Traveling Overseas? Take These International Credit Cards With You

Venus Zoleta

Venus Zoleta

Last updated October 01, 2022

Credit cards that bear the logo of Mastercard, Visa, American Express, or Discover are accepted as a payment mode for different transactions around the world. Nobody’s stopping you from swiping your card abroad—but you should prepare for the extra costs that come with using just a regular card instead of an international credit card.

International credit cards in the Philippines are specially designed to help Filipinos save money and earn rewards on purchases made overseas. Some cards have low foreign transaction fees while others have great rewards programs for international purchases. 

Cards that provide travel-related perks also abound—and you can find some that offer benefits like free travel insurance and free access to airport lounges.

If you need to compare credit cards to find the one that suits you best, just keep reading. We gathered below some of the best international credit cards to help you find something that will match your needs and lifestyle.

3 Features to Look for in an International Credit Card

☑️ High Acceptance Rate

When getting an international credit card, make sure to consider how widely accepted it is worldwide. Generally, Visa and Mastercard are the two most common cards accepted by a wide range of global merchants.

In contrast, American Express and Discover—while they also boast a sizable international presence—have fewer merchants that recognize them as a payment mode. 

Both card networks are working on improving their acceptance rates, but until they become as globally accepted as the other two, it's best to have at least a Visa or Mastercard as a backup when going abroad.[1]

☑️ Competitive Perks and Rewards

The best international credit card for travel is the one that's loaded with a lot of perks and benefits. Some credit cards offer sign-up bonuses that award you airline miles or hotel points right at the outset.

If you want a more comfortable stay at the airport, you can look for cards that grant you access to airport lounges, where you can enjoy free Wi-Fi access, drinks, and even snacks. Some cards get you exclusive deals on hotels, restaurants, and wellness centers. 

If you want something more practical, get a card that offers free travel insurance or shopping vouchers.

☑️ Minimal Fees and Charges 

What makes international transactions costly are the fees and charges that come with every purchase or ATM withdrawal. The fees may seem small at first, but when they pile up, they can bloat up your credit card bill.

When getting a credit card, make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for by checking the fees and charges for foreign transactions.[2]

11 International Credit Card Options to Use Abroad

💳 Citi PremierMiles Card

“Can I use my Citibank credit card in the Philippines when I’m abroad?” The answer is a big yes, especially if it's the Citi PremierMiles Card. This credit card is packed with travel perks that you wouldn’t even know what to do with. Get this credit card today until November 30, 2022, and spend at least ₱40,000 within 60 days from the card receipt to receive 30,000 PremierMiles for free!

The perks don’t end with the Citi PremierMiles Card’s generous welcome offer. Every ₱30 spend earns you one non-expiring PremierMile, which you can then use to fund your next international trip without making your wallet cry. Plus, get free VIP lounge access at select lounges abroad and get free travel insurance of up to ₱1 million.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: Get 1 PremierMile for every ₱30 spend
  • Welcome gift: 30,000 PremierMiles when you spend at least ₱40,000 within 60 days (until November 30, 2022)
  • Travel perks:
    • Enjoy free VIP access to select airport lounges here and abroad
    • Free travel insurance of up to ₱1 million and purchase protection of up to ₱75,000
    • Access exclusive offers and discounts in over 90 countries

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱5,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 3.525%
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200

Note: This product is sold by Union Bank of the Philippines, using certain trademarks temporarily under license from Citigroup Inc. and related group entities.

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💳 Citi Prestige Card

If you’re looking for more premium perks from an international credit card in the Philippines, and if your wallet can afford a ₱12,000 annual fee, go big with the Citi Prestige Card. 

Enjoy your stay abroad when you avail of this credit card’s travel privileges. For example, book a hotel via the Citi Global Concierge service and extend your stay with your free fourth-night perk.

Just like the Citi PremierMiles Card, you also get a welcome gift in the form of an eGift voucher worth ₱18,000 when you spend ₱40,000 using your Citi Prestige Card within 60 days. After that, just keep using this credit card on your trip to earn five times the reward points on dining and foreign currency spend. 

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: Earn 1 point for every ₱30 spend, 5x points on dining, online shopping, and foreign currency spend
  • Welcome gift: eGift voucher worth ₱18,000 when you spend at least ₱40,000 within 60 days (until November 30, 2022)
  • Travel perks:
    • Get a complimentary fourth night at any hotel booked via the concierge
    • Instant Complimentary Priority Pass Membership
    • Free Airport Meet and Assist services and one-way luxury airport transfers 
    • VIP access to airport lounges worldwide
    • Access to Citi’s 24/7 Global Concierge Service

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱12,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 3.525%
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200

Note: This product is sold by Union Bank of the Philippines, using certain trademarks temporarily under license from Citigroup Inc. and related group entities.

