Travel Credit Cards

Travel Credit Cards let you make transactions overseas and offer various travel perks including no currency conversion fees and complimentary travel insurance. Compare your options today.

Whether you're a regular traveler or planning a rare getaway, choosing the right way to take money abroad can seem like a daunting task. Travel credit cards allow you to access the daily exchange rate, which may be higher than preloading currency onto a prepaid travel card, giving you more value for your money.

This guide compares travel credit cards and explains the potential benefits of using one overseas on your next holiday.

Compare Travel Credit Cards

Rates last updated May 21st, 2018
Name Product Foreign Currency Conversion Fee Overseas ATM Withdrawal Fee Overseas Cash Advance Fee Annual fee Product Description
28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard
0% of transaction value
$0
3% of the cash advance or $4 (whichever is greater)
$0 p.a.
No foreign transaction fees on international purchases including international purchases online, together with a no annual fee.
ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card
0% of transaction value
$5
$0
$225 p.a.
Receive 40,000 bonus Velocity Points, 2 yearly Virgin Australia lounge passes, plus enjoy $0 overseas purchase transaction fees.

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Compare different types of travel credit cards


Credit cards for travel

How it works: Credit cards provide more liquidity and access to cash overseas for peace of mind. Credit cards also allow you to access the exchange rate of the day, which may be higher than the rate you could have secured beforehand with prepaid travel cards.

How a credit card can suit your travel money needs.

  • Receive the exchange rate on the day. Not being able to lock in the exchange rate can work to your advantage. If your domestic currency appreciates against the destination's currency when you are travelling, you can exchange your money for a better rate.
  • Travel now, pay later. Credit cards can provide up to 55 days interest-free on purchases and 0% purchase offers. These features provide extra funds and flexibility for your travel money needs.
  • Rewards and frequent flyer points. Earn points with rewards programs and frequent flyer programs while you travel.

Things to note when using credit cards for travel.

  • No backup cards. Credit cards only provide additional cards instead of backup cards. As a result if your credit card is lost overseas it may take 1-2 weeks for a new card to be sent to your whereabouts.

Frequent Flyer and Rewards Credit Cards

Frequent flyer and rewards credit cards are designed with the traveller in mind and can enhance your next travel experience. This type of card lets you look forward to frequent flyer program benefits, airport lounge passes, complimentary travel insurance and bonus points offers so you can upgrade your flights and redeem for rewards.

Rates last updated May 21st, 2018
Name Product Bonus Points Rewards Program Rewards Points per $ spent Purchase rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
60,000 bonus points
Velocity Frequent Flyer


0.66
20.74% p.a.
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
60,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1
19.99% p.a.
$199 p.a.
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months of card approval, plus enjoy complimentary travel insurance.
Citi Platinum Credit Card - 100k Bonus Points
100,000 bonus points
Citi Rewards Program


1
20.99% p.a.
$49 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($149 p.a. thereafter)
Earn 100,000 reward Points, enjoy a long-term balance transfer offer, a discounted first year annual fee and complimentary travel insurance.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
75,000 bonus points
Qantas Frequent Flyer


1
19.99% p.a.
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($425 p.a. thereafter)
Get 75,000 bonus Qantas Points when you meet the spend requirement, a $0 first year annual fee & 2 yearly complimentary Qantas Club invitations.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
Velocity Frequent Flyer


0.66
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
$129 p.a.
Buy now and pay later with 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months. Plus, 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 6 months.

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Purchase Credit Cards

Interest free purchase credit cards provide you with an interest-free period upon account activation, allowing you to make purchases now and repay later. This type of credit card can provide you with extra spending power for your holiday. After the purchase promotion has ended the revert purchase interest rate will take effect.

Rates last updated May 21st, 2018
$
Name Product Product Description Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Interest Free Period Amount Saved
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - 0% Interest Offer
Buy now and pay later with 0% p.a. interest on purchases for 14 months. Plus, 0% p.a. on balance transfers for up to 6 months.
0% p.a. for 14 months (reverts to 20.74% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 6 months
$129 p.a.
Up to 44 days on purchases
NAB Low Rate Platinum Card
Enjoy a 0% p.a. interest rate offer on purchases for 9 months and the protection of 7 complimentary insurances including overseas travel insurance.
0% p.a. for 9 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$100 p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases
NAB Low Rate Credit Card
Receive an introductory 0% p.a. interest rate for 6 months on purchases, Visa Entertainment offers and a competitive $59 ongoing annual fee.
0% p.a. for 6 months (reverts to 13.99% p.a.)
0% p.a. for 6 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$59 p.a.
Up to 55 days on purchases

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No annual fee credit cards

These cards are pretty self-explanatory, and tend to also be described as no-frills cards or everyday cards. No annual fee cards do not charge the cardholder an annual account or card holding fee. They also come without ‘bells and whistles’ and will tend not to have features which are useful for travel.

Typically, no annual fee credit cards will charge for currency conversion and will not entitle the user to rewards or come with travellers freebies. On the other hand, if you are only taking your credit card as an emergency card, don’t plan to use it frequently, or think that you won't benefit from rewards, not having to pay a high annual fee could be enough incentive to take this type of credit card with you on holiday.

