Plan to use a credit card overseas? You'll save money---and headaches---by packing the right plastic. The best credit card for international travel is a chip-enabled Visa or Mastercard that does not charge foreign currency transaction fees.

Going abroad today is easier than ever, especially if you’ve got the flexibility to make your travel arrangements at the last minute to get some of the great deals that are around with airlines, hotels, and car rentals.

And with the holidays and New Years behind us, I know a lot of us are planning and thinking about the next time we are going to pack up and head out on our next trip.

Whether you’re simply crossing the border to Canada or Mexico, or heading to Europe, Asia or elsewhere around the globe, the best credit cards for international travel are accepted nearly everywhere and do not charge foreign currency transaction fees—sometimes called FX fees.

Even better, some offer 24/7 international concierge service. Here are our picks—all require excellent credit:

Overview of the best credit cards for international travel

CardBest for
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardBest for large sign-up bonus
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardBest for strong rewards program
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardBest for straightforward rewards with no annual fee
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit cardBest for bank of America customers
Ink Business Preferred® Credit CardBest for small business owners

Details: Best credit cards for international travel – no foreign transaction fee

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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In A Nutshell

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card sets the standard for travel rewards by offering an excellent 5x points on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining and 2x points on all other travel purchases. And points are worth 25% more when you redeem travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That means that the killer 60,000 point sign-up bonus is worth $750 towards travel.

Read review
Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • A monster of an up-front bonus; 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.

  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.

  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • Earn 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®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases N/A , 0 months
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , 0 months

Apply Now >>

If you have excellent credit, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the must-have card for any serious traveler and also an excellent choice for anyone heading abroad. It has a $95 annual fee—still well worth it if you’ll do a bit of spending on the card. It has no foreign transaction fees, plus chip-enabled for enhanced security and wider acceptance when used at a chip card reader.

Best yet, Sapphire’s points-based travel rewards program quickly earns you free travel. You’ll earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. 

When redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, these points can be traded via 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs. Or, you can get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 10,000 points are worth $125 toward travel. Those points are also worth $100 in cash, if you prefer not to spend your points on travel.

This card also has an award-winning 24/7 dedicated customer service line that can come in handy while you’re traveling.

There’s also a generous bonus for new cardmembers: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.

Learn more—get card details or apply online:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

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In A Nutshell

Capital One’s leading product is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and it shows. A one-time 60,000 mile bonus after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months is flat out AWESOME, and 2X miles per dollar spent is about as good as it gets with a travel rewards credit card.

Read review
Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • 2X miles earned for $1 spent on all purchases

  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 60,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $600 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—including flights, vacation rentals, car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases N/A , N/A
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , N/A

Apply Now >>

For years, the Capital One Venture and VentureOne Rewards Credit Cards have been our go-to recommendation for young travelers looking for a credit card to take abroad that offers no foreign transaction fees and a straightforward rewards program.

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2x miles per dollar spent on all purchases that can be redeemed for any travel at any time. Miles don’t expire and there’s no limit to how much you can earn. As a new cardmember, you can earn 60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. The card’s annual fee is: $95.

There’s also a no annual fee version, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card that earns 1.25 miles per dollar spent on every purchase.

You can read our full review and comparison of the Venture and VentureOne Rewards Credit Cards, but most people will get far more miles by paying the fee and earning 2x miles per dollar spent. If you want a no annual fee card for international travel or simply earning miles, the aforementioned Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has a better rewards rate than the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card.

Learn more–get card details or apply online:

Citi Premier® Card

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In A Nutshell

The Citi Premier® Card kicks off with a great 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Point intro offer after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.  The everyday rewards program offers 3x points per dollar spent in a variety of categories and has no foreign transaction fees.

Read review
Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  These points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards at thankyou.com

  • Three points per dollar spent at Gas Stations, Supermarkets, Restaurants, Hotels and on Air Travel

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases N/A , 0 months
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , 0 months

Apply Now >>

Opening a Citi Premier® Card is an ideal way to offset the expense of a big upcoming trip.

As soon as you cross the $4,000 spending threshold within the first three months, you’ll get 80,000 ThankYou® Points credited to your account, redeemable for $800 in gift cards (when redeemed at thankyou.com). Plus, if you book a hotel stay over $500, the card’s Annual Hotel Savings Benefit will immediately comp you $100.