Apply now

💳 UnionBank Miles+ Platinum Visa

international credit card - unionbank miles+ platinum visa

With its premium travel perks, the UnionBank Miles+ Platinum Visa is a good choice when you’re in the market for the best international credit card in the Philippines. Pick this if you can afford a more expensive credit card, you frequently fly with PAL and Cebu Pacific, and you enjoy UnionBank credit card promos.

Every ₱25 travel-related spend earns you 1.5 points, making it quicker for you to redeem exclusive rewards from UnionBank. Plus, you get to kick back and wait for your next flight in world-class airport lounges at NAIA Terminals 1 and 3. You can also get financial security with every flight with this credit card’s free travel insurance of up to ₱10 million.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards:
    • 1.5 points per ₱25 travel-related spend
    • 1 point per ₱25 spend elsewhere
  • Rebates: Redeem up to 2% cashback with your points
  • Travel perks:
    • Free airport lounge access
    • Up to ₱10 million travel insurance

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱3,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 2% of the converted amount in peso
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction
Apply now

💳 HSBC Platinum Visa Rebate

international credit card - hsbc platinum visa

Arguably the best credit card for international transactions, the HSBC Platinum Visa Rebate offers a high cashback rate for travel and shopping transactions. Take this credit card outside of the country and get a 5% rebate when you use it for your international night-outs or shopping sprees. Also, avail of HSBC credit card promos while you’re at it!

Even if you’re planning on using a credit card internationally online, you still get the same rebate rate. Plus, every purchase you make is protected by this credit card’s free purchase protection insurance of up to ₱15,000 per year. So, even if your international order gets lost in the mail or arrives damaged, the HSBC Platinum Visa Rebate can reimburse you.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rebates:
    • 5% on travel and shopping (including online) spend
    • 1% on insurance
    • 0.50% on all other transactions
  • Travel perks:
    • Exclusive privileges at over 27,000 establishments in 160 countries worldwide
    • Free purchase protection insurance of up to ₱15,000

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱5,000 (free in the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 3.50% (2.50% of the converted amount plus 1% Visa assessment fee)
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction
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💳 Maybank Platinum Visa

international credit card - maybank platinum visa

Platinum credit cards really are the best way to go when you’re looking for an international credit card. For instance, consider getting the Maybank Platinum Visa if you’re looking for a credit card with one of the lowest foreign transaction fees in the Philippines. With a transaction fee of only 1.8%, you can safely shop abroad without worrying about conversion fees.

Aside from that massive pro, you get to avail of Maybank credit card promos, earn 1% cash back on overseas spend, and even enjoy golf privileges! Plus, every ₱25 spend earns you 1 TreatsPoint, which you can then use to redeem special rewards, cash rebates, air miles, and more.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: 1 TreatsPoint per ₱25 spend
  • Rebates: 1% cashback on overseas transactions (Up to ₱12,000 savings per year)
  • Travel perks:
    • Golf privileges worldwide, including access to 100 golf clubs in 23 countries
    • Exclusive discounts and privileges in the Philippines and abroad
    • Instant SMS notification for every approved transaction anywhere in the world

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱3,500 (free in the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 1.75%
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction
Compare now

💳 BPI Signature Visa

international credit card - bpi signature visa

If you’re wondering which credit card has the lowest foreign transaction fee in the Philippines, direct your attention to the BPI Signature Visa. Combining lifestyle and travel perks in one package, this credit card lets you shop abroad to your heart’s content and worry less about conversion rates. With a transaction fee of just 1.85%,[3] it’s a handy international credit card to have.

Having the BPI Signature Visa also means getting access to special BPI credit card promos that could save you up to 50% on dining and accommodation here and abroad. Use this credit card more often and easily earn points with every ₱20 spend. And if you want to relax before your flight, this credit card also gives you access to the airport lounge at NAIA Terminal 3.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Dual currency billing: Option to have overseas transactions billed in the local foreign currency instead of the Philippine peso
  • Low forex conversion rates of just 1.85%
  • Rewards: 1 point per ₱20 spend
  • Travel perks:
    • Up to ₱20 million travel accident and inconvenience benefit
    •  Enjoy complimentary access to the Pacific Club Lounge at NAIA 3
    • Premium assistance via Visa Concierge
    • Get exclusive 50% off deals on dining, hotels, resorts, fitness studios, and wellness centers, all year round.

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱5,500 (free in the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 1.85% of the converted amount (inclusive of the 1% Visa assessment fee)
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction
Compare now

💳 Metrobank World Mastercard

international credit card - metrobank world mastercard

Narrow your search for Philippine credit cards that can be used internationally with the Metrobank World Mastercard. As the name implies, this credit card can give you the keys to a world of privileges, as long as you can afford its steep ₱6,000 annual fee. Among other things, this premium credit card earns you double the points for every foreign transaction.

