Travel Tips

15 Top Credit Cards for International Travel in 2024

Key Highlights

  1. Many travel credit cards offer welcome bonuses that can cover the cost of a one-way business class ticket or multiple economy round-trips for international travel.
  2. Co-branded airline credit cards allow you to earn miles directly with specific airlines, while transferable point credit cards provide more flexibility in redeeming points for flights.
  3. The best airline credit cards for international travel include the Alaska Airlines Visa, American Airlines AAdvantage cards, British Airways Visa, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, and United MileagePlus cards.
  4. Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points, and Capital One miles are popular transferable point programs for booking international flights.
  5. Each credit card program offers unique benefits, such as travel portal bookings, airline transfers, and various airline partners.
  6. It’s important to consider your travel preferences, spending habits, and desired perks when choosing the best credit card for international travel.

Introduction: Best Credit Card for International Travel

multiple different

When it comes to international travel, travel hacking is essential and having the right credit card can make a world of difference. Not only can it save you money on foreign transaction fees, but it can also earn you valuable rewards and provide access to airport lounges. The best credit cards for international travel are designed with the needs of globetrotters in mind, offering travel benefits and features that can enhance your journey. Overall, the best credit card for international travel is one that offers low or no foreign transaction fees, rewards on travel purchases, airport lounge access, and valuable travel benefits. By choosing the right travel credit card, you can maximize your rewards, save money on fees, and enjoy a more comfortable and rewarding travel experience.

Key Factor #1: Best Credit Card for International Travel

boarding pass and passports

One of the key factors to consider when choosing a credit card for international travel is whether it earns rewards. A rewards credit card allows you to earn points or miles on your everyday spending, which can then be redeemed for flights, hotels, and other travel expenses. This can help offset the cost of your international trips and make your travels more affordable, especially if you use a new card to take advantage of initial bonuses.

Key Factor #2: Best Credit Card for International Travel

airport lounge with server

More international travel tips to look out for in a travel credit card are the lounge access features. You’ll want to look for airport lounge access internationally. Many premium travel credit cards offer complimentary access to airport lounges, where you can relax, enjoy complimentary food and drinks, and take advantage of other amenities. This can make your layovers and transit time much more comfortable and enjoyable. It’s also worth considering the annual fee of the credit card. Some travel credit cards come with higher annual fees, but they often come with valuable benefits and perks that can make them well worth the cost. These benefits may include travel credits, annual travel statement credits, travel insurance, and more. Assess your travel patterns and spending habits to determine if the benefits outweigh the annual fee.

Top Credit Cards for International Travel

If you’re looking for the best credit cards for international travel, we’ve compiled a list of the top options to consider. These credit cards offer a range of benefits, including valuable rewards, travel insurance, airport lounge access, and more. Whether you prefer co-branded airline cards or transferable point cards, there’s a credit card on this list that can help you make the most of your international travels.

1. The Platinum Card® from American Express

platinum amex card with benefits

The Platinum Card from American Express is a premium credit card that offers a multitude of benefits for international travelers. This card is #1 on the list of best credit cards for international travel for a reason. With a generous welcome bonus, lounge access, and travel benefits, it’s a gateway to luxury travel. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. American Express is known for its extensive network of airport lounges, and Platinum Cardholders have access to these lounges around the world.
  2. The card has a high annual fee, but it comes with valuable benefits such as travel credits, airline fee credits, and hotel elite status.
  3. Cardholders can enjoy travel benefits like concierge services, elite status with hotel loyalty programs, and access to exclusive events.
  4. The Platinum Card also offers travel insurance, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage insurance, and car rental loss and damage insurance.

With its premium features and benefits, The Platinum Card from American Express is an excellent choice for frequent international travelers who value luxury and convenience.

2. Chase Sapphire Reserve®

chase sapphire reserve card

Chase Sapphire Reserve is a top-tier rewards credit card that offers unmatched rewards and perks for international travelers. With a valuable welcome bonus and a range of travel benefits, it’s a favorite among travel enthusiasts. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers an excellent rewards program, allowing cardholders to earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining purchases.
  2. Cardholders can redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal or transfer them to partner airlines and hotels.
  3. The card provides comprehensive travel insurance, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, and primary car rental insurance.
  4. It also offers a generous annual travel credit that can be used to offset travel expenses, making it an excellent choice for frequent international travelers.

