Best Credit Cards for Japan Travel [2024]: Enhance Your Trip

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
From the Wells Fargo Autograph to the Amex Platinum, there is a wide variety of cards that could help you plan your dream trip to Japan.
Updated June 14, 2024
Fact checked
Woman traveling in Japan

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For stress-free earning and valuable rewards to help cover a Japan trip, we recommend a card with a simple rewards rate like the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

If you want to take advantage of multiple perks and benefits to enhance your travel experience, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Let’s explore the best credit cards for Japan travel to see which one is the best fit for you.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • The best travel credit card for Japan depends on your spending habits and travel preferences. We find that it’s hard to go wrong with a low-stress no-annual-fee card that earns valuable rewards. But cards with annual fees tend to have more benefits, which could include premium perks for traveling like airport lounge access.
  • The Wells Fargo Autograph has a $0 annual fee and provides elevated rewards in multiple everyday categories. You can earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans; plus earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • The Capital One Venture Rewards has a $95 annual fee and provides a no-hassle rewards rate for earning miles. You can earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day, 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5 miles per dollar on Capital One Entertainment purchases through 12/31/25.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee and makes it easy to get more value from your travel redemptions. Cardholders receive a 25% bonus for travel redemptions made through Chase Travel℠.
  • The Platinum Card from American Express has a $695 annual fee and provides some of the most extensive airport lounge access available as well as loads of other premium travel benefits (select benefits require enrollment).

The 7 best credit cards for Japan travel

  1. Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
  2. Bilt Mastercard®
  3. Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
  4. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  5. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  6. Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card
  7. The Platinum Card® from American Express

Compare the best credit cards for Japan travel

Credit card Welcome offer Main travel benefits Annual fee

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

4.7

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months (that’s a $200 cash redemption value)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Redeem rewards for travel
$0

Bilt Mastercard®

Bilt Mastercard®

4.3

Earn up to 1X points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year; must use the card 5 times each statement period to earn points)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Redeem rewards for travel
  • Transfer partners
$0

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

4.1

Earn 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
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Redeem rewards for travel
$0

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

4.9

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 25% travel redemption bonus through Chase Travel℠
  • Transfer partners
$95

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

4.7

Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every four years
  • Transfer partners
$95

Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card

Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card

4.9

Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more through CitiTravel.com
  • Transfer partners
$95

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

5.0

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases on your new card in the first 6 months
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Extensive airport lounge access
  • Transfer partners (Select benefits require enrollment)
$695 (terms apply)

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Pros
  • $0 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • No premium travel benefits

The Wells Fargo Autograph is an excellent option for earning travel rewards on everyday purchases.

Why we like Wells Fargo Autograph

It has a $0 annual fee, and you can earn unlimited 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans; plus earn 1X points on other purchases.

This type of earning rate makes it easy to rack up points on purchases you were already planning on making, such as buying gas or eating out.

In addition, you don’t have to worry about paying foreign transaction fees in other countries. And you can take advantage of flexible redemption options. This may soon include transfers to travel partners, a feature that Wells Fargo stated that it plans to add in 2024.

What we don’t like about Wells Fargo Autograph

It doesn’t have any premium travel benefits, such as airport lounge access or an annual travel credit.

Read our Wells Fargo Autograph Card review for more details.

Bilt Mastercard®

Pros
  • $0 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Transfer partners
Cons
  • Must use the card five times per statement period to earn points

The Bilt Mastercard makes it easy to earn rewards on rent and everyday purchases.

Why we like Bilt Mastercard

It has a $0 annual fee and you can earn 3X points on dining, 2X points on travel, up to 1X points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year), and 1X points on other purchases; must use the card 5 times each statement period to earn points.

The Bilt Mastercard is an amazing option for renters because it can help you earn rewards on rent without paying a transaction fee. You also don’t have to pay foreign transaction fees on applicable purchases.

Even better, you can transfer any points you earn to travel partners, including American Airlines AAdvantage and World of Hyatt. These are generally more unique transfer partners that can provide valuable redemption options for Japan travel.

For example, you can use AAdvantage miles to book one-way or roundtrip flights to Japan with Japan Airlines (JAL). And you can use Hyatt points to book award nights at Hyatt properties in multiple Japanese cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka.

What we don’t like about Bilt Mastercard

You won’t earn any points if you don’t use your card at least five times each statement period. Fortunately, any type of eligible transaction, even if it’s small, should count toward the five transactions.