Having a premium credit card also means getting your hands on exclusive services that not many have access to. For example, the Metrobank World Mastercard gives you access to 24-hour VIP customer service. Aside from the usual travel perks, this credit card also allows you to sift through a whole bunch of exciting Metrobank credit card promos.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: 2x points per ₱20 spend for international purchases / 3x points per ₱20 spend when you shop at any Rustan's Department Store / 1 point per ₱20 spend elsewhere
  • Travel perks:
    • Enjoy exclusive deals at over 1,000 airports and 500 airport lounges
    • 24/7 Global Emergency Services for credit card-related concerns
    • 24-hour VIP concierge Service

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱6,000 (free in the first year)
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 2.50% of the converted amount in the Philippine peso or a select foreign currency converted using Metrobank's exchange rate
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction
Compare now

💳 RCBC Bankard Visa Infinite

international credit card - rcbc visa infinite

RCBC Visa Infinite is the best credit card to use abroad if you’re looking to shop often for clothes and apparel because every transaction earns you a 5% rebate. This is not limited to international spend—you can also get the same rebate when shopping at clothing stores here in the Philippines. Now, that’s one way to wake up the fashionista within you.

More travel perks await when you get the RCBC Visa Infinite—e.g., free travel insurance up to ₱1 million, Complimentary Priority Pass™ membership, and exclusive access to the Marhaba Lounge. Plus, you get to enjoy special RCBC credit card promos everywhere in the world. If you have the RCBC Bankard Flex Visa and you’re looking to upgrade your credit card experience, there’s no need to look anywhere else.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: 1 point per ₱36 spend (₱125 for grocery, medicine, and fuel purchases). Accumulated rewards points have no expiry and no limits, and these can be redeemed for cash rebates, air miles, or shopping vouchers.
  • Rebates: 5% cashback on clothing and apparel purchases at all local and international retail shops
  • Travel perks:
    • Up to ₱1 million travel insurance and purchase protection insurance
    • Free access to select airport lounges for the cardholder and one travel companion
    • Free-for-life supplementary cards for up to nine cardholders

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱3,600
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 3.50% of the transaction amount (inclusive of 1% Visa assessment fee) or 2.25% of the amount converted to the Philippine peso
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction
Apply now

💳 RCBC Bankard Visa Platinum 

international credit card - rcbc visa platinum

If you really want to own the best credit card to use abroad in the Philippines and you’re prepared to shoulder a hefty annual fee, then the RCBC Visa Platinum should be your next credit card. Why? Two words: Preferred Airmiles. You get to earn air miles faster because you only need to spend ₱25 abroad to earn one Preferred Airmile. 

Not only that, but the RCBC Visa Platinum also gives you access to over 1,300 airport VIP lounges worldwide, a 24/7 Visa concierge service for all your travel-related needs and queries accessible worldwide, and free travel insurance of up to ₱5 million. So, before your next adventure out of the country, make sure this credit card is in your pocket.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: 1 Preferred Airmile for every ₱25 overseas spend, ₱48 for local spend
  • Travel perks:
    • VIP access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide
    • Unlimited free access to the Marhaba Airport Lounge
    • Get free travel insurance of up to ₱5 million
    • 24/7 Visa concierge service accessible worldwide
    • e-Commerce purchase protection insurance of up to $200 per year

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱5,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 3.5% of the transaction amount (inclusive of 1% Visa assessment fee) or 2.25% of the amount converted to the Philippine peso
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction
Apply now

💳 Security Bank Platinum Mastercard

international credit card - security bank platinum mastercard

There’s still no credit card with no foreign transaction fee in the Philippines. For now, you can settle for an international credit card like the Security Bank Platinum Mastercard, which offers a relatively low foreign currency transaction fee of 2.5%. That rate doesn’t sound too bad when you have all the international travel perks this credit card can give you.

Aside from offering exclusive Security Bank credit card promos, the Security Bank Platinum Mastercard also gives you unlimited access to the Marhaba Lounge at NAIA, as well as to hundreds more airport lounges worldwide. You also get free insurance of up to ₱10 million when you use this credit card to book your international flights.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Dual currency billing: Separate credit card billing statements for international transactions
  • Rewards: 1 point for every ₱20 spend
  • Travel perks:
    • Automatic cashback at participating overseas merchants
    • Free access to  over 1,000 lounges at 500 airports worldwide for the cardholder and one guest
    • Free unlimited access to the Sky View Lounge at NAIA 3
    • Up to ₱10 million travel insurance

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱4,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 2.50% (1.50% service fee plus 1% Mastercard assessment fee)
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction
Compare now

💳 PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles World Mastercard

international credit card - pnb mabuhay miles world mastercard

The PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles World Mastercard is also a good credit card for international use. For one, you get 2,000 Mabuhay Miles right out of the gate simply by getting this credit card. Use this to book PAL flights to receive an additional 10,000 Mabuhay Miles when your PAL transactions reach ₱100,000.

