Best Credit Cards for International Travel in 2018

Best Credit Cards for International Travel in 2018
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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
Platinum Card by American Express
Lounge Access
Business Platinum Card by American Express
Business Class Flights


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: 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, of 50,000 points for spending $4,000 in 3 months. 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.



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 $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 35% 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 35% 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.

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