Check Your Wallet: Make Sure You Have One of These 9 Cards Before You Travel Internationally

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Check Your Wallet: Make Sure You Have One of These 9 Cards Before You Travel Internationally

AlexCheck Your Wallet: Make Sure You Have One of These 9 Cards Before You Travel InternationallyMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Best Credit Card for International Travel

Alex:   Folks traveling internationally have lots of ways to earn miles & points.  But you’ll want to be sure a card you use overseas that has no foreign transaction fees and will reward you for common travel expenses like hotels, airlines, and ground transportation.

Best Credit Card For International Travel
Traveling to Italy Can Be Expensive. Using an International Credit Card Can Save You Foreign Transaction Fees and Earn Free Travel From Valuable Welcome and Spending Bonuses

We’ve researched the best international travel credit cards to help you earn the most miles, points, or cash back on your expenses abroad.

Best International Credit Cards

Any of these cards can save you money when you travel overseas because none add foreign transaction fees.

Each card offers unique advantages and disadvantages, so the card that is right for you will depend on how you intend to use it and your spending habits.

If you’re planning an international trip, it’s a good time to consider opening a new credit card.  Because you can use your trip expenses to meet the minimum spending requirements and unlock a valuable welcome bonus!

With all credit cards, we recommend paying them off in full and on time.  Doing this will help you maintain a great credit score, and avoid interest charges which can cancel out the value of the rewards you earn.  While your credit score is one of the factors that banks use when approving you for a credit card, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved.  You can check your credit score online for free.

1.   Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:   Our Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is our choice for the best card for international travel if you travel occasionally.  It’s our #1 pick for beginners!

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a great sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the card. 

50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points is worth $500 in cash back, $625 when you book paid travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, and potentially much more when you transfer your points to airline and hotel partners like Southwest, United Airlines, and Hyatt.

You’ll also get:

  • 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and dining worldwide
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Primary car rental insurance – Covers damage due to theft or collision to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your card
  • Trip delay reimbursement – Get up to $500 back per ticket when your trip is delayed more than 12 hours
  • NO foreign transaction fees
Best Credit Card For International Travel
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Can Save You With Primary Car Rental Insurance

The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.  So you can try the card out for ~11 months to see how you like the perks and benefits!

2.   Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Link:   Our Review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve

If you are a frequent international traveler, you’ll get the most value from the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.  While this card has a higher annual fee of $450, it more than pays for itself if you travel frequently and make the most of its excellent perks.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll earn a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the card. 

Chase Ultimate Rewards points are the most useful points because you can transfer them directly to Chase’s excellent travel partners.  You can redeem the points you’ll earn with the Chase Sapphire Reserve for 1.5 cents each through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  This allows you to redeem the 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points from the sign-up bonus for $750 in travel.

You’ll also get:

One of the most popular benefits of this card is having primary rental car insurance when you use the Chase Sapphire Reserve to rent a car.  In addition, you get Priority Pass Select for access to airport lounges around the world.  These benefits can save you a ton of money!

Best Credit Card For International Travel
If You Travel Enough, Luggage Is Bound to Get Lost or Delayed Eventually. The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Protects You When This Happens.

If you are looking for a premium travel card, this is one to consider!  The lounge access, travel protection benefits, Global Entry fee statement credit, and the $300 annual travel credit make this card a great deal.

3.   The Platinum Card® From American Express

Link:   Apply for The Platinum Card® From American Express

Link:   Our Review of the American Express Platinum

The American Express Platinum is well known as a preferred travel card by many people.  Folks love the access you get to airport lounges including Centurion lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and Airspace lounges.  This is the largest network of luxury airport lounges around the world!

Best Credit Card For International Travel
Folks Enjoy Access to Centurion Lounges With The Platinum Card® From American Express

AMEX Membership Rewards points are some of the most flexible in our hobby.  After you apply for the AMEX Platinum, you can earn 60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.  This is worth up to 8 short-haul flights when you transfer your points to British Airways, or 2 round-trip flights to Hawaii (from anywhere in the US) if you move your points to Flying Blue (Air France / KLM).

You also get:

In addition, other great travel benefits include a $200 a year Uber credit, a $200 annual airline incidental fee credit, and statement credit for Global Entry.  You also can get elite status with Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood hotels!

4.   The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

Link:   Apply for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Link:   Our Review of The AMEX Business Platinum

 

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express is the best card for small business owners who travel often and enjoy airport lounges.   This card has a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points that you can earn through these tiered spending requirements:

While the spending requirement is higher than the American Express Platinum (personal version), the annual fee for the business version is $100 less than the personal version and the current welcome bonus is larger.

Other benefits include:

Best Credit Card For International Travel
With the AMEX Business Platinum, You Can Earn Free Gogo Wi-Fi Passes on Eligible Airlines!

Folks will enjoy having access to the largest network of airport lounges all over the world.  You’ll also get up to $200 in statement credits for incidentals on your selected airline each calendar year, making this card a great option for frequent travelers.

