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Western Australia rejoins the world after nearly 2 years in isolation

March 02, 2022
4 min read
Aerial top view of a bright orange sandy beach in Western Australia
Western Australia rejoins the world after nearly 2 years in isolation
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Western Australia, the hermit state of Down Under, has emerged blinking from its COVID-19 cave after nearly two years in isolation.

It’s been some 700 days since the state closed its borders, not just to the world, but to the rest of its own country.

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But prime minister Mark McGowan promised to throw open WA’s gates to vaccinated travelers from midnight tonight, despite the state hurtling through an omicron wave.

It’s the second time WA has promised to reopen after backtracking on the pledge last month.

Related: The best ways to use points and miles to fly from the US to Australia

But this time, authorities say, it’s for real… and to prove it, they’re even preparing to hand out 200 toy Quokkas (giant rat-like marsupials native to an island off Perth) to the first arrivals tomorrow.

The only catch? A heavy ramp-up on COVID-19 restrictions across the state.

Related: This is what travel looks like as COVID-19 goes into an endemic phase

WA’s strict COVID-19 border policy has not been popular across the rest of Australia. Previously, all visitors -- even those from other parts of Australia -- had to quarantine for seven days to enter the state even though WA has one of the highest vaccination rates in Australia.

And last month, Qantas boss Alan Joyce even likened the state's long-awaited reopening to the reunification of North and South Korea.

Quokkas are giant rat-like marsupials native to Rottnest Island, off the coast of W.A. They are also the state's mascot. (Photo by Eric Rosen/The Points Guy)

“Finally our country will be reunited,” he told local radio. “We are no longer North Korea and South Korea. We have one country again.”

Following the easing of restrictions for vaccinated travelers, Perth International expects to see 8,000 arrivals over the next two days, mostly domestic travelers.

Related: Vaccinations, declarations and testing: Everything you need to visit Australia now

To celebrate, Tourism WA will be doling out US $363,937 (AU$500,000) or (£272,000) in vouchers at the international terminal. Passengers arriving in Perth could pocket between US $108 (AU$150) or (£81) and US $1,604 (AU$2,200) or (£1,199) to splash on experiences in WA.

This attention to tourism isn’t just to the benefit of tourists. Western Australia’s tourism industry has been devastated by the lockdown.

“WA cannot afford to be more restricted than the east coast for longer than necessary or we will lose events, students, workers and tourists to states with less severe restrictions,” said Tourism Council WA chief executive, Evan Hall.

However, Western Australia is also introducing its tightest COVID-19 public health measures of the pandemic so far.

This includes the following:

  • Face masks will become mandatory in all indoor public spaces for everyone over the age of seven
  • Indoor gatherings will be limited to 10
  • Hospitality venues will be limited to 150 people
  • Major venues will be capped at 50%

As for entering the state, you must:

  • Be fully vaccinated
  • Fill in a Digital Travel Declaration within 72 hours before travel
  • Have proof of a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test.
  • Complete a Rapid Antigen Test within 12 hours of arrival in the state and report any positive result.
Featured image by Natural bright orange sandy beach from above, Western Australia (Photo by Felix Cesare / 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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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases