15 Best Credit Cards for International Travel and Spends

Best Credit Cards for International Travel and Spends

Table of Contents

As incomes rise, more and more of us are traveling outside India for leisure. When traveling internationally, your regular credit cards may not be useful and you need to explore best credit cards for international travel. The reason is as follows. The one fee that you always have to pay when traveling outside India or transacting online in foreign currency is the currency conversion fee. Each transaction on an Indian credit card involving a non-INR currency is subject to a foreign currency markup fee. The fee can range up to 3.5% plus GST. With the forex markup, you could end up paying almost 104 USD for a 100 USD purchase! However, if we use the best credit card for international travel and spending that offers good rewards and reduced forex markups, we can save on this charge. In this post, we list the best credit cards for international travel and spending.

Criteria: Credit cards that offer a return on international spends after including the forex markup charges

LTF IndusInd Bank Credit Cards

List of Best Credit Cards for International Travel & Spends

HDFC Bank Infinia Credit Card

Infinia is not only the most rewarding credit card in India but also one of the best credit cards for international travel and spends. More so with the Global Value Program. The card offers a renewal benefit for the fee we pay, so consider this card first for international travel.

HDFC Bank Infinia Credit Card IN - Best Credit Cards for International Travel & Spends
  • Joining and Annual Fee: Rs 12500+GST
  • Network: Visa/Mastercard
  • Forex Markup Charges: 2% plus GST ~2.36%
  • Rewards: 3.3%
  • Effective Return: 0.94%
  • Tip: Enrol in the Global Value Program to get 1% extra cashback up to Rs 1000 per statement cycle. This boosts the return to 1.94% even on foreign transactions.
  • International Airport Lounge Access: Unlimited complimentary visits for primary and 2 add-on cards

HDFC Bank Diners Club Black

LTF IDFC First Bank Credit Cards

Both Diners Club Black and Metal Edition offer a low forex markup with regular rewards on foreign spends. We get the same effective return for international spends as on Infinia for the DCB. But the DCB will have acceptance issues in some of the countries. So, you would need to have a Visa and Mastercard option for backup.

HDFC Bank Diners Club Black - Best Credit Cards for International Travel & Spends
  • Joining and Annual Fee: Rs 10000+GST
  • Network: Diners Club
  • Forex Markup Charges: 2% plus GST ~2.36%
  • Rewards: 3.3%
  • Effective Return: 0.94%
  • Tip: Enroll in the Global Value Program to get 1% extra cashback up to Rs 1000 per statement cycle. This boosts the return to 1.94% even on foreign transactions.
  • International Lounge Access: Unlimited complimentary visits for both primary and 2 add-on cards

Axis Bank Reserve Credit Card

The annual charges are high for Reserve but this card offers many more benefits than also being one of the best credit cards for international travel and spends. Transfer EDGE reward points to air miles and you have a highly rewarding card here. The return rates below are with the 5:2 transfer ratio for EDGE Rewards. If you have Burgundy Private, the effective return will be more.

Axis Bank Reserve Credit Card - Best Credit Cards for International Travel & Spends
  • Joining and Annual Fee: Rs 50000+GST
  • Network: Visa
  • Forex Markup Charges: 1.5% plus GST ~1.77%
  • Rewards: 30 EDGE RP/Rs 200
  • Effective Return: 1.23% for GV redemption and 4.23% for airmiles transfer (Points Transfer provides maximum value for EDGE Rewards)
  • International Lounge Access: Unlimited complimentary visits for both primary and add-on cards

Axis Bank Magnus Burgundy Credit Card

Magnus is suitable for foreign spends only if you have a Burgundy account and also use the EDGE RP for points transfer.

Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card - Best Credit Cards for International Travel & Spends
  • Joining and Annual Fee: LTF for Burgundy
  • Network: Mastercard
  • Forex Markup Charges: 2% plus GST ~2.36%
  • Rewards: 12 EDGE RP/Rs 200
  • Effective Return: 2.44% for airmiles transfer
  • International Lounge Access: Unlimited complimentary visits for the primary card and 8 visits for guests

Samsung Axis Bank Infinite Credit Card

Samsung Axis Bank Infinite credit card not only offers 10% on Samsung but is also another option in the best cards for international travel and spends.

  • Joining and Annual Fee: Rs 5000+GST
  • Network: Visa
  • Forex Markup Charges: 3.5% plus GST ~4.13%
  • Rewards: 15 EDGE RP/Rs 100
  • Effective Return: 1.87% for points transfer
  • International Lounge Access: 6 complimentary visits per year

American Express Platinum Charge Card

The Platinum Charge is again another card that offers great lifestyle benefits. Use this card for international transactions if you have it but don’t get the card only for foreign spends. American Express’s acceptability might be an issue in some countries.

AU Bank Xcite Ace
Amex Platinum Charge Credit Card - Best Credit Cards for International Travel & Spends
  • Joining and Annual Fee: Rs 60000+GST
  • Network: American Express
  • Forex Markup Charges: 3.5% plus GST ~4.13%
  • Rewards: 7.5 MR points/Rs 100 (3X on international spends)
  • Effective Return: 1.5% to 3.4% assuming 1 MR point value from 75p to Rs 1
  • International Lounge Access: Unlimited complimentary visits for the primary card and 4 add-on cards

Citibank Prestige Credit Card

Citibank Prestige is another good card if you are into points transfer to air miles. Unless you are an existing Citi credit card holder, you cannot get the Prestige anymore.

  • Joining and Annual Fee: Rs 20000+GST
  • Network: Visa/Mastercard
  • Forex Markup Charges: 3.5% plus GST ~4.13%
  • Rewards: 2 RP/Rs 100
  • Effective Return: 1.9% to 3.9% assuming 1-mile value from 75p to Rs 1
  • International Lounge Access: Unlimited complimentary visits for the primary and add-on cards

Club Vistara IndusInd Bank Explorer Credit Card

The IndusInd Vistara card might not look great in front of the Axis and SBI Vistara cards but it has one USP. It comes with zero foreign currency markup.

Club Vistara IndusInd Bank Explorer Credit Card- Best Credit Cards for International Travel & Spends
  • Joining Fee: Rs 40000+GST
  • Annual Fee: Rs 10000+GST
  • Network: Visa
  • Forex Markup Charges: 0%
  • Rewards: Up to 6 CV points/Rs 100
  • Effective Return: 7% to 10% when redeemed for Vistara flights. This includes milestone benefits as well.
  • International Lounge Access: 4 complimentary visits/year

AU Bank Zenith+ Credit Card

AU Bank Zenith+ credit card is an excellent value for money proposition for its benefits. We get equivalent reward points in lieu of the annual fee along with a very low forex markup.

  • Joining and Annual Fee: Rs 4999+GST
  • Network: Visa
  • Forex Markup Charges: 0.99%+GST ~1.17%
  • Rewards: 2%
  • Effective Return: 0.83%
  • International Lounge Access: 4 complimentary visits/quarter

Standard Chartered Ultimate Credit Card

The SC Ultimate gives a reward rate of 3.3% on international transactions as well but with a little higher markup fee. But, there is a cashback on this markup fee as well.

  • Joining and Annual Fee: Rs 5000+GST
  • Network: Visa/Mastercard
  • Forex Markup Charges: 3.5% plus GST ~4.13%
  • Rewards: 3.3% plus cashback of 1.5% on forex markup charges
  • Effective Return: 0.67%
  • International Lounge Access: 1 complimentary visit per month if the previous month’s spending is more than Rs 20000

Bank of Baroda Eterna Credit Card

The Eterna offers decent rewards on international transactions but has no international lounge access benefits. So, this card is good if you don’t need to use it for lounge access.