Rates last updated May 21st, 2018
Name Product Annual fee Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Product Description
Westpac Low Rate - Online Offer
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($59 p.a. thereafter)
13.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 26 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Take advantage of 0% p.a. for 26 months on balance transfers with a one-time 2% balance transfer fee and a $0 first year annual fee.
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
Offers a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer, $0 annual fee for the first year and an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000.
ME frank Credit Card
$0 p.a.
11.99% p.a.
Save money with a $0 annual fee for life, the same low 11.99% p.a. interest rate on purchases and up to 55 days interest-free.
Bendigo Bank Low Rate Mastercard
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($45 p.a. thereafter)
11.99% p.a.
A no-frills card with a first year annual fee waiver, a low variable purchase interest rate of 11.99% p.a. and up to 55 interest-free days on purchases.
Citi Simplicity Card
$0 p.a.
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 15 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
Save with 5% cashback on eligible purchases (capped at $50 per month) for the first 90 days from approval. Plus, a 15 month balance transfer offer.

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Benefits.

  • No annual fee. Pay nothing to keep this card in your wallet.
  • Interest free days. No annual fee credit cards also come with up to a number of interest free days if you pay your account in full each month. This means you can make interest free purchases between statement periods during your holiday. Some no annual fee credit cards also feature a low ongoing purchase rate of interest or purchase rate promotion when the account in opened.

Considerations.

  • If you are planning a trip away and will be transacting overseas, make sure you are aware of the charges for international transactions on your no annual fee card. Because these cards are ‘no frills’, often they don’t offer features or entitle the cardholder to benefits that are useful abroad.

Gold, Platinum and Black credit cards

On the other side of the spectrum to ‘no annual fee’ credit cards are gold, platinum and black credit cards. These types of cards offer the holder a range of premium benefits including large bonus points offers, higher rewards points earnings per $1 spent, free flights and complimentary travel insurance in exchange for a higher annual fee.

Rates last updated May 21st, 2018
Name Product Purchase rate (p.a.) Balance transfer rate (p.a.) Annual fee Product Description
HSBC Platinum Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 22 months with 2% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Offers a 0% p.a. for 22 months balance transfer, $0 annual fee for the first year and an annual fee refund each year when you spend $6,000.
Virgin Australia Velocity Flyer Card - Bonus Points Offer
20.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 18 months
$64 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($129 p.a. thereafter)
Earn up to 60,000 bonus Velocity Points in the first 3 months and enjoy a discounted annual fee of $64 for the first year.
St.George Vertigo Platinum - Online Offer
12.74% p.a.
0% p.a. for 24 months with 1% balance transfer fee
$0 p.a. annual fee for the first year ($99 p.a. thereafter)
Platinum card benefits including complimentary insurance, plus first year annual fee waiver and 0% p.a. for 24 months on balance transfers.
HSBC Platinum Qantas Credit Card
19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$199 p.a.
Receive 60,000 bonus Qantas Points when you spend $3,000 within 3 months of card approval, plus enjoy complimentary travel insurance.
Bendigo Bank Platinum Rewards Mastercard
19.99% p.a.
$89 p.a.
Earn 1.5 Bendigo Rewards points per $1 spent. Receive complimentary insurance covers, plus, access to Mastercard Priceless Cities.

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Ultimately, choosing the right credit card for travel means understanding your money personality and choosing a card that suits your budget, your lifestyle, your travel plans, and your spending style. Compare the features available and ask yourself how the card you are looking at would benefit you.


Frequently asked questions about travel credit cards

  • Q. What is a currency conversion fee?

A currency conversion fee (sometimes called a foreign or international transaction fee) is a fee that is normally charged by your bank when you spend money in a foreign currency. Every time you make a transaction in a foreign country with your Australian-issued credit card, the amount you spend needs to be converted to the local currency in order for the payment to be processed. Banks charge a fee for this, usually 2 or 3 percent, every single time you transact.

Over time, this charge can add up, especially if you are using your credit card as your main source of spending money and make frequent payments for things like hotels, restaurants and buying train tickets.

Credit cards that do not charge a fee for currency conversion are very popular with travellers. Bare in mind that while some cards will advertise ‘no currency conversion fee’ as their main selling-point, this feature may also be available on other cards.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JenMay 15, 2017

    What does your article mean by “travel credit card”? Is this different from my normal Australian Visa credit card? Can I use my normal credit overseas or do I have to get a “travel” credit card?

    • Staff
      LouMay 16, 2017Staff

      Hi Jen,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes, generally, you may use your normal or regular credit card overseas. However, most credit cards attract high currency conversion and other international transaction fees. Travel credit cards on the other hand may have features that are ideal for overseas travel such as low or zero foreign transaction fees.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  2. Default Gravatar
    May 4, 2015

    Hi,

    What’s the best 0% credit card for travelling overseas with? I missed out on the BankWest offer which was 12 month 0% interest free and no foreign transaction fees. Is there anyway I can apply for this card with these perks?

    • Staff
      ElizabethMay 5, 2015Staff

      Hi Abel,

      Thanks for your question.

      There really is no one ‘best’ credit card, as it depends what features you’re looking for in a travel card, where you’re going, how much you’re going to spend, the financial situation you’re in, etc. As you can see from this page there are a few cards available, some with other features such as complimentary insurances, frequent flyer points and more. It can help tp decode wjay features are important to you and then look at what rates and fees are competitive.

      I hope this has helped.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

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