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Updated June 19, 2019

Study: Credit Card for European Travel

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Traveling to Europe? Look for a card with chip technology and no foreign transaction fees. Here are our favorite cards for international travel.

Credit Card for Travel in Europe

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Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted. While many American credit cards work in Europe, you should make sure your credit card has no foreign transaction fee.

Factors to Consider

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Here are the main factors we considered in comparing European travel cards:

  1. Fees
  2. Signup Bonus
  3. Travel Rewards

Fees are no fun, of course, but with credit cards, sometimes the extra costs are justified by their benefits. It's a balance you'll want to consider by looking at each card's annual fee and foreign transaction fee. Annual fees are the price of membership for being a cardholder. Foreign transaction fees occur when you make purchases abroad; credit card companies will charge you a percentage on top of the total price of each purchase you make. If you do a lot of traveling, these fees can add up fast, so look for a card with no foreign transaction fees.

Most travel cards offer an introductory signup bonus to entice new members. The bonus is usually a large amount of points or miles that you'll receive if you spend a certain amount of money by a specific time. For savvy card users, these bonuses can more than justify most cards' annual fee. But if you're not going to spend enough money to get the bonus, getting one of these cards doesn't make financial sense.

In addition to a generous bonus, a good travel credit card should also provide ample opportunity to earn points and miles to help pay for your next trip. Then you'll want flexibility in how you can use those rewards. You don't want to be limited in your choice of airlines or hotels.

Credit Cards for European Travel

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Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture offers 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases within the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This card earns 2x miles per dollar on all purchases. There are no foreign transaction fees. You get up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. There is a $95 annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This card lets you earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Points can be transferred 1:1 to leading frequent travel programs including airline transfer partners. The card has no foreign transaction fees. The card also comes with premium travel and purchase protection benefits (including trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance and auto rental collision damage waiver). There is a $95 annual fee.

Why We Like It
The Sapphire Preferred lets you pile on the points and gives you the freedom to use them. You can transfer the points at full 1:1 value to select frequent travel programs with no additional fees.

The Downsides
The card is Chip and Signature instead of Chip and PIN. To learn the difference, read our Beginner's Guide to Smart Chip Credit Cards.

Besides the annual fee, the card is not easy to get. You will need excellent credit to qualify and reap the rewards of the Sapphire Preferred.

Who It Works Best For
Frequent travelers with excellent credit who can take advantage of the signup bonus.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Capital One. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Capital One.

Disclaimer: The information for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

More from CreditDonkey:


What Are Chip Credit Cards


Foreign Transaction Fee


Mileage Credit Cards


Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95

Orbitz

Orbitz is a well-known online travel agency that offers discounted flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and more. Find out below if those deals are actually worth your time.

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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