Compare travel credit cards

The right travel credit card can give your trip an extra lift. Choose from cards with no foreign transaction fees, or perks like lounge access.

What makes a credit card a good travel companion? There are many ways credit cards can improve your trip abroad, from saving a few pounds on fees to making you feel like a VIP with airport lounge access.

The best travel credit card option for you is going to depend on what you need the card to do. Let’s break it down.

How to choose your travel credit card

Even if you go on holiday only once a year, it’s a good idea to have a separate credit card for when you travel. That’s because your needs will be different when you’re on the road or enjoying the sun on a tropical beach from when the longest distance you travel is that between your house and the office. But how do you go about picking a good travel credit card?

The main decision you have to make is which features you want to prioritise. Here’s a basic list of things you may want to consider when comparing travel credit cards:

Approval for any credit card will depend on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.

Avoid non-sterling transaction conversion fees

When travelling abroad, avoiding foreign exchange fees can be a tough task, but it’s not impossible. When using your credit card overseas, there are three main kinds of fees you should expect and learn how to dodge:

  • Foreign transaction fees charged by your credit card provider. They’re charged every time you pay in a foreign currency and can amount up to 3% of the transaction. The only way of avoiding them when paying on plastic is getting a credit card that allows fee-free spending abroad.
  • Fees charged by local merchants. When paying with your card, you may be offered the option of paying in pounds instead of the local currency. If you’ve taken out a credit card designed for use abroad (one that offers fee-free non-sterling transactions) you should opt to pay in the local currency, since you know that your own bank is giving you a favourable currency conversion deal. Outside the EU merchants sometimes also apply a surcharge if you want to pay by card and not in cash. If you’re concerned that this may be the case, it’s worth asking about it before picking a payment method.
  • Cash advance fees. Almost all credit cards charge you extra for withdrawing cash, both in the UK and abroad. Out of the country, it’s even more expensive because the cash advance fee will add up to the foreign currency transaction fee, so you should only get cash with your credit card in case of emergency.

Compare 0% foreign fees credit cards

Spread the cost of your getaway

Planning a great holiday but not sure you can afford to pay for it in one go? With a 0% purchase credit card, you’ll be able to spread the cost over a few months without having to pay any interest on it.

0% purchase credit cards can be great for breaking down the cost of a trip into more affordable instalments, but you really need to have paid the sum back by the time the introductory deal expires. Otherwise, your balance will start accruing interest at the card’s standard rate (which is usually not very competitive). It’s essential to work out a repayment plan (divide your expenditure by the number of months in the 0% deal to work out what you should repay each month) and stick to it to make sure you pay the whole sum back on time.

Compare 0% purchase credit cards

Finder's pick

Santander All in One Credit Card

15 months

0% interest on balance transfers


Balance transfer fee

15 months

0% interest on purchases


Representative APR

With no foreign usage fees and generous 0% interest periods on purchases and balance transfers, the Santander All in One credit card can help you keep your holiday spending costs down, and give you more time to pay it off.
  • {{ RATES_AND_FEES.BALANCE_TRANSFERS_ZERO_PERIOD }} months of no interest on balance transfers
  • Over a year to spread the cost of purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees if you pay in the local currency
  • Earn 0.5% cashback on all your spending (no cap)
  • No balance transfer fee
  • £3 monthly account fee
  • Minimum annual income requirement of least £7,500
  • Applicants with low credit scores are unlikely to be eligible
  • 3% cash transaction fee (£3 min)
Minimum income 7500
Residency UK Resident for more than 36 months
Availability Available to new customers
Foreign usage charge (EU) 0%
Cash advance fee 29.9%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 21.9% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £3 per month, your representative rate is 27.7% APR (variable).

Get yourself some hotel perks

A small number of credit cards offer special hotel benefits like room upgrades, priority check-in, later check-out times or the opportunity to earn points that can be redeemed for free stays.

