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Why I oppose a quarantine for international travelers

Jan. 25, 2021
3 min read
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This viewpoint from The Points Guy's Brian Kelly was originally published in his weekly newsletter. Sign up to receive curated travel intel from Brian Kelly.


We watched a new president take the oath of office last week. But it was the outgoing Trump administration that enacted a new rule that goes into effect on Jan. 26: All travelers arriving in the U.S. will need a negative COVID-19 test before entering — or in the case of Americans, re-entering — the country.

I’ve been a proponent of testing and contact tracing throughout the pandemic as a means to keep travel going, so this new rule is promising.

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Brian Kelly (Photo by The Points Guy)

In the coming days, we should learn more about other measures the Biden administration will take to curb the spread of coronavirus. It’s already mandated mask usage in federal buildings, on airplanes, trains and aboard transit systems traveling between states.

Read more about the state of travel under the Biden administration:

Will there be a mandatory quarantine?

While I applaud the new testing measures for entry to the U.S., I hope the new administration does not add a mandatory 14-day quarantine on top of that.

Many destinations — from Hawaii to Rwanda — have implemented successful testing upon arrival and/or departure policies. Case in point: Alberta, Canada’s international border testing pilot program, which allows a reduced quarantine period for travelers entering with a negative COVID-19 test, has helped keep the country safe from the further spread of the disease. Passengers entering select airport and border crossings in Alberta that don’t have a negative COVID-19 test need to quarantine for 14 days.

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COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while. While there are several viable vaccines, the rollout is going slower than expected and it’s more important than ever that we learn to live safely with the threat of coronavirus. That means adopting all common-sense safety protocols and not hindering the economy or freedom of movement with long-duration quarantines when there are better alternatives.

A 14-day quarantine for all travelers entering the U.S. would crush tourism here and in places like Mexico and the Caribbean that rely on American visitors to contribute to their economic bottom line.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, the U.S. should embrace international travel. We can build partnerships with other countries for robust departure and re-entry testing programs that will reduce the need for long-duration quarantines. This is a win-win for both countries involved as well as for their local and macro economies.

We need to come together and do our part to keep ourselves and each other safe from COVID-19 while continuing to live our lives and grow the economy.

Featured image by UIG 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.

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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)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $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