BREAKING: Government changes advice for Spain again!, Use miles to upgrade on any oneworld airlines, Dubai requires COVID test for transit

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Government changes advice for Spain again – but it could alter yet again this week!

I have not been shy of my criticism of the government in terms of their handling of introducing quarantine, unaligned FCO advice and travel corridors, and the very last minute decision to impose quarantine on arrivals from Spain. Earlier today Spain’s Tourism Minister seemed fairly upbeat that they may get the UK to exempt the Spanish islands from the re-introduced quarantine for Spain. Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto is lobbying the UK government to quickly exempt those returning home from the Balearic and Canary Islands. The UK government has confirmed that talks are ongoing to exempt the islands from the quarantine. The travel industry are lobbying for an answer this week. 

Reyes Maroto said: “We’ve been talking all weekend. What we’d like is for quarantines to be lifted on the islands as early as possible and we hope it will be today rather than tomorrow.”

However, in yet another confusion the FCO have now changed their advice from Saturday saying that they advise against all but essential travel to the Canary and Balearic Islands. Apparently this is so that people who don’t want to travel due to the quarantine can claim on insurance. However, for those that do want to travel, they will now not be covered.

The advice now says

From 27 July, the FCO advise against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country.

This advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of COVID-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia (which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona).

The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave at this time. Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.

If you are returning from Spain you will be required to self-isolate on your return to the UK, but the FCO is not advising you to cut short your visit

What an absolute shambles. For example if we look at the Canary Islands that are over 1000km away from the mainland, their cases are stable and less than 10 new cases per day across the islands. Probably far safer than a staycation here!

Hopefully, the government starts to realise that this is not the way forward and starts to use regional warnings like they did at the start of the coronavirus, until they gave up altogether!


Use miles to upgrade on any oneworld airlines

Qatar Q Suite

Back in December we reported that oneworld was looking at giving frequent flyers the opportunity to use their miles across any airline within the alliance for upgrades. Currently, if you have BA Avios, you can only use them to upgrade on BA, AA and Iberia and only if they are on the right ticket. This new initiative could be amazing as you could use Avios to upgrade on Qatar or any of the oneworld airlines. Upgrades on cash tickets are often a great use of Avios since you get Avios back and often pay less than you would for a redemption ticket in cash.

Oneworld previously said

“Oneworld is evaluating a number of new customer initiatives, including a potential offering that will give Oneworld member airline frequent flyers the option of using points for upgrades across the alliance, as it seeks to deliver a superior customer experience that provides value for both Oneworld member airlines and their customers.”

Well, it looks like it’s definitely happening! Finally some good news in the world of Avios!

US Blog Cranky Flier, reported that Rob Gurney, Oneworld CEO, confirmed in a recent interview that alliance-wide upgrades are coming. They will introduce this when Alaska joins the alliance which could be as soon as the end of 2020. However, it is likely that these may only be available on the more expensive tickets and Qantas says they will only be available within a day of travel which is not great if you want certainty. Whether this will be the same for all airlines remains to be seen.



Dubai requires COVID testing even for transit passengers

If you were tempted by Emirates free $175,000 Covid-19 insurance, you will need to be aware of the new rules that apply to all passengers using Dubai airport even in transit.

Effective from 1 August 2020 the following conditions must be met for all flights to/from Dubai

  • All citizens, residents, tourists and transit passengers are required to obtain a negative COVID19 certificate before arriving into DXB or DWC.
  • All passengers including citizens, residents and tourists departing from DXB or DWC to the European Union or United Kingdom are required to carry a negative COVID19 certificate.
  • Children under the age of 12 and children with moderate to severe disabilities are exempt from PCR test requirements.
  • Negative COVID19 certificates will be valid for up to 96 hours from the time of the PCR test
  • Some passengers may be required to complete another PCR test upon arrival in DXB

If you need to get a PCR test in the UK for travel, have a read of my article here.

You also may not be aware that:

  • You must not go to the airport more than four (4) hours before your scheduled flight time
  • Protective gloves and mask must be worn by all travelers

You can find more information about Dubai airport procedures on this page. 

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