What's the best credit card for international travel?

Who is taking a trip outside the United States soon!?

I know that many users in the Clark community are like Clark Howard in at least a couple of ways: They love a good deal and they love to travel. :grinning:

Today, I want to get the opinions of the international travelers in the group.

I’m wondering: What’s the best credit card for international travel?

To me, there are a couple of non-negotiable characteristics that the card needs to have:

After that, it starts getting a little more complicated.

People will debate whether it’s worth paying a high annual fee for a travel credit card (like Chase Sapphire Reserve, AmEx Platinum, or Capital One Venture X) that gives enhanced travel perks (like lounge access at the airport) and gives generous points multipliers on your spending.

But Clark generally says that you need to be a very frequent traveler to be a candidate for paying those high annual fees.

And on the other end of the cost spectrum, there are some no annual fee credit cards that carry a Visa or Mastercard logo and have no foreign transaction fee (Alliant Cashback Visa Signature, Fidelity Rewards Visa, Wells Fargo Autograph Card).

Those offer some decent cashback rates without paying for the privilege to use it.

Or, maybe, the best answer is somewhere in between? There are a few $95 annual fee credit cards that have no foreign transaction fees and have really nice rewards programs. (Ex. Chase Sapphire Preferred, Capital One Venture, Wells Fargo Autograph Journey, Citi Strata Premier.)

I’m wondering:

  • What’s your go-to card for international travel?
  • How much is your annual fee on it?
  • Do you find that a travel card works best? Or do you get by with a cash back card instead?
  • Which travel perk is most useful on your international journeys?
  • Is there a card that you don’t have but that you’d like to try for international travel?

I’m hoping we can get a good discussion going to help those who may be looking for a credit card for their international travels.