Having reliable access to cash and best credit cards for overseas travel is critical for having a safe, productive and fun time abroad.
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Credit Cards for Overseas Travel
There are specific credit cards that offer rewards, liability protection and peace-of-mind that travelers should consider carrying.
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.
Selecting the best credit cards for overseas travel is a function of a cardholder’s travel ambitions and their credit requirements.
Capital One Venture
Travelers looking to maximize bonus points, so they can book additional flights and travel activities, can use the Capital One Venture card.
For every purchase, cardholders can earn 2X miles and apply them to travel-related expenditures without any blackout dates.
Also, cardholders are eligible for 60,000 bonus miles, if they spend at least $3,000 in the first three months of holding the card. There are no foreign transaction fees, making this an ideal card for overseas transactions.
Other perks with this card include the opportunity to receive a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre Check Fee. The APR on this card is variable and ranges from 17.24 percent to 24.49 percent.
Similar percentages apply for balance transfers, but there are no other transfer fees.
As of December 2020, there is an annual fee for holding this card of $95. The flexibility that this card provides, including earning bonus 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 do not expire for the life of the account
Capital One VentureOne Rewards
The VentureOne Rewards card shares some of the perks with the Venture Rewards. This includes security alerts, digital services and no foreign transaction fees. Cardholders earn bonus points on all 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 percent APR for the first 12 months of holding an account.
After the introductory year, cardholders pay a variable APR that ranges from 15.49 percent to 25.49 percent. Cardholders earn 1.25X bonus miles on all purchases and the opportunity to earn 20,000 bonus miles after $1,000 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 percent intro APR for 12 months
- Rewards do not expire
See Related: Best Travel Credit Cards: What Card is Best For You?
Bank of America Travel Rewards
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 low introductory APR for the first 12 billing cycles, 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-times target tourists and try to 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 quality.
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 fees
Bank of America Premium Rewards
For an annual fee of $95 dollars, travelers can gain access to 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 purchases.
For nontravel-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 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 as a credit to the credit card statement.
Cash back can also be applied to purchases at the BOA travel center or to 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
Travelers looking for 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 3 percent 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
- Low balance transfer fees
See Related: How to Book a Flight Without a Credit Card
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 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 the greater of either $5 or 3 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 is a credit solution that can be a primary method for earning rewards or as a secondary option, since there is no charge for keeping it.
Key benefits of the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Mastercard:
- No annual fee
- Low balance transfer fees
- Opportunity to earn 10,000 American Airline AAdvantage bonus miles.
- Variety of travel rewards and related perks
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 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 3 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
American Express Platinum Card
Although the Amex Platinum Card comes with a $550 annual fee, it has a series of benefits and perks that make traveling easier, more enjoyable and more economical.
Many consider it to be the best premium travel credit card. Cardholders can earn 5X membership rewards points for flights, and 5X points on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com.
Cardholders also earn 1X points on all other qualifying transactions.
Whether booking flights directly with airlines or through amextravel.com, cardholders have the ability to 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, 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 a tremendous relief, allowing for better vacations and business trips.
Key benefits of the Amex platinum card include:
- The Global Collection Lounge with more than 1,300 lounges worldwide
- International Airline Program
- Free credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Fine Hotels and Resorts Program
- Platinum Travel Service with counselors and itineraries
See Related: How to Earn Airline Miles Without a Credit Card
Selecting the Best Credit Cards for Overseas Travel
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.
For cardholders that do not travel frequently, and have limited expenditures, the no fee card may be ideal 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.
Travelers should consider security protection, account alerts and the longevity of 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-times there are significant supplemental benefits that support cardholders.
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.
The best travel credit card is a matter of perspective.