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Top 3 U.S. Credit Cards For International Travel

Updated on Feb 24, 2021
Travel credit cards

International travel requires you to plan ahead and this includes financial planning as well. An important financial tip before you make your travel is choosing the right travel card. 

The best credit cards for international travel can save you money on unnecessary fees and let you earn valuable rewards, travel perks, and protection. You can get big sign-up bonuses, luxury perks, earn points or miles that you can redeem for free flights, hotel stays, and even bonus rewards for travel-related purchases.

Here are our top 3 U.S. credit cards for international travel with no foreign transaction fees. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Bonus Travel Rewards

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is an excellent premium travel rewards credit card (card is made up of metal, not plastic) for travelers heading abroad. Its annual fee of $95 is worth it given the big sign-up bonus, rewards on various spending categories, and additional perks it offers to cardholders.


Chase Sapphire

Highlights

  • Earn 60,000 sign up bonus points after spending $4,000 on your purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within the first year of account opening.
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This means 60,000 points are worth $750 in travel (or $600 in cash)
  • Earn 2X points per $1 spent on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide and $1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • The points are worth 25% more with Pay Yourself BackSM during the current offer when it's redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories

Rates and Fees

Intro APR Purchases: N/A

Intro Balance Transfers: N/A

Regular APR: 15.99%-22.99% (Variable)

Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater 

Annual Fee: $95

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Limited Time Offers

  • Earn 2X points per $1 on up to $1,000 of grocery purchases per month through April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services
  • Earn 5X points per $1 on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of 1 year with a DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by December 31, 2021
  • Get up to $60 back for Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through December 31, 2021, and take thousands of workout sessions

Travel Perks and Other Benefits

  • Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points at 1:1 ratio to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs (British Airways, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, Marriott, etc)
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Rental Car Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
  • Zero Liability Protection
  • Baggage Delay Insurance

If you have excellent credit, fly at least a few times a year and enjoy free travel earned through the rewards program, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a must-have credit card for international travel. It does not charge foreign transaction fees, plus it is a chip-enabled Visa for enhanced security and wider acceptance. The card also has an award-winning 24/7 dedicated customer service line which can be super convenient when traveling abroad.

You do have to pay an annual fee of $95 and to get the generous sign-up bonus, you have to spend $4000 in the first three months of getting the card which is quite a lot.

If you don't have a large purchase coming up or you don't want to spend much on your credit card, go for a no annual fee travel credit card.

Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card: No Annual Fee Travel Rewards

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is a straightforward no-annual fee and no foreign transaction fee travel card that lets you earn cashback on all purchases at a flat rate. The card offers one of the biggest intro-bonus in the no-annual-fee category. Although there are bonus points for travel-related purchases, there are several perks for travelers.


 bank of america

Highlights

  • Earn 25,000 points as a sign-up bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. This is a generous bonus for a travel card with no annual fee. This is worth a $250 statement credit toward travel-related purchases
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, all the time (no revolving categories or special purchases)
  • 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles (major advantage if you travel in the first year of owning the card and need to carry a balance)
  • No blackout dates on rewards and points do not expire
  • Loyal customers of Bank of America can earn 25% to 75% point bonuses through the Preferred Rewards program.

Gold Preferred Rewards: Earn a 25% points bonus 

Platinum Preferred Rewards: Earn a 50% bonus 

Platinum Honors Preferred Rewards: Earn a 75% bonus

Rates and Fees

Intro APR Purchases: N/A

Intro Term Purchases: 12 billing cycles

Intro Balance Transfers: N/A

Regular APR: 14.99%-22.99% (Variable APR on purchases & balance transfers based on your creditworthiness)

Balance Transfer Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Travel Perks and Other Benefits

  • Redeem points for statement credits for travel-related expenses
  • Your points get doubled if you book travel through the Travel Center
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Zero Liability Protection
  • Overdraft Protection (Link your card to your Bank of America checking account to avoid going over the limit on the card)
  • Free FICO score
  • Act as Digital Wallet (Add your credit card to your mobile device to pay in-store or in-app (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay)
  • Customer service around the clock via toll-free call or live chat

In order to get approved for this card, a FICO score of at least 670 or above is recommended. A higher score is indeed preferable. 

The Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is the best choice for people who travel every now and then and for travelers who want a simple travel card with no annual fee. The card is best suited for Bank of America customers, especially those who are enrolled in one of the Preferred Rewards Programs. There is no other no-annual-fee travel card offering valuable earning rates. 

If you are a frequent flyer and travel abroad more than twice a year,  go for a card with an annual fee offering more lucrative rewards.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best Flexible Card for International Travel

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is an excellent choice for travelers looking for a straightforward travel rewards card with the potential to earn plenty of miles. The miles earned can be used in more than one way. The card carries an annual fee of $95 which is reasonable given its benefits. 


capitol One bank

Highlights 

  • Earn a sign-up bonus of 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening (which is worth $600 in travel)
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles per $1 spent on every purchase (no just airline or travel purchases)
  • There is no limit to how many miles you can earn and miles won't expire for the life of the account
  • Get up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. Use this credit once every four years. Global Entry membership also earn you a TSA Precheck membership

Rates and Fees

Intro APR Purchases: N/A

Intro Term Purchases: N/A

Intro Balance Transfers: N/A

Regular APR: 17.24%-24.49% (Variable)

Balance Transfer Fee: N/A

Annual Fee: $95

Foreign Transaction Fee: $0

Travel Perks and Other Benefits

  • Miles can be redeemed as statement credits for travel-related purchases such as airline, hotel, cruise line, rental car bookings or transferred to airline miles
  • No blackout dates for miles
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Book directly with airlines any time you want to redeem miles. No advance booking required
  • You can also redeem your miles for purchases made through Amazon.com or PayPal.com
  • Venture miles are always worth $0.01 per mile toward travel-related purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership helps you get through customs and security much quicker

If you are likely to put your usual expenses on the card and spend around $10,000 a year, the annual fee of $95 is convenient.

Let's say, you spent $4,750 in a year, which amounts to $395.83 per month, the card is worth the annual fee. At 2 miles per $1 spent, $4,750 earns you 9,500 miles. At a value of &0.01 per mile, 9,500 miles is worth $95 which is the same amount as the annual fee.

If you happen to have a credit score of 700 or above and desire a hassle-free rewards credit card and spend at least above $4,000 a year, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a solid card for you.

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