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What are the best international credit cards?

Avoid foreign transaction fees and get travel-centric perks.

An international credit card is ideal for making purchases abroad and on international websites. They typically have no foreign transaction fees and come with bonus rewards on travel purchases. You may also find benefits such as travel insurance, travel credits, airport lounge access and chip-and-PIN capability.

Top international credit card

There are many excellent credit cards for overseas travel. And truth be told, there is no “best” card — only the one that fits your needs most effectively.

Nevertheless, some cards are consistently ranked among the top travel credit cards.

We compared credit cards for different travel niches, adding standout products to our list. We gave heavier weight to cards with best-in-market travel rewards rates. Also, we highlighted each international credit card that delivered excellent value through their travel benefits, such as credits and airport lounge access.

What are the best international credit cards?

Best premium card for flexible rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

See offer
on Creditcards.com's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
With an excellent annual travel credit, you can easily offset much of this card's annual fee. You'll like the strong points you'll earn on travel and dining after you receive your travel credit, which is boosted when you book through Chase. What's more, you get to earn 10x points on Lyft rides until March 2021, and you get a one year complementary Lyft Pink membership, which comes with a 15% discount on Lyft rides among its many perks. Other card benefits include complementary airport lounge access and a $100 credit for your Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee.

Best cobranded hotel card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
This hotel credit card is loaded with benefits, including strong rewards, an annual Free Night Award and complementary Elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. You'll also receive credits that can offset a large portion of your annual fee, as well as airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select after you enroll.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.

Best for flights

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Amex Platinum Card offers a market-leading rewards rate on flights. And if you transfer your Membership Rewards points to certain travel partners, they could be worth twice as much. It's a lucrative combination. Add invaluable travel credits and complementary airport lounge access, and you have one of the best travel cards, bar none.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.

Best hotel card with no annual fee

Hilton Honors American Express Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
With more than 6,000 Hilton locations worldwide, having a card like the no-annual-fee Hilton Honors American Express Card could make your international travel a rewarding experience. Earn a generous welcome offer with this card and spend it on hotel stays.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.

Best for flat-rate rewards

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Capital One Bank®'s secure site
If you don't want to worry about bonus categories, consider this reliable international credit card from Capital One. You'll earn a consistent 2x miles on every purchase. Call Capital One and a representative can assign you a PIN — perfect if you'll travel to a chip-and-PIN destination. Plus, enjoy more flexibility with your miles by transferring them to Capital One's 15 travel partners.

Best for airline rewards

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on American Express's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
This is one of the leading credit cards for international travel because you can earn and redeem your miles for flights anywhere across the globe. As a member of the SkyTeam alliance, you can fly with partner airlines, such as AeroMexico, Air France, Korean Air, Virgin Australia, Aeroflot, China Airlines and more.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers.

Best for travel perks with no annual fee

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Finder rating 3.2 / 5 ★★★★★

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee and offers solid rewards and a nice signup bonus.
What’s changed in 2022?
With travel largely suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, travel cards didn’t see many changes affecting travel abroad. With a vaccine on the horizon, we will update and evolve our list throughout 2021.

How do I choose the best international credit card?

The hallmark of an international credit card is its no-foreign-transaction fee benefit and travel perks, making it a great choice for spending on international trips and on foreign websites. Here are a few factors to consider while looking for your next card:

  • Foreign transaction fees. These are fees applied when you use your card abroad or on a foreign website, and they’re typically 3% of each transaction. The vast majority of travel cards will not charge you these fees.
  • Chip-and-PIN capabilities.

    Most cards in the US are chip-and-signature cards. You’ll use your card, and if necessary, you’ll provide a signature. In many international destinations — Europe, for example — chip-and-PIN cards are common. After using your card, you’ll be asked to input a PIN to verify your transaction.

    Research whether the country you’ll visit is a chip-and-PIN area. If so, look for card providers that let you request a PIN, such as Barclays travel cards, Bank of America credit cards or PenFed Credit Union cards.

  • Merchant acceptance. Visa and Mastercard are accepted far more widely than Discover and American Express. If you’ll use cards from the latter two providers, consider having another credit card as a backup.

