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From national parks to theme parks, from baseball to bourbon: 7 unique passport programs

March 29, 2020
8 min read
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Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials note that the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing some travel guides because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures. TPG doesn’t advise booking travel until later this year — and even then, be mindful of cancellation policies.

We've written about the coolest passport stamps in the world to collect and 14 places where you can collect extra passport stamps. But for travelers looking to tick off achievements of another kind, there are some pretty unique passport programs that can help you keep track of travel just within the United States.

From national parks to ballparks to libraries, here are some other locations where you can collect unofficial passport stamps, as well as other passport programs that offer discounts and perks.

Passport to your national parks

(Photo by Will Lester/MediaNews Group/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Will Lester/MediaNews Group/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/Getty Images)

The "Passport to Your National Parks" program, which has been around for more than 30 years, is about tracking down amazing natural wonders within a single country, the United States. Owners can pick up "cancellations" (stamps) at almost every one of the 400+ National Park Service locations, which encompass more than 84 million acres of protected lands. For the truly dedicated, there are more accessories to complete your collection. Be sure to check out our guide for planning your next trip to popular parks like Yellowstone, and, while you're at it, read one reader's success story of visiting six national parks for $266 as well as our tips for saving on your next national park vacation.

For fans of state parks, many U.S. states offer their own passport programs as well.

National Wildlife Refuge Blue Goose Passport

(Photo courtesy of the SPG Family Adventure Network)
(Photo courtesy of the SPG Family Adventure Network)

National parks have been called "America's best idea," while national wildlife refuges, first established in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, have been dubbed "America's best-kept secret." Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, these lands, which take in more than 560 sites and 150 million acres across the country, aim to protect native fish, wildlife, and plants, while also offering opportunities to hike, canoe, kayak, bird-watch, and more. They may garner less attention than national parks but wildlife refuges still attract more than 47 million visitors annually. To help them keep track of their visits, the system has created the Blue Goose Passport program for collecting stamps at each national wildlife refuge.

There's at least one refuge in each state where you can find physical copies of this handy PDF of the Blue Goose Passport for sale. Most refuges charge no fee to enter.

Washington D.C.’s Around the World Embassy Tour and passport

(Photo courtesy of Cultural Tourism DC)
(Photo courtesy of Cultural Tourism DC)

Once a year it's possible to go on a speed tour around the world as part of the "Around the World Embassy Tour" in Washington, D.C. To prove you've visited, the embassy tour offers a souvenir passport for sale. In years past, the embassies of Japan, Indonesia, Bolivia, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Brazil and more have opened their doors, showcasing their country's art, dance, music and, of course, food.

Passport to presidential libraries

George Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. (Photo by RF Pictures/Getty Images)
George Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. (Photo by RF Pictures/Getty Images)

Do you have a personal goal to see all 13 presidential libraries and museums in the U.S.? There's a souvenir passport for sale for tracking your visits. After collecting stamps for all 13 locations, you're also eligible for a gift. Unlike the other presidential libraries and museums, the Barack Obama Presidential Library plans to be all-digital. Unlike public libraries, most of the presidential libraries and museums aren't free, with admission fees ranging between $10 to $20 for most of them.

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Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passport

(Photo by Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)
(Photo by Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

For bourbon lovers, this passport is not only free, but it also comes with a prize for collecting stamps from every one of the 16 participating distilleries, including Jim Beam and Maker's Mark: an official Kentucky Bourbon Trail tasting glass. To get started, print out this passport or pick up a physical copy in person at the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center in Louisville, where the trail kicks off. If you want more proof of your accomplishment, there's also an official Kentucky Bourbon Trail "Completion" T-shirt for sale. Of course, there is one important thing to note about this program: This passport is only available to those 21 and older.

Wine regions also offer passport programs, like the paid Napa Valley Passport and paid Sonoma Passport, which provide offers for wine tastings and discounts.

MLB and MILB Pass-Port program

(Photo by Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/Getty Images)

He first set out to visit all 50 states, but then Timothy Parks was inspired to accomplish a new goal: to visit all 30 cathedrals of baseball — the major-league parks. His travels led to the creation of MLB Pass-Port and MILB Pass-Port, two souvenir passports (priced between $19 and $75, depending on how many bells and whistles you want), which holders can use to collect stamps for free at validation stations located within every major league and minor league baseball stadium.

Disney Premier Passport

(Photo by Kim Kullish/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kim Kullish/Getty Images)

As with the winery passports, Disney's Premier Passport program isn’t so much about collecting stamps as it is about getting access to perks and offers — including admission to Disney theme parks in Florida and California (with no blackout dates), theme park parking, photo downloads, and discounts on theme park dining, merchandise, spa services and more — all for the price tag of $2,199 (per pass). Cheaper options are available for Disney World/Florida-only and Disneyland/California-only passports. For more ways to save, check out our "How much does a Walt Disney World vacation cost?" and "How much does a Disneyland vacation cost?" guides.

Featured image by Getty Images

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees