Best Credit Cards for International Travel
Traveling abroad can be full of surprises, but having a credit card with good travel rewards, a 0% foreign transaction fee, and other protections like trip cancellation insurance will help you enjoy the best parts of vacation in hundreds of countries around the world.
Imagine eating your way through Rome and earning cashback on every dollar you spend on world-famous pasta carbonara. Then, hop into your rental car and zip to Florence, taking in the Italian countryside along the way. Just use caution driving in Florence, or your mailman might surprise you back home with one or more 200-euro traffic tickets for driving on residents-only streets in the city! (Don’t ask me how I know.)
The best credit cards for international travel boast features like primary car rental insurance to cover the cost of accidents or theft abroad.
You can also enjoy VIP status at dozens of hotels in countries as far as Japan if you opt for a card with hotel partner programs.
Bottom line – there’s more to look for when it comes to international travel than a credit card with no transaction fees, though that is a good place to start.
When you sign up for one of these 8 best credit cards for travel abroad, you are signing up for a life of adventure, luxury, and just the right amount of protection.
8 Best Credit Cards for International Travel
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Card
- Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
- American Express® Gold Card
- Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Watch the points roll in from the sky with the Platinum Card from American Express.
Not only is this card jam-packed with reward points, but it also comes with great business perks for the entrepreneurial traveler.
This card comes with one amazing, distinguishing feature – Every year, like clockwork, you’ll get a $200 airline credit that you can apply to any flight of your choosing. It’s like Christmas, or your birthday, or even better – your annual solo vacation.
Traveling for work? Even better. Owning this card comes with some great business perks, like the $100 annual Dell credit. Hotel partners include Hilton Honors™ Gold Status, Marriott Bonvoy™ Gold Elite Status, and The Hotel Collection.
- Current Offer: This card delivers 5X points on flights booked through airlines or amextravel.com and 5X points when you book and pay for your hotel in advance through amextravel.com (Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). But let’s not forget about your daily purchases. You’ll earn 1X points for each dollar of eligible purchases.
- Welcome Bonus: 75,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $5,000 on your new card in the first six months from account opening
- Annual Fee: $550
- Peace of Mind Features: You’ll also get a Pre✓® credit with this card, removing all stress of missing take-off.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
If you’re a frequent traveler who loves to eat out at restaurants, look no further than the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
Why not be rewarded for the things you love most? This card lets you earn 2X points for travel and dining expenses, which can then be applied towards your future trips.
Chase partners with about a dozen international hotels and airlines, each with their own partnerships.
What’s this mean for you? It means get ready to spend your points at a 1:1 ratio on airfare, upgraded suites, and first-class room service in countries across the world.
Partners include Iberia Air, British Airways, Marriott Bonvoy, and World of Hyatt. But this list only scratches the surface.
- Current Offer: Enjoy premium travel and dining rewards by earning double points when you eat out or make travel purchases.
- Welcome Bonus: Get up to 60,000 bonus points – worth $750 in travel when redeemed through Chase – after spending $4,000 in your first 3 months.
- Annual Fee: $95
- Peace of Mind Features: Hello, travel insurance! The first rule of travel is to prepare for the unexpected, and with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card you’ll be covered for up to $10,000 if your trip is canceled or interrupted because of sickness, severe weather, or other factors outside your control. This is also the number one card for when you want to take an international road trip. Primary car insurance covers the cost of rental car damages and liability up to $75,000 in both the U.S. and abroad. Ever lose a bag? This card comes with baggage delay insurance that will take care of the cost of toiletries and other essentials like clothing if the airline pulls a Gaylord Focker on you and loses your bag in the abyss. We could keep going, but we’ll end with on-call Travel and Emergency Assistance Services in case you run into a medical, legal, or emergency problem abroad. Do you feel at ease yet?
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Picture traveling through the remote Swiss Alps while your 24/7 assistant monitors your account for fraudulent activity and sends alerts if anything looks suspicious.
Aside from peace of mind, this card delivers unlimited double miles on every single purchase.
Take advantage of the convenience and security of using your credit card on every transaction. The Capital One Venture card is accepted worldwide, letting you track your expenses without a single foreign transaction fee.
Don’t stop there – Enjoy a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® fee so you never have to wait in line at airport security.
- Current Offer: Earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase.
- Welcome Bonus: Get up to 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Annual Fee: $0 in the first year, $95 every year after that
- Peace of Mind Features: Trip accident insurance to cover hospital and transportation bills in the event of an emergency. Did someone say rock climbing in Spain? Go ahead, be adventurous. This card has your back.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card wants you to travel so much it is giving away a $300 airline credit for every calendar year you are an account holder.
Enjoy the same international partner travel reciprocities as with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, including JetBlue, Southwest Rapid Rewards, and Singapore Airlines.
Breeze through the security check with a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®!
Read on to learn about the other features that make this one of the best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.
- Current Offer: Worldwide travel and dining that pays for itself. Earn 3X Points on travel after earning your $300 annual travel credit and dining across the globe.