With its competitive rewards program, extensive travel benefits, and valuable annual travel credit, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is a top choice for those seeking luxury and value in their international travel credit card.

3. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

capital one venture card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a popular choice for international travelers seeking flexibility and value. With its straightforward rewards program and valuable travel benefits, it’s an excellent option for those who want to earn and redeem rewards on their international adventures. Here are some key features of the card, making it a good credit card for those looking to build or rebuild their credit score:

  1. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited miles on every purchase, making it easy to accumulate rewards for your international travel expenses.
  2. Cardholders can redeem their miles for travel statement credits, making it simple to offset the cost of flights, hotels, and other travel expenses.
  3. The card has no foreign transaction fees, making it a cost-effective choice for international travel.
  4. While it does have an annual fee, the card’s generous rewards program and valuable benefits make it well worth the cost for frequent international travelers.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is the best credit card for international travel if you’re an individual who values flexibility, value, and simplicity in your travel credit card.

5. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

chase sapphire preferred card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is widely regarded as the traveler’s starter pack, offering valuable benefits and rewards for those new to the world of travel credit cards. With its accessible annual fee and valuable welcome bonus, it’s a great choice for international travelers looking to earn and redeem rewards, including the $50 Annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers a generous welcome bonus, allowing cardholders to earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points right off the bat.
  2. Cardholders can earn bonus points on travel purchases, including airfare, hotels, and rental cars, making it easy to accumulate rewards for your international adventures.
  3. The card provides trip cancellation and interruption insurance, offering peace of mind for your travel plans.
  4. It also offers valuable travel benefits such as baggage delay insurance and rental car insurance.

With its accessible annual fee, valuable rewards program, and useful travel benefits, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is an excellent choice for international travelers who want to dip their toes into the world of travel credit cards.

6. Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

bank of america travel rewards card

The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card is a great option for international travelers seeking simplicity and efficiency. With its straightforward rewards program and competitive benefits, it’s a no-nonsense choice for earning and redeeming rewards on your international adventures. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card offers a competitive rewards rate on all purchases, making it easy to earn points for your international travel expenses.
  2. Cardholders can redeem their points for travel statement credits, allowing for flexibility in redeeming rewards for flights, hotels, and other travel expenses.
  3. The card has no foreign transaction fees, making it a cost-effective choice for international travel.
  4. It also offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases, providing flexibility for managing expenses during your international trips.

If you value simplicity, efficiency, and flexibility in your travel credit card, the Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card will be your best credit card for international travel adventures.

7. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

capital one venture x card with capital one logo in bottom left corner

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a new contender in the world of travel credit cards, offering a range of valuable benefits for international travelers. With its premium features and rewards program, it’s an excellent choice for those seeking luxury and value. Here are some key features of the card: – Up to 10X Reward Rate. Earn 2 miles per dollar on all eligible purchases, 5 miles per dollar on flights and 10 miles per dollar on eligible purchases.

  1. The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers a generous welcome bonus, allowing cardholders to earn a substantial number of miles right from the start.
  2. Cardholders can redeem their miles for travel through the Capital One Travel portal, providing flexibility in booking flights, hotels, and other travel experiences.
  3. The card comes with premium benefits such as airport lounge access, allowing for a more comfortable and luxurious travel experience.
  4. While it does come with a high annual fee, the card’s valuable benefits, rewards program, and premium features make it a worthwhile choice for frequent international travelers.

If you’re looking for a new contender in the world of travel credit cards, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a strong option that offers a range of valuable benefits for your international adventures.

9. Citi Premier® Card

citi premier card

The Citi Premier Card is designed to broaden your horizons and enhance your travel experiences. With its valuable rewards program and travel benefits, it’s an excellent choice for those seeking to earn and redeem rewards on their international adventures. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. The Citi Premier Card offers a generous welcome bonus, allowing cardholders to earn a significant number of bonus points upon meeting the spending requirements.
  2. Cardholders can earn bonus points on a variety of travel and dining purchases, making it easy to accumulate rewards for your international travels.
  3. The card has an annual fee, but its valuable benefits and rewards program make it well worth the cost for frequent international travelers.
  4. It also offers no foreign transaction fees, making it a cost-effective choice for international travel.

If you’re looking to broaden your horizons and make the most of your international travels, the Citi Premier Card is a fantastic choice that offers a range of valuable benefits and rewards.

10. Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo propel card

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card stands out as a versatile option for those seeking rewards across a wide range of spending categories without an annual fee. Here are some of the top features of this travel credit card:

  1. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card offers a welcome bonus, allowing cardholders to earn bonus rewards right off the bat.
  2. Cardholders can earn bonus points on a variety of spending categories, including travel, dining, gas stations, and streaming services.
  3. The card has no annual fee, making it a cost-effective choice for international travel.
  4. It also offers valuable travel benefits such as travel accident insurance and rental car insurance.

If you’re looking for a credit card that rewards you for your everyday spending and offers valuable benefits for your international travels, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card is an excellent choice.

11. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

marriott convoy credit card

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is a hotel lover’s delight, offering a range of benefits and rewards for those who frequently stay at Marriott properties. With its generous welcome bonus and valuable hotel benefits, including cell phone protection, it’s an excellent choice for international travelers who value luxury and comfort. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card offers a substantial welcome bonus, allowing cardholders to earn a significant number of points upon meeting the spending requirements.
  2. Cardholders can earn bonus points on Marriott stays and other purchases, making it easy to accumulate rewards for future hotel stays.
  3. The card provides valuable hotel benefits, including room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and access to the Marriott Bonvoy elite status program.
  4. While it does come with an annual fee, the card’s valuable benefits and rewards program make it a worthwhile choice for frequent international travelers who prefer staying at Marriott properties.

If you’re a hotel lover who frequently stays at Marriott properties, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card is a fantastic choice that offers a range of benefits and rewards. This should be your pick of the best credit card for international travel adventures.

12. World of Hyatt Credit Card

world of hyatt card

The World of Hyatt Credit Card is designed for travelers who prefer staying at Hyatt properties and want to unlock exclusive stays and benefits. With its valuable rewards program and hotel benefits, it’s an excellent choice for international travelers seeking luxury and comfort. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. The World of Hyatt Credit Card offers a generous welcome bonus, allowing cardholders to earn a significant number of points upon meeting the spending requirements.
  2. Cardholders can earn bonus points on Hyatt stays and other purchases, making it easy to accumulate rewards for future hotel stays.
  3. The card provides valuable hotel benefits, including complimentary nights, room upgrades, and access to the World of Hyatt loyalty program.
  4. While it does come with an annual fee, the card’s valuable benefits and rewards program make it a worthwhile choice for frequent international travelers who prefer staying at Hyatt properties.

If you’re a fan of the Hyatt hotel chain and want to unlock exclusive stays and benefits, the World of Hyatt Credit Card is a fantastic choice that offers a range of benefits and rewards for your international adventures.

Best Airline Credit Card for International Travel

In addition to general travel credit cards, airline credit cards can also be a great option for international travelers. These cards often offer airline-specific perks and benefits that can enhance your international travel experience. Whether you’re loyal to a specific airline or prefer a more flexible option, there’s an airline credit card that can suit your needs.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority: For Domestic and Beyond

multiple southwest travel credit cards fanned out

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is an excellent choice for international travelers who frequently fly with Southwest Airlines. With its generous welcome bonus and valuable benefits, it’s a top pick for those looking to earn and redeem rewards for domestic and international flights within the calendar year. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card offers a substantial welcome bonus, allowing cardholders to earn a significant number of Rapid Rewards points upon meeting the spending requirements.
  2. Cardholders can earn Rapid Rewards points on Southwest flights and other purchases, making it easy to accumulate rewards for future flights.
  3. The card provides valuable benefits such as an annual travel credit, in-flight Wi-Fi credits, and statement credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  4. It also offers car rental insurance and other travel-related perks, making it a comprehensive choice for international travelers who frequently fly with Southwest Airlines.

