American Airlines is now allowing AAdvantage members to redeem miles for COVID-19 tests. For a mere 12,000 miles, passengers can order an at-home COVID-19 testing kit through LetsGetChecked. From Friday, American Airlines customers will also be able to access VeriFLY’s upgraded multi-passenger authentication capabilities.
AAdvantage members can now buy COVID-19 test kits for 12,000 miles
American Airlines opened the opportunity to redeem miles for COVID-19 tests earlier today, Thursday, February 25. It does need a degree of planning. You’ll need to be a member of AAdvantage, you’ll need to have a spare 12,000 miles, and the testing kits need to be ordered at least 10 business days before departure.
The test kits cannot be redeemed online. Rather, you’ll need to call the AAdvantage Customer Service Center. The cash price for an at-home LetsGetChecked COVID-19 test is US$109.
LetsGetChecked is a direct-to-consumer at-home health testing business. Their test incorporates a nasal swab at-home. The test is sent into the lab for PCR analysis. Typically, a test result comes through within 48 hours of receipt. The test is Federal Drug Administration approved under emergency use authorization provisions.
The LetsGetChecked COVID-19 test will facilitate access into any U.S. city, state, or territory with COVID-19 travel restrictions.
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American Airlines upgrades the VeriFly app
At the same time, American Airlines is upgrading its VeriFLY mobile health passport capabilities. VeriFLY styles the app as a mobile health “passport.” It’s a digital wallet that allows passengers to store COVID-19 documentation and certificates, among other things. Developed by software business, Daon, American Airlines began incorporating VeriFLY into its systems in January.
“We want to do everything we can to make travel a seamless experience for customers,” said American Airlines’ Julie Rath at the time. “We’ve received positive feedback about the app so far and look forward to more customers having the opportunity to use it.”
Following the upgrade, one person’s VeriFLY app can store documents for more than one person. Now, Dad flying out with a couple of kids in tow can have the entire family’s documentation and certification held on the one VeriFly account. There is also a new user interface that promises to make navigating the app easier.
On the surface, this seems like a great idea. The problem with these apps and COVID-19 testing regimes is the lack of universal acceptance. Senior figures in the aviation industry have called for co-ordination and harmonization of testing formats, protocols, and recognition.
Subhas Menon of the Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines calls the lack of coordination and harmonization “the single most important impediment to air travel recovery.”
Where do these digital passport apps work?
With that in mind, where are the LetsGetChecked COVID-19 tests and VeriFLY accepted? To begin with, both are good across the entire American Airlines domestic network. That includes those states with COVID-19 travel restrictions in place.
The LetsGetChecked COVID-19 test will allow you access to around a dozen international destinations currently served by American Airlines. Assuming you navigate the other obstacles to traveling there, the following countries recognize LetsGetChecked: Australia, Grenada, Haiti, St Lucia, US Virgin Islands, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Canada, Brazil, Chile, and the United Kingdom.
VeriFLY is good for all inbound travel to the United States. Flying out, the American Airlines website indicates the following countries recognize the app: Jamaica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Canada, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and the United Kingdom.
What do you think? Are these digital health apps going to revolutionize the travel process? Is the lack of recognition an issue? Post a comment and let us know.