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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 that travels should consider carrying offer rewards, liability protection, and peace of mind.
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.
- TL;DR Quick Overview of the Best Credit Cards for Travel
- Platinum Card from American Express − Best Premium Option
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® − Most Flexible Option
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card − Best for Hotel Stays
- Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
- Best Credit Cards for International Travel
- American Express Gold® Card – Best Overall
- Capital One® Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Capital One® VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
- Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
- Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- What’s the Best International Credit Card for Students?
- How Do I Use My Credit Card Internationally?
- Best Credit Cards for Travel Rewards
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card
- Best Credit Cards for Travel No Annual Fee
- Citi American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Mastercard
- Capital One® Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Discover It® Miles
- Selecting the Best Credit Cards for Traveling
- The Annual Fee
- Foreign Currency Transaction Fees
- Security Protection
- Credit Limits and Miles
- Rental Car Coverage
- Airport Lounge Access
- Worldwide Acceptance
- Chip and Pin Technology
- Making the Most Out of Your Travel Credit Cards
- Do You Travel Often?
- How Much Do You Spend?
- How Often Will You Use the Cards?
- Are There Foreign Transaction Fees?
- How Important Is Your Credit Score When Applying for Travel Credit Cards?
- The Pros and Cons of Travel Rewards Credit Cards
TL;DR Quick Overview of the Best Credit Cards for Travel
Looking to get the quick lowdown on the best travel credit cards? Here’s 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|
If you’re in a rush, you can always view all the top travel cards right here.
If you’re looking for the real low-down, let’s take a closer look at each of these best credit cards for travel below.
Platinum Card from American Express − Best Premium Option
The Platinum Card® from American Express has a high annual fee of $695, but you have the chance to unlock over $1,500 per year in statement credits earned on select purchases. This is one of the best travel cards because it’s ideal for flights, hotels, and luxury travel.
You’ll receive 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels, a $200 hotel credit, a $200 airline fee credit, and a $155 Walmart+ credit, so you can enjoy all the shopping perks online and in-store. Your statement credit covers the cost of the Walmart+ membership each month.
Key Benefits of the Platinum Card® from American Express
- Complimentary access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection
- Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points
- Ability to choose your own Art x Platinum design
Chase Sapphire Preferred® − Most Flexible Option
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card, you can earn more, redeem faster, and go further, making it one of the best and most flexible travel credit cards.
You can earn 5x the total points on travel purchased through Chase and receive a $50 annual Chase Ultimate Rewards’ hotel credit. Other perks of this travel card include 3x points on dining in restaurants worldwide, 3x points on online grocery purchases, and a 10% anniversary points boost.
There are no foreign transaction fees, and you can earn 2x the points on travel, so you can make the most out of every trip you book. You’ll also earn 5x points on Lyft, with no blackout dates or restrictions.
This card has an annual fee of $95, but if you plan to travel often, you can earn 60,000 bonus points within the first 3 months of opening the account.
Key Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- You can transfer points to some of Chase’s hotel and airline partners
- Generous sign-up bonus
- You can turn points into travel with Ultimate Rewards
- Flexibility of booking airfare, hotels, and car rentals through Ultimate Rewards
- Receive 25% more value in your travel rewards
See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First Class Flights
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express card is our top choice for the best credit card for airline travel. It currently has a limited-time offer available, where you can earn 90,000 bonus miles instead of 50,000, after spending $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
Some of the travel benefits you’ll receive with this card include the first checked bag for free, an Annual Companion Certificate, and a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee credit.
Earn 3x miles per dollar on purchases made with Delta and those made directly with hotels. Earn 2x miles on each dollar spent at restaurants worldwide and purchases at all U.S. supermarkets, as well as 1x miles for every eligible dollar you spend on all other purchases.
Key Benefits of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Generous Welcome Bonus
- Earn more money on all Delta purchases
- Elevated earnings at hotels
- Earn on every purchase you make
- Earn for referring a friend
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card − Best for Hotel Stays
If you’re looking for the best travel credit card for hotels, this is it. The Marriott Bonvoy allows card members to earn 5 Free Night Awards, with each night being valued at up to 50,000 points, after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
You’ll earn up to 17x total points at Marriott and unlimited Marriott Bonvoy points to get free stays faster. As you continue to travel and rack up the points, you’ll realize just how valuable these credit card rewards are.
This card has an annual fee of just $95 per year, and you’ll find the rewards generously outweigh the fee.
Key Benefits of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card
- Travel and purchase coverage
- No foreign transaction fees
- Elevate your status and earn 1 Elite Night Credit toward Elite Status
- Receive automatic Silver Elite Status each anniversary year
- Apply for the card and use it the same day
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
If you want a card with a low intro APR balance for 21 months on balance transfers and 12 months on purchases, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card is definitely one to consider adding to your wallet.
You can take a break from paying high-interest rates while also taking advantage of the card’s other perks, such as free FICO Score access, special Citi® Entertainment perks, and contactless pay.
This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so it isn’t ideal for international travel. However, with the low introductory APR, you can save on interest and enjoy travel benefits in the states.
Key Benefits of the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
- Low introductory APR
- $0 liability for unauthorized charges
- Special access to purchase tickets to concerts, sporting events, dining experiences, and more
See Related: Amex Points vs Chase Points
Best Credit Cards for International Travel
Selecting the best credit cards for overseas travel is important when it comes to a cardholder’s travel ambitions and credit requirements. When narrowing down your choices for the best credit cards for international travel, you’ll want to find a card with no foreign transaction fees, bonus points on travel expenses, and of course, all the travel perks possible.
American Express Gold® Card – Best Overall
If you want the ultimate rewards for international travel, you definitely want to consider the American Express® Gold card. It doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees, and you can earn a Welcome Bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months.
This is a good card to have whether you’re traveling internationally or just shopping online from foreign merchants. It won’t cost you any extra. This card also offers travel insurance benefits, including car rental loss, damage insurance, and baggage insurance.
An annual fee of $250 applies to this card, but the rewards you’ll earn and benefit from make up for the fee.
Key Benefits of the American Express Gold® Card
- 4x Membership Rewards Points at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets
- 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
- Baggage insurance plan
- No foreign transaction fees
- Up to $120 dining credit annually
Capital One® Venture Rewards Credit Card
Travelers looking to maximize bonus points to 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 the ideal Capital One travel card for overseas transactions.
Other perks with this card include receiving up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fees. The APR on this card is variable and ranges from 16.24%-24.24%. Similar percentages apply for balance transfers, but there aren’t any other transfer fees.
The annual fee for holding this card is $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
- Rewards don’t expire for the life of the account
Capital One® VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
The VentureOne Rewards card shares some of the same perks as the Venture Rewards card, including security alerts, digital services, and no foreign transaction fees. 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’s no annual fee for holding the VentureOne Rewards card, and it offers 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 spending $500 in the first 3 months.
The VentureOne Rewards card removes the annual fee and allows for accumulating 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 don’t expire
See Related: Best Travel Credit Cards: What Card is Best For You?
Citi / 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 within the first 3 months of holding an account.
Unlocking airline rewards is a key benefit of this card. It gives travelers access to overseas destinations at discounted prices.
The APR for this card ranges from 15.99%-24.99%, based on the 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 for paying 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 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 compensate for the charge.
This card is for executive travelers that frequently engage in global business trips.
Among the perks this card offers 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 of between 15.99%-24.99%, based on a cardholder’s creditworthiness.
Balance transfers cost $5 or 5% 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 becomes a status symbol, instead of just a means of credit.
See Related: How to Maximize the Amex Platinum Travel 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 many 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 for up to $500,000 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 compared to other credit cards.
The card also gives you access to discounts and credits available with Uber (terms apply), allowing pickup and drop-off to the airport and international destinations.
Most no-fee credit cards don’t offer such a well-rounded package of travel-related perks.
Amex also offers a host of travel-related programs, which we’ve listed below.
One of the more interesting travel-related programs includes the Premium Global Assist Hotline, which is for travelers who are 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 the 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
Again, you can always view all the top travel cards right here.
See Related: How to Earn Airline Miles Without a Credit Card
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’re a student traveling outside the U.S., 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 are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees associated with this card.
See Related: Our Favorite Black Friday Travel Deals
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. Just make sure to review the fees that may be involved ahead of your travels.
Best Credit Cards for Travel Rewards
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting, you want to find the best credit cards for travel rewards that offer you points, miles, and everything you need. Look for a card that offers an excellent return on travel and dining purchases.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
With the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card, you can earn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase them through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Additionally, you can earn 5x total points on all air travel and 3x points on other travel and dining.
This card has a $550 annual fee and an intro offer of 60,000 points. It offers a $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your account each anniversary year. Plus, you’ll receive 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel directly through Chase Ultimate Reward.
Key Benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserved® Card
- Premium travel credit card with a $300 travel credit
- Bonus points on dining and travel purchases
- The value far exceeds the annual fee
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.
This card also offers a generous introductory APR, making expensive travel an easier proposition. Of particular importance to travelers is the 0% liability guarantee on all fraudulent transactions.
Traveling to foreign countries can sometimes be intimidating because scammers often target tourists and steal their money or financial information. Liability protection brings peace of mind to overseas adventures.
Qualifying travelers can also increase the number of bonus points earned on transactions to 2.62 points.
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
For an annual fee of $95, travelers can access the Bank of America® Premium Rewards card and earn higher bonus points. Cardholders earn 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’re eligible for 50,000 bonus points, which equates to 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
Best Credit Cards for Travel No Annual Fee
The best no annual fee credit card offers you rewards with no yearly cost of ownership to consider. If you’re a budget traveler or are just beginning your journey toward becoming a frequent traveler, this card is definitely one to consider.
Citi 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 can earn 10,000 American Airline AAdvantage miles and receive a $50 statement credit after spending $500 within the first 3 months after opening an account.
The APR for this card is variable and contingent upon the cardholder’s creditworthiness. The APR ranges from 15.99% to 24.99%, and balance transfer fees are $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
This card is ideal for travelers looking for security and rewards without annual fees or excessive APRs. Cardholders can use this card as a primary method for earning rewards or as a second option, since there isn’t any 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
Capital One® 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% cash back and a $200 Rewards Welcome Bonus after you spend $500 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account.
Every purchase can earn you unlimited 1.5% 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 don’t expire for the life of the account, and there isn’t any cap on how much you can earn.
You can use your Capital One® Quicksilver card anywhere 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.
Key Benefits of the Capital One® Quicksilver Secured Cash Credit Card
- New card members receive a bonus offer of $200
- You can earn unlimited rewards with 1.5% cash back on every purchase
- No annual fee
- 0% intro APR for the first 15 months and variable APR of 14.99%-24.99% after that
- Doesn’t require an excellent credit rating
- No foreign transaction fees
- Rewards never expire for the life of the account
Discover It® Miles
Looking for no annual fee but still want all the perks for traveling? Choose the Discover It® Miles credit card. Along with no annual fee, you’ll get unlimited 1.5x miles for every dollar you spend.
Discover will also match all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year. You can also redeem your miles for travel or cash. Use your statement credits to pay for travel purchases, such as your hotel room, rental car, rideshare, and more.
There are no blackout dates, and your points never expire. You can use your rewards instantly at Amazon.com checkout or when you pay with PayPal.
Key Benefits of the Discover It® Miles Card
- No annual fee
- Unlimited bonus
- Earn unlimited rewards on each dollar spent
- Redeem miles for cash or travel credit purchases
Selecting the Best Credit Cards for Traveling
Here’s some more information regarding what you should consider before choosing and applying for the best card for traveling, whether domestic or internationally.
Keep in mind that each credit card has its own terms and conditions, so you’ll want to read through everything thoroughly before deciding.
The Annual Fee
When considering credit card options, it’s practical to consider the annual fee and weigh it against how you’ll 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 don’t 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 a fee that a financial institution charges 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 between 1% and 3% of the transaction’s value and are paid by U.S. travelers in American dollars. Some financial institutions waive the fees for certain customers or offer fee-free credit cards.
These fees are an important consideration when you’re 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’ll be paying approximately 30% more in foreign transaction fees.
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’s too much at stake to travel abroad without financial protection.
Cards with higher annual fees often have 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.
Specific business and executive cards 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 be 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.
Search and compare car rentals from different companies to save more on your next trip.
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’s 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 benefits.
When visiting major tourist destinations, resorts, hotels, and more, you want to ensure that you can pay with your credit card. When making travel plans, be sure to research the common types of currency accepted at your destination, and keep this in mind when making your credit card choice.
Don’t forget to find the right travel insurance ahead of your next trip.
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 U.S.-issued credit cards have chip technology, but it can be rare to find a credit card that uses a PIN.
Some card issuers, such as 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.
Making the Most Out of Your Travel Credit Cards
You can do a few things to ensure you’re maximizing your travel rewards. First, make sure you have the right cards for the types of traveling you plan to do. Our recommendations above are a great place to start.
Second, look for bonus earning opportunities whenever possible, redeem your travel rewards, avoid booking through a third party, and don’t pay for benefits you don’t actually use.
Do You Travel Often?
If you don’t often travel and find yourself spending more time at home than traveling, even the best credit card for traveling won’t do you any good. You have to travel to get your money’s worth out of any travel credit card.
How Much Do You Spend?
Now determine whether you spend enough to earn any sign-up bonus that’s offered. You may want to find a card with a more realistic sign-up bonus, instead of a travel credit card with a much higher spending requirement that will ultimately fall outside your budget.
How Often Will You Use the Cards?
You may travel, but do you travel enough? You’ll find that some credit cards are easier to use than others. Always look closely at the requirements for each travel credit card you’re considering to ensure you qualify. It’s also a good idea to review any fees the credit card will cover as you travel.
Are There Foreign Transaction Fees?
When traveling internationally, there may be foreign transaction fees. If the card you choose charges these fees, it probably isn’t a card you want to take with you when you travel internationally. It won’t do you much good or offer you the kind of rewards you’re looking for.
When choosing a travel credit card, remember that there are different types of travelers. For example, if you consider yourself a luxury traveler, you’ll want both experience and value. Other travelers may be more vulnerable to upfront costs and would rather choose a card with a reasonable balance, fee, and quality rewards. There’s no one-size-fits-all option.
How Important Is Your Credit Score When Applying for Travel Credit Cards?
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 with a free credit report app, such as CreditKarma.
You may be interested to know that your credit rating in the U.S. 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 U.S. when you apply. A good credit rating will greatly improve your chances and help when calculating interest rates.
The Pros and Cons of Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Travel credit cards often prove more lucrative in terms of travel reward points. Those extra travel points can accumulate quickly. You can then use those travel points for plane tickets, hotel accommodations, and more as you travel.
The downside is that many travel cards charge an annual fee. Some premium credit card issuers 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 have charges for using the card abroad. Travel reward cards work the same with international travel as they do with domestic.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted worldwide, while American Express and Discover cards 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.
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The opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any of the entities included in the post.
The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired.
- About the Author
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.