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Are you a world traveler? One of the incredible benefits of credit cards is their ability to be accepted wherever you go. Nevertheless, not all credit cards are ideal for international travel. For example, many cards impose a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases processed outside of the U.S. Plus, there are still credit cards that don’t yet have EMV chips, which protect against in-store fraud and have been widely used in Europe for years. (Keep in mind, cards best suited to world travel are those that are authorized via Chip-and-PIN, not Chip-and-Signature, which is what’s now coming into use to authenticate transactions in the U.S.)
Beyond worldwide acceptance, there are plenty of benefits good travel credit cards offer that are nice to have. For example, a good card for international travelers might feature access to a worldwide airport lounge or offer travel insurance policies. Here are five credit cards that you can use just about anywhere you go.
1. Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
Barclaycard is one of the few card issuers that offers Chip-and-PIN-enabled cards, which generally ensures the card gets accepted at unattended credit card terminals in Europe (think train stations, gas stations and toll booths). Furthermore, this card has no foreign transaction fees. It also offers new applicants 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening, and double miles on all purchases. Miles are worth one cent as statement credits towards travel reservations. Finally, cardholders receive 5% of their miles back when they redeem them; these miles can be used on your next redemption. There is an $89 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year.
2. The Platinum Card From American Express
The Amex Platinum card comes with a standard EMV chip and has no foreign transaction fees. For every dollar spent, cardholders earn one point in the American Express Membership Rewards program. Points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, travel reservations, airline miles and more. Cardholders also receive access to the airport lounges in the Delta Sky, Airspace and Priority Pass Select networks. You also get access to the American Express Centurion lounges. Other benefits include a $200 annual airline fee credit, a $100 credit towards a Global Entry or TSA pre-screening application and travel insurance policies. There is a $450 annual fee for this card. You can see a full review of the Platinum Card here.
3. Citi Prestige Card
Like any good travel rewards card, the Citi Prestige offers an EMV chip and has no foreign transaction fees. (Full Disclosure: Citibank, Barclaycard, American Express and Chase advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.) In addition, cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points after making $3,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. When used for spending, you earn three ThankYou points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels, double points for dining out and entertainment expenses and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards and electronics, among other things. They can also be transferred to participating hotel and airline loyalty programs. There is a $450 annual fee for this card. (You read a full review of the Citi Prestige card here.)
4. BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card From Bank of America
Not every world traveler needs a card with an annual fee. For backpackers, foreign students and other more frugal world travelers, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card offers an EMV chip and no foreign transaction fees. It doesn’t have an annual fee either. New cardholders earn 20,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening, which can be redeemed for a $200 statement credit towards travel purchases. Cardholders also earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, and these points don’t expire. Other benefits include mobile banking, account alerts and text banking.
5. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
This card has an EMV chip and no foreign transaction fees. New cardholders earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening. Double points are earned on all travel and dining charges. You earn one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points are earned in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, and they can be redeemed for cash back, travel reservations, gift cards and more, or transferred to participating airline and hotel programs. This card also offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance and rental car coverage. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year. You can see a full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card here.
Remember, it’s a good idea to read any terms and conditions carefully to find the credit card that’s right for you. Also, you may want to check your credit before you apply. A good credit score opens the door to more credit options. Plus, you’ll want to be sure your credit can handle the hard inquiry generated by a card application. You can see where your credit stands by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite, American Express Platinum and Citi Prestige credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.