Best Credit Card Perks for Travelers

The cards with the best services, lowest fees, and top rewards when you’re on the road


Most travelers feel spoiled rotten if their credit card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees while they’re jet-setting around the world or, worse, get shut off the second they step foot in another country. But some credit cards come with a gourmet set of perks built in, whether it’s lower (or no) fees, stellar concierge services, or a rewards program that doesn’t equal added frustration. You’d be hard-pressed to find a card that has all three features, but if you figure out which is most important to you, it’ll be easier to find a card that works with your travel style. Because surprise fees are no fun when you’re globe-trotting.

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Some cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, seem crafted by and for traveling gastronomes. You earn two points per dollar spent on travel- and dining-related expenses, like booking a holiday or ordering that second bottle of wine at dinner. The card does have a $95 annual fee, but they don’t charge foreign transaction fees and they’ve got a competitive rate for redeeming points (and it’s a lot less than the $450 annual fee for the American Express Platinum card). Now, onto the American Express Platinum card.

It is well known that the services that come with this pricey plastic card are unparalleled. While rewards rates can be steep, they don’t charge foreign transaction fees and offer amazing Platinum-exclusive perks like airport lounge access and $200 toward “airline incidentals.” But you’d really get this card for the lifestyle. They plan custom itineraries, secure hard-to-find tickets, and book the best table at the world’s most acclaimed eateries.

For families, business travelers, and people who don’t feel like spending $450 per year on perks, though, there are cards that cater to specific traveler needs and uses like hotel rewards programs, emergency assistance, and dining credits. There are cards that benefit travelers who like to plan ahead and there’s a card for the last-minute tripper. Again, no one card really comes with it all, but if you think about where you spend the most and where you could use a few added bonuses, you’ll find a couple of real perks to take advantage of — not just lower transaction fees.