Some credit cards carry special features for cardholders who frequently travel overseas or who are planning to take a trip abroad. These cards provide perks like travel insurance, free checked baggage, and no foreign transaction fees.
Top 10 Cards for Foreign Travel
Although there are many cards that claim to be helpful for traveling overseas, there are a few that stand out. Exchange rates for all of these cards are established either by government-mandated rate or rates published by currency markets as of the day the transaction posts to the card account.
Each of these cards is accepted worldwide and landed a spot on this list because of their lack of foreign transaction fees and the other travel benefits they offer. These benefits make them the best for foreign travelers.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase Sapphire Preferred does not charge foreign transaction fees on overseas purchases. Additionally, the card offers double points on travel expenses, such as airfare, hotels, and rental cars, includes trip cancelation and delay insurance, baggage delay insurance, and offers travel emergency service, which provides assistance if you find yourself requiring medical, legal, or travel assistance overseas.
The card is affiliated with Visa, has a 15.24% variable APR, and a $95 yearly membership fee.
Hyatt Chase Card
The Hyatt Chase Card is affiliated with Visa. This card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and awards cardholders with a free night in any Hyatt property each year. Additionally, double points are awarded for airline ticket and rental car purchases.
There is no yearly membership fee for the first year, but subsequently there is a fee of $75. The card has a 15.24% variable APR. Money Crashers reviews this card as great for frequent travelers who prefer to stay at Hyatt hotels.
American Express Platinum
American Express Platinum's benefits include airport club access with several airlines, a $200 airline fee credit, no foreign transaction fees, and platinum travel services which help cardholders create trip itineraries. Other benefits include being able to skip entry lines at international airports and offers for companion airline tickets with the purchase of an international business or first-class ticket.
There is no interest charged for this card because it must be paid in full every month and there is a $450 annual membership fee. The Money Crashers review of this card identify it as perfect for frequent travelers who haven't reached high tiers of travel rewards on any one airline.
Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature
The Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card offers travel and emergency assistance, lost luggage coverage, and travel accident insurance. Additionally, it offers bonus points for hotel stays.
It has no annual fee and a 14.24% variable interest rate.
BankAmericard Travel Rewards
The BankAmericard Travel Rewards card not charge foreign transaction fees and awards 1.5 points for every dollar spent, regardless of where in the world. It has a 0% APR for the first year and then a variable APR ranging between 10.99%-22.99%. There is no annual fee.
Daily Markets' review of this card identifies its lack of foreign transaction fees and ease of use in Europe as card perks.
Capital One Venture Card
The Capital One Venture Card offers two miles per every dollar spent and allows for redemption of miles in the form of a balance credit for any travel purchases charged to the card. The card does not charge foreign transaction fees and includes travel accident insurance and lost luggage reimbursement benefits.
Offered APRs are 13.9%, 16.9%, and 20.9%. There is no annual fee for the first year, and a $59 fee thereafter. The CardRatings.com review for this card identifies it as having one of the most compelling rewards programs offered and identifies it as a card best for individuals who travel and prefer flexibility.
Barclay Arrival World MasterCard
The Barclay Arrival World MasterCard offers double miles on travel and dining, and does not have blackout dates for miles redemption. It also does not charge foreign transaction fees. It boasts a 0% APR for the first year, and subsequently a 14.99% or 18.99% APR.
The ValuePenguin review for this card identifies cardholder's ability to earn unlimited miles, lack of foreign transaction fees, and ability to earn 10% off miles when redeemed for travel as significant card benefits.
British Airways Visa Signature Card
The British Airways Visa Signature Card does not charge foreign transaction fees and can be used worldwide. It also offers a travel companion ticket for every year the cardholder charges $30,000 to the card. The card has a 15.25% variable APR and a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year. The Money Crasher's review of this card identifies the card's huge initial bonuses as a major perk.
Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card
The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card is a Visa-affiliated card and is accepted globally and does not charge foreign transaction fees. It also offers a complimentary weekend stay at select Hilton properties when the cardholder spends $10,000 or more per year.
This card carries a $95 annual fee and has a 15.24% variable interest rate. The review of this card on Frugal Travel Guy identifies one of the major perks of this card as the ability to earn enough points to offset the annual fee.
United Mileage Plus Club Card
The United MileagePlus Club Card does not charge foreign transaction fees, allows for exclusive, upgraded access in some hotels around the world, and charges no luggage fees for the first and second checked baggage on United flights.
It has a $395 annual fee and a 15.24% variable APR. Money Crashers' reviews this card as offering every possible travel perk for individuals who are not frequent travelers.
Determine If You Need a New Credit Card
If you are traveling overseas, the credit cards currently in your wallet might suffice. To determine if you should seek out and apply for one of the top credit cards for foreign travel, consider the terms of your current card.
- Foreign transaction fees: Not all credit cards charge foreign transaction fees. Your credit card contracts should detail whether foreign transaction fees will be charged on overseas purchases.
- Worldwide acceptance: A Visa is a Visa is a Visa. Although some credit cards boast new "chip" technology that allows for acceptance at more locations, but credit cards without this technology are accepted at the same places. The key is to determine how many locations and the countries in which the card type (Visa, Master Card, American Express) is accepted. This information should be available on the card's website or via its customer service hotline.
- Rewards points: Does your card limit rewards given for overseas purchases? Many cards do not distinguish between purchases made in the U.S. and those made in a foreign country.
Choosing Your Foreign Travel Credit Card
If you decide that you need a credit card better targeted for foreign travel, consider the interest rate and annual fees those cards charge. Often, these charges will be higher to make up for the revenue lost from foreign transaction fees.