The best credit cards for international travel

If overseas travel is a regular part of your life, take a look at our pick of the best credit cards for international trips.

Avoid foreign transaction fees with these credit cards. Image credit: Halfpoint/iStock
Avoid foreign transaction fees with these credit cards. Image credit: Halfpoint/iStock

When you’re traveling internationally, you want your credit card to be accepted for any transaction without question — and without those wallet-numbing foreign transaction fees.

Add in perks like rewards points and travel insurance, and you’ve got a card you can count on. Choose from these credit cards for international travel to ease your next overseas journey.

Chase Sapphire Preferred — a flexible credit card option

This travel-oriented credit card has been named the best for flexible travel redemption, in part because of its double points on travel and restaurants around the world. You can also transfer your points to 11 of the top hotel loyalty programs and airline frequent flyer programs on a one-to-one basis.

When you want to redeem your points, Chase Sapphire gives you an extra 25 percent bonus on any redemptions used for airfare, car rentals, cruises or hotels. If you book through Chase Ultimate Rewards using this card, there are no blackout dates or restrictions on flights.

Start your time with this card earning 60,000 bonus points (worth 750 USD in rewards) if you spend 4,000 USD in your first month. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which requires excellent credit, has an annual fee of 95 USD.

Capital One Venture Rewards — a great choice when booking hotels

CNBC picked the Capital One Venture Rewards card as its best travel card in 2018, and it’s no wonder why.

With this card, you’ll earn double miles on every purchase you make. Also, thanks to a deal with, you can earn 10 times miles on thousands of select hotels, making it our top pick for the best credit card for hotel bookings. As with every card designed for professional travel, there are no fees charged for foreign transactions.

The Capital One Venture card also smooths your travel by giving you a credit of up to 100 USD when you apply for TSA PreCheck or the Global Entry program. When you’re ready to transfer your miles to a travel loyalty program, you have more than 10 to choose from, with no blackout dates. Miles don’t expire, and there’s no cap on what you can earn.

Use those points to go towards frequent flyer miles. Image credit: EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER/iStock
Use those points to go towards frequent flyer miles. Image credit: EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER/iStock

When you get started with this card, you need to spend is 3,000 USD in your first three months to earn 50,000 points, which is worth 500 USD in travel. There’s no annual fee your first year, and the fee is 95 USD per year after that. You can also opt for a related card, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards credit card, which never has an annual fee; however, you earn only 1.25 miles per dollar spent, rather than 2 miles, with this less pricey card.

American Express Platinum – one for the frequent traveler

Technically speaking, the American Express Platinum Card is a charge card, not a true credit card, since it asks you to pay off your bill in full each month. But for the frequent traveler, the travel bonuses that come with the Platinum Card may be worth it. Not only do you have access to American Express’s concierges and travel offices in major cities around the world, but you also get free access to certain airport lounges, including via Priority Pass and Delta SkyClub.

Travel rewards are generous with the Platinum Card, which lets you earn five points per dollar spent on airline tickets and hotel purchases. The American Express Membership Rewards program lets you reap reward flights via Amex Travel or transfer points on a one-to-one basis with a number of airlines, including Air Canada, Emirates, Etihad, and Singapore Airlines.

When you start up your Platinum Card, you’re rewarded with 60,000 bonus points right away, worth 600 USD in travel. However, while the perks are plentiful, the Platinum Card is pricey, running 550 USD per year in fees.

Bank of America Travel Rewards – for Bank of America customers

If you’re already a Bank of America customer, this credit card is worth a good look. The Bank of America Travel Rewards card keeps it simple, with no annual fee and, of course, no foreign transaction fees.

You earn 1.5 points on any purchases, without having to calculate what you’re spending on flights or hotels. Even better, those points can’t expire.

Make the most of your international travel. Image credit: shapecharge/iStock
Make the most of your international travel. Image credit: shapecharge/iStock

And here’s where being a Bank of America customer kicks in with extra perks. If you have a Bank of America checking or savings account, you earn a 10 percent bonus on all points. In addition, Preferred Rewards customers earn a bonus ranging from 25 to 75 percent on each purchase.

Get started with 1,000 USD in purchases during your first 90 days, and you get 25,000 bonus points, worth 250 USD toward travel purchases. That may not sound like much compared to other cards’ startup bonuses, but remember, this is a card with no annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Reserve – added perks

Yes, it’s another international travel credit card from Chase, but it has some different perks worth mentioning. Think of it as a cross between the Chase Preferred card and the Amex Platinum.

Lots of thought has gone into this card’s perks, which include travel insurance, the possibility of earning upgrades, and access to more than 1200 airport lounges through automatic enrollment in Priority Pass. Chase also covers the cost of your application for TSA Pre-Check or Global Access, making it a good choice for frequent flyers.

Every purchase you make with the Chase Sapphire Reserve at restaurants and on travel earns you three points in rewards. When you transfer points through the Chase Rewards portal, you earn 1.5 cents per point. Transferring points to hotels and partners might earn you an even better transfer rate.

While the Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of 450 USD, you receive an automatic 300 USD reimbursement of travel expenses each year.

When you land at your destination, make the last leg of your trip as smooth as silk when you book a reliable Blacklane car service to complete your journey in style and comfort.