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Best Credit Cards for International Travel for June 2022

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Whether you've caught the travel bug or you go abroad often for work, the best credit cards for international travel will help you save money on fees all while earning valuable rewards and providing travel perks and protections. From big sign-up bonuses and luxury perks to trip insurance and where the card will be worldwide acceptance, here's what you need to know to pick the best credit card for your next international trip.

Great for: Travel and dining

  • With a big sign-up bonus, the sky’s the limit for this top-rated travel rewards card. Plus, the premium points program for travel and dining make it a no brainer for travel enthusiasts everywhere. Read Full Review

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • Travel rewards
    • Dining rewards
    • Flexible travel points
    • Consumer and travel protections
    • Has an annual fee
    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
    • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
    • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.

Great for: Travel and dining

Apply Now for Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website.

  • The sign-up bonus, premium rewards for travel & dining, and wide array of valuable travel credits make this a compelling offer that will offset the cost of the annual fee for many. The array of limited time offers make it even more compelling. Read Full Review

    • Sign-up bonus
    • Travel credits
    • Airport lounge access
    • Travel and dining rewards
    • Flexible travel point
    • Annual fee
    • New Offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
    • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

Great for: Premium travel rewards

  • This is a strong premium level travel card with a big sign-up bonus, robust rewards program, and rich travel credits. Read Full Review

    • Big travel rewards bonus
    • High rewards rate
    • Travel credits
    • Airport lounge access
    • Easy-to-use miles
    • Annual fee
    • Small selection of travel partners
    • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
    • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
    • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
    • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
    • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
    • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
    • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
    • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Great for: Restaurants and travel

Apply Now for Citi Premier® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

  • A solid pick with a big bonus and nice list of airlines transfer partners, plus it includes a robust rewards program beyond just travel Read Full Review

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • Annual hotel savings offer
    • Travel and dining rewards
    • Grocery and gas rewards
    • Flexible travel rewards points
    • Annual fee
    • Limited consumer and travel protections
    • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
    • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
    • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
    • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
    • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
    • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

Great for: American Airlines frequent flyers

  • The rewards program makes this a compelling card to carry with OK earning opportunities beyond just American Airlines purchases.

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • Free checked bag
    • Preferred boarding
    • Earn a flight discount certificate
    • Annual fee
    • Lackluster rewards rate
    • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
    • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
    • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible mile earned from purchases
    • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card membership year and renew your card
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees
    • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
    • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
    • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 17.49% - 26.49% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® is unavailable on The Ascent. All information was collected independently from the issuer. Some items may be out of date.
  • The bonus offer, premium travel & dining rewards, and up to $200 in travel-related statement credits make this a compelling offer for travelers who can justify paying an annual fee. Read Full Review

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • Bonus travel and dining rewards
    • Travel credits
    • Consumer and travel protections
    • Annual fee
    • No 0% intro APR offer
    • Receive 50,000 online bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
    • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 3.5 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases.
    • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire.
    • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill® accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center.
    • Get up to $100 in Airline Incidental Statement Credits annually and TSA PreCheck®/Global Entry Statement Credits of up to $100, every four years.
    • No foreign transaction fees.
    • Low $95 annual fee.
    • 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.
  • Unlimited 2X miles, TSA Pre✓® credits, and a big sign-up bonus make this credit card one of the best travel companions. Read Full Review

    • Excellent sign-up bonus
    • Unlimited miles on every purchase
    • Travel credit
    • Multiple ways to use miles
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Annual fee
    • No 0% intro APR offer
    • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
    • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
    • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
    • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
    • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through our Partner Lounge Network
    • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
    • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
    • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • No-annual-fee travel cards typically skimp on the sign-up bonus, but this card delivers with its intro bonus offer, unlimited rewards on purchases, and other wallet-friendly perks. Read Full Review

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • No annual fee
    • Competitive rewards rate on purchases
    • Great intro APR
    • No bonus categories
    • Limited ways to use points
    • 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.
    • 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% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR offer ends, 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR will apply.
    • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn up to 2.62 points for every $1 spent.
    • 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.

Great for: United frequent flyers

  • With a big sign up bonus and rewards for United and dining purchases, the miles will accumulate quickly if you're a frequent traveler.

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • United, restaurant, and hotel rewards
    • Free first checked bags
    • Travel statement credits
    • Annual fee
    • No access to Polaris lounges
    • Earn up to 70,000 bonus miles. Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 miles after you spend $6,000 total on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.
    • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United® purchases
    • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee Credit
    • 25% back on United® inflight purchases
    • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip) when you use your card to purchase your ticket
    • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club℠ with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
    • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
The information related to United℠ Explorer Card has been collected by The Ascent and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
  • Travel cards with no annual fee generally pull back on cardholder favorites, but this offer keeps those perks intact, making it a solid offer for cardholders not spending enough on credit to justify paying an annual fee. Read Full Review

    • No annual fee
    • Sign-up bonus
    • Rewards on every purchase
    • Great intro APR
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Mediocre rewards rate
    • No bonus categories
    • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
    • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
    • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
    • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
    • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
    • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
    • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
    • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 15.24% - 25.24% variable APR after that
Apply Now for Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

  • May be the best card for most Delta travelers, given the balance of a nice welcome bonus, premium rewards program, and a low annual fee. Read Full Review

    • Welcome bonus offer
    • Free checked bag
    • Priority boarding
    • Earn a Flight Credit
    • Annual fee
    • No premium travel benefits
    • Limited Time Offer: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
    • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
    • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
    • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
    • $100 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, receive a Credit to use toward future travel.
    • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
    • Terms Apply.

Which credit cards work internationally?

This depends on the credit card network rather than the bank that issued the credit card. American Express cards and Discover cards fall behind the two biggest networks, Visa and Mastercard, in terms of acceptance -- especially outside of the United States. Visa and Mastercard are comparable in terms of acceptance, but Visa is still the most widely issued credit card.

While credit cards are an increasingly popular form of payment around the globe, some credit cards still are more widely accepted than others. It's important to take into consideration where you'll be traveling most frequently -- even the best credit cards for international travel are useless if they aren't accepted in the areas you plan to travel to.

What to look for in a credit card for international travel

The best travel credit cards help you stay on budget while traveling by offering comprehensive benefits and protections. Here are the top features and benefits to look for in the best credit cards for international travel.

Sign-up bonus

Aim for credit cards with generous sign-up bonuses, but make sure you can meet the minimum spend required to earn the bonus. This will give you a solid boost if you're collecting rewards for an upcoming vacation, as many sign-up bonuses are big enough to cover one (sometimes two) round-trip flights.

Rewards rate

You also want to pay attention to the rewards rate you'll earn on your regular spending to determine whether or not the credit card brings value past earning the sign-up bonus. Choose credit cards that offer higher rewards rates (think three points per $1 spent on select categories), but also make sure that the bonus spending categories are in line with your spending habits.

Redemption options

Some travel credit cards let you redeem your points through a travel portal, where you can make a wide variety of travel purchases using points. Sometimes, you can even transfer these points to a number of travel partners, which really increases the flexibility of your redemption options. Others offer statement credits that can be applied to travel-related purchases. Meanwhile, airline-specific credit cards allow you to redeem your miles for flights with that airline. Figure out what your goal in collecting rewards is first, and that will help you decide which redemption options to seek out.

Point value

Not all rewards points are created equal. One credit card might offer a larger sign-up bonus than another, but that doesn't necessarily mean it offers more value. Some rewards points are valued at $0.005 each while others are valued at $0.02 each. Do some research to figure out the true value of the rewards you'd be earning.

Foreign transaction fee

It's easy to rack up credit card fees while you're traveling abroad without even noticing it. The biggest one to avoid is the foreign transaction fee. The best credit cards for international travel come with no foreign transaction fee.

Rental car insurance

Most of the credit cards on this list offer some type of rental car insurance. Having collision damage and theft insurance covered by your card can save you a significant amount of money the next time you rent a car. Some credit cards offer secondary rental car insurance, which if you're traveling in the U.S., only kicks in after your personal insurance is used. If you're traveling internationally, secondary insurance usually becomes primary insurance as your personal insurance doesn't apply at all. Still, primary insurance is ideal. You'll need to pay for the rental car with your credit card in order to be covered.

Delayed and lost baggage insurance

Having delayed and lost baggage protection covers you in the event that your baggage is ever delayed or lost. It means you can submit a claim for expenses, such as lost items you had to replace.

Trip cancellation insurance

If your trip is canceled or interrupted due to eligible unforeseen circumstances, your credit card may reimburse you for any non-refundable reservations you've already made, such as flights and hotels. You have to have made the reservation on your credit card. The best credit cards for international travel offer some kind of protection related to trip cancellation.

How to compare cards

When choosing the best credit cards for international travel, you'll want to compare three main features: fees, rewards, and benefits.

Comparing fees

Fees will include the interest rate, annual fee, and foreign transaction fee. The general idea is to keep these fees as minimal as possible. However, if you don't plan on carrying a balance -- and honestly, you probably shouldn't carry a balance on a rewards credit card given that they come with higher interest rates -- the interest rate might not be as pertinent to you. Check out our picks for the best travel credit cards with no annual fee to explore some great options that can help keep costs down.

A low or no annual fee credit card is best if you don't travel often or don't plan to use the card much. However, frequent travelers may find that travel credit cards with steep annual fees are actually more lucrative in the end, given the high-value rewards and premium travel perks they offer.

Comparing rewards

The two most important things to look for when comparing rewards systems across different cards are:

  • Cards with bonus spending categories that match your spending habits
  • Cards with points or miles that can be easily redeemed for awards you actually want

Past that, you'll want to compare the point value of different cards and do the math to figure out how much the sign-up bonus is worth and how much you'd earn in rewards each month given your monthly spending habits. This will help you break down which credit card would be the most lucrative for you.

Read more: Best Airline Credit Cards

Comparing benefits

If you travel often, travel benefits, which include perks like complimentary airport lounge access and elite status as well as protections like rental car insurance and trip cancellation insurance, can easily save you hundreds -- if not thousands -- of dollars each year. Read the fine print in each credit card's benefits guide to figure out which ones offer the best insurance.

Once you've narrowed it down to a few contenders, make a table listing out the features mentioned above and compare them across each card.

Is a card for international travel right for me?

A credit card for international travel might be right for you if:

  • You travel internationally at least a couple of times per year
  • You don't plan on carrying a balance
  • You can handle using a credit card without overspending

If you don't travel much internationally, you might want to consider one of the best credit cards geared toward consumers in general, which might offer more flexible perks and rewards that can apply to your everyday life. If you plan on carrying a balance, you should look into either a low interest credit card or a 0% intro APR credit card to save money on interest.

Read more: Check out The Ascent's list of the Best Travel Credit Cards With No Annual Fee

The Picks
Card Rating Great For
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Travel and dining

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Travel and dining

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Premium travel rewards

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Restaurants and travel

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

American Airlines frequent flyers

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Premium travel

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

One-card wallet

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

No annual fee

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

United frequent flyers

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

No annual fee

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Delta flyers

FAQs

  • A foreign transaction fee is a fee that's charged each time a purchase is made in a foreign country. This fee is charged as a percentage of each purchase. Most credit cards with foreign transaction fees charge 3%, which would mean you'd rack up $30 in fees for every $1,000 you spend abroad.

  • Look for credit cards with no foreign transaction fee. You'll also want to watch out for dynamic currency conversion, which is when a merchant converts a price in the local currency to your currency, often at an unfavorable exchange rate. If a merchant in a foreign country asks you if you'd prefer to pay in the local currency or in dollars, always pay in local currency.

  • Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards. American Express is accepted in most places nowadays as well, though there are still some areas and small businesses that don't accept it. Discover is the least widely accepted.

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