What Are Some Of The Best Credit Cards For International Travel?

Is overseas travel an important and regular aspect of your life? If yes, then you need to read this article to get to know about some of the best credit cards for international travel to avoid those obnoxious foreign transaction fees.

Going on foreign trips can be the most exciting, enjoyable, and sometimes a little worrisome experience. Traveling abroad is meant to be something you do to take a break from all the worries and relax your mind, but if you are stressed out about finances, your trip can become a bit frustrating. Luckily if you have one of the best credit cards for international travel in your hand, you can have some peace of mind knowing that you are somewhat financially secure.

Gone are those days when you needed to buy travel insurance or worry about bringing enough cash to cover your expenses while on your foreign trip. If you have the right credit card with you, you will stay protected while traveling and spend as much as you want, and get those extra points to kick up your credit score a notch while you are traveling abroad.

The standards for determining the best credit cards for international travel are different from those for determining the best credit cards for domestic travel. Our list of credit cards for international travel has fringe benefits, depending on what you’re planning to spend the most money on. In addition to the best credit cards for international travel, get to know What to look for in a credit card for international travel.

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What is a credit card for international travel?

Credit cards used for international travel are mostly referred to as international credit cards. An international credit card is a credit card you can use when traveling outside the United States of America. You can use your card to make different purchases and even use it normally at an ATM, and you will be able to draw money in the currency of the country you are traveling to. The major international credit card networks include Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American Express.

Still, if you have an international credit card, it will not mean that you will be able to use your credit card anywhere in the world. The countries where you can use your travel credit card depend on the network. For example, Mastercard’s international cards can be used in over 210+ countries, but Visa’s global network is currently only spread to 200+ countries.

How do credit cards for international travel work?

When opting for the best credit cards for international travel, you might be wondering how credit cards for international travel work. International credit cards perform their functions like any other credit card for the most part.

As some major card brands offer their services globally, including Visa and Mastercard, people or travelers you run into might be carrying a card that operates on one of these networks. As long as your card is attached to any of these brands, it doesn’t matter where in the world you are or what issuing bank the card is from; you can comfortably pay like any native is paying.

When credit cards are used on foreign land, currency exchanges are automatically calculated on the current exchange rate (i.e., the amount at which the currency is valued at the place where the card is used and the value of the currency from where the card belongs to) by your card provider.

In exchange for this service, your credit card provider might charge a fee (usually of about 1-3% of the transaction value) which will be registered in the cardholder’s total cost of purchase or whatever you are paying for using credit cards for international travel.

  • How do credit card points work on credit cards for international travel?
  • How do travel miles work on credit cards for international travel?

●     How do credit card points work on credit cards for international travel?

Credit card points are gained for each purchase made with the credit cards for international travel, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards. As each card has a different earning structure, one card may earn more points on travel and dining expenditures while another earns more points on groceries and gas purchases.

Credit card points sometimes have many redemption possibilities, such as cash, travel, or gift cards, as opposed to a co-branded card, which earns rewards that can only be redeemed for one product, such as travel with a specific airline, hotel, or merchandise.

●     How do travel miles work on credit cards for international travel?

The value of airline and hotel points is frequently flexible, which implies that the value of a point may vary based on individual redemption. Some programs will equate the value of their points or miles with the cash equivalent of a plane ticket or hotel night.

Others employ a tiered system depending on factors such as peak or off-peak travel hours, seat class, hotel category, or a mix of the two. Because airline and hotel rewards are typically redeemed for nights or flights, it is smart to do your homework before cashing in a cache of points to maximize your redemption.

Essential Features to Look for in a Credit Card for International Travel

When choosing a credit card for international travel, it’s crucial to identify features that save money and offer peace of mind. Different credit card companies provide varying benefits, so look for these key advantages. Many cards offer travel insurance at no extra cost, a benefit that can otherwise be expensive.

To maximize these perks, charge your travel expenses to your card, including airfare, accommodations, and hotel reservations. Reading the fine print is essential. Understand the rules and requirements to fully benefit from your card’s coverage before relying on it.

Here are six benefits to consider when selecting the best credit card for international travel:

  1. Welcome Offers: Does the card provide an attractive sign-up bonus?
  2. Base Rewards: What rewards does the card offer on everyday purchases?
  3. Travel-Related Perks: Are there additional travel perks, like airport lounge access or travel credits?
  4. Annual Fees: Is there an annual fee, and if so, is it worth the benefits?
  5. Other Fees: What other fees should you be aware of, such as foreign transaction fees?
  6. APR: What is the card’s annual percentage rate (APR)?

Understanding foreign transaction fees is vital. Know how these fees work and how to avoid them to save money while traveling abroad. By keeping these factors in mind, you can choose a credit card that enhances your international travel experience and offers valuable benefits.

Does the credit card for international travel give a welcome offer?

Credit cards for international travel usually come with a welcome offer, including a pretty attractive opening bonus. To earn this bonus, you’ll probably have to spend a certain amount on the card within the first few months of opening your account, as this is how most credit cards for international travel work. The amount you’ll need to spend, the duration you’ll need to do it, and the total amount of bonus reward points you’ll get on your card usage will vary from card to card.

What are the base rewards that come with credit cards?

Look for cards that give bonus points in categories that correspond to your buying habits if you want to earn rewards while avoiding foreign transaction fees. Aside from travel cards offering points or miles, some top no-fee credit cards offer cash-back benefits on common spending categories.

Other reward cards that don’t offer cash back offer either points or miles instead. Compared to the American Express Gold Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers Ultimate Rewards points instead of Membership Rewards points. Terms and conditions do apply.

The majority of co-branded airline cards include miles in their distinctive membership rewards scheme. The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card, which offers benefits as SkyMiles (Delta Airlines’ membership incentives), is one example of a co-branded Delta card.

What are some other travel-related perks that are available?

When deciding on a travel credit card, compare the complete range of benefits each one provides. Along with basic rewards and no foreign transaction fees, top-tier travel credit cards frequently include trip cancellation insurance, supplemental auto rental insurance, free checked bags, free amenities such as Wi-Fi or complimentary breakfast, airport lounge access, and other noteworthy travel benefits and coverages.

Is there any annual fee on the credit card?

Premium and mid-tier travel credit cards often avoid foreign transaction fees but frequently charge annual fees. When contemplating credit cards with annual fees, it’s critical to assess whether the price may be mitigated or recouped via reward earnings, additional perks, and benefits or if you can simply generally handle the additional cost.

It’s a good thing that many credit cards are available on the market with no yearly or international transaction fees. Don’t forget that some annual-fee credit cards could be worthwhile due to their luxurious incentives.

What other fees should I know about?

Some cards that waive overseas transaction fees also provide other advantageous consumer benefits. Others claim the absence of foreign transaction costs as one of several travel benefits. When comparing choices, it’s critical to understand what fees you might pay (and how much you’ll be charged).

These are common credit card expenses: annual costs, late fees (typically up to $40 for each missed payment), debt transfer fees (generally 3% to 5% of the amount transferred), cash advance fees, and returned payment penalties.

What is the card’s APR?

The annual percentage rate (APR) or interest rate on a card is important when selecting a card with no foreign transaction fee. Some rewards credit cards have higher APRs than ordinary credit cards, which might signify a lot when carrying a balance on the card and making purchases abroad. Make sure you understand what you’ll be charged if you don’t pay your payments in full each month.

What are some of the types of credit cards for international travel?

Like the other types of cards, travel credit cards also offer you various card options to choose from when you are looking for some of the best credit cards for international travel. Some pronounced characteristics of different credit cards include issuer travel portals with boosted rewards value, hotel, and airline loyalty status, and credits for some of your special commodities and services. To get a closer insight into which card might best fit your needs, consider the different categories of travel cards.

  • Airline credit cards
  • Hotel credit cards
  • Transferable travel credit cards
  • Business travel credit cards
  • Worldwide acceptance

Airline credit cards

Airline credit cards are typically co-branded by an airline and a credit card provider. They typically earn miles for that specific airline and may provide airline-specific benefits such as priority boarding, free checked luggage, or assistance in qualifying for elite airline status.

Hotel credit cards

Hotel credit cards are typically co-branded by a credit card company and a certain hotel chain. They often generate hotel points that can be redeemed for hotel stays and frequently provide hotel-specific advantages such as complimentary night certificates, elite status, or higher earning rates.

Transferable travel credit cards

Transferable travel credit cards are typically issued directly by a bank or credit card provider and earn flexible points that can be used in a variety of ways. Most transferable travel cards allow you to redeem your points for bill credits, to book travel directly, or to transfer to hotel or airline travel partners.

Business travel credit cards

Business travel cards are geared toward small business owners, and you must input your company details while applying for the card. They are available as airline, hotel, or transferrable travel cards, so you’re likely to find one that matches your requirements.

Worldwide acceptance

When selecting an international travel credit card, examine how broadly it is accepted if it charges foreign transaction fees and a range of other considerations. You should have no trouble using your credit card when visiting major tourist attractions, resorts, hotels, and museums. Some destinations may not take specific networks — or credit cards at all. To choose the best credit card, investigate the most prevalent types of currencies accepted in your chosen destination.

What are some of the best credit cards for international travel?

Many individuals travel to see new locations and cultures, but paying for the things you buy in a different currency can be difficult and sometimes expensive. Many credit cards levy a foreign transaction fee for any transactions made in a foreign currency. If you spend $1,000 on a card that charges a 3% international transaction fee, you’ll lose $30 from your travel budget.

The best credit cards for international travel remove these foreign transaction costs while also providing rewards and features that make your journey more enjoyable, such as providing you lounge access. We’ve shortlisted some of the best credit cards for international travel so you can make a better financial decision regarding your travel expenses.

  • The best credit card for international travel overall: American Express Gold Card
  • The best credit card for international travel when booking hotels: Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • The best credit card for international travel that has the best value for an annual fee: Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Best credit cards for international travel for travel insurance: The Platinum Card from American Express
  • Best credit card for international travel with no annual fee: Capital One VentureOne

The best credit card for international travel overall: American Express Gold Card

If you enjoy eating out and traveling, the American Express Gold Card may be the perfect rewards card for you. Cardholders get 4X points for each dollar spent at restaurants and 4X points in US supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per year, thereafter 1X). In addition, you can earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. Terms and conditions apply.

Cardholders also receive a $120 yearly dining credit ($10 in monthly statement credits) at participating partners such as Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and certain Shake Shack locations. It is necessary to enroll. In addition, cardholders receive $120 ($10 per month) for Uber trips or UberEats orders.

This card has a $250 annual fee; it can be reduced to less than $10 if you use both spending credits. Cardholders can also take advantage of Amex Offers, which allow them to earn statement credits or bonus Membership Rewards points at participating stores. Travelers will appreciate the absence of international transaction fees and the availability of insurance for car rentals and damaged, lost, or stolen luggage.

Pros Cons
High rewards earnings possibilities No lounge benefits
Points transfer option to many partners Limited options to carry a balance
Add up to 5 authorized users for no additional annual fee High APR for pay over time feature
You have the option to choose from regular or the rose gold versions High pay over time penalty APR

The best credit card for international travel when booking hotels: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Due to its versatility, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a great credit card for traveling abroad. It’s excellent for racking up many points and ensuring you arrive at your destination comfortably. A $300 yearly travel credit, Priority Pass Select membership for lounge access while traveling, and up to 10x bonus points on travel purchases are just a few of the high-end benefits included with the card.

Every four years, cardholders can receive a fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck®, or Nexus, allowing them to fly through security lines faster on domestic or international flights. Remember that if you apply for and acquire a Global Entry membership, you also get TSA PreCheck free of charge.

The ability to earn up to 10x points on reservations made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal makes this card more alluring for spending on hotels abroad. This is a superb card advantage because the portal offers excellent hotel and rental car reservation discounts. Even your $300 annual travel credit can be used for your hotel reservation when you use this card.

Furthermore, the Chase Sapphire Reserve features benefits from partners and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, making it useful whether you’re traveling overseas or staying at home. It has a $550 yearly cost.

Pros Cons
$300 annual travel credit is incredibly flexible It has a high annual fee
Generous welcome bonus It has a high APR on purchases
Points transfer to valuable airline and hotel partners It recommends having excellent credit

The best credit card for international travel that has the best value for an annual fee: Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Sapphire Preferred is a realistic — and lucrative — alternative if the $550 annual premium on the Sapphire Reserve is more than you’re prepared to spend. The card still offers excellent value, especially as an international card, despite having a lower annual charge of $95 and fewer travel advantages. As an illustration, cardholders are entitled to an annual $50 credit for hotel reservations booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

The card offers a plethora of travel perks, including trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, car rental protections, and more. You won’t be charged extra for using the card abroad because it doesn’t impose foreign transaction fees.

Overall, this one is great if you want a credit card with significant benefits and a low annual fee. Despite having a lower annual fee, Sapphire Preferred offers the same sign-up incentive as the Sapphire Reserve. Currently, after spending $4,000 during the first three months of starting your account, you’ll receive 60,000 extra points.

Pros Cons
You can earn high rewards in several spending areas. It has an annual fee.
You can transfer points to your travel partners at a 1:1 rate Does Not offer any introductory APR offer.
It offers many travel and shopping protections. It offers the best rates only if you book through Chase.

Top Travel Insurance Credit Cards for International Adventures: The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express is the ultimate choice for those who crave a luxurious and seasoned travel experience. While the $695 annual fee may seem steep, the card’s numerous travel credits, hotel benefits, and elite status perks can make it a worthwhile investment if you use them regularly.

Upon enrollment, the Amex Platinum grants you immediate Marriott and Hilton Gold elite status, enhancing your hotel stays. Hilton Gold members, for example, enjoy free breakfast and extra points. The card’s International Airline Program offers savings on international premium economy, business, and first-class seats. Additionally, Platinum Travel Services can help you plan the vacation of your dreams. Meanwhile, Global Dining Access by Resy lets you reserve tables at top restaurants in the US, France, Italy, Peru, and Spain. Importantly, the card has no foreign transaction fees.

American Express is renowned for its protective features, and the Amex Platinum card is no exception. The card provides up to $10,000 in trip cancellation insurance per trip when you book round-trip tickets exclusively with it. If you travel more than 100 miles from home, you’ll have access to the Global Assist Hotline. Moreover, if your flight is delayed for more than six hours, you receive trip delay coverage of up to $500 per trip.

With its comprehensive travel perks, the Amex Platinum card stands out as the most complete option, especially for international travelers.

Pros Cons
When booked through American Express, it offers high rewards on bookings and purchases. They have a very high annual fee.
You can use multiple credits to justify the fee. Maximizing the statement credits takes some work which could be unfavorable for many


They offer comprehensive lounge access. The reward rate for international travel is not good enough for a premium card.

Best credit card for international travel with no annual fee: Capital One VentureOne

The Capital One VentureOne Card is fantastic since it gives useful travel advantages with no annual charge and no annual fee. For hotels and auto rentals booked through Capital One Travel, the card offers 5 miles for every $1 spent. When making other purchases, you receive 1.25 miles for every dollar spent, which is excellent if you want to spend as much money on your vacation as possible without worrying about category bonuses.

For a card with no annual cost, the card also provides travel accident insurance, which is uncommon. The Capital One Venture Credit Card from Capital One likewise has a low $95 annual fee and offers several extra benefits, including limitless 2 miles per dollar spent and 5 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. You also get two free trips to the Capital One Lounge each year, no international transaction fees, and more.

Pros Cons
No annual fee. Lack of high-end hotels and upscale partners.
They offer an annual travel credit, and anniversary miles alone could justify the annual fee. The lounge network is not fancy.
The miles rewarded are easy to use and earn. Lack of benefits from hotel status.

What are some of the advantages of using a credit card for international travel?

Credit cards are a convenient payment method, but there are both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to using your credit card for international travel. First, some advantages:

  • You can use your card to take advantage of complete travel and rental insurance
  • Credit cards for international travel give a better exchange rate
  • You get to take advantage of privileged services and rewards programs
  • They allow you to gain more flexibility in your transactions
  • Ease of use
  • Rewards

You can use your card to take advantage of complete travel and rental insurance

If you travel more than once a year, having a credit card with travel insurance may be a good option, especially in the event of a trip being canceled or interrupted, delayed flights, lost luggage, or medical difficulties.

Do the math: is the annual price for the card less than the cost of private insurance? If this is the case, the decision is simple: a credit card with travel insurance will save you time and money during the planning phase. Some credit cards also provide rental automobile insurance. If you frequently rent a car when traveling, this is an excellent method to save money.

Credit cards for international travel give a better exchange rate

Some businesses do not charge any fees for currency exchange. However, the standard is between 2.5% and 3% for each transaction, so check your card’s policies before going. A minor thing that, in the end, will make a significant impact on your pocketbook!

You get to take advantage of privileged services and rewards programs

Many travel credit cards have excellent rewards programs. Some pay the holder up to 2% of the value of their purchases in either points or cash. Points can then be redeemed for travel discounts, gift cards, and even rebates on banking items.

Another advantage is the availability of insurance and extended warranties on purchases. Assume you bought a pair of sunglasses during a trip to Europe. By charging the item to your credit card, you are insuring it against theft and damage and triple the length of the seller’s warranty. All while collecting up to 2% of its worth. These savings may appear minor at first sight, but they add up!

If you fly frequently, you’ll appreciate the reimbursement of parking, baggage check, and seat selection costs that many travel cards provide, as well as the ability to access premium airport lounges. Some companies may even give you the equivalent of a free hotel stay or plane ticket when you sign up.

They allow you to gain more flexibility in your transactions

Booking flights, shuttles, hotels, and activities overseas is nearly entirely done online these days, sometimes months in advance. This makes carrying a credit card almost mandatory for anyone planning a trip.

Using your card to book will provide you with greater peace of mind, knowing that you won’t have to sacrifice the quality of your lodgings or activities once you arrive. It’s essential for booking reservations, but it’s also useful for ordinary purchasing.

A credit card with a bigger credit limit can also give you more financial independence. You won’t have to worry about whether money is being held in the event of pre-authorizations, and you’ll be able to deal with any unforeseen charges that arise during your trip more quickly. It is a flexible and liberal payment method.

Ease of use

Most people would agree that keeping a small pocket-friendly credit card at your expense is much easier and more convenient as compared to carrying a large amount of cash to cover your expenses, most importantly while you’re traveling. You can use your credit card with ease to make large purchases and pay hefty hotel and flight bills while increasing your credit score at the same time as well.


We all want side perks with everything we do in our lives, and what better can it be than to earn some rewards while you are spending and buying all the things you want? Your credit card for international travel (of course, depending on the type of credit card you own) may be able to earn you some special bonuses, cash back, or points when you use your credit card to make any sort of purchase while in foreign countries.

What are some of the disadvantages of using a credit card for international travel?

  • Getting ID verification done whenever making a purchase
  • Not every country you travel to accepts credit cards
  • Not all types of credit cards are accepted
  • You may get charged for using credit cards abroad because of differences in currencies

Getting ID verification done whenever making a purchase

Some retailers and businesses need photo identification whenever you make any sort of purchase, so you’ll most likely have to produce your photo ID while making any sort of purchase which can be quite inconvenient at times. Taking your ID card in and out of your purse or wallet can increase the chances of you losing any of your important documents, so you’ll want to be very careful.

Not every country you travel to accepts credit cards

Credit cards are extremely suitable and easy to use, but one of the drawbacks they hold is that they are not accepted in every country you travel to, or sometimes they aren’t accepted by every local retailer. For example, if you are traveling to a small town or a village in a foreign country, they might not have suitable gadgets to make payments by credit card and may require you to pay in local currency only.

Not every kind of credit card is accepted

Some local vendors only accept credit cards from local banks, or sometimes they may not accept the type of card you own. This means that you might have to carry multiple kinds of credit cards for international travel, or you may need to pay in cash locally if you want to make any purchase or payment.

