7 Tipid Tips for Using Your Credit Card Abroad

Rouselle Isla

Rouselle Isla

Last updated October 15, 2023

Are you going out of the country soon? Aside from packing all your travel essentials and bringing the required documents, you must also bring the right credit card with you. While cash is always handy, a credit card is an even more convenient payment option. 

However, using your credit card doesn’t automatically mean cheaper overseas spending. If you want to stay within budget and save money on your international travel, check out these tips for using a credit card abroad.

7 Tips for Using a Credit Card Abroad

Aside from the safety and convenience of not carrying a large amount of money in a foreign country, you can earn rewards points and enjoy discounts when using a credit card overseas. Some travel credit cards offer valuable benefits like complimentary travel insurance, airport lounge access, and purchase protection so you can travel and shop with peace of mind.

To help you maximize your card, here are tips to use your credit card wisely when traveling, plus some of the best credit cards to use abroad. 

✔️ Set a Travel Budget

tips for using a credit card abroad - set a travel budget

Before taking note of our list of tips for using credit cards overseas, decide on a budget for your trip first. It’s dangerously easy to rack up bills while traveling, especially if you want to try a lot of restaurants or attractions. 

Set limits on how much you should spend throughout your trip. This way, you won’t be shocked when you receive your credit card bill. 

✔️ Get a Credit Card with Low Foreign Exchange Conversion Fees 

Using a credit card internationally means incurring charges on your overseas purchases. Foreign currency conversion fees can get as high as 3.5%, depending on your credit card. These add up throughout your trip, so try to use a credit card with low foreign transaction fees. 

Using a BPI credit card abroad, like the Gold Rewards Card, Platinum Rewards Card, or Signature card, will give you significant savings on your international purchases (as much as ₱900 for every US$1,000 purchase) because the BPI foreign transaction fee across all cards is only 1.85%—one of the lowest in the market.[1]

Read more: Dual Currency Credit Cards: Pros and Cons for Frequent Travelers

✔️ Know Your Travel Perks 

Take advantage of your credit card’s travel perks. Some credit cards provide free airport lounge access, airport transfers, concierge services, and car rental services, among other benefits. 

While you’re at it, find out which travel protection benefits you can enjoy with your booking. This way, you can avoid paying for inconveniences like delayed or canceled flights and lost luggage.   

It’s also the perfect opportunity to rack up rewards points and enjoy discounts at your bank’s partner establishments. Check your provider’s promos to maximize travel rewards when using your credit card abroad. 

For example, BPI Gold Rewards, Platinum Rewards, and Signature credit cards offer travel insurance, and both Platinum Rewards and Signature cards offer airport lounge access. You can avail of these features if you book your trip with your BPI credit card. 

Check out these best BPI credit cards for travel and their key features. Compare BPI credit cards and apply for one today!


BPI Gold Rewards CardAdvertisement

BPI Gold Rewards Card
  • 1 BPI Point for every ₱35 spend
  • Flexible installment plans with terms of up to 36 months
  • Free travel insurance of up to ₱10 million
  • Low forex conversion fee of 1.85%

BPI Platinum Rewards CardAdvertisement

BPI Platinum Rewards Card
  • 2 BPI Points for every ₱20 foreign currency spend online and abroad
  • 2 BPI Points for every ₱30 local spend
  • 0% interest on installment for airfares at any airline year-round
  • Free travel insurance of up to ₱10 million
  • Low forex conversion fee of 1.85%

BPI Signature CardAdvertisement

BPI Signature Card
  • 2 BPI Points for every ₱20 spend
  • Up to ₱20 million free travel accident and inconvenience benefit
  • Free unlimited access to PAGSS international lounges in NAIA 1 and NAIA 3
  • Exclusive 50% off deals on hotels, resorts, and more
  • Low points to miles conversion (₱50 = 1 mile)
  • Low forex conversion fee of 1.85%

Read more:

✔️ Use Your Airport Lounge Access Privilege

tips for using a credit card abroad - use airport lounge access

Many travel credit cards offer free access to NAIA and international airport lounges. If your credit card offers this privilege, take advantage of it, especially if you have a long-haul flight or long layovers. Enjoy complimentary food and refreshments, a Wi-Fi connection, and comfortable seats while waiting to board. 

For instance, with the BPI Platinum Rewards Card, you get up to four free lounge passes yearly from Priority Pass, and you can use it at over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide. Meanwhile, the BPI Signature Card offers unlimited free access to the PAGSS international airport lounges at NAIA 1 and NAIA 3.

