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Best travel money options

Your one-stop guide to travel money

With so many options, finding the right travel money to take with you on vacation can be difficult. We explore the benefits and features of travel money cards, with comparisons between the different types. Here are a few to get you started:

Travel credit cards are just like any other credit card but they come with extra perks such as reward points, complimentary travel insurance and zero fees on foreign transactions.

Here’s a quick look at some of the travel credit cards with various features that you might come across in your search for the card that fits your needs.

Hilton Honors American Express Card. This travel card boasts perks such as:

  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • $0 annual fee (Terms apply, see rates & fees)
  • 80,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • 7x points on Hilton hotel and resort purchases and 5x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations. Plus earn 3x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees

A credit score of 670 or higher is recommended when applying for this card.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card. This simple card is a heavy contender when it comes to travel-friendly credit cards because it:

  • Waives both the foreign transaction and annual fee
  • Earns 1.5 points for every dollar spent
  • 0% intro APR for the first year
  • Spend $1,000 in the first 90 days and you’ll be awarded 25,000 bonus points

A credit score of 670 to 850 is recommended when applying for this card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. This popular card is a must-consider for travelers because:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 2x points on dining and travel, 5x points on Lyft rides and 1x points on everything else
  • Points can transfer to airline and hotel programs
  • Travel insurance
  • Purchase protection

A good to excellent credit score of 670 to 850 is recommended when applying for this card.

This card can be preloaded ahead of traveling, which can be ideal when organizing your travel budget.

Travelex Money Card. One of the only available prepaid travel money cards on the market, the Travelex Money Card is worth a look because of its convenient perks:

  • Load up to six foreign currencies
  • No foreign transaction fees if you pay in local currency
  • No international or domestic ATM fees
  • No bank withdrawal fees
  • Load up to $10,000 and spend up to $5,000 per day

To get a Travelex Money Card, the only requirement is that you’re at least 18 years old (or younger in some states).

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Foreign transaction fee Welcome offer Rewards Filter values
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
None
80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, a value of up to $1,000 through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on up to $1,000 on groceries until April 30, 2021, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
Earn a signup bonus worth $1,000 plus up to $50 statement credit towards groceries with this popular travel card.
American Express® Gold Card
None
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points), 3x points on directly-booked flights and 1x points on all other purchases

Rose Gold is back

Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 based on our valuation with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
None
75,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 in combined purchases in the same timeframe
10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other purchases
One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $4,500 based on Finder's valuation, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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Compare travel credit cards

How to select the right combination of travel money options

There’s no such thing as the one perfect travel money card. The ideal option will depend on your financial situation, spending habits and vacation plans.

For example, if you travel frequently, a travel-friendly debit or credit card could be a good way to spend and earn rewards. If you’re a student traveler, a prepaid travel money card could be a better way to access your own funds across multiple currencies.

While one travel money option may be preferable over another, you should have a backup in case of an emergency — cash is always reliable. Consider your financial situation and how you’d like to use your money when you’re on vacation to determine which combination of travel money possibilities is right for you.
Guide to traveling with money overseas

Mistakes to avoid

  • Relying on one option. It’s better to not rely on just one option — who knows what could happen. A backup debit or credit card could be a trip saver if your prepaid card or cash is misplaced or stolen.
  • Reloading time. If you’re using a prepaid travel money card and need to load funds on the card, keep in mind that it could take a few business days to process.
  • Fees. Make sure you’re aware of all the fees involved, including interest charges, international ATM fees and foreign transaction fees so you don’t come home to a surprisingly large bill.
  • Accepted currencies and worldwide access. Check ahead of time whether the countries you are planning to visit will accept your card as an acceptable form of payment. It’s also important to confirm whether the local currency is supported by your card.
  • Restrictions. Check with your card provider before traveling to see if there are any current restrictions on using your card in the destination you’ll be heading to.

Your card of choice comes down to what you feel would work best for you when traveling. Comparing your options will ensure that you know what’s available on the market and which is the right choice for you. Happy traveling!

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