5 Best Credit Cards for International Travel in 2020

Whether traveling is your job or a favorite pastime, you are probably well-aware of the amount of money you spend when away from home. Along with all the things you need to think of regarding the trip, one question always remains at the top of the list — what is the best way to finance your journey?

As an answer to that question, we’ve got credit cards. However, not every credit card has the same characteristics, which then introduces a new dilemma — what are the best credit cards for international travel?

If you were wondering about this for half of your life, this text is just what you need. Below, you can find a detailed assessment of five credit cards that are said to be the best travel buddies. Read on and see for yourself which one of them seems to fit all your travel needs.

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Top 5 Best Credit Cards for International Travel 2020

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred®

Anyone who’s just discovered that top travel credit cards exist, and has a credit score above 690, can’t get wrong with Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You’ll get a lucrative sign-up bonus to start your international journey right, and get the most out of hotel bookings, dining options, airfare, and more. Along with the massive welcome bonus, you can enjoy between 1x and 5x rewards rate and transfer Ultimate Rewards® points from one Chase card to another. Yet, if you’re a fan of cashback rewards, you’re better off with a different card as this might not be the best overseas credit card for that. Full Review

  • APR: 15.99%–22.99%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

Anyone who’s just discovered that top travel credit cards exist, and has a credit score above 690, can’t get wrong with Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You’ll get a lucrative sign-up bonus to start your international journey right, and get the most out of hotel bookings, dining options, airfare, and more. Along with the massive welcome bonus, you can enjoy between 1x and 5x rewards rate and transfer Ultimate Rewards® points from one Chase card to another. Yet, if you’re a fan of cashback rewards, you’re better off with a different card as this might not be the best overseas credit card for that. Full Review

2. Citi Premier® Credit Card

Travel expenses go beyond airfare and hotel bills — you’ll stop to fill up your car’s tank, have dinner in restaurants, buy something on your way to the airport, and do other, at first glance, insignificant things. Yet, from this day on, all these steps can earn you ThankYou® Points with Citi Premier® Card rewards, one of the best credit cards for international use. Full Review

  • APR: 15.99%–23.99%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

Travel expenses go beyond airfare and hotel bills — you’ll stop to fill up your car’s tank, have dinner in restaurants, buy something on your way to the airport, and do other, at first glance, insignificant things. Yet, from this day on, all these steps can earn you ThankYou® Points with Citi Premier® Card rewards, one of the best credit cards for international use. Full Review

3. Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students

Students are best off with Deserve® EDU Mastercard. It’s the best credit card for international travel with no annual fee that carries some extra benefits. Get a year of Amazon Prime Student and start earning your 1% cashback on all purchases today! Full Review

  • APR: 18.74%, variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

Students are best off with Deserve® EDU Mastercard. It’s the best credit card for international travel with no annual fee that carries some extra benefits. Get a year of Amazon Prime Student and start earning your 1% cashback on all purchases today! Full Review

4. Venture Rewards from Capital One

If you go for the Venture Rewards from Capital One, you can grab the sign-up bonus worth up to 100,000 bonus miles within your first year. Furthermore, it’s not only the travel niche that bears gifts with this card — for any purchase you make using the best travel rewards credit card, each dollar will be covered with 2x miles. Full Review

  • APR: 17.24%–24.49%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

If you go for the Venture Rewards from Capital One, you can grab the sign-up bonus worth up to 100,000 bonus miles within your first year. Furthermore, it’s not only the travel niche that bears gifts with this card — for any purchase you make using the best travel rewards credit card, each dollar will be covered with 2x miles. Full Review

5. Discover it® Miles Credit Card

Discover it® Miles adds some extra flying hours to your resume with its bonus that doubles the miles you’ve earned throughout your first year of using the card. What’s more, it comes with no limits or requirements, and these extra miles never expire. Simply put, this might be one of the best credit cards for international travel miles. Full Review

  • APR: 11.99%–22.99%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

Discover it® Miles adds some extra flying hours to your resume with its bonus that doubles the miles you’ve earned throughout your first year of using the card. What’s more, it comes with no limits or requirements, and these extra miles never expire. Simply put, this might be one of the best credit cards for international travel miles. Full Review

Best Credit Cards for International Travel in 2020

We all know that credit cards represent a banking method that has made our payments fast and hassle-free. However, some credit cards can do much more as they are designed to do something other than paying bills and shopping online.

