Skip to content

Closest allies urge US to relax travel bans

July 29, 2021
5 min read
A man, woman, and young child, all wearing masks, wheel luggage through an airport.
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 United States has cited the highly transmissible COVID-19 delta variant for keeping a travel ban impacting dozens of countries in place. Most non-U.S. citizens of the United Kingdom and China, Iran, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, India and Schengen Area countries are currently banned from entering the United States. The delta variant is the United States’ most dominant strain, accounting for 83% of cases in the U.S.

But even as the variant spreads worldwide, travel has picked up. And countries that have reopened to Americans want the U.S. to return the favor. Here’s what the U.S.’s closest allies -- and the travel industry -- have said about the ongoing travel ban.

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

England

(Photo by Joseph Okpako/Getty Images)

Starting Aug. 2, England will allow fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and the European Union to enter its borders without the need to quarantine.

The travel industry welcomed the news on both sides of the Atlantic. August would traditionally be one of the busiest travel months between the U.K. and the U.S. but has seen just a trickle of the usual traffic this summer thanks to strict restrictions for visitors to both countries.

“We want people to be able to come from the U.S. freely in a way that they normally do,” England’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview with LBC Radio.

But even with England reopening to Americans, most U.K. citizens still can’t come to the United States. And it doesn’t appear that it will change anytime soon. The White House, citing the highly transmissible delta variant dominant in the U.S. and much of Europe, said that it wouldn’t lift any of its existing travel restrictions “at this point.” The U.S. Travel Association reacted to the news, saying that closed borders “have not prevented the Delta variant from entering the U.S.”

According to the Associated Press, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO urged the U.S. to end its travel ban, saying that an “overly cautious approach” would further impact economic recovery.

But British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he was optimistic that the U.S. would end the travel ban put in place by former President Donald Trump.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

“We can only set the rules at our end,” Shapps said, according to the Associated Press. We can’t change that on the other side, but we do expect that in time they will release that executive order.”

European Union

EU, UK, Borders and European Union signs in London Stansted STN airport in England, UK (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The European Union opened to vaccinated Americans this summer, but the U.S. travel ban remains in place. Germany’s government has taken a more vocal stance against the U.S. travel ban than other countries.

“We urgently need fact-based reciprocity in the entry rules between the U.S. and the Schengen area,” Peter Beyer, Germany’s Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation, told Bloomberg.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel herself pressed President Joe Biden on the travel ban, which bars non-U.S. citizens from Schengen Area countries, during her visit to Washington in early July. But she also noted that the delta variant could pose complications.

"[Relaxing the travel ban] has to be a sustainable decision," Merkel said. "It is certainly not sensible to have to take it back after only a few days."

Travel providers in the European Union have also implored the U.S. government to relax its side of the travel ban.

“What we’re anxiously waiting for is reciprocity on the part of the U.S. government,” Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith told the New York Times in early July. “The trans-Atlantic is the most important long-haul market that we have.”

Mexico

(Photo by Kelli Hayden / Shutterstock.com)

Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that reopening the land border between the U.S. and Mexico was to the “benefit of both governments,” according to Border Report.

Mexico eagerly flung open its doors to Americans — and has never required testing for entry. Americans flocked to destinations such as Cancun, Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas.

However, the U.S.–Mexico land border has been closed to nonessential travel since March 2020 and will remain shut through at least Aug. 21. However, it sounds like Mexico is ready for a full reopening of the land border, saying that the closure affects commerce in California and Texas, two border states.

“We have good relations with the United States, there is cooperation, and we need each other,” Lopez Obrador said in a YouTube video, according to Border Report. “We cannot have the border closed for a long time because we have economic and commercial ties that are strategic to Mexico and the United States.”

Featured image by MediaNews Group via 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.

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

TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
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 - 5X points
5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 150,000 points120,000 points
The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Good, 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

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
TPG Exclusive Offer
TPG Exclusive Offer
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

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • 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.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.