Best credit cards for travelling

Just like you choose your accommodation, activities and travelling partners, you should also give careful consideration to which credit card you’re going to take away with you.

Credit cards have the potential to make or break a holiday – not to mention your bank balance. Whether it’s extra fees at the point of sale, bells and whistles features like insurances or free flights, there are plenty of opportunities for savvy credit card users to make the most of their plastic when travelling away from home. Here are the credit cards that have handy perks for travellers.

Travel insurance

We all want to be protected against the unexpected when we’re abroad. Complimentary international travel insurance is a standard feature in many cards on the market today. Platinum and gold cards, frequent flyer cards and rewards credit cards all generally feature a range of insurances designed to keep you, your family and your possessions safe and secure. These cards have a higher annual fee than the standard or low rate credit cards, but make up for it with the money you’ll save from not having to take out an insurance policy while you’re abroad.

Cards with free flights

Frequent flyer credit cards now offer free flights in addition to the option of redeeming points for flights. Virgin Money credit cards offer up to four complimentary domestic flights per year; while other premium cards like the American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card also offers one complimentary domestic flight per year. This is money saved in the air opposed to on the ground, but it’s all extra dollars in your pocket.

Cards to spend with

If spending is more your thing, you’ll want to avoid foreign currency conversion fees. The Bankwest Platinum range of cards and the GE Money 28 Degrees MasterCard do not charge this fee. A foreign currency conversion fee is a 2-3 per cent charge (depending on the card issuer) and this can add up when big purchases are involved. Frugal travellers are split down the middle as to whether Bankwest or GE Money are the product to take away with you, as both cards are low on fees – think of the old ‘Ford vs Holden’ debate – it comes down to a matter of taste. The GE Money Card won’t charge for withdrawing cash at an overseas ATM whereas Bankwest does – so this may be a determining factor.

Bells and whistles
If the bells and whistles which come with credit cards are more your thing, then you’ll want to consider a platinum credit card. As well as offering things like complimentary airport lounge access and exclusive member benefits, cardholders have access to a 24/7 worldwide concierge. This service gives cardholders insider knowledge in every city they visit – no more fumbling through a foreign language book to order seats at a show or struggling with directions from a guy on the street.

It’s also worth a mention that many of these features are included across a range of options, so be sure to compare your options at before you choose a card.

Spending money overseas is easy, but paying back a hefty balance when you return home isn’t. So make sure you give equal thought to the travelling companion that lives in your wallet – your credit card.

Currency conversion fee
This is a fee which is charged by the card issuer when a transaction is processed in a foreign currency and you have Australian dollars loaded onto your card.

About the author:

Jeremy Cabral is the Publisher of credit card comparison website His mission is to make a remarkable credit card comparison that Australians share with their friends, colleagues and family. is a free service for comparing credit cards offered by banks and credit unions in Australia.