Best Credit Card for International Travel

If you plan to travel abroad, whether it is for business or pleasure the good news for many is that more and more people, places and businesses across the world are choosing to accept credit cards as payment. This can be very helpful in that you can make use of the extra perks built into most credit cards – travel accident insurance, baggage insurance, car rental insurance – and if you have a rewards credit card, especially a travel rewards credit card you can often take advantage of a number of discounts while earning rewards points, perhaps towards your next vacation!

There are certain credit cards that are better for use when traveling internationally than others though and it may be well worth looking into these offerings before you take your trip abroad though, especially if you have a few months to prepare. As little as just twelve months ago it was really only Capital One that offered credit cards with no foreign transaction fees but recently more banks and lenders have decided to begin waiving foreign transaction fees to make their credit card offerings a little more attractive. Here is a little about some of the best credit card offerings for international travel purposes:

Citi Thankyou Premier

One of the biggest things you need to look for when trying to find the best credit card for international travel is a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees. These fees – which can be as high as 3% – can really add to your vacation expenses. As of December 2010 the Citi Thankyou Premier card does not charge any foreign transaction fees, which right away makes this a good choice for international travel right away.

The lack of foreign transaction fee is not the only benefit that this card offers when it comes to travel of any kind, especially international travel. The card earns “Thank You” points for every purchase you make on the credit card, currently at the rate of 2 points per dollar for the first year and 1 point per dollar every year after that. In addition if you use your credit card to purchase gas or groceries you earn 1.2 points on every dollar spent even after that first year so it is actually possible to rack up points very quickly.

Thankyou points can then be redeemed for travel perks like airline tickets and hotel reservations or for gift certificates and merchandise from the Citi Thankyou store.

This is possibly not a card you will want to own if you have a tendency to carry a balance from month to month as the APR is really quite high 13.99-21.99% and any rewards you earn will be negated by the extra interest charges you will incur.

Chase Priority Club Rewards Signature

The Chase Priority Club Rewards Signature credit card charges no foreign transaction fees and actually has a fairly reasonable APR of 13.25 – 16.25% attached to it and a fairly low $49 annual membership fee that is waived for the first year.

The Chase Priority Club Rewards earns rewards at the rate of 1 point for every dollar spent on any purchases. If however you use the card at Priority Club hotels, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites, and Candlewood Suites you will earn 5 points per dollar and 2 points per dollar for meals in restaurants, gas or groceries. You will also be awarded one nights free stay at one of the afore mentioned resorts or hotels on an annual basis.

All Capital One Credit Cards

Long before all the other banks started jumping on the no foreign transaction fee bandwagon all of the credit cards offered by Capital One did not charge any form of foreign transaction fee. Capital One offer a wide range of credit card products but one of their cards – The Capital One Venture Rewards Card – is really a great card for international travel for a number of different reasons. As a Visa card it is accepted in more places in the world than possibly any other card (Visa does have a slight edge of MasterCard in terms of worldwide acceptance at the moment) and the rewards are easy to earn and easy to redeem. The one thing that many people who have chosen the Capital One Venture Rewards card really like about it is that the rewards earned can be redeemed as soon as they hit a cardholders statement and in fact Capital One even print suggestions for their use on every statement. The card does have a $49 annual membership fee attached to it but that is waived for the first year.

PenFed Promise Visa Card

The PenFed Promise Visa card is a credit card that claims it charges no fees at all whatsoever – including foreign transaction fees – and has a very low APR (7.25% for the first three years, 9.99% thereafter). The only real catch? You have to be a member of the PenFed credit union to get it. Gaining membership is easier than you might think though and you do not have to be a member of the military or a government employee any longer. If you can be counted as a Red cross Volunteer you are automatically eligible to join, and that can be as simple as being a blood donor.

There are no real “rewards” attached to this card but the lack of fees can save you an awful lot of money every year and the low APR is great for those who do find that they need to carry a balance every now and then!