Read our Bilt Mastercard review for more details.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Pros
  • $0 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Simple rewards rate
Cons
  • No premium travel benefits

The Bank of America Travel Rewards provides a simple way to earn travel rewards on all eligible purchases.

Why we like Bank of America Travel Rewards

It has a $0 annual fee, and you can earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. With this type of rewards rate, you don’t have to worry about bonus categories. You can carry a single card in your wallet rather than multiple ones.

In addition, the Bank of America Travel Rewards doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

What we don’t like about Bank of America Travel Rewards

You can’t take advantage of premium travel benefits like airport lounge access or any type of travel-related credit.

Read our Bank of America Travel Rewards review for more details.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Pros
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 25% travel redemption bonus through Chase Travel℠
  • Up to $50 in statement credits each anniversary year for hotel stays purchased through Chase Travel℠
Cons
  • $95 annual fee

The Chase Sapphire Preferred provides loads of useful travel benefits for visiting Japan as well as other countries.

Why we like Chase Sapphire Preferred

With the Sapphire Preferred, you have no foreign transaction fees. You can earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries; 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases.

If you want to use points to travel to Japan, you can redeem them through Chase Travel℠ for a 25% bonus. That means 10,000 points would be worth $125 toward travel.

You can also transfer points to travel partner loyalty programs, including United MileagePlus, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

As an added bonus, cardholders can enjoy up to $50 in statement credits each account anniversary for any hotel stays purchased through Chase Travel℠. That’s an easy way to quickly discount some of your lodging.

What we don’t like about Chase Sapphire Preferred

This credit card doesn’t have many downsides. But you have to pay a $95 annual fee as a cardmember.

Read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review for more details.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Pros
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® every four years
  • Simple rewards rate
Cons
  • $95 annual fee

The Capital One Venture Rewards provides a super simple way to earn valuable travel rewards on eligible purchases.

Why we like Capital One Venture Rewards

The Venture Rewards has no foreign transaction fees and you can earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day, 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5 miles per dollar on Capital One Entertainment purchases through 12/31/25.

This type of earning rate makes it easy to earn elevated rewards on all eligible purchases rather than relying on specific bonus categories.

In addition, the Venture Rewards provides these travel benefits.

  • Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Transfers to travel partners, such as British Airways, Choice Hotels, and Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)
  • Two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or Plaza Premium Lounges

What we don’t like about Capital One Venture Rewards

Cardholders have to pay a $95 annual fee.

Read our Capital One Venture Rewards Card review for more details.

Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card

Pros
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more through CitiTravel.com
  • Transfer partners
Cons
  • $95 annual fee

The Citi Strata Premier provides access to valuable transfer partners and elevated earning potential for everyday spending categories.

Why we like Citi Strata Premier

You don’t have to pay foreign transaction fees, and you can earn 10X points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on CitiTravel.com; 3X points on air travel and other hotel purchases, at restaurants, supermarkets, gas and EV charging stations; and 1X points on all other purchases. Not many cards offer that much earning potential on everyday purchases.

The Citi Strata Premier also has a unique benefit of providing $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through CitiTravel.com once each calendar year. If you’re planning on staying at one hotel for a few nights or more in Japan, this benefit could come in handy.

You can redeem your points for travel at thankyou.com or transfer them to travel partners, including Cathay Pacific, Choice Privileges, and EVA Air.

What we don’t like about Citi Strata Premier

You have to pay a $95 annual fee each year as a cardmember.

Read our Citi Strata Premier Card review for more details.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Pros
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Loads of credits and travel benefits
  • Complimentary access to over 1,400 airport lounges
  • (Select benefits require enrollment)
Cons
  • $695 annual fee (terms apply)

The Amex Platinum makes sense if you want a luxury travel card with premium benefits.

Why we like The Platinum Card from American Express

It doesn’t have foreign transaction fees. Additionally, you can earn 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.

The Amex Platinum also provides plenty of travel benefits and perks. Some valuable benefits for travel to Japan include:

  • Complimentary access to over 1,400 airport lounges, including Centurion and Priority Pass lounges.
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit per calendar year.
  • Up to $189 CLEAR Plus credit per calendar year.
  • Up to $100 Global Entry credit every four years or up to $85 TSA PreCheck® credit every 4.5 years (5-year plan only).

Keep in mind that select benefits require enrollment.

You can redeem your Amex Membership Rewards points for travel through amextravel.com or transfer your points to partners like ANA Mileage Club, Air Canada Aeroplan, and Delta SkyMiles.

What we don’t like about The Platinum Card from American Express

Cardholders pay a high $695 annual fee.

