Planning a trip to Europe is exciting, but it also comes with certain challenges – some of which you may not have considered. For instance, have you thought about which credit card you’ll carry on your trip overseas? If not, you could be in for a frustrating and expensive vacation.
Luckily, you have the Nerds in your corner to help you find the right card for purchasing croissants in Paris or tickets to a flamenco festival in Spain. All of the cards highlighted below have two basic features:
- No foreign transaction fees, so you’ll save money every time you swipe, and
- EMV technology, so that your card will be accepted nearly anywhere
But beyond the basics, we also included cards that offer great rewards.
Best overall: Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
If you want to earn big travel rewards without the hassle of dealing with frequent-flier programs, look no further than the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. For starters, it offers a generous sign-up bonus: Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® also boasts a high rewards rate of 2% — this is double the industry standard for travel credit cards. When you redeem miles, you’ll also get a 5% miles bonus toward your next redemption. The card allows you the flexibility to book your trip through any site or agency you want. You simply use your miles to pay yourself back for travel expenses in the form of a statement credit.
It’s easy to see why Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® is one of the Nerds’ favorites.
Best for travel hackers: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If you spend a lot on dining and travel and are skilled at making frequent flyer miles go the distance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card might be the card for you. It carries a stellar sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. That’s enough to get a big jump on paying for your next trip.
When it comes to racking up rewards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has great earning power: Every time you use the card, you’ll be getting 2 points per dollar spent on dining in restaurants and travel and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Generally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are worth one cent apiece. However, they’re worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which drives the value of each point up to 1.25 cents each. This amounts to a 2.50% rewards rate for restaurant and travel spending. Plus, you also have the option of transferring your points to participating travel partners at a 1:1 ratio.
For those with a permanent case of wanderlust, it really doesn’t get better than that.
Best for budget travelers: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card
You might be thinking that every great travel credit card out there carries an annual fee, but that’s not the case. With the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, you’ll earn a generous, flat rewards rate with every dollar you spend on purchases – all with an annual fee of $0.
Paying for souvenirs, delicious meals and cultural excursions while you’re traveling in Europe will be a breeze if you bring the right card along – apply for one of the Nerds’ top picks today.
Travel image via Shutterstock
Updated Aug. 2, 2017.