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This is primarily a quick tip that I wish I’d have known and hopefully this helps you. If you’re traveling from Outside of Jordan to Aqaba, the airport closest to Wadi Rum, then this is for you. You’ll have to forgive my lack of pictures, but I wasn’t quite sure if I could take them since we were in transit and it was centered around immigration, but I’ll do my best to describe our situation. Long story short – Aqaba has its own visa on arrival service as of May 2019.
We were flying from Cairo to Amman to Aqaba where we would set out on a Jordanian adventure – it was probably some of the most insane consecutive days of sight-seeing I’ve ever had. One day the pyramids to the next few days: Wadi Rum, Martian Tents, Petra, Mt. Nebo and the Dead Sea. Quite a string of days.
We had decided to book flights on Royal Jordanian that routed us from Cairo to Amman to Aqaba with a short layover in Amman en route. Roughly 90 minutes. In case you’re wondering, there is a morning and an evening flight to Aqaba so that evening flight was it.
I’d read online that you could have your visa on arrival processed in Aqaba, or at least I thought that’s what I read.
Upon arrival into Amman, as we were passing the immigration/visa on arrival desk and I suddenly started to doubt myself. Did we need to grab our bags, gets visas here, and then re-check-in? I didn’t think so, but I thought I’d ask to be safe.
Yes, sir, you need to do that.
WHAT?! Suddenly the timeframe was super short. In what was now 75 minutes we needed to get processed, get our bags, go through customs, check back in, security, and find our gate. Worst case I thought we will fly down in the morning, but we were scheduled to depart our hotel for Wadi Rum at noon. UGH
Jordanian Visa on Arrival
First Off…you need a visa if you plan on exiting the airport. This is 40 JOD, and even though they advertise cash only, they take credit card as well. Them an processed us, and then directed us to get our bags.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, you need to get bags, re-check in.”
“Down there,” he motioned towards an escalator with baggage claim
The mistake we made – getting processed at the AMM airport
This is something you do not need to do. In fact, if you keep walking past the visa on arrival area that we stopped at you’d see a sign directing passengers for Aqaba. That’s where we SHOULD have gone.
How we managed to still make our flight
After getting our visas processed we waited another 20 minutes for our bags. They never came. We asked someone and they told us that they would have just gone on to Aqaba.
That’s what I thought they’d do, originally. What a pickle!
We dashed out of customs and found the Royal Jordanian check-in and started to run to security when my mom points to the very very very far end.
Aqaba had it’s own check in
Why? It’s the only domestic place you can fly to commercially within Jordan. Luckily, we made it through quickly, and onto the plane – which we had to take a bus to and board via a remote stand.
Arrival into Aqaba
Once we arrived into Aqaba I wondered what we’d encounter, and if we did, in fact, need to do that in Amman. Sure enough…there is a visa on arrival service right there that you could use. We deplaned on the tarmac and walked into baggage – we bypassed the visa on arrival, but still needed to show ours before proceeding to baggage. We turned an easy layover into an all-out panic attack for no good reason.
If you’re in a similar situation – fret not – you can get your visa processed in Aqaba.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based.
60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months
80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon
Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards
Super solid welcome offer.
If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners
Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.
- 3x on dining
- including eligible delivery services for takeout
- 3x on select streaming services
- 3x on online grocery purchases
- (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
- 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
- $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
- The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
- 10% Anniversary Bonus
- Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
- Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
- Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
- No foreign transaction fees
- Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
- Primary rental car coverage is my favorite
There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.
We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.
Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .
Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.
Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on.