Choosing a Credit Card for International Travel

By TinaHamilton, 12 May, 2014

International travel can be very stressful. The last thing that you want to have to worry about is your credit card. You want a card that you will not only be able to use anywhere you go, but also that will give you the most benefits for the money that you are spending.

There are a few different things that you will need to consider when choosing a credit card for international travel. The credit card that worked well for your co-workers last trip to Europe may not be the best card for you, even if you are taking a similar trip. Here are some things that you should consider when choosing a credit card for international travel.

Compare annual fees

Usually, the better the card and rewards, the higher the annual fee is. Make sure that the annual fee that you agree to is not only something that you can afford, but something that will be paid back to you in rewards and points from using the credit card. If you are an infrequent traveler and you are working with a small budget, you may want to look for only cards that have no annual fee.

It is also good to consider what perks the extra annual fee is getting you. Some cards with higher annual fees will not only have better rewards systems, but they will also give you cash back, low or zero transaction fees and lower interest rates. Decide what is most important to you and go from there. For example, maybe it will be worth it for you to pay a high annual fee if you can use your card at any ATM without extra fees.

Know when and how you will receive points

The point system is the reason that you are getting a travel rewards card in the first place, so you should make sure that you are getting the best rewards that you can. There are so many different options out there that you will be able to find a credit card with a rewards system that is tailored perfectly to your needs.

If you have a preference for a certain airline or hotel brand, looking into those companies options to get the best rewards in the places where you use them most. “You're just wasting money if you don't get the credit card rewards that you want,” says Chris Mettler of, “weigh all the options before choosing a credit card, and be sure that you'll actually be using the credit card that you apply for.”

Understand international transaction fees

This is a common issue with using credit cards for international travel. You will usually get a better deal on exchange rates, but in order to do that, many credit card companies will charge you fees on international transactions. Compare credit cards and find the ones that will fit your needs and offer the lowest international transaction fees, or even none at all if you are lucky.

Some will raise the annual fee to have this privilege or require a minimum amount spent each month, but if you are planning on traveling internationally a lot or for long periods of time, it will be more than worth it.