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You’ve probably been spending a lot of time at home lately due to travel restrictions related to COVID and various government regulations affecting your freedom of movement. Everything is relaxing, though, and nothing beats a trip to soothe a restless heart and satisfy an adventurous spirit. This is especially true when traveling abroad to experience other cultures.
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If you’re in the US, international travel can mean simply crossing the border into Canada or heading south to Mexico. But here’s the thing: travel is expensive. What is the best payment method?
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We’d like to suggest that with the right credit card—one that offers sign-up bonuses, zero foreign transaction fees, and more—traveling abroad can not only be madness-free, but with careful planning and financial management, it can also have a lot of sense..
What’s more, traveling with plastic can be much safer than carrying cash abroad, with fraud alerts and zero-liability insurance protecting your money.
In this guide, we’ll present what we think are the three best credit cards for international travel, as well as offer some guidance on choosing the card that’s right for you.
What is your idea of a perfect holiday? A tropical island or a snowy mountain top? A noisy city or a deserted landscape? There’s no right answer to this question, and the fact is that no one travels the same way, so no one travel credit card is right for everyone.
The Best Credit Cards For International Travel In 2022
With the right credit card that offers travel rewards when you buy everything from groceries to gas at the gas station, everyday errands and travel planning become one and the same.
A little later, we’ll provide a full picture of what we liked and a few things to know about each of the cards we’re discussing.
But first, let’s talk about one of the most important things to consider when choosing a credit card for international travel: foreign transaction fees, what they are, and how to avoid them.
The credit card spending limit is calculated in US dollars. When you travel abroad, you pay for your accommodation or just a cup of coffee in the currency of the country you are in.
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This means that every time you swipe your card, currency is exchanged, and for this service some credit card companies charge a fee, sometimes called a currency exchange fee or a foreign purchase fee.
These fees can add up when traveling abroad, so it’s best to choose an international travel credit card that doesn’t charge them. The average foreign transaction fee is around 3% and consists of the following:
This may not seem like much at first, but when you factor in all the accommodation, food and other incidentals you’ll incur along the way, it can add up to significant costs.
What’s more, foreign transaction fees may apply when you book a hotel in a foreign country, even if you do so in advance from the comfort of your own living room.
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To save money on international travel, choose a credit card with low, if any, foreign transaction fees. Here are some additional ways to avoid these expensive expenses when traveling abroad:
Sounds like foreign transaction fees should be avoided at all costs, right? Well, sort of. The best way to avoid foreign transaction fees is to use a credit card that doesn’t charge you anything.
With a better understanding of foreign transaction fees, what they are and how to avoid them, let’s now turn our attention to the best credit cards for international travel.
The right credit card sign-up bonus goes a long way toward financing the trip of a lifetime. Why not add a little extra cash to your travel budget just for accommodation?
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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers the best sign-up bonus in our rankings, with a whopping 100,000 bonus points after spending just $4,000 on the card in the first three months of account opening. You will achieve this goal by simply booking your flight ticket and accommodation for your trip.
What’s more, these points are worth an additional 25% when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards, with a variety of travel-related bonuses to choose from. They can also be transferred 1:1 to a wide range of airline and hotel loyalty programs. And if that wasn’t generous enough, Chase offers 2X points for every dollar spent on travel and dining anywhere in the world, with 1 point for every additional dollar spent across all categories.
There’s nothing to worry about, and chip-enhanced technology keeps you safe no matter where you go. For this reason, you can be sure that the card will be accepted wherever you are.
The Chase Sapphire has a $95 annual fee, but that’s not bad considering all the other travel benefits that come with it and the excellent credit required to get approved. A typical APR ranges from 15.99% to 22.99%, which is slightly below average. You can also count on 24/7 customer service anywhere in the world.
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Although travel is expensive, with the Chase Sapphire Card, money spent while traveling continues to earn rewards and cash back, making it the best credit card for planning your next trip abroad.
Many incidental expenses arise when traveling abroad. Spend strategically and earn something back in miles while you do it. Great mileage rewards is what the next card on our list offers, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, one of the best international travel credit cards on the market.
In fact, with Venture Rewards you earn twice as many miles for every $1 spent anywhere, anytime. What’s more, Venture One offers a one-time bonus of 100,000 miles after you spend $20,000 on the card in the first year of account opening. If you use your credit card regularly to earn miles, it’s hard to beat.
And the rewards don’t stop there. If you spend just $3,000 in the first three months, you’ll earn 100,000 bonus points. Plus, applying for the card gives you a $100 credit toward your Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee, speeding up your journey through airports and giving you even more money-saving opportunities.
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The annual fee for the card is only $95. but if you don’t like fees, check out a very similar version with no annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card. However, there are some trade-offs in terms of points earned: the no-fee card only offers 1.25 miles per dollar spent.
The card doesn’t offer a special introductory rate, but its typical APR is between 17.24% and 24.49%. However, given the types of rewards you’ll be enjoying, the lack of a special introductory rate is nothing to worry about.
Through Citi, travelers earn 60,000 bonus Thank You points after the first $4,000 spent within three months of account opening. These points can be redeemed for $600 in Thankyou.com gift cards that can be used at Amazon.com and many other well-known hiking gear retailers for your next adventure.
If that doesn’t appeal to you, you can redeem your points to put $300 in cold hard cash in your pocket.
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In fact, with just 1,000 points, you can transfer them for free to a long list of airline loyalty programs. Participating airlines include Jet Blue, Virgin Atlantic and Singapore Airlines. From this list, you’ll be able to fly almost anywhere you need to go or where you’ve always dreamed of going.
The daily rewards offered through the card are also worth noting: 3x points per dollar spent across a full list of eligible categories every day, and again, there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about. Eligible categories range from petrol and supermarkets to hotels and airline tickets. And best of all, these points
Do you like to stay in an atmosphere of luxury while indulging in your travelogue? Book a hotel room worth $500 (excluding fees and taxes) and activate annual hotel savings by deducting $100 from that bill as a discount. This benefit is also renewed every calendar year.
Again, there is a $95 annual fee associated with the card, which is pretty standard, and you need good or excellent credit to qualify.
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Now that you’ve chosen the perfect card for your holiday abroad, what else do you need to know before you get on the plane?
There is a lot to know before going to a foreign country, and even more to prepare. Follow this checklist and you’ll be traveling like a pro.
It usually takes 10 to 12 weeks for the US State Department to issue, renew, or renew a passport, and most countries require that your passport be valid for six months beyond your return date. Don’t leave your home without first taking care of these important details.
It’s also a good idea at this point to register your trip with the State Department. That way, if something goes wrong, someone will know roughly where you are, where you plan to be,
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