5.   Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   Apply for the Chase Ink Business Preferred

Link:   Our Review of the Chase Ink Business Preferred

The sign-up bonus for the Chase Ink Business Preferred is one of the highest you can get with a Chase card right now.  You’ll earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account.

This is worth $800 in cash back, or $1,000 in travel when you redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal!

In addition, you can earn lots of points by using the card for travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, phone services, and advertising purchases on social media sites.  These categories all earn 3X points per $1 spent up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year.

Best Credit Card For International Travel
If You Advertise Your Business Through Social Networking Sites and Search Engines, You Can Earn Lots of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points When You Use The Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

This card comes with:

  • 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spend on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites or search engines (up to a maximum of $150,000 in combined purchases per account anniversary year)
  • 1X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on all other purchases
  • Up to $600 in cell phone insurance if you use the card to pay your cell phone bill
  • Primary auto rental insurance when renting for business purposes, plus purchase extended warranty protection
  • 25% bonus when you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal

You might be surprised that it’s relatively easy to qualify for a small business card if you do any type of for-profit side-hustle such as reselling on eBay or doing consulting work.

6.   Capital One Venture

Link:   Apply for the Capital One Venture

Link:   Our Review of the Capital One Venture

If you appreciate simplicity, check out the Capital One Venture card.  This card is ideal for folks who don’t want to fuss with award charts or blackout dates.  And you don’t need to worry about categories or spending limits, because every purchase earns you 2X Venture miles per $1.

You’ll earn 50,000 Capital One Venture miles (worth $500 in travel) after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months with the Capital One Venture card.

Redeeming Venture miles is easy.  Use your Capital One Venture card to make your travel purchases, and after the charge posts to your account you can “erase” it using Venture miles (up to 90 days after purchase).

Best Credit Card For International Travel
The Capital One Venture Card Allows You To Redeem Venture Miles for Purchases Made On Airbnb or Your Favorite Travel Site

You’ll also earn:

One of my favorite features of the Capital One Venture card is that I can redeem Venture miles for purchases made through my favorite travel apps like HotelTonight, without needing to use a special redemption portal like most other cards.

7.   Capital One VentureOne

Link:   Apply for the Capital One VentureOne

Link:   Our Review of the Capital One VentureOne

If you don’t travel abroad very often, but you want to have a good travel rewards card when you do, take a look at the Capital One VentureOne card.  This card is good for infrequent travelers because it has no annual fee!

With the Capital One VentureOne, you can earn 20,000 Venture miles (worth $200 in travel) after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.

You also get:

Everyone should have a card with no annual fee.  There is no reason to close the account, so you can keep it forever!  This helps increase the average age of your credit accounts and can potentially boost your credit score.

8.   Capital One Spark Miles

Link:   Apply for the Capital One Spark Miles

Link:   Our Review of the Capital One Spark Miles

Folks with a small business who prefer easy travel rewards will appreciate the Capital One Spark Miles card.  Like the Capital One Venture, rewards are straightforward to earn and redeem.

When you sign-up for the Capital One Spark Miles card, you’ll earn up to 200,000 Spark miles (worth $2,000 in travel); 50,000 miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn 150,000 miles after spending $50,000 in the first 6 months.

You’ll also get:

  • 2X Spark miles per $1 you spend on all purchases
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year

Spark miles are worth 1 cent each towards travel.  You can use them to pay off nearly any travel purchase, like flights, hotels, rental cars, and Lyft.  Simply use the card to pay for travel like you normally would.  Then log-in to your online account to “erase” the travel purchase with your miles!

9.   Capital One Spark Cash

Link:   Apply for the Capital One Spark Cash

Link:   Our Review of the Capital One Spark Cash

If you’re a small business owner looking for cash back instead of travel rewards, consider the Capital One Spark Cash card.  This card earns unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase with no foreign transaction fees!

The sign-up bonus is up to $2,000; earn $500 after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, $1,500 after spending $50,000 in the first 6 months.

As with most Capital One cards, redeeming cash back is easy.  You can request a check or statement credit, any time, with no minimum redemption amount.

Card benefits include:

  • 2% cash back on every purchase
  • No limits on the amount of cash back you can receive
  • No minimum to redeem cash back
  • Free employee cards that you can add at any time, and you earn all the rewards from their purchases
  • NO foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee (waived the first year)
Best Credit Card For International Travel
Earn a $500 Sign-Up Bonus With the Capital One Spark Cash – Plus Earn 2% Cash Back on ALL Purchases

Some folks like the simplicity of cash back, and with the Capital One Spark Cash card, getting 2% cash back on all business purchases is a great way to put money back in your pocket.  You also get cash back on any purchases that your employees make using their free employee cards.

Bottom Line

If you are getting ready for international travel, be sure to have at least one of these cards in your wallet.  You’ll save money because none of them add foreign transaction fees.  And many earn bonus miles, points, or cash back for common travel expenses, like airfare, hotels, and dining.

The Best Credit Cards for International Travel:

If you’re new to miles and points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the top card we recommend for beginners.

What card is your favorite to use when you’re overseas?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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