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Your summer trip to Iceland might be back on — with a catch

May 12, 2020
3 min read
Your summer trip to Iceland might be back on — with a catch
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Iceland will welcome international travelers back "no later than June 15," Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said during a Tuesday press conference.

Since March 20, foreigners (excluding EU citizens, U.K. citizens, EFTA citizens and people living in the Schengen Area) have been forbidden from entering Iceland, except for essential reasons, according to Iceland's Directorate of Immigration.

At this time, only travelers from within the approved areas may travel to Iceland, and they must immediately enter a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. But on Friday, Iceland will begin to slowly ease travel restrictions.

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The first phase will allow travelers from the Faroe Islands and Greenland to visit Iceland without enduring a quarantine period, according to The Reykjavík Grapevine, an Iceland-focused magazine and website.

Though precise details are still in development, Iceland expects to ease entry restrictions for visitors from overseas by mid-June.

When an expanded set of travelers are again permitted to visit Iceland, hopefully by June 15, Bloomberg reported that travelers will be able to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at Kevlavík International Airport (KEF) and, if the results are negative, enter without the mandatory two-week quarantine. Without taking the test, the 14-day quarantine period would still be required.

According to The Reykjavík Grapevine, travelers will also be asked to install a contagion-tracing app.

Travelers would be tested at the international terminal, and then be allowed to head to their hotel or other accommodations while awaiting the results, which could arrive on the same day.

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Related: How to plan a trip to Iceland using points and miles

So, who will pay for those tests? An AFP report published by Barron's said the testing expense will initially be covered by the government, but that travelers will later be asked to repay the cost.

Another possibility for entry without quarantine is that travelers could seek out a clean bill of health from their healthcare provider or a travel clinic prior to departure. If Iceland's health officials approve of the certificate, visitors may be able to avoid both the on-site testing and the two-week quarantine.

Visit TPG’s guide to all coronavirus news and updates

Iceland's strategy seems similar to that of Austria, which recently introduced on-site coronavirus testing at Vienna International Airport (VIE). The results, Skift reported, are available within two to three hours and — if negative — allow travelers to skip the requisite 14-day quarantine. The tests cost 190 euros (about $206). Travelers can also provide a health certificate from home that shows a negative test result. Only travelers from within the Schengen Area and exempt individuals are allowed to travel to Austria at this time.

On-site testing for COVID-19 may be the key to reopening borders around the globe.

“Iceland’s strategy of large-scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far,” Iceland's tourism minister, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The U.S. News and World Report called Iceland a "world leader in mitigating the threat from COVID-19" earlier this month. Approximately 15% of the population has been tested, and the coronavirus has been declared nearly eliminated.

Feature photo by DieterMeyrl / Getty Images.

Featured image by Getty Images

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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
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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