Read our American Express Platinum review for more details.

How to choose the best credit card for traveling in Japan

Consider these factors to help you find the best credit card for you if you want to travel to Japan.

1. Rewards

The best travel credit cards have rewards programs that offer points or bonus miles for making eligible purchases. Many cards will also provide a welcome bonus or sign-up bonus that new card members can earn within a few months of account opening.

Cash back credit cards can also be used to help cover travel expenses, but they typically lack travel benefits.

Depending on your spending habits, you might want a card with a simple rewards rate or one that has bonus categories.

A simple rewards rate makes it easy to earn elevated rewards on all purchases, regardless of the category. A card with bonus categories provides additional rewards on specific types of purchases, such as gas, travel, or groceries.

2. Redemption options

If you want to travel to Japan, you likely want a card with travel redemption options. That could include:

  • Travel portal redemptions: Redeem rewards with a travel portal for flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and experiences.
  • Transfer partner redemptions: Transfer points to a hotel or airline travel partner where you plan to use points for a flight or hotel stay.

Cards with multiple travel-related redemption options are considered more flexible.

3. Perks and benefits

Travel benefits can come in all shapes and sizes, but here are a few to look for.

  • Airport lounge access: If you’re going to Japan, there’s definitely an airport involved. Having airport lounge access can make all the difference in enhancing your airport experience.
  • Trusted traveler membership credit: Being a TSA PreCheck®, Global Entry, or CLEAR Plus member is considered essential for frequent travelers. But these memberships can also make sense for occasional travelers who want to avoid some of the hassles of airport screening processes.
  • Travel credit: Different travel cards have different types of travel credit. We prefer a credit that covers any eligible travel purchase because of the flexibility. But other types of credits can also easily be used.
  • Travel insurance: Many card issuers work with different providers to offer credit card travel insurance. This could include trip delay reimbursement, lost luggage coverage, car rental insurance, and more.

4. Foreign transaction fees

Major credit cards are widely accepted in Japan, so be sure to carry a Visa or Mastercard (or both) in your wallet. As an added measure, make sure your credit card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Paying around 3% extra for every credit card transaction may seem small, but it can add up quickly as you make more purchases.

5. Annual fee

Credit cards with annual fees tend to have more benefits to justify the cost. So you have to determine whether you’ll get enough use from a card’s benefits to offset the annual fee.

If you don’t think you will, consider applying for a no-annual-fee credit card.

6. Credit requirements

You typically need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for top travel credit cards. But you’ll discover that most card issuers consider more factors beyond your credit score. These could include your total debt, annual income, past credit history, and more.

FAQ

Is it easy to pay with a credit card in Japan?

Japan is a cash-heavy society, but major credit cards are still accepted in larger cities, stores, and restaurants. If you plan to travel off the beaten path or visit a smaller establishment, it makes sense to have some local currency on hand to make necessary purchases.

Can I withdraw cash from my credit card while traveling in Japan?

Yes, but it’s not a good idea because credit card companies typically charge cash advance fees for cash withdrawals. A better option is to use a debit card with no international ATM fees for a quick way to get some local cash.

Should I buy yen before going on a trip to Japan?

It’s not necessary to have yen before arriving in Japan, but it could make sense to purchase some beforehand if there’s a favorable exchange rate. However, major credit card networks like Visa and Mastercard are commonly accepted throughout the country. Just make sure you have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.

Best credit cards for Japan travel: bottom line

We recommend different cards for Japan travel depending on your spending habits, travel preferences, and personal finance goals.

If you want cards with simple rewards rates, consider the Bank of America Travel Rewards and Capital One Venture Rewards. For cards with increased travel benefits, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Amex Platinum cards.

For more of our top recommendations, compare credit cards to find the right card offer for you.

Methodology

To identify the best credit card for Japan travel, we considered various credit cards based on their rewards, benefits, and perks for travel purchases or other related expenses abroad (including in Japan, of course).

We also considered factors such as foreign transaction fees, annual fees, and acceptance when using each card abroad. We selected a range of credit cards that cater to different needs and preferences, but keep in mind that our list doesn’t include all available options and isn’t ranked in any specific order. Our goal is to provide a variety of options that can help travelers to Japan research their options and find ways to earn rewards on their travel expenses.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards

Benefits

Card Details

  • Earn 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
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • 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 as long as your account remains open.
  • 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% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • 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.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
4.1
Apply Now

on Bank of America’s secure website

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Intro Offer

Earn 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

Annual Fee

$0

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Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is credit cards specialist. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.