These cards are often offered by the hotel companies themselves and are more suitable to people that travel quite often and stay at the same kind of hotel. If that sounds like you, you’ll be able to make the most of the perks while also earning points quite quickly.

Finder's pick

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card


Representative APR


Yearly account fee

20,000 points

Max. intro bonus

Earn 2 points

per £1 spent

If you like to travel in style, then you can still earn tailored rewards while you spend with this specialised offer.
  • Generous introductory bonus and nice ongoing rewards.
  • An expensive option if you carry a balance from month to month.
Residency UK resident and has a UK bank or building society account.
Availability Available to new customers
Foreign usage charge (EU) 2.99%
Cash advance fee 36%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 28.8% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £75 per annum, your representative rate is 46.6% APR (variable).

Travel in comfort with airport lounge access

Airports – not much fun are they? But if you can relax in an airport lounge, you’ll cut out much of the stress and feel pretty smug at the same time. You’ll need to be comfortable with the idea of paying an annual or monthly account fee in return for complimentary lounge access (if that’s a deal-breaker, consider a one-off membership to a scheme like Priority Pass). But on the plus side, lounge access won’t be the only benefit these cards offer.

Compare cards with airport lounge access

Finder's pick

American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card


Representative APR

20,000 points

Max. intro bonus

Earn 1 point

per £1 spent

Earn 3 points

per £1 spent with select partners

If you use your credit card heavily but don’t carry a balance from month to month, Amex’s Preferred Rewards Gold Card really can offer meaningful benefits – including airport lounge access and plenty of reward points.
  • It's a gold Amex... enough said. OK, not enough said – a good credit card has to do more than just look the part – but it's certainly a card that raises a few eyebrows.
  • The array of benefits the card offers is enormous. This could be Amex trying to keep customers on board after year one, because there's a decent chance cardholders will still be uncovering new benefits at 12 months in!
  • Amex customer service is refreshingly good. When we put it to the test there was no waiting on hold and no being transferred from pillar to post.
  • The app is better than many we've seen and gives you a good deal of control.
  • Despite the network's recent "Shop small" campaign, if you're in the sticks and paying at a small independent merchant, Amex could well be off the table. To its credit, Amex is trying to fix this (you could earn cashback on your spending at participating small businesses), but it's not going to change overnight. Carry a decent back-up option and it's not really a problem.
  • Some of the card's perks take a bit of research and "activating" on your own part. It's all about getting cardholders engaged.
  • That annual fee... it's not small. However you can use year one to try the card on for size, and to get an idea of the true value to you personally of all those perks, points and offers.
Residency UK resident and has a UK bank or building society account.
Availability Available to new customers
Foreign usage charge (EU) 2.99%
Cash advance fee 36%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 28.8% (variable) p.a. with a fee of Year 1 - £0, Year 2 onwards - £160 per annum, your representative rate is 72.4% APR (variable).

Collect air miles with a frequent flyer card

Just like credit cards that offer hotel perks, frequent flyer credit cards are meant for people who fly, well, frequently. If you get on a plane once a year, you won’t be able to make the most of them; if it’s more like once a month, they can really be worth it.

They work just like rewards credit cards, but let you earn air miles on all your spending instead of points or cashback. Usually, you’ll earn even more miles when you use the card to purchase tickets with the card’s partner airlines. You can get both basic options without annual fees and premium options that do charge an annual fee in return for a higher earn rate.