More ways to find your next international credit card

  • Annual fee.

    Decide whether a card will deliver enough value to justify paying for it yearly. Consider whether the bonus rewards will offset the price. And take into account travel credits and extra benefits.

  • Rewards.

    Look for an international credit card that offers bonus rewards for your preferred spending categories. If you’re a loyal Marriott customer, for example, a cobranded hotel card from the chain might be a great pick. If you’re not particular about the hotel you stay in, however, you might like a general travel card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

  • Travel benefits.

    Extra benefits can add tremendous value to your card. Look for travel credits, which reimburse you for eligible spending. You might also find perks such as airport lounge access, elite upgrades, priority boarding and free checked baggage.

  • Travel protections.

    For peace of mind on your next trip, you might want protections like travel insurance, auto rental collision damage waivers, lost luggage reimbursement, trip delay reimbursement, and emergency evacuation and transportation. You’ll find more of these protections with premium travel cards. However, mid-tier travel cards may also offer these benefits to some degree.

What are the pros and cons of using an international credit card?

Pros

  • Global acceptance. If you’re using a Mastercard or Visa credit card, you’ll be able to use your credit card in millions of locations around the world. American Express and Discover cards are also accepted worldwide, though in fewer places than Visa or Mastercard.
  • Travel perks. An international credit card usually offers travel-related benefits such as frequent-flyer rewards programs, complementary insurance and airline lounge access.
  • Security of credit. When you’re traveling overseas, it’s advisable to have more than one way to access your cash. Even if you have a prepaid card or debit card for everyday spending, you can use a credit card as a backup.

Cons

  • Fees. Depending on the card, using your credit card overseas can come with many costs. Understand exactly what you’ll pay when using your card for foreign transactions before you apply.
  • Temptation to spend. While a credit card can provide you with peace of mind, it might also tempt you to spend money you don’t really have. Remember that you’ll have to pay back everything you charge, plus interest if you plan on carrying a balance.

Do I really need a credit card with 0% foreign transaction fees?

This largely depends on how often you travel abroad and how much you spend. For example, spending $5,000 annually abroad will cost you $150 in foreign transaction fees. Getting a no-annual-fee card with no foreign transaction fees can save you that money.

That said, spending $500 with your card abroad will only cost you $15. Sometimes, trying to avoid a $15 fee may not be worth the hassle of getting another card.

Should I use my international credit card to withdraw cash from international ATMs?

Not only should you avoid withdrawing cash with your credit card from international ATMs, but you should avoid doing so at any ATM, period. You’ll be hit with a cash advance fee, and your transaction will immediately start accruing interest. The local ATM provider may even charge you a withdrawal fee.

One of the best options to withdraw cash abroad is using a debit card — specifically one that waives all ATM fees and gives you the true exchange rate. Consider a service like the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account, which comes highly recommended by Finder staff.

International credit cards with 0% foreign transaction fees

Save on unnecessary costs abroad with one of these international credit cards. Select your credit range below and choose Show cards to start comparing card features side-by-side.

Name Product Foreign transaction fee Annual fee Purchase APR Filter values
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
None
$95
15.99% to 23.99% variable
Earn 60,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months ​from account opening
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
None
$0
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
None
$395
16.99% to 23.99% variable
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

The ideal international credit card is one that meets your individual needs. Given the wide variety of options, take your time and compare several cards you like. For help narrowing your options, check out our guide to travel cards, as well as our airline cards and hotel card guides.

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Frequently asked questions

Is there any way to find out which countries accept a given card?
One easy way to find out if the card you want will be accepted in the country you’re traveling to is to visit the website of the payment system that supports the card, which can be Visa or Mastercard.

Why is it important to avoid foreign transaction fees?
While foreign transaction fees can be relatively small — typically 3% of each transaction — they can add up over many purchases. To avoid surprises after your international trip, strongly consider a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Do I have to pay an annual fee for an international credit card?
No. You’ll find plenty of great no-annual-fee travel cards. If you’re willing to pay, you’ll find strong cards around the $95, $200, $450, and even $1,000 price point.

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