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The 5 best international travel credit cards: Globetrotter rewards

What is the best international travel credit card? It's the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but we also rounded up other excellent international travel credit cards that may be worthy of your globetrotting.
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Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

The world is a beautiful place, and perhaps no one knows that better than the international traveler. Whether it is a vacation or your nomadic lifestyle, it can be a huge opportunity to travel the globe and discover everything the world has to offer. 

If you catch the travel bug, it is important that you have the funds to keep up, which is where international credit cards come in. You need the right travel credit card to support those trips because foreign transaction fees and higher APRs can put a serious dent in your wallet and a damper on your trip.

There are lots of options for international credit cards, but many are not legitimate or offer sparse rewards that are hardly worth the trouble. We regularly survey of the best credit cards for international travel based on a series of discriminating factors to bring you the right international credit cards. This is what we found.

Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
APR16.74% - 23.74% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x on dining.
  • 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
Annual Fee$95
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Additional Details
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card anticipates all of your travel needs and delivers. Earn a generous 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 within the first three months. If you choose to redeem them through Chase Ultimate Rewards, it is worth $750 in travel dollars. You can also earn 5x points when you choose Chase Ultimate Rewards for your booking; otherwise, you receive 2x points. For those hotel stays, you are awarded with up to $50 annually in statement credits for every account anniversary. There are dining rewards, too, with 3x points regardless of whether you deliver, get takeout, or dine in a restaurant. You also get 3x points on online grocery purchases, except certain retailers are exempt, including Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs. When you get home, you can relax with a streaming service that gives you 3x points. All other purchases you make with your card will deliver one point per dollar. 

Pros:

  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Generous intro offer
  • Several bonus perks

Cons:

  • Lounge access requires membership
  • Annual fee applies
Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
APR17.49%-24.49% Variable
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Annual Fee$250
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Rewards & Redemption Details

The American Express Gold Card is an attractive card, available In your choice of the traditional gold color or a pretty rose gold. It is a great card for people who like to dine, but its rewards are pretty slim after that. You will receive 3x points on flights to get you to your destination. From there, it is 4x points on global dining, although delivery and takeout are limited to the U.S. You also are limited to domestic purchases with your groceries, with 4x the points at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per year, then 1x. All other purchases earn you 1x points. Amex gives extra rewards, too, like a $120 dining credit in Uber Cash each year and a $100 experience credit when you book The Hotel Collection for two nights or more.  

Pros:

  • Generous dining rewards
  • Several travel perks
  • Points on flights

Cons:

  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No lounge access
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
Card Highlights
Intro Bonus25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
APR14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APR0% for 15 billing cycles
Additional Details
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card saves you a ton of money on annual fees. You can earn unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent without any expiration date to steal your rewards away. That also means no restrictions on how you spend your money because Bank of America lets you earn points on all types of purchases. That means your flights, hotel, meals, and even your baggage fees can all earn you points that you can use to redeem for credits. In addition to the annual fee, there also are no foreign transaction fees. 

Bank of America will even kick things off with 0% intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles. After that, you revert to a competitive variable APR. You will also receive 25,000 bonus points when you spend just $1,000 within 90 days - a reasonable amount for modest spenders. Those part of the Preferred Rewards program can even earn up to 75% more on purchases, making for a generous bonus that can quickly add up.

Pros:

  • No annual or transaction fee
  • Extended intro APR
  • Lower starting APR

Cons:

  • No lounge access
  • Variable rewards

Read more: The Best Bank of America Credit Cards

Card Highlights
Intro BonusN/A
APR26.99% (Variable)
Recommended CreditLimited, Bad
Reward Rates
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere
Annual Fee$0
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Additional Details
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card is a different type of credit card than most unsecured credit cards. Because the Quicksilver Rewards credit card is a secured deposit, you simply pay a minimum of $200 upfront and then you receive a line of credit in that amount.

As you make payments, your credit score improves, and Capital One will monitor that for you with automatic credit lines. On top of that, you can earn 1.5% cashback on all purchases. There is no annual or transaction fee, but the APR is quite high, given that it is a card meant for those with poor credit. 

