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Iceland is finally ready to welcome eligible Americans -- for real this time

March 17, 2021
3 min read
Iceland is finally ready to welcome eligible Americans -- for real this time
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Update 3/17/21: Iceland has updated its document requirements, so CDC-issued certificates and U.S. laboratory results should now be accepted for entry.


Back in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Iceland famously tossed out the welcome mat to American tourists before quickly rolling it back up.

The country's flag carrier, Icelandair, listed and sold flights to a large variety of U.S. cities, but never actually operated most of them, leaving customers to fight for refunds — which, in my case, only came after I filed a complaint with the Department of Transportation (DOT).

This time, things feel a bit more official. Beginning tomorrow, March 18, 2021, eligible U.S. Citizens will officially be permitted to enter the country.

Entry permission will be granted to any eligible visitor who can present proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, including vaccinations manufactured by AstraZeneca, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.

Visitors can present an official paper or electronic vaccine certificate, and Iceland's requirements have now been updated to match what's listed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) certificate. Iceland removed a previous requirement that a nationality and passport number be listed, which do not appear on the CDC card.

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Additionally, visitors who were previously infected with COVID-19 will be able to enter Iceland without a requirement to quarantine. Acceptable documentation there includes a positive PCR test result that's older than 14 days or a positive antibody test. Note that rapid tests are not accepted.

This is a notable improvement from Iceland's previous entry restrictions, which required visitors to be citizens of EU/EEA countries, present a negative test result before departure, a second negative result upon arrival, quarantine for five days and then test negative a third time before being permitted to venture out from their hotel.

U.S. flights are incredibly limited at the moment, but could be expanded soon. (Photo courtesy of Icelandair.)

One remaining challenge is actually getting to Iceland. Currently, Icelandair is only operating flights between Keflavík International Airport (KEF) and Boston (BOS), departing the U.S. on Monday and Thursday evenings at 9:00 pm and arriving in Iceland at 6:05 am the following morning. Return flights are scheduled on Sundays and Wednesdays, departing Iceland at 5:15 pm and arriving in Boston at 7:05 pm.

Assuming a surge in demand follows the country's relaxed entry policy, it's likely that Icelandair will expand its flight schedule significantly, and return to other U.S. cities as well. Additionally, Delta and United previously flew to Iceland — if demand recovers quickly, we could see those carriers return to KEF as well, perhaps as soon as this summer.

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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TPG Editor‘s Rating
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