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Best Credit Cards for International Travel: Our Top Picks

Best Credit Cards for International Travel: Our Top Picks

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Having reliable access to cash and the best credit cards for overseas travel is critical for having a safe, productive, and fun time abroad.

Specific credit cards offer rewards, liability protection, and peace of mind that travelers should consider carrying.

Credit Cards for Overseas Travel

Whether earning bonus points to pay for hotel rooms and airline flights or enjoying low introductory APR percentages, the credit cards listed below are ideal for overseas adventures and business travel.

Quick Overview

Looking to get the quick lowdown on the best travel credit cards? Here is a quick breakdown of our favorite cards to use for travel by hotels, airlines, perks, and more.

Best Premium Travel Card The Platinum Card® from American Express
Best Flexible Travel Card Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Best Airline Credit Card Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Best Hotel Credit Card Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
Best 0% APR Credit Card Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Best Credit Cards for Overseas Travel

Selecting the best credit cards for overseas travel is a function of a cardholder’s travel ambitions and credit requirements.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Credit Card Art

Travelers looking to maximize bonus points so they can book additional flights and travel activities can use the Capital One Venture card.

Cardholders can earn 2X miles for every purchase and apply them to travel-related expenditures without any blackout dates specified by the card issuer.

Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. There are no foreign transaction fees, making this an ideal card for overseas transactions.

Other perks with this card include the opportunity to receive an up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee. The APR on this card is variable and ranges from 16.24% – 24.24%.

Similar percentages apply for balance transfers, but there are no other transfer fees.

There is an annual fee for holding this card of $95. This card’s flexibility, including earning bonus rewards points on all purchases, makes it an ideal option for overseas travel.

Key benefits of Venture Rewards:

  • Earn unlimited 2X miles
  • Low annual fee
  • Opportunity to earn 60,000 bonus miles
  • Redeem miles for hotel, airline and travel purchases
  • Credit card rewards do not expire for the life of the account

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

The VentureOne Rewards card shares some of the perks with Venture Rewards.

This includes security alerts, digital services, and no foreign transaction fee. Cardholders earn bonus points on all everyday purchases and can apply them to travel-related expenditures.

However, there are some distinct differences between the two cards. There is no annual fee for holding the VentureOne Rewards, and there is an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months of holding an account.

After the introductory year, cardholders pay a variable APR that ranges from 15.24% – 25.24%. Cardholders earn 1.25X bonus miles on all purchases and the opportunity to earn 20,000 bonus miles after $500 spent in the first 3 months.

The VentureOne Rewards card removes the annual fee and allows for the accumulation of bonus points, helping travelers reach their goals and experience the joys of overseas travels.

Key benefits of VentureOne Rewards:

  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles
  • No annual fee
  • Opportunity to earn 20,000 bonus miles
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Credit card rewards do not expire

See Related: Best Travel Credit Cards: What Card is Best For You?

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Travelers searching for no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, and bonus points on all transactions can look to the Bank of America Travel Rewards card.

Cardholders earn unlimited 1.5 points on every $1 spent and the opportunity to earn 25,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days.

There’s also a generous introductory APR, making expensive travel an easier proposition.

Of particular importance to travelers is the 0 percent liability guarantee on all fraudulent transactions.

It can sometimes be intimidating to travel to foreign countries because scammers will often target tourists and steal their money or financial information.

With liability protection, it brings peace of mind to overseas adventures.

Also, travelers can up the number of bonus points earned on transactions to 2.62 points if they qualify.

Key benefits of BOA Travel Rewards:

  • Unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all purchases
  • No expiration on points
  • No blackout dates
  • No booking restrictions
  • No foreign transaction fee

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Bank of America Premium Rewards Details

For an annual fee of $95, travelers can access the Bank of American Premium Rewards card and higher bonus points.

With this credit solution, cardholders earn unlimited 2 points on every dollar spent on travel and dining purchases.

For non-travel-related expenditures, travelers earn 1.5 points on every dollar spent. This still gives cardholders significant bonus points to enhance, supplement or extend their trips overseas.

If cardholders spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of holding the card, they are eligible for 50,000 bonus points, which equals a $500 value.

Other perks include cash back as a deposit to a BOA checking or savings account, eligible Merrill Lynch accounts, or credit to the credit card statement.

Cash back can also be applied to purchases at the BOA travel center or gift cards. Liability protection and mobile applications are available for this credit option.  

Key benefits of BOA Premium Rewards:

  • Unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on dining and travel purchases
  • Unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on other purchases
  • No expiration on points
  • Redeem for cash back deposit in BOA
  • Opportunity to earn $100 in Airport Security Statement Credits

Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard

Travelers seeking a credit card accepted globally can leverage the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard to mark attractions off their bucket list.

This card offers 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after $2,500 in expenditures, after three months of holding an account.

Unlocking airline rewards is a key benefit to this card. It gives travelers access to overseas destinations at discounted prices.

The APR for this card ranges from 15.99 percent to 24.99 percent based on a cardholder’s creditworthiness.

Balance transfer fees are either $5 or 5% of the transfer, whichever is greater.

These and other benefits, such as an introductory annual fee of zero, make this card one of the most effective to pay for meals, entertainment, and excursions overseas.

Key benefits of the AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard:

  • Air mile rewards and travel benefits                
  • Opportunity to earn 50,000 bonus miles
  • Annual fee waived for the first 12 months
  • Annual fee of $99 after the introductory period

See Related: How to Book a Flight Without a Credit Card

Citi American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard

American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard

Another Citi card that allows travelers to leverage rewards for air travel is the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard.

This card has no annual fee, and AAdvantage miles can be used for a range of travel-related expenses.

Cardholders have the opportunity to earn 10,000 American Airline AAdvantage miles and receive a $50 statement credit after spending $500 in the first 3 months of opening an account.  

The APR for this card is variable and contingent upon the creditworthiness of the cardholder. The APR range is from 15.99 percent to 24.99 percent, and balance transfer fees are greater than $5 or 5 percent of the amount of each transfer.

This card is ideal for travelers looking for security and rewards without annual fees or excessive APRs.

This credit solution can be a primary method for earning rewards or a secondary option since there is no charge for keeping it.  

Key Benefits of the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard:

  • No annual fee
  • Opportunity to earn 10,000 American Airline AAdvantage bonus miles.
  • Variety of travel rewards and related perks

Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard

Although the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard comes with a $450 annual fee, there are more than enough perks to make up for the charge.

This card is for executive travelers that frequently engage in global business trips.

Among the perks is the opportunity to earn 50,000 American AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening an account.

Other features of this card include a variable APR between 15.99 percent and 24.99 percent, based on a cardholder’s creditworthiness.

Balance transfers are charged $5 or 5 percent of the balance, whichever is greater, for each balance transfer.

Executive class travelers looking for significant rewards based on frequent travel and high dollar expenditures can leverage this credit card to their advantage.

This is also an instance where the credit card turns into a status symbol opposed to just a means of credit.

Key benefits of the AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard:

  • Opportunity to earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles
  • Access to exclusive travel perks
  • Executive status rewards
  • Ability to pay globally for travel and other purchases
  • Higher credit limits

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Although the Amex Platinum Card comes with a $695 annual fee (Rates and Fees), it has a series of benefits and perks that make traveling easier, more enjoyable, and more economical.

We consider it one of our top choices as a premium travel credit card.

Cardholders can earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel.

Cardholders also earn 1X points on all other qualifying transactions.

Whether booking flights directly with airlines or through amextravel.com, cardholders can travel internationally with greater ease.

Car rental damage and loss insurance, car rental privileges, trip delay coverage, and cancellation coverage are among the perks offered with the Amex Platinum card.

The scope of the benefits offered to cardholders is impressive relative to other credit cards.

There are also discounts and credits available with Uber (terms apply), allowing for pickup and drop-off on the way to the airport and international destinations.

Most no-fee credit cards do not offer such a well-rounded package of travel-related perks.

There are a host of travel-related programs offered by Amex listed below. One of the more interesting includes the Premium Global Assist Hotline, which is for travelers more than 100 miles away from home.

Amex provides 24/7 access to legal, financial, and medical services along with coordination of emergency services.

This type of help can prove critically important for travelers looking to go overseas.

Knowing that such a program exists can provide tremendous relief, allowing for better vacations and business trips.

Key benefits of the Amex The Platinum Card® include:

  • 16.74% to 23.74% variable rate on eligible charges for Pay Over Time feature; see more about the “Rates & Fees
  • The Global Collection Lounge with more than 1,300 lounges worldwide
  • International Airline Program
  • Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (terms apply)
  • Fine Hotels and Resorts Program
  • Platinum Travel Service with counselors and itineraries

See Related: How to Earn Airline Miles Without a Credit Card

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

This travel rewards credit card for international travel is ideal for those with less than perfect credit. There is no annual fee for this credit card.

It provides a Rewards Rate of 1.5 percent cash back and a $200 Rewards Welcome Bonus after you spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first three months of opening the account.

Every purchase can earn you unlimited 1.5 percent cash back daily. There are no rotating categories or sign-ups you need to do to start earning your cash rewards.

The cash back rewards also don’t expire for the life of the account, and there is no cap on how much you can earn.

You can use your Capital One Quicksilver card anywhere that Mastercard is accepted. It features a $0 foreign transaction fee, making it the ideal companion for all your international travels.

This card can be used to shop online and through international merchants.

Quicksilver documentation

Key Benefits of the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Credit Card

  • New cardmembers receive a bonus offer of $200
  • You can earn unlimited rewards with 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase
  • No annual fee
  • 0 percent intro APR for the first 15 months and variable APR of 14.99 percent to 24.99 percent after that
  • Does not require an excellent credit rating
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Rewards never expire for the life of the account

Selecting the Best Credit Cards for Overseas Travel

Here is more information regarding what you should consider before choosing and applying for the best card for international travel.

Keep in mind that each credit card has its own terms and conditions, so you want to read through everything thoroughly before deciding.

The Annual Fee

When considering credit card options, it’s practical to first consider the annual fee and weigh that against how one will use the card. This basic analysis will yield the advantages of cards with no annual fee relative to those that do.

The no-fee card may be ideal for cardholders who do not travel frequently and have limited expenditures regardless of the bonus points available with other cards.

While spending activity is always variable, cardholders should consider their past activity.

Similarly, high bonus points on all purchases compared to higher bonus points only on travel purchases should be considered.

If a cardholder plans on using a credit card to pay for regular monthly expenses, then a card that maximizes bonus points on all purchases is ideal.

If a cardholder only plans to use the credit card for travel-related expenses, then a card that maximizes points for travel purchases may make more sense relative to other card terms, such as the annual fees, APR, and perks.

The best credit cards for overseas travel should meet the right point requirements.

Foreign Currency Transaction Fees

A foreign transaction fee is one that the financial institution assesses to a consumer who chooses to use electronic payment to make a purchase in foreign currency while traveling. These fees are also known as foreign purchase transaction fees or foreign currency transaction fees.

Foreign transaction fees usually come out to be between 1% and 3% of the transaction’s value and are paid by US travelers in dollars. Some financial institutions now offer certain customers waivers on these fees or offer fee-free credit cards.

These fees are an important consideration when planning on traveling overseas and using your credit cards. Fees can begin to add up quickly. A withdrawal from a foreign ATM can also incur additional fees.

Ultimately, for every $1,000 you spend overseas, you will be paying approximately 30 percent more in foreign transaction fees.

Security Protection

Travelers should consider security protection, account alerts, and the longevity of reward points once earned.

Lost cards and fraudulent transactions are among the greatest concerns when traveling abroad, and finding a credit card that offers liability guarantees, along with readily available customer support and assistance, should be a deciding factor when selecting a card.

There is too much at stake to travel abroad without financial protection.

For higher annual fees, often, there are significant supplemental benefits that support cardholders.  

Credit Limits and Miles

For business and executive cardholders, credit limits and airline miles may outweigh other concerns such as annual fees and APRs.

This analysis should be performed for the benefit of the business and not necessarily for the individual cardholder.

There are specific business and executive cards that give senior leaders and business representatives the leverage necessary to travel, make deals, and ensure the continued viability of their company’s operations.

Rental Car Coverage

When traveling internationally, rental car coverage can prove crucial. When renting a car, you can purchase primary insurance coverage at the rental car counter, or you can choose to get this coverage for free by using a card that offers primary rental car coverage on your travels.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is just one example of this.

Airport Lounge Access

When you travel abroad, you spend a lot of time in the airport. When looking for the best card for international travel, look for a premium credit card that offers airport lounge access, so you have somewhere to relax before it is time to catch your next flight.

The Platinum Card from American Express is a premium card that offers this perk. Enrollment is required for these selected benefits.

Worldwide Acceptance

When visiting major tourist destinations, resorts, hotels, and more, you want to be sure you can pay with your credit card. When making travel plans, be sure to research the common types of currency accepted where you will be and keep this in mind when making your credit card choice.

Chip and Pin Technology

France and Germany are two countries that require an EMV chip and PIN to use a credit card in an unattended terminal. Most US-issued credit cards do have chip technology, but it can be rare to find a credit card that uses a PIN.

Some card issuers like Bank of America allow you to add a PIN to your card for travel. Check with your card issuer to see if this is something you can do. The best travel credit card is a matter of perspective. 

FAQ: Best Credit Cards for International Travel

Now that we have shared the best credit cards for international travel, let’s dive into answers for some of the more commonly asked questions when looking for cards for international travel.

How important is your credit score if you want to apply for a credit card for international travel?

A good credit score typically falls into the range of 670 to 739. Scores above this will put you into an excellent credit score range. When looking for the top travel cards, you want to be within the good range. Check your credit score in advance by using a free credit report app like CreditKarma.

It may also be of interest to learn that the credit rating you have in the United States has no bearing when traveling overseas.

However, to get the best credit cards for international travel, you must have a good credit rating in the US when you apply. It will greatly improve your chances and help when calculating interest rates.

What are the pros and cons of travel rewards credit cards?

Travel credit cards often prove more lucrative when it comes to travel reward points. Those extra travel points you earn can quickly accumulate and can then be used for plane tickets, hotel accommodations, and more as you travel.

The downside is that many travel cards do charge an annual fee. Some premium credit card options may charge as much as $500 per year for their card. Some also come with foreign transaction fees, which will apply to each payment or transaction made while traveling abroad.

Do travel reward cards work the same with international travel?

Few travel credit cards will charge you for using the credit card abroad. Travel reward cards work the same with international travel as with domestic.

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted worldwide, while American Express and Discover cards do have an international presence but may not be as widely accepted by all international merchants. When traveling abroad, you can still continue to accrue your points.

What are the best strategies to maximize travel rewards?

There are a few things you can do to make sure you are maximizing your travel rewards. First, make sure you have the right cards. Our recommendations above are a great place to start.

Second, whenever possible, look for bonus earning opportunities, redeem your travel rewards, avoid booking through a third party, and don’t pay for benefits you don’t actually use.

What’s the best international credit card for students?

The Bank of America Travel Rewards card is the best option for international students. As long as the credit card issuer accepts Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) as an alternative to a social security number, international students can apply for a credit card.

If you are a student traveling outside of the US, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card offers 25,000 online bonus points as a welcome bonus after spending your first $1,000 in qualifying purchases within 90 days. There is also no annual fee for the card membership and no foreign transaction fee.

How do I use my credit card internationally?

When traveling internationally, you use your credit card the same way you would in your own country. You can also use your credit card for a cash withdrawal from most ATMs abroad as well. Just make sure to review the fees that may be involved ahead of your travels.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired.

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