Best Credit Cards for International Travel in 2017

Best Credit Cards for International Travel in 2017
This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s affiliate program.

As a full-time travel writer here at Brad's Deals, I'm constantly hopping beyond America's borders. Whether it's to fly in a new airline, stay at a new hotel, or experience a new culture, I need a credit card that can handle my international lifestyle without skipping a beat.

There are tons of options out there, but which one is best for you? We did the research, and came up with a list of our favorite credit cards for international travel. Many of the cards on this list have similarities, for example, none have foreign transaction fees, but there are nuances to each that may correspond well with your individual travel habits.

The best credit cards for international travel

Credit Card
Best For:
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
Travel and Dining Purchases
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Mid-Level Spenders
Citi Prestige Card
Long Hotel Stays
Platinum Card by American Express
Lounge Access
Business Platinum Card by American Express
Business Class Flights
Capital One Venture Rewards Card
Flexible Travel Redemptions
Discover it Miles Card
No Annual Fees


Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best for travel and dining purchases

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is excellent for big spenders: it offers three points per dollar spent on all travel and dining. You'll also earn 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points with when you spend $4,000 in your first three months of card membership. There are no foreign transaction fees, either. It includes benefits like Priority Pass lounge access, which has over 800 lounges abroad to choose from, so you won't have to spend much out of pocket when you're waiting in the airport. It will waive the membership fee for Global Entry, which can save you big time in customs. Finally, this card comes with a $300 annual travel credit can be used towards any travel purchase paid with the card, including Ubers. There is a $450 annual fee.

chase sapphire preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best for mid-level spenders

For those not excited about spending $450 a year for a credit card, there's also the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which gives mid-level spenders a nice spending bonus, too. You'll earn two Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining and travel purchases. There are no foreign transaction fees, and the annual fee is waived the first year (then $95). This is great for anyone who wants some good spending bonuses, but doesn't want to pay $450 a year for it.


Citi Prestige Card: Best for long hotel stays

The Citi Prestige Card was once a no-brainer for the international traveler, but in the past year, it's gutted its benefits, making it now simply a nice option. I personally decided to keep the card for one key benefit: your fourth night free on any four-night hotel stay. Just recently, that benefit saved me more than $400, nearly paying for the cost of the $450 annual fee. For new cardholders, you'll get a reimbursement on the average cost per night of a four-night hotel stay, without taxes or resort fees. It's a great deal, which can save you thousands, and there's no limit to how many times you use it.

platinum-card copy

Platinum Card by American Express: Best for lounge access

The Platinum Card by American Express just raised their annual fee to $550. Is it worth it? With the fee, you'll get a 60,000 Membership Rewards point sign up bonus for spending $5,000 in your first three months of card membership. Plus, you'll get all the benefits of the card, like no foreign transaction fees, Global Entry fee waiver, a $250 yearly fee credit, and now $200 a year towards Uber. The main benefit for international travelers, though, is lounge access. This card will get you into tons of lounges, like Amex's own Centurion Lounges, which are spectacular. There's also Delta lounge access when you're flying Delta, and Priority Pass membership like other cards above. Finally, Membership Rewards points are some of the most versatile, with the ability to transfer into tons of airline and hotel programs.


Business Platinum Card by American Express: Best for business class flights

If you're a business class traveler, I'd consider the Business Platinum Card. In addition to the benefits described above for the personal Platinum card, you'll also receive 10 free Gogo in-flight Wifi passes a year. The strongest benefit of all? You'll get 50 percent of your redeemed points back when you redeem for business class flights. What makes this interesting is that the price of redemption depends on the cash cost of the flight. So, if you find a good business class fare, you'll not only get a 50 percent rebate on the points you redeem, you'll also EARN miles on that flight, since to the airline it looks like you purchased the flight outright.


Capital One Venture Rewards Card: Best for flexible travel redemptions

Sometimes, you need a bit of flexibility with your flight redemptions, as award flights are sometimes hard to come by. The Capital One Venture Rewards card offers a 50,000 point sign up bonus, enough for $500 towards any flight you choose. The annual fee is $0 the first year, then $95 after that.


Discover It Miles: Best for no annual fees

With no annual fees or foreign transaction fees, the Discover it Miles card also offers a standard 1.5 percent cash back per dollar spent. But what makes this card special is the awesome bonus at the end of your first year as a cardmember: your annual cash back is doubled! For big spenders, this is one of the best offers on the planet, and if you have a big trip abroad, that's like three percent back on every dollar spent!

What is your favorite credit card for international travel? Let us know in the comments!