Best Credit Cards For International Travel

As someone who has traveled to over 60 countries and speaks a second language, I'm an expert at finding the best international travel deals on the planet. You might as well have one of the best credit cards for international travel ready to go since vaccines are becoming available.

My parents were in the U.S. Foreign Service and I also lived in The Philippines, Zambia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Japan during my first thirteen years of life. I also worked in International Equities at a couple major investment banks for 13 years.

International travel is in my blood. The world would be a better place if more Americans and our politicians traveled abroad and learned multiple languages.

Why Own An International Travel Credit Card?

One of the best ways to travel internationally is to have one or two international travel credit cards. These credit cards provide good travel rewards, 0% foreign transaction fees, and other protections like trip delays or cancellations to help you travel with confidence.

We've all been through flight delays. The worst is when your flight is delayed longer than the flight itself! Ugh. But even worse is a flight cancellation that leaves you stranded at an airport. With a great international travel credit card, your card will pick up the hotel tab and some will even provide credit for food, if the airlines does not cover the costs.

While resting at the top of Santorini, Greece, it's nice to use an international travel credit card to get cash back on every dollar you spend on a Mythos beer and a wonderful Spanikopita dish.

After your meal is over, you can buy a nice hand-made silk-scarf with confidence. Bargaining is a part of international culture, and sometimes you might encounter fakes. An International Travel credit card can help protect you from bad purchases.

Benefits Abound With The Best Credit Cards For International Travel

The best credit cards for international travel also have great benefits such as primary car rental insurance to cover the cost of accidents or theft abroad.

You can also enjoy VIP status at dozens of hotels in countries all around the world, even if you are not a regular patron of the hotel chain.

Best Credit Cards For International Travel

When it comes to international travel, you don't want to hop on a plane without a fantastic credit card that specializes in international travel and international rewards.

Based on my experience as a 40+ year international traveler and my expertise as a 15-year+ personal finance blogger whose site gets over 1.5 million pageviews a month, here are my picks for the top five best credit cards for international travel today.

The Best Credit Cards For International Travel

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card


Capital One is my favorite international travel credit card company because they specialize in offering the best credit cards possible. Credit cards are their focus, just like making watches is the focus of Rolex.

The great thing about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is that there are no foreign transaction fees. This is a fundamental basic for all international travel rewards credit cards.

The Capital One Venture Rewards card has 24/7 assistant monitoring for fraudulent activity that sends alerts to you if anything looks suspicious. There is a higher amount of fraud when traveling abroad given legal and commerce rules are different than in America.

The classic fraud is being taken for a non-direct, scenic route when taking a taxi anywhere in India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Romania or other developing countries.

These taxi cab drivers are experts at extracting as much money out of you as possible. A $5 cab fair might end up easily costing $20. Instead of fighting with your cab driver, simply thank him, and call your international credit card to file a dispute and get your money back.

Even More Rewards

The Capital One Venture Rewards card also delivers unlimited double miles on every single purchase.

The Capital One Venture Rewards card is accepted worldwide. You can also enjoy a $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck's application fees when you pay using your card so you never have to wait in line again at airport security.

Here are the current great features if you sign up for a Capital One Venture Rewards card today.

Earn a 100,000-mile bonus when you spend $20,000 within the first 12 months of membership. Or, earn 50,000 miles (equals $500 travel rewards) if you spend $3,000 on the card in the first 3 months.

  • Earn unlimited 2X miles fast on every purchase you make
  • Transfer miles to any of Venture's 10+ travel partners
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No limit on how many miles you can earn
  • Rewards don’t expire for the life of the account 
  • Get up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pres✔®
  • Built-in coverage and purchase protections

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

CapitalOne Quicksilver Credit Card Review

Capital One Quicksilver also has no foreign transaction fees. The card is my favorite cash back rewards credit card because it gives you some of the best rewards points and a great amount of protection when traveling internationally.

Capital One Quicksilver offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. A 1.5% cash back percentage is 50% higher than the typical cash back credit card on the market today.

Here are the latest features of the Capital One Quicksilver offer.

  • Welcome Bonus: $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within three months
  • Rewards Rate: Flat-rate 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Introductory 0% APR for the first 15 months
  • Credit Score Needed: Good to Excellent

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Capital One VentureOne Credit Card

The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is a straightforward credit card with good benefits for international travel. It too, does not have any foreign transaction fees.

It also offers flexible rewards that let you book travel with no blackout dates with any airline or hotel that you want. Rewards miles also don't expire and are unlimited.

Every purchase you make with the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card earns 1.25X miles with no caps. Plus, you have the option to transfer miles to any of their popular 10+ loyalty travel program partners.

Here are even more features of the Capital One VentureOne Rewards credit card's offerings.

  • Enjoy $0 annual fee 
  • No foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
  • Receive a bonus of 20,000 miles after you spend $500 on purchases within three months of opening an account. The 20,000 miles equals $200 in travel rewards, which is like getting 40% cash back.  
  • Get unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase you make, every single day.
  • Utilize the flexibility of transferring rewards miles to over 10 leading travel loyalty programs. 
  • Travel when you want where you want. No blackout dates, fly any airline, stay at any hotel, whenever you want.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months. This is a great introductory period for those of you who plan to make big purchases and want some extra time to pay them off. 
  • Earn unlimited miles that won't expire as long as you are an active cardholder.
  • Enjoy great travel protection, including travel accidental insurance, rental car coverage, and extended warranty on eligible items. 

Best Credit Cards For International Travel

International travel is one of life's great joys. Having an international travel credit card gives you peace of mind and allows you to best enjoy your travels.

After 40 years of international travel myself, I never leave home without one of these five international travel rewards credit cards. Enjoy the adventure and the great benefits!

Related post: The Best time To Travel Internationally With Kids

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About the Author:

Sam worked in investment banking for 13 years at GS and CS. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $250,000 a year in passive income. He spends most of his time playing tennis, traveling the world, and taking care of his family.

Financial Samurai was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites on the web with over 1.5 million pageviews a month.

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Disclosure: Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS# 1681276, “Credible.” Not available in all states.