Last but certainly not least, this card’s greatest draw is its evergreen 3 points per dollar spent on travel, dining, and hotels, but also on essential categories like gas and supermarket spending. Plus, you’ll get 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

The Citi Premier® Card’s chief drawback is its $95 annual fee.

Learn more—get card details or apply online:

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

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In A Nutshell

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card has a litany of benefits including a 20,000 mile one-time bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (after which the standard rate of 14.99% – 24.99% variable applies), 1.25 miles per dollar spent on ALL purchases and no annual or foreign transaction fees.

Read review
Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • A one-time bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $500 in the first three months

  • 1.25 miles earned on every $1 spent

  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees

  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates and fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Transfer your miles to over 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 14.99% - 24.99% variable APR after that
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases 0% , for 12 months
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , N/A

Apply Now >>

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card earns rewards at a lower rate than other cards on this list, but it remains a decent choice for someone looking for a travel rewards credit card with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. If you’re not a big spender, you might want to opt for a card like the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card instead of a card with a large annual fee you’ll struggle to justify.

The card’s reward structure is simple, unlike some other cards’, which might force the user to keep track of quarterly rewards category. You’ll also get a healthy sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles when you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of opening the account, which is a $200 value.

Learn more—get card details or apply online:

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

In A Nutshell

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers you 25,000 online bonus points after spending at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days, which is one of the best sign-up bonuses you can get on a card with no annual fee.

Read review
Apply Now On the Secure Bank of America Website

In A Nutshell

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers you 25,000 online bonus points after spending at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days, which is one of the best sign-up bonuses you can get on a card with no annual fee.

Read review
Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit. ?
  • Good/
  • Excellent
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • A terrific sign-up bonus – 25,000 online bonus points after spending at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days

  • Hassle free 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases

  • No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees

  • 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
  • 25,000 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
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR ends, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR will apply.
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 spent.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Intro APR Purchases
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases
Intro Term Purchases
15 billing cycles
Intro APR Balance Transfers
N/A
Intro Term Balance Transfers
N/A
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Annual Fee
$0

Apply Now >>

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee. You’ll earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases and your points don’t expire. There’s also a sign-up bonus—you can earn 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. That’s worth $250 as a statement credit toward travel.

Although not as valuable as the 80,000 points Chase offers, the $250 sign-up bonus is one of the highest I’ve seen from a card with no annual fee.

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a good option for any traveler, but it’s especially rewarding if you use other Bank of America® products. Preferred Rewards clients can earn even more.

Learn more—get card details or apply online:

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

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In A Nutshell

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card blows you away with a 100,000 point bonus after you spend $15,000 in the first three months and keeps you coming back with 3 points per dollar spent on travel and select business categories for the first $150,000 spent each account anniversary year.

Read review
Credit Score Requirements: Credit Score requirements are based on Money Under 30’s own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. If you don’t know your credit score, use our free credit score estimator tool to get a better idea of which cards you’ll qualify for. *Money Under 30 uses a FICO 8 score, which is one of many different types of credit scores. *A creditor may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for credit.
Poor 500-599
Fair 600-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

What We Like:

  • 100,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 in the first three months (Worth $1,250 in travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®)

  • 3 points earned per $1 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account
  • $95 Annual Fee
Annual Fee
$95
Regular APR
15.99%-20.99% Variable
Intro APR
Intro APR Purchases N/A , 0 months
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A , 0 months

Apply Now >>

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a great option for small business owners with frequent travel expenses. Cardholders earn an impressive 3x points on all travel spending. They also earn 3x points on categories including shipping, internet, cable, phone, and online advertising on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases, as well as 1x points on all other purchases.

In addition to these rewards, the card also comes with a generous welcome offer of 100,000 bonus points when cardholders spend $15,000 in the first three months. This amounts to a value of $1,250 when borrowers redeem points through travel rewards with Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Another perk for business owners who travel frequently is the absence of foreign transaction fees, meaning you won’t incur any additional fees when you use your card internationally. While there is a $95 annual fee, in most cases borrowers will earn much more than that in rewards, meaning that the card more than pays for itself.

