Travel Cards Are For Travelers
Travel cards vs. cash-back cards
The very first question to ask yourself when choosing a travel credit card is: Should I get a travel card at all? Travel credit cards are best for frequent travelers, who are more likely to get enough value from rewards and perks to make up for the annual fees that the best travel credit cards charge. A NerdWallet study found that those who travel only occasionally say, once a year will probably get greater overall rewards from cash-back credit cards, most of which charge no annual fee, than from a travel card.
American Express Membership Rewards
The American Express Membership Rewards program comes with a variety of international credit cards. But, theres one in particular that youll want if youre a member of this loyalty program.
Things to Know about The Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express offers some great benefits. However, the annual fee is $695 , but, can be offset with the perks, which are valued at over $1,400.
Dont take this annual fee at face value, though. The international card comes with lots of credits and fee waivers, that, if taken into consideration, reduce the fee nominally. For example, youll receive up to $200 for airline fees , a $100 statement credit for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue , and a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
In addition to enjoying TSA PreCheck or Global Entry access, cardholders can also enjoy CLEAR perks. Cardholders can use their Card and get up to $179 back per year on their CLEAR® membership. Terms apply.
If you take full advantage of all of the above, that more than covers the annual fee.
The Platinum Card and Lounge Access
But what about the lounge access? The Platinum Card from American Express gives you access to its own American Express Centurion Lounges. You will also get access to Delta Sky Clubs when youre traveling with Delta. How do you know if both of those are a good fit for you?
New The Platinum Card from American Express Benefits
Terms apply. Enrollment may be required.
Best Card To Use Abroad With Fair Credit
Even if you have fair credit, you can still benefit from using a rewards card when traveling abroad. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a cash back rewards card with a low annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, but you wont get the travel insurance benefits or rental car roadside assistance that other cards offer.
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However, if youd prefer to use a card on your trip instead of converting your cash, you can still spend safely with this card and earn cash back at the same time. Cash back rewards are unlimited and apply to every purchase you make. Youll also receive free ATM locating services so you can avoid paying costly ATM fees no matter where you are.
If your card is lost or stolen, you can receive an emergency replacement card quickly and will not be responsible for unauthorized charges made due to Capital Ones $0 Fraud Liability protection.
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Are Debit Cards Useful For International Travel
Yes. While credit cards are essential for international travel, you’ll still want to carry a debit card when traveling internationally. If you need cash while abroad, you can visit the local ATM to get cash from your checking or savings account with a debit card. You do not want to use a credit card to get cash from an ATM as you’ll be charged a cash advance fee, which can come with APRs around 25%.
How To Speed Up Your Pending Credit Card Decision
While you probably wont see the reason why your application is pending review on the application screen, the bank has a note in their records. The review team may contact you about the review. Or, they may do the research themselves without calling you. However, you dont know when they may call. It is possible to check your .
Basically, the only way to receive a decision sooner is to call the banks customer service number. You can call the number provided on the application screen.
Most banks now give you the capability to track your application status in real-time. If you dont receive an update in one or two business days, you should call the bank. The person you talk to usually has the option to approve your application. Or, they can transfer you to their manager who can make the final decision.
Chase is the one large bank that doesnt let you track your card application status in real-time. You must call their reconsideration line to receive updates:
- Personal Credit Cards: 1-888-270-2127
- Business Credit Cards: 1-800-453-9719
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Best Credit Cards For International Travel For February 2022
Whether you’ve caught the travel bug or you go abroad often for work, the best credit cards for international travel will help you save money on fees all while earning valuable rewards and providing travel perks and protections. From big sign-up bonuses and luxury perks to trip insurance and where the card will be worldwide acceptance, here’s what you need to know to pick the best credit card for your next international trip.
How To Avoid Foreign Transaction Fees
Some credit cards dont ever charge you foreign transaction fees. It may take some time for you to find and get the best credit cards for travel abroad. But once you get one of these cards, youd be on your way to great savings.
- Americans are spoilt for choice, but many travelers prefer Capital One it doesnt charge foreign transaction fees.