  • Joining and Annual Fee: Rs 2499+GST
  • Network: Visa/Mastercard
  • Forex Markup Charges: 2% plus GST ~2.36%
  • Rewards: 3.75%
  • Effective Return: 1.4%
  • International Lounge Access: Not Available

RBL World Safari Credit Card

Zero forex markup charges are the USP for the RBL World Safari card but you miss out on rewards in exchange for that.

  • Joining Fee: NIL
  • Annual Fee: Rs 3000+GST
  • Network: Mastercard
  • Forex Markup Charges: 0%
  • Rewards: No regular rewards. Only milestone rewards.
  • Effective Return: 0%
  • International Lounge Access: 2 complimentary visits per year

IDFC First WOW! Credit Card

  • Joining and Annual Fee: NIL (Lifetime Free)
  • Network: Visa
  • Forex Markup Charges: 0%
  • Rewards: 0.67%
  • Effective Return: 0.67%
  • International Lounge Access: Not Available

OneCard Credit Card

We would not advise using OneCard for foreign transactions. But, it is still very popular with many customers. So, covering it here to show that it is not that much of a great option. 🙂

OneCard - Best Lifetime Free (LTF) Credit Cards
  • Joining and Annual Fee: NIL (Lifetime Free)
  • Network: Visa
  • Forex Markup Charges: 1% plus GST ~1.18%
  • Rewards: 0.1% to 1%
  • Effective Return: -1.08% to -0.18%
  • International Lounge Access: Not Available

Scapia Federal Bank Credit Card

Scapia Federal Bank credit card is a must have entry-level credit card if all you need is zero forex markup on your international spends. It is also Lifetime Free.

Scapia Federal Bank Credit Card - Best Lifetime Free (LTF) Credit Cards
  • Joining and Annual Fee: NIL (Lifetime Free)
  • Network: Visa
  • Forex Markup Charges: Zero
  • Rewards: NIL
  • Effective Return: NIL
  • International Lounge Access: Not Available
  • Full Review
Axis Bank Neo Credit Card LTF
Share the Post:

Related Posts

20 thoughts on “15 Best Credit Cards for International Travel and Spends”

  1. Hi,

    You missed AU Zenith Plus metal card. It has 1.17% forex charge but 2% reward points on international spends. Thus, an effective 0.83% reward rate along with other benefits like meet and greet, golf access and international lounge access. It’s fee is pretty basic at 5000 + GST which gets returned as RPs. Thus, we are paying only 900 for owning a metal card

    1. Card Maven

      Thanks Aniket. Indeed it is. This was covered in the Zenith+ review but was missing in this list.

  2. The return % on IDFC WoW needs updation. You get 4X reward points per 150 rupees now as against 100 earlier. this makes the effective return at 0.67% instead of 1% …… (*1X = 1 Reward Point per ₹150 spent | 1 Reward point = ₹0.25)

    1. Card Maven

      Yes, new customers get that reward rate. Old customers continue to get 4X RP/Rs 100. It is now updated in the article.

  3. Hello team!
    Great info.
    I see your comment on the OneCard. Yes, not a choice perhaps, in the international-travel line-up of cards.
    But the target audience is different.
    And it has its own USP.

    A couple of great things :
    with zero fees, it offers 1% on the top 2 of your categories each month. Their credit limits are generous.

    Regards,
    Prasad.

  4. Praveen Iyer

    Kindly clarify on joining fee of rbl world safari as accoridng to website it says zero joining fee and 3000 annual fee

  5. Hello, how about IDFC First Wow credit card, zero forex markup? Can you add it to list.

  6. Please look at Yes First Preferred/Exclusive. They have 0.99% + GST forex markup, one of the lowest in this category

  7. Imran Soorya

    You missed our IndusInd Vistara. It has zero Forex markup charges and even Kotak white reserve it has 2% markup

    1. Thank you, Imran. I have added the IndusInd Vistara card now. Kotak White Reserve needs high spends to get rewards that can offset the forex markup fee.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top