This text will be about five credit cards every travel lover should know of:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Citi Premier® Card
  • Deserve® EDU Mastercard for Students
  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • Discover it® Miles

These credit cards have one thing in common — they are created to help you get the most out of your travel adventures. Still, there are many aspects in which they differ, and you need to be sure you’re picking the right one.

Detailed Reviews

Chase Sapphire Preferred®
Chase Sapphire Preferred®

BEST FOR

claiming a generous sign-up bonus

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  • APR: 15.99%–22.99%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Rewards rate: 1x–5x
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus points
  • Recommended credit score: 690+

Anyone who’s just discovered that top travel credit cards exist, and has a credit score above 690, can’t get wrong with Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. You’ll get a lucrative sign-up bonus to start your international journey right, and get the most out of hotel bookings, dining options, airfare, and more.

Along with the massive welcome bonus, you can enjoy between 1x and 5x rewards rate and transfer Ultimate Rewards® points from one Chase card to another. So, if you’re a fan of travel and cashback rewards, then this is probably the best overseas credit card thanks to its generous rewards rate.

Bonuses and Rewards

If you don’t already own a Sapphire card and haven’t claimed a welcome bonus for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or any other Sapphire card in the past 48 months — rejoice! Now you can receive 60,000 bonus points if you make a total of $4,000 of purchases within the first three months upon opening an account.

This means you can ultimately get $750 to use for travel purposes if you choose to claim them through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Redeem the best travel credit card bonus points for airfare, cruises, car rentals, and hotels, and get 25% more value than usual.

Additional benefits that come together with Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card include 2X points on takeout and selected delivery options, dining out, travel, and dining at restaurants around the world, as well as 1 point per each dollar used for other purchases.

Pricing and Fees

If you want one of the best credit cards for foreign travel that won’t demand a huge annual investment compared to the advantages it offers, then Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is just what you need. The annual fee for this travel card is only $95 which is one of the best offers you can get nowadays.

AS for the purchase APR, it will range between 15.99%–22.99%, and this range will remain the same for balance transfer APR, while cash advance APR is 24.99%. If you forget to initiate a payment to one of the best cards for international travel, you’ll be charged up to $39.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card will charge a 1.72% fee on each purchase transaction to everyone who decides to create a My Chase Plan. Transaction fees for balance transfers will be $5 or 5% of each transfer amount, whichever is greater. Transaction fees for cash advance are $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, again, whichever is greater.

What We Liked & Didn’t Like

What allows Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to be called the best travel credit card is that it awards two points per dollar spent on travel and dining, as well as one point per each dollar spent on everything else. Every point is worth 1.25 cents, and you can use them for any bookings made through Chase or utilize them in various airline and hotel arrangements.

Furthermore, if someone transfers Ultimate Rewards® points to you from other Chase cards, you can use them freely.

Unfortunately, the card has a relatively high annual fee and some people might balk at having to spend $4,000 within the first three months in order to get the welcome bonus. If these drawbacks represent an issue, keep reading to learn about other credit cards that can be used internationally.

  • APR: 15.99%–23.99%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Rewards rate: 1x–3x
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Sign-up bonus: 60,000 bonus points
  • Recommended credit score: 720+

Credit card fans with a credit score of 720 or above who need a small boost of 60,000 sign-up bonus points don’t need to look elsewhere for a credit card. This offer is tied to the Citi Premier® Card that can be yours for an annual fee of $95.

However, this isn’t just another travel card that only earns miles for airfare. You’ll be delighted to hear that this best credit card for international travel can bring you points by purchasing everyday things too. Go pour some fuel, buy groceries, or have lunch at your favorite restaurant, and earn 3x points for every dollar spent.

Bonuses and Rewards

The latest offer coming from the Citi Premier® Card shouldn’t be overlooked by any means because it includes 60,000 ThankYou Rewards points. You can claim them after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening, and they will be worth $600 in gift cards.

Additionally, this best credit card for international travel points offers an option to use your points for purchasing cash fares, which can be done directly at the Citi ThankYou travel center. If used this way, your sign-up bonus of 60,000 points can be turned into $750 of paid airfare.

Along the way, you’ll be earning more miles and extra qualifying credit with the airline you’re flying with. Also, Citi Premier® Card rewards 3x points per dollar for purchases in supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations, and hotels, and 1 point for a dollar spent on other transactions. Finally, one of the new features allows annual hotel savings benefits, which puts the Citi Premier® Card among the best credit cards for travel rewards.

Pricing and Fees

There is a standard variable APR that starts with 15.99% and can go up to 23.99% for purchases, balance transfers, and Citi Flex Plan with the Citi Premier® Card, while the cash-advance APR is fixed at 25.24%.

There is a variable penalty APR of up to 29.99% that’s applied in case of late payments. The annual fee is set to the industry standard of $95, while other fees differ a bit. Namely, the cash advance fee will be $10 or 5% of each cash advance amount, whichever is greater; when it comes to the balance transfer fee, the numbers are $5 or 3%.

What We Liked & Didn’t Like

Citi Premier® Card has indeed combined a lot of good things and attached it to a single piece of plastic. You’ll definitely love the sign-up bonus of this best international credit card, including the fact that you can earn extra points no matter your purchases.

And while all the benefits sound fantastic, there are a couple of things Citi Premier® Card could do better, like extending the list of its airline partners, for example. Moreover, there’s a $95 annual fee that’s common for many cards from this range, but the benefits offered for the price are pretty basic, which doesn’t go hand in hand with the excellent credit score required from prospective users.

  • APR: 18.74%, variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Rewards rate: 1%
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Sign-up bonus: One year of Amazon Prime Student
  • Recommended credit score: None (limited or no credit history)

Every student nowadays must own one of the best international credit cards for both travel purposes and everyday expenses. If you’re a student and still don’t have one, Deserve® EDU Mastercard can jump in and enable you to use Amazon Prime Student free for a year.

You won’t be required to pay for a subscription or any other fee for that matter, and you’ll start earning 1% cashback on anything you purchase right after opening an account. However, bear in mind this is a card targeting students, meaning that its rewards will stay in that range as well.

Bonuses and Rewards

Students who open an account and apply for Deserve® EDU Mastercard, the best credit card for foreign travel for college students, will get one year of Amazon Prime Student on Deserve. To unlock this offer, you must spend $500 with your EDU card in the first three billing cycles.

And if you have a friend who needs a card as well, take part in Deserve’s refer-a-friend program by using your personal referral code. Once the card activation is completed, both you and your referral will receive $30. The best part is that referral bonuses are unlimited, so you can refer as many friends as you want, and you’ll receive your reward once they purchase the best credit card for traveling abroad for students.

If you want a Feather subscription, Deserve® EDU will take $100 off your first month after you type in the promo code DESERVE100. You can also earn 1% cashback on all purchases once your card gets approved.

Pricing and Fees

According to its pricing plan, the Deserve® EDU Mastercard is, by far, one of the best credit cards for international travel. It has an amazing APR of 18.74% and a few other expenses. Late payments are charged up to $25, and returned payments can cost you up to $37 per payment.

A deposit is not necessary, and you won’t have to pay any annual fees either. Last but not least, there won’t be any international transaction fees on purchases while traveling, so you can relax and use your Deserve® EDU Mastercard wherever you go.

What We Liked & Didn’t Like

Generally speaking, Deserve® EDU Mastercard is a good option for students, especially international ones, since no social security number or credit history is necessary. Apart from being a credit card with no foreign transaction fee, you can also monitor and manage your balance and transactions through a mobile app and control your spending at all times.

There are a few extra Mastercard Platinum Benefits students can use with Deserve® EDU Mastercard, such as Master Rental® and Mastercard ID Theft Prevention™, and smartphone protection up to $600.

However, although this is a card primarily targeting students and comes without the annual subscription fee, it doesn’t offer any specific sign-up bonus regarding miles and travel expenses.