- Brits also have many choices, but Ive heard especially good things about the Halifax Clarity MasterCard it doesnt charge foreign transaction fees or cash advance fees.
- Canadians dont have as many options, but at least there are some Chase credit cards that waive the foreign transaction fee. Check out the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier Visa card and the Chase Amazon.ca Rewards Visa card.
- For Australians, the 28 Degrees MasterCard charges no foreign transaction fees, annual fees or cash advance fees.
- New Zealanders, sadly, dont have any credit card without foreign transaction fees. Your best bet is a prepaid card, the Air New Zealand OneSmart MasterCard. You can read more about it on this blog post by a savvy Kiwi.
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Will You Be Charged A Foreign Transaction Fee When Booking International Trips Online
You dont have to be in another country to rack up a foreign transaction fee. If you make a payment online that gets routed through a non-U.S. bank, you might see that pesky fee tacked onto your bill. This can happen when you are buying from a company that is not based in the U.S., but it also happens when booking hotels abroad.
Most properties within major hotel brand portfolios like Hilton or Marriott are individually owned and managed, but reservations are facilitated through a brand-wide website. This means that while your reservation may be made on a U.S. website and you may pay in USD, the room charges may be processed by the hotel itself through a non-U.S. bank.
Its generally hard to tell in these cases whether youll be charged a foreign transaction fee until after the payment is already processed. So its a best practice to use a card with no foreign transaction fees for booking purposes. Luckily, most top credit cards for booking hotel stays come with no such fees.
Brim Financial Mastercard Credit Cards*
Brim Financial has three Mastercard credit cards, all of which do not have fees for foreign transactions. The entry-level Brim Mastercard offers 1 point per $1 spent on everyday purchases, with 100 points redeemable for $1 in rewards. It essentially serves as a cash back credit card. The mid-range card, the Brim World Mastercard, earns 1.5 points per $1 spent. As for the premium card, Brim World Elite Mastercard offers 2 points per $1 spent. The last two have caps of up to $25,000 in purchases for rewards, after which the earn rate becomes 1 point per $1 spent.
The three Mastercard credit cards offer bonus points when shopping at Brim retail partners For example, you can earn up to 3% at Nike and 4% at Microsoft. Several airlines, like Emirates and Lufthansa, are also partners, also offering up to 3% cash back rate when booking flights. The app and website feature top-notch digital interfaces with budgeting tools. Also, the three cards offer new mobile device insurance and a free Boingo membership . The World and World Elite cards offer additional benefits, such as rental car insurance, hotel/motel burglary insurance and emergencytravel medical insurance.
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Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best Premium Travel Card
Annual fee: $550
Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening .
Bonus rewards: 10x on hotels, car rentals and Chase Dining purchases through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 5x on flights booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, 3x points on all other travel and dining, 1x on everything else.
Why we like it: This premium travel rewards credit card became hugely popular when it was first released in 2016 and has remained one of the best travel credit cards for many TPG readers. As with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, youll find the most value by redeeming points through Chases transfer partners or through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. The Reserve boosts the value of these awards to 1.5 cents per point.
Other benefits include an annual $300 statement credit for travel and at least one year of DashPass membership , Lyft Pink membership, up to $100 credit for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four years and a Priority Pass Select membership that includes guest access.
Annual fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: $200 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months.
Bonus rewards: 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery stores 1% on everything else
Annual fee: $95
Sign-up bonus: $300 after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.
Bonus Points On Travel Expenses
Some of the most significant expenses incurred during travel include airfare, hotels, rental cars and meals. Of course, youll want to get a credit card that rewards you generously in these categories.
Heres a look at some of the best credit cards and what they reward you with for purchases you make on vacation:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 10x points on hotels, car rentals and dining booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards 5x points on flight purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards 3x points on travel worldwide as well as on dining 1x points on all other purchases.
- Capital One VentureOne Card: Earn 5 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel 1.25 miles per dollar on every other purchase.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred: Earn 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards 3x points on select streaming services, online grocery purchases and on dining worldwide 2x points on other travel purchases 1x points on all other purchases.
- The Platinum Card from American Express: Earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel 1x points on all other purchases.
- American Express Gold Card: Earn 4x points on dining at restaurants worldwide, groceries at U.S. supermarkets up to $25,000 in purchases per year 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel 1x points on all other purchases.
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What Is The Best Airline Credit Card For International Travel Deals
The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5 points per $1 spent on flights booked directly through the airline or on AmexTravel.com, up to $500,000 on these purchases annually. You can also redeem points for award flights or transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to domestic and international frequent flyer programs. Select partners include Delta SkyMiles, Emirates Skywards, and British Airways Executive Club.The Platinum Card also gives you an annual $200 airline fee credit and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit. Plus, you get complimentary airport lounge access to some of the best networks including The Centurion, Priority Pass , Delta Sky Club, and Plaza Premium.
Should I Choose A Travel Card With An Annual Fee
Some credit cards charge an annual fee that is billed automatically and shows up on your balance statement. A typical credit card annual fee amount can range from $39 to hundreds of dollars. You can check to see whether a card charges an annual fee by reviewing the Rates and Fees section, which is usually available on the credit cards information page.
One of the best ways to determine whether an annual fee is worth it is to consider the monetary value of the card benefit. Most cards with annual fees offer a wide variety of benefits and rewards, including airline miles, higher cash back rates, low intro APR rates, and more.
So if youre paying a $95 annual fee for one credit card, for example, youll want to see how your rewards add up.
Will you earn points that can be used to buy merchandise or book a flight or hotel stay that exceeds the value of that $95 fee? Does the card offer travel insurance, free credit monitoring, or cellphone insurance? These are all benefits that could add up if you had to pay for them on your own.
You also want to consider how much you spend each year relative to the rewards rate. See the chart below for an example of how much more youd be required to spend to make up just 1% of cash back.
Some credit cards opt to waive the annual fee the first year, which is great if you are looking to earn a bigger signup bonus. You can always choose to keep a mix of travel cards with annual fees and a few without annual fees to balance things out.
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What Are The Credit Score Requirements For A Travel Credit Card
According to FICO, a good credit score is considered anything between 670 to 739 while a very good credit score is considered 740 to 799. A score of above 800 is considered excellent. You can check your credit online before applying for a travel credit card.
A good or excellent credit score is generally required to obtain a travel rewards card.
If you already have other credit cards, you may have free access to your credit score or FICO score online. If not, you can always use sites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, or Discover Scorecard to access your credit score for free.
To improve your credit score, pay close attention to your payment history and make sure youre paying your bills on time. This includes credit card bills, student loan payments, your car loan, and other debt payments. Also, keeping your overall credit utilization low can be helpful. The general rule of thumb is to keep your credit utilization below 30%.
This means, if you have a credit card with a $3,000 limit, you should not have a balance of more than $900 when your monthly statement cycle closes. If youre looking to use a card during an upcoming trip and have bad credit, you may do well with a secured credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
Also, check out some of our best credit cards to help you build your credit.
Best Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fees
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In addition to lacking foreign transaction fees, each card offers a unique combination of perks and benefits for travelers. Lets look at the details for each of our top picks.
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Delta Skymiles Platinum American Express Card: Best For Airline Rewards
Why its the best travel credit card for airline rewards: When it comes to cobranded airline cards, it doesnt get much better than Deltas lineup of cards. The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex is a great card for travelers hoping to hit Medallion elite status with the airline while racking up miles across a wide range of purchases.
Current welcome offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
Rewards rate: Earn 3x on eligible Delta purchases and hotel stays 2x on restaurants and U.S. supermarkets and 1x on other eligible purchases.
Travel benefits: The Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card offers a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application fee credit , an annual companion certificate for a domestic main cabin round-trip ticket each year, elite-like perks such as a free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights, and a way to hit Medallion status faster: Earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after $25,000 in eligible purchases and another 10,000 MQMs after spending $50,000 in a calendar year. You can also get a Medallion Qualification Dollar waiver but only if you spend $25,000 in a calendar year.
Annual fee: $250