Is there anything as great as traveling abroad? Arriving in a new land, sightseeing, meeting interesting people, tasting awesome foods, and making new friends — it is one of the most thrilling and rewarding experiences one can have. But as we all know, taking an international trip doesn’t come without some expense. From plane tickets to hotels and shopping, taking a nice long trip overseas can get expensive quickly! Here’s why have gathered the top 10 international credit cards to consider when flying abroad.
Fortunately, there are a lot of things we can do before we even leave our house for the airport that can help make our dream vacations easier on the wallet. Bargain hunting in airfare is a great way to start. And perhaps you can opt for a boutique hotel or private rental to cut back on resort costs. But have you thought about how having the right international credit card could make a difference? As it turns out, that can make a lot of difference.
International Credit Cards
International credit cards come in all different forms. Whether we are talking about what rewards packages they may offer or what their international fee structures look like, using an international credit card may have great benefits or many downsides. With so many out there in the market, figuring out which ones are the best for you can seem daunting. That’s where the below list comes in.
We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular offerings out there and broken down how they work and what makes them good or bad. And to be sure, not every card will fit every need of its customer. Comparing the pluses and minuses are all about finding your individual sweet spot. Beyond good deals and programs, people from other countries living in the United States can even use these types of cards to build up their credit.
Are you ready for some cross-border financial sense? Here are the top 10 international credit cards:
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve
Before we explain why this one is so great, let’s start by saying that the Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a hefty annual fee of $550. But don’t be scared off! A closer look at the perks and savings built into it reveals the chance to recoup that cost quickly and actually do better than you would with other cards. It comes with features like a $300 annual credit for travel purchases, a $100 TSA PreCheck application fee credit, access to over 1,000+ VIP lounges, a generous points system, and more. Play it smart, and this is one international card that will bring great returns.
2. Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
If you’re the kind of traveler who’s really into staying at great hotels, then this card may be the way to go. The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offers 5X miles on hotel and rental cars booked through their proprietary travel service and adds in 1.25X miles per dollar on every other international purchase. Those numbers add up very quickly, meaning you can look forward to more travel in the future at less cost. The trade-off is that you don’t get VIP lounge access or TSA perks.
3. Discover It Student Cash Back
If you’re in the midst of studying for your career, then the Discover It Student Cash Back international card is worth looking into. This is especially true if you’re spending a semester or two studying abroad. The perks here are geared toward student spenders. To start, there is no annual fee, something that most other cards commonly have. From there, a number of cashback perks kick in, meaning every time you spend, you see rewards. On the minus side, you have to work to keep on top of the ever-changing rewards system in order to game it.
4. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
For many people, high annual fees are an immediate disincentive when thinking about international credit cards. That’s not an issue with the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card; there’s a 0% introductory APR and cashback programs plus an introductory bonus. The drawback here is that you need good credit for this card, and if you’re not careful, you’ll later be paying very high interest rates once the 0% expires. Play it right, and this one could be very nice indeed.
5. The Wells Fargo Autograph Card
Some international credit cards find themselves built in with certain protections that make a lot of sense for travelers. The Wells Fargo Autograph Card has a great one: cell phone protection. Losing your phone on the road is a huge problem. Here, however, you will find up to $600 of reimbursement via their insurance feature. There are also 20,000 points up front and a nice year-long 0% APR. But watch out for a much higher interest rate later and steep charges on balance transfers.
6. Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
Do you like to eat? Then the foodie in you will love how this international credit card tastes! The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is geared toward dining and entertainment purchases. If you’re the kind of traveler who’s savvy at getting low airfares, here’s how you can best enjoy restaurants abroad. We’re talking about a generous 4% cash back on entertainment purchases. And there are no fees on purchases outside the United States. There is, however, a $95 annual fee, so crunch the numbers ahead of time to make sure this works for you.
7. U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card
Here’s another one for those of you who like to eat! The U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card also offers up a very generous 4% cash back program on anything food: groceries, take out, dining, etc. But that doesn’t extend to other entertainment areas, so you’ll have to figure out how to balance your expenditures. However, there are no international fees, no annual fees, and loads of other perks. Just keep an eye out for very high balance transfer rates.
8. X1 Card from Visa
If you have a high income but a less solid credit record, this is a great option for traveling abroad. The X1 Card from Visa has partnered with many popular retailers for cash back. This includes companies where you’ll be doing international spending, such as Airbnb, plus varied products and services from Apple to Wayfair. There’s also a generous travel rewards system woven into it. On the downside, there’s no introductory APR offered, and the bonus awards are limited to their partners instead of available on every purchase. Check their full partner list to be sure it makes sense for you.
9. Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card
While not the most impressive international credit card in terms of perks, this one doesn’t require excellent credit to get and can still be leveraged for a lot of advantages. The Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card has a decent points program where you earn 1.5 points on all purchases which never expire. You can also be awarded 25,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. There are no international fees and a chance for a 0% introductory APR. That said, you need to watch out when the very high APR kicks in, and there are no VIP lounge perks.
10. Citi Premier Card
Many people simply love playing up the travel rewards redemption process. For them, the Citi Premier Card hits the sweet spot. With loads and loads of perks geared towards international expenses, from hotel savings benefits to 3 points for every dollar spent on air travel, you can really rack up the benefits fast here. And yes, there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about. Plus, you won’t be charged for adding authorized users, which will make things easier for you when it comes to empowering your traveling companions. Those looking for additional benefits like travel protections and VIP lounges will be disappointed, however.