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.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), up to a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees