The Best Credit Cards for International Travel in 2024

CREDIT CARDS - TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS
These cards could save you money on your next incredible international trip and also provide you with plenty of travel perks.
Updated May 24, 2024
Fact checked
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Exploring the world we live in is one of the best things you can do for your health and well-being, but traveling abroad can be cost-prohibitive for many Americans. Fortunately, there’s a way to get the cultural experiences you’re looking for without a hefty price tag.

The best credit cards for international travel offer rewards and perks that can not only save you money but also provide you with a better travel experience. With the right card (or cards), you can start working toward the international trip you’ve always wanted to take but could never afford.

The best credit cards for international travel:

In this article

Key takeaways

  • Choose a card with perks that make sense for your travel needs, like travel insurance or credits toward Global Entry and TSA PreCheck.
  • Our top picks include the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and the Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card.

The best credit cards for international travel

The best travel credit cards for international travel offer a combination of standout rewards programs and valuable perks for both infrequent and frequent travelers. Many, for instance, offer excellent trip protections that can save you money if something goes wrong. 

Others provide credits for various types of travel expenses, such as airline fees, the Global Entry application fee, Uber rides, and even general travel costs. Plus, new card members could benefit from generous welcome offers.

Based on these criteria, here are our top picks of the best travel rewards credit cards for international travel from a variety of credit card issuers:

Card Welcome offer Rewards rate Annual fee Excellent for...
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

1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases

$0

$0 annual fee

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
4.9

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening 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 $95 International flights
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 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 $95 Flexible rewards
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 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 $95 Low fee and hotel perks
American Express® Gold Card
4.8

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases $250 (Terms apply) Dining rewards
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
5.0

Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases $550  International flights and premium perks
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 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 $695 (Terms apply) Premium perks

As you compare our top choices, think about what type of experience you’re looking for, features you want in a card, and how much you’re willing to pay in annual fees.

Don’t let that yearly cost scare you, though. Depending on how you use these cards, you could easily get enough value to make up for the annual fee and more.

Excellent for $0 annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Annual fee: $0

Welcome 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.

Rewards rate: Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases.

This card offers a straightforward rewards structure, and you can earn significantly more if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member.

Travel perks: This card offers lost luggage insurance and travel cancellation and interruption insurance.

Additional perks: You can also access your FICO credit score within the mobile app or using online banking.

Learn more details in our Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card review.

Excellent for international flights: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Annual fee: $95

Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Rewards rate: 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.

You can use your rewards to get cash back or gift cards at one cent per point, book travel through Chase at 1.25 cents per point, or transfer them to one of the many Chase travel partners, including many international airlines, to potentially get even more value. Each year on your card anniversary, you will also earn bonus points equal to 10% of the total purchases you made in the previous year.

Travel perks: The Chase Sapphire Preferred provides a suite of trip protections, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay insurance, primary rental car insurance, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance, roadside dispatch, and travel and emergency assistance services. There are no foreign transaction fees. You also get a $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Chase Travel℠.

Additional perks: In addition to the card’s valuable rewards program and travel benefits, you’ll get exclusive access to events in music, sports, entertainment, and dining. You'll be able to activate complimentary DashPass benefits that will save you money on eligible food deliveries. And purchase and extended warranty protection are also included.

Learn more details at our Chase Sapphire Preferred Card review.

Excellent for flexible rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee: $95

Welcome offer: Earn a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Rewards rate: 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. There is no minimum redemption amount, and you can redeem your miles for just about any type of travel or transfer them to one of the bank’s airline partners.

Travel perks: The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers an application fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Other perks include rental car insurance (secondary coverage), travel accident insurance, roadside assistance, and travel assistance services. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Additional benefits: The card doesn’t come with a lot of extra benefits, but it does provide Purchase Assurance and access to premier dining experiences and tickets, as well as VIP experiences to sports and music events.

Find out more in our Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card review

Note: If you like the Capital One rewards program, but you'd prefer a $0-annual-fee card, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card might be of interest to you. Unlike more premium rewards cards, the VentureOne also has a 0% intro APR offer on purchases for the first 15 months of account opening. After that your balance will be subject to the regular variable APR of 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable).

Excellent for low fee and hotel perks: Citi Strata Premier ℠ Card

Annual fee: $95

Welcome offer: 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.

Rewards rate: 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. You can also transfer your points from your Citi Strata Premier Card to participating airline loyalty programs, such as TrueBlue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. 

Travel perks: This credit card offers a hotel credit perk once per calendar year. You can get $100 off a single hotel stay that's $500 or more when you book through CitiTravel.com. There are no foreign transaction fees. It also offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost or damaged baggage protection, trip delay reimbursement, and car rental coverage when you use your card to pay while traveling.

Learn more details at our Citi Strata Premier Card review.

Excellent for dining rewards: American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee: $250

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership

Rewards rate: 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, after that 1X) and at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases

Foreign transaction fees: None

Points are worth up to one cent apiece when you redeem them directly with Amex or potentially more if you transfer them to one of the card issuer’s airline or hotel partners.