If you’re a fan of Southwest Airlines and want to earn and redeem rewards for domestic and international flights, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card is a fantastic choice that offers a range of benefits and rewards.

American Express® Gold Card: For Foodies and Frequent Flyers

gold amex with description of benefits

The American Express Gold Card is a great choice for foodies and frequent flyers who want to earn bonus rewards on dining purchases and enjoy a range of travel benefits. With its valuable welcome bonus and dining-focused rewards program, it’s a top pick for those who love to indulge in culinary adventures during their international travels. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. The American Express Gold Card offers a generous welcome bonus, allowing cardholders to earn a significant number of Membership Rewards points upon meeting the spending requirements.
  2. Cardholders can earn bonus rewards on dining purchases, making it a fantastic choice for foodies who love to indulge in culinary experiences during their international travels.
  3. The card has no foreign transaction fees, making it a cost-effective choice for international travel.
  4. It also offers valuable travel benefits such as travel insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance, and access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection.

If you’re a food enthusiast and frequent flyer who wants to earn bonus rewards on dining purchases and enjoy valuable travel benefits, the American Express Gold Card is the best credit card for international travel adventures.

United℠ Explorer Card: For the Airline Enthusiast

persons hand holding the united credit card

The United Explorer Card is a top choice for airline enthusiasts who frequently fly with United Airlines. With its valuable welcome bonus, airline-specific perks, and benefits, it’s a fantastic option for those looking to earn and redeem rewards for United flights. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. The United Explorer Card offers a generous welcome bonus, allowing cardholders to earn a significant number of United MileagePlus miles upon meeting the spending requirements.
  2. Cardholders can earn United MileagePlus miles on United flights and other purchases, making it easy to accumulate rewards for future flights.
  3. The card provides airline-specific benefits such as priority boarding, two United Club passes per year, and free checked bags.
  4. It also offers travel insurance, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and auto rental collision damage waiver.

If you’re a fan of United Airlines and want to earn and redeem rewards for United flights, the United Explorer Card is an excellent choice that offers a range of airline-specific perks and benefits for your international travels.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Fly Higher

delta sky miles amex card

The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card is designed for frequent Delta Airlines flyers who want to earn bonus miles and enjoy a range of valuable benefits. This credit card is apart of the many travel hacks frequent travelers gravitate to. With its generous welcome bonus and airline-specific perks, it’s a top pick for those who frequently fly with Delta. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  2. The Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card offers a substantial welcome bonus, allowing cardholders to earn a significant number of Delta SkyMiles upon meeting the spending requirements.
  3. Cardholders can earn bonus miles on Delta flights and other purchases, making it easy to accumulate rewards for future flights.
  4. The card provides valuable benefits such as a free checked bag, priority boarding, and discounted Delta Sky Club access.
  5. It also offers travel insurance, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and car rental loss and damage insurance.

If you’re a frequent Delta Airlines flyer and want to earn bonus miles and enjoy valuable airline-specific benefits, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card is an excellent choice for your international travels.

Discover it® Miles: Easy Earnings and Redeeming

discover it miles card

The Discover it Miles card is a great choice for international travelers who value easy earnings and redeeming of rewards. With its straightforward rewards program and no annual fee, it’s a no-nonsense option for those looking to earn and redeem rewards on their international adventures. Here are some key features of the card:

  1. The Discover it Miles card offers a competitive rewards rate on all purchases, making it easy to earn miles for your international travel expenses.
  2. Cardholders can redeem their miles for travel statement credits, allowing for flexibility in using rewards for flights, hotels, and other travel expenses.
  3. The card has no foreign transaction fees, making it a cost-effective choice for international travel.
  4. It also offers a unique feature called “Miles Match,” where Discover will match all the miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

If you value easy earnings and redeeming of rewards, along with no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees, the Discover it Miles card is an excellent choice for earning rewards on your international travels.

Reddit Reviews

reddit logo

Travelers and globetrotters looking to find the best credit card for international travel should use Reddit as a valuable resource. Reddit has become one of the biggest spots for travel tips that new and experienced travelers tend to gravitate to. Reddit provides travelers with real reviews and experiences with different travel credit cards. Many Reddit users share their own thoughts and opinions on various different cards, providing insights and advice for those looking to choose the best credit card for their international trips. Here are some Reddit reviews and perspectives on travel credit cards:

Best Credit Card for International Travel Reddit POV

According to Reddit users, the best credit card for international travel is often one that offers competitive travel rewards and perks. Many users recommend cards with generous welcome bonuses as a great way to maximize rewards in the first year. Additionally, cards that offer bonus rewards on travel purchases, such as flights and hotels, are highly regarded by Reddit users. Some users also highlight the importance of cards that offer bonus rewards on everyday spending categories, such as gas stations and groceries, as these expenses often contribute to travel expenses. Ultimately, the best credit card for international travel will depend on individual spending habits, travel preferences, and desired perks. Consulting Reddit and reading user reviews can provide valuable insights and perspectives on different travel credit cards.

Conclusion

Choosing the best credit card for international travel is essential for a seamless and rewarding journey. Each card offers unique benefits, from luxury travel perks to diverse spending categories. Consider factors like foreign transaction fees and rewards maximization when making your selection. With the best credit card in hand, you can unlock exclusive stays and enjoy unparalleled travel experiences. Don’t forget to notify your credit card company before traveling internationally for a hassle-free trip. Explore the Reddit reviews and FAQs to make an informed decision and elevate your travel adventures to new heights.

Frequently Asked Questions

travel cards FAQ

What Makes a Credit Card Ideal for International Travel?

An ideal credit card for international travel should offer no foreign transaction fees, a robust rewards program, travel insurance benefits, access to airport lounges, and perks such as Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. These features can enhance the travel experience and save money on fees and expenses.

How Important are No Foreign Transaction Fees?

No foreign transaction fees are essential for international travelers as they can save money on every overseas spending. Avoiding these fees can lead to significant cost savings over the course of an international trip, making it a crucial factor when choosing a credit card for international travel.

Can I Use My Credit Card Worldwide?

multiple different credit cards with a plane and travel perks in the left corner

Credit cards with Visa or Mastercard logos are widely accepted worldwide. However, it’s essential to check with the card issuer about acceptance in specific countries and regions. Additionally, consider the availability of ATMs and currency exchange options for foreign currency transactions.

What is the best credit card for international travel for students?

The best credit card for international travel for students is often a student travel card that offers a low annual fee, opportunities for credit building, and rewards such as bonus points. These cards are designed to cater to the unique needs and financial situations of students studying and traveling abroad.

What is the overall best travel credit card for international travel?

discover it miles card

The Discover it® Miles card is often rewarded for its flexibility, rewards, and lack of foreign transaction fees. It offers unlimited 1.5x miles on every dollar spent on all purchases, and Discover matches all miles earned at the end of the first year for new cardmembers. These features, combined with the card’s ease of use and redemption for travel expenses, make it a strong contender for international travelers seeking value without an annual fee. Moreover, the overall best travel credit card for international travel with no annual fee can vary based on individual preferences and their spending habits.

How Can I Maximize Rewards with My Travel Credit Card?

To maximize rewards with your travel credit card, take advantage of bonus categories and spending bonuses offered by the card. Use the card for all travel purchases and explore loyalty programs and card benefits to make the most of your rewards earning potential.

Are Premium Travel Credit Cards Worth the Annual Fee?

Premium travel credit cards can be worth the annual fee for frequent travelers who can fully utilize the exclusive perks and benefits offered by these cards. These perks may include airport lounge access, hotel elite status, travel credits, and other valuable features. A lot of frequent international travelers tend to categorize any travel credit card with an annual fee as the best credit card for international travel.

What is the best credit card for international travel points wise?

The best credit card for international travel points wise depends on factors such as points value, transfer partners, and redemption options. Credit cards with valuable points programs like Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards, offering a variety of transfer partners and flexible redemption options, are often highly regarded.

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