To get started, you can complete the pre-approval period without impacting your credit to see if the Quicksilver Secured Rewards card is right for you. 

Pros:

  • Accepts bad credit
  • No expiration for rewards
  • Helps with credit-building

Cons:

  • Deposit required

  • No bonus offer

Card Highlights
Intro BonusEarn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
APRSee Pay Over Time APR
Recommended CreditExcellent/Good
Reward Rates
  • 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.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
Annual Fee$695
Intro Purchase APRN/A
Rewards & Redemption Details

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with no shortage of perks. Amex is known for its airport lounge access, offering access to its American Express Global Lounge Collection. That means you can relax at any one of the 1,400 airport lounges available in 140 countries and 650 cities. American Express will also give you a $200 airline fee credit and $189 toward CLEAR airport security. 

However, there are a ton of other benefits that you receive with this card. There is a $200 hotel credit through American Express Travel and $200 in Uber Cash, plus $20 each month toward your digital entertainment, whether it is Hulu, Disney+, and Peacock.  You also receive a $155 credit for Walmart+, $300 toward your Equinox membership, and $100 toward your shopping adventures at Saks Fifth Avenue. It is a generous addition to an already handsome offer for your future travel.

Pros:

  • Generous intro offer
  • Lounge access
  • Bonus credits

Cons:

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficult to redeem some benefits

Read more: American Express Platinum Card review

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

What is the best international travel credit card?

With competitive rates, attractive rewards, and few fees, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card is our top pick for the best credit card for international travel.

International travel credit card

APR

Annual fee

Recommended Credit Score

Lounge access

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

16.74% to 23.74%

$95

Good, Excellent

Requires additional membership; $99

American Express® Gold Card

16.74% to 23.74%

$250

Good, Excellent

Bank of America Travel Rewards

14.24% to 24.24%

$0

Good, Excellent

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

26.99%

$0

Bad, Fair, Good, Excellent

The Platinum Card® from American Express

16.74% to 23.74%

$695

Good, Excellent

Which is the right international travel credit card for you?

It can feel overwhelming when trying to select a new credit card because there is no shortage of options out there. 

To help you find the right international travel credit card, these are our expert suggestions. 

Choose this international travel credit card...

If you...

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Want a card with varied rewards 

American Express® Gold Card

Want savings on those international meals

Bank of America Travel Rewards

Don't want to waste those travel dollars on an annual fee

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

Want to travel but have poor credit

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Don't want to worry about access to international travel lounges

How did we choose these credit cards for international travel?

In searching for the best credit cards for international travel, we consider several factors that can help you make the right decision for your finances. 

  • APR: The amount of interest you pay is important to review because it can seriously put a damper on your international travel if you have a high APR that you cannot reasonably afford.
  • Fees: Every credit card has some sort of fee, and it is important to budget for these expenses, as well. Some cards have no annual fee, while others, like American Express, may charge several hundred dollars. There also may be a foreign transaction fee that can apply when using your card during your international travels.
  • Perks: The best credit card for international travel is one that comes with plenty of extra perks, in addition to an attractive APR. From airport lounge access to dining and travel perks, each card features different benefits that make your travel that much easier.

When shopping for international credit cards, these factors can help you find the right card for you.

What is an international credit card?

An international credit card is one that is accepted worldwide. It is often equipped with special features and has embedded chip technology with an exclusive pin that will work wherever you use your card, even if it is outside of the country. 

What is a foreign transaction fee?

A foreign transaction fee is one that is often assessed on international purchases. However, many of the best credit cards for international travel skip the international fee by waiving the foreign transaction fee.

What is the best credit card for international travel?

There are many options for the best credit cards for international travel, as illustrated here. However, the best international credit card for you all depends on your specific needs and travel plans. Some cards prioritize no fees and a low APR, while others focus on bonus perks. Either way, we recommend shopping for your options to find the best one for your future globetrotting.

Are there alternative credit cards worth considering?

In our search for the best credit card for international travel, we also found these options that may work for you. 

For other travel credit cards, consider our picks for the best travel card for beginners, the best airline credit card, and the best rewards credit card of 2022.

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