You may get charged for using credit cards abroad because of differences in currencies

Depending on the type of credit card you own and the terms and conditions you agreed to, you might be charged a foreign transaction fee every time your card is swiped for a required transaction on any purchase you made in a foreign country. The reason is that you are making transactions in a different currency to where your credit actually belongs from.

Credit cards are quite useful when planning to travel abroad for a little getaway or a business trip. Still, you must keep in mind to research the best credit cards for international travel before you embark on your expedition.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of using your credit cards for international travel might help you avoid any potential financial issues and save you from any financial crisis that may take months to recover from.

How can you save on credit card fees when traveling internationally?

Now that you’ve chosen one of the best credit cards for international travel, you probably want to learn how to save money in addition to the perks you are already receiving. When you are traveling internationally, saving money can be quite a headache. The constant pang that we might overspend or this trip might leave you in debt for months to come can easily taint your foreign trip, and you’ll spend most of your time worrying instead of enjoying.

We have included some tips you can adopt after choosing from the best credit cards for international travel to let go of your worries and enjoy yourself under the foreign sun. So when you use your credit card internationally, follow these tips to ensure you’re spending your money wisely and not racking up unnecessary fees.

  • Use a variety of credit cards:

    When traveling overseas, the high expense of foreign transaction fees might mar an otherwise wonderful trip. If you want to keep foreign transaction fees to a minimum while traveling internationally, choose at least one credit card that does not charge them. Remember that not every credit card will work in every country, so be sure that at least a couple of your credit cards use networks available in the countries you’ll be visiting before you go.

  • Avoid cash advance costs:

    Withdrawing cash from an ATM using your credit card may cost you up to 5% of the amount withdrawn per transaction. In addition, you’ll be responsible for interest costs that are often more than the standard interest charges you pay for carrying a balance. Avoid taking out a cash advance by keeping some cash or a debit card on hand for emergencies.

  • Stay away from dynamic currency conversion:

    Overseas retailers may offer to dynamically convert your credit card transaction to your local currency. Dynamic currency conversion costs the consumer more than the credit card issuer charges. You’ll almost certainly be charged a foreign exchange fee because a foreign bank will process the transaction. Paying in the local currency is usually the cheapest option.

  • Before you travel, exchange your currency:

    It’s a good idea to have some local cash on hand if you need to make a purchase somewhere that doesn’t accept credit cards. Ask your local bank to change your currency and give you cash in the currency of the country you are traveling to. Your bank will most likely charge fewer exchange fees than the airport (or none).

  • Determine whether you are entitled to VAT refunds:

    VAT, or value-added tax, is a one-time tax on purchases. At the time of purchase, the consumer owes the government the whole amount of the tax. Some destinations reimburse visitors for value-added tax on goods or merchandise. Details vary by nation, but normally you’ll need to ask the merchant to assist you in filling out a tax form, which you’ll then produce to customs upon your departure.

  • Ensure to have a credit card with a chip and PIN:

    If you need a new card, acquire one with both a chip and a PIN – it will save you from having to withdraw cash from an ATM when visiting another country, and the transaction price may be lower than the bank’s foreign exchange fee charges on your withdrawal. If you don’t want to worry about fraudulent activity, such as stolen card data or a physical card, these cards are also more secure.


Adding international travel credit cards to your financial plan can benefit frequent travelers. You earn points with every purchase, which you can later use to book trips. This often provides better value than cash back or other rewards.

Many travel credit cards also offer extras that enhance your travel experience, adding even more value. Use this guide to find the best credit cards for international travel, and make booking your next flight easier and more rewarding.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

Tony Benett makes his living in the insurance industry by teaching and consulting. He is also recognized by the legal profession as an expert on insurance coverages. His insurance experience includes having worked at the company level, owned an independent general agency and having worked for an insurance association. He has received various certificates over the past few years and helps his clients and readers by giving them a realistic outlook on what they can expect to achieve within their set targets. At Insurance Noon, he is known for his in-depth analysis and attention to details with accuracy. He has been published as one of the most referred agents by his peers in the insurance community. Tony loves the outdoors and most sport events. His passion other than providing excellent advice is playing golf.