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Travel Credit Card: The Best Credit Card for Travel in 2024! 

Updated: Feb 20

A credit card for travel is essential for any successful vacation. However, there are numerous differences to consider when choosing your travel credit card. Ideally, it should not only facilitate payments but also provide security against risks and offer cashback for your next adventure!

We're here to share our insider tips on what to look for in a credit card and reveal which travel credit card has been financing our next vacation during our trips!

Frauenhand mit Kreditkarte

Key factors for selecting the best travel credit card

Credit card providers are as abundant as sand on the beach nowadays. We'll navigate through the jungle of offerings and guide you to the credit card that, in our opinion, best suits your travel needs. Not all credit cards are suitable for travel, as some providers offer specialized travel credit cards with features tailored for vacations (e.g., travel health insurance, worldwide free ATM withdrawals, complimentary airport lounge access, etc.).

You don't necessarily need to open a new bank account; linking your existing checking account with the new credit card will suffice. Additionally, there are prepaid credit cards that allow you to "load" money onto them. Through the PostIdent process, you can easily confirm your identity online or at a Deutsche Post branch, obtaining the perfect credit card for you in no time.

Before applying for a new credit card, consider the following factors in your decision-making:


1.  Free Travel Credit Cards vs. Cards with Annual Fees

There's a plethora of credit cards with varying annual fees. Some credit cards are even entirely free. When deciding, consider the overall value of the package.

For instance, paying €60 annually for a travel credit card might make sense if it includes travel health, cancellation, and luggage insurance. Purchasing these insurances separately for each trip can quickly add up to a similar amount, not to mention the additional paperwork.

2. Worldwide Free Cash Withdrawals: Saving Money at ATMs

Withdrawing money abroad during your vacation can become a hidden cost trap. Aside from ATM fees, there may be additional currency conversion charges, resulting in substantial costs per withdrawal.

Therefore, it might be wise to choose a credit card that allows you to make fee-free cash withdrawals overseas.

alter Globus

We'll provide recommendations on credit cards that offer worldwide fee-free withdrawals later in our credit card recommendation.

3. Credit Card with Inclusive Insurances

A crucial factor, from our perspective, when selecting a suitable credit card is the inclusive insurance package. We don't want to arrange travel cancellation insurance before every trip or deal with paperwork. Furthermore, we want our luggage to be insured, and compensation for flight delays is essential.

These inclusive services are typically not available with a free credit card. If these insurance benefits matter to you, a reasonable annual fee is often required. However, the cost is justifiable, considering you'd likely spend a similar amount on separate insurances for each trip.

4. Credit Cards for Accumulating Miles

Now, we turn to a frequently underestimated factor to consider when choosing a credit card – point accumulation.

You're likely familiar with various airlines' frequent flyer programs. If you fly frequently, accumulating enough miles can eventually lead to a free upgrade to business class.

However, this journey is long, and your miles may expire. Therefore, it can be highly beneficial to collect points with a credit card on every purchase and booking you make.

You'll reach your destination much faster by earning points with every payment, not just during flights.

Ausblick aus Flugzeug Berge

If you book wisely, you can finance your next trip effortlessly (whether it's a hotel room, an upgrade, or a free flight). The spending on your credit card is directly converted into points.

5. The Best Travel Credit Cards in 2024: Key Criteria

We've covered various factors, and you might already have specific criteria in mind. If you're still unsure, here are the critical criteria, from our perspective, for a comprehensive package:

  • Annual Fee: For us, an annual fee within a certain range is acceptable because, from our point of view, it pays off both financially and in terms of saved effort. Fees are acceptable if they save us stress and hassle, and everything is proportionate.

  • Free ATM Withdrawals Abroad: Withdrawing money abroad without fees sounds enticing, but it shouldn't be your top criterion. No credit card can universally waive all fees in both domestic and foreign ATMs. Always be prepared to bear currency exchange rates. In many countries, you can now pay with credit cards almost everywhere, including restaurants and hotels. Cash withdrawals are not always necessary. We always carry some cash for emergencies. If you need to withdraw cash, research ATMs that allow fee-free withdrawals with your credit card before traveling abroad, as many providers have partner banks facilitating this seamlessly. Use ATMs at the airport if available, so you don't have to search later.

  • Inclusive Insurance Benefits: Insurance is crucial for a relaxed journey. We want to be able to go on a spontaneous vacation without contacting an insurance company beforehand. We want to be covered at all times because trouble on vacation is rarely fun, and presenting your credit card is much easier in case of an emergency.

  • Accumulating Points and Getting Cash Back: The most important aspect for us with a credit card is how we can recover our paid fee in the form of other benefits (ideally much more than that). Therefore, point accumulation is extremely important to us.

As you can see, the most important criteria for us are insurance coverage and point accumulation. The annual fee is secondary for us, as we recover it with our credit card spending and even finance our upcoming trips. Free cash withdrawals are nice to have but not always necessary everywhere, and certainly not globally seamless.

6. Our Travel Credit Card: American Express Gold

... and now we reveal our secret. We've had many different credit cards in the past. Initially, without much research, we simply ordered a credit card from our home bank.

However, we have since switched to the American Express Gold. It's the best for accumulating points and upgrading your future trips or exchanging them for free flights, etc. Although it's not a free travel credit card, the included features are excellent and well worth the price.

Currently, you even receive a welcome bonus, making the fees practically nonexistent for the first year based on your spending. All you need to do is use your credit card for payments.

There are various American Express credit cards, and another interesting option is the Platinum Card, which includes additional features such as free access to airport lounges, etc. The monthly fee for this card is significantly higher, but it can pay off if you make use of all available options. Therefore, our next step will definitely be upgrading to the American Express Platinum Card.

You can use American Express in many stores worldwide (especially in hotels). However, Mastercard or Visa credit cards are still predominantly accepted in some places. Therefore, it might be worthwhile for you to order a low-cost Mastercard or Visa as a secondary card, in case you prefer an alternative to using your debit card.

Another alternative is the Barclays credit card. In our opinion, this credit card is one of the best free travel credit cards. With this card, you can make fee-free withdrawals worldwide. However, interest or fees may apply for certain services, so be sure to carefully inquire about the card's usage before applying.


If you need more tips for your upcoming journey, feel free to check out our Travel Tips section.

P.S.: We've compiled a guide on how to book affordable flights in this post.


Interested in more insights into our travels? Check out our Instagram channels tom_rbg_ and anna_mser! If you have any questions about our routes, feel free to contact us through these channels!


*This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links won't incur any additional costs for you; you're simply rewarding our efforts.


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