Top Credit Cards for Frequent Travelers
Credit cards offer various incentives to their customers in a bid to keep them loyal. This article brings to your knowledge the best credit cards currently available for a frequent traveler. If you are a frequent traveler or intend to travel often your best choice is the credit card that offers travel rewards.
Travel rewards credit cards use points or miles to determine rewards. You may earn one point/one mile for every dollar that you spend at the beginning level. The amount you earn and why you earn that much depends on the credit card program you enrolled in. You can redeem the points you accumulate for air travel, hotel stay, meal vouchers at restaurants, shopping vouchers and even discounts on cruises. Below are the top credit cards for frequent travelers based on what they give back to their customers:
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Sign up Bonus
2 points on dining at restaurants worldwide and travel
1 point for each dollar spent on any other purchases
$ 95 waived in the first year
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Sign Up Bonus
10 miles on selected thousands of hotels worldwide
1.25 miles for any other purchase
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
3 points for food ordered in or meals eaten out
3 points for transit, rideshares and gas station expenditure
3 points for flight travel, car rentals, hotel and home-stays
1 point for any other purchases
Citi Premier Card
3 points on travel and gas station expenditure
2 points on entertainment and dining out
1 point on all other purchases
Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card
1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases
American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card
2 miles for each dollar spent on grocery delivery services and stores
2 miles for each dollar spent on American Airlines eligible purchases
1 mile for each dollar spent on any other purchases
The American Express Platinum Card
5 points for flights with American Express Travel or flights directly booked with airlines
5 points on prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com
Chase Sapphire Reserve
3 points on immediate travel after earning your $ 300 travel credit
3 points for dining at restaurants
1 point per dollar spent on other purchases
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Martin Lewis explains which credit and debit cards are best for spending abroad
Martin Lewis has explained the “cheapest way to spend abroad” is “using the right plastic”.
The MoneySavingExpert has suggested using a “specialist card ” that doesn’t add a non-sterling transaction fee.
“The top debit card is the Chase card, which gives you the same near-perfect rate the bank does and one per cent cashback on spending in the UK and abroad,” Lewis said.
“Or, as a credit card , it’s actually the Barclaycard Rewards Card that gives you a quarter of a per cent cashback and perfect rates abroad.”
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Martin Lewis reveals best cards to use abroad
17 August 2023, 11:54 | Updated: 17 August 2023, 12:22
Which debit or credit card should I use when going abroad? Here's what Martin Lewis says.
Listen to this article
Martin Lewis has revealed the best cards to use while travelling abroad.
The Money Saving Expert has previously explained that the cheapest way to spend abroad is to "use the right plastic" to avoid spending charges and ATM fees.
He suggests people opt for a specialist card that doesn't add a non-starling transaction fee onto of your spending.
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But what is the best card to use while abroad? Here's what Martin Lewis' Money Saving Expert website says...
What card should I use abroad?
Martin Lewis encourages people to choose a debit or credit card which does not charge a non-sterling transaction fee.
This can make your holiday spending a lot more expensive. For example, some banks will charge up to 3% when you make a transaction abroad.
This means if you spent £100, you'd be charged £103.
Best debit and credit cards to use abroad:
- Gives 1% cash back on most spending for at least a year
- Easy credit check
- No transaction fees abroad
- Free ATM cash withdraws abroad
Barclaycard Rewards Card (Credit)
- 0.25% cashback
- No transaction fees
First Direct (Debit)
- Free £175 when you switch from an existing bank account
Worst cards to use abroad
The Money Saving Expert website also reveals the cards you want to avoid using abroad at all costs.
- £1 spending charge
- 1.5% ATM charge (min £2, max £4.50)
Bank of Scotland
- 50p spending charge
- £1.50 ATM charge
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Martin Lewis issues urgent holiday warning for anyone using debit cards abroad – can you save cash?
- Olivia Marshall
- Published : 10:05, 22 Jun 2023
- Updated : 10:05, 22 Jun 2023
MARTIN Lewis has issued an urgent holiday warning to anyone using a debit card abroad.
The MoneySavingExpert (MSE) founder issued the warning in a special holiday episode of his ITV Money Show.
It included advice on the best debit, credit and pre-paid cards to use abroad this summer.
When you use your credit and debit cards abroad, banks can hit you with several charges.
For purchases from a shop, your bank will probably impose a “non-sterling transaction fee”, usually around three per cent.
Some will also charge you for using them outside of Europe .
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Martin if you have a Bank of Scotland , Halifax or Lloyds debit card, you should avoid using these abroad.