Now, this is a travel credit card worth getting! Aside from the free air miles, you also get to earn one point for every spend starting at ₱30. Keep earning points because one reward point gets you one Mabuhay Mile to add to your air miles collection. Pair that with special PNB credit card promos, and your travel experience won’t be the same again.

📌 Key Features and Benefits

  • Rewards: 1 point per ₱30 to ₱55 spend depending on the category
  • Welcome gift: 2,000 Mabuhay Miles for new cardholders
  • Travel perks:
    • Get additional free 10,000 Mabuhay Miles when you spend at PAL
    • Year-round discount on select international flights booked via the PAL website
    • Priority check-in at PAL Business Class Counters at NAIA 1, 2, and 3
    • World Assist travel and medical concierge service

💸 Fees and Charges

  • Annual fee: ₱6,000
  • Interest rate: 2%
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 2.50% of the converted amount using Mastercard's exchange rate of the day
  • Cash advance fee: ₱200 per transaction
Compare now

How to Get an International Credit Card in the Philippines

Getting a credit card that can be used internationally is just like getting a regular credit card!

The first step is to compare your options to find the right international credit card for you. Compare features and fees and make sure that the card suits your budget and lifestyle. 

Once done, begin your credit card application. You can do this online via Moneymax or go the more traditional way and apply at a bank branch. Complete and submit all required documents for a smoother credit card application process.

How to Use International Credit Cards Abroad

how to use international credit card philippines

Don’t be too intimidated when you use your credit card abroad for the first time. After all, it’s just like using your credit card in local stores but with a few things to consider. Remember these pointers to maximize your international credit card usage.

1. Notify the Bank About Your Trip

Call your credit card provider to let them know your travel plan. Find the bank's customer service hotline on the back of your card or your billing statement.

You should do this before you leave so that you can use your card internationally without any problem. If your issuing bank is not informed beforehand, chances are it will suspend your account for security purposes when it detects transactions from unusual locations. Or it will decline your overseas transactions.

What details should you share with the bank aside from your plan to use your card internationally? Make sure the bank is notified about where you'll be going (including layovers and stopovers), when you'll leave, and when you'll come back.

Take the opportunity also to ask questions about your card's overseas transaction charges

2. Compute the Currency Conversion Rate for Your Overseas Transaction

To ensure you’re not going over budget with your international credit card usage, calculate the Philippine peso equivalent of your purchase in the local currency of the country you’re visiting before paying. 

In doing so, you’ll know how much a particular international purchase will cost you in pesos. Mastercard and Visa have their respective exchange rate calculator[4] that you may use for computing the currency conversion rate.

Simply select the Philippine peso as your card’s currency and the currency of your transaction, and then enter the amount and bank fee (the foreign currency transaction rate). The calculator will display the foreign exchange rate (applicable on the transaction date) and the converted amount in the Philippine peso.

3. Choose to Pay in the Local Foreign Currency

international credit card usage

When paying with your credit card abroad, you’ll be given an option to use your home currency (Philippine peso), which is called Dynamic Currency Conversion.[5] If you say yes to that, you’ll be charged a higher exchange rate for converting to the Philippine peso by the overseas bank that handles the transaction.

When using a credit card abroad, pay in the local currency of the country you’re visiting, so you can get a lower conversion rate offered by your issuing bank. For example, if you’re in Thailand, opt for Thai Baht when paying with your international credit card.

4. Check and Keep Your Receipts

Don't immediately throw away the sales receipts you receive from all your international transactions. Double-check the information on the receipts, paying close attention to the foreign currency you're charged.

When you get back home, review your receipts and check them against your billing statement.[6] The number should match. If you notice any discrepancy, report it to your credit card provider right away.

Final Thoughts

It’s exciting to think about exploring other countries. Still, you shouldn’t forget to make proper preparations, which includes getting yourself a trusty international credit card.

Hopefully, the number of good choices you have will help you choose the right credit card that suits your overseas travel needs. Remember, it’s more fun to satisfy your wanderlust while remaining financially responsible.

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Sources:

 

Venus leads the blog content strategy and optimization at Moneymax as the Head of Editorial Content. She has 15+ years of experience in content marketing, corporate communications, and public relations. Venus graduated cum laude with a Journalism degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Before joining Moneymax, Venus had written informative guides and articles, specializing in personal finance and digital marketing. She also invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. A hardcore Hallyu Tita, she enjoys bingeing K-dramas on Netflix while bonding with her rescued cats. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.