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Choosing the Best Credit Card for Travel


When you’re travelling, getting a credit card can be a good idea for more reasons than the ability to buy massive amounts of souvenirs at the airport. They often feature rewards points, cash back and more protection for your money than traveling around with a bum bag of cash.

The best way to use a credit card is to pay if off in full every month if you can; you will not then be charged interest on your balance. If you don’t pay your minimum amount in time, you might be charged a fee for late payments.

If you do pay off your balance each month, you will find features like cash back, air miles or reward points to be useful. However, if you think you will need to borrow money and pay it back over a number of months, look for a card with the lowest APR (annual percentage rate).

With that in mind, here’s a guide to five of the best current options for credit cards for travellers. None of these charge a fee for use, whether abroad or at home.

Nationwide Select Credit Card

This card is only available to customers with a Nationwide current account. The cash back option on sterling purchases makes it a good option for buying your holiday essentials before you go and the relatively low interest rate means that if you think you might not be able to pay back the full amount each month, you won’t get cripplingly high percentages added.

It features:

  • No annual fee
  • 0.5% cash back on UK sterling purchases
  • 15 months 0% on purchases
  • 26 months 0% on balance transfers (2.4% fee)
  • 15.9% APR (variable)

 Post Office Platinum MasterCard

This card is good for buying your Post Office travel money, as there is no fee attached to it and you won’t be charged for withdrawing money either in the UK or abroad. It also features quite a low APR in case you overspend on your holiday.

This card has:

  • No annual fee
  • No cash advance fee if you buy Post Office Travel Money
  • 18 months 0% on balance transfers
  • 0.79% balance transfer fee in the first 90 days after refund
  • 17.8% APR (variable)

Lloyds Bank Avios Rewards Amex/MasterCard

The credit card has an annual fee that equates to £2.00 a month. The fee and the slightly higher APR may be worthwhile if you find yourself collecting enough Avios points to pay for your travel. Avios reward points can go towards both flights and car hire.

This card has:

  • £24.00 annual fee
  • up to 1.25% Avios reward points for every £1.00 spent
  • Double Avios points in your first 6 months
  • 23.7% APR (variable)

Aqua Reward MasterCard

This cashback card is really great for people who travel as in addition to no withdrawal fees for cash in the UK or abroad, you’ll find cashback on all purchases, not just those in the UK, really useful. But be warned that this will be cancelled out by a higher APR that means if you don’t pay back your full balance each month you will end up paying out quite a lot in interest.

This card has:

  • 0.5% cash back on all purchases
  • 51 days interest free credit
  • 34.9% APR (variable)

Lloyds Bank Premier Avios Rewards Amex/MasterCard

This card has an annual fee that works out at just under £12 a month but in return for that you get a good Avios reward scheme to spend on your airfare or car hire when you’re ready to travel. The APR is the highest on this list so try not to borrow on this but pay it off monthly.

This credit card has

  • £140.00 annual fee
  • 1.5 Avios reward points for every £1.00 spent
  • Double Avios reward points in the first six months
  • 52.1% APR (variable)

These are just some of the offers out there, but we like them either for the Avios points they offer, which can soon add up, or advantages like free travel money. The lack of charges for withdrawing money on all of them is also a great feature because you can get out just a bit of cash at a time, rather than taking out wads (to avoid overpaying on fees) and carrying that with you everywhere.

Bear in mind that offers and interest rates change, and this information given was correct at the time of going to press. These examples are offered as information and not advice, so if you’re not sure which to choose, contact an independent financial adviser to find out which options will suit you best.