Credit Cards for International Travel – The Best for 2024

Traveling to other countries can be a great experience for anyone. You get to see new places, try different foods, and learn about other cultures. This is very exciting. But international trips also need more planning and money. An important thing to figure out is what credit card to use.

Credit Cards for International Travel

The right card can save money on fees, get good exchange rates, give insurance and lounge access, and provide security.

This article covers about the best cards for international travel in 2024. It can help pick the one that works best for your next overseas trip.

How to Choose the Best Credit Card for International Travel

When evaluating credit cards for international travel, there are several key factors to consider:

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The most basic feature you need is a card that does not charge foreign transaction fees on international purchases.

These fees, which typically range from 1-3% of the transaction amount, add up quickly and can really eat into your travel budget. Avoid cards that lack this basic perk.

Good Exchange Rates

You want a card that will give you a favorable exchange rate when converting charges in a foreign currency into your home currency.

Visa and Mastercard generally provide better rates than American Express. Cards that have no foreign transaction fee often also do well on exchange rates.

Chip and PIN Capability

Many countries outside the US have moved to chip and PIN credit cards rather than just requiring signatures.

Having a card with chip and PIN capability ensures it will work overseas, especially in unmanned kiosks like train ticket booths.

Travel Perks

Look for cards that provide useful benefits for international travellers like: no foreign transaction fees, travel insurance, rental car insurance, hotel elite status, airport lounge access, Global Entry/TSA Precheck fee credits, etc.

These perks can improve your travel experience.

Wide Acceptance

Before travelling to a less developed or remote destination, verify the credit card you plan to rely on is commonly accepted in that country. Visa and Mastercard have the best worldwide acceptance.

Strong Fraud Protection

When travelling abroad, you want excellent fraud monitoring to protect unauthorized use of your card. Report your travel dates/locations to your issuer. Chip/PIN cards add security in foreign countries.

By keeping all of these factors in mind as you evaluate options, you can zero in on the very best credit card for your particular international travel needs.

The Top 5 Credit Cards for International Travel

Based on the criteria above, here are 5 of the top-rated credit cards for international travel in 2024:

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns rave reviews for its strong performance on international trips. Here are some of the highlights:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Visa network provides favorable FX rates
  • Chip and PIN enabled
  • Up to $500,000 in travel accident insurance
  • Primary rental car insurance
  • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge access
  • TSA Precheck/Global Entry fee credits
  • Transferable rewards points

With premium travel protections, flexible redemption options, and a generous sign-up bonus, the Sapphire Reserve is one of the best all-around choices for frequent international travelers.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

For a mid-tier option, the Capital One Venture Rewards card packs a punch with:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Contactless payments possible for easy travel
  • Visa network supports chip/PIN & global acceptance
  • Primary rental car insurance
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Miles can be transferred to airline partners or redeemed for travel statement credits

Simple and flexible redemption through travel statement credits makes this a great card for infrequent international travelers looking to offset some trip costs.

Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card

This is a good budget option with no foreign transaction fees, chip/PIN capability, and 20,000 bonus points (worth $200 in travel) after $1000 in purchases in the first 90 days. Points can be redeemed for travel statement credits or cash back towards any travel purchase, including flights, hotels, rental cars, and more.

While it lacks some premium travel perks, the Bank of America Travel Rewards card has a reasonable $95 annual fee that is waived the first year. It provides a basic, low-cost way to save on international travel transactions.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

For a great no-annual-fee card, look at the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards. It has no foreign transaction fees, splits charges into manageable monthly payments, and provides a quick initial cash bonus.

While cash back isn’t specifically for travel, you can apply rewards towards any travel purchase or redemption. With no annual fee, the Quicksilver card can make a lot of sense for infrequent or budget-conscious international travelers.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

For premium travel protection while abroad, the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard features:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Chip and PIN technology
  • Visa/Mastercard acceptance
  • Primary rental car insurance
  • Travel medical insurance
  • 24/7 global travel assistance services
  • Generous sign-up bonus worth up to $750 in travel rewards

While it does have a $395 annual fee, frequent international travelers who want maximum coverage and assistance abroad may find it worthwhile.

Conclusion on Credit Cards for International Travel

Having the right credit card can save you significant money through waived foreign transaction fees, excellent exchange rates, and valuable travel perks.

For most travelers, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Capital One Venture Rewards, or Bank of America Travel Rewards cards are fantastic options to consider for upcoming international trips in 2024 and beyond.

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