Top travel credit cards in Australia summarised.

Roberto Efflandrin

Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or heading off on your first big trip, organising how to carry and access your money safely is essential.

One option to consider is a travel credit card. There are several different types of travel credit cards available in Australia and knowing which one to choose can be a challenge.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at 5 popular options and how they compare so you can make an informed decision on whether this is the right choice for your travels. Let’s get right to it.

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What is a travel credit card?

Travel credit cards work similarly to standard credit cards but have added features designed to suit those spending money overseas.

These features may include things such as complimentary travel insurance, lowered or removed fees for currency conversion, the ability to earn reward points or similar.

Benefits of using a travel credit card for travel

While using a travel credit card may not be well suited to all travellers, there are some benefits to doing so, such as:

  • Convenience. Using a travel credit card means not having to carry large amounts of cash with you and makes bigger purchases like hotel bills and flights easier to manage on the spot
  • Fraud protection. Unlike cash, using a travel credit card for payments is incredibly secure and if stolen, the card can be blocked or cancelled and a new one issued
  • Insurance. Many Australian travel credit cards come with insurance or purchases as well as complimentary travel insurance for the cardholder and any dependents
  • Competitive exchange rates. While not necessarily the most competitive when compared to travel money cards, when it comes to cash, they often beat out rates offered by ATMS or currency exchange stands
  • Rewards. Some travel credit cards will reward you for your spending overseas in the form of reward points or frequent flyer miles

Here are 5 travel credit cards you can get in Australia

The following is a comparison of 5 available travel credit cards within Australia.

Please note all fees are listed in Australian Dollars and all information is accurate as of 17 November 2023.


1. Qantas American Express Ultimate Credit Card

The Qantas American Express Ultimate Credit Card offers several features including¹:

  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Qantas Reward points
  • Two American Express Centurion Lounge passes annually
  • Two Qantas Club Lounge passes annually when purchasing qualifying Qantas products and services
  • The option for up to 4 additional cards at no extra charge
  • A $450 Qantas Travel Credit to use annually when booking travel via American Express Travel

Quick summary of this travel credit card

Information on the fees and charges associated with this card are outlined below.

Card Qantas American Express Ultimate Credit Card¹
Fees³ - Annual fee of $450

- Currency conversion fee is 3% of the converted amount

Rewards/Points - Earn 1.25 Qantas points per $1 spent on eligible purchases overseas

- Earn 2.25 Qantas points per $1 on eligible Qantas products and services

Exchange rate used Variable, based on customary industry sources⁴
P.A. Interest rate 23.99%
Credit limit - Minimum limit $3000 maximum limit determined on application

Sources checked on: 17 November 2023

Pros and cons of this travel credit card

Pros

- Ability to quickly boost your Qantas frequent flyer miles

- Lounge access benefits

- Access to a dedicated team of travel consultants

- Complimentary insurance for travel and purchases

Cons
  • Cash advances are not offered for this card²
  • High interest rate
  • High annual fee
  • Reward points only accrued on eligible purchases
Read more: Qantas American Express Ultimate card. The fees & need-to-knows

2. Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard

Backed by Bankwest and Mastercard, the Zero Platinum travel credit card offers⁵:

  • Minimal or non-existent fees
  • The option to withdraw cash overseas via a cash advance
  • A lower purchase interest rate than some competitors
  • Secure transacting via Mastercard

Quick summary of this travel credit card

Information on the fees and charges associated with this card are outlined below.

Card Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard⁵
Fees - $0 annual fee

- $0 foreign transaction fees

- 3% of the transaction amount or $4, whichever is greater for cash advances

Rewards/Points Not offered with this card
Exchange rate used Wholesale exchange rate selected by Mastercard⁶
P.A. Interest rate - 14.99% on purchases

- 21.99% on cash advances

Credit limit Minimum limit $1000, maximum limit determined on application

Sources checked on: 17 November 2023

Pros and cons of this travel credit card

Pros Cons
  • Low or no fees depending on transaction type
  • Competitive interest rate on purchases
  • Allows cash advances
  • No added rewards in the form of reward points or frequent flyer miles
  • Low minimum limit from which to negotiate a higher limit
Read more: Bankwest Zero Platinum Mastercard review

Meet Wise

3. Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard

Financial service provider Latitude offers their 28° Global Platinum Mastercard with benefits such as⁷:

  • Promotional discounts on travel arrangements booked through Expedia and Wotif (subject to change)
  • Access to Mastercard’s global data roaming service Flexiroam
  • A complimentary flight delay pass for lounge access if your pre-registered flight is delayed by two hours or more

Quick summary of this travel credit card

Information on the fees and charges associated with this card are outlined below.

