Gabe Douek

Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.

“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.”

If you’re looking for some fun in South America, you’ll need a good credit card to go with your passport. Before you book your next flight, check out these credit cards to help you book your trip and use abroad. Save on your travel and other expenses with these solid options.

Best Cards For Traveling to South America

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Chase’s credit card is the best general credit card for travel with over 30 airline partners and three hotel partners. The card allows you to shop around for flights while booking through Chase’s booking portal. It offers several ways to get to South America on your route, like getting a ticket by transferring 50,000 points to British Airways Executive Club and booking a flight on American Airlines or LATAM Airlines. You can also book with Flying Blue, Delta, or Aerolineas Argentinas.


Another option for booking flights is with United MileagePlus, another Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. It offers flights for only 60,000 miles and you can book with United, Avianca, and Copa Airlines to various places with some of the lowest fees.


Just by signing up, you can receive 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months, which is equal to $625 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You earn two points per dollar spent on travel and dining, with one point for any other purchases. The rewards program is simple: you earn unlimited 1.5 points for every dollar spent. While it doesn’t offer as many rewards as some other cards on areas outside of dining and travel, it’s flexibility in redemption options is worth it and it doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees.

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Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Are you a frequent flyer of American Airlines? The Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard offers perks especially for booking travel. You can earn two AAdvantage miles for every dollar spent at gas stations, restaurants, and any eligible American Airlines purchases. You are also eligible to receive a $100 American Airlines flight discount after spending $20,000 or more in purchases during the year and renew your card.


The signup bonus includes 50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 in purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Once you begin traveling, you also receive preferred boarding, a free checked bag for you and up to four of your companions, and a 25% discount on in-flight food and drink. The card has no annual fee the first year and then it is $99 after that.

Lanpass Visa Card

If you’re a frequent flyer to South America, this is the best card for booking your flights. This card offers double miles on LAN tickets and one mile for every dollar spent on other purchases. You can earn a signup bonus of 15,000 miles after your first card use, followed by 4,000 bonus miles every year you renew your card. In addition, you receive an annual 20% discount on a single LAN purchase, a 25% flight miles bonus, and three one-way upgrade coupons per year.


While the card has no annual fee the first year, it has a $45 fee every year after. Make sure to use the card for booking your flights, rather than in-country, since the card has 2 to 3% foreign transaction fees. 

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card

The American Express flight network may be smaller than Chase, but it still has a lot of flexibility. It has 17 airline transfer partners and the ability to quickly gain points. You earn three points for every dollar spent on airfare and two points for every dollar spent on restaurants, gas, and groceries. Its sign-up bonus is also noteworthy at 25,000 points, although its annual fee is $100 more than Sapphire at $195.


To get to South America, you can transfer the American Express Membership Rewards points to one within the partner network. You can fly to South America with ANA Mileage Club, Air France KLM Blue, and British Airways.

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Why You Should Use A Credit Card Abroad

No matter where you’re headed abroad, credit cards are a must-have for packing. Credit cards are more convenient when you travel, so you don’t need to worry about withdrawing cash or finding a place to hide your funds. Especially when going between countries, you won’t need to withdraw cash in different currencies.


Credit cards offer much better fraud protection. If cash goes stolen or missing, it’s gone. A missing debit card means that your funds may leave your checking account before you can report it’s stolen. Credit cards are generally protected against fraudulent behavior, nothing is taken from your checking account, and your charges are usually removed before your next statement.
The best thing about credit cards is that you earn rewards on purchases, no matter where you are. So if you’re headed to South America and beyond, you can be earning points for your next trip.

What To Look For In An International Credit Card

Your international card should have perks that make sense for you. Especially when traveling abroad, your card shouldn’t have any foreign transaction fees. The typical fee is 3%, which can add up fast as you make purchases when you’re out of the country.


You’ll want to choose a card that works best for travel and for purchases. Have an idea of what you’ll be spending more on or if you’ll need two different cards to get the most out of your purchases. Some cards are more efficient for different airlines, so do your research to make sure the airline partners make sense for you.

Which Travel Card Is Right For Your South America Trip?

The Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is the most well-rounded option for travel. If you’ll be doing lots of travel, but not exclusively to South America, then it may be your best option. For more flexibility in your redemption options, look into the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card.


If you’re looking for an option just for booking your frequent flights to South America, then the Lanpass Visa Card or the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard may make the most sense. Do your due diligence and make sure the airline partners available are the ones you would like to fly on or are available in your area.

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“Many of the listings that appear on this website are from companies which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.”

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Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the listings that appear on this website are from companies which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

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