  • APR: 17.24%–24.49%
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Rewards rate: 2x-5x
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Intro APR: N/A
  • Sign-up bonus: 100,000 bonus miles
  • Recommended credit score: 690+

Big spenders with a credit score of at least 690 who don’t mind the annual fee of $95 are welcome to try out the Venture Rewards from Capital One and enjoy the great benefits that come with this best travel rewards credit card.

A sign-up bonus that can go up to 100,000 miles is something you shouldn’t miss during the first year, but that’s not the only thing you should be happy about if you opt for this card. The Venture Rewards from Capital One allows you to utilize its rewards on things other than travel too.

Bonuses and Rewards

Novice users of the Venture Rewards from Capital One can take advantage of a remarkable bonus offer worth 100,000 bonus miles upon spending $20,000 on purchases within the first year of use.

If this sounds like too much, there’s an extra option that will make it clear why we consider the Venture Rewards from Capital One one of the best credit cards for traveling abroad.

You can take part in another sign-up bonus and earn 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases during the first three months of using the card. Each mile is worth 1 cent, meaning that your 100,000-mile bonus can turn into $1,000 if redeemed directly for travel costs.

On top of that, the Venture Rewards from Capital One will add 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases and prove it’s also the best mileage credit card.

Pricing and Fees

The Venture Rewards from Capital One has a purchases and transfers APR of 17.24%, 21.99%, or 24.49%, depending on your creditworthiness. However, you don’t have to think too much about the cash advance APR — it will stay fixed at 24.49%.

Besides the $95 annual fee, you’ll have to pay 3% of each transferred balance amount added to your account at a promotional APR you might get. There will also be a fee for cash advance — $10 or 3% of each cash advance, whichever is greater.

Your due date for paying interest related to the claimant for the spot of the best credit card for international travel is 25 days after each billing cycle. If you’re late with a payment, you can expect to pay a fee of up to $40.

What We Liked & Didn’t Like

The Venture Rewards from Capital One offers a great sign-up bonus and can be used in various situations without any foreign transaction fees. This, combined with its cashback options, makes it one of the best credit cards for overseas travel.

All in all, if you’re ready to pay a $95 annual fee, the Venture Rewards from Capital One can be a good option for both travel and other expenses.

Discover it® Miles
Discover it® Miles

BEST FOR

all purchases

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  • APR: 11.99%–22.99%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Rewards rate: 1.5x
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases for 14 months
  • Sign-up bonus: Unlimited
  • Recommended credit score: 690+

Discover it® Miles is a card suitable for users with a credit score of at least 690 who don’t fly that often but want to earn some extra miles. All the miles you earn during your first year of use will be doubled in the end, plus the intro APR will be 0% for the first 14 months.

The bonus doesn’t come with any strings attached, so you’ll be able to take advantage of it no matter what you do, but the rewards will pay off only for your travel expenses. Nevertheless, this is still the best credit card for airline miles.

Bonuses and Rewards

Discover it® Miles lives up to its name in terms of bonuses and rewards. Namely, no matter how many miles you earn during your first year as a Discover it® Miles user, the company will double them. Yes, that’s right — earn 30,000 miles, and you’ll end up with 60,000 at the end of the year.

What is more, the best miles credit card requires no signing up, minimum spending, or complying with any other condition.

Other than that, Discover it® Miles will give you 1.5x miles on every dollar you spend on purchases of any kind, and you don’t have to pay an annual fee. You can use these miles as a statement credit for travel purchases or turn them into cash whenever you want.
Whatever you do, your miles will remain equally valuable and valid as they come without an expiration date, which, after all, makes this card the best credit card for travel miles.

Pricing and Fees

Cardholders of Discover it® Miles won’t have to worry about APR for a bit over one year, as there’s 0% intro APR for purchases for the first 14 months from account opening. Once you step into your 15th month of using Discover it® Miles, you’ll be subject to the APR between 11,99% and 22,99%, depending on your creditworthiness.

When it comes to balance transfers, one of the best international travel credit cards will charge 10,99% intro APR for the first month. After the intro period is over, this jumps to somewhere between 11,99% and 22,99%. When it comes to cash APR, it’s fixed at 24,99%.

