It’ll soon be easier than ever for American citizens to travel to the white-sand beaches, vibrant cities and vast rainforests of Brazil.
Starting June 17, 2019, travelers from the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan will no longer need a visa to enter the largest South American country. Tourists from these countries can travel in Brazil for 90 days, with the possibility of extending for another 90 days.
Brazil has been easing visa restrictions to increase tourism over the past few years. At the end of 2017, a new eVisa was set up for American, Japanese, Australian and Canadian citizens. Travelers from these countries could apply online and pay a lower visa fee of $44, compared to the regular $160 fee. According to the Brazil Ministry of Tourism, visa applications increased by 40% since launching the eVisa.
Now that you’ll save yourself $44 on the visa, here are other ways you can save on your future trip to Brazil.
How to get to Brazil with travel rewards
Three major U.S. carriers fly nonstop to Brazil: American, Delta and United. Award flights on American Airlines to Brazil could cost as little as 30,000 AAdvantage miles one-way for a MileSAAver ticket or as much as 75,000 miles one-way for an AAnytime Level 2 ticket. If you’re a United MileagePlus member, an award ticket will cost about the same, 30,000 to 70,000 miles. Delta also flies to Brazil, but the amount of Delta SkyMiles it will cost you varies by day. Check out their award calendar to find the best redemption value.
Avianca and LATAM Airlines are also good options to find deals for direct flights from the U.S. They have their own rewards programs, but Avianca is part of the Star Alliance so you could use United miles to redeem a free flight. Likewise, American AAdvantage members can redeem miles for LATAM flights because the South American airline is part of the Oneworld alliance.
How to stay in Brazil with travel rewards
You’ve got your pick of hotels in Brazil, no matter which hotel chain you've pledged your loyalty to. World of Hyatt members can redeem 12,000 points for a stay at the beachfront Grand Hyatt Rio de Janeiro hotel, for example. Meanwhile, Marriott Bonvoy members can nab an ocean-view room at the Sheraton Vitoria Hotel for 12,500 points per night.
Free things to do in Brazil
In the land of Carnival and capybaras, there’s no shortage of free ways to enjoy the country’s natural beauty. Head to Rio's famous Copacabana Beach for a day in the sun, and once you’re sufficiently sunburnt, explore the waterfalls under the dense cover of the Tijuca rainforest. The rainforest is a national park that is free to enter, but you will have to pay a fee to see the Christ the Redeemer statue.
If you find yourself in Brazil’s largest city, São Paulo, take advantage of the free museums. The Museum of Immigration and the Pinacoteca art museum offer free admission on Saturdays.
And no matter which city you’re in, follow your ears for live bands. You’ll likely run into at least a few street performances of Brazil’s famous samba music. Dance your heart out, because you made Brazil into an affordable adventure.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card