Travel perks: The American Express Gold Card charges no foreign transaction fees and provides insurance for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage; rental car insurance (secondary coverage); and special benefits with The Hotel Collection.

Additional benefits: Other Amex Gold benefits include up to $120 in annual dining credits that you can use at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and participating Shake Shack locations. You’ll also get purchase and return protection and extended warranty protection. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Learn more details at our American Express Gold Card review.

Excellent for international flights and premium perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Annual fee: $550

Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Rewards rate: 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases. 

As with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll get a lot of flexibility with redemption options, especially through point transfers. The primary difference is that if you're redeeming rewards to book travel through Chase and you have the Sapphire Reserve, each point is worth 1.5 cents apiece rather than the 1.25 cents you get with the Sapphire Preferred.

Travel perks: The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 annual travel credit that kicks in on just about any type of travel purchase. You’ll also get complimentary airport lounge access with the Priority Pass network; an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck; special upgrades and discounts on rental cars through Avis, National, and Silvercar; special benefits through The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection and at Relais & Chateaux; and two free years of Lyft Pink All Access (activate by Dec. 31, 2024, valued at $199/year).

Trip protections include primary rental car insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, travel accident insurance, emergency medical and dental coverage, and emergency evacuation and transportation insurance. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Additional perks: The card is primarily geared toward travel benefits, but cardholders will also get exclusive access to various events, purchase protection, return protection, and extended warranty coverage. 

Learn more details at our Chase Sapphire Reserve review.

Excellent for premium perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee: $695

Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $8,000 on purchases on your new card in the first 6 months

Rewards rate: 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

Foreign transaction fees: None

You can redeem your rewards with a value of up to one cent per point through Amex or potentially get more value by transferring them to one of Amex’s travel partners. These partners include hotel loyalty programs like such as Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors.

Travel perks: The Platinum Card from American Express is a luxury rewards card that provides cardholders with a slew of travel benefits, including up to $200 annually in Uber Cash (terms apply), complimentary access to several airport lounge networks, elite status with select hotel and car-rental programs, a fee credit of up to $100 every 4 years for Global Entry or up to $85 every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck applications (five year plan only), special benefits at Fine Resorts & Hotels and The Hotel Collection, and more. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

You’ll also get access to valuable travel insurance protections, including rental car insurance (secondary coverage), trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and trip delay insurance.

Additional benefits: The card also offers up to $100 annually in Saks Fifth Avenue shopping credits, preferred seating at top events, access to invitation-only events, and a valuable concierge service. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Learn more details at our American Express Platinum Card review.

Tip
If you have the option when traveling internationally, pay in local currency. That's typically the least expensive option. If you see an option for a dynamic currency conversion, it's best to decline it, as it could come with a conversion fee. 

FAQs

Is using a credit card while traveling internationally a good idea?

Yes, using a credit card while traveling internationally is typically a good idea. Many travel credit cards offer helpful benefits, such as no foreign transaction fees, travel insurance, and airport lounge access. In addition, credit cards are often more convenient and safer than carrying around large amounts of cash. 

If your credit card is stolen, you can cancel it, and you likely won’t be liable for any fraudulent charges.

What is the best credit card to use while traveling to Europe?

The best credit card for European travelers depends on what you’re looking for. Many travel credit cards offer no foreign transaction fees and can be used worldwide if they’re on the Visa or Mastercard networks. 

American Express cards and Discover cards are generally less accepted worldwide, so these networks might not be your best options for travels to Europe.

What's the best international credit card for students?

The best international credit card for students depends on your situation and financial goals. If you already have established credit, you might qualify for some of the best travel credit cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This type of card is ideal for earning valuable rewards.

But if you’re building credit and want a card to use while traveling, consider a credit card that doesn’t have strict qualification requirements and can be used abroad, such as the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card. For more options, check out our list of the best credit cards for students.

Is Visa or Mastercard better for international travel?

Both Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted worldwide, and one network isn’t generally better than the other. However, it’s worth it to compare individual travel card options from both credit card companies. Check out our lists of the best Visa cards and best Mastercard credit cards to see which options most align with your travel preferences.

Bottom line

The best credit cards for international travel offer varying rewards and benefits, but they’re all solid choices if you’re hoping to save money on a trip abroad. 

If you’re having a hard time picking one, think about your actual travel plans, consider your credit score, credit history, and other factors, whether the card offers other travel protections, and apply for the card that's the best fit. Some cards have welcome bonus offers, which could also help you fund your travel. 

For example, if you’re focused more on the flight, one of the Chase Sapphire cards may be a better option. But if all you really want is free checked bags and airline miles, and you're a frequent flyer of a particular airline like United or Delta, then one of the best airline credit cards might be a smarter option for you.

Methodology

To select the best credit cards for international travel, we compared cards from multiple issuers that are widely accepted in other countries. We assessed features like welcome offers, rewards rates, travel perks, and annual fees to identify the best credit cards for frequent international travelers. We did not include all cards available.

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

+

Why we like it

Author Details

Ben Luthi Ben is a personal finance and travel writer who loves helping people achieve their money goals. Along with FinanceBuzz, his writing has also been featured on U.S. News, NerdWallet, Experian, Credit Karma, and more.

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