There will also be a 3% intro balance transfer fee that can be raised up to 5% in the future. The fee for cash advances is 5% of the total sum or $10, whichever is greater.

Finally, if you’re late with your first payment, your Discover it® Miles won’t be charged with any fees, but if non-payment becomes a habit, the fee can go up to $40.

What We Liked & Didn’t Like

Discover it® Miles is one of the best airline credit cards for international travel due to the great rewards program and cash back match. There are no restrictions on the earned miles, meaning the points never expire.

Also, you can freeze your account via your smartphone or computer to prevent any transactions if necessary.

The only downside is the fact that frequent travels can earn more miles by using a different travel card with a higher rewards rate.

How to Choose the Best Credit Card
for International Travel in 2020

Although all these cards offer amazing benefits, it is highly likely that none of them will meet all your needs on international journeys. Nevertheless, there’s an easy way to discover which one of them is the closest to keep you satisfied during the trips.

Take a look at some tips and tricks below that will certainly help you find the best credit card to use internationally.

Check Fees and Pricing

As you could see from the review below, the annual fee differs from one card to another. Apart from the fees, you should also pay attention to APR and be clear with the amount of money you’ll need to cash out. Sometimes, the card might come with no fees attached, but to stay on the safe side, you should always double-check that information.

Know Your Score

In order to be eligible for any of the international travel credit cards, you’ll need to fit in the required credit score. Most often, owning the best credit card for international use will require at least a good credit score, if not an excellent one. If you still don’t know what your credit score is, you can find a lot of tools online to help you calculate it, or you can contact the company’s customer support and ask for help.

Analyze Your Travel Habits

Every credit card comes with certain benefits — no doubt about that. However, each of those benefits relates to a different aspect of the whole experience. There are the best credit cards to use in Europe and others that are better used in the US. Some credit card companies can help you earn miles and spend less money on airfare, while others might focus more on dining or hotel expenses. So, before you even start looking for a card, first come to terms with what you consider important regarding your trips.

Compare the Benefits of Best Cards for International Travel

Let’s be honest — benefits and rewards are all that matters when it comes to choosing a credit card, be it for traveling or any other purpose. After all, if this whole story was only about paying travel bills and international fees, you could use any credit card whatsoever. For this reason, it is vital that you carefully examine the rewards and benefits of each international travel card. This way, you’ll easily see which one is the best for your wallet and the overall travel experience.

Final Thoughts

Not that long ago, most credit cards had universal characteristics, and it wasn’t really important which one you used when traveling. However, today there are many different types of credit cards, and some of them can make your travel experience cheaper, easier, and more enjoyable.

Hopefully, this in-depth review of the top five best credit cards for international travel will be of use to you. Make sure to read it carefully and see for yourself which one of the above-mentioned cards has the potential to make all your travel dreams come true!

FAQ

What is the best credit card for international travel?

All cards have their own advantages and drawbacks, and all users have their own needs. As a rule, Mastercard and Visa Cards are a good choice because they’re more widely accepted. Also, going for cards with no foreign transfer rates is great for travelers, as these can add up really quickly.

What credit cards have no foreign transaction fees?

In this review, we’ve only mentioned credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. If this is your primary concern, you can choose any of them that seems most appealing considering other characteristics. As a rule, anyone who expects to spend a lot of time and money abroad should only pick cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Is Visa or Mastercard better for international travel?

Truth be told, both Visa and Mastercard are reliable and trustworthy companies that have been on the market for quite some time now. In other words, both of these cards are accepted worldwide and can be used for international travel. They also have specific cards on offer that are purpose-designed for travelers, so just pick something that suits you based on other factors.

What is the best credit card to use in Europe?

At the moment, some credit card experts claim that Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best choice for people traveling to Europe. It’s a widely accepted Visa card with no foreign transaction fees, and it seems like a no-brainer.

However, some other professionals from this niche disagree, and when you think about it, it’s not the only card that fulfills that criteria. In the end, we can say that the best credit cards for international travel, whether it is Europe or any other part of the world, are the ones that meet your personal needs and preferences.