5 Credit Cards for Overseas Travel

Credit card in Italy

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When you’re traveling overseas, there are a lot of things you have to do differently than when you’re at home. You must use adapters to plug in electric devices, pay in a different currency and may even have to drive on the other side of road.

And when it comes to paying by credit card, you’ll often find that the card you use at home isn’t suited to making charges in a foreign country. So before you take your next big trip, consider these five credit cards that have the features you’ll need all over the world:

1. Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
This card packs many of the features that international travelers need. It has an EMV smart chip that is compatible with both chip and PIN, not just chip and signature. This is important as there are many unattended kiosks, such as those sell train tickets, that only accept chip and PIN transactions. In addition, this card has no foreign transaction fees imposed on transactions processed outside of the United States. Furthermore, it comes with a very competitive rewards program. You get two miles per dollar spent, and miles are worth one cent each as statement credits towards travel expenses such as airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more. You also receive a 5% rebate on miles redeemed, and a host of travel and shopping discounts as part of the World MasterCard program. Finally, new applicants receive 50,000 miles, worth $544 in statement credits for travel purchases, after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days. There’s an $89 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year.

2. Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
This card has long been a favorite way to earn travel rewards at home, but now it’s finally announced changes to make it a great card for overseas use. Starting on August 11, 2015, American Express will no longer impose its 2.7% foreign transaction fee for charges on this card, and will offer all cardholders premium internet service when staying at Starwood properties, which include Westin, Sheraton and other brands. This card still retains its valuable reward program, which offers award nights at any unsold standard room, and the ability to transfer points to miles with over 30 different airlines. Also, new cardholders can earn 25,000 Starpoints after making $3,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. While the annual fee will rise from $65 to $95, this is still competitive with other travel reward credit cards.

3. The Platinum Card® from American Express
This card has always been popular among frequent international travelers for a variety of reasons. First, it offers access to three airport lounge programs: the Delta SkyClub, Priority Pass Select, and the American Express Centurion lounges. In addition, travelers receive up to $200 in annual airline fee credits, and for each dollar spent on eligible purchases with American Express Travel, cardholders earn one point in the Membership Rewards program. Right now, cardholders can earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. There’s a $450 annual fee for this card.

4. BankAmericard Travel Rewards® Credit Card
I like this card because it offers all of the necessities for international travelers, but with no annual fee. These must-haves include an EMV chip as standard and no-foreign transaction fees. In addition, its rewards program is excellent for a card without an annual fee. You earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent, and points are worth one cent each as statement credits towards travel expenses. New applicants receive 10,000 bonus points after making $500 in purchases within their first 90 days of opening an account. Finally, those who hold a Bank of America checking or savings account receive a 10% points bonus.

5. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase’s travel rewards card comes equipped with an EMV smart chip and has no foreign transaction fees. It offers double points for all dining and travel purchases, and points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards travel reservations or transferred to airline and hotel programs. New applicants receive 40,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of card membership. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year.

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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 
Jason Steele

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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About the Author

Jason Steele
Jason Steele is a credit expert with CompareCards.com and a freelance journalist with a passion for credit cards and travel. As an expert in using credit cards to earn reward travel, he and his family love to explore the world using their points and miles, and helping others to do so. As a freelance journalist, Jason has been contributing to many of the top personal finance sites on the subjects of credit cards and travel. After covering the credit card industry daily for over five years, he has become one of the nation's premier credit card industry experts. Yet as a freelance journalist, he still has the time to attend all of his favorite travel, aviation and personal finance conferences and to continue to use his points and miles for plenty of leisure travel.

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