Best Credit Cards for International Travel for September 2021


When choosing the best credit cards for international travel, you’ll want to compare three main features: fees, rewards, and benefits.

Comparing fees: Fees will include the interest rate, annual fee, and foreign transaction fee. The general idea is to keep these fees as minimal as possible. However, if you don’t plan on carrying a balance — and honestly, you probably shouldn’t carry a balance on a rewards credit card given that they come with higher interest rates — the interest rate might not be as pertinent to you.

A low or no annual fee credit card is best if you don’t travel often or don’t plan to use the card much. However, frequent travelers may find that travel credit cards with steep annual fees are actually more lucrative in the end, given the high-value rewards and premium travel perks they offer.

Comparing rewards: The two most important things to look for when comparing rewards systems across different cards are:

  • Cards with bonus spending categories that match your spending habits
  • Cards with points or miles that can be easily redeemed for awards you actually want

Past that, you’ll want to compare the point value of different cards and do the math to figure out how much the sign-up bonus is worth and how much you’d earn in rewards each month given your monthly spending habits. This will help you break down which credit card would be the most lucrative for you.

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Comparing benefits: If you travel often, travel benefits, which include perks like complimentary airport lounge access and elite status as well as protections like rental car insurance and trip cancellation insurance, can easily save you hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars each year. Read the fine print in each credit card’s benefits guide to figure out which ones offer the best insurance.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few contenders, make a table listing out the features mentioned above and compare them across each card.

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