Compare frequent flyer credit cards

Finder's pick

British Airways American Express® Credit Card


Representative APR


Account fee

5,000 points

Max. intro bonus

Up to 56 days

Interest-free each billing period

Earn points virtually every time you use your card, to redeem with British Airways or a number of other airlines, for flights, flight upgrades, hotel stays and more. You can also benefit from a generous intro points offer, and won't pay an annual fee.
  • Earn Avios on virtually all your spending, without paying an annual fee.
  • Generous welcome offer.
  • Use Amex’s referral programme to boost your points earnings. For every friend who is approved, you receive 4,000 Avios (up to 9,000 Avios). Check out our guide to Amex's referral programme.
  • Companion Voucher when you spend £12,000 each membership year.
  • Travel accident insurance up to £75,000 (subject to enrolment), plus access to Global Assist® 24/7 emergency assistance.
  • Refund Protection (90 days to return, receive max £200 per item, £750 per year).
  • No annual fee.
  • Big spenders who clear their balance in full each month may get more from the Premium Plus version.
  • If you carry an outstanding balance month-to-month, the relatively high interest rate will cancel out any benefits.
  • Welcome bonus limited to new Cardmembers or those who have not held a personal American Express card in the past 24 months.
  • This card carries a 2.99% foreign usage charge.
Residency UK resident and has a UK bank or building society account.
Availability Available to new customers
Foreign usage charge (EU) 2.99%
Cash advance fee 36%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 28.8% (variable) p.a., your representative rate is 28.8% APR (variable).

Enjoy peace of mind with complimentary travel insurance

There are a few premium cards out there that come with travel insurance included and save you the hassle of having to purchase it separately. Expect fairly pricey annual fees in return for a whole lot of benefits, such as airport lounge access.

It’s not easy to calculate when it’s better to get a card that offers it and when it’s more convenient to purchase it separately, but as we said, the travel insurance will usually be combined with other perks, so it’s a good idea to check whether those are appealing to you or not.

Finder's pick

American Express The Platinum Card


Balance transfer fee


Representative APR


Yearly account fee

30,000 points

Max. intro bonus

If you travel often and want to access a wide range of benefits through your spending, such as airport lounge access and a concierge service, it could be worth considering this charge card from American Express.
  • Airport lounge access and a very appealing welcome bonus.
  • High annual fee of £575 per annum.
Residency UK resident and has a UK bank or building society account.
Availability Available to new customers
Foreign usage charge (EU) 2.99%
Cash advance fee 34.3%
Representative example: When you spend £1,200 at a purchase rate of 28.8% (variable) p.a. with a fee of £575 per annum, your representative rate is 458.2% APR (variable).

Track real-time spending in an app

We know how it goes: you’re on holiday, buy a souvenir here and an extra ice cream there, and when you come back and check your card statement you realise you’ve spectacularly exceeded your budget for the trip.

A practical way of keeping an eye on the money you spend while travelling is downloading your credit card’s app on your smartphone. The best mobile banking apps will notify you whenever you use the card and allow you to check all your recent transactions in real time. For example, the American Express app does just that, while also allowing you to set up a spend tracking alert that will notify you when you overspend.

Compare banking apps

How to use a credit card in…

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

Read more on this topic

  • Using a credit card in Qatar

    All the most important things that you need to know about using a credit card in Qatar. Read our helpful guide before setting off on your holiday in Qatar.

  • Using a credit card in Russia

    Credit card acceptance is widespread in Russia, and you can avoid most fees by organising your money wisely when you travel. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Using a credit card in Bangladesh

    If you’re heading to Bangladesh, you should carry a mix of cash and cards with you. Our guide looks at how fees, card acceptance and currency exchange work.

  • Using a credit card in New Zealand

    Planning a trip to New Zealand? Here’s what you need to know about credit card acceptance and fees, local currency and ATM network.

  • Using a credit card in Egypt

    You can use cards in Egypt, but you should also carry some cash around. Here’s how to organise your money during your holiday in the shadow of the pyramids.

  • Using a credit card in Malaysia

    Planning to use your credit card while exploring Malaysia? Here’s what you need to know about fees and card acceptance in the country.

  • Using a credit card in Malta

    Heading to Malta and want to avoid credit card fees? Here’s what you need to know.

  • Using a credit card in Luxembourg

    Heading to Luxembourg? Here’s what you need to know about credit card fees and acceptance.

  • Using a credit card in Cyprus

    Heading to Cyprus and want to avoid credit card fees? Here’s what you need to know.

  • Using a credit card in Estonia

    Heading to Estonia with your credit card? Here’s everything you need to know about fees and acceptance.

Go to site