Not all travel rewards cards are created equal, and if you travel internationally, you need a card that rewards your purchases and doesn't charge extra fees when traveling abroad. The best international travel rewards credit cards not only earn rewards towards free travel but come with access to valuable perks that enhance your trips outside of the U.S.
This guide walks through the best credit cards for international travel and what to look for in a card so you can determine the best rewards card for you.
What to Look for When Choosing an International Travel Credit Card
There are several factors to consider when looking for the best international travel credit card. Here are a few things to look at when comparing travel rewards credit cards.
One of the quickest ways to earn rewards you can apply towards international travel is through credit card welcome offers. The best cards usually offer sizable bonus rewards for hitting minimum spending requirements, typically within three to six months, depending on the card.
Travel Redemption Options Worldwide
The best international travel cards offer flexible travel rewards you can redeem for travel anywhere in the world. Many top credit card loyalty rewards programs allow you to book travel directly through a portal or transfer your points to partner travel programs like airlines and hotels.
Credit card fees can cut into your rewards balance and the value of the card. Most -- but not all -- travel rewards credit cards carry an annual fee. Luxury travel rewards cards can carry annual fees topping $250 or more.
For international travelers, you also want to find a good travel credit card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees. These are fees charged for purchases made outside of the U.S. and typically cost roughly 3% of the purchase amount.
Airport Lounge Access
Airport lounges are a great way to enjoy luxury travel and wait out airport layovers. Lounge access usually comes with amenities like free WiFi, snacks and beverages, and a more comfortable spot than other areas of the airport terminal. Lounge access is sometimes reserved for luxury travel rewards cards and isn't a standard perk among all travel cards.
Other Travel Perks
There's more to a good international travel card than just earning points or miles. The additional travel perks included often end up being the most valuable (and most used) benefits to cardholders. Other travel perks may include:
Global Entry/TSA Precheck Fee Credit
CLEAR credit or discount
Free checked bags
Car rental insurance
Lost luggage insurance
Trip delay and trip cancellation insurance
Always look beyond the welcome offer and rewards rates to see what other benefits are included with an international travel rewards card before choosing the right one for you.
If your future includes traveling internationally, signing up for a top travel rewards credit card should be on your to-do list. Not only can you earn valuable points and miles you can use to fund your adventures, but you can gain access to a host of other travel benefits.