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Many Thailand Elite Card members cancel travel plans as Covid-19 cases rise



Photo via Thanee Estate & Law

The new wave of Covid-19, infecting more than 30,000 people over the past month, set back travel plans for Thailand Elite Card members. The company that operates the card services, Thailand Privilege Card, is now banking on the Phuket sandbox model to draw in cardholders. The travel scheme, which is planned to start in July as long as Phuket vaccinates 70% of the population to reach herd immunity, would allow vaccinated travellers from overseas to enter the island province without undergoing quarantine.

The company’s president, Somchai Soongswang, says a waived quarantine period in a destination where Covid-19 is under control is a deciding factor for cardholders when making travel plans.

“No quarantine, like the Phuket sandbox concept, and containing the virus are key factors to help existing members finalise their decision to visit Thailand.”

Since the Thailand Elite Members Quarantine Programme approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration back in August, just over 1,000 cardholders have travelled to Thailand. Another 1,500 members say they want to visit, but they are waiting for documents to be processed, flights to be available, or for a vaccine against Covid-19 before travelling.

Some were planning on travelling to Thailand, and already had their Certificate of Entry, a requirement for entering Thailand, but cancelled plans due to the recent wave of Covid-19 this month which is hitting record highs.

The new wave of cases even led a potential cardholder to delay their decision to buy a property in Thailand, according to Somchai. The company offers an Elite Flexible One membership for 500,000 baht, allowing a 5 year, multiple entry visa for those who buy property in Thailand for 10 million baht or more.

There are more than 13,500 Elite cardholders. Most of the younger members are so-called “digital nomads” from Japan, the United States, and Europe, who work remotely as either programmers or software engineers.

The company has approved a significant number of new members in the past few months. From October 2020 to March 2021, the company approved 2,552 new members, a large increase from the same period last fiscal year at 1,322 new members. Half of the new members are between the ages of 30 and 49 while the retirement age group made up 23.7% of new members.

Despite the rise in Covid-19 cases affecting travel plans, Somchai says the company hopes to hit 2,600 new members by April.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Joe

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Strange how many people are talking about leaving Thailand forever the elite card people claim that there have been quite a few new applicants for this card, moral of this story – do not believe a word this government tells you.

  2. Toby Andrews

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    Is it worth it? $20.000 for five years.
    For that you do not need any more visas for five years. There is still 90 day reporting but an agent does that. Is there a charge for this – unclear?
    Being met at the airport and fast-tracked through. Good but some like me would not want this.
    Discounts on golf, department stores, cooking schools, who are always giving out discounts anyway.
    Now, there is no automatic work permit allowed on this Elite visa. Not so elite then is it?
    And here is why nobody should trust the Thais. You have the Elite Visa costing $20.000, yet there is a quota on Elite card members arriving at the moment.
    No way to treat the Elite card member is it?
    What other restrictions will the Thais invent for Elite card members now they have the members’ $20.000??
    Rule one in Thailand. If possible, never pay up front for anything.

  3. Ryan

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 2:06 pm

    The Elite Visa is now 600,000 ฿ for 5 years. went up January 1st.

  4. David

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    “The company offers an Elite Flexible One membership for 500,000 baht, allowing a 5 year, multiple entry visa for those who buy property in Thailand for 10 million baht or more.”

    Why on earth would you spend half a million bath on that membership when you are entitled to an (almost) free “investment visa” when buying property worth 10M+ baht???

  5. Dreqo

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    I’d probably try raising the price of the Elite card. That should help.

  6. David Pilkington

    Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Why do they bother?

    I live in Khantaralak, in Isan, on less than 20,000 baht a month with a marriage visa after marrying a Thai girl I met on line after my wife died who’s the same age as my kids back in England.

    400,000 in the bank, her shack and scooter, and we’re laughing.

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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