Related article: Improve Your Chances of a BPI Credit Card Approval with These Tips

✔️ Use a Widely Accepted Credit Card

You can use your Mastercard or Visa credit card anywhere in the world. Other international credit cards also have a global presence, though fewer business establishments may accept them. Before you leave, check which credit cards are widely accepted in your destination country. 

If you don’t have a BPI Mastercard or Visa credit card, now is the best time to get one. Whether you’re looking for miles, cashback, rewards, or exclusive travel privileges, there’s a suitable BPI credit card for you.

See also: Fly for Free When You Convert Your Credit Card Points to Miles

✔️ Bring a Backup Credit Card

To be safe, bring another credit card as a backup, so you’ll still have access to credit in case your primary card gets declined.

Bring a credit card that lets you earn rewards on dining, shopping, and other travel spending categories. For example, you can earn 2 BPI Points for every ₱20 overseas spend with the BPI Platinum Rewards Card.

✔️ Bring Enough Cash

tips for using a credit card abroad - bring cash

Even if you’re headed to a popular tourist destination in the city, prepare a bit of cash, as smaller merchants such as street food vendors don’t accept credit card payments. Bring an amount that’s just enough, so you won’t have to withdraw cash frequently and pay multiple fees.

Final Thoughts 

When you’re traveling overseas, the last thing you want is an unplanned financial emergency. With these tips for using a credit card abroad, you’ll know the dos and don’ts and bring the right card. Remember these money-saving tips and tricks when preparing for your trip! 

If you're looking for the right credit card to use abroad, check out these options for the best international credit cards. One of them might just be the perfect card for you!

Credit Card International Travel Benefits
UnionBank Cebu Pacific Platinum
unionbank cebu pacific platinum

APPLY NOW

  • 1 Go Rewards Point for every ₱200 spend
  • 1 Go Rewards Point for every ₱100 Cebu Pacific spend
  • Early alerts to seat sales at Cebu Pacific 
  • Up to ₱10 million travel insurance 
  • Unlimited pre-departure lounge access to the Marhaba Lounge at NAIA Terminals 1 and 3
HSBC Platinum Visa Rebate
HSBC_VISA_PLATINUM
APPLY NOW
  • 5% rebate on travel and shopping (including online) spend
  • Up to ₱10 million travel insurance
Metrobank Platinum Mastercard®
metrobank PLATINUM MASTERCARD
APPLY NOW
  • 1 point per ₱20 spend
  • Up to 50% off on dining deals
  • Free e-commerce protection insurance for online purchases 
Metrobank World Mastercard®
metrobank WORLD MASTERCARD
APPLY NOW
  • 2x rewards points for international purchases
  • 1 rewards point for every ₱20 spend
  • 1 air mile per ₱17 foreign currency spend
  • 1 air mile per ₱50 spend in other categories 
  • Up to 50% off on local and international deals 
Security Bank Platinum Mastercard
security bank platinum
APPLY NOW
  • 2 points for every ₱20 spend
  • Dual currency billing
  • Automatic cash back from participating overseas merchants
  • Access to over 1,300 lounges at 500 airports worldwide 
  • Free access to A Lounge, PAGSS Lounge, and Marhaba Lounge
  • Up to ₱10 million travel insurance
Security Bank World Mastercard
security bank world
APPLY NOW
  • 3 points per every ₱20 spend
  • Automatic cash back from participating overseas merchants 
  • Up to ₱10 million travel insurance
  • Access to over 1,300 lounges at 500 airports worldwide
  • Free access to A Lounge, PAGSS Lounge, and Marhaba Lounge 
BPI Platinum Rewards Card
BPI Plat Rewards
APPLY NOW
  • 2 BPI Points per ₱30 local spend or ₱20 per foreign spend
  • Non-expiring points for shopping eGCs, shopping credits, dining eGCs, and miles
  • Access to more than 1,300 airport lounges worldwide
  • 0% interest installment on airline tickets 
  • Free travel insurance up to ₱10 million

Source: [1] BPI Credit Cards' Low Foreign Exchange Conversion Rate

Rouselle has over eight years of writing experience in the personal finance niche. She has written feature stories, articles, and how-to guides on various personal finance and trending lifestyle topics. Before that, she briefly worked in banking and was a licensed life insurance advisor. When not writing, Rouselle likes to read books and binge-watch films and series. Follow Rouselle on Linkedin.

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