The 7 best credit cards for traveling in Europe [2023]

Adam Rozsa

Planning an exciting European adventure? Whether you’re planning a cultural tour of France and Spain or to hit the beaches in Spain, you’ll need to find the best way to spend overseas.

A credit card could be a good option, but which are the best credit cards for traveling in Europe?

We’ll run through your options here in this guide.

But first, a word.

While it’s not a credit card, it’s well worth checking out the Wise international debit card ahead of your trip.

The Wise card is tailor-made for traveling, as it offers the following features:

  • Spend and withdraw cash in 174 countries, anywhere that Visa and Mastercard are accepted.
  • Automatically converts your USD to the local currency to EUR at the mid-market exchange rate whenever you spend. There’s just a small conversion fee, or it’s free if you already have the currency in your Wise account.
  • Withdraw $100 a month from overseas ATMs for free, with a tiny fee after that.

So, you can shop, dine and travel knowing you're getting a great exchange rate. And there’s no need to convert currency or carry cash around with you.

Open a Wise Account, and you can order a Wise card for a one-time fee of just $9.

Get a Wise Account today

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

Is it best to use a debit or credit card in Europe?

Major debit and credit cards are used and accepted throughout most parts of Europe. If you’ll be paying for restaurant meals, drinks, shopping or travel tickets by card, a credit card could be a good bet.

But for ATM withdrawals, a debit card is usually better - as credit cards may have high fees or interest rates for cash withdrawals.

However, even if you’ve packed your plastic, it’s always wise to have some cash in euros on you.

Here are the best credit cards to use in Europe

Now, let’s take a look at the best credit cards for traveling in Europe.

We’ve included cards which offer rewards on travel spending, as these can help your money go further. So, let’s dive in:

CardFeeAPR on purchasesFeatures
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card¹$95 annual fee20.74% - 28.74%

- No foreign transaction fees

- Travel miles bonus

- Access to Capital One airport lounges

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card²None0% intro APR for 15 months, 19.74% - 29.74% afterwards- $200 cashback on opening

- 1.5% cashback on purchases

- Other travel perks

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card³None0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles, 17.74% - 27.74% afterwards

- No foreign transaction fees

- Initial points bonus worth $250

- Earn points on spending

Citi Premier® Card⁴$95 annual fee20.74% - 28.74%

- No foreign transaction fees

- Initial points bonus worth $600

- Earn points on travel spending

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card⁵$95 annual fee20.74% - 27.74%

- No foreign transaction fees

- Initial points bonus worth $1,000

- Extra points on travel spending

American Express Gold Card⁶$250 annual fee20.99% - 28.99%

- No foreign transaction fees

- Earn points on flights

- Emergency assistance

- Limited travel insurance cover

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card¹

The first of two Capital One credit cards on our list, the Venture card has an APR of 20.74% - 28.74% on purchases. There’s also an annual fee of $95 to pay.

However, you’ll also get a long list of rewards and benefits in return. These include:

  • Initial bonus of 75,000 miles (worth $750 in travel) when you spend $4,000 within 3 months of opening an account
  • Unlimited 2x miles earned on every purchase
  • Earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • Up to $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
  • Two free visits a year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

You can use any miles you’ve earned as reimbursement for travel purchases. Alternatively, you can redeem them when booking trips through Capital One Travel.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card²

Another top pick for travel Capital One’s Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee.

It also has a 0% introductory APR for 15 months, with a rate of 19.74% - 29.74% after that time. Another thing to know about is the balance transfer fee of 3%.

Other key features of the card include:

  • Initial $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months of signing up
  • Unlimited 1.5% cashback on all purchases
  • Up to 6 months of free Uber One membership statement credits
  • Unlimited 5% cashback on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card³

There’s no annual fee with the Bank of America Travel Rewards card, nor will you pay any foreign transaction charges either.

Another good perk is the interest fee period, which covers a total of 18 billing cycles. After that, there’s a variable APR of 17.74% - 27.74%.

In return, you’ll get the following rewards:

  • An initial 25,000 online bonus points worth $250 when you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days of signing up
  • Unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spending on anything
  • Preferred Rewards members can earn between 25% and 75% more points on spending.

You can redeem your points for credit to put towards travel or dining.

Citi Premier® Card⁴

The Citi Premier® Card has an interest rate of 20.74% - 28.74% variable APR, and an annual fee of $95.

There are no foreign transaction fees to worry about, but there is a balance transfer fee of 5%.

In return, you’ll get the following rewards:

  • Initial bonus of 60,000 points worth $600 in gift cards, after you spend $4,000 within the first 3 months
  • Earn points on spending on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • Annual hotel savings benefit.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card⁵

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a $95 annual fee. But for spending overseas, there are no foreign transaction fees to pay.

The interest rate is 20.74% - 27.74% variable APR, and there’s a balance transfer fee of 5%.

You’ll also get the following rewards when you sign up for the Chase card:

  • Initial points bonus of 80,000 (worth $1,000 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards) when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months
  • 5x points on travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3x points on dining and 2x points on all other travel purchases
  • $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
  • Free access to DashPass.

American Express Gold Card⁶

The Amex Gold Card offers all kinds of travel-friendly benefits, but the first thing to know is that it has a steep $250 annual fee. It also has a variable APR of 20.99% to 28.99%.

If you’re ok with all of that, then read on.

In return for the annual fee, the American Express Gold Card offers the following rewards:

  • Earn 3x Membership Rewards points (redeemable for flights and hotels) on flights booked directly with airlines or on American Express Travel
  • $100 experience credit to use during stays at The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Baggage insurance plan - up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and $500 for checked baggage
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Global Assist Hotline - available for 24/7 emergency assistance whenever you travel more than 100 miles from home. It can be used for missing luggage help, emergency cash wires, medical and legal referrals, and much more.

Bottom line

So, what credit cards are best for traveling to Europe? It all depends on what you’re looking for, and whether you’re willing to pay an annual fee to unlock travel perks.

Hopefully though, you should be all clued-up on the options available after reading this guide. Happy travels!


Do you need a special credit card to travel to Europe?

You can use many US-issued credit cards in Europe, but they can be extremely expensive when it comes to foreign transaction fees and interest rates. This is why it’s a good idea to look for travel rewards cards, which waive these fees.

Is Visa or Amex better in Europe?

As Visa (along with Mastercard) cards are issued by European banks, it tends to be more widely accepted than the US-issued American Express card.

What’s the best credit card for students traveling to Europe?

For most students, it’s all about the cost. So, look for travel rewards credit cards which have no annual fee and charge no foreign transaction fees. A couple of the best examples from our list are the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and of course, the Wise international debit card.

Learn more about Wise

Sources used for this article:

  1. Capital One - Credit Cards - Venture
  2. Capital One - Credit Cards - Quicksilver
  3. Bank of America - Travel Rewards Credit Card
  4. Citi - Citi Premier Credit Card
  5. Chase - Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  6. American Express - Gold Card

Sources checked on 12-May-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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