Card Latitude 28° Global Platinum Mastercard⁷
Fees - $0 annual fee

- $0 international transaction fees on purchases

- $0 currency conversion fees

Rewards/Points Not offered with this card
Exchange rate used Exchange rate selected by Mastercard⁸
P.A. Interest rate - 26.99% on purchases

- 29.99% on cash advances

Credit limit Minimum limit $1000, maximum limit determined on application

Sources checked on: 17 November 2023

Pros and cons of this travel credit card

Pros Cons
- No fees whether used in Australia or overseas

- Promotional discounts available on travel booked using the card

- Easy communication when travelling is offered via Flexiroam

- Comparatively high interest rate on both purchases and cash advances

- Low minimum limit from which to negotiate a higher limit

- No travel insurance or reward program available

Read more: 28 Degrees Card vs Wise (TransferWise) card in Australia

4. Qantas Premier Platinum Credit Card

Backed by National Australia Bank (NAB), the Qantas Premier Platinum Credit Card offers⁹ ¹⁰:

  • Discounted companion fares when travelling with Qantas on selected flights within Australia when booked through Qantas Premier Concierge
  • Complimentary lounge access for two, once per year
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • 6 months interest-free on your first eligible Qantas purchase
  • Access to Qantas Premier Concierge
  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection™

Quick summary of this travel credit card

Information on the fees and charges associated with this card are outlined below.

Card Qantas Premier Platinum Credit Card⁹
Fees - $399 annual fee

- $50 per additional cardholder per year

- 3% of the transaction amount on any international purchase

- $5 and 3% on any international cash advance

Rewards/Points - Potential for bonus Qantas Frequent Flyer points on application where eligible
Exchange rate used Unclear information online, please check with card issuer at time of application
P.A. Interest rate 19.99% on purchases

21.99% on cash advances

Credit limit Determined on application

Sources checked on: 17 November 2023

Pros and cons of this travel credit card

Pros Cons
  • May earn up to 80,000 bonus Qantas points on application if eligible
  • Discounted flights domestically when travelling with a companion
  • Complimentary insurance and travel booking support
- Comparatively high annual fee with fewer benefits than other Qantas credit cards

- Multiple additional fees applied on transactions

- Relatively high interest rates


5. HSBC Low Rate Credit Card

HSBC’s Low Rate credit card is well suited to everyday use and travel, offering¹¹:

  • A low purchase interest rate for domestic or international transactions
  • No added fees for overseas transactions
  • Complimentary domestic travel insurance
  • Easy contactless payments via Apple Pay or Google Pay
  • 0% interest on balance transfers for 20 months

Quick summary of this travel credit card

Information on the fees and charges associated with this card are outlined below.

Card HSBC Low Rate
Fees (transaction, yearly/monthly, atm fees) - $99 annual fee

- $0 overseas exchange/transaction fees

- 3% or $4, whichever is higher on cash advances

Rewards/Points Not applicable with this card
Exchange rate used Exchange rate selected by Visa¹²
P.A. Interest rate 12.99% on purchases

25.99% on cash advances

Credit limit Minimum limit $1000 maximum limit determined on application

Sources checked on: 17 November 2023

Pros and cons of this travel credit card

Pros Cons
  • Minimal fees for use domestically and overseas
  • Low purchase exchange rate compared to other products
  • Additional cardholders permitted at no charge
  • No rewards program
  • Included insurance only for domestic travel
  • Low minimum limit to negotiate up from
  • Only available to new HSBC customers

What to look for when searching for a travel credit card

Ultimately when you’re looking for the best travel credit card we recommend looking at those with the following key characteristics:

  • Low or no foreign transaction fees
  • Allows for cash advances/cash withdrawals as necessary
  • Levies a low annual fee or offsets this with complimentary benefits such as travel insurance or travel credits/rewards
  • Offer a competitive interest rate on purchases
  • Allows for use via a digital wallet for ease of use and fast card replacement in cases of loss or theft
  • Easy use of online banking or an associated app for tracking of your spending as you travel

What to keep in mind.

If you opt to travel with an Australian-issued travel credit card, just remember:

  • Even though it's a travel credit card, it is still wise to let your bank or card issuer know when you’re heading off overseas to avoid possible card suspensions
  • Relying solely on your travel credit card is inadvisable as should it be cancelled or blocked due to loss or theft, getting a replacement quickly can be tricky when you’re on the other side of the world
  • Ensure your card issuer has a reliable emergency customer care team for dealing with problems on the go and their rapid resolution

Travel with Wise

With a Wise Account you can hold money in over 40 currencies and spend it in over 150 countries. Whenever you exchange currencies it’s done using the mid-market rate with a conversion fee shown upfront.

To make everyday spending easier you can order a Wise Debit card for your Wise Account and generate virtual cards as needed. If you have the local currency in your Wise Account the Wise card will use it for local payments. If you don’t, it uses smart technology to auto-convert your money at the mid-market rate, for a conversion fee.

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Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up-to-date pricing and fee information.

Sources:

  1. American Express – Card Overview
  2. American Express – Key Facts
  3. American Express – Fees & Charges
  4. American Express – Exchange Rates pg. 17
  5. Bankwest – Card Overview
  6. Bankwest – Exchange Rates pg. 20
  7. Latitude – Card Overview
  8. Latitude – Exchange Rates
  9. Qantas – Card Overview
  10. Qantas – Features & Benefits
  11. HSBC – Card Overview
  12. HSBC – Exchange rates pg. 18

Sources checked on: 17 November 2023


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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