Planning on traveling to London any time soon? Or maybe you’ll just be passing through Heathrow Airport on your way to another destination. If so, you might want to reschedule that trip.
That’s because starting mid-2019, American travelers will be able to skip the immigration and passport lines at Heathrow.
A gift from Brexit
The reason for the big change? Kindness! We’re kidding, of course. It all comes down to money.
With Brexit on its way, the United Kingdom wants to attract more non-European travelers — the line-skipping privilege also applies to citizens from Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Canada — and the spending that comes with them. One easy way to do that is to make traveling to the U.K. more appealing.
Long waits, be gone
If you’ve ever traveled to London or had to loop through Heathrow, you know how awful the long lines can be. According to data obtained by UK-based airline Virgin Atlantic, waits of two hours and longer are fairly common at the giant international airport. In fact, the report showed that on 30 of the 31 days in July, waits were 45 minutes or longer for 95% of non-European travelers.
When you just want to get to where you’re going, that’s a long time to wait in line.
Scan and go
Heathrow Airport has always had a fast-paced passport system, but it was previously only open to European citizens. Now, upon arriving at Heathrow, all you have to do is show your passport to an electronic scanner, then wait for your photo to be taken. Once the photo is cross-referenced with your passport and the computer confirms a match, you’re on your way.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2018, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®).
- Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (Earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on every purchase).
- Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Get 3 points per dollar on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases).
- No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card (Earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, with no annual fee).
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Get 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, plus get access to the Global Lounge Collection). Terms Apply.
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago airports ranked among the world’s busiest
9 credit card tips to take with you overseas
Which credit cards speed you through airport security?