The Bank of Scotland and Halifax charge you 50p each time you use them, while Lloyds charge £1.
"So imagine you're buying something for a fiver," Martin said.
"The exchange rate fee means you're going to pay £5.15 for it and then you've got that, that makes it £6.15."
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Martin said most travellers would be better off spending on a credit card, paid off in full, rather than using these debit cards.
He said: "If you've got one of those cards, beware if you're going outside Europe, you will pay a little bit more for using it so you probably definitely want a specialist card in that case."
There are credit cards that offer fee-free spending abroad. These are best used for making purchases in shops and restaurants.
It’s generally not a good idea to use credit cards to withdraw cash at home or abroad as it can damage your credit score if done too often.
The best travel debit cards have no spending or ATM fees overseas, so you can use them as if you’re shopping at home.
It may mean opening a new bank account, but you can do this alongside your main one and transfer money across.
While prepaid cards can be loaded with a set amount of currency, a bit like a gift card for holiday money.
You can use them for spending or withdrawing cash.
You can either load them with a foreign currency at home or with Pounds and the exchange rates are calculated when you spend on the cards abroad.
But be aware that providers may add between one per cent and 2.5 per cent to the exchange rate.
The best cards for spending abroad
Chase Bank is fee-free for spending and cash withdrawals abroad and gives you one per cent cashback on all your spending, paying up to £15 a month for the first year.
Starling also charges no fees for spending or ATM withdrawals.
You can withdraw up to £300 a day using this card.
Monzo has no exchange rate markup but you can only withdraw £250 free at ATM over a period of days.
After this, you’ll get charged 3% on any withdrawals you make over that.
- Credit cards
The Barclaycard Rewards card doesn’t charge fees on spending or ATM withdrawals abroad.
There’s also no interest on any cash withdrawn, as long as you pay it back when your next bill is due — but ATM providers could still slap on a fee.
The Halifax Clarity has no charges on overseas spending or withdrawing cash, but you will get charged interest of about 5p for every £100 withdrawn per day from the moment you take money out, so pay it off straight away.
A card from Revolut via its Standard plan has no fees for purchases abroad and offers free ATM withdrawals of up to £200 per month.
Currensea offers a card that links up with your existing current account — but it’s not prepaid, so you don’t need to load it with currency before you set off.
The FX fees are 0.5 per cent on purchases and withdrawals, and no additional charges for the first £500 withdrawn each month.
Anything above is subject to a two per cent fee.
Fair FX’s multi-currency card is a decent option with no exchange rate mark-up — but there is a fixed £1 fee on all ATM withdrawals.
If you prefer cash to cards, exchange at home before you go. Kiosks in tourist hotspots tend to offer terrible rates.
Moneysavingexpert.com’s TravelMoneyMax tool helps find the cheapest place to buy it.
Never buy at the airport unless you’ve ordered it in advance.
And don’t buy currency with a credit card as it counts as a cash withdrawal, meaning you might be charged fees and a higher rate of interest.
The Sun recently reviewed the best and worst cards for spending abroad in 2023 – and you could save £80.
Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
- Money Saving Expert
- Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis warns holidaymakers on what debit cards NOT to use when abroad
Holidaymakers could accidentally spend more money than they need if they don't pay attention to which cards they use abroad
- 09:16, 21 JUN 2023
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Martin Lewis has issued a warning for holidaymakers who want to save money while travelling abroad.
Appearing on The Martin Lewis Money Show, the money-saving expert advised viewers on how they could save money while on holiday by making use of debit cards with favourable rates. As the cost of living crisis continues to place immense pressure on people's wallets, many will be looking to save money when going abroad this summer.
One concern many travellers may have is juggling exchange rates abroad and how they can best take advantage of them. Mr Lewis stated that he's a fan of specialist cards because they don't add the 3 per cent rate that is usually added on with bank cards when shopping abroad.
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For spending abroad, he praised the Chase debit card, Halifax Clarity credit card, and Barclaycard Rewards Credit Card. This is because they offer 'near-perfect exchange rates' as well as interest-free spending, fee-free ATM withdrawals up to a certain amount, and cashback on spending.
He also highlighted some other specialist overseas debit and credit cards such as Santander Zero, Monzo, Starling, and some Virgin Money Cards
However, he warned of some debit cards which travellers should avoid. He said: "There are certain debit cards which as well as the 3 per cent exchange rate fee, charge you when spend on them outside of Europe which technically is the EEA so EU plus Lichenstein, Norway, and Iceland.
"They are the Bank of Scotland, Halifax, and Lloyds - their standard cards - which charge you 50p each time and TSB a quid. So imagine you're buying something for a fiver, the exchange rate fee means you're going to pay £5.15 for it and then you've got that, that makes it £6.15.
"You'd just be better to put it on a bog-standard credit card paid off in full than using the debit cards but people tend to think debit is better than credit - well not in this case when you're spending abroad. If you've got one of those cards, beware if you're going outside Europe, you will pay a little bit more for using it so you probably definitely want a specialist card in that case."
- Martin Lewis
- Most Recent
Martin Lewis explains why he never uses cash abroad and shares tip for getting 'near-perfect' exchange rates
The MoneySavingExpert founder revealed the holiday cards that will 'smash the pants off' bureau de change rates
- 20:56, 20 JUN 2023
- Updated 12:11, 26 JUN 2023
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Martin Lewis has revealed that he "doesn't bother" with using cash abroad while on holiday as he shared with ITV viewers his top three specialist overseas credit and debit cards with "near-perfect exchange rates".
In the summer special episode of The Martin Lewis Money Show on Tuesday night, after sharing the benefits of these cards – which were a Chase debit card, Halifax Clarity credit card, and Barclays Rewards credit card – Martin was asked the question of whether it was worth one if you only go on holiday once or twice a year as opposed to buying actual cash.
Giving his answer plainly the money expert said: "The rates of these cards smash the pants off all bureau de change. If you're only going away once a year, if you're not spending that much, it's not going to be a big saving.
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"If we take the Chase card – Chase is really easy to get and you get 1% cashback in the UK as well. It also has a pretty decent interest rate on savings. You don't have to switch to it. And there's no credit check. Why not? Because then you've got it. And whenever you go abroad you just use that. So personally I don't have foreign cash anymore. I don't bother with it anymore.
"I have one of these cards. I never even think when I go abroad: 'What am I going to use?'. I just get my card out of my overseas wallet and I know I'm going to get near-perfect rate. 'Why not?' would be my answer."
Some of the qualities of these cards that make them the best way to spend money abroad, as explained by Martin, are interest-free spending, fee-free ATM withdrawals, and cashback on spending. While Chase and Barclaycard Rewards both offer interest-free cash withdrawal too only Chase offers an easy and limited credit check.
Earlier in the show Martin explained the negatives of using a regular card abroad. While most banks get a "near-perfect" rate abroad most will usually add a "non-sterling transaction fee" of around 3% meaning £100 worth of foreign currency would actually cost you £103.
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Best travel cards, debit and credit cards to use abroad, avoid hefty fees when you spend abroad with a top travel card.
Updated November 17, 2023
In this guide
If you’re heading overseas on holiday or on a business trip then getting a travel credit or debit card could be one of the cheapest ways to spend while abroad.
In this article, we outline whether it is better to use a credit card or debit card abroad, plus the top prepaid travel money cards.
We list the top travel cards available.
How we rate the top bank cards to use abroad
- Best debit cards to use abroad
Best credit cards to use abroad
- Top prepaid travel cards to use abroad
- Should I use a credit or debit card abroad?
- Is it a good idea to withdraw cash on a credit card abroad?
Read more: Best rewards credit cards
This article may contain affiliate links that can earn us revenue*
Our ratings of the best debt and credit cards to use abroad are compiled by independent research and ratings agency Fairer Finance. It constantly monitors the credit card charges, fees and perks of every provider in the market to help you choose which is best for your needs.
We use a series of red lines that credit cards must stay within to get a top five-star rating, including:
- No cost for using your credit card for purchases overseas
- No fee for taking cash out overseas
- The representative interest rate for cash withdrawals must be no more than 1.94% a month
- A 24-hour helpline must be available
If a bank card doesn’t meet these criteria, its star rating is calculated based on how far away it is from the high bar set for a top rating.
Read more: Best balance transfer credit cards
What exchange rates are used?
When you pay on most debit and credit cards, the Visa or Mastercard exchange rate is used.
This is very close to the market rate – so you should not be caught out inadvertently paying extra because you have been given a poor exchange rate.
However, there are a small number of cards that set their own exchange rate – like Revolut* . So you need to be careful to ensure you understand the true cost if you use a card like this.
All the cards in this guide use the Visa or Mastercard exchange rate.
Read more: Best 0% credit cards
In this article, we we outline the best credit, debit and prepaid travel cards to use abroad.
Best travel debit cards
Here we list two banks which offer debit cards that might be worth considering if you’re travelling abroad.
Chase current account
Best debit card to use abroad
First Direct current account
A great current account, plus a £175 switching bonus
Starling Bank current account*
Another good travel debit card
Get £5 cashback and a FREE Currensea card
Limited time offer: You will receive £5 cashback when you order a Currensea card now and make 3 transactions abroad in any amount with your Currensea card in the first 3 months of successfully opening an account. T&Cs apply .
Experience hassle-free spending abroad! Get your free card now!
Offer ends 6th December 2023. New customers only. T&Cs apply .
Below we list a number of credit card providers that might be worth considering if you’re heading abroad.
Best if you are only using it abroad
Best overall travel credit card and good for rewards
Metro Bank Credit Card (in Europe)
Best for use in Europe
Zopa Credit Card
Best app-based card
Best prepaid travel cards
A prepaid travel card lets you load money and exchange for different currencies before you go away. You can then use this card to spend or withdraw cash while abroad.
You can’t spend more than you have loaded onto the card. It effectively works like a debit card that doesn’t have an overdraft.
Below we list a provider that offers a prepaid travel card that might be worth considering if you’re heading abroad.
Best for those looking for a prepaid travel card
Another good option for people looking for a prepaid travel card
While these cards don’t rank as market-leading options in their respective categories, they’re still decent options for some travellers.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus Card
Best for: Frequent British Airways travellers
Is it better to use a credit card or debit card abroad?
As long as you find the best – and cheapest – credit card or debit card to use abroad, it’s often a matter of personal preference. It’s worth bearing in mind that using a credit card abroad does give you Section 75 protection, which can get you your money back when things go wrong.
However, you’ll need to go through a ‘hard’ credit check when you apply for any credit card, which could affect your credit worthiness.
Lots of current accounts, including Chase’s, only carry out a ‘soft’ check which does not affect your credit score. So if you have a poorer credit history, it could be worth opting for a debit card.
The costs when using a typical debit or credit card abroad, and not a specialist travel card, can add up. According to Moneyfacts:
- A debit card, can charge £1.38
- A credit card, can charge £1.50
- A debit card, £11.88
- A credit card, £14.95 (before interest is applied)
If your current account comes with a great debit card for use abroad, then you may want to use that.
- No fees for spending or withdrawing cash abroad
- A competitive exchange rate
However, if using your bank account looks like it would be quite expensive and you don’t fancy switching, it may be easier to apply for a specialist travel credit card than to open another account.
Read more: Best premium bank accounts
Watch out for credit cards and ATMs
Unless you opt for a bank that offers fee-free current accounts that do not charge for using a debit card in Europe, which include Chase Bank and Starling Bank* , you need to be wary when using an ATM with a debit card.
You can expect even bigger charges when withdrawing cash from a machine using a credit card and that is before interest is applied. Some will charge interest from the day the money leaves your account – even if they may boast of fee-free withdrawals.
Other cards, like Barclaycard Rewards, offer a grace period without charging interest, meaning that you shouldn’t pay any cash withdrawal fees or interest if you clear your balance in full each month.
Credit cards also tend to be safer to use abroad. If your debit card is hacked or stolen while away, then the money in your account is at risk. This is not the case with a credit card as only the money up to your credit limit is at risk.
There is also something called Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. If you have a problem with a purchase of between £100 and £30,000, at home or abroad, the credit provider is jointly liable with the retailer. So if your claim is approved, you should get your money back.
You may be able to use a scheme called chargeback if you paid with a debit card or a credit card for purchases of any amount, not just over £100. Here your bank can claw back the money from the retailer’s bank, although the retailer can dispute the claims.
Read more: Best travel insurance providers
You have fewer rights than under Section 75 because that is enshrined in law and chargeback is not.
The advice if you are traveling is always to have a back-up card with you. A prepaid travel card could be a good option too.
If you are planning a trip away, you might want to make sure you are covered. Find out what you can expect from a good travel insurance policy.
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Six best current accounts
Banks offer a range of perks to entice you to open a current account, from cold hard cash to cashback on your spending or interest on your balance. Starling* have raised the interest they offer on balances up to £5,000 to 3.25% from 0.05% AER (variable). Here are our current account top picks. While some […]
Best balance transfer credit cards
Switching to an interest-free balance transfer card can save you money
Best 0% credit cards
If you need to borrow for a major, one-off purchase, using a 0% credit card could save you money on interest. While they can be useful, it’s important that you use 0% credit cards properly. You must repay at least the minimum each month (more if possible), avoid withdrawing cash and budget to clear the […]
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