Best Credit Cards to Have While Traveling Abroad

Best Credit Cards for International Travel

Traveling abroad is on everyone’s bucket list. International flights having one or two stops during the journey are cheaper than direct flights. Some people have plans to roam around the city but others prefer just chilling out in the lounge. Nowadays, everyone uses credit cards and especially for online purchases such as flight tickets, people prefer paying via a credit card maybe because they get discounts.

Similarly, a credit card with free lounge access is preferred by travellers so that the tiredness of long journeys and delayed flights can be lessened. Also, it is advisable to use a credit card abroad. So, to more about it and if you have recent plans of traveling to your favorite country and looking for credit cards with complimentary lounge access, here is the list of options you can choose from.

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Top Credit Cards for International Travel

Below are the features, joining and annual fees of some of the best credit cards you can get to enjoy complimentary lounge access.

Credit CardFeaturesJoining FeesAnnual Fees
HDFC Regalia Credit CardComplimentary Airport Lounge Access through Priority Pass Membership
Lowest Foreign Currency Mark-up Fee of 2% on international transactions
Now get 15,000 bonus points every year on spends of ₹8 Lac (wef 1 Apr'18)
Priority check-in/waiting list clearance
Additional baggage allowed (5 Kg)
Get complimentary airport lounge access with Priority Pass
Earn 9 Club Vistara(CV) points for every ₹100 spent on All Vistara Flights
24/7 travel concierge assistance
Complete protection and cover in case of Death due to air accidents and medical emergencies overseas
Redeem accumulated reward points for flight bookings or hotel bookings. Or you can convert your reward points to Air Miles of leading airlines
₹2500 + Applicable Taxes₹2500 + Applicable Taxes
YES Bank YES FIRST Exclusive Credit CardComplimentary lounge access with Priority Pass membership
Insurance coverage for accidental death during air travel and unexpected medical emergencies abroad
Contactless technology embedded in the card
24/7 concierge assistance
Redeem accumulated reward points for booking flights or hotels or movies
₹10,000 + Applicable Taxes₹10,000 + Applicable Taxes
SBI Card EliteExclusive 24/7 concierge services
International lounge access – up to six free visits in a year with Priority Pass
Complimentary Club Vistara Silver membership
Joining perks – ₹5,000 e-gift voucher which can be redeemed against exclusive travel and lifestyle partners
Jet Airways ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit CardEarn JPMiles on everyday spends and bookings made via Jet Airways website
Get 5% discount on the base fare for all air tickets booked through Jet Airways website (Economy cabin)
Joining perk – JetPrivilege program membership and 10,000 JPMiles
Renewal bonus – 5,000 bonus JPMiles
Redeem JPMiles for free flights across Jet Airways or the other 25+ international airline partners
Complimentary VIP lounge access with Priority Pass
Forex mark-up fee – 3.5%
HDFC Diners Club Credit CardUnlimited Airport lounge access to 700+ Lounges in India and worldwide for primary cardholders
Book Air Tickets / Hotels across 150+ Airlines and Choice of hotels (Domestic & International) at
Redeem reward points for booking Air Tickets / Hotels across 150+ Airlines and Choice of hotels (Domestic & International) at ( 1 Reward Point = Re. 1 )Redeem Reward Point for AirMiles across British Airways Executive Club (Avios), Jet Airways (JPMiles), Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer Miles), Trident Hotels or Club Vistara. (1 Reward Point = 1 AirMile).Please complete Frequent flyer registration before attempting Airmiles redemption in Netbanking.
Axis Bank Miles & More World Credit CardGet 3000 Welcome Miles on availing the card.
Win 2000 Bonus Miles by activating the card and spending ₹50,000 within the first 60 days following card issuance.
Win 5000 miles as a welcome bonus on the first transaction with your card.
Earn 3000 miles every year as Annual Bonus Miles.
Win four miles for every ₹200 spent on the card.
Win 20 miles for every ₹200 spent on movie bookings through the card.
Get 3000 miles on every annual renewal.
Earn 24,000 miles by spending ₹1 lakh in a month.
Get complimentary access to MasterCard lounges across the countries.
Get 2.5% surcharge refund by spending ₹400 to ₹5000 on fuel at all petrol pumps across India.
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What are the transaction fees and charges on Credit Cards?

Most debit and credit cards charge a fee every time you buy something abroad. These fees are usually around 3% of the purchase price. But some debit cards and credit cards don’t charge these fees. So, it is recommended to go through the charges before you decide to get a particular credit card. Below are the types of charges applicable to international credit cards.  There are basically three types of charges involved:

  1. Foreign Currency Conversion fee – The credit card you own is an Indian credit card with Indian Rupees in it. When you use this card abroad, you will be charged a foreign currency conversion fee as well. Visa and MasterCard automatically charge a 1-2% fee on foreign currency exchange and anything in excess of it is generally a small margin of profit for the bank.
  2. Foreign Transaction Charge – Irrespective of the currency, transaction amount, or cash withdrawal, providers (SBI, ICICI, HDFC, BOB, PNB etc.) charge a foreign transaction Charge, which makes up for around 2.5 -3.5% figure of the total transaction amount.
  3. Cash Advance Fee – Just like cash advances are chargeable within the country, there is an additional fee for withdrawing money overseas via a Credit Card. For each withdrawal, you can incur an additional fee of 1-4% along with the standard cash withdrawal rate for your Credit Card, together with the international cash withdrawal fee. So, don’t do it until and unless it’s an emergency.

How to select a perfect International Credit Card?

The charges you will be paying on withdrawal and using a credit card are obviosuly not welcomed. But, you always have the choice to check the fees and charges before you get them. The information  on transaction charges and cash advance is available with the issuing bank like SBI, ICICI etc. You can contact their customer care department to find out about the same before packing your bags.

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Why should you use Credit Cards abroad?

Even though using a credit card abroad for shopping and withdrawal may be expensive, it is still recommended. Read below the reason behind this.

  1. Credit cards give you complimentary lounge access.
  2. Low foreign currency mark-up fee.
  3. Free bonus points on annual transactions.
  4. Insurance cover for accidental death during air travel.
  5. Redeem reward points for flight bookings.
  6. Hotels generally ask you to deposit your credit card as a security deposit.
  7. If your credit card gets lost abroad, most credit card providers limit your liability which is not available for lost debit cards.

With the above information on some of the best credit cards for international travel, you might have got the idea how can you choose the most suitable one for yourself.

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