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Jubilant scenes across US as travel ban is lifted

Nov. 08, 2021
4 min read
Jubilant scenes across US as travel ban is lifted
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A woman met her 1-year-old grandson for the first time on Monday. Parents and their adult children were reunited for the first time in years, couples shared a first kiss after 18 months of resorting to video chat, and foreign exchange students breathed a sigh of relief as they began programs before it was too late.

These scenes played out across U.S. airports on Monday as the country reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers, ending 18 months of restrictions on residents of dozens of countries.

Scenes of reunion at Boston Logan Airport as the U.S. reopened its borders to visitors from dozens of countries. (Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy)

Under the new rules, fully vaccinated visitors can enter the U.S. after testing negative for COVID-19 within the past three days, the same rule for vaccinated Americans who travel abroad. Unvaccinated Americans and foreign visitors under 18 must test negative within one calendar day of departure.

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The lifting of the travel ban — which applied to those who had been in any of 33 specific countries within the prior two weeks, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, European Union countries within the Schengen zone, Brazil and China — is welcome news for the global travel industry. Airlines and hospitality companies have seen increases in business as destinations reopened to American travelers and intra-Europe travel became accessible again. Still, U.S. restrictions continued to prove a hindrance to the industry.

Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy

But it was not simple tourism or business travel that was on display Monday. Instead, it was personal reunions with loved ones, an end to forced separations that came as the transit lines across our increasingly global and interconnected society were abruptly severed early in the pandemic.

Matthew Nicoll wiped a tear from his eye at Boston's Logan Airport on Monday as his wife's family arrived from Amsterdam and finally met his 1-year-old son, Cairo.

Amsterdam-based Balbina Gonzalez hugs her grandson for the first time after the U.S. lifted its restriction on European travelers. (Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy)

Balbina Gonzalez, Cairo's grandmother, told TPG that she planned to come for the delivery but could not travel. She and her daughter spoke every day after, but she said it couldn't replace being together in person.

More: An emotional return to New York: What it was like on the first British Airways flight to the US on reopening day

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Amy Langevin was with her daughter Emerson and her granddaughter Pennsley as they waited for Loana, an exchange student from Germany who was on her way to live with them.

Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy

Amy and her husband had previously lived in Germany with the U.S. military with their older children, now 31 and 27. They don't plan to live abroad again but wanted Emerson, who is 9, to be exposed to different cultures, which led them to sponsor Loana's exchange application.

While everyone had been in contact for more than a year, the travel restriction prevented Loana from actually moving.

Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy

Meanwhile, countless scenes played out across the international arrivals hall at Logan Airport, with emotional reunions between partners, parents and children, siblings, and even owners and pets.

Similar scenes will continue in the coming weeks. U.S. airlines have reported surges in bookings made abroad and are ramping up service. Delta, for instance, said that it had seen a 450% increase in bookings sold overseas in the six weeks between the announcement that the U.S. would reopen and Monday. The airline said that most international flights were expected to be full on Monday, with pandemic-era high load factors through the holidays.

Featured image by David Slotnick
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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  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
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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.