- Welcome Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending your first $4,000 in three months. Remember – When you book through Chase, 50,000 points = $750 in travel rewards. Start planning your vacation days now.
- Annual Fee: $550 + $75 for each authorized user
- Peace of Mind Features: This card includes the same all-star security and peace-of-mind assistance as its sister card, Chase Sapphire Preferred. For a refresher, that’s $10,000 worth of trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance covers, and primary car insurance without even needing to file a claim through your personal car insurance. But did we also mention the Chase Sapphire family also provides on-call Travel and Emergency Assistance Services for the rare occasion you run into a medical, legal, or emergency problem while traveling internationally? There’s even emergency evacuation coverage if you need to be airlifted out of a remote village. Don’t laugh – it happens! And if it happens to you, this card will be your best friend.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Sometimes a straightforward cashback rewards card is the way to go when saving for international travel.
That’s why the Capital One Quicksilver is hands-down one of the best credit cards for international travel offering 0% foreign transaction fees.
Unlimited 1.5% cashback on every purchase lets you squirrel away your rewards, and over time you’ll have a high enough cashback balance to pay for an extra fancy dinner on vacation – or even upgrade to business class.
- Current Offer: 0% introductory APR for both purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months from account opening then a variable APR of 15.49% – 25.49%
- Welcome Bonus: $200 cash bonus after you spend the first $500 on purchases in the first 3 months.
- Annual Fee: $0
- Peace of Mind Features: Enjoy earning 1.5% unlimited cashback on every single qualifying purchase, with no expiration in sight. Here’s what this means – let’s say your trip to Fiji costs $2500. Book it all on your Capital One Quicksilver card and put almost $40 back in your pocket.
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
For a straightforward credit card with good benefits for international travel, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card delivers.
The Capital One VentureOne Rewards card comes with no foreign transaction fee.
Prepare yourself to stay in luxury hotels anywhere in the world, on a budget! Earn cash value in VentureOne® miles that can be spent at one of 10+ travel partners.
- Current Offer: 0% intro APR for the first 12 months then a variable APR of 14.49% – 24.49%
- Welcome Bonus: 20,000 mile bonus when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This is equal to $200 in travel and hotel rewards.
- Annual Fee: $0
- Peace of Mind Features: 24-hour replacement assistance if your card is lost or stolen. Trip accident insurance that covers emergency room visits and/or and medical transportation in the event of an accident. Let’s not forget 24/7 emergency assistance for services like finding an English speaking doctor or lawyer while abroad.
American Express® Gold Card
If the Platinum card is for business people, the American Express Gold Card is for foodies. Eat your way through your next vacation, and while you’re at it – do plenty of dining out before vacation, too.
No need to penny-pinch on dinner with this card – Every year you get up to $120 food credit, plus you earn quadruple points at U.S. supermarkets.
This card gifts a $100 airline credit. So go ahead – check your bags, upgrade to first class, or purchase a satisfying in-flight meal on the house.
Also, you can earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at food locations like Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack stores. If you do the math, this can bring in an annual savings of up to $120, just from the convenience of eating out when you travel.
Here’s why this is one of our favorite credit cards for traveling abroad, as well:
- Current Offer: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points back for dining at restaurants anywhere in the world. Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly through the airline or through amextravel.com.
- Peace of Mind: If you’re more of the dine-at-home kind and prefer to stick to the budget and familiar quality of grocery store shopping, you can still earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on all spending at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per year, then 1x.
- Welcome Bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points when you make $4,000 in purchases during your first 6 months.
- Annual Fee: $250
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
If you’re a credit newcomer who loves to travel abroad, you can always count on Capital One to offer a no-frills option with a 0% foreign transaction fee.
Maybe you’re not quite eligible for one of these rockstar travel reward cards, but it’s only a matter of time.
If you’re ready to establish a credit history with a card that’s accepted at millions of locations worldwide, we have the choice for you.
No need to sacrifice your ability to move through the world just because you’re a credit newbie. Have both – freedom and discipline. This card makes it possible.
- Current Offer: Enjoy a $200 credit limit by making an initial deposit of at least $49, $99, or $200. As your credit history improves, so will your credit limit. Watch your borrowing power increase after your first 5 months of on-time payments.
- Welcome Bonus: None
- Annual Fee: $0
- Peace of Mind Features: You can manage your account easily with 24/7 online access or with the mobile app. Pick your own due date for making payments when it’s most convenient for you – a must-have feature for travelers.
Which Travel Credit Card Is For You?
Being a great international traveler is all about balancing peace of mind with adventure. Ideally, you never play it *too* safe, but that’s exactly why an awesome credit card with stellar international travel benefits can give you wings.
Features like travel insurance and 24/7 assistance for translation, legal assistance, and medical support will step in and take care of you if your luck goes south while abroad.
But, in the meantime, all you have to do is kick back, relax, and live your best life abroad.