister Borris Johnson, pictured, to reopen the U.S. to U.K. travelers first. (Photo by Geoff Pugh - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

There has already been some slow progress regarding U.K. travel. On May 10, the U.S. State Department downgraded its U.K. travel warning level from Level 4 to Level 3 for Americans wishing to visit.

Dated May 11, the correspondence from the USTA to The President was issued just four days after the U.K. released its latest round of approved "green" (read: safest) countries. The U.S. was excluded from the list, meaning Americans traveling there -- even those who are fully vaccinated -- will still have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival or submit to significant testing throughout their stay.

The letter's second request is the creation of a public-private task force -- something much of the cruise sector set up last summer in the form of the Healthy Sail Panel -- that could allow inbound travel from other low-risk nations as soon as July, using science and data, including vaccination rates, to determine risk.

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Finally, the request asks Biden to use June's G7 summit, which will be held in the U.K., to gather support from other nations committed to restarting international travel.

The halting of international travel has resulted in widespread job loss throughout the travel industry. (Photo by VanderWolf-Images/Getty.)

Why it's important

"Prior to the pandemic, international inbound travel to the U.S. contributed $234 billion in export income to the U.S. economy, generated a trade surplus of $51 billion, and directly supported 1.2 million American jobs," the letter says. "However, the steep decline in travel in 2020 resulted in the loss of $150 billion in export income and 1.1 million jobs. If nothing is done to lift entry restrictions, the U.S. is projected to lose an additional $175 billion by the end of this year."

"We ... remain hopeful that all segments of America's travel industry can soon be safely restarted in order to contribute in significant ways to an overall recovery and bring the U.S. back together with the rest of the world," the letter states.

Executives from several major travel brands -- including American, Delta, JetBlue, United, Carnival Cruise Line, Accor, Hilton, IHG, Loews, Wyndham, Disney and Expedia -- support the request. (Photo by Sergey Shik/Shutterstock)

Who endorses it

Executives who signed the letter include:

  • Roger Dow, President and Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Travel Association
  • Geoff Ballotti, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
  • Ed Bastian, Chief Executive Officer, Delta Air Lines
  • Nicholas E. Calio, President and Chief Executive Officer, Airlines for America
  • Anthony Capuano, Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International, Inc.
  • Josh D'Amaro, Chairman; Disney Parks, Experiences and Products
  • Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line
  • Robin Hayes, Chief Executive Officer, JetBlue Airways Corp.
  • Peter Ingram, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.
  • Jerry Jacobs, Jr., Chief Executive Officer, Delaware North
  • Peter Kern, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Expedia Group, Inc.
  • Scott Kirby, Chief Executive Officer, United Airlines
  • David Kong, President and Chief Executive Officer, BWH Hotel Group
  • Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive Officer, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts
  • Heather McCrory, Chief Executive Officer, North & Central America, Accor
  • Sean Menke, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sabre
  • Christopher J. Nassetta, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hilton
  • Patrick Pacious, President and Chief Executive Officer, Choice Hotels International, Inc.
  • Doug Parker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, American Airlines
  • Scott Sibella, President, Resorts World Las Vegas
  • Chrissy Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Holdings Inc.
  • Jonathan Tisch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Loews Hotels & Co
  • Andrew Wexler, Chief Executive Officer, Herschend Enterprises
Featured image by Getty Images
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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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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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
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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