This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
All eyes are on South Korea this month as the country hosts the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. But as the games wind down, South Korea has another cause for celebration: It was just awarded the most powerful passport in the world by The Passport Index.
For the first time ever, South Korea tops the index, which calculates the number of countries a passport holder can visit without a visa required. South Korea (and Singapore, which is tied for the top spot) has visa-free access to 162 countries.
“We are currently seeing not one but two Asian countries with the most powerful passports in the world,” Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital, told PR Newswire. “This is a testament to the increased global respect and trust Asian countries are commanding.”
Germany was most recently ranked as the world’s most powerful passport by a different index. But, in the last year, Asian countries across the board saw a boom in business and relaxed visa policies toward certain Asian countries, which let South Korea and Singapore snag the top spot from Germany.
Both countries were able to move up in the rankings after Uzbekistan granted visa-free access to them, as well as changes made to Somalia’s visa policy.
Japan also moved up in the index to tie Germany at the number two spot with visa-free access to 161 countries. The U.S. was fifth in the rankings, along with Switzerland, Ireland and Canada, which all have visa-free access to 158 countries.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- 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®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards