Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.
“The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone.”
Going to Europe can be a magical experience where you feel like you’re traveling back in time. While every moment can feel straight out of a storybook, your credit card can bring you back to reality. Avoid thousands of dollars in flights and foreign transaction fees by using the right credit card for your journey.
Chase’s credit card is one of the best travel cards available, especially because of its network of partner airlines. The card allows you to shop around for flights while booking through Chase’s booking portal. You can also transfer the points to European airlines, including Aer Lingus, British Airways, Air France, Iberia, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic. You can also book at their hotels for rewards with places like Marriott Rewards and World of Hyatt.
Just by signing up, you can receive 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. You earn two points per dollar spent on travel and dining, with one point for any other purchases. The rewards program is simple: you earn unlimited 1.5 points for every dollar spent. The card’s annual fee is waived the first year and it’s $95 after that. While it doesn’t offer as many rewards as some other cards on areas outside of dining and travel, it’s flexibility in redemption options is worth it.
An easy to understand travel option comes from Capital One. The Venture card doesn’t offer a lot of fancy features, but it makes up for it with maximum flexibility. You earn miles for just about any type of travel, even car rentals, so booking using your card can help increase your rewards.
You earn 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months which is equal to $500 in travel. Continue earning with two miles per dollar spent on every purchase and 10 miles per dollar spent on hotel stays at hotels.com/venture. There’s no annual fee the first year, followed by $95 every year after. After the 0% introductory APR expires, you receive a more competitive interest rate at 11.9% to 19.9%. Lastly, you also can get up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Prechecked.
If you don’t like fees, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card is your best option for European travel. It offers no foreign transaction fees and it’s part of Visa, allowing it to be accepted in more places. It also offers the same redemption flexibility as the Capital One Venture Card. There’s no earning maximum, points never expire, and there are no blackout dates. Also, if you have a Bank of America account, you receive an additional 10% in rewards for every purchase.
You can earn 25,000 points by spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of opening your account. You continue earning 1.5 points per dollar spent on every purchase, and earn 3 points per dollar when purchasing through the Bank of America Travel Center. The card doesn’t have an annual fee.
If you’re looking to country hop while you’re in Europe, British Airways Visa Signature card is your go-to option. It has a distance-based award chart, making it easy to travel around Europe almost for free since the countries are close together. Avios, rewards points from British Airways, are easy to redeem for flights from Iberia and other Oneworld alliance partner airlines, including American Airlines.
Watch out for the $95 annual fee that isn’t waived the first year and the fees involved. While flights are almost free if you have enough points, British Airways may charge a high fuel surcharge in addition to taxes and other fees. When looking to plan a trans-Atlantic trip, the fees could cost over $1,000. While they won’t be that high for short flights, do your research and planning to avoid or minimize fees.
No matter where you’re headed abroad, credit cards are a must-have for packing. Credit cards are more convenient when you travel, so you don’t need to worry about withdrawing cash or finding a place to hide your funds. Especially when going between countries, you won’t need to withdraw cash in different currencies.
Credit cards offer much better fraud protection. If cash goes stolen or missing, it’s gone. A missing debit card means that your funds may leave your checking account before you can report it’s stolen. Credit cards are generally protected against fraudulent behavior, nothing is taken from your checking account, and your charges are usually removed before your next statement.
The best thing about credit cards is that you earn rewards on purchases, no matter where you are. So if you’re headed to Europe and beyond, you can be earning points for your next trip.
Your international card should have perks that make sense for you. Especially when traveling abroad to Europe, your card shouldn’t have any foreign transaction fees. The typical fee is 3%, which can add up fast as you make purchases abroad.
You’ll want to bring a card that uses Visa or Mastercard as its payment network. Both are more accepted overseas than Discover or American Express. If you do prefer a certain Discover or American Express card, make sure to bring a backup Visa or Mastercard so you’re not caught without a card.
Lastly, make sure your card has an EMV chip. Most major credit cards now come with the chips on the front of the card.
Every person and their needs are different, so find the card that makes sense for you and your travel needs. Based on the information available:
Before choosing a card, consider your personal spending habits and what you’re most likely to spend more funds on. If you would like more coverage for other means of travel, or you will be moving around through Europe, both are good considerations to keep in mind.
Take your time to research your options to find the best match.
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Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the listings that appear on this website are from companies which we receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.