Learn more—get card details or apply online:

Summary: Best credit cards for international travel

CardSign-up and MilesAnnual Fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardGlobal concierge service. 60,000 sign-up bonus points (worth up to $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®) after you spend $4,000 in the first three months.$95 annual fee
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card60,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

2x miles per dollar spent on every purchase.
$95 annual fee
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card20,000 miles (worth $200 in travel) sign-up bonus after spending $500 in three months. $0 annual fee
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card25,000 bonus point (worth $250 in travel) sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days. Unlimited.

1.5 points per dollar spent. 
$0 annual fee
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card100,000 bonus points when you spend $15,000 in the first three months

3x points on all travel spending, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and online advertising on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases, as well as 1x points on all other purchases
$95 annual fee

FAQs

Most importantly, you want any credit card for international travel to be accepted everywhere you go. That means a Visa or Mastercard. Although American Express cards are accepted in a lot of places, you will find a lot of merchants that do not accept Amex outside of the United States. You’ll be able to use your American Express cards almost anywhere in the world at large hotel chains and other international travel providers, but don’t expect to use an Amex at a local restaurant or store. And though Discover cards offer great benefits and some of the lowest foreign currency exchange rates, Discover cards are not widely accepted outside the United States, period.
Yes. Although here in the U.S. we’re still getting used to credit cards with “chips” (also known as EMV technology), these chip-enabled cards have been standard in Europe and other parts of the world for years. In the unlikely situation that you still have a credit card without a chip, consider picking up another card to carry overseas—or call your credit card issuer and ask if they’ll send you a new version of your card. If you try to use a credit card without a chip overseas, the best-case scenario is that it will work, but you’ll get a lot of funny looks. Worst case, the merchant won’t be able to accept the card.
Many American credit cards charge foreign currency transaction fees of 2% or 3% on every purchase you make that is not in U.S. dollars. This is what you want to avoid. Any time you spend money in another country you’re going to pay something for converting U.S. dollars into the local currency. This is true whether you exchange cash at a money changer, withdraw local currency at an ATM, or make purchases with your credit card. Sometimes, you don’t even realize it because the bank simply gives you a less favorable exchange rate and pockets the difference. Other times, they charge you a percentage of the money changed in addition to the hidden profit they earn on the exchange rate. Generally, making purchases on your credit card gives you a better exchange rate than using a money-changing service. But if—and only if—the card doesn’t charge a transaction fee. But oh do these fees add up! As an example, let’s say you live abroad for a while and charge a total of $5,000. On a card with a 3% transaction fee, that’s an extra $150. The best cards for international travel do not charge this fee.
Say you’re traveling internationally and you lose your card. How easy will it be to get help from your credit card company? All cards have customer service numbers you can call from abroad, but some cater to international travelers with a slightly higher level of service—offering things like guaranteed live operators and concierges that can help you figure out local travel or make dinner reservations. Our number one pick, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, offers such a concierge service that’s designed to help with whatever travel needs you may have—wherever you are in the world.

Should you get a travel credit card?

Not sure you want a travel credit card? Looking for a cash rewards card? Or maybe you want to snag a generous sign-up bonus? Finding the right credit card for you is much simpler if you know your credit score, and can narrow your search to only the cards you know you’ll get approved for. We’ve made it easy for you. If you don’t already know your score, use our quick and free Credit Score Estimator tool – then find the perfect card for you!

Summary

Even if you don’t get a new credit card before you leave the country, do check with your existing credit card companies and bank to learn their fees on foreign transactions before you go, and try to stick with the cheapest method. Typically, withdrawing cash at an ATM or using your credit card will be less costly than using money changers.

It can also be helpful to call your credit card companies before you travel to let them know you’ll be out of the country; this way it’s less likely they’ll put a hold on your card after you use it in Bangkok. (For this reason, it’s also a good idea to have more than one credit card with you in case this happens … or at least some cash as backup!)

Read more:

Look for rewards to put toward an upcoming trip? Here are some more of the best credit cards of 2021.

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About the author

David Weliver
Total Articles: 306
David Weliver is the founder of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues he faced during his first two decades as an adult. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.